Tag Archives: Holidays

Riley’s Robot Party

For his 6th birthday (how is he THAT old??), Riley requested a robot party. And I was secretly pleased because I had been looking at cute robot party ideas on Pinterest and was happy I’d get to try some of them out. We decided to do a Friday night friend party at an indoor play place and then have a smaller family party on Saturday. Since I had to work all day Friday, I kept it simple with a few store-bought decorations (the horror!) and some cupcakes. Made from a box mix (NOOOOO!). That week was so crazy for me, I actually had to bake his birthday cupcakes over my lunch hour. This working mom thing is no joke.

But by Friday night, seeing the look on this little boy’s face made everything worth it.

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It’s not a kid party if all the kids aren’t swarming around the gift opening.

He was so tired, he actually fell asleep in the car on the 10 minute drive home.

The family party arrived and I still had a lot to do. Like make the crown jewel of the party – the robot cake. I had found it on Pinterest, of course, and it actually didn’t take long at all. Like I probably frosted and decorated it within 30 minutes. Maybe less.

Riley played in his room while I worked in the kitchen and then I called him out to come take a look. I think he liked it.

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Oh, that face….

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The feet are leftover cupcakes from the party the night before. I found metallic sprinkles at Michaels and they came in gold, silver and black and I can’t wait to find more fun uses for them. The little colored robots are crayons that I ordered on Etsy and were the gift for Riley’s friends to take home from him party. Using mini-chocolate donuts, M&Ms, Oreos and a red sucker as a blinking light on top, this was one of the cutest and easiest cakes I’ve ever made.

IMG_9238One set of grandparents couldn’t make it to the party until later and after waiting what felt like forever, the birthday boy was a little restless. A quick Google search for robot party games led me to this. Using his grabber, we pretended it was a robot arm and had party-goers see who could pick up the robot crayons the fastest. Surprisingly entertaining, especially when we made everyone use their left hands.

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His favorite gift from this party was a Disney Parks K’nex set of his beloved Dumbo ride. My mom found this on Amazon and I didn’t even know it existed. It has a working motor and little tourists that can go in the ride. This little boy was very happy.

All in all, a great 6th birthday party for my big man!

 

 

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The Year in Photos

I’m not Time Magazine but I like the idea of summing up 2014 with one photo I took for each month. Here they are:

January

Riley at skating lessons.

Riley at skating lessons.

February

We spent a February weekend at an indoor waterpark and it did wonders to cure our cabin fever.

We spent a February weekend at an indoor waterpark and it did wonders to cure our cabin fever.

March

Our little man was just a smidge happy during his 5th birthday party - Mario style.

Our little man was just a smidge happy during his 5th birthday party – Mario style.

April

The snow finally started to melt so we headed to Lapham Peak for a hike and to climb the look out tower.

The snow finally started to melt so we headed to Lapham Peak for a hike and to climb the look out tower.

May

Mother's Day - one of my favorite days of the year. Made better by the fact that it was actually warm and sunny. Miracle of miracles.

Mother’s Day – one of my favorite days of the year. Made better by the fact that it was actually warm and sunny. Miracle of miracles.

June

In June we visited one of my new favorite places in Wisconsin - Gov. Dodge State Park. We camped for a few days and discovered the beauty of this park. Seriously, it was like Fern Gully up in here.

In June we visited one of my new favorite places in Wisconsin – Gov. Dodge State Park. We camped for a few days and discovered the beauty of this park. Seriously, it was like Fern Gully up in here.

July

We celebrated Charlotte's 2nd birthday with a "neigh neigh party. One of my favorite times was watching her dive head-first into the horse cake Papa made her.

We celebrated Charlotte’s 2nd birthday with a “neigh neigh” party. One of my favorite times was watching her dive head-first into the horse cake Papa made her.

August

We finished our seemingly never-ending kitchen remodel in August. DIY for the win!

We finished our seemingly never-ending kitchen remodel in August. DIY for the win!

September

Riley started Kindergarten this year. We are in the big times now.

Riley started Kindergarten this year. We are in the big times now.

October

Riley's amazing homemade Emmett from the Lego Movie Halloween costume was the highlight of October.

Riley’s amazing homemade Emmett from the Lego Movie Halloween costume was the highlight of October.

November

Before I knew it, I was turning cough, cough 36 ugh. At least these cuties helped me blow out my candles.

Before I knew it, I was turning cough, cough 36 ugh. At least these cuties helped me blow out my candles.

Xmas came and went and now we can't wait to see what 2015 has in store for us!

Xmas came and went and now we can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store for us!

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The Obligatory Christmas 2014 Post

It’s Dec. 26 and I’m just so incredibly on top of things this year that I’m already writing the Christmas recap. Wow! It almost makes me forget that we were up wrapping presents late on Christmas Eve and for the last several weeks, I’ve woken up many times in the middle of the night finally remembering to move Hip, our Elf on the Shelf, to a different spot in the house. I am more than a little thrilled that he has finally flown back to Santa at the North Pole.

Anyway, it’s been a great Christmas for us and we’re all home together until Jan. 5 so that makes me even happier. So without further ado, I present our Christmas season recap. In pictures, of course.

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Who would think that a tacklebox is the perfect gift for a 5 year old boy? Grandpa, that’s who.

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Charlotte’s favorite present was this giant “neigh neigh.” She’s obsessed with horses.

So the big news in our household is that a few months ago we booked a semi-impromptu trip to Disney World. It will be the kids’ first plane ride and the biggest trip we’ve ever taken with them. We knew we had to reveal the trip to them in some big way. No, I don’t need to do some crazy, Pinterest-worthy reveal, but we wanted to make it fun for them. So late on Christmas Eve, we blew up a bunch of balloons and filled a big box with them. In the box we put some fake plane tickets with the kids’ names on them and marked the destination as Disney World.

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As we pretty much figured, Charlotte was waaaay more excited to get a box full of balloons than to hear about some place called Disney World. But Riley understood. Granted, he has only heard about the Happiest Place on Earth and doesn’t fully comprehend what he’s in for. It was not as exciting as I had hoped, but late on Christmas, we watched the Disney World DVD and then both kids got it. Now every time we get in the car Charlotte asks if we’re going to Disney World and Riley randomly says, “I CAN’T WAIT FOR DISNEY WORLD!” Exactly the reaction I was hoping for.

February can’t come soon enough!

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December 26, 2014 · 4:06 pm

Everything is awesome!

Everything is REALLY awesome when your dad is a creative-type who can make you this costume for Halloween:



Halloween 2014Ok, yes, little miss Charlotte is absolutely adorable in her fairy princess costume, but Riley as Emmet from the Lego Movie? Come on!

Derek created this costume using a whole lotta cardboard, colored duct tape, his graphic design skillz, some spray paint and a 5 gallon bucket (for the head). Amazing, right?

The whole time we were trick or treating we were getting comments that it was the best costume they’ve seen this year. Right? Right!

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We adapted the pants for walking around trick or treating because there was NO WAY he could’ve walked the neighborhood in the cardboard ones. I had leftover orange felt from when he was a super hero a few years ago, so I just duct taped it to existing pants, easy peasy.

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And let’s not forget about Char Char, who was all too happy to skip naptime and spend her afternoon with grandma in tow, walking the hood. She walked through every leaf pile, the grosser the better. She took a few breaks on the curb when she needed to and she totally weasled extra candy from people because she was just that cute.

I love Halloween!

 

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Charlotte’s 2nd Birthday – A Horse Party

When it came time to come up with a theme for Char Char’s 2nd birthday, it was a pretty easy decision. This girl is obsessed with horses. Neigh neighs as she insists on calling them.

Thanks to some Pinterest and a little craftiness on my part, I was so happy with the way everything turned out. An outdoor backyard birthday party is exactly what I had in mind when I insisted on giving birth in the summer. You think I’m joking? Nope. I did the math. Ha!

Here’s how the party came together, in pictures.

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My dad of all people, a retired cop, is amazing at cake decorating. As in, he made my wedding cake. Today he makes his grandchildren’s birthday cakes. When I told him it was a neigh neigh party, he and my mom came up with the idea of making a two-tiered carousel cake for Charlotte. IMG_8406

Amazing, right? What a grandpa!

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I googled horse cookies and found these online. They could not have been simpler. As in, I could whip them up on a random Wednesday night. And I would if I were Super Mom.

Nutter Butters, cashew pieces for ears, googly-eyed candies from Michaels and Wilton Cookie Decorator Icing. That’s it!

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For the birthday girl’s birthday outfit, I decided to go completely DIY. In the past, I’ve purchased Etsy-created shirts personalized for the birthday kid, but honestly, the only time the kid wears the shirt is on their birthday. Waste of $25 if you ask me. So, I bought an iron on horse patch and affixed it to a onesie already in Char’s closet. Then I watched this You Tube video of how to easily create a DIY tutu. $35 on Etsy? Nope, I’ll make it myself for about $5 at 9:30 the night before the party. Which I did. IMG_8432

Yes, the food was set up in our cluttered garage, but I did my best to keep it festive. Not bad, eh?

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One of my favorite moments was when my dad and I first showed Charlotte her cake. At first she delicately touched the frosting with her finger. And then? And then she dove in fast first. Literally. See above. I tried to stop her, but my dad smartly told me to just let her go for it. So I did and it was awesome.

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It’s hard to tell in this picture, but while everyone sang happy birthday to her, it seemed to suddenly sink in that this party, and allllllll this, was for her. She just looked around the cluttered garage at the family and friends who love her more than her 2 year-old little mind can even comprehend and just smiled shyly in amazement. This was my favorite part of the day.

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And when she unwrapped the gift from her brother? The stuffed horse that he, unprompted, took off the shelf in his bedroom and proclaimed that he wanted to wrap and gift to her? Well, I would say this picture of her appreciation speaks for itself.

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Mother’s Day 2014

I felt it last year and this year is no different. I think Mother’s Day is my favorite day of the year. I know it may sound self-absorbed, but that’s not why I like it. Being a mom is my favorite thing. It’s the hardest, most draining thing I (and any mother) has ever done, and we love it. But to have a day when your 5-year old tells you’re the best mommy ever and he “appreciates” you, it makes it all worth it. Yes, my son said he appreciates everything I do. I have no idea where he got that, but I’ll take it!

Some pics!

A picture in front of the same tree every year.

A picture in front of the same tree every year.

My biceps are burning!

My biceps are burning!

Every year, we head to the park by our house and take a picture in front of the same tree. The kids and I pose (or just Riley and I pose – we’ve been doing this since he was 1!) and then I hold both of them. Together. At the same time.

Every year is going to get more fun. I can’t wait until the day that I’m holding two teenagers. Good thing I drink my milk!

Last year’s pic to compare:

My babies, circa 2013.

My babies, circa 2013.

Me, my boy, and my bump in the oven in 2012.

Me, my boy, and my bump in the oven in 2012.

Needless to say, it was a good Mother’s Day and I’m grateful every day that I get to celebrate this day. All because of these two goofballs.

 

Love these two. So much.

Love these two. So much.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms, the soon-to-be moms, the someday moms and those who hope to one day be moms!

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Riley’s 5th Birthday Party

So the last month or two has really gotten away from me and I realized I still haven’t written about Riley’s 5th birthday party. This is the first year we had a “kids” party AND a “family” party. Usually it’s only been the family party, but now that Riley’s in school, we knew he’d want to have his school friends celebrate with him. So that’s what we did.

Enter Skyzone.

The birthday boy was just a smidge excited.

The birthday boy was just a smidge excited.

Skyzone is an indoor trampoline park and man, this place is a dream for kid’s parties. The entire warehouse-sized building is filled with trampolines. Even the walls are trampolines. It was so fun watching the kids bounce and bounce and fall and bounce some more.

Seriously. Can I join?

Seriously. Can I join?

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So since our little man is obsessed with the old school Nintendo that I got when I was in 5th grade (no, I’m not even kidding – it still works!), he said he wanted a Mario party. I was happy to oblige.

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I made these 1up mushroom cupcakes, after finding them online. The white dots are actually white candy melts. It was so hard to find Mario “stuff”. Cups, plates, chochkies, not even Party City had them. I finally found them at Bartz’s a small local party store. And I then spent an arm and a leg on them. Oh well. Worth it.

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Look at that face. See? Worth it.

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The number 5 mustached shirt was an Etsy find, btw.
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When the party was over, all the kids got to take one of these game over bags home. Inside was a Mario moustache, Mario fruit snacks and stickers.

After the awesome time at Skyzone, we then welcomed a house full of family over that afternoon for another party. What? We figured we’d get it all over in one day and collapse into a pile of exhaustion for the rest of the weekend. We succeeded.

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We bought him a remote-controlled rattle snake. He was thrilled as you can see above. Have you ever seen someone so excited to unwrap a rattle snake?

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Store-bought cake for the win!

IMG_7938Again, when your husband is a graphic designer, he can do things like this. Put your child’s head on Mario for a banner and invitations.

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So there you have it. Every year I go pretty darn big for my kid’s birthdays and this year was no exception. Check out other parties we’ve thrown here and here. However, I depended much more on store bought things this year. Honestly, this party kind of crept up on me and I just didn’t have the time to go all Pinterest-y on this party. But it turned out great. Take that Pinterest!

 

 

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