Friday, January 31, 2014

Insta-Friday

I am so far behind in posting photos from my phone, but like I've said many times over...these are some of my favorite moments captured.   I may have posted some of these before, but I honestly can't remember.  Ha!  So here they are...


The week after Christmas....Geoff took the girls to see Frozen again.  It was his first time and their second time.  I think they were all so excited to be going somewhere together.


Parker and Grace share a room.  This is mostly good.  But we are kind of at the point where Parker needs less sleep than Grace.  So our solution (for now)...is that a few days out of the week, we let her 'sneak' out of her room and spend a little extra time just with Geoff and me.  It has been good for all of us.  She loves this time, and seems to do ok with a little less sleep (still about 10 hours).

Some things she gets to do...

Making PW chocolate chip cookie sweet rolls.  I had been craving for weeks and just had to make. So.  Good.  I still have an extra pan I froze that maybe I should warm up tomorrow!




And some nights it's tic tac toe.

Sometimes it's Shoots and Ladders with Geoff. 
And her new interest.  Connect Four.  And let me tell you....I do not let her win.  She has gotten really good at this game and beats me quite a bit.  She really takes it seriously.
It's in these moments...when she's the only child in the room, that I'm really really able to see and appreciate how big she's getting....and what a smart, clever, and sweet girl she is.   I hope she always remembers these special times.




Grace turned 4 a couple of weeks ago and had a Frozen themed party.  So I have a few pictures on my phone from preparation to the actual party.






Left this guy unattended for less than a minute.  Love his face, though, it's like "what mom?"




This girl is just growing up!  She attended a birthday party for a girl in her class.  It was her very first 'drop off' party.  It was only for a few hours, but still.  She had lots of fun and now can't wait to have a party where she invites her friends, too.




Just dressing up one day and wanting me to take her picture.




These squishy, crossed legs!  He plays like this a lot.




I finally got around to changing out a few pictures on this gallery wall.  There were a couple that I didn't just love, and then I added a couple with Nolan.




Airplane!





A couple of weeks ago, my sister and her family were over for football and fajitas...and since Nolan was napping, I was finally able to snuggle her up.  Having a baby myself...I'm not able to love on her as much as I'd like.  Sweet girl.




Confession.  I think writing thank you notes is so very important.  But sometimes, I fail to get them out.  And I really want to teach the girls to do this, as well.  So finally....4 months later....I made these fill in the blank thank you notes for Parker to send out from her birthday.  Better late than never.  Right??




Just an afternoon at Costco with our littlest 2 sitting in the cart together.  
Someone was tired and cranky.  I'll give you one guess.




Since this guy started crawling...he's started pulling himself up on his knees.  From behind, I think it's just the cutest thing.  




Middle sis never seems to get enough attention I feel like.  I think it's a combination of....she just sort of, by default, demands less of me in the areas of discipline (this is slowing shifting in the wrong direction, I'm afraid)....and then she's not the baby anymore and the actual baby gets most attention.  So...I'm really trying to be more intentional with my time on days that Parker is in school.  When I put Nolan down for a nap to not let Grace watch a movie, but rather...pick out a game, a puzzle....whatever she wants.  When I told her we could do this she said, "So we can play a game?  And play with dollies?.....And then you have to do other stuff too, right?"  Sweet girl.  I told her no....I wouldn't do anything but play with her.  She was elated.  {now I realize this may not always be realistic...as I do have some other responsibilities that I might have to take care of like laundry, cleaning, and preparing dinner to make the evening run more smoothly, but I really am trying to give her more undivided attention).






This boy cut his 3rd tooth 2 weeks ago.  I was up with him 4 times.   Which pretty much seemed like all. night. long.  Those teeth just really get to him!  Bless his heart.




Sweet boy all tuckered out after being at his sisters' friend's birthday party.




Some days I get really overwhelmed with it all.  Feeling like I'm pulled in so many directions.  For example....my intent is to spend more quality time with the girls....but I fail because I get caught up sometimes doing the 'one more thing'...like, "I'll be right there I'm just going to finish cleaning the kitchen."  And "I'm just going to pick up this room real quick and then I'l be right there."   And before I know it....an hour has passed and now Nolan's awake and I can't do what it was that I set out to do with them.  
I digress.
So the laundry and toys had {have} taken over.    I mean- the laundry had literally piled up!

And on this day I just decided to embrace it.  Thankful for the clothes because it meant that we had them.  Thankful for a toy laden living room because it meant we had toys and that our house was full of little ones.  It's all about perspective.





One morning Geoff let me sleep in a little.  And when I came out of the bedroom I saw this.  All 3 playing.  My heart is full.



______


life rearranged

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Grace's Frozen Birthday Party


Well....this sweet little girl turned 4 almost 2 weeks ago.  And to celebrate....her only request was a Frozen party.  Really....I think she just wanted an Elsa party...because, you know...she has special "ice" powers and all.  We watched the movie in early December....and soon after decided on her party theme.  My mind began racing with all of these fun ideas (along with ideas from Pinterest).  And with it being right in the middle of the Christmas season...it really helped out with the decor.  I had already decided that I wanted to add and change up our Christmas decor from white and red to white/ivory/silver/burlap and was slowly adding a few new things here and there.  So almost all of the decor for this party will be used again next year at Christmastime...and even more exciting- is that most everything was bought on clearance after Christmas.  It was a win-win.  

We only had family as guests, but we really wanted to make this party special for Grace.  She's sort of gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to parties....and is usually so content with whatever (this is always, not just for parties)...so we just wanted something special that was for her.

***Quite a few of these ideas were not my own...and where they are not my own, I will specify and give credit where it's due.   Most ideas were taken from Bubbly Nature Creations.  Pleave a comment with any questions!  


We started off with a countdown.  My kids always like to countdown the days- it builds excitement and also helps me not have to answer how many more days every day! :)


For dinner....we made it super simple and ordered pizza.  We spent more of our time on the decor and dessert table.  ;)

The dessert table.  
I got the white pre-lit Christmas trees at Wal-Mart.  This table was so fun and full of 'frozen' things!


I got the idea for this cake from here.  Hers looks a lot nicer and is an ice cream cake.  I took the easy way out and just made a boxed cake and added ice cream to the plate.  


I found the cute cake stand for a pretty good price at Home Goods.  I wasn't really looking for it when I went, but when I saw it, I knew it would go perfectly.  Love the 'crystals'...and that this is a taller stand.



I made this "ICE" rock candy.  This also went on the cake and on a separate platter.  (this silver platter is plastic from Hobby Lobby for $1.99) and I love it.  This rock candy idea came from here.


It was really fun coming up with 'frozen' themed treats.  I remember making these popcorn balls when I was young.  I do not, however, remember how much work they were!  I don't think I heated the syrup/sugar mixture correctly because these were almost unedible.  Just really chewy...and stuck to my teeth... and almost hurt to eat.  But they were cute so I set them out anyways.  {Probably should've told my quests though.}


The girls actually helped me make the popcorn balls and sugar cookies.  I wanted them to be a part of making the party, too.





We went to a Mommy and Me Christmas tea back in December, and they had these almond bark pretzel rods there.  Grace ate 3 or 4, so I knew I wanted to make them for her party.


And, of course, reindeer food (idea also from here).


And Snowman nose.



Jello ICE cubes.  Idea also from here.


Frozen Trees.  Icing on Sugar cones with sprinkles.  Ideas also from here.


Parker ate the carrots!


I guess the next few things are my own ideas.  :)

My plan was to make some blue raspberry lemonade to drink, but yeh- that never happened.  So the only thing I offered was water.



I did make this cute little sign with a quote from Olaf...

Then I made these water bottle labels, printed on card stock, and attached them to the bottles with packing tape.


The dining room was supposed to be Elsa's Ice Castle.  Absolutely love love how this turned out.  So whimsical.  And really....I just think plain white lights are so pretty.  The morning of the party, Grace saw the lights for the first time.  She was the only one awake at the time...and she was eating her donuts in the chair at the end of the table....then looked up at me and said, "Mommy...thank you so much for letting me have a Frozen party."  Those thankyous that are unsolicited speak volumes from a 4 year old, let me tell ya.





I  got these snowflake floating candles from Oriental Trading



I also made these glittered mason jars and put tea lights in them.  I used some old jars we've used for pickling and the lids had become rusted.....then I used a few baby food jars, too.  I just had these in a few places to add a little touch.  They are SO easy....glue+little water to dilute....then spread with sponge brush...then sprinkle glitter, roll around, and allow to dry.  Idea for these jars from here.


I ordered these snowflakes from Oriental Trading, printed out pictures of Grace (newborn, 9mo, 18mo, and 2yrs....I had wanted 5 snowflakes, but the set only had 4), and strung them on this silver ribbon and hung on the mantel.  These are actually for centerpieces, but I used them like this instead.


I decorated this table using a strand of white lights folded in half, then tied white/ivory cotton and linen and burlap strips around it.  I have lots of extra strips left because I was overambitious and wanted to make a few of these fabric light strands, and it didn't happen.  But again....will save to make next Christmas because I'll be using this again!  It's really very pretty at night, but I didn't get a picture.



I got this paper mache number 4 from Hobby Lobby when they were 30% off (normally $2.49, I think) and used lots and lots of glue and glitter.  I just wanted a little something showing she was 4 and then framed this picture of her that was taken recently.


Since it's paper mache and the number is top heavy....it wouldn't stand up by itself...so Geoff had the idea to cut a slit in the back and fill with quarters.  And it worked!



I filled some apothecary jars I had with some of the ornaments from the tree after we took the tree down....just to be a little more festive.


I made all of these printables using Photoshop and digital kits I purchased from Etsy.... then printed here at home.  Digital kits found here and here and here.



Cake time!


Love her faces while singing Happy Birthday.



And she blew out all of her candles!




Another fun thing we did was a photo booth.  I am so bad about getting pictures of everyone who comes....and this was fun....and it also took the pressure and stress off of me from trying to remember to get everyone's picture!  It seems to be all the rage at parties these days, apparently.  Haha!  
So I made everyone participate.  It didn't take long and was kind of fun.

For the backdrop....Geoff used 3M hooks and strung up icicle lights that we purchased on clearance after Christmas.  I wanted it to have a softer look, so we hung up some white tulle (about 2 yards) over it (tulle is also pretty inexpensive....$1.29/yard and used a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby).


For the photo props....I used some winter themed printables from here.  Snowflake ornaments from Oriental Trading, and then just found a crown template and traced and cut out of glittered card stock.  We attached everything to wooden skewers.  For the Elsa hair...I re-sized and cut out using the Elsa from this digital kit.


And Nolan was dressed to impress, as well, in his Olaf onesie.  (purchased from an Etsy shop that is no longer in business)



For her Thank You notes....I made these.  I printed on card stock, cut out, and then wrote a more personal, handwritten note on the back thanking them specifically for the gift they gave.




_________
Linking up to Monday FundayDIY Showoff, i should be mopping the floor

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