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!

Sunday Surf – Adjusting to a New Normal

Sunday Surf with Authentic Parenting and Hobo MamaI’m joining Authentic Parenting and Hobo Mama for Sunday Surf. Share your best reading of the week, and link up your post at either blog!

For more great reading, visit Hobo Mama or Authentic Parenting for the latest Sunday Surf and linky.

Happy Surfing!

Banana is 3 weeks and 3 days old! Wow time is flying. He’s already looking and acting less like a newborn and more like a baby.

And as a family we’re getting back into our routines. Every morning my husband drops Peanut off at school (after either I get her ready or he does if I’ve had a rough night with Banana and need to sleep more). Banana usually sleeps all morning, either on me or in the swing, and I play with Twig and get her ready. Then at 11am we go pick up Peanut from school, spend some time at the park or running errands or just hanging out at home. Lunch around 1-1:30, then naptime (thankfully Twig started napping again) and quiet time for the girls, Banana usually naps here too (even sometimes in the bed with Twig for a while). Usually Peanut gets some mama time after she finishes quiet time (an hour) and before Twig wakes up from her nap (usually 2 hours) and we read books, play games, and do her homework. Then more playing and daddy comes home at five, we eat dinner and hang out and/or watch a show as a family. Obviously weekends are different, but it still follows the general formula.

The adjustment is going much better this time than when Twig was born. I’m sure that’s in large part my lack of postpartum depression, which is still baffling to me. I’ve had a lot better support this time around, especially from my husband and in-laws. I’ve still felt a little bit overwhelmed and a few times I’ve gotten that barely keeping my head above water feeling, but I think that’s normal for this time period. I’ve also been getting a decent amount of sleep most nights (yay for breastfeeding and co-sleeping!), though Banana having a minor cold through a wrench in the works for the last few days. Even then it hasn’t been terrible. Anyway, on to the surf!

The magic way I get crabby evening baby to sleep.

I got bangs!

Peanut just adores him.

25 Ways To Ask Your Kids “So how was school today?” Without Asking them “So how was school today?” at Simple Simon and Company. We’ve been using some of these and it’s working really well. I’m still getting used to Peanut being in a school that doesn’t have a one way mirror window. We especially like to use #1 thus far.

13 Great Things to Say to a Sleep Deprived Parent at Belly Baby. This list is great! I love that it has so many positive reinforcement messages for the parents. When parents, especially first time parents, are constantly told that their baby shouldn’t need to be held so much/needs to stop using mom as a pacifier/should already be sleeping through the night it undermines the parents’ natural instincts. Telling someone how wonderful and happy their baby is and how they’re doing a great job can make all the difference.

5 Things Not To Say To A Woman With Postpartum Depression — And What To Say Instead at The Huffington Post. Like I said, I’m not suffering from postpartum depression this time (yet. knock on wood), but this is great information to have for anyone who is around a mom who does have PPD (which is likely you, as something like 10% of moms have it). I especially like the one about how your symptoms are not you, but just your symptoms. I think it would have been nice to hear some of these things after Twig was born (and thankfully I didn’t hear any of the bad ones!).

And a funny little video Things You Can’t Do When You’re Not a Toddler.

My Little Helper

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about people who have supported your breastfeeding goals. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th-31st!

Traditionally, when thinking of breastfeeding support, one may think of an adult. A husband, family member, friend, organization that helped them succeed. I definitely had a lot of help from those people, but today I want to talk about my little helper, Peanut.

Peanut was almost 3 when little sister Twig was born. I had, at least what seems to me, pretty severe postpartum depression. I’ve spent a good deal of time feeling guilty about that time period and my relationship with Peanut because she took such a large amount of the anger and depression from me. Our relationship really deteriorated and I still sometimes feel like we’re working on getting back to normal. I am determined to not let that happen again and have a plan for this time around, which I’ll share later. Anyway, today I want to focus on the good parts of that time period in our lives.

When we discuss breastfeeding support, it’s often more of an emotional aspect. It’s who told you you’re doing a great job, encouraged you to keep going, and so on. Not that the emotional side isn’t a very important part of support, but there’s a big physical side to it also. Peanut took care of so much of that for me and I am incredibly grateful she was there for help. She brought me burp rags when her sister spit up (which was all the time). She brought me diapers. She helped me carry things up and down the stairs when my arms were full of baby. She went to go get me my water or phone when I sat down to nurse and realized that I had forgotten to grab them.

She was especially helpful when we were out and about. I remember one day when we were in the store and Twig was starting to fuss. I was feeling rushed and anxious and kept ignoring her cues. Peanut very calmly told me that maybe I should sit down and nurse. Isn’t it amazing how a three year old can put you in your place? I told her she was right and I found somewhere I could sit. Not only was Twig’s belly full afterwards, but I was much more calm. Sometimes it takes a tiny human just to remind you what’s important.

This time around, I’m expecting an even higher amount of help from Peanut. Not that I’m going to force her to be my little helper all the time, but I know that she loves to take on that role. She’s so excited for Banana to arrive and has already told me about all the things she wants to help me do. I’m sure this time it’ll extend into small chores (it’s her job to unload the dishwasher) and playing with her little sister to keep her entertained. She’s such an amazing big sister and in so many ways my best friend. I am lucky to have her support.

Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

Peanut’s New Car Seat (or Lack Thereof)

I was not paid in any way, shape, or form for this post. I was not given product for this post. This is all of my own accord and for your information. 🙂

In this semester, I’m in a lab twice a week. The problem with this (besides long days) is that I have to pick up Peanut before 1:30 (or pay another $200 to up her hours for hours I technically don’t need). Since my in-laws are awesome they offered to pick her up on those days. They were going to buy a booster seat to take her home in so it would be easy to take in and out of the car.

Problem is that I didn’t really want her in a booster seat yet. She was currently in a harness and I didn’t want to rush moving to a seatbelt before we needed to. Here are some reasons for extended harnessing. My biggest concern was that I didn’t think she was mature enough to understand that she can’t wiggle all over (something that I feel is confirmed now that she has a bit more freedom).

So I started looking for other options for seats that could be easier to get in and out of the car. Sadly, there aren’t many. I was about to admit defeat (or offer to install the seat every time myself) and when I stumbled upon the RideSafer Vehicle Safety Vest. I was initially cautious. Could this possibly be safe? Yes. Is it legal? In my state at least. Will this really work for us?

Well that last one I couldn’t answer without buying it. It just sounded too good to pass up, even at it’s relatively high price point (we paid $115 on Amazon for ours). This could be her safety device for all cars for quite some time (there is a bigger size that she’ll need later on, but we figure that Twig can use it by that point). And it’s so light and easy. So we bought it.

Well, it’s been a month now. And how are we liking it? We love it! It’s super easy to put on (just make sure to tug it down after so the bottom belt is positioned right). Peanut loves it (she feels like such a big girl!) and she says it’s comfortable. I always feel like she’s in right and I know she’s just as protected (if not more so because of the lower center of gravity) as a harness seat.

There are a couple of “downsides” though I think that’s too harsh of a term. More like things we have to get used to. Biggest one is that she doesn’t have sides! So when she falls asleep in the car (which isn’t super frequent, but does happen) we need to put a blanket next to her head to keep her upright. Otherwise she ends up falling kind of sideways. Second, she does have a bit more freedom than in a harness seat. Since the seatbelt is still moveable, she can lean forward a bit. I’ve had to tell her about how she can’t do that because it’s not safe. Just makes me even more sure that, while she did meet the requirements for going into a booster physically, she wasn’t there mentally.

Some upsides? First off, it’s so light! I could literally stick this in her backpack next year if someone else is picking her up at school. It wouldn’t even take all the room! And it’s easy enough to get right that I never feel concerned that other people won’t understand (once I’ve made them read the manual). Second, it really came in handy when she was sick and wanted me to sit next to her in the back. I was able to put my arm around her and comfort her. Which brings me to benefit three, we can fit three in the back! It was kind of possible with her other seat, but it was difficult. If you’re looking to fit three across in a smaller car, I’d definitely consider this seat.

So, this is Peanut’s new car seat. It’s working great and I’m really happy we got it. I’m happy this option is available now. This company is brilliant for coming up with it! If you’re looking for an option for car pool or even just your older kid who needs a seat, definitely check them out.

A New Version of Co-sleeping

For those of you with an eagle eye, you may have noticed that the last photo in Twig’s birthday post was the girls in their very own bed. I’ll go ahead and post it here too because it’s just ridiculously cute.

 

A few weeks ago, we bought a full sized mattress and put both girls in it to sleep at night and it’s been wonderful! We had a hunch that Peanut would sleep much better if Twig was in the bed with her. My husband has been sleeping in Peanut’s room most nights because she would wake up and come downstairs to him (he’s a night owl, so he’s up quite late) and he’d come to lay down with her and fall asleep. We were slowly working on her sleeping on her own (mostly because his back hurt from being squished on a twin mattress with her), but it wasn’t making much progress. So we decided to take a different route. Twig had recently night weaned (following Dr. Jay Gordon’s method again and it was quick and successful) so we decided to try it out.

First off, if you have a second child you know how much they love doing things just like their big brother/sister. So when we asked Twig if she wanted to sleep in Peanut’s bed, she was ecstatic. They were actually both so excited that we let them sleep in the twin mattress for a night or two because we hadn’t bought the full mattress yet. The first couple of nights Twig woke up after a few hours and came back into the bed with me, but I expected that. Peanut did that for a long time the first time she moved into her own bed.

Over the course of a couple of weeks though, she slowly stopped coming into our bed! For the last week she’s been sleeping completely through the night in the bed with big sister. We often put them to bed separately and then I move Twig into their bed because she gets distracted and takes a long time falling to sleep with Peanut, but I don’t mind. They also have been waking up at 6am (sometimes earlier!) which we need to work on, but have just been putting them down earlier to account for it. All in all, it’s been a smooth transition! And my husband is in the bed with me again! Yay co-sleeping!

Preschoolers and Allowance

I first got the idea of giving Peanut an allowance long before she was really ready for it from this post by Hobo Mama. I loved the idea of using allowance as a way to teach my children about money, rather than a system of rewards. A month or two before her fourth birthday, I started to look into it more.

As I’ve said on here, we follow a lot of Dave Ramsey’s philosophies about money. This is a case where I disagreed with what he says though. He believes that children shouldn’t get allowance, but rather should be paid for “work” through chores. While I understand this and it pretty closely meshes with what I did as a child, I don’t necessarily agree with it (and there’s a big debate between experts too). If you give money for doing their chores, it gives them an out. So you don’t want to clean your room? Okay then, you don’t get money. Then they are allowed to not clean their room with this stipulation. And it takes away their intrinsic motivation.

So we decided to do an allowance without chores. The main purpose of this allowance is to teach her (and eventually them) about money. Teach them how to save and how to spend. How much things cost. How to not beg for things in the store (which does help! A quick reminder that she can buy it with her own money most often makes her decide she really doesn’t need it). How to be altruistic. And it’s working.

For the past about 8 or 9 months, we’ve been giving Peanut an allowance every Sunday. It’s on her calendar and she knows what the dollar sign means. She gets her age divided in half every week (so originally it was $1.50 and now it’s $2.00). One fourth of it goes into her piggybank immediately (trying to teach the idea of saving early, though we’re not sure if we’re going to allow her to spend it on some large pre-determined item or if it goes into her college savings or if it goes into her own bank account, we’ll figure that out soon as it’s already up to $20). The rest goes into her wallet, in which we keep a ledger so we know how much she has.

In the beginning, it was mostly just spending money whenever we were at a store and she thought of her wallet. She would go searching around trying to find something that she wanted that was low enough. One time when we went to the dollar store she got 7 separate things with the $7 she had in her wallet. A while back though, she didn’t think to buy anything for a couple months, so I reminded her one day that she had $10 in her wallet. We went around Target looking for something for her to buy, but many of the things she wanted were more than what she had. I told her that she could save for something or buy something now (I try to give her specific options, but stay out of the decision making process as much as possible). After searching around, she found a Doc McStuffins doctor set that she absolutely loved. It was $20 and I told her that she would have to save if she wanted it. He decided to put back the couple smaller things she had picked out and save all her money for the set.

I think it was harder for me to let her save than it was for her to do it. I wanted so badly to just give her a couple dollars towards the end so she could go get it already! Every time she’d find something in the store I would tell her she had money for it, but remind her that she was saving for the doctor set. Every time she decided on her own to put whatever she had back. She saved for another two months and bought her set, all with her own money. Of course her biggest memory is her grandpa giving her the last 50 cents she needed to get the set so she didn’t have to wait another week, but that’s okay.

IMG_1474

It is one of her favorite toys and she’s done countless check-ups since getting it. Keeping it away from sister (which we’ve been strict with since Peanut bought it with her own money) has been difficult at times, but we just remind Peanut to put it away where Twig can’t get it. Now she’s saving for a Big Book of Boo Boos to go with it.

I’m really happy with how this whole experiment is going. I wasn’t quite sure if we were doing it right when we started, but I’m happy with this method now. I think in the future I’ll start adding in some money for chores (not things that are regularly expected of her, but things that go above and beyond), but for now I’m happy with where we’re at with that too. She loves to “surprise” me by hanging up her own and her sister’s laundry when I put it in front of their closet. Right now just the fact that she’s doing it to make me happy is great.

I’m also interested to see where it will go in the future with donating. She understands the idea of donating things pretty well and will help me gather old toys and clothes to donate, but I’m thinking this Christmas-time I’ll start introducing the idea of donating her own money. Many people separate out allowance to include church or donations right from the get go, but I figure we’ll introduce it more slowly. I want her giving to be from the heart, not because it’s forced. And beyond that, I don’t know! I figure, as all things with money, that we’ll learn as we go.

Do you do allowance? How much do you give your kids? Do you tie it to chores? Any advice?