Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Today I passed gas at my new neighbors house and made one of her kids jump. I had no way out so I just laughed it off and blamed it on the unborn child in my belly
(at least I really am pregnant).

I told my 3 year old to stop yelling at me at the top of my lungs--all because she didn't want me to wipe her mouth off after she ate her lunch. Before that, she tried to put her chocolate milk in the sink and missed, spilling it all over herself and the kitchen floor (why was I worried about wiping her mouth?).

I only put my bra on once today when I visited my neighbor ( and a lot of good that did for me).

My one year old pooped sometime during her brief morning nap and then removed her diaper, stepped in the poop, and shuffled around her bed for a while. She was just getting started;
I ended up bathing her four times today.

I did weed the garden while chatting with my neighbor (this is before I tooted in her basement and scared her kid) but I was really just avoiding the laundry and dirty floors inside, so I don't feel that satisfied "I got a lot done today" feeling. Such a shame.

And to top off the day, I got into a small argument with my sweet husband about our weed eater and he went to bed early. So I did what any normal person would do, having the rest of the evening to myself...I made a huge batch of chocolate chip cookies, watched Valentine's Day which made my cry, twice; Once when the old couple made up in the cemetery and again when Julia Roberts came home to her son.

I tip-toed upstairs, crawled into bed and laid there quietly for a minute. Then it hit me that these are the days I should remember; these typical, disastrous, ordinary days when I find myself not liking everything in my life. Because despite the chocolate milk, the smeared poop, the "unexpected" at the neighbor's house, the dirty floors, the weed-eater argument--and all the imperfections in my life--I'm happy.
And that's a lesson I'd like to pass on to my kids.

Happy Independence Day.
(May the fireworks be enough to remind you of the small celebrations in life
that all add up to much more than we may think.

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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

4th of July Crafts

Here's a fun activity for the 4th of July!
I found the pattern to make these paper stars here. They turned out to be pretty easy and toddler-friendly.
1. Fold paper in half from top to bottom, creasing it with your finger. Fold it in half again, creasing it just a bit. Undo the second fold.


2. Bring the tip of the upper right corner down to the crease on the paper's left edge (from your second fold). Bring that far left corner down over the section you just folded. Fold paper vertically so left and right edges match up.
Unfold and voila!

You can pair up different colors and sizes and hold them together with a brad.
You can hang them up or tape them up in the window.
Or make a ridiculously huge hat!

Have fun with your 4th of July crafts!

Here's some more great ideas for Independence Day:

Sticker Star Twirler: Might have to try this one this week...
Have a plastic lid, straw, and a rubber band laying around?

Patriotic Drink: Fill glass with ice cubes and layer three drinks, pouring the one that contains the most sugar first. Cranberry juice, Gatorade Fierce (wild berry), and Diet 7 up makes a nice color combination! Pour each drink directly onto the ice instead of the drink that preceded it.

Watermelon Pop Stars: Cut your watermelon into star shapes and insert a Popsicle stick in the bottom of each star. Place them on a foil-lined baking sheet, cover with another sheet of foil and stick them in a freezer for an hour.

Flavored Ice Cubes: Freeze Gatorade or punch to make red and blue ice cubes in your kids drinks.

P.S. Photobucket is DRIVING ME CRAZY and is doing funky things with my pictures; sorry for the size problems;
I'm working on it.

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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Flower Fairy Party

My daughter turned three this month and it was time to try some new projects for her party. Since she tries to pick every flower she sees, we decided on a flower fairy theme.
The entire party took place outside where we played fairy games, barbequed, and ate out dessert on blankets in the shade.

I found a very creative idea for invitations here and tried it out.

There's a tutorial on Martha Stewart's website that explains how to cut out these flowers using tissue paper. I used more layers to make them thicker and after a few tries, I got the look I wanted. I hooked one end of a pipe cleaner and pulled it through the flower and wrapped the "stem" with floral tape I found at JoAnne's.

My daughter had a hard time giving these up when we delivered them to her friends,
so I made a few extra for her to keep. They make cute decorations for the party if you put them into bouquets, make flower fairy crowns (by linking the pipe cleaners together), or hats.

I decided it was finally time to tackle a paper mache project and make my own pinata.
(Read this post for details.)
Once again, I was inspired by Brooke Reynolds and made my pinata into a flower.


I didn't follow the instructions which suggested wrapping the string around the pinata during the paper mache process for extra reinforcement. My husband came up with a crafty solution described in my pinata post. It's not the prettiest, but it survived a couple beatings before breaking open.

Cupcakes are one of my favorite things to bake and decorate.
This flower cupcake idea is now a favorite of mine.

I used Dum-dums instead of those nifty old-fashioned lollipops the Martha Stewart clan use; I couldn't find them anywhere. I also used Airheads for the leaves which worked perfectly.
So cute and very yummy.

For the birthday cake, I used my smallest ceramic mixing bowl to bake a small round cake.

I found my daughter's favorite fairy in miniature size at Walmart for $5, wrapped her bottom half in Saran wrap, and stuck her in the middle of the cake.

Then I frosted her "dress" with a light blue frosting and added some pre-fab frosting flowers I found at JoAnne's.

The first thing my daughter wanted to do was rescue her favorite fairy from all that frosting! She didn't let go of her for the rest of the day
(until she accidentally dropped her into the toilet that night).

I saw this idea on TV and thought it might work for a birthday banner. You use coffee filters and you can spray paint them or decorate them however you want. I used one of my small vials of "fairy dust" and made a ring around each die cut letter (mine had sticky backs).
Instead of messing with string, I hot glued them to my fence!

(I would tell you that they pull right off and you can keep them, but I just realized that they are still outside, glued to my fence. Oops.)

I placed my "Fairy Princess" letters above the face painting table on the deck.

I asked a young woman in my neighborhood to come and face paint, which helped give the kids something to do between games or when they were done with their food.

I printed pictures of various flower fairies from the official Flower Fairy website and had a very patient gentleman at FedEx make them big enough for little ones to spot them around our yard.
Then we had a fairy hunt!


We also played "Fairy, Fairy, Troll" (instead of Duck, Duck, Goose)
and played with balloons, trying to keep them off the ground as long as possible.
At the end of the party, everyone got a fairy wand or whistle (for the few boys)
and a vial of fairy dust.


For the adults, we brought out our Bag-o (or Corn hole) game my husband made last year.
If you or your husband is handy, it's worth making this game yourself. It's addicting!

Please share your birthday party ideas with me!
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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

paper mache pinata

I must admit that paper mache has always intimidated me a little bit. I figured there was some crazy concoction you had to brew just right and several days of waiting and drying, etc...
So I hesitantly decided to make my own pinata for my daughter's 3rd birthday party, telling myself in the back of my mind that if all went wrong, I could always just go to the party store and buy one. And I'm glad to say that I survived.

1.Inflate balloon & tear your strips
It's best if you use a round balloon. I wanted mine to be extra large, so it ended up
more oval than I wanted. Tear newspaper into 1 1/2" strips. They recommend doing three layers, so you can use adds or flyers that are colored for the second layer so you don't get confused.

*I know this picture says "cut your pieces" but I meant "tear" them. They lay flatter that way.

2. Make your paste
Mix two parts water, one part flour in a pan. I would whisk them in the pan first and then turn on low/med heat because if it heats up too quickly, it's a mess. Heat for 3-6 minutes until it thickens just a bit. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl.

*You can also use starch.

3. Cover your strips with the paste
Dip the strips into the paste and wring them out between your fingers or on the edge of the bowl. Here's where your toddler can help you make a huge mess of your kitchen.
(After about ten strips, I lied and told her we were all done. Then I finished it later.)


4. Let it dry
"They" say that if you use this cooked paper mache recipe, you can place all three layers at once without letting each layer dry separately. I did 2 1/2 layers (I got tired) and they dried just fine, but it did take about 24 hours.


5. Fill with candy
Cut a small flap in the bottom of the balloon. The balloon will shrink so you can pull it out and fill the pinata with candy. Tape your flap shut with masking or clear tape.


6. Decorate
I cut out small petals with a 4" base that I taped upside down onto the pinata. Once I finished one row, I flipped them over so the tape was hidden.
(Note: this part took FOREVER. Just to let you know)


7. Secure string
So here's where I messed up. You should tie a string around your pinata between layers two and three, securing it with masking tape where you need to. At midnight, that was WAY too complicated for me to do, so I skipped it. Thus, my final pinata has half of a hanger stabbed through the top of it so we could hang it. So take it from me, secure your string between your 2nd and 3rd layer of paper mache and save yourself the hassle!


Best of luck with your future pinatas!

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