Thursday, June 30, 2011

Color Nature Hunt

Yesterday we celebrated the June birthdays in the moms group with a fun color hunt! I totally stole this idea from Frugal Family Fun Blog!!! She has so many fun ideas, that when I saw this one, I knew we needed to do it. So simple too! You just gather paint chips from a home improvement store, and punch holes in them. (We found the large ones at Home Depot!) I happen to have a nice size flower punch that a friend gave me, and figured that would look pretty. And as an added plus, I now have 240 pretty little flowers to use for another project!!! I also found the ring clips to put them together with at Hobby Lobby for very cheap. Look in the office supply area.

When we do the month birthdays with the group, we typically do cupcakes. Well I saw this cake, I think originally on, but then re-found here at Whisk Kid. She made her cake and frosting from scratch, but I didn't have time for that when I made it. I used 1 cake mix box, and divided that into 6 bowls. It came out to one scoop of 1/2 cup, and then 1 scoop of 1/3 cup per bowl. I'm no good at fractions to tell you total what that may be.  The layers were a bit on the thin side, which for a bunch of kids, was just fine. If you want the layers thicker, I say use 2 boxes. I also used canned frosting, I know, gasp! I used 2 cans, put them in the mixer, added a tablespoon of meringue powder and 3 tsp. lemon extract. It was very yummy and refreshing to go with all that cake. My picture is a little too blurry, but you get the idea!

Table ready to go!
 The kids off on the hunt. We started with the colors we were wearing.
 Then headed over to the play ground.
 We checked the dirt, grass, trees, leaves, and whatever else we could find.
hmmm, which color is it?

 A bit on the blurry side, but you get the idea. In a perfect setting, I probably should have wiped the knife off after each slice. But there were excited kids!

Books we read:

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Eric Carle's Birthday

I started to celebrate Eric Carle's birthday with our group last year. Last year, I found a link to a color your own Brown Bear, Brown Bear book. And because most of the kids were younger, it was perfect. I also made a Very Hungry Caterpillar out of mini cupcakes last year. I included the pictures from last year, because I guess I never blogged about it. Sorry about that. This year I found a fantastic idea from a great blog I just discovered. It's Meet The Dubins, go check her out. She has great craft ideas, and fun lunches!!

So this year we did a balloon print of the Very Hungry Caterpillar. I was a bit bummed because we got rained out of 2 locations, but we went ahead with it anyway. Follow the blogs directions because she explains it very nicely. I did do one thing differently. Because we were outside at a park, I put about a 1/4 cup of uncooked rice at the bottom of each balloon. This kept it from blowing away!

All the kids had fun making these, and we were all reletavley mess free. 

Our balloon caterpillars.  Mine is on top, then D's, and then L's on the bottom.
The board greeting the kids from last year.
 And the mini cupcake caterpillar from last year.
Books we read:
All were Eric Carle books

My Apron
The Very Busy Spider
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
1, 2, 3 to the Zoo
Does a kangaroo have a mother, too?
Have you seen my cat?
The Secret Birthday Message
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?

Happy Birthday L! You are 5!!

My little boy turned 5 on the 20th! This is so crazy for me to even think about. He is a big boy now, and will be starting school in the fall. I don't know if I am ready for that. When Adam and I got married back in 2004, we knew we wanted children right away, and we knew that we only wanted 2. It didn't faze us if we had both boys, both girls, or one of each! We also knew that the odds were in favor of both boys, since his family for a few generations now are mostly boys.  Well we found out we were pregnant the day after Adam ran his first marathon, and the day we received 2 foreign exchange students that didn't speak 1 word of English. I knew right away, this was going to be interesting. We went through tons while waiting for this sweet boy to make his appearance. Finally it was Father's day 2006. His due date. I had a Dr. appointment on that Friday before, and they said there was no sign of labor yet, then the next day we spent in the hospital because I hadn't felt him move for a few hours. (Paranoid, yes! It was our first baby, and you just don't know things then.) So Sunday we had a cookout for Adam's parents and my dad for father's day. When everyone left, my mother-in-law stopped me and said, "Sometimes you just need some company over to help get things going." Little did we know, but that was the truth. About a half hour later, I started to feel some contractions. Not knowing what they really were, I just thought they were Braxton Hicks. I had never had any of those, so just chalked it up to that. They were really all over the place. But they kept going all through the night, and getting stronger the next day. When Adam got home from work at 5:30 that Monday, he demanded we go to the hospital just to check things out. We didn't even take the overnight bag because we thought it was nothing. Silly us! By 6:00 I was checked into the hospital and told I was in labor. Now the contractions were still all over the place and not really regulating at all. It would be every 45 min, then 4 min, then 30 min, then 17.

We called my brother-in-law Travis to bring the bag for us. The nurses told me that I wasn't leaving until I had this baby. I got a little freaked out when I heard that. I didn't think I was ready for this. But Adam stayed by my side all through the night. The next morning, they gave me pitocin. Yuck! It just made the contractions stronger but not regular. So I broke down and got an epidural. The Dr. that put it in was extremely mean!!!! They made me get up and go to the bathroom before he would give it to me. Well while in there I had the worse contraction yet! Plus I started to freak out about getting it in the first place. The Dr. starts yelling at me saying that if I don't hurry up, then he is leaving. He was screaming at all the nurses too! I come out and sit on the bed. He then yells at me because I had a large mole on my back where he wanted to put the epidural. He says that is he had a knife and time he would have just sliced it right off.  I was NOT liking him!!! The epidural ended up not working at all for me. They even came in and upped the dosage, but still nothing. I was feeling everything!

By 1pm, my Dr. came in to check me. I was still making slow progress.  She told me to lay on my left side and that if we didn't make any progress by 1:30, they were going to have to do an emergency C-section. That scared me even more.  So I made sure I moved to my left. Well within 5 min of that, I felt the need to push, but didn't know that was what it was. The nurse came in, took one look at my face, and called everyone in right away!  Within 10 min, L was born to a room full of nurses. I had been there so long that EVERYONE came to cheer me on!

They took him over to clean up right away, and the nurse yelled, "Oh my, who has red hair!!!" We got a nice laugh at that, but then they rushed him out of the room. I was too exhausted to realize what was happening. A min. later, a Dr. called on the room phone. She said that L was having a difficult time breathing, and they needed to take him to NICU to hook him up. I asked if I could hold him before they took him. She agreed because it wasn't too bad. They brought him back just long enough for Adam and I to hold him and take one picture. About 5 min later, the Dr. called again. They said that as soon as they hooked him up, he had a great big cough, and was fine. They kept him there for 3 hours just to make sure. Adam went down to check on him and brought me back a Polaroid picture. All I could see were giant hands and feet on such a little baby! 

Baby L in Daddy's glasses
We ran into the Weinermobile on our way for donuts on L's birthday.

They let us inside when I told them it was his birthday and all our plans got rained out.

He was very excited to get a real tool box with real tools in it!

Cute Father/Son time!

L has been asking every day, sometimes twice, if we can make a giant donut ever since my mom brought the pan over!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Birthday D! You are 4!

My baby turned 4 on the 16th. I was not ready for that. It seems like it was just yesterday (I know, how cliche!) that I gave birth to that spirited little bundle of joy! Quick run down on her birth. We had stayed up late Friday 15th setting up Adam's Myspace account (boy is that dated already!), and right before bed I felt a twinge. Nothing big really. Well, we got up at 7:30 the next morning, and as soon as I got moving around, there were very distinct contractions. Every 10-15 min. Okay, no big deal. 8:30 they were every 8-10 min. Hmmm, better call the in-laws to come get L since they lived 45 min away. Luckily they were already on their way up to visit with my sister-in-law. Okay, 9:30 the contractions are now every 5-7 min. Oh boy, family better get here, and we better be on our way to the hospital!!! Family arrives, they take off, and off we go to the hospital, which thankfully is only about 7 min away. On our way, the contractions are now every 1-3 min, and we get stopped in traffic to allow walkers to cross the busy street to get to an annual art fair, the hospital in sight. Pull in, and head to maternity. They take me to triage to determine if I really am in labor. I'm sure it is routine, but come on!!  There I sat for over an hour. They wait to give you an IV and pain meds until they get you in your delivery room. When I finally get in my delivery room, no one could get the IV in. I had been in so much pain, my veins shut down. They even called the IV team, and it took 4 people, multiple sticks all over my arms and hands to finally get the IV in. 2 hours!!!! In the meantime, I find out that my dr. whom I chose when we moved here just months prior was out of town, even though he promised he would be here. I have a bitter strange old woman dr. come to check me. She tells me, "well, we are going to break your water, and you will have a baby in 5 min". She was right! D was born just 5 min later! She has been in a hurry to grow up ever since. This baby was my last, and I was going to enjoy her babyhood. Well, she had other plans. Having a brother not quite a year older can do that I guess, but it is also her personality! She doesn't like taking no for an answer, she is stubborn, fiery, and wants to do it all herself. She will always take care of herself, but as the parent of said child, it can be tricky. But overall, I would not change her one bit!!!!

Happy birthday to my little girl whose name came to me in a dream 6 years before she was born, when I had just started dating her daddy. In my dream, Adam and I were holding hands with a cute little curly red-headed girl that we called D. We always knew you would join our family!

What she woke up to on her special day

 The girl just wanted to go bowling for her birthday.

 Homemade bubblegum and glitter play-doh. Thanks Counting Coconuts for the recipe!!!

 My handsome boys

 Fun with water

Here I come!!

Funfetti cake with bubblegum flavored frosting. She was in heaven!

Yummy cake!

Wild Kratts/Mermaid birthday parties!!!

On the 12th, we celebrated the kid's birthdays. We had a small gathering of family and a few friends. L picked Wild Kratts.  Once again, if you are not familiar with this great show, check it out here.When we were discussing what to do for this Wild Kratts party, we decided to stick with his favorite episode, the forest episode. The cake is simple, but exactly what he wanted. We also made creature power suits. They were made of foam, and when the sticky backed foam did not stick to itself on the day of the party, we stapled it together. We also made disks with a magnetic back so the kids could pretend to change their creature powers. We were going to make a pin the Chris squirrel on the Martin Tree, but ran out of time. We did set up a large sheet of paper on a board so the kids could draw their favorite animals in their habitats.

D wanted a mermaid party and was insisting that she have a sandcastle cake with Ariel on the top along with Flounder. Again we kept the cake simple. D's cake was strawberry with vanilla butter cream, the "sand" was just crushed up graham crackers. Perfect! I did also pre-scoop all the ice cream the night before, and placed them in cupcake liners to make it easier at cake cutting time. I believe I saw that tip on Martha Stewart years ago, and let me tell you, it saves a headache! Adam also painted a pretty mermaid tail on a board so the girls could all sit behind it and take a picture as a mermaid. I used the fish and fishing poles I created for this post, and set it up with a little bucket of water. I gotta say, I think it was a HUGE hit! Overall, it was a fantastic party. The weather was about 70 degrees with a cool breeze, sunny, but slightly cloudy. Perfect!!!

Wild Kratts cake. Trees are made from chocolate melts.
 D's sandcastle cake

 the birthday mermaid girl
 the old fishing hole
 3 little creature power suits
 L is doing the "What if" Kratt pose
 Really getting into it now. Notice the olive t-shirt, khaki shorts, and hiking boots. Yep, he dressed just like Chris Kratt!
 Happy and tired family

Friday, June 10, 2011

Father's day Craft

Today I hosted our annual Father's day craft. We kept it simple this year and just made paper ties for all the dads.  Super easy! I cut tie shapes out of construction paper, and let the kids go to town decorating with markers and stickers. I think had lengths of string already cut. Each child got to lay the string on the back of the tie, and attach it with a piece of masking tape. My children couldn't wait the week to give their to daddy, and he has already said he will wear them proudly!

Stories We Read:
Me and My Dad! by Alison Ritchie
Daddy Adventure Day by Dave Keane
Day Out With Daddy by Stephen Cook
It's the best Day Ever, Dad! by Brooke Shields

Party Time!

It is almost time for both of my children to celebrate the start of a new age. Some of you reading this blog already know this, but some of you don't. My children were due the same day  a year apart. Planned that way, nope, talented, sure! But both were loved from the beginning. That being said, every year they are the same age for 4 days. Kinda crazy right? So to save money and time, we have one party for the two of them, since their birthday's are typically in the same week.  When asked about a month ago, what they would like for a theme, L didn't hesitate at all! WILD KRATTS!!!! Now if you are not familiar with this, it may be because it is a mostly animated show on PBS for kids brought to you by the Kratt brothers. Now you might say, hmmmm...that name does sound a little familiar.  That would be because you probably grew up (or a younger sibling did) watching Zoboomafoo! L has become a bit, shall we say, obsessive about this show ever since the first episode back in Jan. He actually cries if we are out and he has to miss it, even though we have watched every episode many many times!

D on the other hand, has changed what her theme would be so many times over the last 3 months, we had to tell her that after that day, she could not change it at all. I tired to get her to have a rainbow, or art party, or maybe even Hello Kitty. But alas, she chose mermaids. No not Little Mermaid, just plain old mermaids. Now, when brought to my children's attention that both of these would be a little difficult to do since there is little to no party stuff for either theme, what I heard back was, "That's okay mom, We can just make it.  That's what we do, right?" Okay, so now being crafty is coming back to bite me in the bud....

We had L choose his favorite Wild Kratts episode, which happened to be the forest one where Chris turns into a squirrel and Martin turns into a tree. So we ran with it. We chose a blue and green theme for plates, napkins, and decorations since it will go with both. Now, L insists we need to have Creature Power Suits, and daddy gladly complies.  More on that after the party!

For the girls coming to the mermaid party, I found these adorable mermaid dolls.  And what luck, I had everything already in the house!!! So easy to whip up! For invites, I found some really nice computer paper at Dollar Tree! I will also be using the same paper to make tags for all the food at the party.  I made up the cards very simply, and knew the kids would want to help. L wrote Wild Kratts on each of his cards, and D drew a mermaid on hers. D started by making such pretty mermaids, but I think got tired and just wanted to be done. The end result didn't look so much like a mermaid as it did a blobby monster. 

The treat bags themselves were just simple white paper sacks picked up at Hobby Lobby, which we did put each kid's name on along with a fun drawing. The boys will be receiving a glow bracelet, stack able crayons, tree frog pencil, a star straw, and ocean gummy candies. They will each get their own Creature Power Suit at the party as well.  The girls are each getting a mermaid doll, glow bracelet, ocean gummy candies, shell necklace, and a glittery pencil.  I have tons more to show, but you are going to have to wait until next week.  We have tons of party prep left to go. I have one cake done, and the other can't be finished until the morning of the party. So until then....see you on the creature trail!

 Pretty little mermaids all painted up
 Now with fins!
 The hair all ready to go

 The finished girls. I was so very happy with how these turned out!

 One of the boy treat bags

Girl treat bags

The invites!

Gone Fishing

My kids LOVE to go fishing for real, but there never seems to be a good time to go.  So last month I picked up some donut magnets at a craft store here in town. Adam asked what I wanted to do with them, and I didn't have anything planned right away, but knew they would come in handy.  Well, cut to this week.  I had all my foam sheets out already because I was making fins for mermaid dolls (more on that next week!). Then it hit me, how about fish shapes out of the foam, and slide paper clips onto their "face" end! I'm sure I had seen this on some other blog before, but can't really remember where.  So I sat down, free handed a whole bunch of fish, put paper clips on, and had the kids get dressed.  The kiddie pool was still full of water, and was kind of dirty, so I figured it was the perfect location to go fishing in.  I was just planning on dumping the water out later that day anyway!  The kids and I scouted out 2 nice size sticks to act as fishing poles. Our backyard use to look like a forest, but since last summer had 5 trees removed.  Luckily we have had some bad storms lately, and trees around us are loosing sticks like crazy!  I have a ball of hemp twine that I used to tie the magnet to the sticks, and sent the kids off to the pool.  They had soooo much fun doing this.  I think we fished all the fish out about 4 times.  By the 4th time they were pretending to be in a competition with Tom and Jerry!

Afterwards we drained the pool of water, and clipped the fish to our art work drying line.  This made for a very fun morning, and I think I may add it to the fun games I have ready for L and D's birthday party this weekend!

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