“B” is for birthday

August 24, 2009 at 8:23 pm (1 year olds, birthdays, Megan, parties)

We celebrated Megan’s 1st birthday with all our family this past Sunday.  It was a really fun day!

Our theme was “B is for Birthday”.  I was originally  inspired by this Hostess with Mostess spotlight.  Then when I found this dress (think yellow ribbons, not green) by Oh Sew Sweet Boutique on Etsy … I was in love!  And I loved it!  So “B” was for Birthday … it was Megan’s Bee-Themed 1st Birthday Party!!

My sister Staci came through as always with the most awesome cakes!!!

Megan's Cake

Megan's Cake

Cake for Everyone Else!

Cake for Everyone Else!

The party started at 1pm, so we served everyone lunch – nothing too fancy, but I wanted to make sure everyone had a seat & could enjoy their meal without having to balance their plate & drink!  So I rented some tables & chairs (it was cheap since we didn’t have a huge number of guests!).  I’m glad I went this route … it was alot of fun to decorate!!

The Table Settings

The Table Settings

The Lunch Spread

The Lunch Spread

We played a version of “Megan” Bingo while we ate.  The card squares were all about Megan – birth stats, the hospital she was at, names of family members, places she’s been, etc.  Staci won one round … and she took home a bottles of honey!

The "B"ingo Card

The "B"ingo Card

One Lucky Winner:)

One Lucky Winner:)

I hated to see the Beehive destroyed, but it was time to enjoy some cake.  Megan wasn’t that sure about it.  She never really ate too much.  She much preferred just to pat the icing!

The Birthday Girl

The Birthday Girl

Yes, that's an Easter bib ... it was the biggest I had!

Yes, that's an Easter bib ... it was the biggest I had!

After opening alot of gifts … I think I opened them all & Big Brother helped – Megan definitely doesn’t understand that concept yet!  Everyone just stayed around for a while, played & visited.  We had “The Bee Movie” playing for the kids (and some adults enjoyed it as well).  Everyone got to take home one of the centerpiece pictures of Megan & also a goodie bag of treats from the “Candy Buffet” (small, but still “sweet”)!

Megan's 1st Year Pictures

Megan's 1st Year Pictures

Lemon Heads, Lemon Sticks, Marshmallows, Whoppers

Lemon Heads, Lemon Sticks, Marshmallows, Whoppers

Lemon Bars, Tootsie Pops, M&Ms

Lemon Bars, Tootsie Pops, M&Ms

Overall, we had alot of fun celebrating our Birthday Girl!  I can’t believe it’s been a year already!!

Our "attempt" at a Family Picture!

Our "attempt" at a Family Picture!

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The dinosaur party

August 12, 2009 at 7:56 am (4 year olds, birthdays, dinosaurs, parties)

DSC01384This past weekend we celebrated Evan’s 4th birthday!!  I love birthdays.  I love celebrations.  I love celebrating my kids.  I love giving them birthday parties!!!  In my mind they are always a little better, a little more fun, a little more organized, a little more extravagant than they actually turn out but if I know I’ve done the best I can to give them something that makes them happy & that they possibly can’t forget then I’m happy. 

Evan still talks about his 3rd birthday party.  He got to ride “the horses”.  He doesn’t remember that it rained & we had to all go home early … but he does remember “the horses”!  I hope his 4th birthday is one that he’ll remember next year as well! 

He’s been “into” dinosaurs for a while now so I had plenty of time to prepare.  I decided to go with the “station” concept.  I think organized games & events are great for certain parties & certain ages, but at his age it’s still a birthday party for all – older & younger cousins, friends, grandparents, parents of the friends, etc.  With mixed ages of guests “stations” just seem to make more sense to me.  That way everyone can participate at their own pace & their own time!  When you have ages ranging from 2-8 it seems impossible to get them all to do the same thing – is that possible?!?

So we had four stations setup.  One was the Dinosaur Dig – guests got a hat, a bag, and a brush.  They brushed around in the sand searching for dinosaurs, fossils, and bones!  Super easy – just a leftover swimming pool, some bags of sand, plastic toys & cheap paint brushes.  When we went to the T-Rex Cafe in Orlando earlier this summer, they used brushes with their sand – SO much better than shovels because it wasn’t near as enticing to throw sand with the brushes as with shovels!  I also lucked out & found some wooden puzzle pieces at Michael’s – they were very “fossil” looking.

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An even super, super easier station was the “Color-A-Saurus” (clever – huh?) – guests could sit & color to their hearts content!  Every little kid likes to color so I knew this was a “safe” station … even if they didn’t like the others!  It’s also a good ice breaker if anyone in the group is a little shy.

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We also had a “Dino Fossil Find“.  We got lucky on another find.  This time at The Dollar Store.  My mom found these little fossil kits, complete with everything you need – an egg & two tiny tools.  There were bones (super tiny) inside that “should have” made a baby dinosaur.  It didn’t exactly work out that way, but it was messy & the kids seemed to enjoy at least breaking the egg & trying to find the treasures inside!!

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The fourth station was even easier than the Coloring one.  Evan had a great floor dinosaur puzzle – so we pulled that out from his toy room.  We called this one “Earth Shakes” (pulled straight from The Land Before Time series”). 

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And finally, we couldn’t pass this up!!

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So that’s the party – part 1.  I figured this post was getting too long to continue with all the food & “other stuff”.  But I’ll post more about that later … because of course you can’t have a party without food!!

 

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Valentine’s day ideas … for next year

February 16, 2009 at 8:16 am (parties, Valentine's Day) ()

I now have three posts about Valentine’s Day – I don’t think I ever got one up about Christmas this past year, but THREE for Valentine’s … not sure what’s up with that, but here goes!!

I happen to catch a past Valentine episode of “Jon & Kate + Eight” yesterday.  Kate gave me some fun ideas to remember for coming years:

1.  The Valentine Pouch – The night before she decorated the kitchen table & hung the cutest little bag off of each child’s chair.  She called them their “Valentine Pouchbags” (I think).  It looked like she used them each year.  She filled them with just fun little things – stickers, paper, maybe one small toy, nothing big or expensive … just fun!

2.  Every meal was about hearts – heart shaped pancakes, heart shaped grilled cheese sandwiches, heart shaped cucumber bits.  She made the little ones count how many hearts they could find on their plate.

3.  The Scavenger Hunt – Later in the day she took the kids on a scavenger hunt.  She gave them the first clue (on a heart of course) and then sent them to eight different locations.  Eveything was inside the house but she put one clue at one end & the next at the very opposite end of the house, so they were running everywhere – what kid doesn’t like to run around in the house, especially if they won’t get in trouble for it!!  The final clue left them to a big “Tub of Love” as she called it.  It was one giant box with smaller presents inside for each.  Again, she said it wasn’t anything expensive just little things that they would need or use – it was more about the fun in getting to it.

Thanks Kate for the ideas!

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Preschool valentine party

February 14, 2009 at 2:53 pm (parties, Valentine's Day)

Like most preschool & elementary classes, Evan’s class had a Valentine’s party this week.  We of course had dinosaur valentine’s to exchange.  Do they make anything else for boys his age besides dinosaurs?!  I wouldn’t know these days!!

He came home with a heart bucket full of cards & candy.  The teacher sent home a really cute idea for opening all the cards.  It’s a Valentine booklet.  As you open one, you find the name of the person that gave it to you in the booklet & then you put a picture of the classmate that gave it along with their Valentine card on their page.  She sent all the supplies (now that’s a good teacher) … a pre-made booklet ready for assembling!!  It will just be a fun little Valentine craft to finish at home.  And I’m also thinking it could be  a good way to spread the love candy out!

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Oh & this one wins for the Mom that spent the most time on the Valentine’s (note – I definitely did NOT win that award this year).

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My frugal valentine

February 13, 2009 at 9:33 am (parties, Valentine's Day)

I just realized this title may sound like my “valentine” was frugal with me.  And hopefully he actually will be for this Hallmark holiday this year, but the post is actually about ME be frugal this year.  There’s a couple things I remember about past Valentine Day’s when I was a kid.  We never blew it up crazy or anything like that, but it was always sweet & perfect!!  The first memory is that EVERY single year our Dad would leave each of us something on our kitchen counter.  Each of us kids would get a small heart of chocolates.  Staci & I would also get a single rose with ours.  And my Mom would always get a big heart of chocolates along with more flowers.  Mom’s are “supposed” to take care of everything & get all the holidays ready, so it was just always cute & sweet to think of my Dad doing the shopping:).

The second memory I have is of one particular year that we came home from school to the dinner table being decorated to a “t” with pink & red.  There were balloons, confetti, and even a tablecloth – which with 4 kids we rarely, if ever, ate off of tablecloths!!!  I remember that year being a fun, different surprise.

I have a few other Valentine memories like the silly Cupid things you did in Middle School – why did the school host a “Secret Cupid” let me send someone I like a red carnation something or another?!?!   That always seemed so strange!

Anyways, Valetine’s is one of those “holidays” that it’s fun to do a little something for – even if it’s just wearing a red t-shirt, but I don’t want to go overboard by any means.  But as M & E grow, I just want the day to be a little something extra, a little something more special.  But this year I went frugal all the way baby!!

So, frugality 101 – use leftover Christmas stuff … it’s red, so it’s perfect!!  Left-over solid red napkins will be on the table & I bought some solid red plates after Christmas so they’ll be on the table as well.  It’s amazing how much “Christmas” stuff you can get that’s not even “Christmas-y” during the After-Christmas-Sales.   I got some fancy rolls of wrapping paper for 42 cents from Target … they look nothing like Christmas – they’ll be perfect for wedding presents this year!

I found an unopened bag of Christmas M&M’s last week (obviously that was a mistake, otherwise they’d have already been eaten).  I split the red & green – and just like that … I get Valentine’s & St. Patty’s Day all out of Christmas!!

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Those combined with a bag of pretzels & some white chocolate chip morsels that were already in the pantry, Evan & I made these little Valentine gifts:

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Or to be really frugal & done with all of it … I might just email this with a Happy Valentine’s note (if only I could have gotten it in focus!!).

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So were you frugal or did you go all out?

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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