Saturday, January 30, 2010

Gimme an F!

F for Fun, Festive, Fabulous, Frosting, Frilly and Finished!

It's late, so I'm not going to blog about the actual party...maybe tomorrow? But I will show you decorations & such that I made. I had so much fun!

Anyhow, I used the free vectors that I found online (blogged about here) to make the invitations & thank you notes as mentioned, but I also used them to make candy bar wrappers for in the favor bags. I used them to decorate the favor bags, and in garlands with die cut flowers. I used them for a "Pin the bow on Hello Kitty" game (pictured tomorrow), and to decorate a can-thing for a bean bag toss game. It totally beats the price of the Hello Kitty stuff you can buy at the party store.
I had planned to make a Hello Kitty headband & bow for Chick, but ever since Monkey's birthday Chick has wanted a birthday crown like Monkey. So I made her one. And of course, she pretty much wanted nothing to do with it.
I did get the sewn streamers done-- I had to stay up past my bedtime last night to do it, and was very tired & thinking "Really, is it worth it?!" But believe me you, it was worth it! Not only are they indeed sturdy enough to withstand 3 & 4 year olds & reuse for the next party, but they look COOLER than normal streamers because of the pleating! I'm totally smitten. I sewed 4 rolls together in various combinations, and it took me a bit over an hour. They were really easy to pleat, and when hung you don't notice sewing flaws at all.

(This picture also shows the table that I bought ages ago & HH cut down for me. I've been collecting stools for a while now, and we finally got enough. HH cut down the stools this week and we got some painted & the rest will be painted to match but not in time for the party. Wait until you see the party pics with 7 cute little preschoolers sitting there! It was perfect.)

The table was decorated with a thrifted bedspread (?) which worked as a great table covering. On that, I sprinkled some confetti & die cut "3"s. I had the favor bags, plates, napkins, forks, and a picture of Chick with a foam "3."

And of course the cake. I'm not a cake decorator, so it is with no small amount of pride that I tell you that the cake turned out as I'd hoped! I will be honest, though...this is a cheater design. I didn't have to smooth the frosting, but gave it texture instead (which is way easier). The jelly bean flowers & face, as well as the candy whiskers & fabric bow, meant that I didn't have to do any details with icing. And, so that I didn't have to worry about a neatly iced bottom edge I edged it with jelly beans. And the kids all loved it, which is the important part.

K, I've got to get to bed! ciao ciao.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Gimme a P!

P for Pom-Poms! and P for Party!! and P for Perfect Party Dress!!!

Ok, I'm a little excited. I can't tell you how much I love the internet and little girls and parties.

First things first: Last week I was at a local scrapbook store and saw cool paper pom-pom ball things hanging from the ceiling. I asked the clerk about them and she told me how to make them. TOTALLY EASY. Evidently they've been around forever, and here are the instructions on I made some last night, to try it out, and some more today. Did I mention they were EASY??! And so cool looking. I'm excited because all the ones that I made thus far were just reusing paper that came in gift bags! And these will be a great alternative to buying a helium balloon bouquet, which I was planning to do. Plus I'm hopeful that after the party I can smooth them out and stash them for the next party.

Here are the ones that I've done (I am going to buy some more tissue paper & make a couple more. They won't be hung all in a bunch for the party, I just needed to put them somewhere).

Then: Walking past my sewing room I saw a dress in my refashion box--a dress that is darling and fits Chick, but it's a little funny on the top, like it is supposed to have a jacket to go with it, or something? But it caught my eye because it is the same colors as the party. Soo I was thinking "I could whip up a quick shruggy jacket to go with that for Chick!" Then I was thinking, "I could save some time and just cut off the top part & add ribbon straps & call it good!!" So here's the before and after.

AND: I happened to see this blog with these sewn streamers (here and here).
I don't want to do them all scrappy like that-- but I do like the idea of sewing 2 strands together & ruffling them up as you sew, so that they are more sturdy (because after Monkey's party in November I almost tried to salvage the streamers, I felt horrible just throwing them out. I'm not a disposable sort of person, I'd much rather have things to reuse). I haven't actually sewn them yet, but stay tuned! I'm really excited to have found that posting today.

Tomorrow: sew the birthday crown, streamers, paint stools (that HH cut down today to fit the table that we had already cut down to preschool size), double check on cake ingredients etc, pick up more tissue paper & balloons, assemble the banner, sew the bean bags, and pick up printed stuff from the printshop.
Friday: tie up all the loose ends, bake & decorate the cake, finish painting stools, hang streamers & balloons, and set the tables.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Chick's Pictures!

Tonight we went to the mall for Chick's birthday pictures. I think they're super cute...she's gotten old enough to follow directions & smile.

Here's the link:

(I got #3 and #7)

And by the way, I've made peace with her haircut...thanks for all the nice comments : )

Muffin Tin Monday: ABC, 123 Theme

Here's our MTM for the day:

ABC: Apples, Beans, Chips & Cheese
123: 1 glass of Milk, 2 fishy crackers, 3 fruit snacks


My brother Pete has volunteered to go help in Haiti for three weeks. I'm really excited that he gets to go, and think it's awesome that he'll be able to help out. (20-ish years ago he served a 2-year mission in Haiti.)

One of his sons has started a blog, which will chronicle Pete's stay there (which I think is a pretty impressive thing for a teenage boy to do). If you'd like to follow along, the link is on my sidebar. It's

Lastly, if you would like to donate to earthquake efforts: LDS Humanitarian Services donates 100%.

Hopefully this isn't copyrighted, I found it here. This woman went into labor during the earthquake. I'm so glad she and her baby made it through.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Stitched-up, color-coordinated, wallpaper book cover

because I have more time than I know what to do with, evidently, and I wanted the book (which I love...who doesn't love a rogue of a captain once in a while?) in my bedroom but the cover was blue.

(BTW, it wasn't until I was taking "after" pics that I noticed that the spine ISN'T's gold. {sigh} oh well.)

Friday, January 22, 2010

8 is Great & other news

8 is Great really did go great. Unfortunately, I forgot to take my camera (and didn't have time for taking pictures anyhow). Here's a picture of the cookies on the tray...

and the last cookie in the vase...just pretend there were more & in all different shades of blue/lavender/blue-green.

And here's a picture of Chick with her haircut, drinking the last little bit of punch that was left after the program.

The kids were really cute & excited, and the parents & other presenters really got into it & did their parts well. I assigned the prayers, musical performance, & musical conducting to the kids...they got to do all of that. Then most of the parents were assigned a question to answer. A friend with a cricut cut "It's great to be..." and then lots of 8's for me, and I put that up on the wall in the front of the room. Each 8 had a question, and the kids each got a turn taking an 8 down from the wall & reading it. Then the appropriate parent or leader would answer the question. One of the questions was "What is your child's greatest quality?" and all of the parents got to take a turn answering that one.

The question and answer activity took up the bulk of the program, and I think it was a fast enough pace (plus really engaging parent answers helped) so the kids stayed focused through the whole meeting.

Afterwards, there was a cookie bouquet with 8-shaped cookies for the kids turning 8, and round cookies on a cake stand for anyone else that was there. And punch, which was the biggest problem of the night--it was slush punch, but I didn't have time to get it slushy ahead of time, so the first people in line got flavored soda, and the last people in line got thick slush without the punchy part : ( But no one complained--I can only imagine that it all still tasted good, even if the consistency wasn't right.

The table had a white tablecloth, with die cut 8's in different shades of blues & in different sizes (3-5"), and information packets and then the food in white dishes.

Anyhow, I'm glad that it's over, but I'm also glad that it went well & that I put some effort into it so that it was a good night for the kids.

You've seen one picture of Chick's hair, here's another of the back. Sometimes it's ok, but in general it's too boyish for me. Too short. She has gotten compliments from random people, but I still don't like it. I haven't told her that, though, and she doesn't care about it--she thought it was fun to get it cut.

Speaking of Chick, yesterday she was playing in the living room and started saying, "And to the republic, for which it stands" ...evidently they say the pledge of allegiance at preschool. I sometimes wonder about the knowledge rolling around in that head of hers. I can't quiz her--it goes something like this:
"Why did you hit Monkey?"
"Because I hit Monkey."
She hasn't learned to really answer questions, so we have to just wait for information to come out on it's own.
Here's a random picture of Monkey, so that she's not cast by the wayside in this posting. She and Chick both got bad face injuries last Saturday...jumping around on the beds & doll cradle. Evidently we need to read "No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed" a bit more.

By the way, for a while Monkey was having a bit of a slow spot with her signing, but in the last week or two she's really picked up. Last night she did a sign that we haven't taught her (I guess she learned it from Signing Time, even though she doesn't sit to watch it). Chick was always doing that--signs that we didn't teach her--I love it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cruise Posting: Roatan, Honduras

Ok, I'm finally taking time to blog! The destination this time is Roatan, Honduras. This was another port that HH & I had been to on our first cruise. The first time we'd gone sea kayaking and snorkling. We knew enough of the island to know that we'd want an official excursion, and though we loved our experience last time, we wanted to do something different this time. HH actually tried to get into a scuba excursion, along with a brother & BIL, but they were too late. So, what we did instead was a cultural tour with my sister Laura & her husband Randy. We had a really great time! The tour lasted for half the day, and then we did some shopping (and eating, of course) for the rest of the time. Our tour was mostly about the Garifuna, who were originally slaves there. As slaves, they kept getting sent out to war for the island, and finally the women dressed up as men (and the men dressed like women dancing with masks back at home). When the enemy saw that they were really fighting women they quit fighting them because it was unethical. Because the Garifuna had ended the war through their cleverness, the island granted them their freedom. They still tend to keep their same culture, despite changing times. They eat flat bread made from yucca roots, and we tried fish soup, and other various bready things. Roatan is pretty poor. They have some wealthy people (the ones that own the fishing companies), but most of the island is poor. The tourguide talked about the poverty as being in the past, so they must be better than they were, but compared to our standards they are still poor.Our tour took us past some shipwrecks. One of the boats had the metal taken off of it and made into another smaller boat.
Both times that we've been there we had unofficial guides when we were street shopping. Teenage boys will start walking with you, asking what you want to find, and where you are going. There were two of them, one for each couple. At first they seemed like pests (more so because we knew that if they stayed with us then we'd have to pay them for their services), but it turned out that they were pretty helpful and made the day more fun.

One thing we were looking for was Lenca, a type of pottery that they make there & I had bought some last time & loved it & wanted more. So then, of course, they offered advice on the best place to get Lenca, they picked a Noni fruit out of someone's yard for HH, they directed us to the post office and helped us buy stamps. When we stopped for a bite to eat & I opened up a purchase and saw that it didn't open correctly, one of the boys ran back to the store to replace it for me because we didn't have time to finish eating and walk all the way back to the store (Yaba Ding Ding).
(Why, yes, it DOES look like my Handsome Handyman is checking that girl out....)

(Here are pictures of my lovely Lenca--the first two pics are the pieces that I bought last time, and the second two pics are of the new piece that I bought on this trip : )
Other noteworthy things from this day:

We tried this Lichi fruit, which was delicious!
We tried stewed Iguana (I just had a bite and stuck to plantains, but everyone else had a plate of it with beans and rice)...the second picture is the bones that were in it.
I danced with one of the Garifuna dancers : )
Here's a video of the dancers. Mostly the video has the male dancers, because they are more lively. Towards the end the boy is playing a conche shell, and there's a little bit of a female dancer at the very end (and just that little bit is all that the girls ever do, so you've seen it all).

Friday, January 15, 2010

Stories from Earlier this Week & Today.

A couple of days ago we got a toddler bed for Monkey...mostly so that she can get up and play with her sister without me having to get out of bed to get her. Lazy, I know, but I'm tired in the mornings. Anyhow, she seems to like it. It's unceremoniously up against the crib for now...hard to fit 2 toddler beds, a crib, a bookshelf, and a wardrobe all into the same room.

On my Mom's birthday, Chick and I made cupcakes & a cake. The cake was in a silicone pan that I have to get rid of because it has an odor & gives the cakes a strange taste. So we kept the cake & gave away the cupcakes (I'd intended the opposite). Chick had a good time putting the muffin cups in different patterns.

I think it was yesterday--Monkey brought me a wet washcloth that she got out of the laundry or from the rod on the front of the stove. Sometimes she brings us random things, so I just said "thank you" and took it from her. Then she pointed and tapped at a spot on my pants. She seemed contented enough when I rubbed the spot off with the washcloth.

I saw another deal on MoneySavingMom, so I spent too much time revising Chick's birthday party invite & making Thank You Note's to match (the revision was putting patterned backgrounds in) & ordering them. But this way I'll save on printer ink & don't have to try to round up 5x7 envelopes. So 10 invites & 14 thank you's for $2.49. Not bad, and I was happy with the quality of my Christmas order, and the shipping/turnaround time was super, 3 days, I think.

After that, I did a little bit of design work & sent the invoice to my boss, so layout is DONE for the month.

While I was working on the computer, the girls played with dress up clothes and both seemed to have a great time.

We had a lunch break in there somewhere, which was pure joy because my kitchen is really clean...thank you, flylady. I have a ways to go before I'm really "entrenched" in the system, but the few things that I've started doing are really making a difference for me.

I spent a bit of time researching cell phone plans...I've finished my contract & want something that costs about the same but has more minutes... T-Mobile has that, but HH says he's never heard anything good about their coverage or service. Any thoughts from anyone else?

Lastly, I cut Chick's hair. Last year it was so cute. This year it's too short (and not shaped as well). I know it'll grow, but her 3 year pictures are scheduled for the 24th.... I'm totally remorseful. I didn't take pictures...maybe tomorrow.

Anyhow, tomorrow I'll have a bunch to do for 8 is Great, as well as a dinner/planning mtg for my parents' upcoming 50th anniversary bash, as well as getting sharing time squared away. But in my spare time I hope to do another cruise posting about Roatan, Honduras. So stay tuned : )

(Here is a little video of Chick "reading" from "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?" By the way, yesterday was laundry day. Can you tell?)