Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Luke’s 2nd Birthday party - The Hungry Caterpillar

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My sweet baby turned two on Friday!  Can you believe it??  He seems so little and yet, so big!  He has developed lots of new traits lately that include placing his hands on both sides of my face while I am singing and saying things like “Mama - dats enough.”  lol…  such a sweet little turkey. 

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His birthday gave me cause for another party.   His baby shower and first birthday turned out so good that I continued the book theme with The Hungry Caterpillar for his big number two!

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I found an idea on Pinterest (of course!) and decided to do something similar for his invitations.

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For baby birthdays I really try to invite very few people.  Especially for those children who are easily overwhelmed (this means ‘anyone that is not Logan’ in my house).  So Luke’s second birthday included 4 invited guests, only three of which were healthy on the day of the party.  It made for a fun, and yet not overwhelming evening with some sweet toddlers. 

I set out a basket of sturdy cars and the marble run.  All of the toddlers who walked through the door, including a few siblings, were attracted to the marble run immediately.  Marbles were the secret theme of the party. 

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They played with that more than anything else!

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Then came the food.  I simply put out fruits from the book (even splurging for 3 plums) and cut them up.

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Of course, the not so healthy stuff had to be there too.

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And the remedy to the stomach ache was represented in the form of a spinach pesto pasta salad.

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Baby approved!

Next up was more marble fun.  Marble painting! 

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Mini smocks and Tupperware tubs were employed along with a rough drawing I copied from the book of the beautiful butterfly at the end.

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The cake was a lemon/butter cake with a layer of lime that was colored with spinach juice so that it had a green hue to it.  I covered it in butter frosting and put a beeswax candle on top:

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He LOVED people singing happy birthday to him.  He has watched as Logan had his birthday last month, and then mine two weeks ago and now it was his turn!  He was well versed in how to blow out the candle and did it twice as we were singing.  lol…  By the end his sweet face was reflecting all the love in the room.

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The favors were cookies I had made in the shape of an apple and a caterpillar. 

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The treat in the cookies was the frosting!  I used cherry juice instead of milk for the royal icing and it turned the frosting this lovely dark scarlet red.  The green was the same technique except with spinach juice instead of cherry.  Both set just as they should and were beautiful together!

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It was such a dear and sweet party and Luke had so much fun.  Thank you to all who came over to celebrate with us!

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Homesteading. Sometimes it stinks.

We just planted 6 new trees.  3 apples, 2 plums, and 1 pear.  We removed all of the trees that I put in three years ago and gave them to willing friends who have better soil.  We had been waiting for my trees to produce fruit the past two years, but I don’t think the root stock was hardy enough for my soil.  Which is awful, filled with rock and plastic and what isn’t rock, is clay.  All attempts to reform it have failed.  Even the Eden Method which I thought for sure would help.  So I started over.  I purchased MUCH hardier root stock this time.  I am hopeful but….  I really feel downhearted about giving all my trees away and starting over.  It feels like a defeat.  I put in so much time and care with those babies.  I know this new year is a new beginning and I am grateful to have the resources to replace the trees that were not working.  But I am frustrated.  I have so many plans.  Going backwards was never one of them. 

Dead chickens, trees that don’t grow or produce fruit, garden beds that are sinking into the ground on one side and rising on the other.  They all feel like major pitfalls that make me wonder why I am doing any of these projects in the first place. 

I think that is just winter talking though.

Because as soon as I see leaves popping out next month, I will be over joyed in these new steps.  I will see that my work was not in vain… well, it was with the trees, but the blueberries, raspberries, roses, etc, all look healthy and happy and I am excited to see the bounty that they bring.  I am ready for my yard to be beautiful again.  I am ready for explosions of green and to be at the mercy of pulling weeds so they don’t choke out my veggies.  I am ready to watch bulbs pop and rhodies bloom.  To do school outside and to watch our new baby chicks grow and join our other bitties in the new coop we are building.  Right now it is all prep.  All work.  No reward.  But patience is my friend, and the reward will come this fall when my arms are full with handfuls of blueberries, bouquets of daisies and baskets of eggs - and maybe, just maybe, an apple or two.

Friday, February 08, 2013

{this moment} - Bubbles with cats

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{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo (two this week) - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

{Inspired by SouleMama}

Monday, February 04, 2013

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…. Logan’s 6th birthday party!

Of course, I had to make Luke and Logan shirts for the birthday party.  Smile  This year I chose to do some freezer paper stenciling for our theme shirt.  I made Luke one with a rebel symbol on it and then made Logan three… which included my favorite:

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Birthday boy proudly wore his shirt all day until JUST before the party when he wanted to dress as Jengo Fett.  Sigh.  “I guess, you can.  Since it’s YOUR birthday.”  lol…

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As much as I wanted to show off the new shirts, I understood and we got all the Star Wars dress up out and put it in the homeschool room with one of the party activities.  Young Jengo Fett was very happy about this compromise.

We had the party in the evening because some of Logan’s friends now attend school during the day.  So I think morning parties are a thing of the past.  This is harder for me in several ways.  The main one being that evening pictures, indoors in Jan, just stink!  All that flash!  So none of these pictures are particularly awesome.  But they do show some of the parties highlights.

First the décor:

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This year the décor was mostly simple.  I gathered our Star Wars books and a few toys and figures we had and placed them in a nice arrangement on the mantel, bookshelves, and sidebar. 

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I used rocks from the back yard and wire twisted around the rocks to make picture holders and added parts of this set printed on card stock to fill in holes.

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If I needed any other fill ins I used Star Wars library books and other figures and posters from our Star Wars collections. 

The food:

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The food was all themed around Star Wars puns.  We had a meal of ‘Han-burgers’ and ‘Princess Lays’ with snacks in all kinds of punny fun.  It was a good and healthy meal as I skipped the ‘Hans Rollos’ and other sweet treats in favor of ‘Bow-ba Fett pasta salad’ (bow tie pasta salad) and ‘Obi-wan Kababies’ (fruit kebabs).  The fruit was gone before I even got to take a picture!  They watched one episode of Clone Wars while they ate and then we came together for the favorite activity of the party.  The War of the Clone Balloons.

This was simple, although it was too dark in there to get any decent pictures.  I made light sabers out of used pool noodles (and thank you again for those of my friends that donated to this cause!!!).

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Then I got a dozen large white balloons and drew clone helmets on them.  I tied them to water bottles and placed them all over the homeschool room, which we had taken all the large furniture out of.  We had them go in groups of 4 (12 kids total) and they got to beat up the clone troopers! 

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They thought this was by far and away the best thing ever.  If the success of a party is based on how loud the laughing can get, I think it was hugely successful.  They were laughing and yelling so loud that it made my ears ring at some points. 

After this activity we did the normal birthday party stuff - singing happy birthday, cake and gifts.

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I had a VERY happy little man. 

As everyone went home, we handed out the favors.  I had sort of meshed the Clone Wars episode with Return of the Jedi (Ewoks and green landscapes are more my thing.)  So the favors came straight from the Moon of Endor.  Each kid got to go home with a hand made Ewok: 

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I made these furry creatures lovingly and each one had it’s own staff/spear and hood.  The kids thought these were just great!  My kids each have one now and Logan slept with his (named Wicket, of course) for the past few days. 

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The party was lovely.  It wasn’t a very expensive party either.  The most expensive part was the grass fed beef and the stuffed Ewok materials.  It was the perfect mix of dorky brand love and frugal craftiness.

And if I had any doubts as to the success of the party:

Little guest getting his shoes on to leave: “Hey, miss Val?”

Me: “Yes, Justin?”

“I think this was the best party I have EVER been to - ever.” 

Well that about sums it up!  Party success!

Friday, February 01, 2013

{this moment} - birthday cupcakes

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{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

{Inspired by SouleMama}