Hudson’s Under the Sea birthday party

Yesterday we celebrated Hudson’s 2nd birthday with an Under the Sea themed party.  His birthday isn’t until this coming Saturday and ideally I would have done it then but that was getting too close to my due date for comfort (and even for yesterday’s party I was keeping my fingers crossed that we’d get to have it before Parker made his appearance…so far, so good – no signs of arrival yet!) so we went ahead and did it a week in advance.

For the last several months Hudson has absolutely loved fish – books about fish, shows with fish in them, talking about fish, the aquarium.  He loves them.  His favorite tv show is Bubble Guppies and his favorite movie (well actually, the only movie he’s ever seen) is Finding Nemo.  So we decided to do an Under the Sea party and incorporate all those things.  Hudson was pretty excited about that and talked about his “fish party” for days and days leading up to it.

Being so very pregnant I wanted to keep things pretty simple and easy.  We did a small party with a few easy decorations and some snacks.  At his age he doesn’t know anyway and would much rather play with balloons than anything else so it was perfect!

Thanks to Pinterest I was able to have some super cute stuff without having to think of it myself ;).  You can see my Pinterest inspiration board here.

(Pardon the picture quality…I was trying to snap a few quickly before the party started and they weren’t as great as I’d like.)

We used green streamers for seaweed, blue balloons for bubbles, and I cut some fish out of colorful paper.  I think it turned out adorable!

Here’s a fun tip: if you have an air compressor, use it to blow up balloons.  That’s what Michael did and I can’t believe we’ve never thought of this before!  It took no time at all to blow up a ton of balloons.  Another tip: buy your balloons at Hobby Lobby.  The ones we got last year for his first birthday party stayed blown up and stuck to our wall for over a month.  I know!  So crazy.  Super good balloons.

under the sea birthday party wall decorationsunder the sea birthday party sea weedI was planning to make a “happy birthday” banner but while we were out shopping for the party we went to Party City and passed a section of Bubble Guppies decorations.  Hudson went absolutely nuts over them so I decided to get the Bubble Guppies birthday banner and some other Bubble Guppies hanging decorations.  That was the best $10 or so that I spent…saved me a ton of time trying to make all that stuff myself and of course he loved that it had his favorite characters on it!
under the sea birthday party Bubble Guppies bannerunder the sea birthday party balloonsI printed off some Bubble Guppies fish (found those here) and taped them to our basketball goal for some “fishketball”.
under the sea birthday party fishketballWe also printed off Bubble Puppy and taped him to the bathroom door…for no other reason than because Hudson loves Bubble Puppy :).under the sea birthday party bubble puppyI wanted to do something cute on the coat rack/mantle/shelf but ran out of ideas and time so I just stuck Hudson’s big Nemo fish up there and also this battery powered aquarium we have that lights up and fish scroll across the screen.IMG_1293

We had a variety of fish/sea themed snacks.under the sea birthday party foodI skipped doing a decorated birthday cake and instead stuck to just cupcakes – chocolate cake with chocolate icing.  While I enjoy (to an extent) making cakes, it’s definitely stressful and I knew that it just wasn’t worth it right now.  Cupcakes are insanely easy to decorate compared to cake, much less time consuming, and just as yummy.  I found some free printable cupcake wrappers here and those jazzed up the plain cupcakes.  I also got to use a cupcake stand I bought years ago and had never even opened!
under the sea cupcakes

Bananas turned into dolphins and some grapes.
dolphin bananas and fish egg grapes

Cutie or Halo (can’t remember which ones we got) orange “beach balls”beach ball oranges

Goldfish crackers in a (clean and unused) fishbowl served with a (clean and unused) fish net.goldfish crackers in a fish bowl

Veggies and dip with a bell pepper octopus on topoctopus veggies and dip

Cheese cut into triangles for “shark teeth”shark teeth cheese

The circle fish that I cut out and added to the labels came from the same place as the cupcake wrappers.

I forgot to take a picture of the party favors but I just did a little bag with a bottle of bubbles, a snack pack of goldfish crackers, and these light-up squishy balls that I bought at Party City that looked kind of like sea urchins.

Hudson very rarely gets sweets so he thoroughly enjoyed eating his birthday cupcake! IMG_1312IMG_1310IMG_1316All in all it was a super fun party!  I had just about zero stress and was pleased that we were able to do a cute, themed party without a bunch of work (although I have to say that Michael, my mom, and my brother did a ton of the decorating and food prep…without them it would have been very stressful and lots of work so I’m incredibly thankful for their help).  And of course Hudson had a blast and that’s the main thing.

Happy (almost) birthday, my sweet boy!IMG_1320

An explosive Halloween (aka how to DIY a mad scientist costume)

IMG_0989I absolutely loved our Halloween costumes this year!  I think family/themed costumes are so fun so as long as Hudson will let me get away with it I’m going to do them ;).

We knew that Hudson just HAD to be a mad scientist this Halloween so we could take advantage of his already super crazy hair.  It was the perfect costume, you know?  Plus it was super easy to a costume for both him and us.

I mean…how adorable is this??toddler mad scientist halloween costumeWe actually got to get dressed up twice – once for our church’s Trunk or Treat event and then again for Trick or Treating on Halloween.

For Hudson’s costume we put him in just some khakis, his Converse tennis shoes, a collared shirt, and a bow tie (with mismatched patterns of course, as any legit mad scientist wouldn’t have time to match).  His lab coat was actually a doctor coat that my grandmother made for my brother when he was little.  My mom still had it in the attic and it was perfect for his outfit!  Plus it kept us from having to buy a toddler sized one.

His glasses were some Harry Potter-ish glasses that we bought for his newborn pictures.  Amazingly he left them on most of the night and didn’t seem bothered by them like I expected.  I teased and hair sprayed his hair a bit to make it stand up even more than normal and then used some eyeshadow around the outline of his glasses to look like something blew up in his face.

I thought he might get upset about the makeup but he didn’t care at all.  He looked a little startled when he first looked at himself in the mirror but other than that he didn’t seem to notice.

2015-10-30_17.16.13 copy

For Michael and myself we just dressed normally and then borrowed lab coats from a friend who works in the medical profession.  I teased and sprayed my hair and used bobby pins and clips to make it stand out everywhere.  We did the grayish makeup on our faces too and I wore some “geek” glasses I had.  We also wore ear plugs.  Very simple and all things we owned or could borrow!

A friend took this at Trunk or Treat and I love it so much!  It’s just hilarious!

mad scientist family halloween costume

Our costumes must have paid off because we won “funniest” costume.  Hudson liked our trophy!


I didn’t get a good picture of our trunk but we mostly just hung up a bunch of biohazard/radioactive/caution-type signs in the trunk.  Our show stopper were these ghost bubbles that Michael made.  I think he found the how-to online, but basically you use dry ice and bubble solution to make these cool bubbles that look all ghostly and release the gas when the pop.  It was very neat!

Here’s a similar demonstration on YouTube:

Hudson loved handing out candy to the kids who came around to our trunk and would keep putting piece after piece in their bag if they stood there long enough!  He was quite the generous candy giver!  Ha!  He did not like going around to the other vehicles and getting candy though.  I tried to take him to the other cars but it made him cry so we gave up.

We had some other games too but he didn’t do so hot with them – hard to explain to a toddler that they only get to toss a ball or go “fishing” X many times before they have to give someone else a turn!


One of our friends brought their dog and y’all know how Hudson feels about animals…lol!  Totally giving her the side eye in this picture!


The next night, Halloween, we got dressed up again to hand out candy to trick or treaters.  We knew Hudson couldn’t care less about going around to the houses so other than taking him by to show off his costume to the neighbors on either side of us we just stayed home and handed out candy to whomever came by.

The weather wasn’t too cold so we set up in the front yard so we could watch all the activity (not that there was tons…we live in a pretty secluded neighborhood so we don’t get a lot of trick or treaters).

IMG_1014IMG_10232015-10-31_16.09.48 copyHudson had fun handing candy out to our trick or treaters and then just running around in the yard and playing or trying to pick up our pumpkins.

IMG_1034IMG_1039It started raining and got cold and we ran out of candy so we packed it up, went to Chuy’s for some supper (still fully in costume lol!), and then came home to watch the Vols stomp the Cats.

It was a great Halloween!


What were you and/or your kiddos for Halloween?  I’m already brainstorming for next year…I’ll have to find something perfect for an almost 3 year old and his 9 month old baby brother.  Oh my!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday party

We celebrated Hudson’s first birthday with a Very Hungry Caterpillar themed party.  I picked it because I love that book but also because it was a super easy one to plan for – there were tons of ideas to steal inspire me on Pinterest and since the book is all about food I was just able to use that as my meal plan rather than having to figure out what to serve everyone.

My goal was a simple but fun party and I think we achieved that!  I did a few decorations but nothing crazy, a simple meal, and we just tried to relax and enjoy everything.  I’m sure Hudson had no clue what was going on but I think he had fun playing with his friends.

Here are some pictures from the party.

The invitation:

Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday invitation

(invitation template here; I used Picmonkey to personalize it and then used Shutterfly to order them)

The decorations:

An easy and cute door decoration made with paper plates and some scrapbooking paper.


Balloons and more scrapbooking paper for the caterpillar on the wall.

very hungry caterpillar birthday party balloon caterpillar

Balloon and streamer backdrop for pictures

very hungry caterpillar birthday party backdrop


I love, love, LOVE this caterpillar with monthly pictures over the gift table.  It was so easy to make – I used my Silhouette to cut the circles and numbers out of scrapbooking paper and slapped two of my favorite pictures from each month of his life on it.

I won’t be taking this down any time soon because I love looking at it.

very hungry caterpillar birthday party present tablevery hungry caterpillar birthday party montly pictures

Fun pennant (banner? bunting? not sure what these are called) over the food table

very hungry caterpillar birthday party banner(free download here)

very hungry caterpillar birthday party banner and food table

The menu (mostly inspired by the book):

– sandwiches (peanut butter sandwiches cut into circles and placed with a tomato “head” to look like a caterpillar and then bread and fixings to build your own cold cut sandwiches)
– chips
– oranges (Halo clementines, actually)
– strawberries
– apples
– watermelon
– cheese cubes
– pigs in blankets (to represent the sausages)
– pickles
– grape caterpillars (grapes on a skewer to look like caterpillars)
– chocolate cake
– ice cream

very hungry caterpillar birthday party food table very hungry caterpillar birthday party fruit very hungry caterpillar birthday party sandwiches

very hungry caterpillar birthday party sausagesvery hungry caterpillar birthday party grapes

very hungry caterpillar birthday party cakes

Hudson’s smash cake – wise friends told us not to use colored icing and after I used colored sprinkles on his smash cake for his one year pictures I decided that was a messy bad idea too, so we just kept it very simple for the cake for his party and used a removable topper for color!

very hungry caterpillar birthday party smash cake

The cake for the rest of us.  Not my best decorating job and I wasn’t happy with the way it turned out but I also wasn’t willing to spend hours on it this time so I’m ok with a less-than-perfect cake (becoming a parent has really helped me relax and refocus my priorities!)very hungry caterpillar birthday party cake(printable food labels here)

A sweet friend of ours embroidered (appliquéd? not sure of the correct term here) this shirt for Hudson to wear at the party.  So adorable!!

very hungry caterpillar birthday party shirt

Cake time!

IMG_0028IMG_0029IMG_0031IMG_0042IMG_0048IMG_0057IMG_0061He loved his cake!  He dove in and chowed down.  And then he stayed up until midnight that night so I’m thinking all that sugar might have been a bad idea!

We had some extra balloons blown up that we didn’t get around for using as decorations.  We had put them all in Hudson’s pack n play in our living room to keep them corralled; the kids found them and had a blast!



Time for presents!

IMG_0095 IMG_0103 IMG_0137 IMG_0139

IMG_0141Please note that after opening all those toys, Hudson is still playing with balloons while his friends enjoy the toys!  Hilarious!  It’s like they say – boxes and paper (and balloons) are all kids really care about…not the actual presents.IMG_0143IMG_0166IMG_0170

We had so much fun!  Visiting with friends, watching the kids play, and celebrating my big boy’s birthday.  It was perfect!

I tried to give credit to the inspirations for all my decorations but I realized that I had seen the same ideas show up in many blogs so it’s hard to credit just one person.  Check out my Pinterest board instead if you want to see where I got my ideas.

Also a huge thanks to my friend Tiffany who grabbed my camera and took a ton of pictures during the party for me!

gender reveal party

Saturday night we hosted a fun little reveal party for our family and friends to announce the gender of our little Hudson Michael.  I had so much fun putting everything together and I think it turned out pretty cute.  I decided to DIY a lot of the decorations to keep costs down.  I didn’t do full tutorials or anything but I’ll try to link to similar ones or explain what I did in case you want to replicate.

The first thing I had to do was decide on a theme.  Our last name (which I haven’t yet shared on here…in case of creepers, ya know?) is royal-ish so I decided to do a play on words and go with a “prince or princess?” theme.  I looked at lots of invitations online and none were exactly what I wanted.  I contacted some Etsy sellers to see about getting custom ones made, but they never contacted me back, so finally I just busted out Word and made my own.  (this tutorial was very helpful and this pin was my invitation inspiration)  I was very proud of how they turned out.

gender reveal invitationedited version of what we sent out

After deciding on the prince or princess theme, I sort of forgot to actually use that in the decorations (ahem…facepalm), but I did carry over the gray, blue, and pink from the invitation into the decorations.

gender reveal tulle wreathI made a wreath for the front door to greet the guests.  It was so easy!  I just cut strips of tulle and tied them around a wreath form, then made a little bunting banner out of paper.

gender reveal party foodWe served BBQ and sides (I just couldn’t pull off handmade decorations and an elaborate homemade meal…so I decided to make the decorations and buy most of the food.  I don’t think anyone minded).

fabric scrap bunting

This fabric scrap bunting is probably my favorite thing that I made for the party.  I modeled it after this tutorial, but didn’t use quite as many fabric options.  I only used three fabrics: pink and gray chevron, blue and gray chevron, and gray polka dot (all bought at Hancock’s).  I also didn’t cut out each strip individually (the original poster used pinking shears to cut hers); instead I sniped into the fabric about a half inch and then ripped.  It gave the strips the shabby chic rough edges that I like.  I did 20 strips of each color, about 1.5 inches wide and 22 inches long (each strip was half of a width of my yardage, which I assume was a standard 44 inches).  I love this and think I might make another one in the appropriate colors of our bedroom.  Or Hudson’s room.  Or Christmas decorations.  Or all of the above.

poms and garlandThe other big things I made were tissue paper pom poms and circle garlands.

light decorationsThe pom poms were made using this tutorial, and I made six total – three for each chandelier.  Each pom was made from one pack of tissue paper from Hobby Lobby (I think each pack had ten sheets).  They were a little bigger than I expected, and I probably should have cut the tissue paper down some, but I still think they turned out cute.

gender reveal garlandsewn circle garlandI also made a lot of these circle garlands to hang everywhere.  They are cheap and easy to make, so I love them!  I used my Cricut to cut out a bajillion circles of different shapes (ranging from 1 1/4 inches to 2 inches) from a bunch of different pink, blue, and gray baby-themed papers from Hobby Lobby.  Once I had my circles cut out I ran them through my sewing machine to make the garland.  Easy peasy.

pom poms

gender reveal poms and garlandThe leftover pink and gray chevron fabric became a table runner of sorts.  I totally meant to do centerpieces but ran out of time, so I just slapped this fabric on the table (it’s folded under, the edges aren’t even hemmed or anything) and hoped that the dramatic stuff hanging from the light fixture made up for a nearly naked table.

balloons and confettiballoonsWe had one folding table set up that didn’t have a light fixture above it.  I covered it with a gray tablecloth (from Hobby Lobby), scattered some of my cut out circles on the table like confetti, and tied some pink and blue balloons to a mason jar for a centerpiece.

tablescapeThere was a table right inside the door for when people first walked in.  The leftover blue and gray chevron became the tablecloth for this table (raw edges and all…that’s just how I roll in a time crunch).  Some of the extra blue tulle from the wreath got added to a dish full of yummy Reese’s.  The lights are white Christmas lights with strips of white tulle tied to the cord in between the lights.  I made this last year at Christmas and it has come in handy for some many different things.  It’s great to have on hand and pull out to jazz up a space quickly.

old wives tales chalkboardI used chalkboard markers (Hobby Lobby) to fill out a chalkboard with the results of some old wives tales.

gender reveal clothespinsI also painted clothespins for people to wear indicating if they were team girl or team boy.

gender reveal scratch off ticketThe way we chose to reveal was with scratch off tickets.  I made the tickets in Word using the same fonts, colors, background, etc. as the invitations.

scratch off ticketHere’s what it looked like before I printed them and covered the “answers”.

The scratch off stuff was pretty easy to make – I followed this tutorial.  All you need is contact paper, silver craft paint, and dish soap (don’t be like me and paint on the wrong side of the contact paper, let it dry over night, wake up ready to finish, and realize you have to paint all over again because you didn’t use the right side…oops).

gender reveal scratch offReady to reveal our big news!!

ticketstickets 1tickets 2The sad thing was that they didn’t work quite as well as I thought they would.  When I did my trial run, the scratch off stuff scratched off perfectly.  However, when everyone started scratching they could hardly get it to scratch off!  Most people ended up just peeling off the contact paper to see the results.

At first I thought I had made them too far in advance (I only did them about 9 hours in advance!) but now I think it’s because I didn’t use enough dish soap.  I think that is the key to keeping it soft enough to scratch off.  See, the tutorial said use two or three parts paint to one part dish soap.  That made the paint really, really thin, so I used way less dish soap.  I didn’t realize I needed to make it thinner and then paint more than one coat.  I was trying to keep it thick enough to only do one coat and I think that was my downfall.  I think the paint hardened too much because there wasn’t enough soap.  So now I know in case we ever do this again!

And that was our little gender reveal party!  It was a fun way to share our exciting news!

You are My Sunshine party – Levi turns one!

It’s hard to believe that this little guy

baby Leviis now ONE!

balloons 2And probably the happiest child I’ve ever met in my life.  The theme of his party, You are My Sunshine, was totally, 100% fitting for his sweet personality.

Tiffany had a bunch of sunshine-themed party ideas pinned on Pinterest, so I looked at her board and picked a cake that I thought I could replicate (or at least make one that was similar).  I ended up using this one as my inspiration.

sunshine cake 2

sunshine cake 1

It was totally by coincidence that my cake matched perfectly with Tiffany’s decorations!  Great minds think alike :).

you are my sunshine party

sunshine party

Of course the cake and decorations were greatly eclipsed by the star of the show, Mr. Levi himself.

balloons 4

balloons 3

balloons 1

He loved playing with those balloons.

balloons 5And laughing with Michael.

But you know what he loved even more?  Cake!  I have never seen a kid devour a smash cake the way Levi did.

smash cake 1Starting off with a tentative taste of the icing from his cake topper.

smash cake 2Then diving in to the good stuff.

smash cake 3Oh yeah, that’s what I’m talking about…how have you people been hiding this deliciousness from me for a year???

sharingHappy to share some cake.


crown 2

messy boyYum yum yum!

carAnd of course we can’t leave out Josiah!

birthday candlehelping light brother’s candle…he didn’t quite realize that this was Levi’s birthday, not his own

happy birthday Leviready to blow out the candles!

us with Levi“Misser Michael” and “Missy” Caitlin (Josiah’s names for us) with our little man

Happy birthday, Levi!  We love you!

a Dr. Seuss birthday party

Dr. Seuss birthday 1

Last weekend Mr. Noah turned one and to celebrate Erin (and family) put together a fantastic Dr. Seuss-themed bash.

Dr. Seuss cakeErin asked me to make the cake (based on this cake) and I was more than happy to do so.  Other than the layers settling and bulging a little bit during the car ride to Lexington, I think it turned out pretty great!

Dr. Seuss birthday 3check out all these fantastic decorations!

Dr. Seuss birthday 4Dr. Seuss birthday 5Dr. Seuss birthday 6Dr. Seuss birthday 7Dr. Seuss birthday 8precious smash cake pictures – love that long tie!

Dr. Seuss birthday 9Dr. Seuss birthday 11Dr. Seuss birthday 12love the table settings with Dr. Seuss books, balloons, and Mason jars

Dr. Seuss birthday 10the food table…sans food

Dr. Seuss birthday 24and now loaded up with goodies :)

Dr. Seuss birthday 13table at the entrance – pictures of Noah’s first year and his one year stats

Dr. Seuss birthday 14“guest book” – sign the inside of a Dr. Seuss book (Happy Birthday to You)

Dr. Seuss birthday 15Dr. Seuss birthday 16party favors

There were also tons of fun activities for the little ones.

Dr. Seuss birthday 17paint table

Dr. Seuss birthday 18Dr. Seuss birthday 21Dr. Seuss birthday 23fishing

Dr. Seuss birthday 19for taking pictures of the kids

Dr. Seuss birthday 22Nora giving it a test

Dr. Seuss birthday 20

Dr. Seuss birthday 26time for some cake!

Dr. Seuss birthday 2Look at all that loot!  Noah is going to be one busy boy!

Dr. Seuss birthday 25new toys

Dr. Seuss birthday 27Dr. Seuss birthday 28Nora and Noah testing out Noah’s new trike

 We had a wonderful time celebrating Noah’s birthday and visiting with our friends!  Oh, and today Noah also became a big brother…Adelyn was born this morning!  So much excitement!

a vintage baby shower

Last Saturday I went to Lexington to attend the baby shower of a friend.  Remember Erin’s jungle themed shower from when she was pregnant with Noah?  Well this time around she’s having a girl so we got together to shower Miss Adelyn with some girly gifts :).  I’m not sure if the girls who organized the shower specifically had a theme, but I’ve dubbed it a “vintage” theme since that’s what it looked like to me.

vintage baby showerThey decorated with tons of old books, which I loved of course :)

vintage baby shower 3beautiful centerpieces!

vintage baby shower 2I failed to get a picture of the cake before it was cut and part of the topper had been removed…oops!  You’ll just have to trust me that it was really cute with a banner across the top that said “Adelyn”.
vintage baby shower 4Yummy, fancy, girl food like scones and punch

Adelyn's baby shower 21hairbow making station – getting Adelyn all fixed up with a bunch of pretties for her hair

vintage baby shower 5presents for Adelyn

The shower was lovely, but the real stars of the show were all the kids.  A year and a half ago we were anticipating the birth of baby Nora…the first baby among our young adult group.  Now there are a passel of kids running (or crawling) around :)  So yeah, we had fun looking at Adelyn’s new stuff but I think we had more fun watching all the kids.

Adelyn's baby shower 3Adelyn's baby shower 5big brother Noah inspecting the chairs

Adelyn's baby showerchatting with Nora

Adelyn's baby shower 4Nora is ready to hit the town with Jonie’s purse…and her Bink Bink of course

Adelyn's baby shower 6The kids LOVED the tissue paper

Adelyn's baby shower 7It kept them occupied for a good long time

Adelyn's baby shower 19forget the toys…I know what all these kids want for Christmas

Adelyn's baby shower 9Erin had a difficult time opening the gifts – the kids were trying to take the bags, paper, and gifts away from her faster than she could unwrap.  Check out Noah diving in for the present and Gabriella trying to pull the bag away!

Adelyn's baby shower 12“here Mom, let me carry Adelyn’s new clothes”

Adelyn's baby shower 13“I’ll even put them back into the bag for you!”

Adelyn's baby shower 18Adelyn's baby shower 20I think Nora is a born shopper – she’s got the bag-and-clothes-carry down pat

Adelyn's baby shower 16Abby surveys the chaos around her

Adelyn's baby shower 15Ethan enjoyed the tissue paper, too…and loved laughing at the other silly kiddos

Adelyn's baby shower 11And occasionally put his mad crawling skills to use…his crawl is hilarious – he hardly uses his legs and mostly just uses his arms like he’s doing the breaststroke!

Adelyn's baby shower 14

Adelyn's baby shower 17The mess at the end…a good time was had by all

The shower was a blast – beautiful decorations, delicious food, sweet gifts, visiting with friends, and silly kiddos.  It was good to see everyone again – it’d been way too long since I’d been back to Lexington.  Now I can’t wait for little miss Adelyn to get here so I can meet her!

A Monsters, Inc. birthday party

You remember our friends the Gaines’?  The ones we’ve adopted as our Bowling Green family?  The ones who are moving to Africa in October (*sniff*)?  Well they recently had a fun Monster’s Inc. party for Abby’s 11th and Josiah’s 2nd birthdays.monsters inc birthday 3Tiffany had decorated super cute with all this purple, green, and teal.  I have to confess that it has been many, many years since I’ve actually watched Monsters, Inc. but I vaguely remember something about doors…or maybe I’m just gathering that tidbit from all the doors Tiffany used for decorations.

monsters inc birthday 10I was excited to contribute the cake…Sully on the bottom layer and Mike on the top (copied from here).  Compared to Nora’s Wizard of Oz cake, this one was a breeze!  It turned out cute (at least, I think so).

monsters inc birthday 4I just hope it didn’t hurt Mike’s eyeball when they stuck those candles in there…

monsters inc birthday 15The birthday girl approved

monsters inc birthday 16And so did the birthday boy

monsters inc birthday 12And Levi just tried to grab everyone else’s food…I think he was jealous

monsters inc birthday 13I love this sweet boy

monsters inc birthday 14Even when he eats my Monsters, Inc. security badge

monsters inc birthday 11Jojo-bear

monsters inc birthday 1Little monster…this is one hilarious kid

monsters inc birthday 7He got this car racer thing and played with it forever.

monsters inc birthday 5Clearly I’m way out of touch with pre-teens and Disney channel – Abby got tickets to R5 and she was super excited (apparently R5 is a band from the Disney show Austin & Ally…yeah, I didn’t know that either – don’t feel bad).

monsters inc birthday 6Levi was clearly unimpressed by the present-opening

monsters inc birthday 9So he took a little nap :)  Presh.

monsters inc birthday 17Abby wanted us to play a little family game of basketball

monsters inc birthday 2But I’m pretty much the most un-athletic person on the planet so I chose to stay on the sidelines.

Observation #1 about that picture: Look at the four of us with our arms crossed…we look so judge-y.

Observation #2:  I promise I am working on my New Years goal of improving my posture…but clearly this moment was not one of those times

Michael and meI adore this picture that Tiffany took.  I didn’t even realize she was taking it but it’s now one of my favorite pictures of us.

In other news…who’s thankful for Facebook and multiple cameras?  There were no less than 5 cameras snapping away at the party and then we could just snatch each others pictures from Facebook.  Yay technology and yay for way better angles and shots than I would have ever had to show you :).



Wizard of Oz cakes

Nora's first birthday smash cakeThis lil’ cutie turned one last week (hold the phone…how is that even possible?  I’m pretty sure I attended her baby shower just yesterday…but I digress)

Her momma took a major leap of faith and asked me if I would be interested in making her cakes so I could practice using my newly acquired cake decorating skills.  Outside of the cakes I made and decorated in class I’ve only made two other cakes – both which were very simple.  So being asked to make the party cake and the smash cake for Nora’s party made me feel incredibly honored but also quite nervous!

The party had a Wizard of Oz theme (I can’t wait to share more pictures of the rest of the party later…Julie did an AH-MAZING job with all the decor and food!).  Julie found some cake ideas she liked and we bounced around some ideas until we settled on one like this (although this one was absolutely incredible…no way could I recreate that but it was certainly fantastic to look at…go ahead, click over and check it out, you won’t be sorry).

Not only was this my first cake for someone else but it was also my first tiered cake.  As I started looking at cake pans to figure out the size of the cake, I realized that in order to have room on the tiers for the little figurines to stand that I was going to have to have some pretty big layers!  The bottom layer ended up being a 14″ round that took 15 cups of batter and was almost too much for me to remove from the oven myself!  It turned out quite a bit larger than I expected but the overall finished look was totally worth it!

Michael and I were also nervous about transporting a cake of that size and weight but fortunately it arrived unharmed.  We put a bunch of dowels in it for support and that seemed to work really well.

3 tiered Wizard of Oz cakeHere it is – my first tiered cake!  I had a really hard time getting a picture because of the window behind the cake so I’m hoping the photographer got a better one I can use later.

The bottom layer was chocolate, the middle layer was white, and the top layer was white with chocolate filling.  The green icing was buttercream, the yellow brick road was made out of fondant, and the poppies are made with royal icing.  Julie made the Emerald City for the top.  The little ruby slippers were American Girl doll shoes.

I was really pleased with how it turned out!

Wizard of Oz smash cakeI also made Nora’s smash cake – a simple, 1 layer chocolate cake with buttercream icing, buttercream clouds, and a fondant rainbow.

Let’s zoom out and check out that high chair, shall we?
Adorbs.  I love the high chair’s decorations!

I also love this little munchkin and am so glad I got to be a part of her birthday!

2012 goals and bucket list update – May

I know this is a bit late…I had this post written to go up at the end of May but some stuff came up and then I was at camp, so here I am, halfway through June, finally posting my update for May.

(old updates: JanuaryFebruaryMarch, and April)

2012 goals:

  • read through the entire Bible – New Testament: check.  Old Testament: chugging through Deuteronomy right now.
  • get my healthy lifestyle back, specifically to lose the 20-25 pounds I’ve gained since getting married. – All progress that had been made has now been reversed and I’m back to square one.  I have big plans to tackle that once I get back from church camp, though.

2012 bucket list:

  • make an apple pie from scratch
  • take cake decorating classes – I took the Wilton Cake Decorating Course 1 classes in March (see hereherehere, and here) and took Course 2 in April (hereherehere, and here).
  • learn how to make Mom’s homemade Christmas cookies
  • make 72 hour emergency kits for our home and cars
  • make my own laundry detergent
  • bake a loaf of homemade bread – Done!  I made some Amish friendship bread this month.
  • make a quilt – Working on it!  See JanuaryFebruaryMarchApril, and May
  • grow something – Well, our little container garden has been planted.  Hopefully something will actually grow!
  • can pickles
  • take some sort of vacation – Chicago!
  • get at least one scrapbook done for my in-law’s
  • ???start an Etsy shop???

Other notable things:

  • We sold our house!!!  We closed on it right before we left for Chicago.  What a relief!  We’re now starting the house-hunting process…much more exciting the house-selling process.
  • I graduated with my masters in library media education.  And we had a graduation party.
  • We went to Gatlinburg for work (for Michael) and Chicago for fun.
  • I finished working as a graduate assistant at Western and started the job application process for next year.
  • My women’s Bible study wrapped up for the year.
  • We celebrated three wonderful years of marriage.