Thursday, May 30, 2013

Zoo Birthday Party

We started a new tradition this year.  I took 4 balloons, 1 for each year, and wrote a note on each one.  Then while the birthday girl was sleeping I dispersed them in her room.  She loved waking up to balloons.  Someday, she will appreciate the notes as well.

Rachel's birthday centered on a zoo theme.  We had planned on taking her to the zoo the day before her birthday.  It didn't happen.  But we still had fun monkeying around the house.

We invited the family over.

And we partied like animals.

I made a zoo cake.

Complete with zebra stripes on the inside.

Happy Birthday Sweetpea!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dying Easter Eggs

This year I made our Easter egg dye by adding food coloring to 1 cup of hot water and 1/4 cup distilled vinegar.  It worked like magic.

We had fun discussing colors and how they combine to make other colors. 

The whisks idea came through Pinterest.  Boy were they wonderful!  I didn't have to worry about eggs being dropped and broken.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Announcing Baby #4

I've been thinking about how to announce baby #4 for years.  Yes.  Years.  I wanted it to be special.  I wanted it to be as exciting and wonderful as it was with the last 3.  Remember this from 2010?

Okay.  On Saturday March 30th, Doug suggested that I take a pregnancy test the next morning.  I told him that I didn't want to because I didn't want to get bad news on Easter.  He agreed.  What he didn't know was that I had been secretly planning on a very personal April Fool's Day joke for Monday.  I hadn't taken a pregnancy test but I knew I was pregnant this time.  On Easter morning I took the test because Doug wouldn't expect it.  When it came out positive I realized that I couldn't wait even 24 hours to tell Doug.  So I put my plan in motion a day early.

I handed Doug an old negative pregnancy test that I had stashed in my drawer.  Yes, I know, icky.  I placed it in his hand and retreated from the room.  I knew I couldn't keep a straight face.  Running away was the only answer.  Immediately Doug began asking, "how old is this test?" (meaning had it been 2 minutes or 20 minutes since I took it.)  I began to lose my nerve.  I figured he suspected that it was an old test because of the black mark in the window.  I let him ask a few more times.  Then I realized there was worry in his voice and I couldn't hold out on him.  I'm just not that mean.  I had planned on keeping it to myself for at least 30 minutes. 

I went back to the bathroom, retrieved the real test, then returned to Doug.  I placed the new test in his hand saying, "I gave you the wrong one."  The worry melted off of his face and was replaced by astonished disbelief, then pure joy.  I'm sure he didn't hear me say "Happy Early April Fool's" as he hurried to give me a hug. It was fun as a joke.  But it was wonderful to think about the significance of Easter and all 4 of our kids through out the day.

The next day I opened a fortune cookie and found this inside.  Hmmmm.

Over the next three weeks we leaked to a handful of people.  We knew that we couldn't tell anyone else before we told the family.  We concocted a plan.  Rachel's birthday party was the perfect venue for a surprise announcement.  Most of Doug's family was here.  My parents and Nanette were here via facetime.  And my good friend Bethany and her husband were here.  It was the perfect time.  The family members who were not here all received this little video via text message.  Don't you just love technology!

Here's the link:  Rachel's Favorite Present

The plan was to wait 3 more weeks and announce publicly on Mother's Day.  In that time we had family photos taken.  There were two announcement ideas that I was still toying with.  The first was a picture of all of us reading books about babies.  Our faces would be hidden or obscured as our books were lifted up and shown to the camera.  It just wasn't possible with a rambunctious 2 year old in the mix.  However, I really like this one.

I loved how Doug was studying his book.  He looks like he really wants to know "What Daddies Do Best."

The shoes won in the end.  How perfect!  The same shoes used to tell our family are immortalized in our photo.  Our due date is officially December 8th.  This little one will be scheduled for a c-section somewhere between November 17th and November 27th.  We couldn't be more excited.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Ball Birthday Party

We had a ball playing with balls.  (Yes, I know, too punny.)

The cake. 

I made the smaller balls by warming Starburst candies in the microwave for 3 or 4 seconds then rolling them into balls.  The dashed lines are flattened Starbursts cut into strips.

I learned to make cake balls just for this party.  You bake the cake balls then bake them inside the cake.  Surprise!  

I love how pleased he is with his cake.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Festival of Trees 2012...Ornaments

Each ornament was handcrafted with a vat of glue, my trusty drill press and a lot of love.  I'm not going to describe each ornament.  If you'd like more detailed info about something you see, just ask.

We filled the interior of the tree with ball pit balls.  I drilled a hole in each one then glued a bent eye pin into the hole.

The chess pieces are cheap plastic spray painted in gold and silver.  Again I drilled the tops and glued in an eye pin.

We wired the etch-a-sketch to the tree.  I tried drilling it and released tons of aluminum powder.

Yes.  I, and my husband, drilled hundreds of scrabble tiles.  We painted the backs festive colors and sprayed them with glitter.

I love the bright colors of the game pieces against the green backdrop!

I took the houses from The Game of Life.  Spray painted half of them red.  Then painted them with glitter snow paint.  I drilled a hole in the top and glued in an eye pin.

I traced the outline of the globe on large Christmas balls then hand painted them.  

I took Rummikub tiles and heat embossed the backs with Christmas colors.  The images are hand painted.  Drill a hole, add a wire hanger, done.

I got the idea for the Tinker Toy Star from Better Homes and Gardens.  I enhanced it.

I think these game picks are genius.  I was staring at all these odds and ends pieces.  I didn't have any concrete concepts for them.  Then my eyes fell on some pick up sticks.  Hmmmm.  So I drilled holes in everything and we randomly put them on skewers.  The picks sticking out of the tree added another layer of dimension.

The wheels of Monopoly money were made by punching holes in the middle of the money and putting an eyelet in.  Then I fanned the money out into a wheel.  I painted them with modgepodge, to make them last longer, then sprayed them with glitter.

Okay, so now that you've seen many of the ornaments close up.  This is what the the tree looked like in sections.  There are a lot more ornaments that I didn't show close up.  Some neighbor boys used the instruction booklets and paper money to make origami ornaments.  Some girls in my church made ornaments out of cards.