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Archive for the ‘daughter’ Category

In lieu of a garden this year, we’re container-growing bean plants that my kids started in a library class. ¬†When last we saw the plants on the blog, they were tiny but fast-growing!

I’ve been keeping a bit of a photo record of them over the past month or so…Believe me, this is nothing scientific– just a photo whenever I remember to take one ūüôā It’s fun to see how the plants have grown.

bean plants today!

June 6

the bean plants today

June 14

the bean plants today

June 16

the bean plants today

June 29

 

the bean plants today

…and we spied flowers on June 29, too!

The kids were SUPER delighted to harvest their first beans on July 9.  We got threeРone green, one purple, and one yellow (a wax bean??).

harvested our first beans today!

First harvest! Three beans on July 9

Every day when we come home and get out of the car, the kids now rush over to the bean pot, which is just outside the garage, to check to see if there are any new beans for harvest.

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Sometimes they are a little bit over-eager (we’ve lost a vine or two to vigorous and non-traditional harvest methods), but I love how excited they are to pick beans– and then eat them! ¬†They’ve decided they like them best when they are cooked, so I will heat some water in a tiny frying pan to blanch the beans for the kids.

 

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Near the end of April, my kids and I were watching crafting videos during lunch (as usual). ¬†We came across a video from Jennifer McGuire (one of our favorites), in which she created rainbow backgrounds for cards using colored cardstock scraps. ¬†My daughter (age 5.5 years) was intrigued, to say the least, and honestly, so was I! ¬†She suggested that we make those cards, too–which is a frequent refrain, though not always possible. ¬†But today, it was completely possible!

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I sliced up some cardstock scraps into strips of varying widths and presented V with a bundle of them, along with two halves of an 8.5″x11″ sheet of paper, pre-coated with adhesive.

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During her quiet time, she worked away at adding strips of cardstock to the under-layer of paper, and at the end, she had enough striped backgrounds to make four cards!

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She used two of the backgrounds to make cards for her Bible study teachers. ¬†She wanted to mimic some of Jennifer’s designs, and so I cut out some butterfly designs that she chose, using my Silhouette SD– the base layer is vellum, and the detail is plain white cardstock. ¬†She decided on the arrangement and wrote her notes inside.

Vivian's finished paper strip cards

We have lots of paper strips left, and I am looking forward to making more– with V, and also making some myself!

 

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At the end of February, my husband and I took our kids to a Great Wolf Lodge located a few hours from our house. ¬†We realized that it was the first “vacation” we’d taken as just our nuclear family! ¬†The kids had a blast (so did we!) and ever since we returned, they’ve been playing an imaginary game of Great Wolf Lodge all through the house (think sliding around on the floor pretending to be on water slides–ha!)

One day at the end of March, I was working through organizing and editing¬†my photos from the month of February. ¬†As I worked, I received an email with a free photobook offer from Shutterfly–that expired that night! ¬†Thanks to some recent posts on the Lightroom Killer Tips blog, I had the idea of creating photo collages for photobooks on my mind. ¬†I told my husband, “I’m dropping everything to do this today. ¬†I think I can do it!” ¬†And I did! ¬†Woo! ¬†It was probably the very fastest turnaround on a project for me, period. ¬†I chose favorites from our trip, edited them, organized them into pages, made collages, added text, created a title page, covers, and spine and uploaded it to order– all in about 8 hours. ¬†Whoa.

I’ve done a photobook this way before, but this time, it was even faster- I think because there were a lot fewer photos! ¬†Last time, I just put the collages onto Shutterfly pages and printed, but this time, I wanted to have text along with the photos, so I kept that in mind while I constructed my photo collages. ¬†I made the collages in LR, then imported the “printed-to-file” images into PSE and added text boxes. ¬†The text is a slightly modified version of the captions I’d added to the metadata of my photos, so it went very quickly.

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I wanted the title page and final page to be a bit more fancy than just a white background, so I made those pages in PSE (they are still super simple!) and used Audrey Neal’s digital paper from the Whiteout collection to add a whimsical woodgrain. ¬†I also did a quick internet search to find an image of the Great Wolf Lodge logo to use on the title page.

I used the Shutterfly templates to make my cover images and spine, then uploaded everything to print!  It was so satisfying to get it done so quickly.

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It was even more satisfying to get the book so soon after our trip, so that my kids could enjoy it.

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I even took the time to go through the many video clips I took while we were there and grab some screenshots of us going down the slides!

My kids were immediately drawn to the new photobook.  I loved seeing them sitting close on the couch to look at the book together!

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We had quite a few activities planned for the princess party. ¬†As the guests arrived, we had Rapunzel/Tangled coloring pages and crayons out on the table, as well as little “kits” set up to make Pascal blowers.

coloring pages and Pascal blowers to put together in the dining room

I’m really glad that I switched from regular craft foam to adhesive craft foam–it made all the difference!

Vivian made a Pascal blower

Becker made a Pascal blower with Mommy's help

We also had beanbag games set up in the entryway, where guests could throw “apple” (red) beanbags into a hole for Maximus and “satchel” (black) beanbags into a hole for Flynn.

Vivian's fifth birthday party [Ed's camera]

We did one “organized” party game before the “main event!” ¬†I had cut a whole pile of small paper apples with my Silhouette, and we hid them around the rooms in which the party was happening. ¬†The guests each collected at least five and they turned them in for a “reward from Maximus”– a little bag of red and green M&Ms (they were supposed to be apples, haha!)

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do you spy my Rapunzel charm bracelet? ¬†I was Disney-bounding Rapunzel for the party, of course! ūüėČ

The main event was the whole reason we decided to put on this party! ¬†Husband found out about “party princesses” (entertainers who come to a birthday party dressed as a favorite princess character) and decided that they would be absolutely perfect for V. ¬†And of course, they were! ¬†We had requested that Rapunzel come to V’s party, and we were delightedly surprised when Aurora came with her! ¬†The princesses sang, told stories, worked on a little craft, and played some games with the guests. ¬†It was so sweet to see the little girls interacting with the princesses! ¬†At the end, Rapunzel did a little coronation ceremony for V and then V gave out “coronation gifts” to each of the guests (toy rings for the girls, and sticky hands for the boys).

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Aurora, Vivian, and Rapunzel

As we did the different activities, the guests put their little treats and treasures into paper bags that I’d labeled with their names on tags that were styled after the party invitation.¬†Also inside each of those bags was a little watercolor set shaped like a palette, and I added a little tag that says “Add a few new paintings to your gallery”

one of the favors for the kids

The party was so much fun to plan and even more fun to see in action… but it was so much work (totally worth it)! ¬†The next party we do will probably be for B’s fifth birthday party– a few years from now, haha!

This is the last post in my series about our daughter’s princess party; click here for all the posts!¬†

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We did cupcakes for the party!

cupcakes, modeled after the Rapunzel cupcake in Vivian's game

cupcakes, modeled after the Rapunzel cupcake in Vivian's game

I thought about doing a large decorated cake for the party, but after thinking about all of the other things we were trying to accomplish (did I mention that we put the whole thing together in a week, not counting the invitations and the thank-you cards?), I realized that was particularly unreasonable.  Cupcakes seemed easier!

In fact, it played (no pun intended!) perfectly off of another one of my daughter’s favorite playthings–Disney Princess Cupcake Party Game (<–similar; affiliate link used). ¬†This game is adorable (and actually has a clever game mechanic), and she loves just playing with the cupcakes themselves! ¬†They’re like little Disney-bounding baked goods. ¬†ūüôā I managed to sneak a photo of the Rapunzel cupcake and I recreated it for her party.

inspiration for Vivian's birthday cupcakes

cupcakes, modeled after the Rapunzel cupcake in Vivian's game

The gold frosting is buttercream, and I made what felt like gazillions of royal icing flowers to sprinkle on top.  I cut out sunbursts from light yellow cardstock with my Silhouette and sandwiched a toothpick between two of them as a cupcake topper.  The cupcake wrappers are from Hobby Lobby, and my mother-in-law helped me locate the perfect color!!

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I was so delighted: when my daughter saw them for the first time, she immediately exclaimed about how they were the cupcakes from her game!  Highest praise, indeed.

Vivian's fifth birthday party [Ed's camera]

Stay tuned for more about our daughter’s princess party! ¬†

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Speaking of food… Another of our favorite scenes from the movie (who are we kidding, really, we love the whole thing, haha!) is in the Snuggly Duckling with the pub thugs. I decided to recreate the Snuggly Duckling sign to display¬†the menu for the party.

hand-painted Snuggly Duckling sign for displaying the menu

hand-painted Snuggly Duckling sign for displaying the menu

I made the sign by painting posterboard with acrylic paint. I’m pretty proud of myself for how it turned out! (Especially considering that screenshots from the movie are fairly blurry).

I hung the menu underneath.  We had fun giving the food punny names (thanks, Pinterest, for some of the ideas!).

To drink, we had lemonade. Oh wait, I mean magic golden flower juice.

lemonade.  Oh wait, I mean magic golden flower juice

We had “Snuggly Duckling nuggets” (a Chick-fil-A platter of chicken nuggets, my daughter’s absolute favorite, which we served in a cast iron frying pan), “Flynn’s Golden Treasure” (macaroni and cheese), “Rapunzel’s Braids” (honey wheat pretzel twists), “Pascal’s Platter” (carrot and cucumber sticks), “Maximus’ Delight” (apple slices), “Gothel’s Hazelnut Dip” (a dip for the apples and pretzels made from Nutella, cream cheese, and whipped topping), and finally, “Attila’s Sublime Cupcakes” (see the next post!).

I think the spread of food was pretty good, if I do say so myself!

How could we resist making black paper plates into frying pans (who knew, right?)?!

Stay tuned for more about our daughter’s princess party! ¬†

 

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Our sweet girl turned five years old at the end of November!  As time approached her birthday, Husband suggested that we throw her a birthday party.  I was resistant at first, for a number of reasons, but he convinced me, and of course then I had to go all-in!

The first thing we needed were invitations.  There was no question that the party would be princess-themed, and so I used a combination of inspiration from Pinterest and a previous invitation I designed to create the invitations for her party.

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Since it was going to be a fairly small guest list, I decided to actually mail the invitations. ¬†You know, in envelopes, with stamps. ¬†ūüôā ¬†I printed the invitations onto photo paper and matted them on coordinating purple cardstock.

digitally-designed invitation for Vivian's fifth birthday party.

After the party, I made some coordinating thank-you cards. ¬†I was really proud of my girl for writing notes to each of her friends! ¬†(I know it wasn’t my favorite task when I was little, but I am glad now that my mom taught me how…)

hybrid thank you cards

 

Stay tuned for more about our daughter’s princess party! ¬†

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