26 April 2011

Easiest Birthday Party Ever

Now you all know how I love a good birthday party.  And I spend weeks planning and preparing for them.    Because I put so much effort into them I kind of drew the age limit for birthday parties at 12.  Between 12 and 16 my kids may invite a friend over for dinner or a movie or a concert or something like that, but the partying prep for me is over until their Sweet 16.

I have fond memories of a hotel party with one of my childhood friends.  Her mother got us a room (and stayed there with us).  We had junk food, went swimming until late, watched a movie in bed, and slept in.   It was the greatest fun ever.  So I offered to do that with my daughter for her 12th birthday this year.  Kind of a last hurrah to birthday parties.  She didn't hesitate in screaming "YES"!  And I knew it was going to be the easiest thing ever!

I made hotel reservations a couple weeks in advance.  Sent out evites with the address and a map to the hotel, so the parents would know exactly where we were.  Everyone dropped their girls off at my house at 8pm.  We got checked in around 8:30pm (I chose a hotel far enough away that it felt like a mini vacation, but close enough should there have been any emergencies).

{The room was all decorated as a surprise for the birthday girl!}

Each one of them had a goody bag laying on their pillow:

{all stuff from Target's party aisle: ice cream shaped bubbles, slinky bracelets - yes, they are back, pastry shaped erasers, cupcake stickers and a funky ring}

First up, we had pizza and cupcakes and soda.  Well, more like bites of pizza, cupcakes, and sips of soda before rushing to get out swimsuits on.  And then we went swimming until 10?  11?  After that we went back to the hotel room and finished eating, and they played Monopoly until midnight.  

{have you ever tried nothing bundt cakes?  so delish!}

{let's toast to the birthday girl! the small soda cans are so cute and perfect for parties!}

We turned off the lights at that point but they giggled and chattered for a while.  Of course.  Surely thought they would sleep in, but nope!  Had to have one more dip in the pool!  And we ate our breakfast (which I'd brought from home - donuts, juice and fruit), packed up, and went swimming until checkout time.

We arrived back at our house at 10:30 and the parents came and picked up their girls!  We had so much fun.  Definitely a splurge, but I just couldn't resist giving my daughter the same fun memory that has stayed with me all these years!!!

21 April 2011

Repost: Good Friday Activity - Walk the Path our Savior walked...

This is a tradition I started with my kids 2 years ago.  It revolves strongly around my faith as a member of the LDS church, but the message is translatable in any faith.  Some materials are LDS materials for which I've included links should you want to use them yourself.

A lot of these ideas were derived from my friend Catherine at Blue Stocking Mama. Some of them will be familiar to many of you (like the 12 symbolic eggs portion), but there are many other unique ideas included as well!  So read on!

Fill 12 plastic eggs with these items, and label them in order from 1 to 12:

1.) small plastic donkey

2.) piece of bread/sacrament cup

3.) piece of soap

4.) drops of blood shaped from playdough (or just a small piece of cloth stained with red marker)

5.) 3 dimes

6.) thorn

7.) nail

8.) cross made from toothpicks or popsicle sticks

9.) piece of white cloth

10.) spices (allspice or cloves tied inside a little piece of cloth)

11.) stone

12.) leave empty

Find a map of Jerusalem. Here's a link with a decent picture map included:

http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&a mp;locale=0&sourceId=0dae9c84f5d6b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1

Have an Easter egg hunt... either hide all the eggs at once or do it one at atime, allowing your children to take turns hiding it for their siblings. (This way breaks up the sitting and listening part for especially young children. )

Open egg #1 - Read summary on back of GAK (Gospel Art Kit) 223 (Triumphal Entry). The Gospel Art Pictures are available for print if you are interested.  Just click on the number and it will take you to a page where you can print the image from, and see the brief summary printed on the back of it.  Make ahead or let kids themselves make palm leaves. (Using green construction paper, fold in half. Draw a semi circle from the folded center outward. Cut out. Cut "fringe" along curved edge. Unfold and glue a popsicle stick for the stem.) Give each kid a palm leaf and let them practice saying "Hosanna! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." Find Bethany, Bethpage and the Mount of Olives on the map and place stickers on each. Explain that the journey for Jesus to Jerusalem was 2 "furlongs" or miles.

Open egg #2 - Read summary on back of GAK 225 (The Last Supper) and explain that our Easter feast will be symbolic of the Last Supper, but the sacrament we take every Sunday was put in place at this very moment in time.

Pass out raisins, french bread and juice - kids may also dress up in robes if they'd like.

Open egg #3 - Read summary on back of GAK 226 (Jesus Washing the Apostles' Feet).

Open egg #4 - read summary on back of GAK 227 (Jesus Praying in Gethsemane). Find Gethsemane on the map and place sticker.

Open egg #5 - Read summary on back of GAK 228 (The Betrayal of jesus).

Open egg #6 - talk about friendship and loyalty; How is Jesus loyal to us? How can we be loyal to him? How can we be loyal to those we love? Have kids try on "Jesus sandals". (they're just paper cutouts) And sing "I'm Trying to be Like Jesus".

Open egg #7 and #8 together - Read summary on back of GAK 230 (The Crucifixion). Let the kids smell/taste vinegar. Find Golgotha on the map and place sticker.

Open egg #9 and #10 together - Read summary on back of GAK 231 (Burial of Jesus).

Open egg #11 and #12 together - Read summary on back of GAK 232 (Jesus' Tomb).

Make "Resurrection Rolls" (recipe courtesy of All Recipes):

1 (10 ounce) can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls

8 large marshmallows
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons white sugar

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.

2.Separate crescent rolls into individual triangles.
3.In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon and sugar.
4.Dip a marshmallow into melted butter, then roll in sugar mixture. Place marshmallow into the center of a dough triangle. Carefully wrap the dough around the marshmallow. Pinch the seams together tightly to seal in marshmallow as it melts. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat.
5.Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Sit and eat the rolls while watching "He Is Risen" ("Animated Stories from the New Testament")

Sing "Did Jesus Really Live Again" (I use these GAK pictures to go along with the words: 233234239)

Then talk about Easter the way we celebrate it. Have another Easter egg hunt, this time with candy inside the eggs. Sit down and discuss the origin (using pictures, i.e. clip art or coloring pages which are easy to print off the internet) of modern-day Easter symbols:

Eggs - represent life (in all living creatures, life begins with an egg)

Grass - the Garden of Gethsemane

Easter Bunny - derived from bunnies, lambs and other animals which symbolize new life during the Spring season

Lilies - the first flower to bloom after Christ died

Candy - the sweet and pure love of our Savior

Baskets - traditionally wooden, remind us of the cross upon which Christ was hung

New hat/shoes (clothes) - Explain that when I was a little girl, I always got a pretty, new, Sunday hat (one of which I kept, and will show my kids). The hat represents the humity we feel as we bow our heads in remembrance of our Savior. And new shoes, another tradition, represent the washing of the Apostles' feet by the Savior.

I think it would be nice to wrap up by saying that we should be mindful of all these things as we spend time with our loved ones on Easter Sunday, and express our gratitude to our Heavenly Father for the gift of eternal life by keeping a prayer in our heart.

Thanks again to Catherine for getting the creative juices really flowing! She's one smart mom!

Hope some of you can use a few of these ideas as well! I just think it is so important to take some of the focus off the secular nature of this sacred holiday.

18 April 2011

HELLO! (Hello, hello...)

I'm slackin' here!  I've been little crazed these last couple weeks.  Just trying to keep up with everything and you all know the rest from my last couple posts.  But one thing I've realized in the last few days is, THERE REALLY IS TOMORROW.  Ha!  You know the saying - "There's always tomorrow." - right?  Well I've never really accpeted that.  Actually, at one point in my life I did, but that was in high school when procrastination was pretty typical.  I grew out of that into this wound up person that was afraid to let too much time lapse on ANYTHING.  And of course that leaves one stressed out pretty much all. the. time.  Not to mention unable to deal with life's curve balls.  It's always taken something BIG to get me to slow down.  A knee injury tipped me off that I was spending way too much time on my treadmill.  A house flood hinted to me that I *might* not be taking enough time to be grateful for my many blessings.  Other such events force me to carve time out for myself or my family and you get the picture.  SO - there actually IS a tomorrow.  And it actually IS ok to leave something until then.  And so my priorities are lining up a little more nicely these days (hope it lasts).  Not that my blog here isn't a priority (don't worry, this isn't a dramatic exit announcement, lol)... but it's not going anywhere. And I can post about the fun camera charm necklace I'm making tomorrow.  Or the next day, even! And that's ok. ;)

I DO want to thank Stacy at The Birthday Blog again however before I go.  She's featured 3 of my birthday parties in the last week!!!  Thanks so much, Stacy!  You can see the Rockstar Party, Fancy Nancy Party and Lego Party at The Birthday Blog if you missed them here the first time!  And my 12 year old had a birthday this past week, and yes she had a party... her LAST formal birthday party until she turns 16.  We kept it pretty simple (you know teenagers), but it was still so. much. fun!  I've pictures to show... TOMORROW maybe! ;)

14 April 2011

Laverne and Shirley inspired t-shirt

Sigh.  I just got home from the ER where my son got 3 staples in his head!  Apparently life ain't gonna let up on me anytime soon, but let's talk t-shirts, shall we?

Here is Sasha's tee... my last one for a while.  Although I could probably do this in my sleep now.

She wanted her initial on it just like big brother's.  I used the Giddy-up font for this one.  And instead of the Tulip Soft Fabric Paint, I used Plaid's Simply Screen.  LOVE IT.  It went on so nice and thick.  Didn't take nearly as many coats as Tulip did.  In the end, I think it looks like I bought it rather than made it.  The quality is SO GOOD!

This shirt reminds me of Laverne and Shirley.  Anyone else old enough to remember that show?  Laverne had a pretty scrolly "L" embroidered on all her clothes.  So fun.

If you missed the other 3 kids' t-shirts, look HERE, HERE and HERE.

{bunny impression}

Have a great day! 

11 April 2011

10 April 2011

Rock and Roll Tee

Oh my word.  What a week I have had.  First of all, Austin allergies are BRUTAL.  Armpit of the world when it comes to allergens.  So I've been dealing with that... I came down with a lovely sinus infection mid-week, but I'm feeling somewhat normal again now that I've got some antibitoics in my system.  I haven't had to go to the dr. for any kind of illness in over 2 years!  Also, my husband has been travelling a ton. It's really hard to be sick when you are a single parent!  So - all that going on and I'm in the middle of super busy portrait season... families want their pictures done before it gets (too) hot.  Seniors are scrambling to get their senior pictures done for graduation announcements.  You get the picture.  Stressed-I-am.  My eye has been twitching all week and I feel like a crazy lady who belongs in a movie about a crazy lady.

We are home from church today because we've had Fifth Disease at our house. (You thought I was done!)  I don't know who's gonna break out next, so the 2 healthy kids are home with me today.  Did you know that with Fifth Disease you are contagious BEFORE the rash appears?  How annoying is that? 

Anyway, I thought I might catch up on my blogging this afternoon.  You know, since I'm finally sitting down.  Lol!  And since I've got a couple projects I haven't blogged about yet!

After I entered I am Momma's "Let's Hear it For The Boys" t-shirt contest my other son started bugging me to make him a tshirt too.  He's 8, almost 9, so coming up with a concept for a painted tee that wasn't too juvenile for him was a challenge.  But I did it. 
 And he loves it.

{Rock on, dude}

Want to know how I made it?  OK!

06 April 2011

Cute photography prop idea

I've seen this idea on a few different photography blogs/sites and loved it.  So I went out and bought this chunky frame for 50% off at Hobby Lobby.  Spray painted it white.   And look how CUTE it is as a photography prop.

Now I am thinking I need one in every color!

Speaking of photography, head over to Brown Paper Packages today for some photography tips by me!  You can find me at Brown Paper Packages on the first Wednesday of every month.

Linking up:

04 April 2011

If you hang it, it will come... BLOOM banner!

So we are in between seasons here in Tejas.  And my lawn and yard show it... things are beginning to fill in, the grass is returning to it's usual shade of green.  To help move things along I thought I'd make a little BLOOM garland for my home. :)


{stencil kit purchased at Office Depot}

{fabric cut into 1 in. strips}

{plus fine twine and scrapbook paper of your choosing}

All I did was place scrapbook paper behind each stencil and secure with double sided tape.

I threaded the fine twine through the letters (holes were made using a bamboo skewer).

And tied some ribbon on each end and in between the letters.

Simple, just the way I like it.  If you prefer something more frilly, then add some rosettes as well!