Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Baby's First Birthday with Mickey on the Farm

Messy Messy Fail - Ugh I cannot get the dishes in the dishwasher - especially the top rack glasses - to come out completely clean.  There seems to be tiny bits of grossness stuck to the glasses, especially on the outside of the upper rack.  I've tried cleaning the inside of the gasket to get the gunk out, I'm tempted next to run an empty cycle with a glass of vinegar.  We have extremely hard water in our area, but seriously, what gives?!?!?!?!

Tidy Victory - Now that the high school spring concert is over (stress!!!!!) I can start cooking and catching up on household chores again.  Last night I made the PW's breakfast quesadillas and MAN were those tasty!

I really enjoy having a fun themed birthday party for my kids for their first birthday.  It's so much fun to have all of our family in from out of town to celebrate.

For the toddler's first birthday, we had a Mickey Mouse Luau - he loved watching Mickey Mouse Club House and his family nickname is the Hawaiian so it seemed fitting.

For the baby's first birthday, we noticed he enjoyed Mickey Mouse Club House as well, and we thought it would be fun to do a farm theme, so Mickey on the Farm it was!

Who knew that not many people had already thrown a Mickey on the Farm birthday party - Pinterest wasn't too helpful with this one!  A friend has sent me a whole slew of pins for Mickey things, but Farmer Mickey was not to be found.  Who knew I had come up with such an original theme (wink wink)?

For each kid, I always purchase a birthday banner from A Sweet Celebration on Etsy - she does an amazing job putting together the cutest most creative banners that I could NEVER make in a million years.  

You may notice that I blurred out the baby's name - no offense people, just to protect the privacy of my kids (that's why I do not post pictures of them on the blog either, I want them to decide for themselves later in life if they want to be all over the internet or not).

I also had her make squares for his 2nd - 10th birthdays so I can keep reusing the banner (even though they won't be Mickey on the Farm but that's okay!)

I stole the idea from a birthday party my good friend threw for her second son's 1st birthday party (he was born 14 days before my baby) to have an activity table for the older kids.  We had playdough, crayons, Mickey print outs, toddler scissors and glue sticks to keep them occupied.  I also purchased a 12-pack of cute little farmer hats from Oriental Trading for the kids to keep as a party favor.

I also bought a 12-pack of these checkered tablecloths in several fun colors and the large pennant gingham banner to decorate the baby's highchair and the wall a bit.  I should have read more carefully how big the pennant actually was - quite large for the high chair - but it did the trick.  I had originally intended to purchase the red tablecloths but the colors ended up working well, too.

We are a bit limited on places to purchase cakes in our area but ended up finding this cute farm cake from Tops Friendly Market.  I couldn't find a Farmer Mickey cake and I know my limitations, but this cake was delicious and adorable.

Did you know Tops will give you a free 5" round cake on your baby's first birthday when you show their birth certificate?  Here is what was left from the baby's free cake.  He annihilated half of it and would have finished it had I not taken it away.

I used Mickey happy birthday balloons from the Dollar Tree (holla!) tied to red deli baskets stuffed with  wax paper basket liners to hold extra napkins, salt and pepper.

For the early dinner menu, we decided on a picnic theme.  

We made:

PW's Pulled Pork
Copycat KFC Coleslaw

Our family made:

Aunt Ashley's Taco Dip
Aunt Sarah's Corn & Bean Balsamic Salsa
Great-Grandma Jean's Potato Salad
Aunt Stacey's Corn Casserole
Grandma's Fruit Frog
Aunt Meghen's Tortellini & Fruit Salad
Nana Patti's Spinach Salad

We also had a beverage dispenser of good old fashioned ice tea for people to drink along with water, cans of pop (not soda!) and beer.

There wasn't too much food left when the party was over so I'll take that as people liked it.  The kids had fun running around and coloring, the adults got some good adult conversation, and we had a successful party with the baby and Mickey on the farm!


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Friday, April 24, 2015

It's Time for Me

Messy Messy Fail - The day of my high school spring concert - if it could have gone wrong, it did.  My old laptop would not transfer a word document correctly from my co-worker's laptop so the program was a hot mess.  The copier would not print the top lines of the program.  My one string bass at the high school decided to detach itself where the heel is glued to the body.  All on concert day.  Made for quite the exciting experience.

Tidy Victory - Even with a crazy pre-concert day, the program itself came off quite well and my students did a great job.  Phew!  Next concert in t-minus 6 weeks.

I try my hardest to be a selfless person - at work, with my friends, at home with my family.  But I truly believe the key to leading a well-balanced life includes being sure to save time for yourself as well. I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off for a few weeks now, going from one event to the next.  Now it's time for me.  Here is a list of 5 things I will make a point of doing for myself in the next week:

<One> Doing my finger and toenails - It was time to take off my Easter Jams to have appropriate fingers for my spring concert, so now I'm looking for something a little more colorful.  My toes haven't had a pedicure since before the baby was born for reasons I do not care to share.  Mama needs pretty nails!

<Two> Read a magazine - Remember how I reported that I did not renew my subscriptions?  So now I have 972834987 magazines laying in various locations around the house staring at me.  I'd like to get rid of a few in the next week.  I like to dog ear pages I find something interesting on and go back later to pin them.  

<Three> Catch up on Grey's Anatomy - I am 9 episodes behind.  That's quite substantial.  My husband warned me not to go on the internet at all.  Was the hospital hit by an atomic bomb?  Don't tell me I don't want to know.

<Four> Go to bed before 9 - I am quite guilty of typically not hitting the hay until 11 PM.  I feel as though I cannot get chores like dishes or laundry done until the boys go to bed.  I guess chores may have to be put on the back burner for a night.

<Five> Watch Boyz n the Hood - I've heard this movie is excellent, and when I saw it scheduled on HBO during our free 3-month trial period (thanks DirecTV) I made sure to record it.  I'll admit I really enjoy movies with Ice Cube (hello Friday!), can't quite explain it.......

Make sure you do something for yourself ladies and follow through!  It's not selfish, it's necessary!  What are you going to do for yourself?


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Sunday, April 19, 2015

Peppermint Sugar Hand Scrub - Mama's Day Treat

Messy Messy Fail - Do you have as many squirting bath toys as we do?  Sometimes I feel like we have hundreds, but it's probably only like, 27.  I try to be good about squeezing the water out of them when bath time is over to avoid mold.  Nothing like getting the boys into a fresh tub and seeing them squirt chunky brown water at each other from Peppa Pig and Jake.  Sweet.

Tidy Victory - I just made my deer/rabbit repellent - 2 eggs blended on high with 1-2 cups of cold water in a blender then dumped into 1 gallon of water and left to sit for 24 hours.  Then you pour the sticky egg mixture over plants to keep deer and rabbits away.  I've been using this mixture for three years now and it has always worked as long as I get it on my Queen of the Night tulips in time.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

EB Baskets

Messy Messy Fail - When I was pregnant with the baby, both mine and my husband's backs started getting sore from sleeping at night.  I contributed my pain to being a miserable preggo and thought for sure I would feel better after having him.  My husband even went to a chiropractor which he says did help.  The baby turns one year old in two days and low and behold, our backs still hurt.  Time for a new mattress.

Tidy Victory - We received all of our party planning essentials for the baby's Mickey on the Farm birthday party this weekend - absolutely ADORABLE birthday banner from A Sweet Celebration on Etsy (she even made extra number squares for me to change out when we use it every year, which I do!), plastic checked table clothes and flag banner for his highchair, farmer hats for the kids and two giant pork tenderloins for pulled pork.  

I love Easter - dying eggs, putting baskets together, hiding tin foil chocolate eggs around the house and dressing up for a nice meal.  I am always in charge of putting the boy's Easter baskets together, and I've been planning this year's since, oh I don't know, JANUARY.  

Not only is the toddler into Thomas the Train but PAW Patrol is high up on the list, too.  Go figure - the baby likes Thomas (since that's all that we watch in this house, besides PAW Patrol).  So I decided to do a PAW Patrol and Thomas themed baskets this year. We spent the holiday at my in-laws house so I packed everything in a giant TJ Maxx reusable bag and away we went.

All of the items purchased were either from Walmart or Wegmans.  The actual Easter baskets themselves were mine from when I was a kid.

For the baby's Thomas basket, I collected the following items:

  • Easter bunny plate
  • 1 bag of paper grass
  • Thomas and James bath squirter toys
  • Thomas rolling train (plastic)
  • Vtech Baby Line Beep & Go Baby Keys
  • Container of bubbles
  • 2 packages of yogurt bites
  • Biscuit's Pet & Play Easter book

I also got the baby a chocolate train from Peterson's Candies which I will end up eating.

You can never ever EVER go wrong with Peterson's Candies.

For the toddler's PAW Patrol basket, I collected the following items:

  • Easter egg plate
  • 2 bags of paper grass (bigger basket)
  • Duck & Goose Here Comes the Easter Bunny book
  • Giant PAW Patrol coloring book
  • 8 pack of Ultra-Clean Washable Crayons
  • PAW Patrol Big Action Pup, Chase
  • PAW Patrol Rolling Marshall Car
  • PAW Patrol T-shirt
  • Chapstick Original
I also purchased a chocolate bulldog (like the one in PAW Patrol of course) from Peterson's Candies.

Yummy chocolate bulldog made from the most delicious and creamy chocolate.

The night before Easter, I like to hide these little tin foil eggs all around the house in places where the toddler can easily find them.  

I happen to have a few leftover tin foil eggs this year, so I put those and little piles of jelly beans in larger plastic eggs that we USUALLY hide around the yard - the kids go out after breakfast to collect them.  It was pretty cold out this year so I hid them in the boys rooms when they weren't looking after we got home.  They got a kick thinking the EB (Easter Bunny) had visited them both at grandma and pop pop's house AND at our house!

The EB hid the baby's Easter basket in his highchair at my in-laws house, and the toddlers was up high on one of his favorite things there - the big clock!

I think I may have gone slightly overboard on the basket goodies this year, but it's just so fun planning it and seeing how much fun they have with all of the Easter day activities.  

What are your Easter basket ideas or Easter activities that you like to do with your families!

Beautifully sunny day, time to go outside with the fam!


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Friday, April 10, 2015

Hello, Spring!

Messy Messy Fail - What a rough week back to school this was - I cannot describe in words how hard it is to get students refocused after a week off when they just had another week break four weeks prior.  Had to give out many reminders about when lessons were, how to rosin their bow again, what the purpose of their bow was, etc.  My phrase for the week was "Be engaged during rehearsals people".

Tidy Victory - I've got my new glasses!!!!  Love them - Anne Klein AK5027 in Mocha Horn.

I am currently out of town at an intensive weekend retreat for the local youth symphony that I serve on the board of directors for, so while I wait for the little musicians to start arriving, I'd like to share a weekend wrap up of things that have been on my mind this week with you all!

<One> Spring is Here - there are little crocuses opening up and daffodils ready to pop all over the place!  That's the sure sign around here that spring has sprung.  I'm watching my tulips that I replanted on the side of the garage carefully so I can dump my special deer/rabbit deterant on them - maybe I'll get to them quick enough this year!

<Two> Concert Time - The school musicals are pretty much finished, but now comes the spring concert season.  I already had my middle school concert before break (who performed FABULOUSLY I might add).  Next week I have my beginners concert which is one of my favorites.  All of my string students who I started last October get to pick a 1-2 line solo from our method book (we use Essential Elements) and they all play Twinkle and Bile 'Dem Cabbage Down together.  For some students this is their first time ever on stage, so this can be a particularly harrowing event for them.  But they always do a great job, and it's not necessarily about how well they play but that they are able to get up on stage, perform and complete the task at hand.

<Three> Spring Cleaning/Haul Out - As I have previously mentioned we do have a house cleaner who pays her magical visit every other week, but I like to do some extra spring cleaning tasks myself.  These include washing curtains (or hanging new ones in our bedroom!), vacuuming mattresses (and possibly purchasing a new one for us woo hoo!) and washing the couch cushions.  The insides of the window casings need a good cleaning out from all the winter grossness that has accumulated in them, and I know a few screens will need to be replaced from little toddler fingers poking through them.

<Four> Summer Concert Tickets - We always like to hit up a Dave Matthews Band show over the summer, and we just purchased some tickets for their Pittsburgh show at the beginning of June.  We definitely prefer the outdoor concerts whenever we can swing it.

<Five> Closet Switch Out - I'm almost nearly sure it's safe to put the big, puffy winter jackets, hats, gloves, snow pants and boots away and get out the galoshes, rain coats and baseball caps again.  To help save on closet space we rotate these two seasons of outdoor wear.  My most favorite nice weather footwear?  My Sperrys that I purchased last year - I am now a believer.  

Is anyone else ready for some nice weather?  Enjoy your weekend!


Friday, April 3, 2015

Decoupage Sheet Music Bunny

Messy Messy Fail - Perhaps if you saw my Instagram yesterday, I attempted to make a few loaves of Polish placek bread for my family for Easter.  I used this recipe.  The bread ended up tasting quite delicious, however, I think I let the bread rise too much the third and final time.  The two 9" round pans and the loaf pan ended up overflowing in the oven, making a nice smoky pile on the oven floor, but they were still good!

Tidy Victory - House is pretty clean, Easter basket items are ready to be assembled, eggs are getting dyed in a little bit, now it's time for a Mommy project!

I'm embarrassed to say I have NEVER used Modge Podge before.  I had a friend in college who would make the cutest gifts using this technique with tissue paper.  I always thought it was so artsy and fun, a REAL crafty project.  

Fast forward way too many years later, I want to decoupage something.  But wait, is decoupage a noun, a verb or an adjective?  Perhaps I will just use the word in this post as all of the above!  

I have been looking around town for a cute bunny who needed an outfit change.  Finally, 6 days before Easter, there it was on the bottom seasonal shelf at Rite Aid, actually considered a garden statue (50% off woo hoo!).

I thought this bunny would be a good size for my first decoupage project - I wanted to make sure you could see the bunny's facial features so it didn't look like a rock I covered in recycled sheet music.  He had some ugly poorly glued gems on his butt that I ripped off quite easily - now he's perfect!

For this fun decoupage project, I used the following items:

newspaper (to keep goo from going on my table cloth)
bunny figure (use whatever you want)
a container of Modge Podge
a nylon brush
several pages of old sheet music (from the recycling box in my high school orchestra room)
a cotton dish towel (to dust the bunny pre podge)
bowl of water (for a quick clean up if necessary)
spool of ribbon (not too thick)
hot glue gun

And now here's what I did:

First, I gave my bunny a little dusting with a clean cotton dish towel, who knew how long that bunny was on that bottom shelf for!

Next, I tore up 3 pages of old sheet music.  I made some longer and shorter tears to make sure I had a few different sizes for whatever I needed.  I tried to make sure there was as little white paper on the tears as possible so that more music than white paper would end up on the bunny. 

Music I used included The Final Countdown, Highlights from Wicked and Joy to the World. 

Time to start decoupaging - dipped the nylon bristle brush into the Modge Podge container, brushed off the excess, and started painting it on the head of the bunny.  Grabbed a strip of torn music, placed it on the bunny and brushed more MP over the strip to adhere it to the bunny.  I used my finger to smooth out any bubbles and help the sheet music follow the contours of the figurine.  

I kept repeating this method, making sure to work in smaller areas so the MP wouldn't dry before I was able to put music strips on it.  The directions on the MP container mentioned allowing your project to dry 15-20 minutes before reapplying, so it's not like I was terribly pressed for time.  

I had to stop a time or two to wash my hands - the Modge Podge dries up on your fingers and can build up quickly - and I did not want the dried glue on my fingers to tear any of the music off of the bunny.

I won't lie, I thought my bunny looked like he was being bandaged at the hospital at this point.
After the whole bunny was covered (I did not cover the bottom, left that alone), I let it dry for an hour.  I was sure there would be some places on the bunny I missed, and sure enough there were!

Now he looks good!

I used some small tears of sheet music I had to cover the spots I missed, then I let that dry for another hour (just to be sure).

My bunny was looking super cute and super musical, but he needed one last accessory - a bow!  I had just purchased a spool of cool purple ribbon at Michael's, and I thought it would be perfect for my bunny.  So I plugged in my hot glue gun, tied a cute bow and glued it under my bunny's chin with a dot of glue.

I'm so excited for my decoupage sheet music bunny - by the way there are NO decoupage sheet music figures on Pinterest so I declare this project ORIGINAL!  I saw a few posts for decoupage music eggs, perhaps next year.

Do you like to decoupage anything?

This bunny sure does!

And new Easter Jams to boot, woo hoo!

Happy Easter everyone, enjoy the holiday with the ones you love!


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