Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2nd Birthday Party: A Minnie Mouse Extravaganza

I actually had a hard time deciding what theme to do for Little Lady's birthday party this year. I had planned on doing Sesame Street because about 6-9 months ago she was in love with Elmo, Ernie and all their friends. Then somehow (maybe a cousin introduced her I don't remember) she discovered
"Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" and has been a huge fan ever since. She still likes Sesame Street, but not in the same way. In the last couple months, she's also developed a love for princesses and tea parties, but there are many more birthdays to celebrate, and I know Minnie Mouse still has a big place in her heart. I'm pretty sure she loved the day!

I can see myself having a bit of a tendency of going a little overboard when it comes to our kiddos birthday parties, but I have so much fun with it! I love planning all the details and trying to come up with things I know they will love and will make them feel extra special. I'm thankful for Pinterest in this area. I love gathering ideas and planning plenty in advance... if truth be known, I'm already gathering a few potential ideas for Little Lady's 3rd Birthday.

Here are lots of pictures (and descriptions) of the Minnie Mouse Birthday Party:
Birthday Girl, making sure she looks ok for the party.
Can't quite figure out how to hold up 2 fingers
Happy, excited girl! I made her skirt, and I had a friend help me applique her shirt.
Daddy took the Birthday Girl to get the cake while I transformed the house. This Minnie was made with a black paper lantern, two tissue paper pom poms and a bow.
We've got ears, say cheers! Mickey and Minnie ears made with the cheapest headbands I could find. We then cut ears out of felt, with foam circles in the middle to keep them from being floppy. The Minnie ears also got a bow.
Minnie & Daisy's Dress-up Station. Boas, necklaces, bracelets and sunglasses for the little girls to dress up.
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse coloring pages.
Minnie Mouse wand decorating station. We cut out Minnie Mouse silhouettes from glitter foam, added a bow and some ribbon and glued them to a dowel rod, spray painted black.  We had little sticker gems and glitter glue to decorate them... a big hit with the little girls!
Minnie Mouse Happy Birthday Banner
Fabric banner and a small overview of the party set up.
Minnie Mouse balloons
Minnie Mouse Mantel... I found a set of Minnie birthday balloons on Amazon for less than the one big Minne would have cost elsewhere. There's also one of Little Lady's Minnie dolls, a picture banner (one picture for each month of her second year), and some Minnie vinyl decals, which we found for really cheap at JoAnn's one day.
More balloons and Minnie decals.
Mickey's Milk (chocolate milk) and Le-Minnie-Ade :)
The cake. From Rick's Bakery.
Cupcakes. These cupcakes were delicious. The frosting had actual "stuff" from Double Stuff Oreos in it. The "ears and bow" were made using mini Oreos and Fruit by the Foot.
The Food Table
Pete's PB & J... using a Mickey cookie cutter
Figaro's Fruit... fruit salad with a yummy lime and honey dressing
Hot Diggity Dogs (commonly known as pigs in a blanket)
Donald's Dipper's
Daisy's Donuts (Donut holes) and Pluto's Pretzels (chocolate covered pretzels)
A very cute Minnie Mouse centerpiece. It's just three Styrofoam balls, spray painted black and a bow. Matt was pretty much in charge of this one.
Birthday Girl in her Minnie Ears
One of Little Lady's best friends in her ears
Even Daddy wore ears :)
Two little sweeties jumping on the bed... may not be the best idea, but they sure have fun.
Making Minnie wands
A few finished wands... aren't they cute?!?
Never knew I could love a little person so much!
Great job blowing out her candle!
Cake time!
Ready to open presents

I never knew how much a little girl would love an umbrella! Great gift idea.
It makes my heart happy to see all these little girls playing in out "play room"
All the kids... definitely hard to get 10 kids, all 3 and under looking at the camera at once, but they sure are all cute!
That's all for now... See ya real soon.

Friday, February 1, 2013

The Little Lady is 2!

I still have one more post from our Christmas Bucket to do, but I wanted to write about our girl's birthday even before that. She's something pretty special, and last week we spent a good amount of time celebrating her and her little life. I like taking time to celebrate a person's life on their birthday. I especially want our kids to know how blessed we are to have them in our lives, and we want to celebrate how important they are to us. So, starting last Tuesday, that's just want we set out to do with our Little Lady.

She woke up to lots of balloons and a few presents waiting for her. After we opened presents and played with balloons for awhile, we enjoyed some sprinkle pancakes (our traditional birthday breakfast). This year she even got to eat them on a special princess plate.

After breakfast, we went out and about to do things we thought our Little Lady would enjoy. Our first stop was Barnes & Noble to play with the trains there, and thanks to the Barnes & Noble Kid's Club, she got a free cupcake for her birthday too.

After our treat, we headed to the toy store so Little Lady could pick out one present for herself. It's fun to see what she chooses. We let her go through the store and put things she likes into the cart. Once we make it through the store, we lay everything out, and she picks one toy. It seems to work really well for her, and it's fun to let her pick out something she wants... she chose a train set with pink trains and a new baby.

Next stop on our day of fun was Boingo Bounce. Only it didn't start out too fun. We thought Little Lady would be thrilled to bounce around and go down slides, but she actually acted rather scared of everything for the first 45 minutes we were there. She held on tight to us and kept crying to go bye-bye. Eventually though, Daddy talked her into going down a slide with him, and she loved it. Once she went down once, she was all over the place, and we had to practically drag her out.

All our adventuring called for lunch and a nap at home. We must have worn her out because by the time she got up, we only had time to run a couple errands (one of which was ordering the cake for her party), then we take her out to eat for a birthday dinner. We wanted to take her someplace fun and really kid friendly but had a tough time coming up with a place... We ended up at Red Robin since they have a good kids' menu. I think she had a happy day, but the celebrating wasn't over yet... a Minnie Mouse Party was coming on Saturday!

Little Lady, you are a joy and a delight! You add oodles and oodles of love and happiness to our lives. It's hard to remember what life was like before you, because you fit in to our family fantastically... I know God gave us a special gift in giving us you, and He made you to be a part of us. Since having you, I feel like a part of me that was missing is now complete. I love you more than you can even comprehend right now, and I always will. I look forward to what this next year of your life will bring. A lot of changes are coming, but I know you will be the best big sister! Your little brother is blessed to get to have you as his big sister and forever friend. Things may seem a little rough at times, and I know just being 2 can be tough, but I'm also looking forward to 2 being one terrific year!

I'll close with a list of a few of our Little Lady's favorite things right now:
  • Puppy Coal
  • Minnie Mouse & the whole Clubhouse gang
  • Princesses (this one came out of no where about 2 months ago, but you are a lover of all things princess right now)
  • Choo-choo trains
  • "I hold you, mama (daddy)" has to be your favorite phrase since you say it hundreds of times a day.
  • Tea Parties!
  • Dancing & Twirling
  • Singing (often your own songs)
  • Babies (I hope this one lasts)
  • Watching "my show" 
  • Playing with friends (even if sharing is hard, anytime we are going to see friends, you are ecstatic)
  • Reading books
  • Giving "check-ups"
  • Talking on the phone (real or fake)... You always have to say hi now to whoever Mommy is talking to, especially if it's Nana
  • And I'm pretty sure you're still a pretty big fan of your mommy & daddy :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Family Christmas Bucket, Week 2

We've had a lot of fun celebrating Christmas and advent once again this week. I feel like I've slacked on the photos a little and we had to do some switching around of activities this week, but we are thoroughly enjoying it! I'm a little sad that this is our last full week for the bucket this year. I love this time of year so much!

December 10:
We started off the week right with a night dedicated to eating Christmas cookies and drinking some yummy homemade hot chocolate. Little Lady got to unwrap a special Mickey Mouse plate and mug set to use. We also decided it would be a great night to watch Charlie Brown Christmas since we hadn't seen it yet this year. To top the evening off, we had one of our favorite people here to hang out with us. Katherine! She lived with us this summer, Little Lady fell in love with her, and we always like it when she comes over now.

December 11:
What is the Christmas season without at least one crafting day? I had to search a little to come up with some fun things a not quite two year old could do and enjoy, but I think we were successful. We did three little crafts... a Christmas tree painted using a fork and wine corks, a snowflake (I used painter's tape on the canvas for the snowflake, then just let Little Lady paint her heart out), and a polar bear with "snow" paint (elmer's glue and shaving cream) and pom-poms. We both had a lot of fun creating things, and I look forward to many more Christmas craft days to come.

Finished products... this one was made especially for Daddy!
 December 12:
Today Little Lady got to open another Christmas book... "Bear Stays Up." We figured she would really like this book (and she does) because one of her favorite books is "Bear Snores On," which she got for her first birthday. We've read that book so many times, I have it completely memorized. "Bear Stays Up" is fairly similar, but instead of sleeping, the bear is trying to stay awake for Christmas. It's a cute little story.

Reading the book to one of her babies.
 December 13:
We made another batch of cookies on Thursday, bagged up some of all the cookies we had made, and delivered them to some of our neighbors. We tried to give them to our immediate neighbors first, but several people weren't home, so we had to walk around a bit to get all our cookies delivered. It was pretty cute when Little Lady would hand over a bag of cookies and say, "Merry Christmas Tree," which is what she always says right now when she wishes someone a Merry Christmas.
Sharing some cookie dough with Minnie.

Getting ready to go, and I caught these two stealing some cookies.
December 14:
Friday ended up being a wrap presents and play with puppies day. We switched things around a little because some friends of ours invited us over for dinner to give Little Lady a chance to play with 10 lab puppies just a few weeks old. We knew she would love it, and she did! I think it was like a little slice of heaven for her to be surrounded by all those puppies.

 December 15:
Though it wasn't officially part of the bucket, Saturday was a great day! It was our little Wagner family Christmas! Since we will most likely always be traveling over Christmas and won't typically be in our house on Christmas day, we create our own Christmas and have a celebration with just our family. For presents, we have decided to do one thing you need, one thing to read, one thing to wear, a "Santa"/surprise gift, and stockings. Seeing Little Lady get into things this year was quite the joy for us. She would have to take some time to play with everything that she opened before she moved on to the next gift... even every little thing she pulled out of her stocking. I honestly think it took her almost a half our to finally get everything out of her stocking alone, but I like that about her. I hope she always takes time to enjoy every little thing she gets.
Kitchenette from Nana and Papa
Examining, then playing with each and every thing.

Christmas Breakfast

Our bucket activity for the day was to go out for dinner and drive around to look at Christmas lights. We kind of had a hard time finding really good lights to look at though, so if anyone in NWA knows of good lights to see for future reference, please let us know. We ended up going to the Washington County fair ground. It cost $5 per car to get in, which we didn't realize until we got there, and honestly, there wasn't all that much to see. We also went to a house that Matt knew about that has lights set to music, which was fun, but it was just one house. Little Lady did get excited about some of the lights, and we had a great day just being together all day.

December 16:
Being Sunday, this would have typically been another movie and pizza day. Little Lady did get to unwrap a set of Sesame Street Christmas movies, but for dinner, we had something even better than pizza. It was the annual Potter's House Christmas (click the link to learn more about this amazing ministry), a chance for the entire Potter's House family (about 500 people) to get together, celebrate all that God has done that year, and enjoy some delicious food! I wish I could be more involved in all that Potter's House does, but I just don't feel like it's the right season of life for me. I'm so glad that Matt is able to lead a small group of 1st grade boys! He meets with them every Sunday for a couple hours, they do a Bible lesson together and spend lots of time playing. I love that he gets to love on these little guys... not one of them lives with a daddy, and I know they are in desperate need positive male influences.

Little Lady crashing the stage to sing with the other kids
I hope all who read this are enjoying the Christmas season as much as we are. I hate that some people are going through a really tough time right now and have experienced unspeakable tragedy. Part of me feels bad to be enjoying life so much when others are so sad right now, but at the same time I do not want to take one single day I have with my lovely daughter and wonderful husband for granted. Each day is a gift, and I don't want to forget that.