Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Boy Learns to Read

This sweet guy of mine is learning to read and I LOVE watching it all unfold!  It's magical when the words start making sense to budding readers.  

To commemorate this occasion, we decided we needed to take some reading and Fly Little Guy photos.  We took some of our favorite books including, Go, Dog Go! and Green Eggs and Ham and I  dressed him in some scholarly duds complete with a bow tie and nice shirt.  I found this awesome tree in a park and was so in love and I am suuuuper glad we took pictures when we did, because it has since been chopped down...which always seems to happen when I find a cool new spot. *sigh*

It's such a bittersweet thing watching your babies grow up.  I sure am proud of Q and his accomplishments in Kindergarten this year.  And man, he sure has grown tall lately. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lord of The Rings Costumes

For Halloween 2014, we chose to be characters from The Lord of The Rings.  Only the older two have seen the movies, but the three boys love to play the Lego Wii game, so they were very familiar with the characters and excited to dress as them.  I was a little apprehensive about the costume-making, but it came together in the end...especially with a lot of help and inspiration from Miss B.  Phew, so glad I have her genius mind.  Thanks to dear Dad for the photographs to document. :)

Miss B decided to be Tauriel from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.  We loosely based her costume off of Tauriel's from the movie, including a green tunic, brown leggings, leather bodice, leather arm guards and a bow (that she hand-made and is super proud of).  We also added ear tips and pulled her hair back in Tauriel style.  She wore the awesome moccasins she just got for her birthday for a woodsy look.

 Mr. C was our own Gandalf the Grey.  I found an awesome beard for a great price, spray painted a witch's hat (that I had in my collection) grey, and used grey temporary hair spray for a blond wig we already had.  I made him a simple grey robe, a cape and a satchel (that is hidden in his cape) from two white sheets that I dyed grey.  We cut a branch from the back yard, added newspaper and masking tape "branches" and spray painted the whole thing brown for his staff. He said his staff came in handy at the trunk-or-treat. :)

Dennis chose to be Gimli the dwarf.  I had a great red beard from last year's Halloween clearance and we bought a leather vest off of eBay.  Miss B constructed the rest of his costume with duct tape, some of her armor re-purposed from last year's costume and metallic burlap ribbon for the chain mail around his arms.  She also cut out designs in her ax from last year that are similar to Gimli's.  I added silver cardboard accents to an existing viking helmet to recreate the battle helmet.

I was Galadriel the elf...mostly because I already had a white dress with long, bell sleeves. :) I made a hooded cape for me as well as for everyone else.  I found a great, quick tutorial and busted five of them out in one afternoon (actually six because I made one for a friend).  I made mine out of an old, shimmery shower curtain, Dennis and Q's out of a brown curtain that I bleached and then dyed grey, and Miss B's and Mr. C's from old sheets.  I also bought myself and Miss B elf ear tips from eBay and we "painted" them to match our skin with foundation and dusted them with my face powder to hopefully make it last the night.  It ended up working great and they looked fabulous!  They definitely made our costumes.  I also bought a few Fellowship leaf pins from eBay...and although Galadriel doesn't technically wear one, I added one to my costume anyway.  I finished off with a crazy blond wig and a crown I twisted together with some jeweled wire I had in my stash.

Q was Frodo, which he was delighted about because he was just the right size!  His costume came together the easiest.  I found a quilted vest and pants (that I trimmed) at Goodwill and we just added a white button up shirt, his cape and leaf pin, a ring on a chain, a belt and a suede satchel I whipped up from leftover Tauriel material.  It ended up looking amazing for how quick it was!  He used the satchel for his four most prized Twix. :)  And then he just wore flip flops and he was done! (PS I added pointy ears in Photoshop because I couldn't help myself. )

We had a fabulous night trick-or-treating around the neighborhood.  The two oldest went with friends, so it was just the two littles with Dad and I.  People loved their costumes and some even gave them extra candy. :) I did end up with a nice wig indent on my forehead and a headache to match, and poor Dennis was soo sweaty with all of his armor and beard and helmet...but they had a blast and got waaaaay too much candy!  Another successful year.  

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Birthday Lunch and Photos

Miss B is getting old my friends...which means I'm getting even older! Yikes.  For her upcoming birthday, I took her and her good friend to lunch at one of our very favorite Vietnamese restaurants.  It was delicious as usual.  Afterward, we wandered around the quaint neighborhood, enjoying the many thrift, antique and boutique shops.  We browsed and found some very pretty little spots in the area and ended up having an impromptu photo session.  We couldn't help ourselves with the luscious green we found.  'Twas very fun taking overly dramatic pictures followed by lots of laughing...especially when I had to bend way over and/or crouch with my baby belly. :)

Next year this beauty of mine will be driving and dating.  I have no words.  I don't know what happened to my sassy toddler who loved Dora, tea parties and lizards (well she still likes two out of three of those).  She is turning into a beautiful (and still sassy) young woman.  She knows who she is and isn't afraid to speak her mind.  I love watching her create things, play with her brothers and laugh.  When I pulled up these photos, I almost couldn't look at them...she looks so much older, it's almost impossible.  Luckily, I get a new baby to hold right?!  I can't wait to see what the future holds for my first beautiful baby.  It will be amazing!

Monday, October 13, 2014

My Knight in Shining Armor

This guy has been a rock star, a knight in shining armor, my hero etc. etc.  It is no secret that this pregnancy has hit me hard.  My excellent hubby has picked up the slack big time.  He has done 90% of the grocery shopping and dinner-cooking for the past 5-6 months.  Not to mention keeping the house stocked with special foods for me and making late night runs to the store for medicine or whatever it is I might need/want at the moment.  He did most of the school clothes and supplies shopping, fills up my gas tank, puts kids to bed every night, and on and on (including listening to my whining and pity parties).  He gets a little shy of being on the blog, but I really wanted to send him a giant public thank you!  I really don't know what I would have done without him stepping up and taking over a lot of my typical mom duties.  It's good to have him around. :)

Friday, October 3, 2014

How to Train Your Dragon Birthday Party

Q decided on a How to Train Your Dragon Party.  He loves the movies (well we all do), and so he's been really excited about planning the whole thing.

I love themed parties, but I also like to be pretty simple and frugal and use what I have or can make. I like to focus most of my efforts on the party activities and some reasonable food items (not too much candy).  I found these awesome banners and used them for decoration, gathered up some leftover burlap and a muslin drop cloth for a table cloth and some rustic bowls and containers for the food. I also used some chalkboard paper for the Dragon 101 sign.  That stuff is so versatile and fun, I quite enjoy having it around.

The cake turned out much better than I had anticipated.  Q and I decided on a dragon arena and I found a tutorial for fudge rocks here.  They were super simple and turned out so great and realistic.  I was just going to add a few, but they looked so awesome, I decided to add more and stagger them with the pirouette "logs".  We used chocolate covered pretzels for a fence and some yummy chocolate butter cream frosting for the dirt. I grabbed a few How to Train Your Dragon figurines from Target for the top of the cake.

We served bugles (Dragon Talons), grapes (Dragon Eggs), pretzel rods (Gobber's Peg Leg), hot dog viking ships and goldfish (Dragon Feed) for dinner.  They ate dinner in old tin pie plates that I've collected.

For invites, I just printed on brown kraft paper, burned the edges and rolled them into scrolls.  I love how they turned out and how simple they were...also now I am wishing I burned the edges of the food labels (curses).

I really wanted to incorporate the sheep into this party, because they are hilarious in the movies.  I found this tutorial for a simple catapult and then thought and thought about how I could make sheep.  I finally just used cotton balls, cut out faces and ears from black paper and used googly eyes.  They turned out great!  So for one of our activities, we handed each kid their own catapult and two sheep (we threw two black sheep in the mix for fun).  They had to try to catapult their sheep into the basket.  You can't see in the picture but the sheep sit in a water bottle cap that's glued to the top of the catapult.

We had a simple obstacle course outside and then they had to find a dragon egg hidden in the yard.  Mr. C and Dennis dressed up in their Viking gear from last Halloween and directed the activities.  They were awesome helpers!  Q dressed as Toothless but took off his wings and tail right away.  

I was going to send the dragon eggs home as favors, but we decided to break them open right then and there and it was so much fun! I am so glad we did.  The kids' faces were priceless.  We made them following this tutorial.  I bought the small plastic dragons at Michaels with a coupon.  To break them open, the kids had to throw them at the block wall a few times and then kind of dig the dragons out.  They LOVED it.

So after completing a dragon training obstacle course for agility, hatching a dragon egg (patience) and testing their catapult aim (precision), they each earned their own stuffed dragon (that I found on eBay for a great price).  Which they loved!  We sent them home with their new pet dragon, the dragon they hatched from an egg, their catapult and two sheep, a cardboard shield and some gummy fish (dragon food). 

Q helped me every step of the way with the planning and production...he was so very excited about it.  I think I created a party monster! :)  He also got his "6" candle that his little heart desired.  Happy Birthday to my creative, school-loving, loud, energetic, full-of-life six year old!
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