Charlie’s Skylander Party

Charlie. My Charlie. He is obsessed with the video game Skylanders. Beyond obsessed. From the moment he opens his eyes in the morning, all he wants to do is talk about the game the characters and their cool moves. It’s a little crazy, but it’s also kind of cute…in a Rain Man sort of way.

And then there’s Robert Welkner: the middle-aged professional gamer that Charlie is convinced is his BFF. Robert Welkner makes Skylanders You Tube videos and Charlie thinks they are awesome. Charlie talks about him like he’s his real-life best friend: “Robert Welkner thinks ____,  Robert Welkner likes ______, Robert Welkner can beat level _____ really fast.” I think it’s safe to say that Robert Welkner has definitely reached hero status in Charlie’s mind. Charlie even told me that when he grows up, he’s going to live with me and be a professional gamer.

1148921_10201789676887402_1065089096_n(photo from Instagram)

Dream big, little man. Dream big.

With all that obsessive madness in mind, it became very, very clear that the only option that could even be considered for my little man’s 5th birthday was a Skylanders-themed party. For those of you who don’t have little boys, this post will be totally confusing and strange. But, if you’re like me, you’ll totally get it. There are things that I know about Skylanders that no self-respecting grown woman should ever know. Ever.

I feel compelled to say that I did NOT come up with any new ideas here. I’ll add links so that you can find out exactly who to credit for the creativity and awesomeness.  I also feel compelled to say that this is not a “look-at-me-I’m-a-super-mom blog”. This blog is not all about how awesome I am at doing things. It’s not a blog that teaches people how to do stuff. This blog is about me. Being real. Some moms are creative…I’m resourceful. I’m totally OK with that. Totally.

Here’s the decor -

treasure box - notjenny.comI used a pinata that I found at Hobby Lobby to double as the table decor. The pinata and the coins were used later in games.

chompy lanterns 2 - notjenny.comI bought green lanterns at a party store and added cardstock  mouths to make “Chompies”

hanging vines - notjenny.comI found this tutorial for making the hanging vines, but because I never, ever, ever plan ahead like I should – I didn’t have time to order crepe paper. So – I used regular tissue paper instead and I’m happy to say that it worked out just fine. Yay procrastination!

symbols - notjenny.comI found the Skylanders elemental symbols here and was able to get it as an instant download. I’m outrageously thankful for organized moms. They make my life a lot easier.

skylanders party - notjenny.com

sheep cupcakes - notjenny.comI made vanilla sheep cupcakes purely for the sake of keeping the peace. Charlie loves chocolate cake and Avery loves vanilla cake. Vanilla cupcakes made for a nice compromise. Plus, they are kind of cute.

Charlie really, really wanted a cake that looked like a portal…but I’m really, really not a baker and fondant freaks me out. Maybe one day I’ll have the time and patience to learn how to decorate cakes with it, but for now – my cakes taste yummy, but usually look like a hot mess. With a little help from the “internet fairy”, I found a happy medium. I used my very favorite cake recipe ever and this photo as inspiration.

skylanders cake - notjenny.com

The games -

trigger happy guns - notjenny.com“Trigger Happy Target Practice” – I bought a Halloween cauldron that I found at a party store and some play guns from the dollar store and spray painted them gold.

pop fizz - notjenny.com“Pop Fizz and Exploding Soda” – We went outside and made some Mentos explode in Coke. The kids were super excited about that. I wish that I had thought to buy different kinds of soda for the activity to last longer. We could have compared the different heights of the spray and… there I go being a nerdy teacher again… awesome.

smashing chompies - notjenny.comSmashing Chompies – This activity would have been more fun outdoors, but it was super cold the day of Charlie’s party . So… We did it in the kitchen. Where the acoustics are ah-mazing. Not my best idea ever.

winged saphires - notjenny.comSearching for “Winged Sapphires” in blocks of ice – I froze floral gems from the dollar store in ice trays and had the kids find as many gems as they could after the ice melted.

We also hunted for golden coins that were hidden all through the house and broke the treasure box pinata to get candy.

charlie party - notjenny.comCharlie and his friends had a fun day and made lots of fun memories. I love my little 5 year old boy and I have the hot glue gun burns to prove it.

waiting

I woke up at 2:46 a.m. with my thoughts bouncing around my head at warp speed. It’s unusual for me to do that. In fact, I like my sleep. A lot.

My mom said that whenever she finds herself awakened in the middle of the night, she prays for people. I probably should do that too. But instead, I find myself making lists of things I need to do: running through party plans for Charlie, worrying about getting the house ready for a afternoon showing tomorrow, thinking about what I am going to wear to church…

so now, here I am… writing…and thinking. Because I can’t stop.

I don’t know if it has something to do with my age, or the stage of life that I’m in right now, but I can’t help but feel like I’m stuck in a waiting room of sorts. Like things are meant to happen…just not yet.

When I go to the doctor’s office, I usually pick up a last month’s crinkled up copy of People magazine and catch up on a little important reading. I flip through the pages of Parents magazine and ponder all of the ways that I’m doing the “parent” thing wrong. I play stupid games on my phone. At first, waiting isn’t so bad. But after I’ve read every magazine and run out of things to “google” on my phone, I start getting antsy and bored: two emotions that are almost always followed by irritation and frustration. Will it EVER be my turn? Has the doctor forgotten about me?

I’m waiting now. So I read about people who are doing world-changing things. I see photos of hungry children and the hopeless. I hear stories of people fulfilling their God-created purpose in their lives, and I wonder…what does God have planned for me? What does He want for my little family? What does He see for our future? When will I begin to fulfill His purpose for my life?

Some of you may read that and think I’m being silly or dramatic. Others may read it and think that I’m saying that I’m unhappy with my life or that I don’t love being a mother and wife. That’s not what I’m saying. Motherhood and marriage are God-given purposes. I love being a mother and a wife…but there is a stirring in my heart too. It’s why I’m awake right now. Maybe it’s dramatic, but maybe it’s something else.

When I talk to people about my feeling of unrest, I think it makes them nervous. Like I’m going to do some crazy Thelma and Louise kind of thing. They say things like, “Well, maybe you just need to go to the gym.” or “Why don’t you go to lunch with some of your friends?” because they want to fix it for me.  It’s a loving and sweet thing to do, but it’s not really what I need. I can’t fix the waiting. I just have do it. I have to wait. And that is not something that I’m really good at.

Just when I begin to feel irritated  or frustrated, just when I think, “Will it EVER be my turn? Has He forgotten about me?” I’m reminded of His command to “Be still and know that I am God” and the beautiful promise of Jeremiah 29:11 – ” ‘For I know the plans I have for you’, says the Lord. ‘Plans to help you and not to harm you. To give you a future and a hope.’ ” and those feelings of unrest turn into feelings of expectation.

Because I know that He has good things planned. And it gives me the strength to wait a little longer.

 

 

 

 

a day on the farm

A few weeks ago, we finished reading Charlotte’s Web. I promised the kids that we would go to a farm after we finished reading the book. Since Avery never forgets anything, and is quite possibly the world’s most persistent child, I had to make good on my promise….If only to save my sanity.

I’d seen some photos of the family farm of a high school friend of mine and decided that it would be the perfect place for our first field trip. Falcon Ridge Farm is a good drive from where we live, but was totally worth it. It’s a beautiful farm – and thankfully, I picked the most beautiful day ever for our outing…the weather was perfect-o.

Charlie’s buddy and his family met us there – along with a few of our other precious homeschooling friends.

Image

The kids were pretty jazzed about the jumping ball area. I have to admit, so was I. Those things are super fun. I need a giant gated area with jumping balls for our next house.

ImageThe farm had so many fun areas for the kids to play. Lots of swingsets, slides, and play grounds. The Corn Box was a huge hit with my kids. They spent a ridiculous amount of time in there. I may need one of those for our next house too…

Avery had fun making “Corn Angels” and I spent most of my time yelling at Charlie for throwing corn. Boys and danger…two things that always, always, go hand in hand.

Image…on second thought, maybe I’ll skip the corn box.

Image

During the week, Mr. Ray gives a “Horse Talk” to the school kids who come to the farm. We arrived just in time to hear his lesson. Avery was super interested to hear all about the horses. She’s convinced that she will have her own one day. If I know anything about my girl, she’ll find a way to make it happen.

Image

At the end of his talk, Mr. Ray asked if anyone had questions. These two had no business asking questions.

ImageWhen Mr. Ray called on Charlie, I have to admit that I was a little nervous about what he would ask.  Most kids were asking questions about how to ride a horse, or what a horse likes to eat, but Charlie asked, “Where is the corn maze?”

Not exactly on topic, Bud.

After the lesson, Mr. Ray taught Avery and Charlie how to pet a horse the right way.

Image

Image

Image

Falcon Ridge Farm has an awesome petting zoo area. They have every kind of animal that you would expect to find at a farm: sheep, goats, pigs, ponies, horses, cows, chickens, a donkey, and a turkey. They even have a few things you don’t normally find at a farm like peacocks and a llama.

These little guys were my favorite. I wanted to put them in my pocket. Adorable!

Image

Charlie and his partner in crime are obsessed with punching everything. Including each other. Naturally, as soon as they saw this “Hay Spider”, they decided that it needed a good punch too.

Image

Avery begged me all morning to ride a pony. When she got on the pony for the first time, she was super nervous. In fact, she told me she wanted down almost as soon as she got in the saddle. Knowing how disappointed she would be later that she hadn’t been able to ride, I made her stay on the horse. I walked next to her and held her hand while she rode and she loved it. Charlie opted not to ride on the pony and watched instead.

Image

We took a hay ride to the pumpkin patch

hay ride

and each of the kids picked out a pumpkin to take home with them.

Image

Image

ImageDon’t ya just love that new pose Avery likes to do for the camera these days? Silly kid.

The boys loved the giant Hay Fort.

Image

…and tried to get the cow to come close by “mooing” incessantly at it. The cow wisely ignored them.

Image

After lunch and lots more play time, the kids were nice and tired for our drive home.

Image

piggy back - notjenny.com

If you live in our area and are looking for a fun place to spend the day – check out Falcon Ridge Farm. I can’t wait to take the kids back at Christmas to pick out a tree!

farm sign - notjenny.com

perfectly imperfect

Homeschooling and home selling are two things that are not compatible. I’m not going to lie – the rope is fraying quickly and I’m definitely at the end of it.

The good news is that my house has never been this clean. I’m a raging clean-aholic. I’m totally obsessed. Not a good obsessed, either: like crazy-OCD-psychotic-obsessed. It’s bad.

The other night, our family was talking about how everyone has special gifts and talents. At the end of the discussion, David suggested that we name each of our family member’s gifts and talents.  Avery said, “Daddy’s gift is singing. I’m a good artist. Charlie has a good imagination and is brave. And mommy is a good cleaner.”

Sweet. My kid thinks that I’ve been gifted in the area of cleaning. Awesome.

If that’s my gift, I’d like a refund.

While my house may be squeaky clean these days, I have no desire to be “gifted” in the area of cleanliness. I can’t stand the stress I feel to keep our house “perfect”. Perfection and I are not friends. We have a long, complicated history together. In my experience, “Perfection” is Regina George and I’m the nerdy band girl who isn’t allowed to sit at her lunch table.

The problem is, random house-buying-types expect perfection when they walk into your home. They don’t understand that my little boy likes to throw his pull-up in the corner of his room every.stinking.morning, or that four year old boys have no clue how to properly aim for the toilet. They could care less that seven year old girls collect “treasures” like band-aids, gum wrappers, broken robin’s eggs, hair clips, glittery chap stick tubes, and stickers and proudly display them in their rooms . They don’t have the back story on that red stain on my carpet that mysteriously appeared after a play-date of epic proportions. They like clean, neat, tidy perfection.

So – here’s what “perfection” looks like when you’re the nerdy band girl and you’ve got 30 minutes before Regina George heads to your house for a showing:

Clean laundry gets stuffed back in the dryer…

laundry piles

When that’s completely stuffed full, I usually just throw it back into a random hamper.

more laundryAfter that, I usually have to clean the toilet area for the 50th time that day. See the bubbles? That’s the little chemical reaction that happens when Clorox bleach hits pee. Busted.

DSC_0626I’ve seriously considered rigging that bleach bottle to a holster of some sort and carrying it around the house with me.

Charlie usually does this while I clean:

helperThis next photo just makes my soul hurt when I look at it. It’s the one thing that is never, ever, ever, finished…

dishes

One of the last things I have to do before we leave is to get my dog out of the house. It’s no biggie, though. He only weighs 92 pounds…and can’t jump into the car without my help.

giant dog in the carPreparing for a showing is a major workout. I’m pretty sure that I have scarred my kids psychologically because I’m such a meany pants these days. I feel like the only words coming from my mouth these days are “hurry up”: hurry up and get in the car, hurry up and get dressed, hurry up and put away your toys. The other day, in a moment of frustration, Charlie told me that all I do is “boss, boss, boss”.

I’m no fun. No fun at all.

As hard as I try, I just can’t seem to find the balance between being a good mom and a good housekeeper. My attempts at perfection always end with me feeling like a super jerk instead of super mom. I feel stressed, frazzled, and just plain mean.

Deep down, I know that attaining perfection is impossible. When my goal is to be “perfect”, I don’t really perfect anything. I certainly don’t perfect the godly mom thing.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that the only thing I’m close to perfecting is the “Mommy Dearest” thing.

Not exactly the legacy I want to leave.

I don’t want my kids to grow up and remember that I was always cleaning. I want them to remember that I played with them. I don’t want them to see me on my phone all the time. I want them to see me coloring with them. I want to experience life with my kids, not just live with them.

Being a stay-at-home mom doesn’t automatically mean that you are doing some great or noble thing for your kids. It’s not the “staying home” thing that makes a difference in your children’s lives. It’s the intentional time invested that makes a difference. Investing in your children requires discipline, effort, and a willingness to put aside your own agenda.

Many times, at the end of a particularly stressful day, I find myself replaying all of the jerky things I did or said on a loop. Every impatient moment, every harsh word, and every frustrated sigh plays over and over in my mind. It’s during those moments that my inner voice typically tells me how bad I’m failing at this whole motherhood thing.  All I do is boss, boss, boss.

Not long ago, I had the privilege to hear author/speaker Jon Acuff at a conference. One of the things he said that really struck home with me is that no one has a positive inner voice. It’s always negative. It likes to tell us that we are failing or that we aren’t good enough. That’s why it’s important to replace that negative inner voice with truth: truth from God’s word.

God’s truth is that even though I’m a hot mess, I’m still His child.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” – I John 3: 1

God’s truth is that I am perfectly imperfect, and perfectly loved by my Creator.

“The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness. ‘Again I will build you and you will be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! Again you will take up your tambourines, And go forth to the dances of the merrymakers’.” -Jeremiah 31:3-4

God’s truth is that He makes old things new again. Even mean old crabby things like me.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” – Isaiah 43:19

Did you read that? He’s making streams in the wasteland! The mercy in that truth makes me so happy…and allows me to show a little grace to myself when that loop starts playing in my head.

Thankfully, all of this house-selling nonsense is just temporary. Before long, our house will be sold and all of this stress will be a distant memory. My laundry pile will return to it’s former mountainous glory, my microwave will once again be polka-dotted with food bits, and I’ll sigh instead of scream when I find that used pull-up under Charlie’s bed. Life will be less than “perfect” again.

And I can’t wait.

God is great. Beer is good. And people are crazy.

Back in the 90′s, when family sit-coms were all the rage, there was a show on T.V. called Home Improvement. It was huge. If you’ve never heard of it, you either grew up on another planet, or were not lucky enough to be a Generation X’er. Sad for you. You missed out on getting to wear Doc Martins and oversized plaid shirts. It was awesome.

Home Improvement came on T.V. waaaaay back before TiVo and DVR’s were invented. In 1991, you couldn’t just watch a show on Hulu or catch up later on Netflix. Your only option was to watch it when it actually aired on television. When Thursday at 7:00 rolled around, homework was put on hold, dinner dishes were left in the sink, and life stopped for 30 minutes. Unless you remembered to set your VHS machine to record the show. And let’s face it: you had to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to set those things.

Home Improvement was one of those “can’t miss” shows for our family. If I close my eyes right this moment I can still hear my dad cackling with laughter at Tim Allen’s antics.

Anyway- on the show there was this neighbor – Wilson I think – who was always peeking his head over the fence to give Tim advice. On the show, Tim relished in the inexplicable wisdom of his mysterious neighbor. Wilson was wise, he was a great listener. He always knew just the right thing to say when Tim needed him.

Wilson-home-improvement-tv-show-30858877-372-500

source

We have a neighbor kind of like Wilson in that he likes to poke his head over the fence and give us plenty of advice. But that’s where his similarities to Tim Allen’s friend ends.

I don’t relish our “Wilson”‘s  mysterious wisdom. Our “Wilson” doesn’t make me cackle out loud. Our “Wilson” likes to tell us how to take care of our yard and anonymously call City Code Compliance when the grass gets too high. Our “Wilson” likes to brag about himself loudly and often. Our “Wilson” makes it hard to “love thy neighbor”.

While it’s been difficult to love our neighbor over the last 3 years, this week, it became even more difficult. This week, he cornered David while he was trying to mow the grass to give us unsolicited advice about our move. In a few short minutes, he berated our choice of realtor and price of our house listing, and then proceeded to say that homeschooling was kind of pointless since we live in such a great school district, and that I should just go back to work…. because, “Jennifer has lots of marketable skills. I’m sure she’d be an asset to any company.”

Oh, Wilson. You’re such a character.

Maybe it’s just me, but there is a (large) part of me that wants to come off the ropes like a WWF wrestler and put people like Wilson in a choke hold. Thankfully, there’s another part of me that actually remembers what it feels like to receive grace and reminds me that I can be just as big of a pain in the rear as Wilson.

The thing is, he’s right. Not about our realtor choice or the house pricing, but about the school and work thing. I mean, it makes sense that I would just send Avery to the neighborhood school, Charlie to Day Care, and go back to work full time. That is the logical answer. Work harder, make more money, see your kids less, and make sacrifices so that you can stay in a big, pretty house. Wilson wasn’t too far off the grid with his advice. But while that may be the answer for most people, it’s not what God wants our family to do right now.

One of my favorite country song lyrics is: God is great. Beer is good. And people are crazy. Because

a. it’s funny

b. it’s kind of true.

Country music has a way of simplifying even the most complex issues in a few short lines. People are crazy. The thing is, I’m starting to realize that there are people who may think that I am the crazy one.

While I’ve had lots of supportive comments from my equally nutty friends (you know who you are, ya crazy nut balls), there are many others who think that David and I are legitimately and certifiably insane for making the choices we are making. I could choose to get my feelings hurt about that, or I could just admit that they are right. We are weird and we are making totally out of the ordinary, abnormal choices.

Working toward total debt freedom is not normal. Living below your means is strange. Being a stay-at-home-mom is crazy when you could just work. Homeschooling is a little nutty.

When you are not normal, people have a tendency to either avoid you or try to change you, because doing something that’s not normal makes people feel uncomfortable.

After a lifetime of seeking the acceptance of others, I’ll admit that not caring about people’s perceptions is a tough corner for me to turn. It’s hard to do, but I’m getting there.

Until I do, Wilson better keep his head on his side of the fence or this Mommy’s going to go Ninja on a brother.

when your dreams change.

Not very long ago, God gave me my dream house. It was a house in the perfect neighborhood and the perfect school district. It was a corner lot in a cove. It had all the little details that I always dreamed of having in a home. I remember walking in the house the day that we signed the papers and dreaming of all the things that our family would do together in our home. I pictured Avery walking down the stairs in her prom gown, Charlie practicing the drums in a converted attic space, and David and I growing old together in that house.  Before we ever moved in, I prayed over each room and asked that God would take the gift He had given us and allow us to use it for His glory. It would be a home filled with love, prayer, laughter, and music. And I never wanted to move. Ever.

That’s why it seems totally crazy that just a few short years later, I can’t wait to leave it behind.

I guess I should explain myself, huh?

The last year and a half has been a year of refinement for me. A time where God has stripped away a lot of the things and relationships that I thought were really important in my life. Being refined can be really, truly painful.  But this year and a half hasn’t only been about “stripping away”, God has given me things too. Awesome things that I always thought I wanted. Things that had a whole lot to do with what I thought my life should look like. Things on my super long “life check list”.  My house was definitely way up high on that list.

Thinking back, I’m convinced that God gave me exactly what I asked for so that I would begin to realize how unsatisfying loving “stuff” is. It seemed that the longer we lived in our house, the tighter things became for us financially. Pipes started to burst, the roof started to leak, and our our beautiful house started to feel more like a prison than a palace. Financial stress is horrible. It’s suffocating. It steals the joy from your life. It’s not the way that I want to live – even if I do have a beautiful house.

I used to think that life was full of huge, important choices and that one wrong choice could change the course of your life forever. I don’t feel that way any more. I’ve come to realize that when you have a relationship with a good and gracious God, He can take even the worst choices and turn them around for His glory. God is such a loving Father. He never forces you to learn something. Instead, He patiently waits for you to have that “ah – ha” moment. He will allow you to have the things that you ask for (even if it’s not His perfect plan), and when you finally wake up and realize that you’ve made the wrong choice, He will take you by the hand and gently lead you to the right one.

Slowly, slowly, over the last year or so… through people, through books, through events, through loss and gain, God has been gently leading me.

In the book Kisses From Katie, Katie Davis said something that totally made sense to me. She said that she’d always read the scripture verse “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” and assumed that it meant that if she loved God that He would give her a great job, a great home, a great husband and family. Those were always the things that she desired. Just like every American girl. Then she went to Africa. And God changed the desires of her heart. Her desires weren’t things anymore - they were people. They were God’s glory. God’s will. Those were the things that she desired. And those are the things that he gave her. He gave her the desires of her heart.

For most of my life, I’ve been busy desiring approval, position, and possessions. My mouth says that I value God, family, giving, and living with freedom, but my life says that I value people’s perceptions, my house, and all my stuff more.

Like He did for Katie Davis, God is changing my desires. For the first time in a long time, I really, truly, desire His plan. Not mine.

After a lot of discussion and prayer, David and I believe that God is prompting us to get rid of all of our debt and to live below our means. That means doing something that most people will think is crazy. It means selling my beautiful house in the perfect neighborhood and moving back into an itty bitty house.

It also means that we will be able to do things we haven’t been able to do in three years.  We will be able to travel when we want to. We will be able to give generously. We can plan for the future. Most importantly, we can finally dump all of the stress that living at the very edge of a paycheck has brought.

Ron Reynolds said, “Debt freedom is the one freedom that makes all other freedoms possible.” I’ve always believed it, but never lived like I did. I’m ready to change that.

Let’s start the next chapter.

Avery’s Minnie Mouse Birthday Party

Fresh on the heels of our trip to Disney World, Avery celebrated her 7th birthday. In fact, on the plane ride back home from our trip, Avery planned every detail of her party. If you know my little girl, you will not be surprised that she planned her own party. For those of you, however, who don’t know Avery, she is precocious, knows exactly what she wants, and is quite possibly the best person I know at delegating tasks. David and I have always said that she will either grow up to be the CEO of a major corporation or the dictator of a third world country. One of our close family friends describes her as the type of kid who will grow up to have a hyphen in her name. Despite  all of those budding “leadership skills”, she has such a tender and sweet heart. She’s a really great kid.

So – armed with my laundry list of assignments and less than two weeks to get them done, I started the party planning process…while trying to unpack, clean my house, homeschool my kids, teach Sunday School, and volunteer at a consignment sale.

Thankfully, I found a really great digital invitation from a store on Etsy. The word “digital copy” makes me happy because history has proven that invitations and I don’t get along. I always order them too late or forget to mail them out in time. Always. Having a digital copy meant that I could print them and give them to our friends at church or just email them. Major details and I just don’t seem to mesh well. I’m embracing it. I’m too old not to.

Minnie Mouse Red w Photo2With the invitations behind me and a million online resources in front of me, I made my very limited time frame work. I did not have one single new idea for this party. I’m also not claiming to be creative super mom. I am, however, going to claim my mad “pinterest searching skills” and some fairly decent crafting skills. So there you go. I’m listing every single resource for this party at the bottom of the post… so if you are like me and don’t like to re-invent the wheel, you’ll know where to go for the details.

My take on the Mickey Mouse/Minnie Mouse wreath is a hodge-podge mash up of a million different ones that I found on Pinterest. The first one I made cracked into a million pieces when I was trying to connect the three Styrofoam circles. To have lost all that work after wrapping that stupid yarn around that foam 8 million times was almost more than I could take. David was sitting next to me when it cracked and wisely said nothing. I think he may have even stopped breathing for a few minutes. Smart man. 13 years of marriage has taught him a thing or two.

minnie mouse wreath - notjenny.com

minnie mouse partyThe food table covering was created out of my dislike for plastic table covers. Initially, I thought about using burlap as the table topper, but it’s stinky… and I didn’t want to spend that much. So – instead, I bought a roll of brown craft paper and cut and folded it for the table topper. I cut a rectangular plastic table cloth in half and taped it to the bottom of my table to make a “skirt”.  Less plastic makes me happy.minnie mouse party - notjenny.com

minnie mouse  cakeThe red cake stand was something that I bought several years ago at Target. I think they were sold around Christmas time. Since then, I’ve used those cake stands for just about every birthday and holiday party. I bought two of them and I can stack them for cupcakes or desserts. My two cents: If you find a cute cake stand, buy it. You will never regret it.

Another tried-and-true favorite of mine is the Ta Dot fabric by Michael Miller. I love, love, love it. It never gets old to me. It comes in a ton of colors, and I love them all. For this party, I bought 2 yards of the fabric (see below for details) and just cut the selvedges to make a table cloth for my dining room table. Easy peasy.

minnie mouse treat bags - notjenny.comDoesn’t washi tape make everything look cute? Muah, washi tape. I love you too.

minnie party - fruit cups

OK.  So here’s the part where I want to just stop and say… I’m a glutton for punishment.

Here’s what I thought when I saw the photo of the Mickey gloves on Pinterest: “oh my goodness! look at those cute gloves! I have to make them!”

That’s all that went through my brain. There was no thought of how long that making the gloves would take, how detailed they were, or that starting the project the night before the party might not be wise.

5:30 a.m. came quick, y’all..and this crazy lady was still sewing. Good gravy. Here’s a little tip: if you make these for a party, start reaaaaaally early.minnie gloves in basket - minnie partyNeedless to say, I made sure that everyone left with a pair…whether they wanted to or not.

For those of you who are not gluttons for punishment, here’s another tip: use a sillouette or Cricut catridge to cut out Minnie Mouse faces. Because that’s the non-punishing way to do it. If you are like me, you’ll just cut 12 heads and bows by hand. Learn from my mistakes, friends.

minnie mouse ice cream cup

mouse ears detail

minnie party dessert table

Avery’s request for entertainment was to have a bounce house and I said, “absolutely”. Bounce Houses are the single best party invention on the face of the earth. They are just so stinkin’ easy. Everybody jumps, everybody is happy, the end.

mouse ears - notjenny.com

By the way – how cute is my adorable sister in those Minnie ears? She’s so awesome.  Avery loves her aunt as much as I do. This photo makes me smile.

make a wish - notjenny.com

minine party birthday - notjenny.comSo – she’s seven. I can’t believe it. And another party is complete. I feel blessed to be this kid’s mommy. And even more blessed that I don’t have to sew any more Mickey hands any time soon.

As promised, here are the details: