Captain America Birthday Party (and Printables)

So the third grader celebrated his 8th birthday last weekend…and, of course, we had to have a party!  He just wanted to invite a few friends over for pizza and a movie after school on Friday, but I still wanted it to be a little bit festive. And do a little baking and crafting, of course.

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I designed the invitations in Photoshop Elements…you can download them by clicking here.

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For the party favors, we bought red, white, and blue Hot Wheels, giant erasers that looked like blue and white striped lollipops, and blue raspberry lollipops.  The erasers and Hot Wheels went into white lunch sacks, then I punched holes and tied the bags with red and white bakers’ twine.  We stuck the lollipop sticks through those same holes.  I printed shield labels, the birthday boy cut them out, and we glued them on.

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Click here to download the favor bag labels

During the movie, we had a mixture of healthy and not-so-healthy snacks…they devoured all of it.  The little pretzel and cheese snacks looked a bit like a shield, and we had red Twizzler bites with blue and white York Peppermint Bites.  Also, we had veggies and ranch dip, apples and marshmallow dip, and Cool Ranch Doritos (the birthday boy’s favorites). We also had popcorn, but I forgot to add it to the table before I took the photo.Party-Snacks-ChaosServedDai

Since we were watching the movie in the living room, I didn’t want colored drinks spilled, so we just had water…but look at the cool labels I made for it!  (Hydra is the evil organization in the movie, so “Hydrate” worked out punnily well!).  Party-Water-ChaosServedDail

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After the movie, we had pizza, opened gifts, and, of course, ate cake and ice cream. For the cake, he wanted a Captain America shield…easy enough, right? I made a two-layer, red and blue cake using the recipe for 1-2-3-4 Cake that I found on the cake flour box.

To make a multi-colored cake, you mix up the cake and divide the batter into smaller bowls, one per color you want to have in the cake. Tint the batter with food coloring, then start spooning it into the center of the greased and floured cake pan, letting each color spread out on its own (you can hurry it a bit by tapping the pan on the counter), then adding a big spoonful of your next color and so on.  Be sure the batter has leveled out before baking, but don’t use a spoon or your finger or anything, unless you want a swirly look that might blend together. Then just bake according to the directions.

The frosting recipe is from the Magnolia Bakery. I put frosting between the layers, then a thin coat over the entire cake, with more on the sides. I decided to go old-school with Wilton star tip decorating.

To make star-tip decorations, you just use a star decorating tip, spoon your frosting into the bag, then squeeze a bit and release to make stars. It’s pretty therapeutic, really, because it doesn’t take a lot of concentration. I just cut out a paper star to the right size, and iced around it with blue and red, the removed it and filled in with white.  I added more stars of red and blue around the bottom (which hides any uneven areas of the icing along the edge). And it’s an “F” because that’s his first initial…not because I graded my decorating skills!

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The only decorations we put up is this set from the party store. I’ve used these murals before for birthday parties, and I think they rock. They’re about $6 and cover a 5’ x 6’ area…so they’re great as photo backdrops. The hooligans like to put them up in their rooms afterward, and they look great in there, too! (And y’all thought my kids have magazine-perfect rooms, didn’t you?  Well, they don’t!)

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Finally, one of my cardinal rules of having a party…you have to send a hand-written thank you note.  I figure, if they care enough to spend time picking out, buying, and wrapping a gift, the least you can do is spend five minutes thanking them for it. Yes, you’re right…he should have written these to the moms, since I’m sure that’s who actually did all that work for the gift!

Here are the matching thank you cards I made…not a lot of space to write, so a third-grader isn’t intimidated by a bunch of white space. And as I tell them, the guests are not going to be comparing thank you notes, so they can write basically the same thing in each one!

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Click here to download these thank you cards

We didn’t want to spend a fortune on this party (because, really, why?), and, in all, it was around $75, including buying the movie on DVD. I think it was a total success!

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Carbs, Schmarbs Gift Bag

You would think, with all the gift bags and boxes I can’t resist buying at craft stores and online, that I would always have the perfect bag on hand. Well, I don’t. But I do always have a brown paper bag (and usually in several sizes!), and they’re so simple to embellish to fit any occasion.

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Stampin’ Up! supplies: Yippee Skippee stamp set; Pool Party and Whisper White cardstock; Epic Day Designer Series Paper; Calypso Coral and Basic Gray markers; Scallop Border and Designer Label punches, Corner Rounder, Calypso Coral Ribbon; Vintage Faceted Buttons; Pool Party Bakers’ Twine

I kinda love the sayings in the Yippee Skippee stamp set, and this one makes a perfect tag for a little birthday surprise. Because all the best birthday treats involve carbs, don’t they? To cover the front, just cut a sheet of decorative paper the width of the bag and long enough to be covered by the flap when it’s folded over. Attach it with some Sticky Strip or adhesive runner. WHILE THE BAG IS STILL FLATTENED. Trust me, don’t forget to do this BEFORE you’ve added the treat inside.

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I freehand-cut the candle flame, but if you have the holiday Bitty Punches, the Christmas light punch is a perfect flame. I snipped the corners of a rectangle of cardstock t make a tag shape, then scalloped the edge to make it even less like a rectangle. Oh, and I used Dimensionals to pop the label out from the candle.

This took about five minutes to put together, and you’ll get credit for making it yourself!

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Campfire Cake

Way back in December, in the midst of the Thanksgiving-Christmas-school break madness, our eldest hooligan had his 10th birthday. The party was scheduled for the day The Lone Ranger (with Johnny Depp) came out on DVD, because that’s what he wanted to do at his party…eat pizza, watch the movie, have cake. He’s not a very social boy, so that was all the celebration he felt comfortable having. And he deemed any decorations or themed party games too babyish.

You know I couldn’t let a party happen without something themed, though, so I came up with a cool cake that looked like a campfire. (I saw the idea on Pinterest and ran with it from there, so it’s not totally an original thought.)

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I’m sure you won’t believe me, but this was probably the simplest cake I’ve ever decorated. I started with a boxed mix (from Duff, at Target) for a rainbow cake . And, yes, it had artificial colors, but the remaining ingredients were okay. The boy loves rainbow colors, so I relented.

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For the shards of “fire,” I followed this simple recipe for hard candy.  I added peppermint extract for the flavoring and liquid, not gel, food color.  I didn’t stir it much once I added the coloring, so that it would look swirled.  After I poured it into a parchment-lined sheet pan, I let it cool completely, then used the highly technical meat mallet and knife point method to break it into shards.

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I wound up with way more fire than I needed, but it was tasty to snack on for a couple of weeks after the party.Cake-Candy-ChaosServedDaliy

The only other part I had to figure out was the toasted marshmallow border. Fortunately, one of my neighbors (have I ever mentioned that my neighbors are possibly the best ever?) had a mini-torch for crème brulee and I borrowed that. Man, it worked so well…I think I may need one of my own.Cake-Torch-ChaosServedDaily

Look!

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Assembling it was simple…I mixed up a batch of chocolate buttercream frosting and frosted the cake, then place the shards in it. They had to go quite a way down, to keep them from tipping, then I frosted over the holes they made. I broke Pirouline cookies to resemble logs and placed the toasted marshmallows around the edge. Ta-da!Cake-Cut-ChaosServedDaily

The birthday boy (and all of his friends) thought the shards of fire were the coolest, and I was pretty darned impressed with my abilities.

Now I’m trying to talk Princess Thundercloud into a similar one using blue shards of “ice” for her Frozen-themed party this weekend. Wish me luck…she checked a book on cake decorating out of the library two months ago and has chosen a cake that looks like a jewelry box with a necklace and nail polish bottle on the top. Really? Shards are so much more fun!

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Princess Thundercloud’s Birthday Party

Yep, she’s a big five-year-old now. And, of course, we had to have a party involving her entire class because, well, she’s a social butterfly, even in 4K. She had planned a ginormous fete at our home, but, as the snow and cold wore on and on, I was a bit (okay, a lot) stressed about that. I mean, having a party with eighteen kids is fine when you can be outdoors, but my poor house would have been shuddering with all that energy trapped inside.

Luckily, with a little covert persuasion from me, she decided a party at her gymnastics place would be fun.  And even more luckily, one of her friends also had a April birthday and a brand new baby brother, so her mom was more than happy to have a joint party and split the cost and effort. Yay!

I snapped a quick photo of the girls one day and then created an invitation using Photoshop.adding party hats and the info.  I printed them as 4×6 photos at Costco for 19 cents each, so they were very affordable.  By the way, I’ve either blurred out or covered faces of the kids who don’t belong to me in this post, since I don’t want to plaster other people’s kids on the internet. Esme-Bday-Invite-2013Bday-PitBday-Swing

The party started at noon, so I thought we should have some actual food, not just cupcakes and ice cream.  We made pinwheels with Flatout breads, cream cheese, cheddar, and turkey.  The kids also helped make rainbow fruit kebobs, instead of just bowls of fruit on the table.  To round it all out, we had bowls of carrots and veggie chips.

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The other mom made yummy cupcakes, and I was surprised that the girls didn’t fight over who got to blow out the candles…they just did it together!  I actually have photos with both girls, but cropped most of the other little girl out of this one for this post.

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Two birthday girls meant two times the presents, so to avoid confusion, I picked up a couple of giant tubs at Target (in the kids’ décor section). I cut out purple vinyl letters using my Silhouette, which made it a snap to create a personalized gift that they can use in their rooms after the party. And, it made a perfect gift for us to give the other birthday girl!

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For the party favors, I found sunglasses (6 for $1) and had individual bags of all-natural sweet and salty popcorn.  I printed some tags that read, “Thanks for popping by to brighten up our party!” I used pink or blue ribbon/yarn to tie the tag, sunglasses, and popcorn together for a simple handout as the kids left the party.

Party-Favors-ChaosServedDaiSince the girls had so many gifts, and the time in the party room was relatively short, we chose to take the gifts home to open them.  We took photos of each gift, then I added a quick text “thanks” to each, using Photoshop. We also had a great photo of the whole group in the foam pit, which I added a “Thanks for coming!” note to, again using Photoshop. After printing the photos in a 4×6 format at Costco, I cut pieces of cardstock in half and put one group photo on the front and the personalized thanks on the back. Princess Thundercloud slipped them into the envelopes, and we were done with thank-you notes!

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This was such a simple party to pull together…I spent maybe three hours on it, between making invitations and thank yous, personalizing the buckets, and making the food. And, my favorite part was that we were home, with everything unpacked and cleaned up, in time for a Sunday afternoon nap!

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My Line in the Sand…Healthier Birthday Treats

Yep, I’m climbing up on my soapbox yet again!  I recently read an article (by Yoni Freedhoff, MD) about all the excess sugar our children are given at school or other activities. It added up to about 600 extra calories from sugar per week for his elementary-age children. That’s appalling to me.

But it adds up quickly…if you have 25 kids in the class, and celebrate summer birthdays on the half-year, then that’s 25 times your kid will come home all sugared up. My kids are wild enough by the time school’s out…they need no chemical help! And that’s without the after practice “treats” or the lollipops at the bank, barber shop, or carwash. Yes, at the carwash. Being whisked through the auto-wash should be treat enough for any kid!

I was already at the end of my tolerance for my kids coming home with candy or other sweets they’d “earned” at school, or hearing about yet another birthday treat that was nothing but empty sugar calories. Now, I’m not trying to count calories for my kids here…they’re all a healthy weight for their height.  I just want their food to be nutritious.

I confess, I bowed to peer pressure and sent cupcakes for the third grader’s birthday in December and the first grader took Rice Krispy treats in September. But I’ve decided that no more will I contribute to the problem. When Princess Thundercloud’s birthday approached last week, I girded my loins and prepared for battle when I told her that we would be taking something healthy for a treat. To my surprise, she was perfectly fine with it. I gave her a few choices, and she decided on yogurt parfaits.

For the Valentine’s Party, we were asked to bring a healthy snack (because someone else was bringing a sugary treat for a birthday on Valentine’s Day). I had pinned these butterfly snacks last year, and thought they would be perfect for Valentine’s Day.

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Thundercloud was happy to help, first decorating the clothespins, then helping fill the bags.And did you know that rainbow Goldfish contain no artificial dyes?  I drew the antennae and cut the strips of paper, by the way, but she did the rest.

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Of course, we couldn’t possibly make the same thing for her birthday two months later. She looked at me like I had a third eye on my forehead when I suggested it. Instead, we decided on the yogurt parfaits…they’re her favorite breakfast or snack, and she almost always orders the parfait (or oatmeal) if we go to McDonalds.

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We made the ones for school in a Zoopals cup, but since they’re not transparent, I took a photo of our prototype in a clear glass. One of her classmates has a peanut allergy, so I couldn’t find granola that was nut-free.  And I had used all the oats I had on hand the week before, making granola that was chockful of nuts. It also makes me a little nervous to provide home-baked things, since I don’t have a nut-free kitchen. So we used Annie’s Bunny Grahams on top instead. There’s also a blackberry allergy in her class, so we just used strawberries for the fruit.Parfaits

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I printed some “Happy Birthday”s on pink cardstock and punched them out with a scallop circle punch.  Then she used double-sided tape to attach them to the Zoopal lids.

She also helped assemble the parfaits. I diced the strawberries, then together we spooned in yogurt and layered the strawberries in between.  No strawberries could show because, “It has to be a surprise that they’re in there!!!!” Then she sprinkled a few grahams on top just before we took them to school, so they wouldn’t get soggy. No one wants soggy bunnies.

 

I realize that many schools don’t allow homemade treats…our school in Washington doesn’t, so next year I’ll be using some of these ideas:

1. Individual bags of Annie’s Bunny Grahams

2. A bag of apple slices and string cheese

3. Yogurt tubes (we like Yoplait Simply or Stoneyfield Farms)

4. Non-food party favors, such as fun pencils, small bottles of bubbles, bookmarks, etc.

5. Clementines or other small oranges. We drew jack o’lantern faces on these for the school Halloween party and they were a big hit with the kids.

6. Squeeze applesauce or granola bars

7. Individual bags of Veggie Chips or popcorn

8. Fruit Rollups or Stretch Island Fruit Bars or Bites

9. Rainbow Fruit Kabobs (if you can bring homemade treats…this was Thundercloud’s 2nd choice, so we had those at her party)

10. Pick up a bunch of crayons when they’re on sale at the beginning of the school year…usually you can get them for 25 cents.  What kid doesn’t love cracking open a brand-new box of colors? You could even download and print black and white mini coloring or game books to go along with the crayons.

11. It’s a little pricey, but you could order yogurt parfaits from McDonalds.

Wish me luck on this new non-sugar crusade…I may just take on chocolate milk at school next! (And, please, won’t you think about joining me in reducing the sugar in our kids’ lives?  Thanks!)

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Lego Cupcakes and the Week’s Menu

When I planned this week for the blog, I had a theme in mind…birthdays.  I did okay Monday with Nonna’s Blossom Garland, and Tuesday with the purse giftcard holder. And even Wednesday with the St. Pat’s card and beer tag…I mean, there are lots of people with March 17 birthdays, right?  Then Pi(e) Day threw me off schedule…I had to observe it with an actual pie, after all!

Today I’m back on track, sharing the cupcakes my third grader took to school for his birthday back in December. We were on vacation in Florida the week before his birthday, so needed a plan before we arrived home and had to immediately make them for the next day.

He is a Lego fanatic, and he was sure I could make cupcakes in the shape of Lego bricks and then he could build a cake from them to take to school. Ummm. While his faith in me in touching, there was no way I was going to attempt that after being away from home for nine days.

I began a quest, unbeknownst to the rest of the family, to find those Lego brick candies.  I see them everywhere when I have no intention of buying them, but hit dead end after dead end in Florida. Because everything is shaped like a mouse there, I guess. Even Legoland itself didn’t have them. Finally, on our last day in Florida, we visited Winter the dolphin in Clearwater.  There was a tiny little candy shop near the beach there, and lo and behold, they had the bricks…woohoo!  Of course, my family still ridiculed me for picking out the exact colors and shapes I wanted to make 24 cupcakes.

Guess who was laughing when these turned out so superbly?  I was, that’s who!

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And now what you really clicked here to read…the Menu for the Week!

Monday:  Chicken Apple Sausages with Seeds of Change Quinoa and Wild Rice and Green Peas

Tuesday: Easy Polenta Lasagna with Raw Veggies and Dip

Wednesday: Leftover Corned Beef and Vegetables with Soda Bread

Thursday:  Unstuffed Cabbage with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans

Friday: Martha’s Mac and Cheese with Fruit Salad

For Monday, slice and saute the chicken sausages with a medium diced onion in a large skillet.  Add two packages of the grains, about 1/4 cup chicken broth, and a handful each dried cranberries and chopped roasted pistachios.  Cook until it’s heated throughout. The sausages, grains, cranberries, pistachios, and green peas all came from Costco, so it was a one-stop shopping meal!

As the menu suggests, winter is dragging on here in Wisconsin.  I saw my driveway Monday. But then it snowed overnight and it disappeared again. Oh, well. I’m just telling you this to explain the overwhelming amount of comfort food on this week’s menu!

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Perfect Purse Giftcard Holder

I first posted this in November 2011, but I think these little purse giftcard holders are so fabulous they deserve another sharing!

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I’m not even listing supplies, since everything except the Bring on the Cake stamp set I used has been retired or are generic craft store supplies. I’m sure you have things in your stash that you can substitute, or please feel free to use this as an excuse to buy new supplies!

To make this, simply fold a 6” x 6” piece of double-sided patterned paper in half and cut a little off each side to make it look like a purse . The fold is at the bottom. I used my Big Shot and the Top Note die to cut the “flap” but any symmetrical piece would work. Fold that in half, adhere your ribbon/handle at the bottom of the fold, and adhere to the back piece of your purse. I cut a Stampin’ Up medium clear bag in half for the gift card and adhered all 4 sides of it for strength. To keep the purse closed, use a Velcro dot.

These are super cute for girls’ night or any girly gift giving occasion (and there are so many of those!) and come together really quickly. I usually try to have a few ready to go, except for the sentiment, in various patterns. Not that gift-giving sneaks up on me, or anything. Well, not more than half the time, let’s say.

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Celebrating Hello Kitty Style

Well, Princess Thundercloud starts planning her next birthday party about ten minutes after the current one ends.  We’ve gone through approximately 532 themes this year, but the colors are always the same…pink and purple. She’s such a conformist.

I didn’t even get to make cupcakes for her preschool…she insisted on taking Strawberry Cream Oreos instead of something mom-made.  Can you believe it?

Here’s some ideas from the party we had over the weekend for her.  It was small…only six kids, counting our three, but it was perfect for a 4th birthday!

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The centerpiece was pink and white wafer cookies. sugar-dipped marshmallows, pixie sticks, pink and purple M&Ms, and Malted milk eggs.  Thank goodness for Easter clearances!

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To make the marshmallows, we used 6” bamboo skewers (the point is down), dipped the end of the marshmallows in melted white chocolate, then pink and white hearts and pink decorating sugar. Super easy and cute, but for some reason, my camera would not focus on them…maybe they were too glittery?

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Scrapbooking paper was on sale 7/$1 at Michaels, so we punched out Hello Kitty faces for straw decorations and to make picks for the cupcakes.

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I cut out cupcake wrappers from some other scrapbooking paper.  The cupcakes were cherry cake with cherry buttercream, then we rolled the edges in the pink sugar and sprinkled on decoration.  When I say we, I mean it.  Thundercloud and her brothers all helped with making the cupcakes and the decorations. Without fighting. It was amazing.

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We blew up balloons to make flowers and rows along the tops of the doorways, and my GI Joe bought pink heart and purple star Mylar balloons at the dollar tree. We think their balloons are the best…last year in Washington we used the same balloons for everyone’s birthday, starting in September and lasting until June.  They were a little deflated by my birthday in June, but we were moving to Wisconsin that month, so didn’t invest in more!

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While the guests were arriving, we put on a Hello Kitty DVD and had HK coloring pages on the coffee table, which I covered with more of the scrapbooking paper, in case of over-scribbling.

After everyone had arrived and settled down a bit, they each made their own pizza. Thundercloud says she wants to be a pizza chef when she grows up, so she insisted on the menu.

We also had veggies and dip and a rainbow fruit platter with yogurt for dipping. I think the adults enjoyed those more than the kids, but that’s fine!  The kids drank Izze sodas, which they always think they want but end up not drinking. I think they don’t like the fizz, since they normally don’t drink soda.  Izze is just fruit juice and carbonated water, so I don’t feel horrible about them having it occasionally.

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While the pizza baked and then cooled a bit, we played some games.  Here’s a friend playing “Pin the Bow on Hello Kitty,”  I bought a poster at Michaels then printed a bunch of bows using Photoshop.  I downloaded an entire kit of Hello Kitty party printables from Shery K Designs via Tip Junkie. The bow was on one of the designs, so it took no time to print and cut out. We just wrote each kid’s name on theirs and put a little double-stick tape on the back of each.  After the party, I peeled them off (carefully) and put the poster in Thundercloud’s bedroom.

We also played “Hello Kitty Says” like Simon Says and Hot Potato using a HK doll. We had another game but forgot to do it…we blew up a bunch of white and yellow balloons and tied them up in a big sheet. The plan was for the kids to grab hold of the edges and “pop corn.”  Balloon are always entertaining. Oh, well, there’s always next time!

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After lunch she opened her presents.  What a difference from the chaos that always ensues when the boys are opening.  She and her friends opened each gift, looked at them, talked about them, then moved on to the next. She got this really cute cupcake memory game…we’ve all played it about 987 times already.

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Ready for the cupcakes!
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Fortunately, 4 candles would fit on one cupcake, so only she only blew spit on her own!

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The last, and most anticipated event, was the pinata. This is one that you take turns pulling a string until it opens, the first time we’d tried this kind.  I probably should have mentioned that when I told the hubs I thought he could just hold the pinata this time.  He looked a little concerned. And unwilling.  The strings worked great, though.  Everyone took a turn, then since it still wasn’t open, they all pulled at once, which opened it right up.

My oldest even gave all his loot to the littlest girl there, since she didn’t get the concept of every man for him/her self!  I rewarded him with a chocolate covered Peep for his chivalry.

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In addition to their pinata loot and game prizes (bracelet, necklaces, and erasers), each guest got one of these little cookie cups and one of the mylar balloons.

It was a fun, although much more relaxed than the boys’, party.  I think Princess Thundercloud felt like such a big girl, planning and helping prepare for it, and she was so excited to be the hostess.

Oh, and just an explanation of the great detail in this post. Every time I went to a party as a kid, as soon as I got I the car, my mom would ask what we played and what we ate.  And if we said, “Thanks for inviting me. I had a very nice time.”  I’m sure that never sounded rehearsed at all.

My kid party duties are over for a few months now…not until the end of September…but I feel the need for a S’More-gasbord and Beer Campfire coming on as soon as the weather is a bit warmer!

Birthday for a Princess (Thundercloud)

Today is Princess Thundercloud’s 4th birthday…and our house could not be more pink or Hello Kitty’ed than it is, or will be shortly.

I thought I’d share with you a gift idea that I would love to receive…therefore, I give it!
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Simple and cute, right?  To make it, I glued a quart Mason jar to a glass candlestick from the dollar store using E6000.  (I may need to start buying this in bulk!)  I cut a label out of my chalkboard decal vinyl using the Big Shot and Stampin’ Up!’s Framelit…love those almost as much as E6000.

To add a pop of color, I just tied some 1-1/4” Certainly Celery ribbon around it, then I filled it with….what else…Birthday Cake Oreos.  I’m addicted to them, and always have to buy a bag for myself when buying one to make this gift.  Strictly for quality control reasons, of course.

I think this is a great gift because 1) the Oreos are delish and 2) the “Happy Birthday” is written in chalk marker, so it comes right off and the birthday girl can refill it with whatever she wants. She could even leave the lid and ribbon off and fill it with a gigantic birthday mojito.  For example.

I know you were looking forward to more travel pics today, but I decided to spend the day with the Princess instead.  So you have that to anticipate for tomorrow!

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The birthday girl had my version of Rooty-Tooty Fresh and Fruity pancakes…just pancakes with raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries on top, with a little whipped cream and rainbow sprinkles…for breakfast.
Her party is not until Saturday, so more of her friends can come.  It works out well, since it’s closer to her Gotcha Day.  Our kids are adopted, and each love to celebrate their birthdays AND their Gotcha Days, the day we actually got them.  They were each 4 days old when we were able to pick them up from the hospital or receiving home.

Along that train of thought, here’s my plug for adoption.  I don’t believe we (my husband and I) are these amazing people who opened our hearts to some kid and saved them from the “system.”  I think the birthmothers of our children are the heroes of their stories.  We were blessed to have been chosen by them, out of dozens of potential families.  We were blessed that God has sent these particular children to us.

When we first began trying to start a family, we were in total agreement that adoption was the route for us, if our first attempt at in vitro didn’t work.  We didn’t care how our children joined our family, biologically or through adoption, Adoption is not for everyone, I realize, but it has been a blessing three times over in our family, and despite every heartbreak we suffered throughout the process, our children have enriched our lives every day.

Our kids all know they are adopted.  I’m a little worried, frankly, because they don’t seem to get that most people carry their babies for 9 months, then deliver.  My kids think you just get a phone call and go pick up a baby. If only it were that easy, right?

If you’re struggling with questions about adoption, and would like to talk more about it, I’m always more than happy to share more.  The process was lengthy and, at times, very frustrating, but the end results are beyond compare!

Now I’m off to spend the day with Princess Thundercloud, and remember that amazing phone call out of the blue 4 years ago, when we were two weeks from leaving Kansas for Washington and God once again laughed at our plans!  And we’re so very ecstatic that He did.

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A “Cod” to End the Week

We’ve finally had our first “big” snow of the year here in Wisconsin, about 5” at our house. Our school district doesn’t do late starts, and it was school as usual today for the boys. My GI Joe has the day off, so we’ve got the day to go sledding with Princess Thundercloud. She has pretty mad sledding skills for a three-year-old, and doesn’t whine when she has to pull her sled up the hill.

But I digress…I made this cute card for my niece’s 17th birthday…I’m sure she thought it was juvenile, but I liked it! Everyone needs a penguin eraser, after all.

eskimo-girl

cod-card-inside

Supplies: Polar Pals stamp set (retired); Woodgrain, and Distressed Dots background stamps
Marina Mist, Whisper White, Melon Mambo, and Not Quite Navy cardstock
Good Neighbor DSP (retired); 1 3/4” Circle, 2 3/8” Scallop, 1 3/4” Scallop, 1”, 1 1/4” punches
Treat Cups, Dazzling Details; Not Quite Navy, Melon Mambo, Basic Black markers

Using these treat cups from Stampin’ Up! always makes me smile…I like to include a little treat with my cards. The larger scallop circle inside covers the opening of the treat cup, so the recipient can just peel that off and access their treat. You can mail these in padded envelopes, or just put them in a package with the gift. They’re great on tags, and make nifty snowglobes.

The cups also come in a heart shape. which fits the Full Heart punch perfectly. Stampin’ Up! offers several stamp sets designed to coordinate with the round and heart treat cups, which makes it easy to design cute and clever cards.

Enjoy your weekend, and I hope you find some time to be creative!