Turning 3, Super Hero Style

I can’t believe I let the whole month of June finish out before posting about my sweet Wesley’s birthday and party. In fact, I let the whole month of June go with only posting once! I promise to do better here in July. In keeping with that, let me tell you a little about my second son’s big day!

On his actual birthday, he immediately began asking for his cake when he woke up in the morning. I guess when you turn 3 you don’t think it is a birthday until you blow out a candle or something. In an attempt to appease, I made him pumpkin muffins for breakfast. This boy just *loves* them and they are pretty simple to create, just some pumpkin and coconut oil and a few other things and they are ready to bake. He also got to open a gift from his Uncle John, still with the “sleepies” in his eyes, as I use to say when growing up (and he has shorts on, promise. The boys are just real big now days about sleeping with no shirt).

That night, the family went out to eat at Chili’s. If we are going to eat out, we tend to eat here, only because they very frequently send e-mails out with TWO free Kids’ meals with an adult entree. They have some pretty healthy choices, and if I order something (we will sometimes go when Thomas is at work), both kids get to order a meal—for free! They had a coupon out available for use on Wesley’s actual birthday, so that is just what we did. While there, he got to open a present from us, a Spiderman toy and an Avengers shirt. He was so excited about each and had to put them to use right away. The shirt he wore in was taken off and his new one was put in its place. The server saw that we were celebrating our little man, and since Wesley was very eager to tell everyone “I 3 today!” the waiter  helped us celebrate by bringing out a brownie with ice cream–for free! We had a good time and Wesley was very happy.

There was a little gap between his actual birthday and the big celebration, but when it finally arrived, Wesley was pumped. We did a general super hero theme, which made planning and staging really simple, for any super hero worked! I had found a load of Batman supplies at a consignment sale for $5 and then I found Spiderman stuff clearenced out at Target, so we got all his themed items for a great price. I intended to do so much more in celebration but my time couldn’t catch up with my plans. So, I did the best I could for my little man, and since he is 3, it was plain perfect.

Everyone was asked to “help us save the day” and wear a Super Hero shirt.

I blew up some balloons and had Thomas cut out some bats and we made a cool Batman balloon banner (and it is still up—I liked it :O)

I had big plans of making all these super cookies look like Captain America shields but I realized after about 5 of them that I am not enough of a meticulous or type A person, so the rest of them just ended up being solid, bright colors. At least a few looked great, right?

I got all goofy and put colors in the lemonade and named them Super Hero names. Daniel assisted by coloring the labels, for he was really persistent about contributing to the celebration, much of which was officially assembled while Wesley napped.

The table was decked out with fruit, veggies, olives (a Wesley favorite), chips and salsa, and what were self-acknowledged some of the best cupcakes I have personally ever made. They were soooo good. Thomas also grilled hamburgers for us. He is always so good about making the main course food!

We opened gifts right away, for who wants to make a newly 3 year old wait?

You can see Wesley with the shield my brother brought and the cape my mom wore, while arriving as Captain America and Batman. Whether they intended to or not, Wesley got to keep them, for there was no way he was letting those two items out of his sight.

He later spent 20 minutes jumping off our ottoman yelling “To The Bat Cave!!” or “BATMAN!” while throwing his arms out and spreading wide the cape. It was pretty stinkin’ hilarious–and cute (and yes, we had a wardrobe change—because his Aunt Chelle and Uncle Austin got him a shirt he had to put on immediately!)

To the Bat Cave!

All in all, it was a great little event. We kept it pretty simple, just ran around the yard playing with toys, no official games. The birthday boy was happy, and that makes me happy, so I will call it a success!

My kids consistently refuse to cooperate with pictures, so it seems, and my nephew has this unending need to do bunny ears in every photo, but this is pretty genuine and true to form, so I like it.
The little “I can’t believe you were this tiny 3 years ago!” set-up, along with the plates and napkins,
Happy Birthday, Wesley Reesse! Enjoy being 3!
Holy smokes, it’s Batman! Or maybe just Daniel…..
Our sweet neighbors with their thanks for coming gifts–a Spiderman cup, Spidey paper with markers, suckers, and Captain America tattoos.
Aunt Chelle and Grandma help to prepare Wesley for his jumps!
Last minute shot, to prove Thomas was at the event!
Daniel took this of me and Elizabeth. Great shot, Daniel!
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Turning 4, Mickey Mouse Style

As I showed you in the sneak peek, Daniel had himself a little Mickey Mouse party. To say it was fun for us as parents would be an understatement. It was such a wonderful time. I just love celebrating my children and their life on this earth!

We opted for  a Mickey Mouse celebration due to one of my favorite stores having the MM party supplies on clearance. It was a starting place and we just added fun items from there. I will say that having a trademarked character as our theme was harder to obtain cheap and cute items for than our general pirate theme last year. One good thing, however, about a MM theme party is that you can pretty much just make 3 black circles and you are spot on for additional decorations (see the MM 4 sign that I made using black paper plates). I, with limited ability to cut straight and write straight, was able to make things work well, along with the additional help of the hubby!

For starters, Mousketeers were given mouse ears made out of a stiff felt and hot glued to headbands. Girls were given ones with bows! This was an extremely more frugal way to obtain MM ears, I am sure, for the headbands came in a pack of 5 for a buck and the felt was 32 cents a sheet, of which I bought 3. After I told him what to do, Thomas actually made them the night before our celebration. It was that easy!

I kept in mind things that Daniel would love to have at his party, so we had a popcorn station. Everyone seemed to love this idea, for there was not a piece left at the end of the party. I let adult party-goers take home a popcorn tub. These were located in a dollar clearance section, so they were a frugal addition that made a huge improvement over just having all the popcorn stashed in a big bowl. That *huge* balloon was found on sale for 2 dollars. I did have to pay to get helium from our local grocery story, which was also 2 bucks, but the added price was still cheaper than they generally run anywhere else.

If your children have ever watched an episode of MM or read a new MM book, you must be aware of the “Toodles” that helps the Mousketeers accomplish a mission. Thomas and I, again the night before, created a Toodles and thought out some Mousektools for the kids to use to help solve the problem of the missing gifts. It was such a fun time running around outside watching Daniel and his friends gain back control of his gifts, even from the grasp of a giant monster!

Opening presents was such a special time, for my little boy showed how sweet his heart truly is. He became just as excited about his “mail” as he did any gift he received. What 4 year old enjoys cards so much? He also would smile and laugh about the gift, and then, when told who actually gave it to him, he thought we were saying it was their gift, not his, so he would say “Oh sorry!” and try to give it back to the person, never losing his smile. In fact, he had been given a gift the day before his party by a family friend and when we woke up on his party day, we asked him if he was excited about gifts. His reply was “I already got my gift yesterday! I only need one.” He even told my brother, when he was questioning him about what he wanted for his birthday, that he “had plenty of toys” and did not need any more. We did *not* tell him to say that. In fact, I think all kids should get to open gifts on their birthday, and I do not like when parents say not to bring gifts to their child’s party. Keep it cheap, certainly! Not have any? NO way! Alas, he has such a good spirit and he spoke his heart and acted so kind.(take note of Daniel with the only gift he has ever requested, of which he has been requesting when asked about his birthday: “the biggest gun ever”)

The MM cookies were yummy, even if they were a bit exhausting for Mommy to make! The company was even better, and I am so glad that our friends and family made time to come and celebrate with us. Just look at all the fun we had:

I am so proud of my little boy making it another year, and I pray God grants him many, many, many more birthdays to come!

A Sneak Peek

A special little boy I know is turning 4 and will be having a fun celebration. And just like last year, here is a hint, and a sneak peek, into Daniel’s big day:

Something tells me we’re going to have a “hot-dog, hot-dog, hot-diggity dog” day. I can not wait! I promise to update you after the big event, too. I wonder if it will be as much of a hit as our #3 pirate party?

Our (Frugal) Pirate Party

I have been so excited about sharing the fun we had at Daniel’s Pirate Party. It truly was a blast…..to me at least….and if I, an adult, can find it fabulous, I would hope birth to 5 year olds could agree.

Anyway, rather than just giving a recap, I thought I would join in for the first time posting for Frugal Fridays, in which I would explain how we threw a super fun party for super cheap.

1. Choose a Theme Early

When you know how you are going to celebrate your little one, you can share your theme with others. When they are in the know, your friends and family can pick up odds and ends on sale as they find them, not to mention yourself. When we shared our pirate idea, my loving sister-in-law picked up a great “Beware of Pirates” sign that marked our house and welcomed our guests:

2. Bake and Make What You Can:

Now, I am by no means an Ace of Cakes, but I can surely make (somewhat) aesthetically pleasing, edible products. And when you compare what it will cost you to celebrate with a home made cake over a store bought one, home made is the only way to go. Cake mix is about a buck and you can make  a whole cake or 24-26 cupcakes out of that. With cupcakes, you can typically measure better if you are making enough to feed your guests. Plus, you wipe out needing more paper plates and silverware to eat dessert! If you make your own frosting, you are saving even more, which is what I did. Since my aforementioned cake making skills are basic, I have begun the tradition of letting my little one decorate his own cake, on which I will put his candles. He put on the sprinkles and placed the objects where he chose, and if/when it looks poor, you can just blame it on your kid :O)

Don’t just think about making food either. Think about making all sorts of things. For instance, in keeping with the Pirate theme, we had a treasure hunt. I made a little treasure map in a matter of minutes. The birthday boy opened this up, with his guests right beside, and we went on journey to find those treasures!

And if you are highly skilled—or know someone that is (hence the photo of my lovely pirate boat engineer, Amanda, in the photo below)—you can construct an elaborate decoration for the kids to play in/on to help their little imaginations. —note their Pirate hook fingers :-)—

3. Recycle and Re-purpose What You Can:

If your kid is choosing the theme, you most likely have toys around the house that will go along with said theme. I scoured the house for Daniel’s pirate items which were stuck on his cake and set around the food table, etc. to add to the decor. Other items we found and used—the big box that our new recliner came in became our pirate ship. The old Halloween decorations from my mom became the skull on the front of the ship. A wooden decorative box became our treasure chest. An old pinata that , for some really odd reason, had been at my mom’s since high school, was just perfect for our event. I even filled the pinata with Daniel’s Halloween candy because, let’s face it, your kid only needs so much. Now, I know this is something that not all folks can do, for my little one happens to have a birthday that follows close suit to trick-or-treating, but you can always keep a look out for candy deals.

Decorations from birthdays past can be very effective in helping for your current party. Even if you do not have any from the past, choose solid color accents to your theme and you can save leftovers for the next celebration. A few Pirate stickers (bought off e-bay at a steal) and you can spice up most any decor, such as your solid colored plastic cups, old birthday blowers, etc.

4. Shop the Sales and Look for Clearance:

One of our local mega marts had some Pirate birthday gear, and since I knew my theme early,  I had been keeping my eye on them, waiting for prices to drop. Being that a clearance is almost always in sight for those type of items, I just kept waiting. Sure enough, they were clearanced down to fifty and seventy five cents an item, so I bought invitations, which came with thank you notes, a table cloth, and napkins. And you know what, that same said sister-in-law, being she knew our theme, called me when she found them on sale, but I already had them!

Being that we have a deep freeze in our garage, I was able to buy our hot dogs and buns ahead of time, free or nearly free with coupons and BOGO sales. I just sat them out the morning of our party and they were perfect for eating that afternoon. I don’t think anyone noticed; they pretty much ate it all.

Even our own little Pirate was decked out in clearanced gear for his big day. Since Halloween was over, costumes were 90% off, hence him donning such a great Pirate costume.  (See the birthday boy badge? I made that by cutting out a skull off of an extra invite.)

I also got our littlest a skeleton outfit for $1.80, all thanks to sales!

Even though these party favors (hat, patch, and hook combo; jumbo coloring book ) were not on sale or clearanced, they came from a store where everything in it is a dollar, so it does not get much better than that.  The skull and cross bone cupcake papers and toppers are another sale item after Halloween. Good deals!

5. Borrow What You Can:

Did someone else you know have a party of the same theme? I am sure he or she would let you borrow the leftover items. With that said, I borrowed my get-up from my cousin, who wore it the year before at a Halloween party. Everything my brother is wearing was just re-purposed from around his house, including the peg leg :O)6. Let Other People Help

Friends and Family are always looking for a way to contribute. If someone asks if they can bring something to the party, take them up on it. An extra 2 liter never hurt. My mother brought some baked beans to the party to go with our hot dogs. I had given her a couple of cans I had bought and she put them with some of her own, but the biggest help was that I did not have to spend time making or worrying about them.

All in all, it was a splendid time. I *love* the fact Daniel is still talking about the treasure hunt with his friends. He retells all the steps each time we see the field, giving me details about the candy and how it busted open. So fun.

My Father-in-law had an emergency appendectomy, so he, along with my mother-in-law, were not able to make it to the celebration. Instead of having them miss out completely, we used Skype and had them join in on all the fun for a few moments.

"I'm Excited!" It's Party Time

Daniel went to a party last night while Thomas and I used our final Christmas gift card to eat a lovely dinner out.

What type of party is a two year old attending, you might ask. Well, it was a Pajama Party at church, and our son was pumped about going. He talked about going and how excited he was in a much cuter fashion before I took the little video, but it is still pretty precious. When we drive toward church and he sees the steeple, he will say, “Ohhh! There it is! I excited!”

Pj party 008Pj party 007Pj party 004

Before we left, he was in a mood to smile and say cheese for a few photos for mommy. Once we got there and they wanted him to get his picture taken to put in his little commemorative farm frame, he wanted nothing to do with the camera, and he let that be known by screaming “NO CHEESE!!” at the poor photographer while simultaneously turning his back to her and crossing his arms in defiance. At some point they coaxed him back, for he came home with a nice photo in the adorable frame that now resides on the fridge.

It was nice to have a few hours out with the hubby sans Daniel, especially after such a busy week. To make matters even better, our dinner was free (due to the said gift card) and our son had a blast decorating cookies, coloring a bandanna, and playing with friends.

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