Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving 2015!

This past weekend our family visited Charleston, SC since 2 of our children were in a soccer tournament with their teams.  We turned it into a little family vacation and maybe I'll get to blogging about our adventures and fun?

But, until then, I wanted to stop in and wish everyone a Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving from our family to yours!  These photos were taken in September for our church directory so I took a picture of them to post on my Facebook page and blog, hence the quality isn't great here :)

And here's my fruity and festive turkey I made for the Thanksgiving lunch we will be having with my parents at my house. Buying the fruit bowl saved me tons of time vs. cutting up the fruit myself which gave me more time to get a little creative :)


I hope to post again soon about our old and some new Advent traditions since Advent starts this Sunday, November 29!

God bless!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Happy 8th Birthday to our Cupcake #4!

On this day, November 19, 2007
You were and always will be our sweet blessing that was sent from Heaven
My Oh My look how big you have grown!
These past 8 years with you have been full of blessings and have flown! 

Your 3 older siblings couldn't come see you at the hospital when you were born because your oldest sister had strep throat.  I don't know if they were more excited to meet you for the first time or if they were more excited to see what "gift" you brought them.  :) 

You went from a little cutie pie...

To a big (sister) cutie pie in a blink of an eye!

We had a blast celebrating your 8th birthday with your "Messy" party this past Sunday and then on Monday, November 16, you finally got your ears pierced!  Your sisters and a few friends came to watch this exciting event!  You were a bit nervous and you said it hurt, but you did great!

I love this photo that Mrs. K. took of you as I was taking a photo of you with your newly pierced ears :)

You bring so much joy, laughter (and energy) to our family and your Daddy and I are blessed to be your parents!  It has been so much fun watching you fall in love with gymnastics and it is our prayer always that you will continue to fall in love with Jesus Christ with your whole heart, soul and mind and grow closer to Him and our Blessed Mother!

Happy Birthday sweet girl!  We love you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My Daughter's "Messy" 8th Birthday Party...What Mess and Fun!

This post contains affiliate links.

We celebrated our daughter's 8th birthday this past weekend on Sunday, November 15. She won't officially turn 8 until Thursday, Nov. 19, but we decided to celebrate early since we have a busy weekend after her official birthday with an out of town soccer tournament with 2 of my children's travel soccer league.  

My daughter stated she wanted a "Messy" birthday party and I had no idea what she was talking about.  So what do people do these days when they want ideas on themed parties?  Google and Pinterest searches, of course!  It was so much fun planning this party and trying to find creative ways to be messy, BUT not too far over the top messy!  Here's how all the fun happened: 

I spent some time the day before the party making homemade funfetti cupcakes.  I've never made funfetti cupcakes, but I have used the homemade funfetti cake recipe before when my daughter turned 6 and I made her a roller skating/in-line skating funfetti cake.   It really is an easy recipe and tastes so much better than the boxed mix. 
I have to say my cupcakes did turn out quite "messy" (and somewhat overcooked), but they tasted great and they went along with the party theme. I iced the cupcakes with homemade cream cheese icing that is a family favorite and easy to whip up quickly.  I left the cupcake decorating up to the girls during the party.  More on that later in the post...

Note: Some of the ideas that I got for this birthday party were inspired by Sow Sprout Play and Instructables.

Messy Activity #1:  Decorate aprons with puffy paint
As the guests arrived I had these colorful aprons laid out on our kitchen table and fabric puffy paint bottles.   The girls went right to work and were all so creative with their designs.  It was so fun to watch them at work! I didn't get a chance to get a picture of all the girls wearing their decorated aprons since we ran out of time and the paint took a little while to dry.

Messy Activity #2: Find the gummy worm in a plate of whipped cream...No hands! 
My oldest daughter put a gummy worn on the center of each paper plate and then sprayed a pile of whipped cream over the worm to hide it.  The girls had to dive in and find the worm and grab it with their teeth.  They didn't mind the messy madness of this activity!  Smiles, laughter and lots of dirty and sticky paper towels and wipes filled our back porch! :) 

Messy Activity #3: Paint a plastic table cloth with washable paint and shaving cream with your hands
I didn't want to spend money on paintbrushes so I thought spraying a can of shaving cream and some washable paint on the table and have them paint with their hands would be one of the messiest and most fun ways to paint. They loved squishing their hands in the shaving cream and I ended up not using that much paint since they had so much shaving cream all over the table.

Messy Activity #4: Sponge and water relay race
It was time to clean up a little and continue to enjoy the beautiful weather we had so the next activity was a relay race in our backyard that had water, sponges, and buckets.  Each team had a bowl of water and a sponge.  The first person on each team soaked the sponge in the water then ran to the other end where an empty container with a fill line was placed. They squeezed the water out of the sponge into the container then ran back to their team so the next runner could soak sponge and run to fill their container.  The winner was the first team to fill their container to the fill line.

Messy Activity #5: Egg on spoon relay race 
I told the girls we were now going to throw raw eggs at each other and they looked at me strangely until I told them I was kidding :) We did use eggs for our next relay as each team member had to hold the raw egg on a spoon and run to the designated spot and walk/run back and hand off the egg and spoon to the next team member.  Each team even got in cute huddles to discuss egg relay strategies! This classic race brought back memories of my childhood and it made me smile watching the girls enjoy this so much.  We only had one egg fall and break on the ground during the 2 rounds we played!

Messy Activity #6: Play with ooblek and make some too! 
What's ooblek you say?  It's easy to make, just cornstarch and water (and for our party the girls used LOTS of food coloring).  When you make the right consistency of the cornstarch and water it makes a solid form, but then as you squeeze it in your hand it then runs through your fingers in liquid form.  The ooblek recipe I used called for cornflour which is cornstarch so I used cornstarch.   I had no idea the girls would get into this messy fun as much as they did!  They eventually combined all their individual bowls of ooblek into one bowl and the messiness got oh so "interesting"!

They loved playing with the ooblek and many went home with stained hands from all the food dye they used, even after we had them wash their hands with soap and water at our outdoor cleaning station.

Messy Activity #7:  Decorate funfetti cupcakes and ice cream sundaes with yummy toppings
After we sang "Happy Birthday" the girls (and my son and some neighborhood boys) got to decorate their cupcake and make an ice sundae with the variety of toppings I had.  I really enjoyed watching their creativity with all the choices they had. 

I have to highlight one of the gifts my daughter received from our neighbor.  She and her mom make these beautiful mobiles and my daughter wanted one to hang in her room.  My friend punches out all the butterflies with pattered cardstock and then threads the paper and beads through clear string to make the mobile.  Each butterfly strand is tied to the top of a dream catcher pattern.  They are so beautiful and my neighbor is super crafty and creative!  My daughter was blessed with such nice gifts from her friends.

After 2 hours of non-stop messy fun, each girl received a party favor that had homemade Kool-Aid play dough in a clear plastic baby with a Kool-Aid pack and the play doh recipe attached.

I had so much fun making the Kool-Aid play dough.  It's really quite easy and addictive to make and play with.  I got the recipe from Instructables and the idea to make party favor bags from Sow Sprout Play. (NOTE: Sow Spout Play forgot to include water as one of the ingredients on their post.  Without the water the mixture burns...ummm ask me how I know :/)  I found the small plastic containers to store each guests play dough from a local grocery store.  I just happened to find them hanging in the grocery aisle because I'm sure if I had to go out looking for the containers I would not have found what I wanted. :) 

Here are the ingredients and some shots I took of the play dough making process.

Ingredients for Kool-Aid Play Dough
1cup all purpose flour
1 cup  water
2 tsp. Cream of Tartar
1/3 cup  salt
1 Tbs.  vegetable oil
1 package unsweetened Kool-Aid (any color you want)
* I did add a little yellow food coloring to the Kool-Aid lemonade flavor to make the yellow color a little brighter

To make the play dough combine all ingredients and stir constantly over medium heat.  Eventually the mixture will harden and then you can form it into a ball.  Remove ball from heat and pot and let it cool as you knead the dough.  Roll it into a ball and store it in an airtight container.

I must say I'm a big fan of messy parties now because I had as much fun as my daughter and her friends!  I had no idea I would get so much enjoyment seeing so many smiles and creativity during the 2 hour party.  It was a great way to celebrate our daughter turning  8 years old.  It was filled with wonderful memories and 2 thumbs up from my daughter and her friends!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

My First Saint Peg Doll Exchange: What Fun!

This post contains affiliate links. 

This past weekend, I participated in my first Saint peg doll exchange!  What a blessed adventure it was to paint depictions of Saints on 3.5 inch wooden dolls!

So what's a Saint peg doll exchange you may ask?

For our group's exchange, we each picked 2 letters of the alphabet and painted 2 different Saints that  began with the chosen letters.  So I chose the letters "K" and "L" and decided to paint Saint Kateri Tekakwitha and Saint Luke. I painted 13 of Saint Kateri and 13 of St. Luke ( I actually painted 15 St. Luke dolls to give the extras as gifts for friends).  Then all the ladies in the group exchange met this past Sunday night and we swapped Saints so that each of us went home with 24 different, beautiful Saint dolls and then I kept 1 Saint Kateri doll and 1 St. Luke doll that I painted. 

I received an email from my friend Trish back in late July and she asked me if I wanted to take part in this exchange.  I'd heard of Saint peg doll exchanges for some time now from fellow bloggers and I thought I'd love to try out this type of creative outlet someday.  I'm so glad I did it! 

After I decided which Saints I would paint, I then searched the internet for Saint Kateri and Saint Luke so that I could get an idea of even where to begin.  I knew I couldn't design the dolls myself so I was relieved to find a Saint Kateri doll and Saint Luke doll in Etsy shops to use their designs as a much needed guide.

Here are the dolls I painted into the wee hours of the morning for several nights. Introducing St. Luke and St. Kateri!

Before we ate and had the exchange we opened the evening in prayer and then took a group shot with everyone holding the dolls they painted. I was blessed to have my mother (not pictured) make the out of town trip with me to meet up with these wonderful and creative ladies.

I look forward to displaying these dolls for feast day celebrations like at our annual All Saints Day party next year.  Here's the line up of Saints.

The hostess had 3 different tables set up where we put our group of Saints. It was fun to walk around to the tables and see how each artist depicted their Saints. Such beauty, details and creativity with each doll!  There were a few Saints that I had never heard of so it will be fun to learn more about them:

After I painted my dolls I used Liquitex Satin Professional Spray Varnish to protect them from chipping and to make them more durable.  My husband did most of the spraying since I was a little nervous to mess things up after working soooo long on the dolls.  If you ever try painting Saint peg dolls make sure you use pens that say "paint pens" vs. another type of pen.  I had to redo all of St. Luke's faces because the pen I used for his facial features began to run down his face when we sprayed the varnish on the dolls.  That was not a good feeling :/ 

Today some of my children were playing with the dolls and my 7 year old daughter exclaimed, "I love these dolls Mom! They are fun to play with!" :)  And I couldn't agree with her more!  I hope these Saint dolls will be another wonderful reminder for my children of how blessed we are to know, love, and serve God through the beautiful witness of the communion of Saints!

Have a blessed week and all the Saints, pray for us!


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I'm Tracy. I love my faith, family and on most days, homeschooling my 5 blessings. When I'm not busy baking cakes for my family or making memories in real life or dreaming I had a housekeeper or professional chef, I enjoy documenting a slice of Smith life in blog land.

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