Archive | Family RSS feed for this section

A Crafty Superhero Party

19 Feb

As I mentioned last week, we had our very first kid birthday party for Jack over the weekend. We’ve gotten out of it for the last few years by going on a family weekend to Great Wolf Lodge, but now that Jack is in kindergarten he insisted on having a party.

Over the past few months, he’s been invited to his friend’s parties and we’ve done everything from going to a trampoline center to a place full of blow up houses. When it came time to plan Jack’s party… HOLY CRAP did I have some sticker shock. So, I did a little searching around and found a winner at Michael’s.

And before I go further, this is NOT a sponsored post. I just really enjoyed our experience at Michael’s and wanted to tell you all about it!

We have a brand new Michael’s that just opened up the road from us and they have their own craft party room available. They offer a “themed party” for $120 which covers a party for up to 8 guests and includes all the craft supplies needed, paper invitations and thank you notes, a party bag for the birthday boy, a team member to lead craft activities and use of their crafting classroom.

Of course, we wore our favorite superhero shirts…

I really liked that we could bring in our own food and paper goods without an upcharge. So, we ordered pizzas and cupcakes for everyone! And I mean EVERYONE. One of my pet peeves is when you go to a kid’s birthday party and there is only pizza for the kids – meanwhile the grownups are sadly drooling off in a corner. We got plenty of pizza for everyone to enjoy and also lots of extra cupcakes.

We went with a superhero theme and Michael’s provided the crafts: a superhero mask to conceal their true identities, as well as a cape, shield and belt!

Here are a few photos of the kid’s – masked so that their true identities are still secret:

Since it was a superhero party, I wanted to provide some superhero themed stuff for the goodie bags! We did a smaller version for Jack to take to school for his classmates, and then added in some extra candy to the version we gave out at the party.

Included in each: Superhero Sayings Bracelets, Superhero Stickers, Superhero Bubbles and Blue Treat Bags.

We had a great time at the party! Jack and the rest of the kids got all hyped up on cupcakes and basically ran around in their new superhero costumes. And the best part… I didn’t have to clean up the mess!


Disclosure: Pocketful of Joules is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

Like what you see? Share me with your friends!

Jack is 6!

15 Feb

Each year on Valentine’s Day when people are sharing their warm & fuzzies about their significant other, I think back to 6 years ago when I was in labor with Jack. I was at 31 ½ weeks of pregnancy and was desperately trying to keep the kid in my belly. But, my little lover boy was DONE with the whole cooking thing and wanted OUT.

So, on that Valentine’s Day I was sitting in my hospital bed waiting to get a second steroid shot in the hopes that Jack would be born with healthy lungs.

On February 15th at 5:45 am, Jack was born. He weighed 4 pounds, 15 ounces and was 18 inches long. We were able to hold him for about 5 minutes before he was moved to the NICU. You can read his birth story here.

Here we are about 2 minutes after I popped him out:

Jack stayed in the NICU until March 8th. Each day, I’d stare at him though the incubator window and hold his little hand. I was allowed to have him out for about 20 minutes a day, and I looked forward to those 20 minutes all day long.

Fast forward 6 years.

My preemie is 6 years old. So in honor of his birthday, here are 6 things about Jack:

#1 Jack loooooves his mommy. He loves to snuggle with me daily and yesterday morning asked me very formally if I would please be his Valentine.

#2 He had his first wiggly tooth and wiggled that thing daily for almost a month. It finally fell out last night, so he had his first Tooth Fairy visit on his birthday!

#3 Jack is having his very first kid’s birthday party this year. I’ll post all about it next week, but it will be a Superhero craft party and he’s super excited!

#4 Jack is OBSESSED with Legos. He has a huge bin of them on his art table and will sit there for over an hour building his inventions. His favorite TV shows to watch are Johnny Test, and Phineas and Ferb.

#5 Jack also loves pirates, treasure and traps. In fact, most days there is at least one trap somewhere in our house that Travis and I have to try not to trip over

#6 Current favorite foods are cheeseburgers, cheese-its, and marshmallows toasted over the indoor (or outdoor) fire.

Happy Birthday to my kiddo!

Like what you see? Share me with your friends!

The Lollypop Incentive

16 Jan

Back in the late-summer I started a new incentive program with Jack and it’s been working so well I wanted to share it with you. I call it the Lollypop Incentive… and it all started with a bag of old lollypops we had left over from potty training.

Every morning when I would go in Jack’s room to wake him up for school, he was THE WORST. There was so much whining and complaining that I would totally dread it each day. Inevitably in the midst of his whining, he would lie on the floor like a wet noodle and whine at me to get him dressed because he was too tiiiiiiiirrrrrreeeeed.

Rolls Eyes.
Another Sigh.

If I was super late for work, I’d do it. I’d just grab him like a baby and dress him so I could get out the door on time. Okay, who are we kidding… even ‘on time’ is still like 15 minutes late.

One morning I told him that if he got himself dressed, used the potty and brushed his teeth with NO help then he would earn a lollypop.

And it worked.

And it continued working for the next few days…until one morning he started with his limp noodle whining again and I said, “Sure, I’ll get you dressed! I’d love to have a lollypop today!” And BOOM he’d get up and earn that lollypop.

After he accumulated a bunch of lollypops I asked him if he wanted to trade them in. I made up a trade-in plan: 10 lollypops can be traded for a small toy, 15 lollypops can be traded for a medium toy and 20 lollypops can be traded for a large toy. Generally each lollypop is equal to about a dollar of spending money.

You guys, this may be the BEST idea I ever had!

It’s been about 5 months now and every single day Jack will get himself up and dressed for school with NO WHINING. I walk in his room to feed the fish (remind me why I’m the one who does everything for these stupid fish I didn’t want…?) and tell him it’s time to wake up. Then I go downstairs to make his breakfast, start my coffee, walk the dog and blend my shake without fighting with him.

Let me tell you how great it is to NOT have to scream and yell first thing in the morning!

He keeps his stash of earned lollypops in our car cup holder and is in charge of whether he wants to eat a lollypop or save it up to trade in. Sometimes he even shares lollypops with his daddy or friends, knowing that it will take him longer to save up.

And me? Well I’m happy to pay $15 a month for mornings without whining. Bonus points for being only slightly late to work and teaching Jack the value of saving/spending something he values.

Do you have an incentive plan for your kid to get moving in the morning?

Like what you see? Share me with your friends!

Revisiting 2017: Top Family Posts

26 Dec

With the year coming to a close, I thought I’d take this last week of 2017 to revisit some of my most popular posts from the last 12 months. So join me in checking out my most popular Family posts… maybe you missed them the first time around so it’s all new to you!

This Morning
The one where Jack made me late to work because he couldn’t decide which pair of underpants to wear.

Losing our Last PopPop
My last grandparent passed away this year, so this was a goodbye to my last PopPop.

Nap Time is My Favorite
Jack stopped napping in the fall, so I already miss those days of family naps.

The Day I Forgot Jack’s Coat
Call me a bad mommy if you want, but he survived.

We Couldn’t Have Done it Without Mimi & Dippy
My mom and dad (or Mimi and Dippy, according to Jack) have been there every step of the way!

I hope you enjoyed looking back at some of my favorite posts. Tomorrow I’ll be posting my Top Fashion posts and then on Thursday you’ll get my Top Random posts of 2017!

Like what you see? Share me with your friends!