Sesame Street Birthday Party Fun

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My sweet Hannah turned 2 last month! How can this even be possible?! To celebrate, we had a Sesame Street birthday party. She absolutely loves Elmo, and the other Sesame Street characters are also pretty near and dear to her heart.

To get ideas, I scoured the internet and created a Pinterest board. With so many adorable ideas out there, why reinvent the wheel? The bulk of the party planning was focused on the activities. I came across so many great character themed station ideas, which I thought would be perfect for a toddler birthday party. I settled on 9 sations:

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Abby Cadabby’s Magical Art Station: I filled an art caddy with markers and crayons and provided a bowl of Sesame Street stickers and a folder with Sesame Street birthday coloring pages ripped out of a coloring book.

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Elmo and Dorothy’s Fishbowl Toss Station: A Sesame Street version of a classic carnival game. Simply toss the ping pong balls into the fishbowls. Inside the “fishbowls” (vases from Dollar Tree) I used plastic goldfish party favors. I wrapped an empty box with Elmo wrapping paper to use as a base. It was actually really hard to get the ping pong balls into the fishbowls, but the kids had a lot of fun trying and then watching the ping pong balls fly all over the place after hitting the rims of the vases. To make it easier, I would suggest “fishbowls” with larger openings, although the harder version is a lot of fun too.

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Cookie Monster’s Cookie Dough Creation Station: I made some homemade play dough (my first time!) and bought some vintage Sesame Street cookie cutters on ebay.

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Big Bird’s Big Bubbles Station: This station was super easy, just a plastic bin with bubble solution and a bunch of little bubble wands inside (all from Dollar Tree). The other bubble accessories were gifts from my mom for Hannah’s first birthday.

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The Count’s Counting Station: This station was a guess how many game. The older kids guessed how many jelly beans they thought were in the jar and then wrote their guess on a little piece of paper and then placed it inside the repurposed baby shoe box. The person with the closest guess won the jar and all the jelly beans. I wrapped an empty box for a platform.

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Ernie’s Rubby Ducky Pond Station: This station didn’t go according to plan because the rubber duckies I bought wouldn’t float upright. The idea was that the kids would use the nets to scoop up one duck and the number on the bottom (I numbered them using a sharpee) would be how many prizes they could choose from the prize bin. The kids, especially the little ones, had more fun splashing in the water, scooping as many ducks as they could, and then eventually mixing up the duck pond and fishbowl toss toys—putting duckies in the fishbowls and the ping pong balls and goldfish in the duck pond. It was great fun for all!

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Oscar’s Trash Toss Station: This station ending up being a really fun one, especially for the dads. I almost scrapped this idea because I kept forgetting to save cans. Thankfully I had just enough. In keeping with the trash theme for Oscar, I wrapped an empty box with supermarket ads.

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Bert’s Sidewalk Chalk Station: Another super easy station. Just a bunch of sidewalk chalk we already had laying around the apartment.

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Super Grover’s Super Games Station: This station didn’t actually get used because the kiddos at the party were too young and too interested in the other stations to try any of the games. It was intended more  for some much older kids that I thought may have been coming but didn’t end up coming to the party. Just a bunch of classic card games I found at Dollar Tree in packs of three.

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For each station, I made a printable with a Sesame Street character and the name of the station. The frames were 99 cents each from Ikea. I got the idea from this post.

Overall, the stations were a huge hit. Even though they didn’t all go according to plan and the kids didn’t play all of the games in the way they were necessarily intended, it was so much fun to watch kids of all ages run around from station to station having a great time. It warmed my heart to see Hannah go to each station, except the games one, a number of times and to see how much fun she was having playing with all of her friends!

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Happy Halloween 2012!

So…it’s been a very long time since I last posted. But I have very good reason to be neglectful. We are expecting our second child in March! I have been so so tired that I can barely manage any sewing, but with Halloween upon us, I luckily got a little bit of energy and inspiration.

When Hannah and I were perusing at Joann’s recently, we were looking at Halloween prints and Hannah absolutely fell in love with this purple Halloween kitties print. Since she was smiling and hugging the bolt of fabric, I figured I might as well whip up a little Halloween skirt for her. She’s actually worn it quite a few times since I made it a couple of weeks ago and seems pleased as can be every time she wears it. It’s just a simple elastic waistband skirt with a rolled hem ruffle.

The most important Halloween item is obviously the costume! This year was my turn to pick since last year my husband picked (so glad that we’ve moved beyond the receding hairline of last year, lol!). I decided on a poodle skirt getup, which is one of my all time favorite costumes. I’ve been dragging my feet on finally making it, having trouble deciding on a poodle silhouette, until my husband, in a very sweet way, finally told me to go with the one I had already cut out and be done with it. Thankfully I followed his advice or I’d be having a panic attack today still trying to decide!

I used Dana’s tutorial on Made to make a simple felt circle skirt (before attaching the elastic waistband, I put all of my embellishments on the skirt). I laid out my string of sequins, used a fabric marker to trace my layout for a guide while sewing, pinned in a few places, and then sewed the sequins on. Not as hard as you’d think! Finally, I fused the poodle onto the skirt and then glue gunned some rhinestones onto it for a collar.

For the glasses (which she wore for only a little while), I used some dollar toddler sunglasses from Target. I simply popped out the lenses and glue gunned three rhinestones onto each side. Gluing the rhinestones was actually the hardest part of the whole costume! They are so tiny and hard to handle while working with hot glue!

The onesie and shoes were awesome thrift store finds! I wasn’t sure what I’d find at the Goodwill up the street. It’s new and pretty small. I’ve never found anything good there before the few times I’ve popped in for a look, but this time I hit the jackpot! Originally I was really hoping to find a top with a peter pan collar for that classic, old fashioned look but I didn’t think I would be able to, so I was willing to settle for a plain white onesie from the closet…until I stumbled across this adorable and brand new, tags still on onesie. It’s a little big but works perfectly for her costume and she’ll have time to grow into it for future use. The shoes are practically brand new and for $3.99, you can’t beat it. I’m thinking they’ll get some use this holiday season as well.

And there you have it, a very easy and quick costume. Just the kind of thing this pregnant mommy needed!


First Birthday Party Fun

This past Sunday we celebrated Hannah’s first birthday. Her actual birthday is this Sunday, but I thought it would be fun to coordinate Hannah’s birthday party with our July potluck at church. It was a day of good friends, good food, and a refreshing swim in the church pool.

I can’t believe I planned my first birthday party and lived to tell the tale! It was so much more work than I thought it would be, and what I did was incredibly simple compared to the so many talented mommies out there in the blogosphere. I’m proud of what I put together, though, since party planning is really not my thing.

Although I had grand plans to make the cake and cupcakes from scratch, I ended up using cake mix. Thank goodness too, because even that took forever. For the cupcakes I used a yellow cake mix—I’m not a big fan of vanilla—and a chocolate fudge cake mix. And for the cake I used chocolate fudge mix also. The trouble I ran into with the cake mix was that it’s so light that I had a heck of a time moving the cake layers from the pans, to the cooling racks, and then onto the cake plate in one piece. Oh well, nothing that a little frosting couldn’t hide.

And speaking of frosting, I did actually make my own. It was delicious! Not sickeningly sweet like so many recipes out there but definitely sweet enough to satisfy the sweet tooths in this house. I used this recipe and this tutorial with my 1M frosting tip to get the rose effect. It was my first time ever piping frosting and I never had a mess up. Super easy and quick! My only complaint was that I put too much red dye in my batch of pink frosting for the cupcakes and it turned out more coral than pink. At least I got the cake frosting right.

For the table layout, I used two desert towers from Joann’s to display the cupcakes. I didn’t really love the way the yellow and chocolate cupcakes looked side by side but this dilemma was unavoidable since I wanted people to be able to choose from two kinds of cupcakes. The cake was was just a simple two layer cake with frosting, sprinkles, and a target candle. The pictures were Hannah’s birth announcement and her 1 year announcement/invitation. How I love those Costco photo cards! And lastly, one of the table centerpieces, a tissue pom flower, so that the centerpieces on the tables would match the birthday table.

Hanging above the birthday table was a collage of Hannah’s first year month by month. I mounted 5×7 prints on scrapbook paper with double sided tape and then glued them onto posterboard. To make the garland, I traced and cut letters from my scrapbook paper scraps and glued them to a long piece of ribbon.

For the tables I made really simple but somewhat time consuming tissue poms. There are a bazillion tutorials out there, but I came across this video on youtube, which was pretty straightforward and easy to follow. The vases were 79 cents at Ikea!

I didn’t really have a super cohesive theme, but I was sort of going for pink and yellow floral to match Hannah’s dress. Overall I’m pretty pleased with how things turned out. There were a few bumps in the road along the way but I’m just glad that I got everything done and that we had a lot of fun celebrating Hannah’s first year!


Thrifting

A couple of weeks ago I was in Seattle visiting family and scored a bunch of awesome finds at local thrift stores. I’m relatively new to this whole thrifting thing but since so many moms blog about their amazing finds I’ve decided to give it a try.

These vintage patterns were among my finds. At Goodwill the patterns seemed to come in bundles. So even if there is only one pattern you really want, you have to buy the whole bundle and sort through to find the keepers and the ones to pass onto friends, family, or re-donate. These are the keepers. I’m not sure that I’ll necessarily make all of them, especially the adult ones, but why not have them on hand just in case. I think I paid a total of $4 for these and about five or so more that I weeded out.

Books! Since Hannah LOVES to look at books and LOVES to be read to, I scoured the enormous children’s section of Goodwill trying to find some goodies. Each of these books were in pretty good condition and only 79 cents apiece! I was especially excited to find the Sandra Boynton books. Those are definitely a hit in our house.

I also found a bunch of amazing deals on baby clothes. Since babies grow so fast, there’s no point in buying things full price. I always look for good deals on the Target clearance racks and have found some really good finds for less than $3, but these deals were even better! I found this coat at Value Village for $1.99. It looks and feels like it’s never been worn and is size 18 months so it’ll be perfect for a light fall/early winter coat.

This adorable sweatshirt was a steal at $1 from Living Wisely Thrift and Consignment Store.

These jeans were also $1 from the same store.

It’s a good thing that I didn’t get more things because I had to fit everything in my bags on the way back and it was a tight sqeeze!


Gracie Romper

While perusing sewing patterns on Etsy, I came across the Peek-a-Boo Pattern Shop. There are so many adorable patterns to choose from–dresses, skirts, rompers, hats, shoes, swimsuits….you name it! But as soon as I saw the Gracie Romper, I knew I absolutely had to have it. Especially since it was only $6.50 for eleven sizes! A real bargain if you ask me.

I made the twelve month size for Hannah who is just over nine months. It seems to fit really well and it came together fairly easily.

I’m definitely going to crank out a few more of these rompers. They are so much more practical than dresses and skirts at this point since Hannah is still crawling. Although she can crawl on hands and knees, she prefers to scoot with one leg and craw with the other, sort of a scoot/crawl hybrid. When wearing dresses and skirts she get all tangled up and frustrated. So I’m thinking this will be a summer of rompers.

PS: Keeping the headband on is a challenge these days. I’m sure you noticed her trying to yank it off in the pictures above. She loves to chew everything, but especially her headband. Sheesh!


9 Month Pictures

Hannah turned nine months old a little over one week ago. My birthday and her nine month birthday were actually on the same day. It was a lot fun to celebrate together. I took her to get her milestone pictures the next day and I think we got some good shots.

She wore her tiered Easter dress and I made her a matching headband. The headband was a cinch! No sewing, I just glue gunned a little grosgrain ribbon bow to a plain headband to match to the one on the bodice of her dress.

The headband I bought from Target around Christmas time. They came in packs of three—one white, one red, one green—for one dollar! The next time I see headbands for one dollar, I’m going to buy like a bazillion.

Although Hannah wasn’t really in a smiling mood, I think her serious expressions are cute too. This picture is the only smile we got. I guess that is what happens when pictures get a late start and end up during nap time.

I love this one. She looks so elegant and the dress is fanned out so beautifully. When I was sewing this dress, I started to think that maybe I had gone a little overboard with the ruffles and that it was too floofy. In the end, I think the floofiness looks great and the extra fabric allows the skirt to fan out like a circle skirt, which is ideal for pictures.

This close up was on of the last pictures that we got until…

The meltdown picture! By this time a nap was long overdue and Hannah decided that pictures were definitely done. This one is so cute, though, I was seriously tempted to order one!


Easter Bargains…continued

I have been a busy lady this week! It sort of feels like I’ve been sucked up into an Easter sewing whirlwind. After I finish up a few details, I will have Hannah’s Easter dress and a little something I made for myself to share with you all. It’s a relief to have made such a sizable dent in my Easter projects list!

For now, I have a follow up on the Easter bargains I found at Joann’s this past weekend. For starters, I made some Easter jammie pants out of the cute bunny flannel. I slightly altered my pattern from the other jammie pants I made so that the legs were a little less wide and the crotch was a little more rounded for a better fit. I can’t wait for her to wear them!

I’ve been trying to figure out a way to incorporate the ribbon into Hannah’s Easter “basket.” (She’s actually not going to get a basket. Because she’s cruising all over the place and is eager to explore, I picked up a wagon walker from Ikea—among other things, I sort of went a little crazy—and I’m going to use the wagon as her basket.) I used this tutorial to make a poofy bow out of the rabbit ribbon. I’m going to put the bow on the handle of the walker.

I used the Easter egg ribbon to tie a set of Beatrix Potter board books together. I’m excited for Hannah to have them because they were mine when I was a little girl. It’s so fun to pass down little treasures like these to my sweet girl.

I haven’t gotten to the carrot ribbon (my favorite!) yet. I plan to make some sort of a bow for the rabbit stuffed animal that I also picked up at Ikea. When I get everything all put together, I will share how it all turned out. I hope that Hannah loves her first visit from the Easter bunny.