Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Cowgirl Birthday

I love planning birthday parties for my kids. My goal is to come up with fun activities, creative decorations and a party that my kids will be happy to invite their friends to. Usually, although not always, birthday parties for my kids are in our home. I like to have them in a familiar place.

The parties that haven't been at home, that I can remember, are: Elise's 1st b-day which we had in Victoria. Scott's 3rd birthday - at the Zoo (everyone that was invited had zoo passes or else lived at the zoo, so that was easy!), Scott's 8th and Todd's 7th combined for a Sports themed party for which we rented out our church gym, and Elise's 5th birthday, which we had at the splash park last summer because her 4 cousins were staying with us and what better activity to do with 7 young children and 4 adults on a hot July afternoon than go to the splash park!

The themes I've done for the kids are: (and yes, I enlisted the help of my 9 year old to help me remember all these!!)

Scott: Age 1 - Zoo (at home), 2 - Bob the Builder, 3 - Zoo (at the zoo), 4 - Kindermusik, 5 - Friends over (no theme), 6 - Fireman, 7 - Wall*E, 8 - Sports, 9 - Lego

Todd: 1 - Sesame Street, 2 - Friends over (no theme), 3 - Kindermusik (joint party with Scott), 4 - Cars, 5 - Pirates, 6 - Hockey, 7 - Sports (joint party with Scott), 8 - Angry Birds

Elise: 1 - Pigs, 2 - Ladybug Picnic, 3 - Princess Tea Party, 4 - Strawberry Shortcake , 5 - Splash Park, 6 - Our most recent party adventure - COWGIRL!!!!

There were 7 girls, plus Elise and her brothers (well, the boys only lasted part of the time!) at the Cowgirl party and we had a great time.

I love this Mason jar and cupcake papers idea for the drinks. This was a little gem I found on Pinterest!

Each cowgirl got a hat to decorate and take home with her.

Scott decorating one of the hats.... we also stamped on bandanas that the girls took home.

I made a banner out of scrapbook paper that says "celebrate". It is now hanging in Elise's bedroom.

The goodie bags had a bag of chips, a big chocolate bar and some cowgirl foam stickers inside.

I went with simple cupcakes instead of a big cake, as per the birthday girl's request. In the batter of each cupcake, before baking, I put a few raspberries (picked by Elise, herself!) and then a single raspberry on the top of each cupcake after icing them.

We played a few games at the party...

Musical Chairs with some hoedown music:

Pin the tail (which technically only got played the day after the party because we ran out of time at the birthday party... but our friends saved the day the next evening when they came for dinner and played the game with Elise! Phew... we had one sad little girl on our hands when she realized that pin the tail got missed, but was happy when she could play party games the next day, too!!)

Ring Toss:

Scott and Elise playing after the party with one of her presents...

And the best part about having a theme party is that we get to dress up, too!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Island Holiday

Wow, has it really been a month and a half since I last blogged? That's shameful! But, anyone with kids in school knows that the month of June is INSANE, even busier than December, sometimes, so I will use that for my excuse.

I finally uploaded a bunch of pictures to my computer, and so, with the boys playing nicely together, and apple tarts baking in the oven, (I know, it is stifling hot, so why am I running my oven? Because it's a good day to make pie!) I thought it was a good time to sit down and blog for a bit (my daughter is away with my husband right now... on the road truckin'! And, it's her birthday today... I won't get to see her today, but I have talked to her on the phone, and she is having SUCH a good time in the semi with daddy!! They will be home sometime tomorrow)

On the last day of school, June 27th, I packed the kids in the truck and we headed over to the island. We stayed there for 2 1/2 weeks. Every day was wonderful. Fresh raspberries and eggs on my parents' farm, peaceful scenery, room for the kids to roam, watergun fights, a couple awesome thunder and lightning storms, visiting friends and family and drinking tea with my mom. Lots and LOTS of tea!!!

The first full week that we were there, the boys went up to kids camp at Nanoose Bay Pentecostal Camp. They had a blast and I was so happy that they got to experience the camp that I went to as a kid and a teen, and my dad went there as a kid, too! When I went back to get them at the end of the week, all the campers sang action songs for the parents and we got a brief overview of all that they learned over the course of the week.

My crazy boys are both in blue!

While the boys were away, Elise and I got to do some fun things together. The next couple pictures are from an afternoon at Island View Beach. I LOVE the ocean...

Steve was able to join us for a few nights on the 2nd weekend in July. One night, we left the kids with my parents and went for a walk on the beach.

Here's a sign that was posted at the beach... I've never seen one like this sign before.

A friend from church in my college and career days was home from Calgary for a visit at the same time, and my friend Tricia put on a BBQ to get everyone together. It was great to see people I haven't seen in a long time... for some it has been many, many years.

On July 11th, my cousin, Maren, had her first baby. The beautiful Isla Dawn made her appearance at 10:55pm, and Scott and I went to meet her the next day. Scott LOVED her from the second he saw her (so did I, of course!) and he really could have sat there and held her all day long. He loved her feet, and her hair, and the way she moved her little arms...

The proud and happy parents!

Nature shot... there was an abundance of bald eagles close to my parents' house. My mom said she's never seen so many.

For the 2nd week that we were on the island, I was able to sign the kids up for swimming lessons. I put the 3 of them in lessons together. The pool down the road from my parents' offers private lessons for up to 3 kids. Their instructor was Dan and he did a great job with them. All 3 came away with much improved skills.

We also celebrated Elise's birthday in Victoria... the first of many celebrations for this year.

For her birthday dinner, she requested to sit between daddy and Uncle Angus!

Elise was Papa's little helper... every day she went and talked to the chickens and was rewarded with bucketfuls of eggs! She told me she had no problem sticking her hand under a chicken to get the eggs there, "Even if they peck me, it doesn't hurt!" Tough kid.

So, that's our first part of summer in a nutshell... More adventures have begun, and will continue for the next few weeks. There will be trips to the waterpark, library, movie nights, hikes, playdates, etc.

Happy Summer to all :)