November 21, 2014

Minnie's Bowtique Party

This year we celebrated four years old with a Minnie's Bowtique birthday party. We brought three other little girls over for a pampering fun time!

We decorated minnie mouse sugar cookies because these girls are all so SWEET.
Then we had a spa visit complete with shopping experience too. The girls were each given a minnie bag and were allowed to pick from the jewelry and hair items on the table (including Minnie ear headbands). Then they placed their spa treatment order with the big girls. They got to have fingernails and toenails painted and lip gloss applied! I think they all loved it. 

The funniest part was the hair salon. I got my hands on my Grandmother's old hair dryer bag and set it up. It still works and the kids thought it was a riot! They couldn't believe it was a hair dryer and just cracked up.

Of course we ended the party with a Minnie Mouse cake. It was strawberry lemonade flavor cake with strawberry icing. Abigail really wanted a "tall cake" so I did two small layers and split those with icing in between (cause we really didn't need a bunch of cake). I cut the Minnie heads out of fondant with the big end of a some icing tips. The pink bow is piped on as are the white polka dots. The pearl necklace around the bottom is made from large candy coated chocolate beads that I found at Walmart. The Minnie topper was from a toy Mamaw gave Abigail last year while she was in the hospital. That toy cemented her love of Minnie Mouse.

We did celebrate her birthday at preschool too. For that day I made cupcakes (easier to serve). They were topped with pink swirled icing and little white candy balls. Then I used mini oreos for the ears and a (new to me) product called candy clay for the bow. I tinted the clay pink and hand formed the bows with two pieces of clay. One piece was shaped like a long oval and I pinched that in the middle. Then I rolled out a little tiny snake and wrapped it around the pinched part.

Happy Birthday my crazy daughter!


November 10, 2014

Arrghh! Walk the Plank! - Happy (late) Halloween

I almost forgot to post our annual Halloween photo. This year we went as pirates because I already had the costumes. When Abigail was granted her wish from Make A Wish, we knew there would be a Pirates In the Caribbean night on the cruise. I scoured our dress up box and some thrift stores to come up with costumes. I wanted us all to tie in together, so I also purchase some "piratey" fabric and made some matching items to finish the costumes. With all of this time and effort invested, I knew we needed a reason to wear them again...tadaa...Halloween costumes!

May 8, 2014

Soapy Olafs- Perfect Teacher Gifts!!

We made these incredibly cute Olaf soaps for teacher gifts this year. The idea was based on what we had previously done with the soap snowballs. This time, we took it up a notch and formed OLAF!!

We first, formed the head and body parts and stacked them together while they were still wet. Like an actual snowman, you need to have some "flatness" where the parts meet so they will stay together. The next day, while the soap was still soft, but not wet, we gently inserted the twigs we cut from our bushes. The hair twigs were short little things and the arm twigs had to have forks in the end to qualify. Then we took a break and left them out on the porch for a week or so.

We purchased Sculpey clay in black and orange and we formed LOTS of buttons, eyes, and noses. The eyes were just round balls, the buttons were flat sort-of hexagons and the noses were bent cone shapes. We baked the clay in the oven and then glued (with Elmers so it would come off when wet) them in the appropriate places. We could have made his tooth too, but I forgot to buy the white and then the kids ran out of steam!

When Olaf's body was dry and harden, we boxed him up in a clear plastic PVC 5"x5"x7" container with a fancy drink umbrella glued to his hand, and a summery napkin behind for the background. We used playdough for his towel underneath (and a little more glue) to keep him from sliding around on the slippery gold "sand" bottom of the box.

Once his was all boxed up, the kids added a sun shaped tag cut with my sister-in-laws Cricut that said, "Teachers have fun... IN SUMMER!!" Soooo excited to give it them away to our deserving teachers next week!

Here's what you need if YOU want to make soapy Olafs...



March 16, 2014

Camouflage Party

We are still struggling with our younger son around here. Last year, in the midst of everything with Abigail, he was diagnosed with ADHD. He has manic moments and has a really hard time in group settings. After a few weeks in kindergarten, the school suggested I move him to a Special Ed class. Whew - that was a hard one and while I was in the middle of chemo appointments! Still, once I got over myself (cause really it was only hard for me to swallow) I saw how the class was a much better place for Andrew. I adore his teachers and the sweet (only six) kids he is in class with. When his birthday rolled around, he wanted to invite "the boys only" to his birthday party. I came up with the idea of having a Camo Party and decided this one would be pretty low key. I mean, after all, this is the kid that doesn't do well with crowds or chaos! :)
Everything was outside, including the food. We set out real army facepaint and said anyone could use it (I think only Andrew and his Daddy did). I had some MRE's for decoration - pretty gross to actually eat. We had some army flak jackets for the kids to try on - they are soooo heavy.

After they dressed out, we had lunch. It was tang, sloppy joes, mac and cheese, Frito's, asparagus spears and clementines.

 After lunch my husband set up an obstacle course for the kids and just let them run wild. I think they all had a great time and were definitely exhausted when they left.

 For the camo cake, I tried a new technique. I made the colors of icing and crumb coated the cake. then I squeezed blobs of icing in random shapes with a large hole tip. I let that set up and then used a high density foam roller to "meld" the colors together. I was not happy with this technique. It often picked up the icing or smooshed it too hard even when I being gentle. I finally gave up and went back to the trusty paper towel method. It's not a smooth finish when you look up close, but it's good enough for me.


March 12, 2014

Mad Scientist Birthday Party

Preserved Brain Cake...just what everyone needs at a Mad Scientist party. 

As promised, I am posting photos of birthday parties. I'm not doing much other posting, but if you join me on Facebook, I am posting my weekly dinner menus. Tonight was steak with a Greek barley salad and edamame. I'm hoping you will come over there and tell me what YOU had for dinner too.

When Banana Girl said she wanted a Mad Scientist Birthday party WITH her best friend - I (of course) said, "yes!". It was a riot. I did the food and the other Mommy did the awesome science experiments. the girls had a super fun time. And they actually learned a few things along the way.

Don't you love the backdrop and the labcoats?? Donated by the Grandma and perfect for the occasion!
Please excuse the photos - they were taken in a garage at night. With all of these experiments we felt like the garage was the best place to set up.

We made slime - easy and a BIG hit. We packaged a little bit up in petri dishes for them to take home as part of their goodie bag.
We made "elephant toothpaste". This was pretty cool until the kids wanted to start playing with it. What a mess!
We made "milk fireworks", learning about oil and water in techicolor.
The dry ice was a big hit around the punch bowl. Notice the double helix cheese sticks?? We also served: Dissected chicken (whole roasted chickens), Amoeba Porridge (corn pudding), Radioactive Mush (orange colored mashed potatoes), DNA strands (green beans), and Cultured Worms (jello with gummie worms in petri dishes). I made little cards with the names on them and some test tube graphics.

We also served (the famous ever used) chip and dip tray filled with little goodies so the kids could make their own molecules. There were things like: mini marshmallows, grape tomatoes, grapes, dates, gumdrops and toothpicks to set it all up. I was really impressed at what some kids created!

Details of the cake, if you ever need to make BRAINS!!  This would be a great cake for Halloween or a doctor.

The key with brains is to not cross the middle line and keep them moving in swirls.


January 31, 2014

Cancer Free!!!!!! (oh and, Jeweled Black Bean Dip)

Thank you for all of your prayers, cards and virtual flowers. We have made it through cancer and out to the other side. Abigail is doing well and is gaining back weight. She is officially cancer free! She will have three years of follow up, but we couldn't have asked for a better result. I am so grateful to God, the doctors and all of our friends and family who supported us. It really DID take a village. I wish I could thank all of you who helped us, I couldn't have done it without you. Each of you said, "Oh it's nothing", but added up it was a HUGE something!

I am going to be posting very little for this year of 2014 since I have decided to enjoy the last year of my preschooling time, but I do want to record fun birthday parties and a few special recipes - mostly to keep in one place for myself!! ;)

During the dark days of chemo, so many people brought us great meals. I! I won't ever be able to thank those of you who helped us enough. It was so amazing to be cared for.

There were meals that we received that I've made over and over. This recipe was one of them and it has become an often requested one (thank you sweet Katie). In fact, I will be making it AGAIN on Sunday for the ten year old's Super Bowl party. (YES! - we ARE back into full fledged party mode and love being able to have people over.)

Jeweled Black Bean Dip

2 minced cloves of garlic
3 tbsp minced onion
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 c olive oil
6 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp lime zest
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro
30 oz of black beans (rinsed and drained if you are using canned)
1 1/2 c of corn, fresh or frozen thawed
2 diced red bell peppers
1 pomegranate, seeded
2 avocados, rough chopped (do not use overripe ones)

Combine first 9 ingredients in a glass jar and shake OR put all except oil in a bowl and then slowly whisk in the oil to the rest of ingredients.

Combine beans, corn, peppers, and pomegranate seeds in a bowl and pour dressing over top. You can let this sit for a few hours or overnight. Then right before you serve it, chop the avocados and stir in gently.

Serve with tortilla chips.


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