Easy DIY Gift Card Holder: Thanks a Latte!

Thanks a latte

I was searching for a fun and meaningful Christmas gift idea for my son’s preschool teachers, and I came across this creative way to package a gift card. I found the printable HERE and printed them on white cardstock as 5×7 pictures. Then I visited my local Starbucks and picked up a few gift cards and cup holders (that part was FREE!).

thanks a latte gift

I added  some festive ribbon to finish them off. That’s it…super easy! I also helped my son make a homemade card for his teachers by dipping his thumb in green paint and making a Christmas tree out of his thumbprints. I wish I would have snapped a few pictures because it turned out precious! Just another simple idea.

Do you have any creative gift ideas like this that you enjoy giving to teachers, co-workers, neighbors, friends, and so on? I always love hearing and seeing new ideas!

Merry Christmas!



Thomas and Friends Themed Birthday Party

Thomas Display

Oh my how time goes quick—I can’t believe I have a 3-year old! Last month we celebrated my son’s 3rd birthday and it was lots of fun. For his 1st birthday we did a theme based off of Eric Carle’s book “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”, for his 2nd birthday we did a Construction theme, and this time around we did a Thomas and Friends theme.  Several months prior to my son’s birthday I started thinking of different themes that he might enjoy for his party. I narrowed it down to Thomas and Dr. Suess (Cat In The Hat) because he enjoys both of those things. I asked him several times which he would prefer and each time his response was the same:

“Can I have a Thomas party, and a Percy party, and a Diesel party, and a James party, and a Gordon party pleasssssssssssssse!”

So we went with the Thomas theme! 🙂

Like his past parties, this was a fun one for me to plan…

mama and bday boyHere’s the birthday boy himself all grown up and I’m one proud mommy!

Thomas Invite2I looked online for invitations but my budget didn’t like the upscale prices so I decided to create my own. I used PicMonkey to create these invitations and yes it took a little time, but they were much friendlier on my budget. I printed them off as 4×6 prints at my local Costco for 14 cents an invite—super thrifty way to do invites if that’s your thing! CLICK HERE for the blank version of the invite without all the wording.

door signOur guests were greeted with this colorful door sign. Again, something I made using PicMonkey.

Happy Bday SignI also designed this Happy Birthday sign using PicMonkey—in case you can’t tell I’m a HUGE fan of PicMonkey 😉 because there’s a free version and it’s very user friendly!

Choo ChooI printed each part of the sign off on card-stock. Then came the tricky part because I don’t have one of those nifty circle cutters (and I should have spaced the circles out a little more). I used a large coffee mug to trace a circle around each letter/picture and then I hand cut each circle. Then I made 2 hole punches at the top of each circle and weaved some blue ribbon through to make my sign. There are printables for this sign at the bottom of the post! You will just need some white card-stock.

Birthday CrossingI made this birthday crossing sign with supplies I already had at home: cardboard, acrylic paint, and a wooden stick. I stuck it in one of our flowerpots in the backyard (our first year having a backyard for a birthday party so I was thrilled about that!).

Table displayI used a light blue and red theme to decorate. I found the little railroad crossing signs on PBS’s website and I glued them onto cake pop sticks. PBS’s site has some other fun printables too. I found some of the other Thomas decor at my local party store.

pom pomsTo add a little pop of color I made some red and blue poms which I hung from the chandelier and also displayed on the table. Find the tutorial for how to make them HERE. They are so fun!

postersI made 2 posters of pictures from my son’s past year. I made a label for the top which said, “Choo Choo, look at me when I was 2!” I laminated them and posted them on the wall for our guests to enjoy. Great keepsakes that he will probably enjoy seeing again when he’s older ;).

Front food train frontLooking around on Pinterest, I saw this cute idea for a food train and I knew I wanted to do something like it. I found several examples where people used black tape to create a train track (great idea)—but once I saw the price of black tape I decided to go a different route. I bought a piece of black poster board and used it to create the vertical part of the track. Then I used some jumbo Popsicle sticks that I already had for the horizontal bars. I used bread size foil tins for the cargo carts and I used Oreo cookies for the wheels (stuck on with peanut butter). They got filled with fruit, veggies, etc. It was a cute and organized way to display some of the food!

Back food trainA back view of the train.

Food DispayNot sure all the food was out at this point but here’s another view of the main food spread.

Birtday CakeWhat party would be complete with out a cake?! I’m a baker at heart so I usually go the homemade cake route. My sister-in-law makes awesome cakes and she was kind enough to let me borrow some of her cake stuff so I could pull-off a cake like this. I learned from past years that’s it’s too much work to make a homemade cake and also to make a bunch of homemade party food. So I choose to make the cake and opted for things like pre-made sandwiches and fruits and veggies that I could cut up the night before. This was a more stress-free way to go—it only took me 3 years to figure that out!

waiting for his cakeMy sweet boy eagerly awaiting his cake…

cake yeah I’m not sure that I’ve ever met a kid that enjoys singing “Happy Birthday” as much as my son does. He gets so excited about this part of birthday celebrations! He clapped and yelled “Yay!!!” after we finished singing to him.

cut cakeMy son is a chocolate fan so I went with a chocolate cake with a butter-cream frosting.

Baggage ClaimFor party favors I set up a baggage claim station and I found the tags for the “baggage” on Passion for Savings. There’s some more free printables there as well.

with daddyWith Daddy post-party. I’d say we had a wonderful time celebrating this special boy Chugga Chugga Choo Choo style!

Printables for Happy Birthday Sign:

Birthday Sign 1

Birthday Sign 2

Birthday Sign 3

Birthday Sign 4

Birthday Sign 5

Choo Choo

# Three

Thomas & Friends

Party Planning Tips:

  • Plan Ahead! Start looking for ideas a few months ahead of time.
  • Keep a running record of party ideas as you find them. Utilize places like Pinterest, other Blogs, etc. to find ideas.
  • Take advantage of FREE printables. Several websites and blogs offer printables that you can download for free and print at home.
  • Start making decorations a month or two in advance. This will make things a lot more stress-free closer to party time.
  • Save some money by shopping for things like tablecloths and plastic ware at places like the dollar store or the $1 spot at Target.
  • Make a Food Menu and be realistic. A combination of homemade food and pre-made food is a good medium.
  • Prep food and hang decorations the night before the party.
  • Most of all Have fun and enjoy party day!



(C) 2014 Pocketful of Motherhood, All Rights Reserved.

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DIY Tissue Paper Poms

Display Poms

I’m a DIY sort of girl—so when it came time to plan my son’s 3rd birthday party recently I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to us my creative side! One of the decorations I made were these tissue paper poms. I think they are SO much fun. You can hang them from the ceiling, display them on the wall, use them as table decorations, and so on.  I did I little searching on Pinterest and found several tutorials for how to make them. You save pennies making them versus buying them 😉 and that’s the direction I wanted to go.

Here’s what I did:

tissue paper poms 001

I got two packages of tissue paper (light blue and red because that was the color theme for my son’s party).  I made a total of  6 poms with two packages of 99 cent tissue paper (3 blue, 3 red). The tissue paper I used came in packages of 6 sheets, but the number of sheets per package varies among different brands.

tissue paper poms 003

I started by unfolding a package of paper…


Then I folded the 6 sheets of tissue paper accordion style.  The length determines the size of the pom. You could just make one big pom but I decided I wanted some little ones too (and I wanted to get more than just one pom out of a package of paper)—so I cut the paper.

2 pieces

I cut my paper in two, making a shorter piece and a longer piece.

6 inch piece

I set aside the longer piece. Then I unfolded the shorter 6 inch piece and cut it in two pieces.


Then I refolded each piece, making the fold a little smaller this time.

ready to assemble

Once I was done with all the cutting and folding I ended up with a long piece and two shorter ones.

pipe cleaners

Next I used some pipe cleaners that I already had in my craft supplies. The tutorials I read said to use floral wire or jewelry wire, but I didn’t have either and it was a lot thriftier to use what I already had on hand. I looped a pipe cleaner around the middle of each tissue paper bundle and twisted it to secure it place. I was a little nervous that the pipe cleaner would show through since it’s thicker than just a thin wire but it hides just fine. If you plan to hang them from the ceiling you can cut the pipe cleaner down and attach some ribbon so that it hangs nicer—that’s what I did.

tissue paper poms 018

Then I rounded the ends of each tissue paper bundle using a pair of scissors.

making them

Then I worked with one tissue paper bundle at a time, fanned it out a little, and pulled back a piece of tissue paper at a time. I pulled half the paper one direction and half the paper the other direction to make an even ball shape. The paper can rip easily since it’s so thin so it takes a little patience.

finished product

Mine ended up looking like this. Cute don’t you think?!

all three2

As mentioned earlier, I made 1 big pom and 2 little poms out of one package of tissue paper. You can adapt things depending on what size of poms you want.

tissue paper poms finished

These tissue paper poms are an inexpensive and easy way to brighten up an area and add a pop of color. They are nice for birthday parties, baby or bridal showers, other celebrations, or even for hanging from the ceiling of a kids room.

Here’s a little sneak peak of how I used the little ones as table decorations for my son’s birthday party this past week-end…

sneak peek poms

In case you can’t tell, we did a “Thomas the Train” theme and it was so much fun! Be sure to keep your eyes open for an upcoming post about that (hint hint 😉 ).  So give them a try and come back and post pictures (on my Facebook Page) of how you used them in a creative way. I would love to see!