Something to Celebrate

Hannah attended her first “friend” birthday party a couple weeks ago and had a blast.  When we got the invitation to this little boy’s 5th birthday party my first thought was, I know nothing about boy gifts.   Let’s face it, I live in girl world, I never had brothers and I really have no clue what 5 year old boys get excited to play with. I did, however, have a good clue about something this sweet little guy liked because the party theme was batman, spider man and legos.

So I did what most clueless moms do, start browsing pinterest.  That’s when I came across the homemade fort kit idea.  What boy doesn’t love building a fort, right?  I took some ideas from the pin and got to work to make a kit customized for Hannah’s friend.  Here’s what I purchased/used/created:

  • Little red, zipper-top bag (86 cents): The pin had a tutorial for how to make a cloth bag to put the kit in but I am not a great sewer and didn’t want to spend a lot of time trying to make a bag that probably wouldn’t look very good.  I made the bag I bought more sturdy by cutting a cardboard circle the same size as the bottom of the bag and then covering it in red craft foam.  Here is what that looked like:

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  • Navy blue queen sheet ($2)
  • I cut an old white t-shirt into 7, 18-inch (1 inch wide) strips to make the “hooks” for the sheet.  Just stretch out the strips a little then tie knots on each end of the strip.  Make a little loop and then sew onto the sheet.  3 loops go along the long sides of sheet and one in the center.  Here is a photo of the loops/hooks:
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  • I took 5 clothespins I already had laying around the house and had Hannah paint them blue. Then I found superhero/lego clip art, printed them out and covered them with laminate I had.  I glued the laminated art onto each clothespin to make them more fun and in line with the theme:
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  • Now it’s Dollar Tree time.  We got red nylon rope ($1), suction cup hooks ($1), glow sticks ($1) and a flash light ($1) to put into the bag.  I also included some popcorn and fruit snacks because building a fort takes lots of energy😉
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  • The last step was making a cute sign for the front of the bag so the birthday boy would know what he was getting (or really the birthday boy’s mom because she was the one reading it!):
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The next week when I ran into the birthday boy’s mom at school, she told me that he absolutely loved the fort kit and had been playing with it non-stop the entire weekend.  I’d say the kit was a hit and not bad for just about $7!  If you have any questions about the assembly of this kit just leave me a comment and I’ll get back with you!  Also, if you’d rather not go to the trouble of making the kit, you can always pay me to make one for you🙂  I can also do a “girly” one…Hannah has already requested one.

008Linked up at New NostalgiaHousewife How-To’s, Atlantamomofthree and All Things with Purpose.

1st birthday collageWith a name like Leia, you know I couldn’t resist throwing a Star Wars themed first birthday party…heavy emphasis on Princess Leia.  You can see the birthday invitation here.    I made Leia funfetti cupcakes that were decorated with cream cheese and chocolate frosting, mini chocolate chips, chocolate Oreos, and red decorating gel.  The oreos are held on with a dab of chocolate frosting.  I displayed the cupcakes on the tower I made (instructions here).  I plan on recovering the tower and adding new ribbon for my older daughter’s Disney Princess birthday in May…here we go again!  At least I have 6 weeks to recover get things ready for Hannah’s party.

001I decorated the kitchen by displaying photos from each month of Leia’s first year clipped onto a piece of light pink sheer fabric.  The funny story about this fabric is that it was originally purchased and used at my wedding reception almost 7 years ago.  Little did I know then what that part of the decor would be used for later on🙂  I had a bunch of silver hair clips that I used to clip the photos onto the fabric–just trying to use what I had.  I couldn’t find a star wars table cloth that looked girly enough so I just bought a plain pink one and attached star wars graphics I printed out on photo paper as well as some photos of Leia with her Princess Leia hair buns on.

I made a “one” pennant decoration for Leia’s high chair.  It also had “Leia” on one side pennant and “Danielle” on the other end pennant.  I strung them through light pink ribbon and attached it to the high chair with glue dots.  The glue dots peeled right off afterwards.

Leia with my SIL Tiffany

Leia with my SIL Tiffany

I decorated the blank wall that Leia was going to be sitting in front of to open her gifts with a big poster of photos my cousin Candace took after Leia was first born.  You can see part of this in the collage above.  This made a pretty backdrop and was also fun to look back on (thanks Candace!).

cakey smileNow on to the food.  I tried to have fun with the food labels.  Here’s what we had:

  • Yoda Soda (pictured in collage above)–it’s actually just 7-Up and Lime Sherbet but it’s really tasty!
  • Han Solo Ham Sandwiches (I made homemade yeast rolls, filled them with shaved ham and cheddar cheese, then popped them in the oven to warm 30 minutes before lunch time)
  • Princess Lays Chips (I can hear your groaning)
  • Yoda Ears (edamame in shells topped with coarse kosher salt)
  • Vader Veggies & Droid Dip (my mom supplied this with fresh veggies from her garden and delicious spinach artichoke dip–even the spinach was from her garden!)
  • Light sabers (pretzel rods dipped in raspberry sherbet flavored candy melts then sprinkled with hot pink sugar crystals; I stuck the “sabers” into a bowl filled with pink candied popcorn Hannah and I made)
  • Princess Leia cupcakes

Leia cake 1So now you have some ideas to plan your own girly star wars party–come on, there has to be someone out there that can use this!  Also, a big thank you to our friend Bryan Alston who took such great party pictures for us and many of the ones I featured in the collage above.  It was a really fun day and I’ll cherish the memories of Leia’s 1st birthday forever!

Linked up at New Nostalgia and How-To Tuesday and All Things with Purpose.
Leia and Mom 2

Cupcake Tower finishedThe cupcake tower I started making this week for two upcoming birthdays is now complete!  This is how I started this project.  If you’d like to make your own cupcake tower, it is super easy.  Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cardboard cut into circles of 3 different sizes (I used empty diaper boxes to make me feel better about all that $ spent on diapers)
  • Paper to cover the cardboard (I used 12 x 12 scrapbook paper from Michael’s)
  • 2 canned good items covered in paper
  • ribbon
  • hot glue
  • glue dots (optional but this made putting the scrapbook paper onto the cardboard really easy)

You’ll need two circles of cardboard for each tier.  I traced the lid of my cake saver for the bottom tier (largest) and that measured about 13.5″ in diameter.  I traced the lid of  a large dinner plate (about 11″) for my second tier and a salad plate for the top tier (9″).  There is no magic number these cardboard circles need to measure–they just need to go from largest to smallest as you go up the tower.

Glue the same size circles together so your tiers will be sturdy.  Trace the cardboard circle onto your paper so you’ll have the right size of paper to cover your cardboard.  I took my ribbon and hot glued it around the edge of the cardboard circles.  Then I wrapped paper around my canned good and glued them onto my finished cardboard covered tiers.  Ta dah!

Linked up at All Things With Purpose.

Cupcake stand 1Both of my girls are going to have cupcakes at their birthday parties (Leia in April and Hannah in May).  I do not own one of those fancy cupcake stands but thought, hey, I could probably make one but first I need to figure out how by looking at…you know it…pinterest.

The blog I found that I thought had the best system for making one was Annie’s Eats in her post, How to Make a Cupcake Tower.  The picture I posted above is just the start of mine but I am so excited about how it is looking (and the fact that I am using empty diaper boxes to make it)!  Might as well use the diaper boxes, I paid enough for em’.

I just cut my diaper boxes into usable flat sheets of cardboard and then cut the circles out of that.  I traced the lid of my cake saver container for the largest tier and one of my small dinner plates for the smallest tier.  You need two circles for each tier since you need two circles glued together to make a stable enough “shelf” for the cupcakes.

Yes, there is a jar of pickled okra separating the tiers right now but eventually I will have some wrapped cans in between and I still have to make the middle tier. What you see here are the top and bottom tiers.

I was also able to use some ribbon I already had laying around so that was nice and made the project even more affordable.  The only thing I have purchased so far is the scrap book paper and it was on sale today at Michaels.

Since Leia’s birthday comes first, this one will be for hers–I will probably add some Star Wars stickers soon.  After her party I plan on recovering the tiers with other paper and replacing the ribbon with Disney Princess ribbon I bought today at Michaels since that is the theme of her party.

This has been super easy so far and I will post more instructions when I have a finished product!

Linked up at New Nostalgia & Housewife How-To’s.

I cannot believe Leia will turn 1 in about 5 weeks!  We are doing a girly Star Wars/Princess theme for her party…did her name give it away?

I will be doing a series of posts on all of the things I am creating for her party so here is the first–the invitation.  I got some pinspiration from here,  here and here of course and then created this:
Invitation no personal info

Personal information has been removed due to privacy reasons but you get the idea!  I just inserted the file into a message and e-mailed it to all our guests.  I recommend this to save money on printing, envelopes and postage.  Much quicker too!

I had a lot of fun with this and hope it gives you a few laughs today🙂

Linked up at New Nostalgia & Housewife How-To’s.

I know…you read the title and thought I have gone WAY too “Martha” on you. But I promise, this is so easy! You should try it if:

-You love a bargain (my only cost was the glycerin which was $1.75 for the amount in this recipe)
– You want to get rid of those bars of soap you never use. Come on, you know you swiped at least 3 from the last hotel you stayed at🙂
– You want to be able to say, “Hey I made that soap!” after someone uses your restroom.

I won’t lie–the worst part of this entire process is grating the soap. I read on another blog that you can put the bar of soap in your blender to do the trick but I’m pretty sure my Kohl’s blender would explode if I did that. So I grated….and grated (just used the largest holes on my cheese grater). It really didn’t take that long. I just like to complain.

So, heat a gallon of water on your stove in a big pot (medium heat). Then add 2 Tablespoons glycerin (I got it from the pharmacy at Target) and the grated soap.  I also added about 10 drops of peppermint essential oil but this is just optional.  Here is what it looked like after I did this step and stirred for a few minutes:

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Stir until all the soap has dissolved.  Then turn off the heat, cover it and let it sit overnight.  When I uncovered mine it seemed really thick but once I started stirring, it loosened up to a normal liquid hand soap consistency:

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Then start filling your soap pumps or store in jars/plastic containers. I found that a funnel and soup ladle made filling containers easier:

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Notice in the above photo that I refilled a liquid soap container from Bath and Body Works–Haha, BBW, I showed you!!!  I filled my 3 soap pumps, a pint jar for my mom and still had a large plastic rice bin container of soap left over for refills later!  Finished product:

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When I used my new soap today I heard little “cha-ching” sounds in my head…ah I love saving money.   I got my homemade soap inspiration from this blog.

This post linked up at New Nostalgia and Women Living Well and Housewife How-To’s.

Lion

Hannah requested a lion for her lunch today and since I had all the supplies for a lion, I agreed.  She even suggested a Cutie for the lion’s hair/mane so apparently she is getting pretty good at this creative lunch thing.

Here’s a fun tip: To get the face pieces (cheese and carrots) to stay put on the bread, use a little mayo.  It goes with the sandwich anyway since there are little rolls of ham underneath the bread.

Hannah’s lunch container came back completely empty today so the lion is a winner🙂

If you’d like to see all of the creative lunches I’ve made thus far you can visit my Lunchbox Creations board on pinterest.

Happy lunch making!

*Linked up at New Nostalgia