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Saturday, March 23, 2013

Who Knew?

Did you know that if you stick a piece of bread, (I use the heel) in a jar of brown sugar it keeps it perfectly granulated and fluffy? Easy thing to do and it works! Apparently the gases from the bread keep it from getting clumpy :)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Adler's Woodland Fairy Party

I party plan year-round. It's a hobby, a passion, and something I really enjoy. I am always on the lookout for anything I could tie into a theme. This year's theme was supposed to be a Pink Flamingo Pool Party, for my daughter's love of all things pink and flamingos. I had already started buying stuff I had found on sale here/there, (nothing that can't be saved or carried over). Needless to say, it threw me for a loop when my then 5-year old came to me requesting a fairy party in December. That only left 3 months to pull stuff together~lol. I didn't want a pink, purple, and all things garden fairy party because I really didn't have any existing resources I could use. Then it hit me! I could do more of a woodland theme and use things I could walk outside and grab for FREE! Of course, Pinterest and sites such as Catch My Party proved invaluable and I began pinning away, looking under Woodland themes, Gnome themes, and Woodland Fairy themes.

I got extremely lucky after Christmas and found fairy tutus on clearance in the Target dollar aisle! Thank God, because I CAN NOT sew, and I don't think I could've bought the materials to make them cheaper than what I got them for. Paired with $1 wings from the Dollar Tree, and tulle "poof" wands I made myself, I had little fairies running around the party and instant favors they could take home.
Here's the fairy frocks at the party:
If you need pink wings, you can grab these for only $2 in the party aisle at Target!
 
 
 
 
Of course, we were expecting a few little gnomes to come "crash" the party, so I made some really easy felt gnome hats. I don't sew at all, so I just used glue along the inside seam. I believe the triangle I cut from the red felt was approx. 13" tall , with a rounded bottom width of 20" Felt is easy and you can draw on it with a pencil. Even for someone like me who can't even sew a button on, they were not difficult.
     
 
I made buffet labels, printing directly onto 4x6 pieces of a brown paper bag, then I crumpled it up for visual effect. I framed it with sticks I hot glued together and added a touch of moss here and there. They were sweet and free! And they don't have to be perfect
 
My girl doesn't like chocolate, but the color tied in with the party, so I just had Publix Bakery make her a small cake. For $11.99 I was thrilled! The lady in the bakery did a wonderful job and I just added on a few of my own cookies (the #6, and toadstools), some candy rocks, and a tiny cake bunting tied on 2 sticks. 
I used a lot of log slices here and there that my husband cut for me and it made the cake even cuter when used as a cake pedestal! 
Here's the cupcakes. I added bite-sized toadstool cookies and a few candy pearls. My husband made a tiered stand out of logs for this, and I used a couple scraps of polka dot material to tie it all in.
 
I had food for the adults, but wanted to keep all of the kid's food simple and something they could just pick up and eat with their hands. For this theme, it was actually easy. Here's a few pictures of the food. We also had toadstool cheese (half of a cherry tomato placed on a piece of string cheese-so cute)
 Fairy picks are Meri Meri and I got them on clearance from my favorite place-TJ Maxx HomeGoods!
 Fairy Berries-Strawberries, Blackberries, and Blueberries and I LOVE these little candy/treat cups! They are wax lined and perfect for stuff like this! You can get them from a variety of vendors, including 1 of my favorites- http://www.jillybeankids.com/
 In all the party mayhem, I didn't get a good picture of the little hedgehogs, but if you look to the top/left, you can see the little guys. Donut holes dipped in melted chocolate and rolled in chocolate jimmies. 
Last minute decision to roll up some scrapbook paper I had here to serve the chips out of and it picks up w/ the toadstool theme
 Addie tucked in this little guy between the moss-covered rocks

I got these French milk bottles a couple of years ago from Jilly Bean Kids and I use them all the time! I got plastic ones so we don't have to worry about them breaking and Michael's has started carrying paper straws~Yay!!!!!!!
 Gnome walking sticks (chocolate covered pretzel rods)
Some more sweets!
I used dry, split green peas in a couple of places. Loved the green color, and they are super cheap!
 
 
I had a set budget and included room for a fairy face painter! It was so worth it! The girls literally stood around watching her. Kym with Face to Face Designs was a source of entertainment and done an amazing job! Here's some of her fairy face paint creations:



 I made a Granola "Bar" with stuff I already had in the pantry, placing little brown paper sacks that each child could fill with some of their favorite stuff and take home. This was really easy and the kids love hands-on stuff like this! I will probably be doing a Trail Mix Station for a future camp-out.



 My husband just cut these from a small caliber log and I used a Sharpie to make buffet labels

 
For an easy fairy activity, I placed small wings I cut out of sparkly tulle in the trees/shrubs. We went on a fairy walk to see if the fairies had left behind or lost any wings the night before.

I also made some fairy houses out of a few logs my best friend brought me out of her yard. These things could get really intricate; there are all kinds of ideas on the internet. I just used some spare pieces of sticks, logs, and moss that I already had.
Not the greatest picture, but the log is super cool and already had moss on it. We used the same size log pieces I used for buffet labels as a staircase, I hot glued some broke sticks for a ladder, etc.
 
See more pictures of Adler's Woodland Fairy Party at Catch My Party, it was featured as Party of the Day!
 




Monday, February 4, 2013

Cancer has hit too close to home for many of us. I was recently contacted by a "courageous Mother, Wife, and Survivor of Mesothelioma" who is trying to spread awareness and connect with others who may use her journey as an inspiration. Follow her blog, The Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance Blog, at http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/heather/

Meanwhile, here is a glimpse into Heather's journey:


My Battle Against Cancer

The day I found out I had cancer, the world came to a screeching halt. I had just given birth to my daughter Lily three and a half months before, but it seems like I never recovered. I went back to work only a month after Lily was born, but I was still so lethargic and was losing an extreme amount of weight (5-7 lbs a week!) and it was hard to cope. I hoped maybe it was hormonal, but I felt like something was very wrong. The doctor took it seriously and ran a few tests. On that fateful day in November 2005, when he said the words “mesothelioma,” I couldn’t breathe. I knew it was cancer. I had cancer at 36 years old, and just 3 ½ months after the birth of my baby girl.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is a kind of cancer in the lining of the lungs. Mesothelioma is most typically caused by exposure to asbestos. We eventually found out that I had been exposed to asbestos when I was a child.  If I refused treatment, he said, I had just fifteen months to live. That meant that my husband and I could not raise Lily together and I’d miss her kindergarten graduation and first dance and tears and laughter and love and … everything. Worse, she would miss having a mother and never know me, and my heart broke thinking of my husband as a single parent. I had to be strong for him and for Lily, and beat this cancer back and stay here with them.

My doctor laid out all kinds of treatment options from conservative to aggressive. It hardly took my husband more than a second to say “get us to Boston” which is where the most aggressive form of treatment would have to happen. My husband and I left Lily behind with my mom(who flew home with Lily to their house in South Dakota) and flew to Boston-my surgery was on Feb 2, 2006.  I underwent extrapleural pneumonectomy surgery with one of the best mesothelioma doctors in the country. This surgery meant the removal of my entire left lung and all of the surrounding tissue. I spent 18 days in the hospital recovering from surgery, and another 2 months after that recovering more before going through chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

It was so hard to leave my baby during that time. Looking back, I don’t know how I did it, except that I had the love of my husband to lean on and the knowledge that I had to keep fighting. I was just so glad that she was in the best hands possible with my parents. Knowing that she was safe with them made it a lot easier for me to cope. I missed Lily so much, but because of my family’s support, I am able to hug her now and that makes every day more special than I could ever have imagined.

I am happy to say that as a family, we made it through this whole ordeal. I am now cancer free and I go back to Boston every 6 months for new scans. My cancer was bad--but along with it came a lot of good. We as a family now embrace everything that life throws our way-good or bad.

Heather and Family-Husband, Cameron and Daughter, Lily Rose
 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Super Bowl Sunday

I had some extra time in the kitchen today and since we got invited to a Super Bowl/ joint birthday party this Sunday, I figured I would do some Super Bowl cookies. I really liked the cookies featured on the Sweet Adventures of Sugar Belle--so cute

http://www.sweetsugarbelle.com/blog/2013/01/fun-football-cookie-ideas/

Here's what I came up with (the b-day boys will be 11 and 2)

HAPPY SUPER BOWL!!!!!!!!!   GO RAVENS! (I guess....I just liked The Blind Side; I know absolutely nothing about football-Ha!)

Monday, January 7, 2013

Cherish The Moments...

My life is a whirlwind! Having 1 child in school kept me on my toes last year; but 2 kids in school-Whoa! My life needs to SLOW down! Please take time to donate to this fundraiser for a dear teacher at my children's school. Her Mother is terminally ill and the goal is to be able to send the family on a trip that will create some special memories and allow them time together.

http://miakateandalligrace.blogspot.com/2013/01/it-takes-village.html

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Summer

I have took a loooong hiatus from blogging, but the spring baseball season kept us on our toes! The Summer blur started out by taxing my two kiddos to a few VBS's (always loads of fun), and a ton of time spent at the baseball field, 1 of my favorite places to be! Adler's team-the Cincinnati Reds (American Girl Doll Kit's favorite team) had a pretty good little season, we seen a lot of improvement and they finished strong :) Below is a picture of Adler and her "Coach" (her Daddy) with the girliest trophy we could order; there were only 2 other girls on the team, so the trophies belonging to them were a little different from the boys- Try out trophydepot.com they ship so fast (you can usually get Free Ground Shipping for orders over $99), and ordering/personalization is so quick and easy! Plus, look how cute they turned out!
Of course, with any of my kids' end-of-season ball cook-outs, there's the cookies:)
This 2-tier platter is 1 of my favorite finds from TJ MAXX Homegoods! I love it!!!!
 
Brant's team, the Mini Mayhem (named after their older travel ball team predecessors) went undefeated for the entire season, coming in 1st in the league in their age division and took the entire gold bracket tournament as well with a perfect record.
You can barely see Brant peeking out of the "mayhem" but he's looking back at us and the memories and excitement of this day will last a lifetime! I'm so glad 1 of our baseball mom's snapped this picture!
And again, I was back in the kitchen shortly after rolling out some more baseball-themed cookies! I've become a lot more "efficient" at getting these done, since I've got 2 playing spring/fall ball.



Shortly after ball season was our family vacation to the beach, where Brant requested we host his birthday party. He really enjoyed last year's birthday party at the beach and it truly makes things a lot easier on me, so I was happy to oblige. Check out Brant's surf birthday party from last year here http://catchmyparty.com/parties/brants-6th-surf-sand-and-sun-birthday-party

In keeping with this year's "beachy" birthday theme, Brant chose a shark theme. And, since we were traveling, I kept the party details as simple as possible. Here's a few pictures:
 
Party printables always make things more clean and simple and of course help to "define" the theme I bought the entire shark printables file from Paper & Cake Printable Partyware
 

See the entire party here! This was a lot of fun and so easy! http://catchmyparty.com/parties/brants-7th-birthday-party-swimming-with-the-sharks
 
And, of course, while I was at the beach, I had to get in some "summer reading" ;)
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Another summer birthday, my niece Payton turned 7 and I got to make Hello Kitty cookies for her party too!

 All in all, it was a whirlwind of summer days spent grilling out, swimming, going to the ball field or park, the library, and a few trips to the drive-in movies thrown in for good measure! We're buckled down for a fun school year!




Saturday, April 21, 2012

So much has been going on ! I didn't get to share my sweet Adler's 5th birthday party, but the good news is, Jillian Tohber Leslie from Catch My Party selected it as party of the day a few weeks ago! I love her website and it is such a great place to see amazing parties as they unfold with awesome attention to detail and easy lay-out! You can see more on the link she provided me here:
http://catchmyparty.com/party-of-the-day/2183