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Thursday, March 15, 2012

baby shower {katie}

One of my best friends just had a baby girl! To celebrate the upcoming arrival of her sweet little baby we had to have a party because we are party girls! Our theme was simply pink & green. My friend Kate ordered the invitations from Tiny Prints & they were beautiful & very nice. My friend having the baby was Katie, not Carmen :)

We had a brunch and let me just say, everything was delicious! More details on the food in a minute.

Kate was hosting the shower with me but ended up having to go to a funeral. We planned a lot of the details together & she went to the Safeway floral dept to come up with a centerpiece. She & the florist worked together on a design, but it was way less money to put the arrangements together ourselves than it was to have the florist do it. Thing is, Kate is good at putting flowers together. I am not. I picked up the flowers on Friday afternoon & at some point late Friday night I stood at my counter for way too long arranging these babies. It was not going well & I almost gave up & decided to call Abby (who is seriously amazing at flower arrangements) in the morning to beg her to come do it. They worked out in the end and it's a good thing since Abby ended up having a hectic morning & really couldn't have come. I ended up getting lots of compliments on them which is always a nice pat on the back, even though I know I am the most amateur of amateurs when it comes to floral arrangements. I've ruined lots of flowers. Just saying. (I wish I'd gotten a close up)

The food:

Miyeko put together these awesome fruit & yogurt parfaits. They were so great that I've asked bugged her for very specific instructions a few times and I'm serving them at a stake Relief Society brunch I'm in charge of (the brunch part). She did more than just layer yogurt & granola & fruit. Plus I want details - what kind of yogurt, what kind of granola. You know, why mess with perfection? But look how much she dressed them up? And she says she's not crafty. Liar!

Abby made these cream cheese filled strawberries. Inspired by this recipe (found via Pinterest) but with her own modifications.

Kayla made Overnight Sausage and Egg Casserole from Our Best Bites. It was SOOO good! My family has a traditional egg/sausage casserole that we eat on almost any holiday, but after eating this one I might make it instead next time!

I made French Toast Soufle in ramekins instead of a 9x13. Jeremiah's mom got the recipe from his aunt Heather & made it for us a year or so ago & it's a new favorite. Since finding the recipe we make it along with our egg/sausage casserole at holidays.

The perfect companion to any amazing french toast casserole is definitely this buttermilk syrup. Heaven! My particular recipe is called Magleby's Amazing Buttermilk Syrup that my aunt Lorie gave to me, but there are lots of buttermilk syrup recipes out there. Kate found these super cute syrup dispenser's at the 99c only store in Mesa. Kate made several batches of syrup & everyone got to take home a dispenser full of pure awesomeness as their party favor!

Who would have thought bacon could be pretty? I came across the skewered bacon on Pinterest from this site & I think it's brilliant!

We only played 2 games. One was the extremely easy to throw together play-doh baby game. I re-found the idea on Pinterest (love pinterest!) and saw how cute this girl made it (plus she has some other good ideas too). Katie chose Abby's baby as the winner :)

The other game we played was baby gift bingo (don't know what the official name would be). In case you haven't played it it's a great baby shower game to take some of the attention off the mom opening gifts, which can be uncomfortable (for her). Give everyone a blank bingo card & have them fill in the squares with things they think the mom will recieve. Items like a blanket, pacifier, hair accessories, shoes, diapers, etc. Then as the mom opens presents the guests are checking off bingo squares. I gave a prize to the first person to get a bingo, but next time I will have 2-3 prizes prepared for the bingo game. Sara got a bingo pretty quickly and then the attention was totally back on Katie so it would've been good to have more prizes to keep it going.

I took a big step & ORDERED cupcakes! It was hard to do but so glad I did! Jeremiah was very proud of me! LOL Our hospital bakery is pretty great! These cupcakes were ding dong cupcakes with filling & ganache on top. They were excellent! Even Jeremiah, who doesn't really like cake/cupcakes, liked them.

It was a fun party and it's always great to spend time with friends & eat delicious food. I think it was a great way to celebrate Katie & her new baby girl! I'm so happy for her!


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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

pb & ranch

Ellie went to her bff Hadley's house (Ellie says "bff forever" when she talks about Hadley & her other bff Zack!) to play, & my friend Katie made the girls pb & j's for lunch and gave them carrots & ranch. She left the bottle of ranch on the table and left the kitchen area for a couple mins & came back to this:

Ranch dressing covering their plates AND sandwiches! Gross!!! She asked them how ranch was going to taste on their sandwiches & they ate them & said how good they were the entire time! LOL

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first "snow" of the year

We woke up to a dusting of snow. Callie wondered if school would be cancelled. Umm, no. Not a chance! But once the kids got off to school Ellie couldn't wait to break in the new snow bibs & play in the snow! Ha!

Oops! Forgot to put her snow gloves on! She came in after a few mins because her poor little fingers were freezing. We got her gloves on & she headed out again. :)


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Sunday, March 11, 2012

camping season now open

Camping season has begun! This weekend we did a quick camping trip with my parents that was only an hour away to a place in the desert with some fun trails (this was our first time to go to this place). I was hesitant about a 1-night camping trip because it seemed like it would be too much work for such a short amount of time, but it was perfect! We left a little after school got out on Friday afternoon. Instead of worrying about setting up camp & making dinner we ordered Chili's To Go in Bullhead since that was only about 15 minutes away from our destination. Great choice! The kids were so excited to have a fire & make s'mores (although I don't think we ever made them).

Everyone but Callie & Jack were out at the fire & when I went in the trailer to see what they were doing I loved that I found them playing a game & laughing together. It was one of those great moments that all you can do is smile. They were playing The Storybook Game their own way & making up very silly stories for each other. They drew cards with different pictures on them & took turns telling stories with the cards they'd drawn. They were so cute giggling & belly-laughing together!

The next day Jack was in heaven on the kids' 4-wheeler! He's gotten so much braver than he was a year ago. He was fearless this time & got more bold as the day went on. Fortunately he's not really strong enough to shift gears so he wasn't able to go more than about 12 mph in first gear.

We also took the kids' Jeep. Adelyn enjoyed rides with the bigger kids. Ellie was especially glad we had the Jeep since she's not big enough to ride the 4-wheeler by herself.

Taking a break from riding. Jack is the sweetest big brother to Adelyn!

Adelyn had a good time going on rides with Jeremiah too on the kids' 4-wheeler. We had the RZR there too but Addy was too small for that. The other kids loved being able to go for rides out in the desert with Jeremiah in the RZR since it has 2 seats.

Our friends, The Porters, came out for the day on Saturday & the kids all had the best time together! Jack was supposed to stay to just one big area where we could see him but Nate was taking one of the kids on a ride on another 4-wheeler so Jack figured he could follow him. Jeremiah chased after him in the RZR but Jack was already following him up a pretty steep little hill. My mom, dad, Kate & I were watching from camp as Jack was struggling to make it to the top of the hill & I took a big sigh of relief when he made it safely to the top. Everything would have been just fine had he stayed on the trail at that point, but for some reason he turned off the trail & started going down the steep desert hill. My heart was in my stomach watching him & I just knew he was going to roll. As soon as he had turned off Jeremiah couldn't get out of the RZR fast enough. But it was like watching it in slow motion as Jack zigged, zagged, then rolled down with the 4-wheeler rolling right on top of him! I practically threw Adelyn at my dad & ran up the hill as fast as I could. Jeremiah was by him in a second but I just knew he was going to be hurt badly. Amazingly enough the only damage Jack had was the slightest skinned knee & something like a carpet burn on one of his hands. Thank goodness for helmets! His helmet totally saved his head. When Jeremiah picked up the helmet he dumped a bunch of dirt out of it. Heavenly Father was protecting our boy and we're so very grateful! Jack was pretty shaken up. Here he is after a good cry :(

We've already used the accident as an example of children listening to their parents several times with our children in the past 24 hours. I think they have an idea that it could have been really serious & that there's a reason we tell them to do or not do things. Despite the accident that could have been a million times worse, we had a really fun weekend! It was great being able to go so close. We'll definitely be going there again!

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¡Una Fiesta! {4th Birthday Dora Party}

How is it possible that Ellie has really turned 4?! For her birthday breakfast she chose crepes. I was so thankful that Jeremiah was happy to make them since I was up late working on party stuff!

After her delicious birthday breakfast it was time to get ready for preschool! She was excited to be able to take the snack on her birthday. She took handisnack breadsticks & cheese, and these ice cream cake cupcakes (love!).

Ellie hadn't ever had a friend party before. She was SO excited about the party planned for after preschool! Ellie's first choice for a bday party was a baby doll tea party. Can you imagine how adorable that would be?! But since one of her 2 bff's is a BOY I just couldn't do a baby doll tea party. Enter the Dora Party.

(I made the printed invitations from this digital/printable set from Shery K Designs. I made the Backpack & Map based off of other ideas I saw online. All of the other party printables are from Cuties Parties. It was so much easier printing & cutting than buying a million pieces of cardstock & piecing everything. And she even customized the colors for me!)

For lunch we had Tico's taquitos & Tico's tacos (mini tacos), Boots' bananas, Dora yogurt, Backpack juice boxes, & water. I was going to make cute little signs for the food, but since everyone was in preschool & not yet readers I crossed that one off my list!

After lunch we decorated mini maracas! They were so stinkin' cute! I got them from Oriental Trading and they were 5" tiny & so so cute! I didn't want to deal with paint so the kids colored them with dollar store markers & decorated them with small Dora stickers and some stick-on rhinestones & little bling flowers. They loved doing this craft/activity!

After the maracas I read them the beginning of Dora's Birthday Surprise. In the book Dora has to go on a scavenger hunt to look for clues that will lead her to a birthday surprise. I substituted Ellie's name & some other words to let them know they were going on a scavenger hunt to find clues for a surprise. They loved this! They all knew that we needed the Map's help so we'd know which way to go (I made the map with posterboard & chalk pastels). Their first stop was Troll Bridge- construction paper taped across the sidewalk in the backyard with the Grumpy Old Troll guarding the way. They had to solve a riddle about birthday cake (I took it straight out of Dora's Birthday Surprise), and then I let them cross the "bridge" and I gave them their first clue - a blindfold (scarf). Next was Musical Falls- we have a couple of rock fountains in our backyard. They had to look under river rocks until they found the one with the pink star on it. The clue for that stop was a bat. The third place they had to go was Star Mountain- our playset. They had to climb to the top of Star Mountain & bring down an Explorer Star for the final clue- a couple pieces of candy.

With all 3 clues they guessed that the surprise was a pinata. They were all very excited! It was hilarious watching some of the kids try to hit the pinata. Almost half of them only used one hand to hold the bat & swing! :) Everyone got a turn & then we let Ellie have a few extra whacks & that was it. I'd completely forgotten to bring out the Dora goody bags that I'd planned on having them collect their candy in so they were all trying to hold as many pieces in their hands & shirts as they could until I got them their bags. :)

Next we did presents, then cake & ice cream. Jeremiah was super proud of me because I ordered a cake (from Victoria at the hospital bakery)! I've always made my kids' cakes & it killed me just a little bit at first to order a cake, but I'm so glad I did!

Ellie was utterly spoiled with the presents her friends gave her! She loves every single thing she received & has spent lots of time playing & coloring this past week.

I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of the goody bags I made! I tried & tried to find small lavender gift bags online & it was a total fail. Unless I wanted to buy them in bulk (and when I say bulk I mean by the hundreds & thousands!). Instead I used brown paper sacks, folded them down around halfway, and glued a purple piece of cardstock to the front & then added Backpack's face, just like on the juice boxes (which were my sister Tara's idea). Here's the goodies the bags were filled with:

Star Jelly Bracelets - Oriental Trading; Fiesta Donkey toys - Oriental Trading; Dora pin back buttons - Love Bug Buttons; Dora snack containers - Target Dollar Spot; (they were filled with Dora fruit snacks); Play-Doh; Bubbles; Dora dress-up stickers - eBay; Dora pencils - eBay

Ellie loved her Dora the Explorer party! We rounded off the day with her favorite dinner - pasta carbonara. Both sets of grandparents were here for bday dinner. We're very fortunate to have them here. It was awesome having my mom's help before & during the party!!! Anyway Ellie got more presents & we had more ice cream cake cupcakes for her family party dessert. I don't think a 4 year old could have asked for a more perfect birthday!

I love you Ellie!!!

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