Peanut’s Frozen Birthday Party with FREE Printables

It’s been 9 months, but I’m finally getting around to posting about Peanut’s birthday party. A lot of my ideas were taken from other places (I’ll provide links as much as possible, check out the board for anything I missed), but a couple of things came right out of my brain. Yay creativity! For more ideas that I didn’t use, you can check out my Pinterest board.

First off, this was a surprise party. Peanut specifically asked for a surprise party for her birthday, so she didn’t get to choose the details. I almost didn’t do a Frozen party because I knew that I got to choose, but it’s just too much fun planning parties, so I went for it! I’m happy I did because she loved it. Here are the invites:

I got the idea for the invites from a surprise birthday party invite I saw online, then put them together myself. I just used different fonts and positioned things until I got it how I wanted it.

Next the decorations:

I put this on our front door a couple week before the party “for fun” so Peanut wouldn’t be suspicious when she saw it. I just printed and cut out this and printed out the quote, then cut it into a sound bubble.

My brother made this amazing banner. Free printable below.

I got all the things hanging from the ceiling at a local party store. The snowflakes are from this tutorial. I put these all over the three rooms we were doing stuff in.

Next the food:

 

My brother made all the food labels. Free printables below. This one is “Anna’s Roast Beef Sandwiches” since she mentions they’ll eat roast beef at the wedding.

Olaf Noses with Peppered Slush (carrots and ranch).

Melted Snow (my brother made these labels too, free printables below). Idea from here.

I was planning on hanging these (like seen here) from the ceiling as “icicles” (and we actually made some ourselves that we hung, which was fun, but didn’t work out very well). I couldn’t figure out a way to get them secure, so they went on the table instead.

Sven’s Carrot and Spice Muffins. These were delicious. Recipe here.

Kristoff’s Ice Cubes (blue jello that I failed at making, should have been cubes like here).

And the cake! I just took some white frosting and swirled some blue food coloring into it, leaving some white spots on purpose. Then the Anna and Elsa are from Target.

Next, the activities:

When the guests arrived, they got to color in these books. I found free Frozen coloring pages online and printed them (check out my board for some of them). Then for each guest I made a cover that said “Princess NAME of Arendelle” in a fancy font. They got to take these home.

Then Peanut arrived! Here’s a cute picture of her being surprised.

Next we made ribbons for their hair. I just cut up ribbons in the same colors as the party decorations and bought some hair clips from the dollar store. I had the girls choose three ribbons, then bring them to me so I could hot glue them on. They wore them in their hair for the rest of the party and got to take them home.

Then we played Pin the Nose on Olaf (idea from here, my brother drew Olaf for me). Everyone got to color a nose (printables on the same link) and cut it out before playing.

Next we played Throw Snowballs at Marshmallow. I liked this idea, but decided that they should throw them at a “bad guy” and made the snowballs out of pom poms. The kids really liked this one.

Lastly we had dancing like in the coronation scene. I just put on the songs from Frozen and everyone danced around and had a ball.

Now for the printables! Thanks again to my brother for making all these and allowing me to share them with ya’ll. Happy Birthday Banner. Melted Snow Water Bottle Labels. Olaf Noses with Peppered Slush. Sven’s Carrot and Spice Muffins. Anna’s Roast Beef Sandwiches. Kristoff’s Ice Cubes. Obviously, don’t use these to make money for yourself or try to pass them off as your own. That’s just rude dude.

Thanks for reading! Make sure to comment if you do your own Frozen party!

Newsletter – August 2014

Hello Children!

This month was a woozy. The end of summer, Peanut starting kindergarten, and of course Banana being born! Let’s get started!

Twig, you are really starting to get a personality! Your favorite thing to say this month was “Dats what me do sometimes. I TOLD you.” in a very exasperated voice. Like jeeze guys, don’t you know this already?! You also won’t take any bossing around from anyone, including your big sister. You are making it very clear that you are also big now and can do what you want!

Speaking of you being big, you started singing the ABCs and it’s so incredibly cute. You sing them all correctly (I’m not sure if you really connect that there’s letter that go along with them though) except lmnop and w, which you completely skip. Not even mushing them together like some kids do, you just skip them.

Peanut you’re growing up so much too! Of course you started kindergarten this month. The first couple weeks of this month were kind of crazy because you were such a ball of nerves. Luckily, the moment you started school all those nerves turned into pure excitement. You absolutely love going and your teacher loves you. You love to get in the van and tell me all the exciting things you did that day.

You also taught yourself to snap this month and pump on the swings. With the snapping, you decided you just wanted to learn, so you practiced constantly until you got it. It’s amazing what you can do when you sent your mind to it. With the pumping on the swings, something just clicked for you. We spent a lot of time at the park this summer and one day you got on and just started to do it. You were so excited and proud of yourself and you’ve been able to swing by yourself ever since (though you don’t mind a push from mommy sometimes too).

Both of you girls made a friend down the street this month too. Right at the end of last month we got a big dumpster from the city so we could clear out some stuff before the baby comes. The city does a program every summer where you can get a dumpster for free for a few days. We told the whole neighborhood they were free to use it and someone up the road came to put a stump from a tree they cut down in. It turned out he has a little 5 year old girl (who also was starting kindergarten, but she’s going to the local school). You three have been playing all the time ever since.

Of course you both were incredibly excited to meet the baby. Both of you loved putting lotion on my belly and rubbing it in. Peanut spent quite a bit of time talking to my belly. Twig claimed she could “see” the baby through my bellybutton. Peanut still wanted a boy (though said she’d be happy with either, little diplomat she is) and Twig still wanted a girl. When we set up the birth pool you took turns playing mommy and midwife and delivering each other’s babies.

Then, of course, on August 21st (not the 20th, as we had been hoping for/attempting to get) I woke up at 2:00am to some crampy pains and contractions (not unusual for the last few months). A mere one hour and forty minutes later I was holding my baby in my arms. A little boy. Gideon James, who will be known on this blog as Banana. We were all so very happy to meet you and your big sisters are absolutely enamored.

Well that’s all for this month. Love you girls (and boy)!

Mama

My Favorite Breastfeeding Snacks

As a new mom, it’s difficult to find time to feed yourself. Adding ravenous breastfeeding hunger on top of it just complicates things further. So what do we end up doing? We grab things that are quick, easy, and often not-so healthy.

I’m here to tell you there’s a better way! With a little planning, you can have healthy and filling snacks on hand for when that breastfeeding mama hunger strikes. But healthy doesn’t have to mean boring! So I’ve compiled my list of my favorite breastfeeding hungry mama snacks. Let’s get started!

Parfaits. I’ve been in love with parfaits for the last few months ever since I had a delicious one at a get together while I was very pregnant. I’ve been keeping things simple. Start with a fruit (blueberries, raspberries, sliced strawberries, sliced peaches, etc) and put yogurt on top (I’ve been using Greek God honey yogurt) and a bit of granola (store bought or make your own, which is super easy). A small one can be a quick snack or a big one can be breakfast. And they’re super delicious.

Apples and Peanut Butter. I’m not sure where this idea originated for me (maybe Super Healthy Kids?), but putting peanut butter onto apple slices is seriously amazing. Just cut up an apple (we like to quarter, then quarter, so 16 total slices per apple) and put a little glob of peanut butter on each one. It works with all sorts of different apples (though I’ve never tried it with a green apple). Pro-tip: use the part of the apple slice with the peel to get the peanut butter off since the inside of the apple doesn’t like to stick to the peanut butter.

Hummus and Crackers. Hummus is amazing and full of protein. Not only that, but it’s easy to make at home! I use the Vitamix recipe (I’m sure you can make it in other blenders or even a food processor) and it’s super cheap to make, especially if you compare to store brands. I really like it with triscuit crackers or baby carrots.

Granola Bars. Not the healthiest thing on this list, but store-bought granola bars make a great quick and easy snack, especially for tossing in your bag and forgetting about it. Just make sure you’re buying the healthy-ish ones rather than the practically-a-candy-bar ones.

Cheese. There are all sorts of options for cheese snacks so it’s almost impossible to get bored with them! We really love Tillamook cheeses and Baby Bell.

Nuts. Need I say more? Nuts are tasty, quick, and full of protein. Just make sure you stick them in the freezer if you’re buying bulk so they don’t go rancid.

Granola. That granola I mentioned earlier for the tops of my parfaits? It’s pretty delicious by itself too. Though I try not to do this one too much because I Will. Not. Stop. Eating. It.

Bananas and Peanut Butter. Same idea as the apples and peanut butter. Just break the banana into 4-5 pieces and put a glob on each one. Nom nom nom.

Smoothies. Smoothies aren’t completely effortless, though having a good blender can help. What makes them effortless is saving some for later. Whenever I make smoothies (generally when the babe is napping or playing with daddy), I completely fill my blender. This means not only is there enough for myself, my husband, and two small children, but also for a couple more smoothies for the fridge. I just throw them in there in mason jars and then I can grab and go later.

Salads. Also not completely effortless, but the same idea as the smoothies. When I make salads to go with lunch (something I’ve been trying to do a lot lately) I almost always have a salad or two worth of extra toppings. I throw those into a jar (heaviest on bottom, lightest on top) minus the greens and next time my salad is practically ready to go. Makes eating my greens a lot more convenient.

Muffins. Yes, muffins aren’t the best snack in the world, but they are quick and easy and you can make them relatively healthy. What I love about them too is that they freeze really well, so I can just grab one out of the freezer, nuke it for a few seconds, then it’s good to go!

Fresh Fruit and Veggies. Berries, apples, grapes, cucumbers (slice and store in container with a bit of water), carrots, yam (peel, slice into sticks, and store in a container with a bit of water), bananas, plums, etc.

Well I hope you enjoyed this list of breastfeeding snacks. Happy and healthy snacking! Don’t forget to drink plenty of water too. And please share your favorite breastfeeding snacks in the comments below!

My beautiful and sometimes overwhelming little almost 3 month old.

Today we were supposed to go to the museum with some friends and I cancelled those plans because I was feeling overwhelmed by my day. Nothing in particular was going wrong, just that overwhelmed feeling you get sometimes with a new baby. I’ve been Very. Slowly. reading the book Lying (someone recommended it to me after I posted this link about Santa by the same author to my Facebook), so when Peanut asked me why we weren’t going I decided to tell her the truth. My initial reaction was to lie, mostly because I didn’t want her to get upset with me for being the one who cancelled. She first asked me who cancelled and I said I did. Next she asked why and I said because I was feeling overwhelmed today. What came next was the surprise: she asked me if she can help me clean the house after quiet time.

First, I’m amazed that my child understands how much having a relatively tidy house is linked to my sanity (and I hadn’t even realized how much the house was bothering me until at that moment). Mostly, I’m amazed that she not only understood, but wanted to help. I didn’t expect her to understand what feeling overwhelmed even means, especially in the context of having a new baby. More than that though, I’ve just learned over the years to buck up and deal with life as a mother. Subliminally, I’ve learned that my needs come second and that no one needs to hear about my problems. This is absolutely wrong.

So often as mothers in our society, we are isolated. We are expected to go back to normal immediately after having a baby. We are expected to be able to care for that baby, any other children, our houses, our husbands, and ourselves within days of birth. This extends beyond the normal postpartum period though. We are expected to, or at least see ourselves as expected to, be a super mom. Be able to handle it all and never lose stride. Yes, a lot of this stems from society, but it’s also ourselves.

Mothers of the world (myself included): stop this behavior! When someone asks you if you need help, don’t immediately jump to “Oh no, I’m okay.” Accept the help graciously. If someone is asking you how you’re doing (in the sense of really wanting to know, not in the acquaintance passing on the street type of way), tell them the truth. When you are feeling overwhelmed with life, ask for help. Don’t bear it alone. And especially involve your children. It’s okay for them to know that their mother is not a superhero. And you have no idea how much they would love to help.

Baby Weight

My small baby.

There’s an obsession in our culture with a baby’s weight gain after birth. Really, there’s an obsession with how much babies eat in general. There’s a whole host of moms who are constantly worried if their babies are getting enough. I’ve heard it go as far as weighing a baby after every nursing session for weeks on end.

Can we blame them for their worry though? If baby drops more than 10% of their birth weight in the first week, doctors immediately start telling the mom to supplement (not taking into account the possibility of inflated birth rates due to IV fluids during birth or the smile effect). At every appointment, we compare babies to other babies to see if they’re gaining on track. What if your baby is different, but completely normal? Why don’t we take things like short parents into account for height percentiles? I’m not saying that these can’t be good indications that something is wrong, but they’re not definitive.

Our culture is used to using bottles. When you’re giving a baby a bottle, it’s easy to see how much they ate. Fill the bottle with 5 ounces and one is left when they’re done? They ate 4 ounces. Nurse for 20, 30, or even 60 minutes and who knows how much they got. Breasts are not see through, nor do they have ounces marked.

One of my big babies.

The most common growth charts compare babies to mostly formula fed babies in Ohio who were given solids around 4 months. Even using the WHO charts doesn’t necessarily make sense. Every baby is different. There’s a whole range of normal. There’s really no good comparison to a baby besides itself. Is baby gaining consistently, even if they’re on the small side? Does baby have an adequate amount of wet and dirty diapers? What does mom think about her baby’s weight gain and overall health? These are the things that tell us if we need to worry. And in the majority of cases, there is nothing to worry about.

So yes, growth charts are a useful tool in determining if there’s a problem with baby’s weight gain, but they are not the end-all be-all. Some babies are naturally big, some are naturally small (and I’ve had both), just as some adults are big and some are small. And that’s okay. So try to take a step back from the growth charts and look at the bigger picture.

A Simple Countdown to Baby

Rewinding a bit to before Banana was born. Once I got to around my third trimester, I decided that my girls could use something visual to understand when the baby was going to come. Every week Peanut would ask how big the baby was now (comparing it to fruit and vegetables) and she loved to hear about development, but I thought they could use something of an actual countdown. I remembered that a while back someone posted about a chain they made for their kids on my birth group (an extension of a mothering.com due date club) so I decided to try it out.

So this is what we made:

A simple paper chain. I took construction paper and cut out strips, then wrote numbers for the weeks on them (up to 41 weeks, as I assumed given my past births that it would be right around there that Banana would be born). I let the girls color them and then we taped them together and hung the chain up on the wall. I also wrote on their calendar (more on that soon!) the number week we were starting with a star around it so we would remember to cut the link off the chain.

Every week Peanut and Twig took turns cutting off a link of the chain. They really loved it! We did it so that we were cutting off the number for the week we were starting (so when I was officially 35 weeks, we’d cut off the 35) and it helped them remember what week we were on. Peanut especially enjoyed physically cutting off another week and seeing the chain get shorter and shorter.

If I were to do it again, the only difference I would make would be to do some signifier of being “full term” from 37 weeks on. Maybe do all those ones in a specific color? Then I think it would have been even easier to see when the baby could be born. I’m also happy that we ended up going less than 41 weeks because we never had to cut off the last link and wonder why baby wasn’t here yet. So if you’re unsure of when baby will get here, I would over-shoot it and go 42 or even 43 weeks with the chains.

It was really fun to do the countdown to Banana being born and find another way to involve the big sisters in his pending arrival. Let me know if you try it out! What fun ways did you help your kids countdown or prepare for their new sibling’s birth?