Minnie Mouse 4th Birthday Party Decorations

Minnie Mouse 4th Birthday Party Decorations | thisgratefulmama.com

A few weeks ago I shared the cake from our daughter’s Minnie Mouse 4th birthday party. Another day I’ll share the food.

Today is all about decorations.

When it comes to a kids party, my motto is ‘keep it simple‘ – it isn’t necessary to spend a lot of money or go all-out to please a 4-year-old. 

Most decorations for this party are homemade using paper. Many are printed at home and just taped up. They are inexpensive.  Most won’t take much time but will still have a big impact.

Paper decorations are more than enough to make our daughter feel special!

Art

For Disney-inspired decorations without breaking the bank, this free Waltograph font is a lifesaver. Once installed, it can be used in Microsoft Word – Disney decorations, literally, at your fingertips.

Our daughter loves Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. From watching it with the kids, I’m guessing you can also quickly rattle off these sayings:

Minnie Mouse 4th Birthday Party Decorations | thisgratefulmama.com

Photo Birthday Banner

birthday photo banner is a personal touch with big sentimental impact. By far, this is my favorite decoration to make for bitthdays. I love spending time picking out each photo – one photo per month from the previous year.  It is pure joy to see our kids’ faces light up when they see it – they love feeling honored and celebrated.

Black and white photos were printed and intermixed with the message:

Happy Happy 4th Birthday Adelyn Joy

Minnie Mouse 4th Birthday Party Decorations | thisgratefulmama.com

Minnie Mouse Chandelier

Now I want to share something SO fun. Have you seen this DIY faux-capiz chandelier made using wax paper? This Pinterest project is on my someday list. For some reason I haven’t found the free-time yet.

Who has this elusive ‘free-time’ anyway?

OK, so I did NOT make a wax paper chandelier for this party. But I did make a paper Minnie Mouse chandelier to hang over the table. Admittedly, it was kind of (ok, extremelyputzy cutting out Minnie Mouse ears and bows, but there was nothing difficult about it.

Trust me, with some time and patience, YOU can do it.

All it took was time, tape, cardstock, clear bead-thread and two steel rings (12″ and 6″) from Hobby Lobby. Just think – you could create a chandelier like this for ANY party theme – endless possibilities. 

Minnie Mouse 4th Birthday Party Decorations | thisgratefulmama.com

Entryway Signs

Originally, I planned to put a ‘Come Inside, It’s Fun Inside‘ sign on the front door to welcome guests. But a Chalk Marker and poster-board sign can’t withstand a windy, rainy day, so it came inside.

In the entryway, a sign saying ‘Adelyn is 4‘ was created using a chalkboard banner, vinyl decal letters, and a cardboard cutout ‘4‘ decorated with crepe paper:

Minnie Mouse 4th Birthday Party Decorations | thisgratefulmama.com

Balloons

What kid’s party is complete without balloons? The morning of the party, I asked my husband to go find and buy Minnie Mouse balloons.

That man, he’s a rockstar – he returned 20 minutes later with this bunch of balloons from Party City to an appreciative wife and a delighted 4 year old:

Minnie Mouse 4th Birthday Party Decorations | thisgratefulmama.com

Happy birthday sunshine girl.

 

 

 

On Our Son’s Sixth Birthday – What I Love About You!

Today our son Aiden turns SIX.

Somehow, six years have passed since we first saw his sweet face. Time is a strange thing – it seems like he has always been, yet it seems like I blinked because he was just born! And now I can hardly pick him up.

How. Did. That. Happen?

While I may not understand how time can fly and go slowly at the same time, I DO know this – we are SO proud of him.

We love him more than we can ever express.

And we are so grateful to be his parents.

I’ve spent the past few days savoring his birthday celebrations with friends and family. It has been so fun to watch him be the center of attention, and to see him laughing and enjoy being blessed by those who love him.

Today I want to celebrate his special day by expressing how grateful we are for who he is, and the way God made him.

Aiden, this post is just for you.

Love, Mom.

 

Six things I love about YOU & the way God made you

  • Cautiously Brave and Wise
    • I love to watch you make wise decisions. You have amazing, God-given discernment for a six year old! This is something you were created with. Since you were small, you have removed yourself when uncomfortable or afraid. You willingly step back from activities or situations you know you should not participate in, and you do it while still being kind to your friends or whoever you are around. You turn off TV shows that are not nice or are frightening without a second thought. ‘Be careful little eyes what you see’ is something you’ve always inherently known and acted on. While being naturally cautious, you bravely take calculated risks. You have regularly, bravely faced and accepted medical treatments that scare you because you understand you need them. And we have watched you excitedly try new things and boldly go new places while joyfully meeting and making new friends.
  • Puzzle-Loving, Problem-Solver
    • Not many six year olds I know get excited about doing a 1500 piece puzzle with their parents, especially when they know it will take a week or more to complete. It is fun to see how you approach problems and puzzles alike with determination and follow-through. You are great at following instructions and sticking with something until it is finished. You were building Lego sets unassisted so early, we were amazed at your ability to focus for long periods and to complete complex projects. It would not surprise me if you become an engineer some day. Certainly God has blessed you with attention to detail and a joy of taking on and completing challenges.
  • Lover of God’s Word
    • It was fun to help you fill in your ‘About Me’ book to bring back to school and share with your class today. My heart swelled with joy when you chose the Bible as your favorite book. And you know what? I believe it really is your favorite book. It amazes me how much you know about the Bible. We have read every night since you were a baby and you have absorbed so much from church and BSF. It is our privilege to read the Bible with you at night and to see how you apply what you learn from it to your life. You ask thoughtful questions that show you ponder what it says and take these things to heart. Some of the content in there has been concerning to your cautious mind, and yet you keep coming back to God’s word to learn more about who God is, and what the Bible has to say. I love how God is drawing you closer to Himself as we read.
  • Kind and Empathetic
    • At your school conference, your kindergarten teacher told us you are a good friend to others, and are always looking out for others. We nodded our heads proudly because we see this in you at home. You love others well and treat them with freely given kindness, compassion and respect. When you were three, we learned Ephesians 4:32 which states: Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. We see you living this out daily in the way you treat family and friends. It doesn’t mean you don’t have conflict with others – you do, just like the rest of us. What it does mean is that we see you being quick to forgive others and to move on after conflict has happened. You are also really good at stepping back to see the perspective of others in the situation, and are quick to say you are sorry. It also makes me so proud to hear your concern for others who are struggling and to see how you extend help to those you know you can help.
  • Big Brother
    • Being a big brother to two little sisters is a BIG job. And it is a job you did not get to choose. But you are a big brother and I am so proud of you in this role. You are so sweet and gentle with your baby sister Audra. She lights up when she sees you because she loves you as much as you love her. And it is no secret that Adelyn feels the same way. I love how you spend time with her, playing with her and hugging her when she is hurt or sad. You are thoughtful and considerate to include Adelyn in what you are doing and in playing with your friends. It makes me so proud when you encourage your little sister to follow rules or obey mom and dad, and to demonstrate how to do so with your own behavior. I love the excitement you have every morning about seeing both of them. Thank you for loving your sisters so much and for being the loving, protecting and kind big brother that you are.
  • Uniquely Aiden
    • There is no one on this earth who is just like you. YOU were knit together with care and love by the God who created the entire world and all the people and things in it. God made no mistakes and did nothing carelessly when He created you. I love who you are and who God made you to be. It is our prayer that you will see yourself as God sees you and that you will know HE loves you even more than we can, with His perfect love. We pray that you will continue to grow in faith and confidence in who God made you to be, that the most important identity you have is in Christ Jesus

Today, and every day, I am grateful for YOU.

oct-16

Happy New Year! {And Top 10 Posts of 2015}

Happy New Year | thisgratefulmama.com

Happy New Year!

I am so grateful for all of you. May God bless you richly in 2016.

Lets ring in the New Year with a countdown of the top 10 posts from 2015.

 

Top 10 Posts of 2015

10. A Couples Wedding Shower

9. It Takes a Village {to Raise a Child With Food Allergies}…And This One’s Fantastic

8. I Chose To Stay Home With My Children – Not To Throw Away My Career

7. ‘You Are My Sunshine’ Birthday – DIY ‘You Are My Sunshine’ Photo Birthday Banner

6. A Multi-Purpose Solution: Quick DIY Two-Color Painted Storage Crate

5. 25 DOs and DON’Ts for Travel With Small Children

4. Infant Silent Reflux is NOT Silent – Our Experience Navigating Reflux Treatment

3. DIY Dinosaur Tails, Dinosaur Spike Party Hats and Favors

2. The thisgratefulmama 2015 Twin Cities Summer Bucket-List (70+ Toddler & Preschooler-Friendly Places To Visit)

1.  Infant Silent Reflux is NOT Silent – Our Search For An Answer To Our Baby’s Cries

What I Really Want For Mother’s Day – A Life Interrupted

This morning, like every morning, I came downstairs, with two frantic-for-breakfast kids in my wake. The view upon opening the fridge stopped me in my tracks.

There, on the middle shelf was a beautiful sight – a growler of dark roasted coffee, cold pressed for 24 hours. A full jug of coffee goodness. Even better, on it, a handwritten note from my husband proclaiming, ‘Happy Mother’s Day’.

grolwer

Yes, my friends, this man is a keeper.

Today, as you know as you read this, is Friday. It is not Mother’s Day.

Delighted and excited to try some, I first did what mothers do – I made the kids breakfast and made sure they had water and anything they might need from me before trying to pour myself a cup.

This coffee is every bit as wonderful as you might think it is. Dark. Strong. And, unlike my normal morning coffee with the kids, I don’t have to worry about it getting cold.

It is intentionally, delightfully cold. Delicious.

That man is my hero.

Last night, before bed, I read a ScaryMommy blog post, titled “What Moms REALLY Mean When They Say “I Don’t Want Anything for Mother’s Day” that made me crack up.

Out loud.

By myself.

Yes, I do that a lot since I am a heavy mom-blog consumer and some of you are incredible blogging comedians.

This morning, watching our kids and drinking fantastic coffee, I was struck by what I really want for Mother’s Day and how appropriate it is to wake up to a Mother’s Day gift during a standard week day.

What I really want is not what I originally thought. Last night, I agreed with ScaryMommy and thought I wanted an uninterrupted day.

But I don’t. I think if I have an uninterrupted Mother’s Day, I will miss what makes me love being a mom. Mother’s Day isn’t about being served, thanked, showered with gifts, or praised. Mother’s Day is about being a mom, and being a mom means a life of interruption, both good and bad.

Although I sometimes complain about the lack of sleep, cranky or tired kids, or how I want to go to the bathroom in peace, even those moments bring a fullness and joy to life I can’t do without. You see, un-interrupted sleep means missing a chance to snuggle and comfort a child who is too busy to snuggle during the day. An extra long shower means I might miss something they may never do again.

It is true that being a mom means I don’t have as much time for myself as I used to, but who needs all that self-reflection and pampering anyway? What I did before kids was waste a lot of time and hot water.

I may have quick showers, less sleep and have to answer the question ‘why?’ in one morning more than any person should in a lifetime, but I also have priceless, funny, sweet, and sometimes messy (or stressful) moments with two incredible little people.

I am grateful to have the opportunity to stay home with our kids. They change me for the better, every single day, whether I like it or not.

Truly, Mother’s Day is better spent on a day like today, without a big family gathering or special meal. I don’t really like to be the center of attention anyway – it makes me feel awkward and weird. On the actual day, I am often distracted by events and our kids are usually off playing with cousins so I don’t see much of them until they are over-tired, crying and ready for bed.

I remember last year sarcastically thinking “happy mother’s day to me” as they screamed their way through bedtime baths, books and prayers – who could blame them? We had so much fun celebrating and playing, they were just plumb worn out!

Don’t get me wrong, the celebrations of moms are wonderful and important. All mothers, and those who love our children but may not be biological mothers are worth honoring. Absolutely spend time pampering the moms in your life this Mother’s Day.

But today, a regular Friday, is what being a mom is all about. Sure, we have bruises, time-outs, messes, and tears, but we also have life lessons learned, sweet sibling snuggles, playtime, curiosity, and all-out-hysterical-belly laughing.

What I really want for Mother’s Day, is a regular day with our kids – a day that wouldn’t be complete without interruption, grass stains, time-outs and dirty diapers (OK, I admit I could do without the diapers). While uninterrupted moments might be nice, I love them so much, I don’t want to spend the day with only the perfectly behaved portion of their day – I want all of it. Messy or not.

At a minimum, I thought this known sleep worshipper would at least want to sleep in. But really, I won’t. I will hear the rabble-rousing downstairs and know that I was missing moments with my family. I want to be there when my husband and kids are wrestling and they are giggling and tackling each other. I don’t want to miss it. Instead, I’ll use the day to reflect and be grateful for all parts of being a mom.

I will not trade it for even one day.

Today, a coffee growler made me feel loved, celebrated, grateful and well-caffeinated – a perfect combination on a not-so-perfect day.  The fact that it was given on a day that isn’t Mother’s Day makes it twice as appropriate and special. Thank you, Seth (and kids) – you know me so well.

Remember, it doesn’t take much to make a mom’s day special. Let the moms spend the day with the sweet kids who make them moms in the first place. The kids are the best gift a mom ever asked for anyway.

Even if they come with interruption and boogers.

Happy Mother’s Day!

A Laid-back Open House Couples Shower

A Laid-Back Open House Couples Shower | www.thisgratefulmama.com

Together with my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, I was privileged to host a couples wedding shower over Easter weekend.  The shower was for my niece, Brittni, and her fiancé, Justin – such a fun couple! It was our pleasure to celebrate with them as they prepare for their big day!

Justin had never met most of Brittni’s MN family and friends, and they flew in from the east coast for the shower. We wanted to ensure they had a chance to really talk to people who made the effort to come.  Also, since it was a holiday weekend, we decided to have an open-house shower so people had the freedom to come and go as their schedules allowed. The loose structure and flow of people in and out at different times allowed the couple to talk to everyone who came.

Invitations

Invitations for the shower were created using a free online wedding invitation template found on www.WeddingChicks.com.  All text in the template can be changed, so even though it was designed for a wedding, I was able to modify it for a shower. The invitations were printed on card-stock and mailed along with directions and an index card for guests to bring a favorite recipe to the shower.

A Laid-Back Open House Couples Shower | www.thisgratefulmama.com

Relationship timeline

Because some of the guests didn’t know a lot about the couple, we created a relationship timeline to help guests learn more.  Using white crayon, the timeline was written on black construction paper to create a chalkboard look and bordered by patterned scrapbook paper. The timeline included significant relationship events: how they met, first date, first “I love you, the proposal and wedding details. The timeline was posted on the wall throughout the main room where everyone gathered. As people mingled and ate, they read and learned more about the couple. A few of them are shown below.

Relationship Timeline - FIRST DATE | www.thisgratefulmama.com Relationship Timeline - First I LOVE YOU | www.thisgratefulmama.com Relationship Timeline - THE WEDDING | www.thisgratefulmama.com

What they love about each other

Lists of the things Brittni and Justin love about each other were displayed on the chalkboard sides of two IKEA easels.  They were set up near the entryway to draw people into the house as they arrived. How neat is it that they both listed that they love how the other loves the Lord?

What She Loves About Him | www.thisgratefulmama.com  What He Loves About Her | www.thisgratefulmama.com

Open-house friendly food

Food for the open house was intended to be easy for people to serve themselves, and for us as hosts to keep cold and fresh. We served fresh fruit, chicken salad with croissants, chips with salsa, spinach dip and guacamole, veggies and dip, deviled eggs, popcorn and an assortment of desserts. To keep things simple, we served ice water, unsweetened iced tea with fresh lemons and sugar cubes, lemonade, coffee, and sparkling water.

A Laid-back Open House Couples Shower - Beverages | www.thisgratefulmama.com A Laid-back Open House Couples Shower - Food | www.thisgratefulmama.com  A Laid-back Open House Couples Shower - Desserts | www.thisgratefulmama.com

Other special touches 

In the invitation, guests were asked to bring a favorite recipe. They dropped them off by the gift table. There were some ‘secret’ family recipes in the bunch so the couple got some special recipes. In the main room, there was a place for guests to leave a note of encouragement or advice for the couple to read later. A banner was hung across with their names made from the same patterned scrapbook paper as the relationship timeline. We also framed their Save the Date and Wedding Invitations to display them for guests.

A Laid-back Open House Couples Shower - Gift Table | www.thisgratefulmama.com A Laid-back Open House Couples Shower - Notes of Encouragement | www.thisgratefulmama.com

A Laid-back Open House Couples Shower - Banner | www.thisgratefulmama.com

Since the couple was from out of town, most gifts were small in size, making it easy for them to bring everything home on the plane. Some gave gift cards and money, and some wrapped a photo or description of larger gifts purchased from their gift registry and mailed.

Overall the shower was a success!

We had a great turn out, despite the holiday weekend. This couple is well-loved and people did not want to miss the chance to see them! The atmosphere was laid back and relaxing. Many guests stayed a most of time and were able to spend some quality time with the couple.

Hosting this shower was fun, and was such a blessing to me. Since we don’t live near the couple it was special to get the chance to celebrate before the big day. We had the privilege to finally meet Justin, see Brittni, and watch the respectful, joyful and loving way they interact.  The wedding will be in Maine this June so our family will taking a short vacation to attend. We are also excited that our son Aiden will be the ring bearer (aka. polar bear, if you ask him) in the wedding, so fun!

Congratulations, Brittni and Justin!

We cannot wait to celebrate with you on your wedding day this June.

 

Also check out A Couples Wedding Shower for more ideas.