Friday, November 15, 2013

Fall Craft Roundup

Fall: my favorite time of year. The smells, the colors, the air, the flavors, the cozy clothes, the activities. So much to savor September through November. Though it's mid-November and most of Fall's wonderfulness has left for the year, I'm still enjoying pumpkin recipes (which I will get around to posting) and Addy & I are still crafting. I think we finished up today after using up the pile of leaves we had collected weeks ago. Here's a look at the fall crafts we did this year:

Popsicle Stick Scarecrows

Addy's is the one on the left. Just kidding (-;

This was the first cutting and gluing project we've done, and I was fairly impressed with Addy's beginner skills. The very first glue line she did was a perfect, evenly squeezed line straight down a popsicle stick, but she did eventually get a little glue-happy when applying the scarecrow's hair: 

Good thing glue dries clear!

She does well with scissors, using them carefully and properly, but she's a long way from being able to cut along a line; she's just snipping little pieces right now.

Month of Thanks Banner

I'll be sad when November is over because this banner makes me smile

This is a Pinterest idea I'd like to do every year going forward. I ran construction paper through my printer and cut out the shapes. I hung jute twine leftover from my wedding crafts along the mantle using tiny 3M Command hooks, and found the mini clothespins at Pat Catan's. Each day I write something I'm thankful for on a cutout and hang it up. Each day, I also ask Addy what she's thankful for, but I've had limited success. She's not really into this "game" yet, but I look forward to her answers next year. So far, she has named everyone in our family, dancing, birds, and Netflix. 

She even included the cats, which is surprising since she tortures them.

Paper Strip Trees 

I had to trim the edges off the construction paper to fit it through the printer for the above project, so I came up with a simple craft using the strip scraps:

Not very impressive, but helped break up some boredom

Addy laid out her strips and glued them on. I cut the shape. Quick and simple for a little more gluing practice.

Painting with Fall Leaves

As I said before, a few weeks back, we went on a walk and collected pretty leaves. We didn't do anything with them right away, though I had plenty of ideas in my head. Addy asked if she could paint today, so I thought she might enjoy painting the leaves and making imprints. They turned out to be a little too brittle to do much with, but here are our creations:

Addy kind of just painted and piled them

Addy helped me hold some of these in place while I did the brush strokes

Awesome giant leaf we found at Aunt Steph's house. Tried to make
and imprint of it, but it didn't show up too well.

And that wraps it up for our fall crafts this year. We had some fun! 

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The first snow

I cannot believe I'm making this post before we are even finished with our fall crafts...but we got the first snow of the season a few days ago, and Miss Addy was loving it! I was pretty sure she'd be excited since she's already referenced how fun it was to make a snowman last year, so I had the camera rolling when I greeted her in the morning...

We ventured out right after breakfast. I very deeply dislike snow, but I absolutely love to see my daughter enjoying it with reckless abandon. 

We had to cut it short because her way-too-short pants were letting in too much snow. We went inside and enjoyed some hot chocolate to warm up, which she has asked for repeatedly each day since. 

I can't believe I'm going to say this, but I can't wait for the next great snowfall! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Care Bears Birthday Bash

Two months prior to her birthday, Addy turned to me and stated she wanted a Care Bears birthday party. Up to that moment, I had been planning on a Curious George party, and was personally looking forward to it. But, what a 3-year-old wants a 3-year-old gets, right? Well, no, not always. But I didn't hesitate to give in to her request for Care Bears!

I think you can tell from her 1st birthday and 2nd birthday that I like to throw a themed party. I truly enjoy the creative process behind planning and executing all the details. I am fully aware that most of my friends and family think I am nuts and/or my priorities are out of whack, and that's okay. Right now, I've got one kid, so everything that goes into planning her party is manageable. If we throw another kid into the mix, well, I'm sure I'll be slapping some pizza on the counter and MAYBE blowing up some balloons, and my floors probably won't be swept. So until then, I'm going to have fun utilizing my creativity while I can. That being said, I went way overboard last year, so I DID tame it down this year, and gave myself a budget - of which I stayed within to boot! I think everything turned out nice, kids had a good time, and Addy had a great day. 

Matt and I created a fabulous rainbow balloon arch in the living room:

Notice to the left, Addt happily riding on Max's back

And placed a secondary one across the dining room table (where Addy and her friend Lilah enjoyed some cake together):

Addy and Lilah enjoying some cake and ice cream together.

I purchased a couple of Care Bear tablecovers and displayed the fruit tray and veggie tray in a rainbow pattern - even found purple cauliflower for the veggie tray!

I didn't do a very good job of capturing the rainbows, but
this was the only pic of the food taken, with a bonus
Papa in the picture!

And I made these super-cute cookie favors for the kids, playing off of Love-A-Lot Bear:

Love-A-Lot cookies

The cookie is Love-A-Lot's belly badge, and the tag reads "You are a friend I love a lot. Thank you for sharing in my birthday celebration!" I cheated and used bagged sugar cookie mix, but I made this awesome recipe for royal icing, and applied it using squeeze tubes. The icing was really easy to work with and I loved the final result. But guess what? I left the cookies up in the office and completely forgot to hand them out! I'm such an idiot sometimes!!!

Lastly, there was the cake. My favorite part of any party. I love designing and creating the cake. It's totally my "thing", if you will. I don't care if I end up having a litter of kids, I WILL do the cake. 

I really struggled with the Care Bears cake in the beginning. After searching Pinterest and Google, I had a solid idea of what I wanted: a two-tier cake with a rainbow wrapping around it and Care Bears sliding down the rainbow. The problem was, I could not figure out a way to create the rainbow just right. I was about to resort to ditching the cake and just having cupcakes instead, when my awesome husband informed me that Twizzlers come in a rainbow pack. Problem solved! I used the Twizzlers to create a rainbow arching from the cake into cupcake "clouds" (I inserted a bamboo skewer into each one for flexible support). I was really really happy with my final creation:

Addy helped me place a few of the Care Bears. Aren't those
star candles the coolest too?!?!?!

Cheer Bear sliding down the Twizzzler rainbow

The adorable Care Bear figurines (Birthday Bear on top!) came from EBay. I let Addy play with them long before her party, and she was super obsessed with them:

Addy lining up her first batch of Care Bear figurines.
Two additional shipments followed, for a total of 21 bears.

A few of the party guests played off the Care Bears theme with their gifts and cards:

Funshine Bear from Grandpa & Grammy, and Grumpy Bear from Lilah and family

An adorable, musical Funshine Bear card from Aunt Steph and family

An awesome handmade card from best friend Lilah and family
Matt and I celebrated with Addy on her actual birthday also, presenting our gifts to her then. Here's the video:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Birthday Interview: Three Years Old

This year for Addy's birthday, I began what I plan to be an annual tradition - a birthday interview. I came up with a list of 20 questions that I will ask her every year on her birthday. The questions will be the same year to year, but it will be very interesting to see how her answers change over time.

I wasn't expecting much success with this at three years old, assuming I would get a lot of blank stares or non applicable answers. To my surprise, 18 out of the 20 questions were answered immediately, with no excessive thinking on her part - so I know I got the answer that came to her mind right away. For the remaining two questions, however, I was unable to get any answer out of her other than "Ummmm...I don't know?".

Here is Addy's birthday interview at three years old:

1.       My favorite color is: Blue
2.       My favorite book is: Llama Llama Misses Momma
3.       My favorite food is: Grapes
4.       My favorite movie is: Care Bears – my new one for my birthday
5.       My favorite TV show is: Tiger Neighborhood
6.       My favorite toy is: Yellow Duckie
7.       My favorite stuffed animal is: Yellow Puppy
8.       My favorite song is: B-I-N-G-O
9.       My favorite thing to wear is: Ummm…I don’t know
10.   My favorite memory is: Ummm…I don’t know
11.   My favorite activity is: Playing
12.   My favorite place to go is: The mall
13.   My best friend is: Mommy
14.   When I grow up, I want to be: Big & strong
15.   I am really good at: Don’t say questions. Those are enough questions.
16.   I like it when mom: Plays
17.   I like it when dad: Plays too
18.   I am beautiful because: My nose
19.   I like to learn about: One-Two-Three
20.   I get frustrated when: You take the pumpkin from Target

There were definitely some surprises in there for me. For example, she doesn't even have a yellow duckie, and she has never referred to any of her four puppy stuffed animals as 'Yellow Puppy'. I thought for sure she'd say her favorite place is the zoo, but the mall is something she does with just daddy on most Sundays while I am at work; clearly daddy-daughter time means a lot to her. I think my heart about exploded when I asked who her best friend is, and she looked at me, pointed her finger and exclaimed, "YOU, Mommy!" And then there's #20: I get frustrated when you take the pumpkin from Target. I feel I must explain #20. Earlier in the day, we had made a trip to Target. I notcied the Halloween stuff was 70% off, so I spent a couple minutes strolling down the aisle. As I looked around, Addy grabbed one of those plastic pumpkin buckets and was talking into it, fascinated by her echo. It was only going to be 30 cents, so as we headed to the registers, I left the bucket in the cart. She shouts, "No! Put this back! Halloween is over!" She seemed really upset at the thought of taking it home, so I placed it back on the shelf. Then as we headed to the registers yet again, she starts whining because she wants the bucket back. WTF child? Since it was only 30 cents, and I wanted it, I went and picked up the bucket again. Well, that led to a mini-meltdown, as she tried to throw it out of the cart repeatedly between the register and our car. Apparently, since she did not skip a beat when answering this last question, she really REALLY did not want me buying that pumpkin! But wouldn't you know, once we got it home, she wanted to take all her Halloween candy out of her existing bucket and put it in the new one? Yeah...three years old is going to be SO MUCH FUN.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

She's Three!

Happy Birthday, my sweet princess!

Three years of practice and I'm still learning something new every day. And somehow, I love you more and more with each passing day. Thank you for being you.