Thursday, August 21, 2014

Planning a Cowgirl Birthday Party!

My little Cowgirl is turning 3 years old!

I am beyond emotional and in complete denial that my 1st born baby girl is turning 3 years old on August 26th. It really does seem like yesterday that I was pregnant in the absolute hottest summer in Texas history (no joke). Josselyn Grace Alcala never ceases to amaze me. Her spunk, creativity, charisma, joy & love for life blow my mind every day. She truly encompasses everything beautiful and words can not even begin to describe the depth of love I have for that girl. Well enough of the sappy mommy talk lets to get to the party details! I know I say this every time, but this time around I really did keep the party SIMPLE. If you were expecting one of my over the top parties like Josselyns's  An Under the Sea Mermaid Party! or An Abby Cadabby Birthday Party or Julianna's A Circus Birthday Party then I am afraid you will be slightly disappointed. I will be completely transparent with you all....I feel like I am just trying to survive each and every day. I still have not gotten the hang of life with a 1 year old and 2 year old. Trying to chase after them, keep the house semi-clean, do laundry so John at least has underwear to wear to work and throw something in the crock pot so we do not starve is a job in itself! But of course that is just the beginning of what is on my overflowing plate. I run the women ministry at our church, I am a placement adviser with the Junior League of Collin County, I co-own a small styling company called Tres Chic, I work every Dallas Market as brand rep for Lindsey's Loft and now I am an Independent Distributor for It Works (with 30 Distributors on my Team)! I know I know something has to give (my husband tells me this every day) I am just trying to figure out what to let go of. Life is currently overwhelming and the thought of a party completely stresses me. However I love party planning (it is my favorite hobby next to shopping) so I was not going to let Josse's 3rd birthday slip by without some type of BASH so here is what I have planned....

Venue: August Birthdays are hard becasue they are in the middle of the scorching HOT summer!!! We have done a swim party the last 2 years and I just did not want to do another swim party. I love the ballroom in my moms neighborhood that we usually rent out, but we just did Juliann's birthday there in April and Josse's last 2 birthdays were there, along with her baby shower so I had to think a little outside the box. I began searching for venues (ones that had some type of room indoors) and my mom suggested this precious ranch called Story Book Ranch in McKinney. Now I know ranches are outside but this ranch has an adorable little town in the back that consists of historic buildings that were hand picked and delivered to the ranch to preserve them. As I toured the ranch I fell in love with the little authentic 1800's saloon! So Josse is having her 3rd birthday in the historical "walk in waddle out saloon" hahah.

Theme: It was pretty easy coming up with a theme since the party is going to be at a ranch in a saloon. I went with a cowgirl theme for my little cowgirl! Josse has LOVED horses, cowgirl hats & boots since she was a baby! She has a pair of red cowgirl boots she loves so much that YaYa has now bought them for her in 3 sizes! Although I naturally wanted to go with a pink & silver blinging cowgirl theme I decided to be a little more practical and go with more of a traditional red & blue theme since Josse has just as many little boy friends as little girl friends. I also already have tons of red bandanas, burlap, etc so I knew going this route would save me tons of $

Decorations: I kept telling myself that I didn't need to decorate since the saloon was already decorated western but of course I got on Pinterest and came up with a few ideas. Like I mentioned before I already own burlap, red bandannas, and mason jar vases so I figured I would just pack it all up and take it to the party and scatter it around when I get there! When I imagine the party I picture red bandannas, blue jean denim, hay bales & yellow sunflowers. so I am going to order some sunflowers and wildflowers to stick in all my glass vases & mason jars and voile I have my centerpieces. 

Paper-wear: I searched and immediately found red bandanna and denim paper-wear from Oriental Trading Co and that right there was a sign from God! 

Entertainment: I did not have the energy to come up with games, go all out decorating so I am literally going to set up the food and cake in the saloon where there are tables, chairs and air conditioning! And then we are going to have 2 pony's giving pony rides in front of the saloon, along with a little petting zoo and jump house for the kids. There will be plenty of activities outside for all the little cowboys & cowgirls and the adults can enjoy some food and drinks inside the air-conditioned saloon.

Food: There are so many great food ideas for a western themed party! I hopped on Pinterest and found tons and tons of adorable, delicious ideas. My problem was simply that I am trying to keep this birthday party simple and easy so I had to keep scrolling past a ton of the ideas I came across. This party is from 4pm-6pm so I want to do heavy appetizers so I am leaning towards: beef sliders, pigs in a blanket, quesadillas, howdy partner pasta salad, frontier fruit, farm veggies & some drinks from the water hole.

Cake: I say this every party but I am not a huge cake person. I would rather have a table full of fun desserts vs a big cake. Unfortunately my daughter the birthday girl Josselyn does not agree. Anytime someone asks her what she wants for her birthday her reply is simply 2 words "BIRTHDAY CAKE" And she is dead serious. A party is not a party to Josse without CAKE. So cake we shall eat! I sent these 2 pictures (from Pinterest) to the cake decorator I use "Sweet Life Cakery". I can not wait to see what she designs.

Desserts: Although we are having a cake I still love having a few other sweet treats. I found tons of ideas on Pinterest so I may have to have Tintas Cattering make a treat or two.  I am loving the smores pops and hay bales on a stick!

Party Favors: Since I throw rather large parties and there could be anywhere from 15-30 kids and probably an additional 20-30 adults. I have to keep the party favors simple or I will get completely overwhelmed and the cost will add up like crazy! I decided to just do cowgirl/cowboy hats for the kids from Oriental Trading Co & some Happy Trails trail mix for the rest of the guests.


Outfits: I love finding cute outfits for my girls! I always do a special personalized birthday girl outfit as well as a matching sister outfit. Etsy is my favorite place to go to find cute custom shirts/onesies and once again I was not disappointed! I love to do shirts with my girls names on them as well as the birthday girls number. This time I decided to change up the bottoms from the years past! I normally do a tulle tutu or peti-skirt for the birthday girl but I came across this precious Esty shop "Hattie Mae" and they do denim/peti-skirts and I knew this would be perfect, as well as a little more practical for a ranch style party!

Invitations: I waited until the last minute to order invitations so I could not have our usual fabulous graphic designer create them but luckily I did find some pretty adorable western themed ones on Etsy! I also ordered the foods cards, thank you's & welcome sign from "Impressions Paperie" as well.

Well there you have it... my party planning vision board for Josse's 3rd Cowgirl Birthday Party! I still can not believe my little cowgirl is going to be three but you you better believe I am savoring every last day of her precious two's. Stay tune for all the party pictures! I will be posting them sometime next week after our big RODEO! Wish me luck...I still have so much to do.

My precious 2 year old

 Happy Trails until we meet again...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Bye Bye Thumb-sucking

Julianna is no longer a Thumb-sucker...

My 1st born Josselyn was what you would call a difficult, spoiled, NEEDY baby! She would only fall asleep if she was rocked BOUNCED to sleep (John, my mom & I all had to go see the chiropractor!) She refused bottles until she was 9 months old (I felt like a milking cow 24/7), she hated pacifiers & never sucked her thumb. Night times were a battle and all I knew was that the 2nd time around I was not going to bounce, rock, or nurse my baby to sleep every nap/bed time and I was going to insist that baby #2 took a bottle & pacifier! I had learned my lesson the first time around and I was definitely going to do a few things different the second time.

Baby Julianna was born 19 months after Josselyn was born and boy did I do things different! I totally know that Jewel has a more calm, laid back, personality then Josselyn. However, I still made sure to do a few things different. Jewel slurped down a bottle of pumped milk from the start, she was never bounced to sleep; we was just laid her down in her crib for naps & bed times. I gave her pacifier from the day she was born and she used that to fall asleep for the first 6 months.

Well... around 6 months old Jewel decided she was over the pacifier and instead she wanted her thumb! I tried pulling it out when she stuck it in during the day but I didn't really know how to prevent her from sucking it to fall asleep at nap time & bed time. It was right about this time that my now 2 year old Josselyn decided to start boycotting naps and refusing to go to sleep at night without a huge temper-tantrum. I just didn't have the energy to fight 2 babies so I just let Jewel suck her thumb to fall asleep. I could only handle 1 crying baby at night. Whenever I laid Jewel down for nap/bed she would take her thumb stick it in her mouth, roll to her side & fall right asleep without making a peep!

After Jewel turned 1 year old this past April I started to wonder how I was going to break her of her thumb sucking habit. She only sucks it when it's time to go asleep but I always hear these horror stories about kids who are 5+ years old still sucking their thumb and I would hate for her to have a habit that is hard to break later in life. Although it crossed my mind I was not too terribly concerned until we went to her 15 month check-up last week!

I had noticed that Jewel's thumb was not only callused from sucking it but it started to look raw. She had what looked like a hickey at the end of it and it was peeling pretty bad. When I showed the doctor he said that it was infected & swollen bad (I felt like the worst mom ever for not knowing it was infected!!!) He wrote us a prescription for antibiotics and told me to order some stuff to put on her finger nail called Mavala Stop. We had tried the over the counter Thum liquid from Walgreens but Jewel would just whimper while she sucked it off and then continue sucking her thumb once she sucked the stuff off. We figured we would give this new stuff "Mavala Stop" a shot so we went home and ordered it online from Amazon.

Let me just say that MAVALA STOP worked!!!! It is the nastiest tasting stuff I have ever tasted. We put it on Jewel's thumb nail and after tasting it once she never again put her thumb in her mouth. Now I will be honest it was heart breaking having her cry each night for the past week during nap time & bed time. I had to rock her to sleep every night because she was so distraught about not being able to suck her thumb (her thumb was her comfort). In a crazy way it was probably good that her thumb was infected because I think I would have just used nail polish remover and taken the awful Mavala Stop off her thumb and let her suck it if I wasn't so worried about her infected thumb. But the good news is my thumb sucker is no longer a thumb sucker (even though that kinda makes me sad! lol)  But I know in the end it is better for the habit to be broken now instead of when she is 5 or 6 years old.

She seemed pretty happy to have an infected thumb!

This crazy stuff not only worked for Jewel's thumb but John decided to put it on his finger nails because he has had a nasty nail biting problem for 20+ years that he has never been able to break it! For the first time since he can remember he has not bit his nails in over a week. He said it tastes so nasty he doesn't even lick his fingers when he is eating haha.  So if you want to break the habit of thumb sucking or nail biting then I strongly recommend you trying out Mavala Stop (click to purchase).

So we have one less thumb sucker and one less nail biter in the Alcala household. Now if we could only figure out how to get our almost 3 year old to start sleeping through the night we would be in great shape (but that's a another blog post of its own)

So bye bye thumbs & bye bye nail biting...