8.30.2013

Easy Mickey Mouse Invite + Free Template!

I've sworn on this blog that I would never print my own invites at home again.  Well, throw that in the very full "never say never" bucket.  It was about a week from my son's 3rd birthday and I had no time to order invites but I still wanted to put something in the mail (this happened last year)!  The party was small with just our immediate family so I only had to make 10 invites.


And what do you do when your son says he wants a "Mickey Mouse Orange" birthday party?  You say, "Sounds great!"  So I picked up size A6 note cards in "Pure White" and A6 envelopes in "Poppy" from my favorite Paper-Source.  Then I started looking for Mickey Mouse stamps or stickers and figured out they are very hard to come by in this town.  I finally found these 3-D Layered Accents at Michael's and they had the color orange in the design!:


So all I had to do was type up a simple invite, print it and apply Mickey Mouse!  The 3-D accents are not stickers so I used double sided foam stickers to attach mickey to the invite.


 I love the way white ink looks on a colored envelope:

Mickey Mouse Invitation

Here is a free MicrosoftWord template for the Paper-Source A6 Note Card (4 1/2" x 6 1/4") if you'd like to replicate this invite or use it as a starting point for your invite:  Mickey Mouse Invitation Template/ Printable

Mickey Mouse Invitation

As a bonus, the pack of Mickey Mouse layered accents had extras I was able to use on the party favors.


If you missed the cake from this party, click here.  And the rest of the party I'll have to post soon!  This invitation was sooooooo easy!!!

8.28.2013

Preschool Separation Anxiety


Oh my sweetie pie had so much separation anxiety when I started taking her to pre-school 4 years ago.  Our daughter's very first and wonderful teacher had me bring her to class 10 minutes after school drop-off ended because she was so sensitive.  This late drop off idea was a win-win situation for us and the teacher because my daughter couldn't handle all the good-bye crying and had a hard time recovering for the rest of the day.  Ideas like this are the reason I love teachers.


The stubborn anxiety has come and gone through the years and there have been two more suggestions by the professionals that have helped us the most.  The first one is from my awesome counselor and psychologist Dr. Beth Fowler.  She gave a great talk titled "Securely Attached or Attached at the Hip?" at our school 2 years ago.  She suggested giving your child a Hero Team and so I did.


After school, the same day as the talk, I excitedly told my 3 year old (almost 4) daughter I had a gift for her.  I brought her over to an open area and motioned to an imaginary team like I was Vanna White and said, "This is your Hero Team!  They are here for you and with you when ever you need them.  They will come with you to school and help you when you feel sad.  They understand how you feel and they are on your team!"


Then I introduced her to each imaginary team member.  "Lilly this is Jesus, Jesus this is Lilly.  Rapunzel this is Lilly, Lilly this is Rapunzel.  Dora this is Lilly, Lilly this is Dora.  Woody and Buzz this is Lilly."  I was going to give her a team of 5 but she didn't let me stop, she needed Rapunzel's horse Maximus and Woody's Bullseye, then we needed Flynn Ryder and Ariel...  This was an All-Star Hero Team and it was very successful for us!


Sometimes we would send a few members of the team ahead of us to check out the classroom and to wait for her.  Sometimes she'd tell me on the way to school that Buzz was flying above the car and that Woody and Bullseye were riding beside the car.  The other day we were out to eat for an early dinner, we hadn't spoken of the team in months, there were three open tables near us and she told me her Hero Team was there!  And on the first day of Kindergarten, before I said good-bye to her, I was trying to leave with a few reassuring words and reminded her of her Hero Team.  She started to stop me and tell me that she didn't need them but then she changed her mind. :)  I asked her where the team was for the second day of school and she said they stayed home.  Thank you Dr. Fowler for our Hero Team, tell it to your neighbor!


The next suggestion you may have heard about but if you haven't, you must tell it to your neighbor!  The same teacher I spoke about above told us about The Kissing Hand.  It's a story about a raccoon having a hard time going to night school and his mommy gives him a kissing hand that is always with him.  This sweet story has been very helpful for both of my kids, they even like to look at it on the way to school.  And our babysitter says our 3 year old baby boy holds the kiss to his cheek when he's missing us at bedtime.  So sweet!  I've seen the book at Target but the website says it's only available online.


These wonderful ideas: Late drop-off, The Hero Team and The Kissing Hand, what would we do without the thoughtful professionals who share them with us!  I'm so thankful for them!  Please pass this post along to anyone who has a kiddo missing someone at school and please share any ideas that have worked for you or someone you know, we can all benefit!

8.20.2013

A Creative Pep Talk

Do you have the desire to do something creative today?  Do you want to paint but feel like it would be a big ordeal to get out the paints?  Are your supplies low?  Do think it will turn out badly?  Should you do the laundry instead?  For me the answers are always Yes.  But recently my kids were painting and I had the quick motivation to paint something for my cousin, she was in town for scans.  Butterflies have a special meaning to her so I pulled up an image I liked and sketched it as best I could on my kids' watercolor paper.


It had been a long while since I tried to paint anything.  So thank goodness things came back to me and I remembered to do the black paint last.



I was a little discouraged midway with all the blemishes and imperfections but I was having so much fun that soon I didn't care if it was perfect or not.


 When I was finished it felt so good that I realized: 
  1. The only "Yes" I should listen to is to the question "Does creating art make you happy?"
  2. I can make-do with the art supplies in the cabinet, scrape up the last crumb of orange water color and make it work.
  3. My kids are happy and busy with art when I'm happy and busy with art.
  4. Once I started painting, I wanted to finish it and so I found the time.
  5. It doesn't matter if it turns out badly, it's just fun!
And if those realizations aren't up your alley, here are other words that help me when I need a little encouragement:




 Let's help each other, how do you find time to do what you love?

8.19.2013

Red Sands Ranch

Last week we were on vacation with family in Mason, Texas on the Llano River.  It was a vacation we'll never forget!  Here are a few of my favorite pictures from our week at Red Sands Ranch.

The Welcoming Committee

Red Sands Ranch entrance.

Sweet Cousins.

My husband making his way out of the crazy fun water slide.

S'mores from the microwave.

My first and only jump from the bunkhouse platform.

Self entertainment.

My brave 5 year old!

My babies napping in the cabin, this was not an easy task!

Girls in purple and pink.

Poker in The Shack.
 
Fly fishing on the Llano river.

Love this morning light.

It's never too early to be Captain Huggy Face!

Turtles on the court!

Thumbs up from my cousin, Kellison, about to make her way down the slide!

Red Sands Ranch was so fun!  Next time we go back will have to be with just grown-ups or when our kids are way older!

8.08.2013

Thread


I am so excited about this post!  Have you ever heard of or been to Thread in the Heights?  It opened in 2011, it just moved into a big new space and it is the cutest store ever!  If you haven't heard, Thread is a stylish resale shop for children's clothing.  Now, I've been to several children's resale shops but none of them are like this!  Other resale shops feel utilitarian to me.  This shop, Thread, is a boutique, it's adorable and I felt the community in there.  Take a look inside:


One of the reasons I'm so excited about this post is because one of the owners, Kari, is a fellow mom from my daughter's class at school.  I think what Kari and her partner, Rebecca, are doing with Thread and it's concept is awesome and I love being able to share it here with my neighbors.


So here's how Thread works:  You can either 1. Go there and shop like I did and find things like your favorite elastic waist pants for boys for less or 2. Bring your kids' clothes or gear that's in good condition and sell it to them!  They will price your items while you shop and then give you 30% cash or 50% store credit.  Who wants to have a garage sale or post something on Craig's List when you can get store credit to a place like this!  Here are the elastic waist, Mini Boden pants I'm talking about:


Tomorrow our Tax Free Weekend starts here in Texas, Aug 9th through the 11th, for back-to-school shopping.  Go to Thread to save!  I found brands from Burberry to Cherokee, something for everyone.  They even have new items like these cute twirl skirts made by a local designer, The Spotted Fawn.:


Here is half of the girls' section at Thread:


And half of the boys' section:


My son just grew out of his swim trunks and the summer is not nearly over in Houston so I'll be going back for one of these:


They even have maternity clothes, books for expecting parents and new chew bead necklaces:


For our next big birthday gift or for Christmas I'm heading to Thread for the Early Rider balance bike, they sell them new.  I've heard teaching to ride a bike is a breeze if your kiddo has already learned to balance on one of these:


They also sell art like these Texas Wildlife watercolor prints by local artist, Kim Kiaser, for $20.  Adorable!:


Look at this jogging stroller, it looks brand new!:


Oh and I don't want to forget the shoes, they have UGGs, cowboy boots and Keens!


I hope my excitement is rubbing off!  It pays to stay connected to Thread through their facebook page.  They post pictures of latest arrivals and in-store events.  I had no idea they host a popular DIY night once a month!  I will be attending before the year is over and you can count on a future post here.  Here's a picture of my purchases last week, good as new Keens for $17 and a twirl skirt my daughter has worn almost everyday:


Go see my friend Kari and shop Thread!  It's located off 19th St. on Rutland in The Heights behind Langford Market.  They are open Tuesday-Saturday, 10-5 and Sunday, 12-4. 

PS - They had a rack of school uniforms!