Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Toothless Birthday

Gwen's Toothless birthday party was a huge success!

Since we celebrate birthdays with a 'friends' party only every 4 years, this 8th birthday party was a big deal! We kept it frugal by DIY'ing everything. It was a lot of time and effort, but she had such a great time and I was completely happy with the way everything went down. Thanks to careful planning and an incredibly supportive husband/father, I managed to not be all that stressed through it all! So here are the fun details:

 Dragon riders were invited to the dragon training party! The invites I made in Word. Super fun!

 Goodie bags were simple black bags onto which I glued green cardstock eyes. I wrote out names in runes, looking at a font online for lettering. 

This t-shirt bleaching activity was my favorite part, but also the most expensive. We purchased a t-shirt for each party-comer from goodwill/once-upon-a-child. We ironed on freezer paper stencils and then lightly misted with bleach. Cutting out each stencil took Eric and me an evening movie to complete. :)

 Since the ironing portion was a 1 on 1 craft, we also had this viking shield craft for all the kids to do while waiting their turn to make a shirt. Eric attached duct tape handles on the back prior to the party. Caroline was happy to practice her writing on her shield!

 Here you can see the variety of shields we had! That's Gwen's Toothless shield in the front, there. 

 Eric led the games while I cleared the crafts from the table and set up the food. We had a fun "sheep toss" relay that really brought out some enthusiasm and competitive spirit in these kids! Eric kept challenging them to new heights and they loved it! We also had a hula-hoop of dragon fire that the kids had to "fly" through musical chairs fashion. I didn't get a picture, but there was much haggling about whether or not a foot or head was actually in the fire at the time the music stopped... those kids were serious about their games! Plenty of cheering too!

Emmett loves the yarn "sheepies" that I made for the sheep toss!

 For lunch we served Viking ships 

 snacks included dragon poop (marshmallows coated in green melt candy)

 dragon's favorite food: fish! (of the Swedish variety) and a combo of cheesy snacks: fire balls, dragon claws and scales. 

 since it was lunch, I made sure there were healthy options too. Green and black. Emmett was all over the black option. :)

 Crystalized fire and Toothless tears

 and 7-up lime sherbet dragon drool. 

 The awesome display of edibles! the backdrop viking hall banner is a green table cloth and a black table cloth that I cut out in the shape of Toothless. 
When the eating was winding down, Gwen opened her presents. Then we gathered back in the kitchen for cake and ice cream.

 Gwen's Toothless cake breathed fire! Chocolate pumpkin cake, chocolate buttercream icing, and gross store bought fondant that no one ate but was just for looks. (No way was I going to attempt to get black on my own, so I got it from Joanns with a Q). I carved the shape, which I thought was great. I had moderate success putting on the fondant. But Gwen thought he was adorable, and that was all that matters!

 Gwen didn't want Toothless's face to melt (she's thoughtful that way), so she blew out the candles really quickly! Everyone enjoyed cake with mint chip ice cream. Well okay, everyone except one child who only wanted to eat hot dog buns and water, lol! :) Then parents arrived and kiddos gathered up various crafts and headed home!

 My kids shirts turned out like this!

Caroline modeling hers. 

It was an AWESOME party! Thank you, Eric, for helping me with all the prep work and for being such a fun game host on the day of! The kids loved you! and so do I. :)

and happy birthday, miss Gwen! Glad we could make your special party day a roaring success!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Catchup: including Halloween and Election Day zoo excursion

What do you call the red sauce in a squeezable bottle that is required for fries and hot dogs?

Cat-sup? Ketch-up? Catch-up? 

Small tangent, but I always think of hotdogs when I say the words "catch up". Because that happens to be how I pronounce the sauce too. :) But since that isn't the point of this post, I'll move on from that random tidbit. :)

Flashback to the end of last month: Halloween pics that I never shared for family to enjoy!
Gwen was Toothless, Caroline was Batgirl and Emmett was a skeleton (by default because it was in his box already and I knew he wouldn't have a special request. Gotta take advantage of those years while they last, right?)
Gwen's wings and tail detach completely from the outfit, so even after Halloween she has been at liberty to wear the Toothless hoodie to school. She loves it!
Caroline wanted to be a super hero and finally settled on Batgirl because she originally wanted to be Batman but wanted to be cute too. Hence the tutu. 
Emmett ended up loving his skeleton-- which turns out to glow in the dark!-- and has requested it for pjs a few times since wearing it for Halloween. 

 Daddy got busy eating the remaining candy after all the trunk or treaters had come around twice already. 
 Halloween night was pleasant! No extra coats required. Kids were so excited to go trick-or-treating! Gwen might look sort of creepy in this pic; she is trying to get her Toothless eyes in the picture. And yes, they are wearing all black costumes. We didn't plan it that way. We went out before it got dark. Don't worry, Grandma Sugar, we were safe!
 After collecting their own candy, Gwen really wanted to be a big girl and hand out candy to the kids still coming around. She volunteered to sit on the steps and hand out with a smile. Of course anything Gwen is going to do, Emmett wants to do too. :) He did say, "Ew gross" about ten times because he was in such close proximity to our already rotting carved pumpkins! lol
 Jumping ahead: Election day trip to the zoo! Kids had no school that day and the weather was really nice. Since the following day (Gwen's birthday) was not so nice, we decided to make this her special birthday outing after hitting the polls. She chose the train as her special treat! Emmett was so excited!
 Obligatory sitting on sculptures for posed photos. I was honestly impressed that Emmett consented to be in this pic. He is usually a little worried around the sculptures and doesn't like to be far from Mommy.
 One of the things I love best about the zoo is that EVERY time you go, you have a different experience. This time there were 2 highlights. The first was watching and listening to the gibbons put on a show of hoopin and hollerin while we ate our lunch. The other best thing was the manatee house! There were 2 baby manatees who were very active and constantly surfacing to munch more lettuce. There was also a sea turtle who wasn't shy and kept circling the tank along the glass. But Caroline was most excited about this sting ray that swam right up beside her and proceeded to take a nap! Sorry for the blurry pic. I decided to share it anyway because Emmett was in it too. 
Caroline was pretty sure that meant they were the best of pals. :) Emmett just stood so still with his little face pressed up against the glass for what seemed like 20 full minutes (it was probably less than that, but anything more than 2 seems miraculous for that age, right?). We went to the gift shop afterwards and the kids each picked out 75 cent little mini sea creatures with their allowance earnings. Emmett chose a manatee and wants to carry it with him all the time. I told him he couldn't take it to bed (the thing is just too teeny and would get lost!) and he cried and cried. 

But he got over it. He was worn out. :)

Next post will be Gwen's birthday party, which we just successfully enjoyed this morning! 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Baptism Photos

 This is a big deal for our family. Gwen is our first to be making this sacred covenant of baptism. The dress was a bridal train I found at a thrift store (talk about a financial SCORE!!!) and cut the diy pattern out. She helped with the design, just a bit. There was some pattern-fitting trauma bc she grew so much between drafting the pattern and finishing the dress. But I took a deep breath, wielded my seam ripper, and reworked it. I am glad I did. Fits her perfectly now! My favorite part is that the sleeves are jersey knit. TOTALLY a comfortable dress!
I took her out for a photo shoot (okay, 2 shoots) and she LOVED the special time with Mommy!
 This awesome rock staircase is a hidden gem! 

 She calls this the "Cinderella picture" even though technically Cinderella ran DOWN stairs rather than up. 

 This is probably the best pic I have showing the back of the dress. 
So proud of Gwen for wanting to follow Jesus Christ! I can't believe this time is here. But I know Gwen is ready to take this step. She has a fervent testimony and wants to be good. She loves the Savior. She loves others. She is growing up. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Heading to the Gem State!

Well. Both Doctors' signatures are together on the now legally binding contract. 
So it's official!!!!!

Twin Falls, Idaho -- here we come!!!! (In July)

Friday, October 14, 2016

Fall Farm Fun

Another fall favorite I'm going to miss: Jacquemin's Farm!
Emmett loved the corn box. I think part of the appeal was that he didn't want to have to wear his coat (for some reason he hates it) and the corn box was sheltered in the barn away from the chilly wind. That and the construction vehicles, of course. ;) 
 Gwen informed me she was cooking. (These dishes must be her mise en place. Either that or this was a gourmet table setting with multiple dishes)
Emmett condescended to put on his coat in exchange for hot (SERIOUSLY FRESH!!!) pumpkin donuts. He didn't like sticky hands. 
 But had no problem chowing down on the donut!
The girls liked them too. Who am I kidding? We ALL loved them! (side note: I originally was only going to buy 1/2 dozen for us to eat. The price was so reasonable, however, I decided to get a full dozen with the intention of taking the other half home and having donuts for snacks for the next few days. Yeah. We left with 2 donuts.)
Caroline only gave a passing glance at the corn box. She wasn't interested in "quiet" play. She headed straight for the "crazy" and never looked back! About an hour later, Gwen joined her at the bouncy race thing. When Emmett realized he didn't meet the height requirements, he was beyond devastated!

 He recovered, though, when he was given permission to go through the bouncy house despite his short height so long as he didn't climb the ladder and go down the slide. 
 And he was pretty pleased with himself every time! Just turned around and got right back in line!

(side story for posterity but no picture: Gwen got a piece of dirt?sand?mulch?grass? in her eye... and believe me, the entire farm heard about it! She was inconsolable! Eric is an MD and everything, but she squealed and bawled and pulled away and squeezed her eyes tighter and rubbed and rubbed whenever he tried to give her an examination. Finally, he took her back to the car, layed her across the seat, and reasoned it all out with her. She finally relented to opening her eye for daddy and allowing him to flip her eyelid inside out and flick out the irritating offender, saying weepily, "I trust you daddy. I really do. I trust you." As soon as it was out, she quickly recovered. Daddy was the hero of the day!

 Riding the big tractor while waiting for our turn at the hayride. 
 Our little pumpkins!
 Caroline kept her pumpkin close. 
 Gwen tried out all the different places her pumpkin could sit. Her favorite spot, though, was in her pocket. She was just so tickled that it was small enough to fit in there!
 Gwen giving Emmett a nice sister hug.
 Emmett LOVED his little white pumpkin and carried it around the house the rest of the day. He adores his "ghost pumpkin". 
Our fam on the hayride. Emmett got so excited and kept hollering and pointing, "Nother one pumpkin!...hah! NOTHER one pumpkin!" over and over WAS a pumpkin patch, so there were lots of pumpkins to point at... and each one was like a revelation! lol