Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Birthday Party!

Abby's birthday is super close to Halloween so this year she wanted her friend birthday party theme (I only do one of these every 2 or 3 years for each child) to be Halloween.
I got on Pinterest and found lots of ideas and then went to Photoshop and created an invitation. (I love vintage stuff and hoped Abby would be okay with it :)

This is my mess on the dining table before it got really bad.  It's got a smattering of party stuff, costume materials and who know what else...does anyone else's dining table become their catch all?

 We made a fun spider web out of glitter glue for part of our decorations.  I was so excited with how this turned out.

 We made some super fun candy corn sugar cookies that I made for the first time a couple of years ago.  My mother in law showed me how to shape them in a form made out of a bent cereal box and tin foil...then layer your colored dough and refrigerate. 

 When hard, go ahead and slice them up and bake them.

 You can tell with these I didn't quite get the dough smooshed all the way to the sides of the form so the sides look kind of scalloped.  It looks like I didn't quite get the yellow food coloring worked all the way in either :)

 I love them though!  They're so festive!

 Ben saw me taking pictures in the kitchen and had me take one of him.

 I also dipped pretzels in orange melting candy and put a green m&m on top for a pumpkin stem.
I was so excited to find a bag of just green m&m's at the grocery store.  They were mint but I was just excited I didn't have to buy a big bag of all the colors and hunt through and hope it had enough greens.  I was also glad there wouldn't be a bunch of red, yellow, brown, blue and orange ones left over to tempt me :)

 I bagged my homemade treats up and added some other little Halloween trinkets for the bags to send home with the girls.

I found this super cute image in my digital scrapbooking stuff, added a name and printed it on white paper bags.  (Thanks Mom for your help and your printer).

 I added a "full moon" and a "bat" for the closure and that was that.

 Abby and I wanted to do a craft with her friends and this is what we came up with (with a little help from Pinterest of course).

 I had a big piece of wood cut into 23 blocks at Lowe's and then came home and sanded them with my grandpa's electric sander.  That thing was powerful!  It was truly a miracle that I didn't sand off some digits!
It sure was a whole lot faster than just a piece of sandpaper though :)

 I made some messy (I meant for them to look like that ;)  looking spider webs out of white chocolate to top the cupcakes.  I'm pretty happy with how these turned out too.

I got some fun polka dot balloons from the grocery store and spent more time than I had planned on making some candy corn pom poms.

Andy and my dad helped with some last minute spider decorations and with that we were ready to go!

The girls (16 of them) came and we started with the craft.
I definitely learned a lesson with this one.  They needed a lot more help than I had expected and it ended up taking an hour instead of the 30 minutes I had planned.  Part of it was my fault though...I didn't have everything cut out and ready for them because I ran out of time but I just thought "they can do it...they're 8".
Not so...I over estimated their abilities....which is fine.  They were so cute and tried really hard and made some really cute creations...

I love the one with all the yellow buttons :)

It was so chaotic that I didn't even get pictures of the girls making them...just after they were done.
Since the craft ended when we were supposed to start eating cake and ice cream we really had to rush the games.  We played a couple of short ones that I had planned and then ran upstairs to see if the food was ready to go.  (My mom and dad came.  She helped me run the party and Dad played with Ben the whole time.  What a blessing!  Thank you both!)
When I came back down they had arranged a game of  "Down by the Banks".

They got pretty into it.  Mental note: sometimes, the simplest, most classic games are the funnest!

The pumpkin flavored ice cream and cupcakes were a hit...

So, although we were rushed for time and things didn't go quite like I had planned, I think Abby was happy and that's what counts!

Bulb Planting Time!

I love Fall!
  What's not to love about it?...the colors, smells, cooler temps (I'm not a hot sun gal), breaking out the hot chocolate and the sweaters, a sense of harvest...

One of my favorite things is that it's time to think about spring bulbs.
It's a bit of a challenge to put so much work in and not see the fruits of your labors for several months, but it's always worth it.

A year or two after we moved into this house I planted a couple hundred bulbs that we ordered from Colorblends (an excellent source for bulbs in bulk).
Andy definitely has an opinion about the yard/garden/flowers and apparently our preferred taste for spring color is not the compromised and we planted yellow, red and white.  Don't get me wrong, they're beautiful, just not my first pick.

This picture and the following two are of, I believe, the first spring
(2008) after I planted my bulbs

I miss this little weeping cherry tree.  It died last year and we replaced it with a pear tree.  It blooms beautifully white in the spring, but I thought the little pink cherry had more character :)

Josh's baptism day...May 2011.
 As you can see, after three years, things multiplied and filled in nicely.  However, I began hankering for a change.  I let another year go by with my red/yellow/white mix and then got looking at the Colorblends catalog.  I marked the ones I really liked and then showed Andy.  He told me the ones he definitely didn't want and from the remaining combinations we mutually agreed on two blends (click here and here to see our picks) early blooming and also a late blooming.  (My first ones were kind of  early/mid bloomers and I always enviously eyed other gardens boasting tulips late in the season...but I also wanted them as soon as it felt like spring so why not order both?)
So.....I ordered 700 bulbs!

I love planting bulbs!

Abby and Ben helped clean up the yard...

...while I began the pleasant process of lovingly placing the bulbs in their new homes :)

Matt and Abby ended up helping me to try and get them all snug and safe before the last smidgens of light left the sky.  Since I had neglected my family for this project of mine, my neighbor brought dinner over so my family could eat while I continued to plant...she ended up coming out to plant hers too just as it was getting dark.  She turned her car on and we both planted by the light of her headlights.  It was fun!  I loved it!
There's just something about knowing you have the potential for a beautiful spring display bedded safely down for the winter.