Monday, April 14, 2014

Chick's Belated Birthday Party.

The party wasn't belated, just the blog post.

A couple of months ago, Chick had a birthday party!  And I've finally organized the photos and am ready to blog about it!  I know, miracles never cease.



Anyhow, the theme was an Ice Cream Parlor party.  I think everyone had a good time (how can you not, when ice cream is involved?). 



Everything went fairly smoothly, which is always thanks to my friends who stay to help-- Shannon (who also helped with Monkey's last party, and who helped a lot when Owl and Otter were born...do you see the pattern with Shannon?  She's super sweet and super helpful.  And generally cool, as an added bonus) and Kendra (One of my favorite friends...she took 99% of the pictures from the party, oh thank you thank you, Kendra!!!!!)




All of the kids got a t-shirt (with a custom "Chick's Ice Cream Parlor" logo on it), and they decorated and constructed their own soda jerk hats.



We played some games--
"Chocolate, chocolate, nuts" (same as duck, duck, goose)
"Pin the cherry on the ice cream cone"



and a game where everyone had a paper cone and had to try to catch an ice cream scoop (tissue paper pom-pom) in their cone.



(The final three...)


And there was a photobooth with props.  Chick specifically wanted one, and it was definitely a fun feature.














 





And an ice cream sundae bar, with Italian soda fixins.  And mustache straws, which was another of Chick's requests for the party.  (I don't seem to have any pictures on here of the mustache straws in action, and I don't have time to go hunt for one...but they were cute).


 


(Ice cream sundae toppings were: cones, cookie bowls, brownie chunks, nuts, bananas, chocolate chips/M&M's, oreo bits, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, strawberry sauce, whipped cream, sprinkles, maraschino cherries.  And ice cream, of course.  Mostly the kids just wanted cones with ice cream and maybe whipped cream on top...I could have saved myself a lot of prep work, but the table wouldn't have been nearly as fun-looking!  Plus the leftovers were tasty.)
 
(Italian soda flavors were: cherry lime, white chocolate, and raspberry.  My fave was cherry lime!)





 


 


Decorations were 95% label stickers stuck on everything in sight, ha ha!  I also had hanging tissue paper pom-pom ice cream cones, and sewn ruffle streamers (the streamers were reused from past parties).  And some white strand lights. 

I reused the striped "awnings" from Monkey's Madeline party, and I made a bunting to string across the fireplace (it will be a permanent decoration in Chick's room when I redecorate it).




 



The favors were in little ice cream containers.  They had colored pencils, and little ice cream cone notebooks in them, along with ice cream erasers, stickers (with the logo, OF COURSE), and a pack of gum.  My awesome visiting teachers, Jen and Karen, helped to assemble the notebooks.  They were such lifesavers.  I really am lucky to have such great friends.  I also have a great Mom who watched the kids on the day before the party so that I could set up!






The gang. 



And here is a picture of her birthday lunch.  I had to document it because it is the first and LAST time that I will make rainbow bread.  Seriously, what a hassle.  And the kids weren't even thrilled with the taste.  But it was at least a fun-looking lunch.  (And now Monkey is looking at the picture and saying that she wants that kind of bread for her next birthday...really?!)



Happy (belated) 7th, sweet Chickadee!






Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Journey to Jerusalem



Back in January I got to help plan and carry out our ward's Young Women's New Beginnings meeting.  The theme was "Journey to Jerusalem."  We wanted to pick a theme that went well with the 2014 Young Women's theme: Come Unto Christ.  Here are some pictures...  it was super fun!



These were the invitations...but they were printed and then soaked in cinnamon apple tea and balsamic vinegar.  When they dried they were crinkly, browned, and spicy-smelling.




We kept the refreshements simple and themed... lemon water, olives (which went on the silver plate), and an Israeli pastry called Hamentachen. 




We had big framed pictures of Christ as décor, as well as a few smaller framed pictures on accent tables...this picture is one that I altered in photoshop.  I used one of the photos from lds.org, but did some artistic filters because I wanted it to look like a painting rather than a photograph. 




One of our main decorations was this sheet that covered the front blackboard.  I hand-painted the 2014 theme scripture on it.  (It took me from 8pm-2am, but it was all fine...I was catching up on Downton Abbey.)




One of the take-home gifts for the girls were these luminaries.  I love how they turned out...so elegant but so easy to make!  I designed them on the computer and then just printed them on vellum.




Another gift for the girls were these framed pictures.  The idea for the pictures around the Christus statue was one that is floating around on pinterest.  I asked a talented friend (and niece-in-law!) from the ward to take the pictures, and she did such a great job!  (Thanks, Megan!).  It helps that the girls are all so beautiful and unique.  Anyhow, the frames were from the dollar store.  I love how the table looked!





We made lanterns out of empty jars-- the insides were dyed in value colors, and the outsides were decorated with gold puffy pens for glass.  I used some wire that was sitting around the house (it was actually too fine for this project, but it was the most convenient since I didn't have to go looking for something more suitable).  Then we just added LED tea light candles and hung them on the walls.



We draped value-colored sheets on the walls.  I wanted it to have a middle-eastern lounge feeling, so we borrowed ottomans, pillows, and rugs from people in the ward.  We also borrowed lamps and candles, so that we'd have a more intimate lighting that really added to the lounge-y atmosphere.



 
Here's the room with people in it, before the meeting started.
 

 
 


The program went well.  I had a great time planning and working on everything, and it turned out to be a beautiful night.

To finish, here's the 2014 theme song, which I absolutely LOVE.  We watched it as part of the program.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Welcome, 2014.

In the wee hours of the night, on the eve of a brand new year, I started this blog post. 

12/31/13

In a few minutes it will be a new year.  Of course, that means resolutions.  I've been thinking about mine for the past couple of weeks.

Last night for Family Home Evening we made New Year Resolution Collage Posters, which was something that I remember from my childhood and always loved.

Fox didn't make one...he didn't have any goals yet (though off the top of his head he said "to gain two pounds."

Moose didn't make one...he was too tired and had to go to bed early.

And of course Owl and Otter didn't make any, but they had fun climbing onto chairs and messing up my papers.

This is Chick's.  I love it.  Her goals are to learn more about the dangers of smoking, and to learn to cook (healthy food).




Monkey's is pretty awesome too...it isn't goals, but pictures that she thought were pretty. (I love the eyes on the face, lol!)




And mine.



I feel the need to declutter.  simplify.  unscheduled.  Focus on basics: family dinner, Family Home Evening, temple attendance, yelling less, choosing projects mindfully, date night, better bedtime & screen time, and prioritizing with the question "Will it truly benefit my family?"

:: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: :: ::

1/19/14
We are now 19 days into the new year.  And my days right now are something along this line,
"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAh, I'm so BUSY!"

It's actually not so bad, but not the slow, quality over quantity, prioritized, simplified, deliberate back to basics change that I had wanted.  But there is plenty of 2014 left : )  And things will slow down soon enough.

In the meantime, here is what I've been busy with:

An 8-week health challenge.  This is my third.  The first was with my SIL Katie and a bunch of her friends (and a couple of other family members).  I liked it so much that after a little break, my visiting teaching companion and a visiting teach-ee decided to start up another challenge.  That ended just in time for the holidays.  Hellooooo Halloween candy, and birthday cakes, and Thanksgiving pie, and Christmas, etc etc etc.  And Hello to all the pounds that I'd just lost on the challenge (and hello to a couple of newcoming pounds as well!).

I felt like I needed a boost to get back into healthy habits (after my crazy undisciplined hiatus through November and December), but I needed it to be a little more intimate (my friends started another challenge, but it was a lot of people this time, and I didn't know them all), and I needed it to be more accountable.  So I asked some family members, and we have a nice little group of eight...eight people who I will never be rid of, so what better accountability than that? ; )

Anyhow, it's going really well (we're only 1.5 weeks into it, but off to a great start), but it doesn't simplify my life because it's forcing me to make more time for exercise (which I needed anyhow...you'll notice on my poster that I have running pictures and "Energy" on there...that was a component of my year plan).  (I'm going to sign up for a 5k scheduled a couple of weeks after the challenge ends, so that I will have good incentive to keep with the healthy habits and exercise...after that I'll have to think of some other goal, since I'm not always the best at sustained self-discipline).

So that's one big thing so far this year.  Another is my awesome new calling.  Seriously, I'm thinking that it's the best one available!  I'm the Young Womens' Personal Progress Specialist.  Here is why it's awesome: 
  • I get to be in Young Womens for the first time, and it's fun and exciting. 
  • I get to work with the Personal Progress program, which I LOVED as a youth, and I think is a very important program for the girls. 
  • I get to organize data, make charts, keep track of stuff...and I do so love making lists! 
  • I get to teach occasional lessons and do occasional special activities, which I enjoy, but without having it be every week. 
  • I get to work with a great group of ladies, and get to know them better.
  • And, most important for this month, I get to plan New Beginnings!!!!! 

The youth theme for 2014 is "Come Unto Christ" so I picked a New Beginnings theme that I thought would enhance the year's theme:  Journey Into Jerusalem.  I'm thinking of draped fabrics (in Young Women value Colors, of course), rustic eastern décor, area rugs, ottomans and floor pillows, candle light (and some lamps so that it isn't tooo dark), a tulle and twinkle light ceiling, maybe some potted palms...actually, you can see some of my "inspiration" pictures on my pinterest board:  http://www.pinterest.com/paige1023/journey-into-jerusalem-new-beginnings/
The event is on the 28th, so next week.  I'll be busy getting ready for that this week.

As if that isn't fun-party-planning enough,  I'm also busy with gearing up for Chick's birthday party, which is in two weeks.  It's an Ice Cream Parlor theme.  It didn't get the time and attention that Monkey's fairy party did...it's a little unfair, but it's the difference of a birthday in November and a birthday in January...we all have to manage with the hand that we've been dealt, right?  So Chick's parties might not ever be as elaborate as Monkey's (but Chick is the oldest and will always get privileges that Monkey won't).  Anyhow, I digress.  It won't be crazy elaborate, but it will be fun and festive. The emphasis is on the graphic design elements.  I won't go too into it, but I will share with you her logo, which is being used on EV-ERY-THING.



Aside from the two parties and the 8-week challenge, there are my kids.

Keeping Owl alive.  Seriously...two days before Christmas she climbed out of a shopping cart and a little while later she threw up.  I took her to a walk-in clinic to have her checked.  Her head was fine, but they said that her x-ray showed that she had Pneumonia.  Then a couple of days later one of the kids accidentally knocked her down and she got a cut next to her eye...which resulted in a spectacular shiner.  And last week she fell and got a bruise above the same eye (though the shiner was already gone).  I think it's safe to say that she's my most accident-prone child.



Keeping Otter off the table and out of the toilet. 



My kids have been busy with all sorts of creative ventures lately.  This picture is Moose modeling a super long necklace that he made with pop-it beads (the kids all LOVE when I get those out...seriously, hours of fun every time.  The older girls are the same whenever I get out the Fashion Plates, which has also been used a lot in the past couple of weeks).



Yesterday Chick made a Barbie body out of a toilet paper roll (a Barbie got broken, but Chick saved the head, and then made a new body).  I didn't get a picture before a sibling ruined it.

This morning they were making hats for everyone...in the style of Mrs. Peters' birthday hat in the Seven Silly Eaters (one of our very favorite books).  They've always wanted to make a cake like in the story, and I just found a recipe on the author's website!  I can't wait to show them tomorrow.  Looks like we have a project to do!  Once we have the cake, we can all put on our hats and I'll get a picture of it to show you.  Such exciting stuff here at the animal house!

Other news, Monkey and Chick both learned to ride bikes!  On the same day (January 4th).  Monkey figured it out first, because she's less afraid and therefore more able to learn that kind of thing that requires a bit of physical risk.  Fox helped her a little, and she took to it right away.  Chick (who Fox has tried to help SEVERAL times) probably felt usurped, because then she spent the rest of the afternoon working on it, and after a while was able to show off her own two-wheeling skills!  (Monkey's picture is terrible...this was the best one of her).


 



I tried a new recipe last night:  Cauliflower Tots.  They were good, I'm going to try them with 1/2 breadcrumbs, 1/2 flax meal and broccoli instead of cauliflower next time. (because I am now out of cauliflower, but I have broccoli).

I've also been busy deciphering Monkey's notes.  She likes to write.  Here's the latest:



Lastly, we butchered Winner (as in Winner Winner Chicken Dinner) (and "we" as in mostly Mr. Fox butchered him).  He was a pretty nice rooster.  He tasted pretty good too...the kids didn't seem phased by it at all.



And I think that's it for us.  Just, you know, trying to keep up : )

Monday, December 16, 2013

Oh, you know, the usual...just trying to catch up (lots of pictures...you've been warned)

I think I neglected to post pictures of the 4th of July...

DSCN8606 (640x480)
 
DSCN8605 (480x640)
 
DSCN8618 (480x640)
 
DSCN8600 (640x480)
...and random pictures from the summer...

DSCN8583 (480x640)
She went to swimming lessons with a cape on.
 
 
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Uncle Mike's train is always a treat!
 
DSC_4012
Mr. Fox took the kids to a street fair and a new superhero was discovered.
 
DSCN9139
Ding Dong cake for my dad's birthday
(picture of him wouldn't upload...I tried several times)
 
DSCN9149
It was super delicious, but the white filling should have been even thicker
 
DSCN9175
A total goof with her own sense of style.
 
DSCN9179
Chick wore these boots for two years, I think.
I finally told her that they had to be thrown away.
Seriously, she cried in her room for half an hour.
 
DSCN9185
 
We got together with some of Fox's friends from his pre-marriage days.  Clearly they've been as busy as we have!  It was fun...the kids got to know each other running around the playground, and then we went for ice cream at Sub Zero (super awesome!)
 
DSCN9187
 
DSCN9194
 
DSCN9232
Otter learned to scowl, and did it often
but she seems to have outgrown that phase.
It was pretty funny while it lasted.
 
DSCN9274
The older three kids all took swimming lessons. 
Moose's was a parent assisted class (though in this picture he's with his teacher). 
He wasn't very willing to participate, and I regretted putting him in...
maybe he'll be more ready next year.
 
DSCN9318
It was a Loooooong time coming, but I finally made my magnet menu board!
 
DSCN9321
oh, to be a twin.
 
...and the first day of school...

DSCN9312 (427x640)
 
DSCN9323 (427x640)
 
...and random Fall days...
 
DSCN9331 (427x640)
 
DSCN9353 (480x640)
 
DSCN9356 (640x480)
 
DSCN9359 (640x480)
I remember being treated like a doll...I guess it's the role of the last child.
 
DSCN9368 (427x640)
 
DSCN9725 (640x416)
Fossil cookies for pre-K.
And the bones on the tray were from polymer clay. 
The bones were buried in sand for an excavation project.
 
DSCN9576
Autumn cookies for pre-K.
 
DSCN9648
We got to attend E's baptism and birthday dinner.  Nice cake, Kayla!
 
...and from Halloween...

DSCN9662 (640x457)
 
DSCN9667 (427x640)
Owl and Otter wore the same costumes as last year!
Last time they were a little big, this time they were a little small.
 
DSCN9671 (427x640)
 

DSCN9693r
Halloween lunch.  Trail mix toilet paper bats,
jack-o-satsumas, a Mummy juice box, and a themed zbar.
 
...and Thanksgiving.
DSCN9745
Jude did a fantastic job on the kids table.  They had a great time...
well, we all did, but only the kids are pictured.
 
DSCN9750
Monkey, on her Thanksgiving birthday, with the amazing quilt that Grandma J made! 
I'm totally going to steal it from her one of these days ; )
 
DSCN9772
Birthday cake #1.
 
The other night I played hookie from life (and a meeting) and took a bath (with a mug of hot chocolate, the last few chapters of a book, and a notepad).  I wrote down my New Years Resolutions.  One is to blog once a week (most likely it'll be every Sunday evening).  Lately I seem to only have blogged about parties and the little "photoshoots" of the kids, and have totally neglected all of the special little day-to-day moments.  I have a terrible memory, and I don't want to forget this beautiful time in my life, so I plan to work on blogging more.  Starting today (since I already have my list all written and all).


And for your  viewing pleasure: a dance presentation by Chick, Monkey, and Moose.  I had a good laugh watching it...this is from early November...pretty cute of all three : )

 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Fairy Party: Part 3 (Fun and Games)

DSCN9909 (640x427)


Ok, now for the really fun stuff: the games and kids!

Let me introduce you to my friend, Shannon.  She is Monkey's Sunday School teacher.  When she first moved to the area I was almost due with the twins, and after they were born she came over to help a lot. And she's just such a nice person that she volunteered to come help at Monkey's party.  And she's so cool that she wore wings and fancy fairy-like clothing with fun shoes!  (I provided a head wreath for her). 

DSCN9974 (427x640)

And I've mentioned my friend Jill.  She's Monkey's Pre-K teacher.  She also taught Chick, back in the day.  Plus she's my friend. She's fantastic.  She came to drop off her daughter and nephew, and ended up staying to help.  She took most of the pictures.

DSCN9964 (427x640)


I couldn't have made it through without both of these fantastic ladies!  Thank you, Jill and Shannon!!!!

The first thing that the kids did upon arrival was to get their costumes on.  I had accidentally told Fox that we only needed three bow and arrow sets, when we actually needed four.  So Moose didn't get one...but actually it was probably for the best.  He was the youngest,  and is often too rambunctious and aggressive so I think I'm glad that he didn't have his own.

DSCN9876 (640x427)
 
DSCN9848 (427x640)

DSCN9869 (640x427)
Once dressed, the kids went on a fairy hunt (I'd hidden the pipe cleaner dolls around the room).

DSCN9882 (427x640)
I know this is blurry and doesn't show her face...
but I really like this one of Miss C hunting for her fairy.


DSCN9859 (427x640)
 
DSCN9856 (427x640)

Then they came one at a time to get their faces painted.

DSCN9851 (640x427)

Once they'd all found their fairies (or elves) and were all suited up, they played "Fairy, Fairy, Troll" (the fairy version of "Duck, Duck, Goose."  They were supposed to fly rather than run.).  Shannon directed that game (I was painting faces and Jill was doing the individual pictures on the stump), and they played it for a while.  Chick said that was her favorite part of the party.
DSCN9887 (427x640)
 
DSCN9889 (427x640)
 
DSCN9891 (427x640)
Next we played "Fairy Circle" (the fairy version of "Musical Chairs").  It was set to a soundtrack of Enya : )

DSCN9932 (640x427)
 
DSCN9949 (640x427)
Eliminated onlookers
 
DSCN9950 (640x427)
down to the final two.

Then I got out a bottle of "pixie dust."  Not the little little bottles that the kids got (theirs had Pixie Stix Powder inside), but a bigger bottle with fine glitter.  I explained that if they made a wish using the pixie dust then maybe their wish would come true.  So I sprinkled a little into their hands, and we all turned around and blew three times.  I hope some of their wishes come true.

DSCN9918 (427x640)
 
DSCN9919 (640x427)
Then we ate.  And sang.  And ate some more.  (This was Moose's favorite part).

DSCN9968 (427x640)
 
DSCN9981 (640x427)
DSCN9985 (640x512)
 
DSCN9984r (640x512)


Monkey's favorite part was after we ate...she got to open presents.  She got really awesome presents.

DSCN0010 (427x640)
 
DSCN9994 (640x427)
 
DSCN9992 (640x427)
DSCN0007 (427x640)
Fairy Shannon glows : )
After the presents we still had a few minutes, so we played "Fairy Freeze" (freeze when the music stops) for a little while.  Then they just looked at the presents and whatnot.  I got out Monkey's pop-up book to try to calm things down (though they weren't super crazy or anything...but I didn't want it to escalate, you know).  It was fairly stressful reading the pop-up book though...I said, "Remember no touching" and "Everybody sit back down" on repeat through the "reading" of it.

DSCN0015 (640x427)
Then they got their bottles of pixie dust and it was done.  Really it was all a blur for me, but looking back at the pictures was fun.  Lots of happiness and cuteness.  They are a good group of kids. 

I asked Monkey if she was happy with the party, and she said, "Yes, it was just like I planned it to be."  ha ha!  Glad it worked out for her ; )


DSCN9925 (427x640)