We were blessed with two storm days this week! On the first day, I made a lofty check-list of all of the items we were going to accomplish. Although an art project with the boys made the list, it didn’t happen until our second snow day.
Jude (with the help of his teachers) made an adorable reindeer at school and being he was already a seasoned pro, we decided to make another one!
Red puffy ball
Less than $5 (I used a Michael’s giftcard to save 40% off on this pack)
Steps: 1. (Optional) Mix the paint
I wanted to make our paint a LITTLE lighter as to not make it look like pure poop.
2. Paint the feet
3. Press the feet onto your canvas
4. Make and attach the antlers
5. Add the nose
6. Glue on the eyes
Jude thought it was necessary to take a snack break mid-project. Thankfully, we made a few extra prints.
I realized my dad’s birthday was coming up and as an avid hunter, we knew this would be a perfect homemade gift.
For the last three years, I have been in Las Vegas when my birthday rolled around. (How great is that!?) This year, I was at home BUT I still figured out how to feel like a high roller on my special day.
…Discounts. Coupons. Free. Those words sure make me smile…
A few days before my birthday, I took to Facebook to find out which places in Grand Forks offered free birthday food. It turns out that I could only find THREE places in which you can get a free birthday meal with no strings attached. I discovered in most places, you needed a companion to pay for a meal to get the free birthday entree …OR… you had to sign up for a rewards program.
After realizing there were only three places with truly free birthday meals, I got two identical e-mails from Starbucks wishing me a happy birthday. Included in each email was a coupon for a free food or drink item.
How could this be?!
It turns out that I used to have an active Starbucks account with my maiden name. Now, I have one with my married name. Being both accounts have had activity, they sent a birthday surprise to each!
Starbucks allowed me a window of a few days to use up my birthday giftS. Trying to get the most out of my free food or drink item, I ordered a sandwich the night before my birthday because it costs more than my regular drink. It was so good that I forgot to take a picture before I ate it. Please enjoy the photo of my empty bag instead.
My big day had arrived! I started the day off with a trip to Starbucks after school drop-off. A few seconds after taking the photo, I realized that I should have ordered a venti instead of a grande because a venti is larger AND still free. Next year I will remember!
I finished up my duties at work around 1:00 and headed to Mama Maria’s for my free lunch. I forgot to bring cash for a tip so I ordered a glass of wine, which allowed me to add gratuity on my card.
After triple-checking with the waitress that my entree would be free, I placed my order, and hung out with all of my imaginary friends.
Onward I went. My next stop was Paradiso. After once again confirming that my meal would be free, I ordered a glass of wine and my entree. After a few bites, I asked for a to-go box and the check. I was in and out before I could take more than a sip of my drink.
After leaving Paradiso, my car smelled of leftovers and my belly was full. I ran a few errands and squeezed in a workout before picking up our son at school. Together, we traveled to Cherry Berry for a nice treat. Upon our arrival, I quizzed the kind employee as to how to redeem by birthday treat. At the Grand Forks location, I was able to get 10 ounces free with my ID. Being I was full, I let our son fill up the cup and added a few gummies for myself.
When there was one gummy left, he told me I could have it because it was my birthday! How sweet is that?!
Growing up, my dad was always gone on my birthday because he would be hunting out of state. Now, every few years, my husband also goes on that trip. When I told Jared of my birthday plan, he mentioned it sounded a little depressing and apologized that he couldn’t come with me. He was right. In fact, I was a little hesitant to eat alone. Thankfully, it turned out to be a great experience! I am going to make this a new birthday tradition.
Each year, about three days before my mom’s birthday, my dad sends out an SOS e-mail. He asks if we have any ideas for gifts to get her. Usually, I just wish him luck because my mom is a tough one to shop for!
This year, I had two secret weapons when it came to my mom’s birthday gift: the grandchildren!
With hours to spare before her birthday, we went to Michael’s so Jude could lay on the floor and cry to pick out something to make. Our foster son picked out cute wooden arrows AND a $1 birdhouse. Go big or go home folks.
The next day, we had a painting party in our kitchen. I stripped Jude down to his diaper because he likes to express his creativity by rubbing paint in his clothing. In order to control the finished product a little bit, I hid the red, brown, and black when painting the arrows.
To help Jude achieve the look he was envisioning, I poured paint on the wooden arrow and let him rub it in.
The cleanup took longer than the painting BUT we ended up with some pretty cute gifts for Granny Kelly.
Before Jude’s first birthday party, I was looking on Etsy for a party hat for our birthday boy. After snooping around, I found a few hats that I happened to like. However, I couldn’t fathom spending $20 on hat he would most likely wear for a minute. I then had the great idea to make a party hat from scratch. I did some looking around on Pinterest and found Jones Design Company, which shared a hat tutorial and downloadable template.
*Note: After purchasing all of my supplies, I only saved a few dollars by doing this project myself.*
Felt– 2 colors- I save a lot of time by getting felt with a sticky backside from Michaels Poms – I found mine at target but if you already have yarn at home, you can use this tutorial to make your own. Card stock Ball Fringe– I found this in the felt isle at Michaels (similar item) Hot Glue Gun String to keep the hat on the child’s head. I used jewelry string.
Steps Step 1 – Using the template from Jones Design Company, I cut the design out on the card stock. I used my circuit, but you can do this by hand.
Step 2– Form the card-stock into a cone.
Step 3– Once again using the template, cut the hat shape out on felt.
Step 4– Stack the felt cutout onto the card stock cutout.
Step 5– Using the hot glue gun, glue the edges together to create a cone.
Note: I purchased “Tacky Glue” but it would not allow me to hold the shape of the hat.
Step 6– Cut out the number outline in the felt and add it to the hat
Step 7– Add the pom to the top.
Step 8– Add the ball fringe.
Step 9 – Try to get your child to wear the hat
Step 10– Have your dog model for you when your child won’t
When it came to Jude’s first birthday decorations, I wanted to keep things simple. Helium filled balloons are a pain to transport, streamers tear easily, & confetti would get eaten by the birthday boy. I was looking at my Pinterest page for inspiration and found this: >>> source <<<
There was just one problem… The project above requires sewing. Back in 7th grade during our home economics class, I made a deal with one of the boys in our class. He did the machine sewing projects and I did the hand stitching. With this master plan, I never learned how to use a sewing machine. Back to the drawing board for me…
Using Anthropologie for inspiration, Berta from “Mommy like Whoa”, made this beautiful felt garland piece. In her tutorial, I saw that she was using a needle and thread to string her felt. That seemed a little too time consuming for me so I set out to try something a little different while still using the Anthropologie garland as inspiration.
Felt notes: I used the colors “Smoke” + “Silver Grey”. I purchased mine for $0.39 per sheet at Michaels. Being I didn’t know how much felt I would need, I preferred to buy it by the sheet than by the yard.
Cut the felt into strips. I did not measure ANYTHING.
Now decide what order you want your strips in. I made a pile and randomly pulled from it.
Think about how long you want your garland to be and cut your twine or yarn accordingly.
Lastly, tie your felt in knots around the string.
Ta-Da! That is it! A no-sew felt garland tutorial for you to try.
The cutting and knotting were time consuming but were simple enough that I could do it while playing with Jude on the floor. Be sure to share your photos if you give this a try!
As promised, our doctor showed up at lunchtime to deliver. Being a teacher, I understand the importance of practical experience so I was open to having students watch the delivery. I must have been the only person that agreed to have students in the room because we had a full house! When it was time to deliver, we had the following lineup:
5. Student Nurse Practitioner
6. Nurse (Not Crazy Karla)
7. Nursing student 1
8. Nursing student 2
9. Nursing student 3
10. NICU team 1
11. NICU team 2
12. NICU team 3
We love our physician’s office nurse and tried to trade her for one of the nursing students but unfortunately she had to stay back at the office to hold down the fort.
A year ago today, at 1:10 in the afternoon, our little man arrived.
Theme Within hours of bringing Jude home from the hospital, people began asking us if he is sleeping through the night.
Random person: “Oh, is he sleeping through the night yet?!”
What came out of my mouth: “Nope. He doesn’t sleep at night.”
What was going through my head: “Beeeeeep beep beebeep. No he doesn’t sleep. Beeeeeeeeeep I am tired.”
I was optimistic and figured he would eventually learn to sleep through the night… I am still waiting for THAT night to happen. Good thing I didn’t hold my breath.
Bringing some humor to our year of sleepless nights, we decided to have a slumber party for Jude’s first birthday.
Here is the invitation I made in Photoshop:
It has been one whole year with only a little sleep.
Our little man hasn’t quite figured out how to count sheep.
Please join us for a slumber party in honor of Jude Grey.
We will serve nightcaps & breakfast in bed on his special day.
Since it will be nighttime, as everyone knows,
Please wear your pajamas instead of your clothes!
Just when it has come time for us to go to bed,
You will all go to your own homes to sleep instead!
I had this invitation printed on metallic paper and I was very impressed with the results! The paper made the stars shine and I couldn’t be happier with the overall look.
Apparently when you invite people over, it is polite to feed them. This is quite a problem being I have a hate-hate relationship with cooking + baking.
When we first joined our church, I received a phone call asking if I could make sugar cookies for the fall dinner. Trying to make a great impression, I told the desperate cookie coordinator that I would get her ten dozen sugar cookies. After I committed to ten dozen, she casually mentioned that there is a specific recipe to follow! It turns out that I couldn’t pick these up from the bakery. When I received the recipe in the mail, it only listed the ingredients. Oh my. Thankfully, one of our relatives gave me step by step instructions. I never knew sugar cookies could cause so much stress!
The point of me sharing this sugar cookie story is to reiterate how much I hate cooking and baking. I get anxiety even thinking about preparing food for others. With that being said, for Jude’s birthday party, all food prepared served will have very simple instructions OR will be purchased.
Don’t do this:
When you can just do this:
I am setting the bar nice and low with this no stress game-plan:
I, Scrooge, have never been a HUGE fan of first birthday parties because the child won’t even remember it! However, I love a good party and Mr. Jude has given us an excuse to host one.
A few family members have asked what they can get Jude for his birthday. Thankfully, we are blessed to live in a world in which I actually have to stop and think about what he could use. I personally hate when I ask someone for gift ideas and they say that anything will work. Yes, I know you will accept anything with a polite smile BUT I like to give gifts that are practical AND exciting! Now, the moment you all have been waiting for…