Friday, April 27, 2012

"Perfect Timing" Baby Shower

I am not a fan of "typical" baby showers- which goes to show you that when I am pregnant myself, that my brain does not operate normally. My dear sister threw me a shower when I was expecting Josie and I started crying when she showed me the chic black, purple and green theme she had been thinking of. I wanted "Winnie the Pooh", to match my nursery, of course! Ugh! My taste has changed dramatically since then.

I can't picture myself planning a Pooh shower (sorry, Robyn!) now. I love doing things that are not quite as expected, and the only reason I would ever do a "typical" pink or blue shower if that is what the mother wanted! This shower, the sweet mommy-to-be was so easy to please-she had no demands at all.

The pregnancy was unexpected, and the parents have significantly older children. So as I was mulling over ideas in my mind, the concept of timing kept coming up. How this baby was coming in God's perfect timing. Watches and clocks! I called up my party planning pal, Sarah, and we went with it!

I knew one of the first things that I wanted to do was to make a yarn pom pom garland. The inspiration came from one that I saw on Pinterest, but mine turned out looking quite different. Pom poms are pretty time consuming! I also wanted to incorporate these great "pocket watches" that I found at Hobby Lobby. They were actually scrapbook embellishments- I just covered the stickers on the back with paper so that there weren't big ugly white dots on the backs of all of them. I staggered them in between the pom poms.

The dear hostess, Brooke, Sarah and me! I think this is the first time that Sarah and I have decorated and actually gotten a photo of the two of us. We choose colors that coordinated with the nursery but felt fresh. We used a rusty orange and sage green. It was very calming and they actually turned out to be very easy to work with.

I forgot my camera! That is what happened when you try to fit in too many things! I used my new Iphone to take some pictures, but I am not very good with it yet. All the blurry photos are mine, all the good ones are courtesy of Brooke!:)

Sarah suggested the floating candles in the mason jars (another Pinterest idea) and they added just the right touch. I love water elements, and candles for a late afternoon shower were great.
The lunch box is mine, it belonged to my grandfather. He used it as a little boy during the Great Depression! It was a great color. I also picked up the chipboard "T" - the initial of the family's last name- baby boy doesn't have a name yet, at Hobby Lobby for about $1. I used the same variegated yarn on it that I used in the pom poms. I love how it turned out perfectly striped. It was super easy- I taped the end of the yarn on the back, and wrapped it around. It took me about 5 minutes and made a nice keepsake for the mom.
Staggering anything is more complicated than it seems. It is an art that I haven't mastered, but using clothespins (the same ones I use on my laundry at home-I am so cheap!) made it easier to adjust the garland pieces.
Here is a close up of the garland. I used dark brown speckled yarn, rusty orange and the green variegated. I used the yarn to hang the pom poms and then I put the watches on ribbon. I like to mix up textures, even little touches make it more interesting.

Brooke made the delicious cupcakes, and Sarah provided the stand. I made the "toppers"- a one inch round punch on clock face scrapbook paper with a toothpick sandwiched in between. That is definitely a trick I will be using again!  A little dab of hot glue held them together.

May I profess yet again my undying love for for scrapbook paper?! We used the different pieces to make a runner down the center of the bar. Laying the pieces on the diagonal adds a nice touch, as well as using 8x8 pieces on top of the traditional 12x12 ones.
A pennant banner! LOVE. Bakers twine, and I cut the paper while folded in half so I simply had to dab hot glue on the pieces to keep them on the string. Sarah graciously provided her giant clock and it made a beautiful focal point. I free handed the flags, and it was really easy. I made two sizes. Another tip: always lay any type of "pattern" out in advance- then you don't have to try to unglue things later!
The buffet. It doesn't matter how beautiful the decorations are if the food isn't plentiful and tasty. We had no problems in that area! Yummy salad, fruit, meatballs, wraps... I am drooling just thinking about it.
 Some things are easier said than done. I suggested the ribbon topiary, and Sarah bravely volunteered to make it. It turned out adorably (the mom was so excited to take it home and use it in the nursery) but Sarah said it was pretty pesky to make- and expensive!

I made the framed scripture- Dollar Store frame, with some round punch pieces and one of the watches. Of course, it is Ecclesiastes 3:1-8! I highlighted all the good words, like "dance" and "love" and "embrace" by enlarging the font, bolding it, and adding color. It was one of the best ones I have done.

A shot of the clock on the wall. It matched Brooke's decor so well I am guessing a few people didn't realize it was Sarah's! 

The orange vase is mine from Hobby Lobby. It is a worthwhile space investment to me to keep around different things like this. These are so cheap and the colors make so much more of a statement than plain clear glass. A couple of the tulips were broken, so it made it easy to pop them into these little bud vases.

Thanks, Mom, for the black crock! I tied some ribbon around it and literally threw the tulips in. You can't beat fresh flowers and tulips are always appropriate. Thanks Walmart for having them for $5! I printed off the chorus to a hymn and did the same font coloring. I backed it with scrapbook paper and added ribbon and dots to it.

It turned out beautifully and I am glad that I finally made the time to post the pictures! No pun intended. Well, maybe a little...:)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Easy Easter 2012

 First, let me apologize for the poor photo quality. I have been having problems with my camera, and I am not quite sure how to fix them. If I stage the photo just right, and make sure I have tons of natural light, then I can usually get a decent photo. However, the nature of children is to be ever moving and never quite where you want them to be, so many of my pics lately have been less than perfect. One day, a DSLR. Today, problematic point and shoot....

Anyway, Easter fell right in the middle of some insane business in our house. It seems like I am always saying how busy we are, but truly this was out of the ordinary. I spent Friday finishing up JBF stuff (consignment sale) and then we babysit for some friends so they could go out for a birthday. Saturday we had an Easter egg hunt at church, which I got zero pictures of because I was manning the VBS registration table. Which, I also had to make clipboards for, did that on Friday too. Also on Saturday, Sarah and I were decorating for a baby shower. I spent Thursday, Friday and some of Saturday afternoon working on that. I am hoping to post photos soon, because I forgot my camera, but *thankfully* I had my snazzy new IPhone. I hope I got some decent shots! Anyone know how to do that?

So, all that said, (and by the way, Tuesday of that next week was Carson's birthday AND JBF drop-off, so still the craziness was not over) so I really wanted a low-key day. And I got one. It was wonderful. Joel picked up donut holes for the kids, and we surprised them with the basket above while they were still in bed.
 I filled large eggs with two donut holes each. I call those preschool eggs because they are just perfect for toddlers. I like to keep them on hand, in case I have something bigger that I want to put in an egg. In this case, it was breakfast!
 They loved it! They both love donuts, but they had never had donut holes before. Besides, having breakfast in bed is always a treat.
 I may have snuck a couple of chocolate rabbits in there, too. Jocelyn always loves candy, but especially at breakfast time!
 Of course, church was on the agenda. I was running the VBS table again, so we had to be there early. This photo so reminded me of "American Gothic". Jocelyn is definitely not an early bird, and the sun shining in her eyes wasn't helping!
 I did get this adorable photo of my two best guys. Carson has black dress shoes, but I couldn't resist pairing his Converse with his outfit. He is such a little hipster!
 After church we skipped the traditional ham dinner in favor of Qdoba. I was pretty much tapped out from all the busyness so I couldn't even think to plan something in advance. I am so blessed to have such a great family that doesn't care about those things. It also gave us time to just relax together. And stock Easter baskets.
 The baskets are always a hit, but "Baby Chewie" was Carson's favorite. When I saw the tiny stuffed Chewbacca at Target I couldn't pass it up. And I am glad I didn't!
 I won't lie. It pained me to let them hunt eggs looking like this. The perfectionist in me wanted to send them to change clothes-preferable something spring colored with a collared shirt for Carson and something not so short for Josie. But I am trying to battle that OCD so I let them hunt eggs looking like homeless children. In mini skirts and pajamas. Ugh. Jocelyn is checking to see how many eggs Carson has found.
 They were as adorable as ever. We mixed all their eggs together (Usually I separate them into sections, so they each get their own dozen eggs) and it actually made it really fun. They didn't even fight over who got the most eggs. I love those kids.
 The surprise hit of the whole day was the glow in the dark egg hunt. I had briefly glimpsed a photo on Pinterest of a glowing egg. I assumed (correctly, I found out later) that it was activated glow sticks in eggs. I took glow bracelets from the Dollar Store and shoved them in light colored eggs.
 They loved hunting eggs in the dark! I didn't even put any candy in them, just the bracelets. We didn't give them flashlights, so the eggs were actually pretty hard to find, but in a good way.
 My camera doesn't like the dark. I have no idea why it looks like it is snowing in these photos. Carson's outfit just keeps getting better doesn't it? Loving the flip flops. Oh well. Anyway, the glow in the dark egg hunt wrapped up our night. It was a really nice day.
One last photo. Jocelyn's egg hunting basket (I don't let them drag their Longabergers around the yard-those are keepsakes!) got broken after the church egg hunt. I was a little frustrated with her. She proceeded to make her own basket! It was so cute. She decorated a shoebox all on her own and tied on some ribbon she found. She was so proud. I loved it. She is such a little artist! Glad to see that creativity isn't necessarily genetic...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

To Carson, on His 4th Birthday

Dear Carson,
                   Who knew four meant that you were already a little man? I look at pictures of you and know that you aren't my little chubby cheeked baby anymore. However, you are a dear and precious (often precocious!) preschooler.

    You are learning and growing so fast! This last year you learned how to ride your bike, started doing "school" work, and just today you learned to swing. You love to play baseball with your dad, but then again you pretty much love doing anything with him. You love to sit and watch "Voltron" or "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" with him, because you love to be with your "Big Daddy".

   He does your hair for you, (although sometimes you do it yourself-which is too cute!) in two styles: shark hair
This is shark hair

Or dude hair:

I love that you still mimic your dad so often. It is so fun to see him teach you how to be a gentleman. You love holding doors and will stand there as long as there are people coming through.

You are a big helper in a lot of  ways. When your dad and I teach in your Sunday School class, you love to carry the big bottle of hand sanitizer around at snack time so that everyone can "wash" their hands. You also love to be the line leader. It is easy to see that many of the other kids look up to you!

You love to spend time with your friends, and have really learned how to play with others. Even though sometimes you antagonize (especially your little friends who are girls!) you still love to help and share. When you collected your Easter eggs on Sunday, you came outside to give me a piece of your candy before you even had any for yourself! I love your gentle, giving spirit.

You have really learned how to draw. Almost all of your people- even Mommy, have "shark" hair and it is just the cutest thing ever! I was so sad that the first time your drew our family it was with dry erase marker! However, I think I will have plenty of them to save in the future. This is your self-portrait:

You are really learning about the Bible, too. You love going to Cubbies (after you actually get started) and memorizing the verses and singing the songs. You know lots of Bible stories, but your favorite is "Barak and Deborah" because they fight with swords! You can repeat the whole story almost word for word.

You love all swords: pirate, knight, it doesn't matter. You carry your beloved "Swordie" around all the time- in the back of your shirt. You even sleep with it at night. I had to fight your dad on that one, he didn't want to let you. But it is so cute to see you sleeping with it down the back of your pajama shirt, while you clutch your best friend Monkey.

I just love what a boy you are! You are so sweet and loving, but you still play rough and hard. I am going to miss you sweet toddler years, but I know that there is still so much fun to come. I can't believe how grateful I am to the Lord for you. He knew that I needed you, and you are a blessing beyond my wildest imaginations. I can't believe that I get the privilege of being your Mom. I pray that the Lord will give me the wisdom to help you grow in the knowledge and love of Him every day. I love you, my little Carson boy.

Monday, April 2, 2012

April Foolin'

April 1st is just one of those things that creeps up on you and then suddenly it is there before you can even think about it. I love the idea of fun, playful "pranks" -especially for my kids. This year, I was finally able to do some. I think they really enjoyed it!

I got most of my ideas from Family Fun. If you have never looked at their April Fool's Day section, they have some fantastic ideas. Some are really simple, while others can involve a lot of planning and preparation. Being true to my nature, I stuck with the easy ones!

First, Joel and I planned to have some stuffed animals "eat" the kids breakfast. I had bought donuts the day before and we just emptied the box, all except for some crumbs. Then we positioned the animals on the table like this:

Jocelyn is serious about her donuts. She didn't really believe that the animals were the guilty party until we gave her a poptart to eat. Carson thought it was funny, although he was a little bummed that all the donuts were gone.

We even put powdered sugar on the animals' faces so it really looked like they enjoyed themselves! The gorilla is holding a little bit of the "last" donut.
 It really wasn't too hard to set this up- and in the end the kids thought it was really funny. I just put the donuts in a ziploc and hid them in the pantry.
 One of the things that I got from Family Fun was these adorable "doughnut seed" packets. (Update as of 3/2016: The Family Fun printable is no longer available, but try this cute, and still free, one that is similar from Printables 4 Mom)The printable was so easy to use! I glued the packets together and filled them with Frosted Cheerios. The kids gave them to their Sunday School teachers. It was so cute to see them shout, "April Fool's!"

I also got the idea for these jello "juice drinks" from Family Fun. I used strawberry jello, and made it according to the directions. I re-filled the little barrel drinks, that way the kids couldn't really see that the juice wasn't moving. I made it the night before so it had plenty of time to chill. 

The kids were hilarious trying to get the juice out. Josie said it was frozen, which I thought was a pretty smart guess. They sucked at the straws for about three minutes before Josie finally pulled out her straw and realized what it was.

She thought it was cool that she could hold her drink upside down. They enjoyed their breakfast of jello and donuts- healthy, huh? Josie loved it all so much by the end of the day she was thinking up jokes of her own! I think I will really be in for it next year...


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