Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Happy 12th Birthday!

Happy birthday to my beautiful daughter!  Twelve years ago today you came into our lives and we became a family.  Daddy and I couldn't be more proud of you -- you are beautiful inside and out -- sweet, funny, goofy, talented, kind, smart and just an all-around great person!  We are so blessed to have you in our lives and we can hardly remember what life was like before you were born!

Lots of love - today and always!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

"Art-y" Party w/ Artist's Palette Cake

My eldest is turning 12 this year (sniff, sniff!) and for this year's party she decided to have an art-themed birthday party.  As you can probably tell by my recent posts, I've been all about Pinterest lately!  I wanted to find a creative cake for my daughter's birthday, so I went to Pinterest and found lots of ideas, but this was my favorite!  I bought this great artist palette for $4.99 at Hobby Lobby.  I baked cupcakes yesterday (even found paint-splattered cupcake wrappers!) and then this morning I took 1-1/2 tubs of vanilla frosting and in 7 bowls I added different food coloring and mixed up 7 different colors of frosting -- red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple -- and pink for my littlest girl!  I arranged the cupcakes on the artist palette to look like paint and put a paintbrush in the middle to finish it off.  Then I placed the whole thing on this mirror that I have on my dining room table.  It was an inexpensive wall mirror and one day I decided to put it on the dining room table with all white candles on it for a centerpiece -- and I decided I like it better on the table than the wall!  Everything looks better on it!  Candles reflect on it, flowers in a glass vase look beautiful, and this cupcake palette looks like it's on the frame of a painting - perfect! 

And the extra cupcakes are in my new cupcake holder (I've been longing for one and my husband bought it for me for my birthday)!   

We found some really cute invitations on Walmart.com, and for $0.28 a piece, I customized them with a picture of my girl and I ordered 8 cards -- 1 for each girl and an extra for me!  I love getting photo cards -- they are personal, they are a great keepsake for my girls' scrapbooks / baby books, and you'd pay more for a regular package of invitations! 
"Bright Circles" card from Walmart.com
To keep the girls entertained, and of course, to go along with the art party theme, we came up with three craft ideas.  My daughter had the idea to use black craft paper and to have the girls dip the end of a toilet paper or paper towel roll into paint and use that to create different designs on the paper.  We also bought each girl a little wooden easel and little canvas (3" x 3") from Joann's so that they could each paint their own little masterpiece.  And for the third art project, we bought a wooden letter for each girl's first initial (about 6" tall) and had them paint them with acrylic paints. 
Tiny canvas & easel - "Sunset" by the birthday girl!
Pink & Orange Polka Dot "M" - by my 6-year-old!

My girl loves art and this year we cleaned out our basement and rearranged it to make an art studio for our girls.  She wanted to host her party down there, and I decided that since I have off-white carpet in the dining room, where the big table is, that the art studio was a better idea with all of the paint!!  My husband set up a long folding table next to the little round table in the art studio.  My daughter covered both tables with newspapers which made for super easy, super quick clean up after the party! 
The "Art Studio"

We're still working on the art studio -- at some point when we have time, we'd like to paint the concrete wall and the floor.  For now though, we are extremely happy with the huge berber remnant that our friend Michael gave us from a job he was doing -- it covers a huge area of the floor! 

One of my favorite elements of the art party?  My daughter's outfit!  Never one to shy away from a theme, I suggested that she take an old pair of jeans and paint them to wear to her party!  She had fun doing that on Friday night -- I think she did a pretty good job!
My daughter had a great time -- she had fun with her friends, and I think they had a fun time too.  I loved that she is old enough that this year we just set everything up and she took over -- my husband and I relaxed in the living room until they called us for cake and ice cream.  Even our 6-year-old was like one of the big girls today -- she hung out with the girls and her sister never came up to complain about her once!  (Amazing!) 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Easy, Reuseable Daily Calendar

I saw this adorable calendar on Pinterest and my eldest daughter and I decided to start this for 2013!  If you click on the link above, it will take you to the original blog with all of the details of the project -- the original is very cute, but we decided to simplify it!  We simply took index cards that we had at home (probably from the dollar store) and my girl went through with the calendar and wrote the month and day for each day of the year on the cards.  We added in Leap Year so that we have it when we need it.  Now that we have the cards prepared, at the end of each day we take the card and write the year and then something that happened that day.  And then next year, we will write "2014" and then something that happened that day.  I still need to find something to put our cards in (cute recipe box? berry container, like the original?) and some cute cards to use as dividers.  The original version had vintage post cards which are adorable -- I don't have those, and I'm working on this with my girls, so I was thinking I'd have the girls decorate cards with drawings that are appropriate for each month (hearts for February, shamrocks for March, flowers for April, etc.).  I'll let them use their artistic license!

My daughter loves this project and has written many of our calendar entries.  This is a great calendar for looking back and reflecting on where you were and what you were doing in past years.  And it's great for keeping track of things for scrapbooks, baby books, etc! 

Trying to diet as a New Year's resolution?  Track your weight loss on a calendar like this, adding in things that worked and things that didn't -- separate the months with lo-cal recipe cards or inspirational photos or quotes.  So many possibilities!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Resolutions - 2013

We had a quiet New Year's Eve last night -- just the 4, I mean 5, of us home for the evening!  Usually my husband and I feed the girls their dinner early, and then we try to have a romantic dinner in the dining room by the fireplace.  Last night we just had dinner together.  We watched the tribute to Dick Clark, and because my little one took a nap yesterday afternoon, we let the girls stay up to see the ball drop at midnight.  This was the most exciting part of the evening, but that's ok, because to us, New Year's has become less about parties and more about ringing in the new year with the ones we love!  My nearly 12-year-old had the idea to video tape our New Year's resolutions, so we all took a turn.  She and her sister had a few, mostly to get along better with each other.  My husband is resolving to find a new job in 2013, and I made a couple about getting in shape physically, and financially.  I actually have a whole slew of them to enhance my life and the lives of my family, hopefully!  Here goes (in no particular order) -

1)  Take better care of myself - not a diet, but an overall emphasis on caring for myself - eating better, getting more rest, keeping up on dr's appointments, going for walks with our new puppy and also using the treadmill for it's actual purpose - not to hang clothes on...  Pampering myself is also going to fall into this category!  For starters, when I took my youngest for a haircut the other day I decided that I was going to treat myself to a long overdue eyebrow wax!

2) Take better care of our finances - we have not always been fabulous with our finances and little by little we are improving that.  We are considerably better than we used to be, and barring any unforeseen circumstance, I think 2013 will be an even better year!

3) Write on my blog more often!!  I was just dreadfully neglectful of my blog in 2012, and since it is partly my record of what is going on with my children, I intend to be much better in 2013!  I have to look at this as fitting into the "pampering myself" category, because it is something I enjoy doing for myself!  And look at that, Day 1 of 2013 and I have posted my first blog post of the year -- not a bad start!!

What resolutions have you made for 2013?