Sunday, September 22, 2013

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

We have almost finished up party season! The boys have had their teenage mutant ninja turtle party and it was a success! They enjoyed every moment. Bob has already said next year all the kids have one large group party. Sounds good to me. I love parties and I am partied out. We hosted the boys' party at a nearby park. I am so glad i did. That really cut down on the stress since I didn't have to worry about the mess before or after. (We of course picked up the park before we left.) We ordered pizza and I made fruit and cupcakes. Easy peasy. Once again, I ordered custom invitations on esty. The design is super cute but the guy was pretty slow so no recommendations on that one!

I saw the balloon idea on pinterest. I just ordered green balloons and wrapped each one with crepe paper to make the masks. The kids thought they were great. I mostly bought pre-made decor. I typically try to steer clear feeling like I save money avoiding it but the tablecloth, loot bags and napkins were worth the few bucks they cost. Ollie was so excited about the tablecloth. I mean really if my kids is going to get that excited over $2. I'll do it. I also bought the happy birthday sign. Once again, worth it. I think sometimes in a quest to save money, I spent more and stress my self out trying to do it myself!

A neighbor and friend of mine spent the good part of Friday helping me decorate about a million cupcakes. I was really pleased with how they turned out. I made two slightly bigger cakes for the boys so I could fit all their candles in them. The kids thought they were great so once again, I think they were worth the effort and honestly, they were really easy. I was excited to find the candy eyes in the baking aisle in target. They made this so, so much easier!

In July, my mom and I spent a day sewing masks as party favors for all the kids. I was able to make four out of two sheets of felt. The felt was $.50/sheet and then I bought elastic. I think each mask cost about $0.30. I noticed not many of the girls took them but the boys loved them!

 I stressed over the pinata. I really wanted one but! Have you priced them? Twenty-five dollars without candy. Now this was a teenage mutant ninja turtle but geez. I called Bob. He said, "Let's do it!" I said, "Who are you and what have you done with my husband?"  Lol. IT was worth it. It was no stress and the kids really had a great time. Plus, every one got a bunch of candy and who doesn't love candy?  The other game was a ninja star game. Bob said, "Oh yeah, I know how to fold those." I think he forgot and the poor guy spent a good hour folding them. The game was ok. The kids just whipped them into baskets.

Other than the two games, the kids spent most of the time beating each other with sticks. So that was fun...I'm looking forward to next year!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Elenora Jade's 1st Birthday!

For those of you who don't know me, I LOVE PARTIES! I used to be a children ministry director and one of my favorite parts of the job was event planning. Back then, I was lucky enough to have a whole team of folks who helped me. So now, I'm on my own! Well I do have a very creative and helpful husband, mother and sister. Esty comes in handy as well. I decided almost a year ago that Nora would have an Alice in Wonderland party for her first birthday. I've always loved that story!

 I harassed Bob about creating and invitation for me and then I discovered that you can buy a custom invitation for under $10. They send you a file and you print them yourself. Bob will tell you the $10 was worth it! Look at these darling invitations from nickeldesign. She was quick and wonderful to work with.
I bought 4 sets of fake flowers at the dollar tree and a bag of googly eyes. I created the living flowers. I borrowed a few tea pots from a dear friend and my mom dug out the ones she saved from my wedding. Such cute and easy decor. I have a few sets of china (one of mine, one that was my godmothers and one that is my grandmother-in-laws). I pulled out a few cups and saucers and printed little tags that said, "move down!" 

 Drink me! and Eat Me! are such an important part of Alice's story. I made "drink me" labels for all the drinks. I bought bottles. I really wanted to buy glass bottles but the cheap part of me won out. It was just so spendy! I made the cupcakes from a box (gasp- oh the horror) and the frosting from a can. I pulled out my decorating bag and tips and wrote "eat me" on each one. Then ollie decided to add sprinkles. They were quite as I had hoped but still cute!
Off with their heads! The queen of hearts. Gotta love her, right? I went to Hobby Lobby and found a rose mold for $1.99. I picked up the meltable candy and went to work. I put just a little red in the bottom and then poured in the white to get that painted white rose look. I had the canister tucked away in a box. I bought a set of cards for $1 at the dollar tree. I also picked up the powder blue table cloth, white table cloth and the plates. Such a great store!

My mom sewed this darling dress for Nora. I just love it! It is perfect for Alice in Wonderland. I ordered a petticoat and got her some like black leather shoes. I'm so thankful for such a talented mom!

The party was pretty low key. Unfortunately, several family members were suffering from the stomach flu and couldn't make it. I'm thankful Nora is too young to notice their absence. Nora got many wonderful gifts including her own copy of Alice in Wonderland, a charm bracelet with a heart charm (represent the queen of hearts) and a jewelry ox to keep it in. She also received some great toys and clothes. We are thankful for the blessings!

 I love having a girl! Bob has decided next year that the kids will have one giant party for family and friends. So I'm already trying to come up with a theme for that will be pleasing to both the boys and my little princess!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Nothin' Fancy

I've recently become very terrible about blogging. I've also become very terrible about making (great! fun! messy! spectacular!) activities for my kids. At church, we always talk about "seasons" as in "right now aint nobody got time for that!" Parenting can definitely be like that. At the end of the day, I'm too tired to plan and I'm desperate for some alone time with my love so I've stopped scouring pinterest, stopped raiding the dollar tree and stopped our scheduled "school time." I just want to play with my kids. I just want to love them and be spontaneous and do whatever!

Recently, we were outside in our ginormous sandbox. It technically used to be a patio but when we pulled up the uneven brick there was sand. Voila! The boys have drug out many dinosaurs and prehistoric mammals. We decided to create a prehistoric planet! The boys really enjoyed this. We made a pond, put up some vegetation and placed our animals. The kids worked on this for a long time until Dawsonator decided to destroy it. (sigh) Poor Ollie!

It made for a fun hour together. I've decided to embrace our freedom this summer. Starting in the fall, we'll be officially homeschooling and there will be much more planning involved. Right now, I'm just going to enjoy these three wonderful blessings of mine!

Ollie decided to put a super Croc in our pond! 

Our giant ground sloth says, "Hello!"

Ollie planting more trees for our herbivores

Dawson is surveying the scene, trying to decide where to place the velociraptor. 

Here's my sweet little miss!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Dedication Day

This past Sunday was a very special one for our little lady. She was dedicated at church. at our church, we don't do infant baptism. We wait for them to make the decision to be baptized. Instead we do a dedication. A dedication is simply saying that our child belongs to God and that we pledge to raise our child in the way that the Lord calls us to. We had lots of family come to church with us and Nora had a party after which she slept through. I took no pictures at her party. Luckily, my SIL took pictures during the dedication. WE got out the camera after everyone left!

She's such a joy! We are thrilled to have her and look forward to teaching her all about her Savior who loves her. Below is a video I made for her. I played it at our party after church.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Bah Bah Blogging

So I've begun to get very down on myself about my infrequent blogging and my infrequent house cleaning, and my infrequent fun activities that make a big mess-ing. Truth is, I am slam worn out at the end of the day and although I get up early to get things done in the morning, I barely get through my quiet time before Little Miss is up.

My days are filled with lots of joy and lots of challenges. You see these two sweet little angels?

You wouldn't know it by their faces, but they are ruthless! We've recently started fighting. I don't mean "Waahhh. Mom he took my toy!" fighting. I mean " IM GONNA PUNCH YOU IN THE BACK AND PULL YOUR HAIR UNTIL YOU GIVE ME THAT," fighting. Lovely, huh? It seems when I ask my friends about this none of their kids are doing this. Apparently, I either really suck or my boys had some aggressive gene implanted after being abducted by aliens. And then there is this:

Seriously, the easiest baby ever born. It's good thing to because when they aren't fighting. Middle man is doing things like this:

and when he's not doing that 
he's ripping pages from library books
coloring in them with sharpies
coloring my windows with chapstick
dumping the folded laundry and swimming in it
coloring the piano with chalk
dumping milk on the table and smashing the play-doh into it
smearing peanut butter on himself and getting in my bed.

Oh yes my friends this is the short list and it only takes two minutes (like about the amount of time it takes to change a diaper). And I think all of those things happened yesterday. Usually, Ollie comes running and says, "Mom, come see what Dawson did." (Sigh- in my head there may be some profanity)

Now don't get me wrong, I love him dearly and you know sometimes the tough ones are really neat people. He's funny and charismatic and absolutely adorable but he will be the one to make me look old. 

My children are a blessing from the Lord. I am very thankful for them. I look forward to laughing about their antics when I am old although I do not look forward to them growing up! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Easter is the BEST holiday. I really wanted to make sure that my kids felt that way, too. Easter is about the risen Savior and because of that we all are offered life eternally if we choose to accept it. I know some people feel like coloring eggs, doing egg hunts and Easter baskets take away from the point of Easter. I feel like they make it exciting. As my children grow, we will continue to emphasize the point of this special holiday and while they are little we will have lots of fun celebrating.

Almost every day during the two weeks leading up to Easter, we did an egg hunt and yes I put things into the eggs. Usually only 1 fruit snack or small piece of candy. I hid about 12 eggs (6 for each). During this time, my kids learned something amazing--how to help the under dog. They very quickly began to give an egg to the other if they found two in a row. When we had a hunt at Grandma and Grandpa Gray's house, I couldn't have been more proud. They didn't run and push each other or their cousin out of the way, instead they shared. They often gave away eggs even if they had less then their family members. LOVE IT!

A few years ago, after Easter, I purchased a set of resurrection eggs. I bought them 75% off after Easter. They have been a fabulous investment. So for 12 days leading up to Easter, we opened an egg and told the story of Jesus. We read from the Bible and then prayed using our prayer cards (after Christmas I kept all of our Christmas cards and put a ring thru them). Some days, I had lots of activities and some days that is all we did.

The first egg contains a donkey to remind us of Jesus triumphant entry into Jerusalem. After reading this story, we made these darling donkeys and hand prints out of our hands and feet that I found on Catholic Icing.

The second egg has coins to remind us that Judas betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. This day we talked about money. Each child got a few quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies. We reviewed their names and value. I helped Ollie count the value of several coins together. Dawson and I spent time simply counting them and reviewing their names.

A few eggs later, we opened up a crown of thorns. My children made crowns from playdoh and toothpicks. Rolling playdoh into a snake to create a crown is quite good for motor skills!

After the crown of thorns, we opened a cross made of nails. We talked about how we belonged on that cross but Jesus took our place. I illustrated this by giving the kids a block of wood, nails and a hammer. First, I placed my hand on the wood and placed the nail there. Then, instead we replaced my hand with a heart and the boys nailed them on.

We had great fun after when we opened the egg with a piece of white fabric in it that reminded us that Jesus was wrapped in linens and placed int he tomb. I got out a roll of toilet paper and we wrapped each other up. Then we ripped it up and threw it all over the house!

As I said earlier, I do Easter baskets and that is because I feel like God gave us a great gift and I want to give great gifts to my kids. We do not however do the Easter bunny. This year I found this fabulous idea. I like that the baskets relayed a message. So the night before Easter, I sat down with my kids with a small pile of rocks. I placed their baskets on the floor and asked them what sin is. They did not know. So after defining sin as the bad things we do that don't please God. We started talking. We talked about how taking a toy away is stealing and I wrote, "stealing" on a rock. I placed it in one of their baskets and said, "Just one sin is enough to be sent to hell because the Bible says, 'The punishment for sin is death' but the good news is
Jesus loves you so much that he took your place." Then we wrote things like selfishness, hurting your brother, not putting God first on rocks and I repeated the same thing over and over. Next we placed a red piece of fabric over the baskets. The red fabric represents Jesus' blood that he shed on the cross. We left them there until morning. When my kids got up and peeled back the fabric, they did not find rocks but gifts because we Jesus died for us he took away those sins and leaves us the best gift--eternal life but we have to choose to accept it. I hope that if you haven't made Jesus your Savior, that you do! Happy Easter! It's something we should celebrate each and every day!