A simple new years eve celebration for kids

 

So we aren’t huge New Years Eve partiers over here. And by that I mean my husband and I don’t feel like we need to stay up till midnight. Or maybe I should say our bodies won’t let us?! Such is life with littles  🙂  I still want to celebrate in a little way so we just bump our midnight up to 7 o’clock!! We started doing this since we’ve had kids and its been perfect.

I usually just decorate a little, have a fun drink (kid friendly!), we turn a kids countdown on Netflix, end it with some loud blowers and maybe a dance party! 😉  If you need some lights to dance with, try this. I mean, its nothing crazy, but its fun to do a little something. When the kids are a little older I might start doing time capsules or something, but at this age they would probably just want to open it the next day! ha.

This year I grabbed a few decorations at Target’s dollar section (er, $3 section). The star garland is from an Etsy shop Cheerful Trimmings, but her shop is currently closed for Christmas. I would recommend her for other party garlands or banners you may need in the future, but if you need one quickly this one from Amazon looks great and is $9! I also decided to make my own kid-friendly-slightly-fizzy-drink. I think Sparkling Cider would be too “spicy” for their likin’ and it has a lot of sugar anyways! So I just mixed

Honest Apple Juice with a splash of Sprite…and garnished with a raspberry!

I did a trial run and it was a hit. I think the sparkly plastic champagne flutes made the drink THAT much better. The kids were giggling and giddy as they drank their “adult” drink. 🙂

A super easy snack idea is cheese stars and crackers! The cheese stars make it a little festive, but its still good healthy snack before bed. If you need a star cookie cutter, check out this one! I like having the different size stars because you can make the tiny stars from the leftover cheese and not waste as much! You could also make star sandwiches, cookies, etc.!

Here are a few books about New Years Eve we will be reading (click title to see more):

The Night before New Year’s Eve. A fun book that talks about New Years prep! I feel like reading books about the holiday or event just help everyone get more excited about it! 

Squirrels New Years Resolution. I think this is my favorite. Its a cute book that talks about what resolutions are. The animals make some sweet, character related resolutions and I think it can bring up good family conversation!  🙂 

Ok friends, thats all. Like I said, its nothing fancy…but if you have multiple littles, being too elaborate might be stressful. Or maybe I’m just speaking for myself?!! I was reading some ideas on Pinterest of different games and activities and I decided we would stick to our simple celebration for this year. Just spicing up some apple juice in a fancy cup and a straw already makes them feel like its a celebration. 🙂  I hope you can make some special memories together this New Years Eve!

xoxo

Danielle

Emersyn’s 4th birthday party

This year wasn’t Em’s turn for a party, but I still wanted to do something simple and fun for her 4th birthday. I decided we would just have some of her girl friends over one morning for donuts! I also love fostering her little girl friends, as she doesn’t have a sister. Girl friends are so important, aren’t they?!

Anyways, I want to share a few pictures and talk about how easy it was to have this donut party!

I went to set the table and kept pulling things out of my craft closet and … this happened! The pink table cloth is from the dollar store (I did put a white cotton one under it, as it is see through), the table runner is wrapping paper I found in our closet (after Christmas sale at target last year), the “placemats” are pieces of construction paper I already had, the pink straws were from target’s party section, the plates and napkins are just basic ones you can get anywhere, and the castle party favor boxes and crowns I got at TJ Maxx a few months ago. For the centerpiece I used my new macrame placemates from Home Goods , some extra felt balls I had in my closet from Hello Maypole, and some star twinkle lights from good ol Target.

The day before the party I used some fresh flowers and eucalyptus as the actual centerpiece, but on the day of the party I decided to replace it with the donut cake.

And lets talk about this donut cake for a second…

It was the easiest.cake.ever. Obviously! lol. I just stacked them up and added some faux greenery and a flower. I know homemade is the best, but there are times its just not worth the stress. This saved a lot of time, and I’m pretty sure the girls loved it just the same! We served milk and also had cheese, crackers and grapes for an extra snack! For the moms I baked some quiches from Costco and cut donuts into quarters so we didn’t have to commit to a whole one   😉 On a side note, I think I always eat more when I cut them. It’s “just” a bite here and there…and then another when I walk by..and then here and there again.  🙄

As far as decorating the fireplace mantel, I just hung a few target banners and layered paper fans! Its a little busy, but, I wanted festive.

The paper fans started to fall off the fireplace #reallife

What REALLY made the party was all of Emi’s sweet friends. She’s a blessed little girl. 

Emi got a lot of nail polish, makeup, and jewelry from her friends. My favorite part of the day was after she opened her gifts. Her friends took her into her room and played beauty shop with her. They painted her nails, her toes, but on some lip stick, and put allll the hair accessories in her hair. I think she really did feel like a princess!

Happy Birthday, our sweet Emi girl!

Please let me know if you have any questions about this girly party! xoxo, Danielle

 

paper product table setting

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If you’re like me you might not like doing dishes after hosting a party. Because of this I decided to create a cost friendly, paper product table scape… with a presentation that will make your guests take a second look! I will go through each item numbered and share where I found them:

  1. The square white paper plates are so unique, sturdy, and simple! I just love them! The large ones can be found here and the small ones hereimg_7680
  2. The “placemat” is just a large piece of paper! Michaels or Hobby Lobby have good selections! img_7684-2
  3. The faux eucalyptus leaves were taken from a stem I had purchased from Hobby Lobby. img_7664
  4. The mini pumpkins are from Walmart. I bought a bag in the produce section…5 for about $2.50.img_7660
  5. I laid some fabric across my white table cloth to act as table runner. The fabric is from Walmart, $6.50 a yard. img_7675
  6. The wooden cutlery is from Michaels. I’m not sure how practical it is for cutting turkey, but I love the look  😉 img_7676
  7. I made the “I am thankful for” card and the name tag from navy blue and white card stock. I copied the font from a Pinterest picture! dsc_0090
  8. The wispy eucalyptus clippings are from my mom’s yard. They are my favorite! You could use whatever is in your yard or add some faux greenery. img_7682
  9. The napkins are good ol’ white paper napkins that can be tossed after dinner!
  10. The stainless napkin rings are from target. They are in the dollar section, a pack of 4 for $5. img_7684-2

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I hope this helps you as you plan for a dinner party! Paper products can look pretty too  🙂

P.S. As I was setting up this table my daughter did her own tablescape and I just have to share it! It is so precious  🙂 dsc_0127

Showing Hospitality

      Hosting lemon 2

      My parents were (and still are!) great examples in the area of opening their home. We constantly had people in our home, whether it was for Bible Studies, dinner, a hang out for our friends, etc. My mom loves serving and giving…and is very good at it. There are always multiple candles throughout the house, a yummy beverage served upon arrival, everything is nice and tidy, music in the back ground, a feast on the table, and the list goes on! She is pretty much a Christian Martha Stewart. This has made it feel “natural” to me to open our home, and I enjoy it.

      However, I have had to make some adjustment with hosting and having little ones, because prior to these adjustments, crazy mom would come out when I had people over. I finally realized I couldn’t be like my mom during this phase of my life. I would get irritated at my kids. My first priority, my family, got pushed aside as I was busy trying to tidy the house, light the candles, brew the coffee, turn on the music, set out some treats (ideally I would make something fresh but, that’s just ideal), all while trying to get the kids to finish breakfast, get some clothes on, nurse the baby, keep the toilet clean in the kids/guest bathroom… You get the picture. I was a stress case, and then would open the door and greet my friends with a big smile (sometimes fake). That’s not really a good example of showing hospitality to my kids. They probably dreaded when people came over! 
   
      It took me a while to realize that I needed to take a deep breath and just…let it go. I know, sounds simple, but sometimes it just takes that little revelation to realize a big change needs to happenSo maybe not every toy is put away, or the coffee hasn’t finished brewing, or my kids are only half dressed with breakfast dishes still in the sink. Does it matter? (I will say, I still light a candle to hide any dirty diaper smells 😉 )  And do you know why I think it was hard for me to make these changes? Because I had good intentions. I didn’t want a clean house and yummy treats just so people thought, “Wow, she has a clean house and yummy treats!” Part of the struggle is that I want to spoil those mama’s. I want them to walk in to a nice relaxing house, hand them a hot cup of coffee and let them enjoy a fresh homemade muffin while the kids play (ideally). I know from experience they probably didn’t get to finish their coffee and they *maybe* scarfed down their breakfast as they were rushing out the door. So, even with good motives, I had to adjust. It’s kind of like how you can be too busy with all good things…but you’re still too busy and need to cut back. Maybe instead of a warm homemade muffin it may just have to be something store bought, and sorry friends, but you might have to help yourself to the coffee! 
     
      I realized I couldn’t be a good mom, have a beautiful home cooked meal, and a perfectly clean house. So I’ve had to let go of the things that aren’t as important… and things are going much better! This way I can still be a good host, and a good mom. As much as I enjoy doing all the extra things, and its not bad  to do those things, I just can’t do it all in the season of life. One day I will though. One day, when my kids have fled the nest, I want to spoil those young mommas with littles at home!  😉 
     
      I want to share a passage from Romans thats a good read, even if you aren’t the Bible reading type.
Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is
good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be
lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient
in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always
be eager to practice hospitality. Romans 12:9-13 (NLT).
 Lets talk for a minute about the difference between hosting and hospitality in the dictionary. Hospitality is “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.” To be a host is to be “a person who receives or entertains guests at home or elsewhere.” Doesn’t the definition of hospitality seem so much more warm and welcoming?! The “friendly and generous”  embrace of guests, visitors, or strangers. My interpretation is that God wants us to invite anyone and everyone (well, within safe reason) over to our homes, to bless them, love on them, and welcome them with a warm smile and hug!!! 
     
      God said to “always be eager to show hospitality”. He wants a willing heart and a genuine smile to our guests, visitors, or strangers. Isn’t it sad to think that sometimes we could be missing out on blessing others because we are too worried about how things look?! So, if opening your home doesn’t come naturally for you or is nerve wracking…take a deep breath. Showing hospitality is not about presenting a perfect home, its about your heart. And let me tell you, if you are warm and welcoming to your guest…they won’t care about the bookshelves you didn’t dust. They will see a sweet spirit that has blessed them, and therefore, blessed God. That is what is truly important.
      Although showing hospitality isn’t about how perfect things are, its nice to prepare a little before having guests. There’s a balance with everything! If you feel at a loss where to begin, I have created 5 simple steps in quickly making your house look presentable.
1) Set out a pitcher of iced water and maybe add a few lemon slices or strawberries to the water…thats it. A little added touch can go along ways in making someone feel extra welcomed. I mean, don’t you feel like lemon slices in your water would make you feel like that?! Oh, I love putting straws out too, feels extra fancy and takes one second.

2) Put all the dishes in the sink, you don’t even have to do them, but have them stacked in the sink.

3) Remove clutter from the counter, or at least put it in a corner in a nice little pile (ha!).

4) Fluff the pillows on the couch

5) Quickly wipe down the toilet with a cleaning wipe (I leave some in the cupboard next to our toilet because…toddlers) and remove items from the bathroom floor. If you have kids, I also recommend possibly lighting a candle or spraying something fragrant in the bathroom  😯

And when your guest knocks on the door, open it with a smile and be your sweet self! I’m sure you will bless them. Now lets put this hospitality thing into practice! Pick a time this month and have someone over, whether its for some lemon water or dinner, whatever you feel comfortable with!

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Did these tips help? Does hosting come easy for you, or is it a stretch for you? What holds you back from having others in your home? Have you been thinking about this lately? I’d love to hear from you!