Aloha!

Keith’s birthday party!  Wow, this was fun one to plan.  I so love having ideas come to me when I least expect them.  Flylady calls them God breezes and so now I do too!

We didn’t really have a theme in mind.  Well, we did have a safari theme in mind first, but then The Dollar Tree had a bunch of luau stuff, so we went with that. 

Originally, I wanted to do a pig cake with an apple in its mouth.  Then I thought that would be too twisted for those who don’t know me well.  I actually saw quite a few examples online of the pig/apple cake, so I guess I’m not as twisted as I thought.  I wanted to do something fairly unique.  I found a description of a cake with blue icing and brown sugar sprinkled on the white “shore” and thought that would be easily translated to cupcakes.

I decorated each of the cupcakes differently:  teddy bear crackers on fruit by the foot surfboards or on the beach lying under cocktail umbrellas, Finding Nemo fruit snacks and Swedish Fish candies floating in the water, and even a lifeguard teddy bear saving another teddy.  The cupcakes were placed on a cupcake tower and a small yellow balloon “sun” floated above it all.

Each child was greeted with “Aloha!” and given a lei to place around his or her neck.  They were then offered a cup of Hawaiian Punch.  The kids dipped their fingers in butterscotch pudding “poi” in a wooden bowl (no double dipping!). 

We broke out the limbo stick while Daddy-O played surfer music.  Later we played hot potato island style, using a coconut.  The kids dined on pizza, and built and ate their own LA Cultures yogurt creations along with the cupcake of their choice.  After presents were opened, we played Pin the Tail on the Donkey and passed out favors of bubbles, island fruit flavored candies, and luau straws in a island flower bag wrapped with a silk flower and topped with a colorful cocktail umbrella.

Aloha and Happy Birthday to my big 6 year old!

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Jennifer

Real Friends

Let's face this together!

I am so grateful for the solid friendships I have built through the years.  God has placed so many women in my life with whom I can laugh, problem solve, and honestly share struggles without fear of judgment.  Friendship has always been important to me.  Maybe because I’m an only child.  I love people and love learning from them.  Through my friends I have been inspired to be more service minded, to seek God in the seemingly insignificant things, and to laugh at myself.  Even this blog is the result of the encouragement of a friend.

Thank you, Lord, for my true friends.   Take some time today to call an old friend or make plans with a new one.

Jennifer

Cupcakes again?

Yum!

For some reason, I had a brain skip about taking cupcakes to school for Keith’s birthday Tuesday.  I kept thinking I would bring them on Thursday, which of course, had nothing to do with his birthday.  It happens to be picture day and auditions for the school play, so somewhere in my brain the cupcakes got lumped in with all that stuff.  If another girl in his class hadn’t brought cupcakes for her birthday on Monday, I would have continued this line of thinking.  Thankfully, I saw Keith’s teacher holding the leftover cupcakes to give to the child’s mother and quickly realized my error.  As I asked how many cupcakes were needed, I was trying to figure out what  could create that would be quick but tasty.  Keith chose the carrot cake mix, so I came up with the following:

Carrot Raisin Cupcakes
  • Prepare one box carrot cake mix according to package directions using 2% milk instead of water
  • Stir in 1/2 cup apricot-pineapple preserves.   
  • Add a bit of flour to 1/2 cup of golden raisins and toss.  This will keep the raisins from sinking to the bottom of the cupcake.
  • Fold in raisins.
  • Bake according to package directions.

After they were cool, I used Betty Crocker Cupcake Icing.  This comes in a can similar to Reddi Wip and has several decorator tips to choose from.  Using the star tip, I drew flowery stars on the top of several of the cupcakes and simply swirled the icing from the middle of the cupcake to the edge on the rest.  Rainbow sugar sprinkles applied in various designs finished these quick and yummy cupcakes.  Keith and his class enjoyed the finished project.

Jennifer

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Possible Cure for the Gimmes

Tomorrow is Keith’s sixth birthday, which means for the past two months anything and everything that strikes his fancy is a potential gift.  At least to him.  It was totally cute when he was 3.  We could be anywhere, even the grocery store, and he would say, “I’m going to get that for my birthday!” 

About a week and a half ago we were somewhere and it all started again.  I didn’t much feel like explaining for the hundredth time that you can’t always get what you want (right Daddy-O?).  Suddenly, I heard myself saying, “Would you like to put it on your wish list?”  After I explained how a wish list works, he was so happy you would have thought I had said yes to the three things he pointed out!  (Purple sock monkey?  Mama wants one too!)

We’ve been jotting down ideas ever since.  Thankfully the list is short (probably because he doesn’t see too many commercials).  I can now easily give gift suggestions to family members, and the pouting is practically non-existent.

Jennifer

Following Friday

OK, so I decided it would be fun to join this blog hop.  However, when I provide the code to list fellow “hoppers” all I get is <script src=”http://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=40553” type=”text/javascript” ></script>.  And I’m not the only wordpress blogger to have this problem.

Anyway, if you are here because of the Blog Hop, welcome!  I hope you enjoy looking around.  Leave a comment and I will follow back.

Because of the above-mentioned wordpress issue, either press the back button or click here to return to the list of blogs in this hop.

Happy Hopping!

Jennifer

Why didn’t I do this before?

Another school year and I am ill prepared for filling out all the forms.  They all ask for the same information as last year, but again I have to search hither and yon for my things like my husband’s business number and our dental plan number.  Some of the items I can easily recall, but my brain is so full these days (not due to superior intelligence, I assure you).  I was just about to set it all aside for a time (read: procrastinate) when it occurred to me to simply keep document with all the data in a file sharing program (we like dropbox) so my family can access and update it as needed.  I’ve put together this form based on the many forms the school requires.  Click here to get the Personal Information Form.  I hope you find it helpful!

Jennifer

Back-to-School Party

 

We had so much fun at the surpise Back-to-School party!  We decorated cupcakes, had a parade, a treasure hunt, and more! 

coloring book and crayons on the left and blackboard, apple, and chalk on the right

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Cupcakes   

I simply made the cupcakes from a yellow cake mix prepared with milk instead of water.  I added liquid food coloring to the white buttercream frosting.  The vibrant yellow provided a strong backdrop.  I prefer using paste food coloring and was surprised to get such a bright yellow from liquid. The “coloring book” was made from a half a fig newton with the letter “B” piped in black gel.  Mike and Ike candies were perfect “crayons.”   We had an issue with the chocolate-covered graham cracker squares, so we ended up using a whole newton with Nutella spread on top for the “blackboard.”  A cursive letter “B” was piped using white frosting in a homemade pastry bag (sandwich bag with corner cut off).  A red Dot candy with a sliver of a green Mike and Ike (cut with kitchen shears)  made a delicious-looking “apple.”  A white Good and Plenty became “chalk” and completed our blackboard-themed cupcake.

We each decorated our own cupcakes using both the inspiration of the two cupcakes and our own imaginations.  The boys especially liked adding sprinkles (or “sparkles” as Keith likes to call them). 

Parade

The boys said “so long” to summer and welcomed the new school year with the “Goodbye Summer!” Parade.  Streamers and balloons made the their bike and scooters more festive.  “Brother” and Keith went beyond the confines of the parade route, so Andriy ditched his scooter to catch up with them.  

Treasure Hunt 

Our treasure hunt was a big hit!  Since two of our participants are starting Kindergarten, we decided to simply place slips of paper with the clue number at each spot.  Once the kids brought the number back to us, we could read them the next clue, which were each written on notebook paper.  I’d post a picture of myself reading the clues except the only one that turned out was of me with my tongue sticking out.  

  1. Keith’s favorite color can be found in the yard.  If you think of something that looks and smells pretty, you won’t have to look hard.

  2. Hope it didn’t take you hours to come up with purple flowers!  Your second clue is a rhyme:  The sound of trickling water can be heard on a mountain, but today we’ll hear it from a _________.

  3. The fountain was tranquil and can make you sleepy.  Show me where Brendyn dozes when the night is not creepy.

  4. You’ve made it this far; now go a bit more.  Andriy likes to hide behind this on the living room floor.

  5. Your treasure’s inside this special chest.  We hope you had fun with this back-to-school quest.

Andriy loves to hide behind the chest, so it was the perfect ending to our treasure hunt.  The boys got tons of school supplies like pencils, a sharpener, markers, crayons, scissors, and even Kleenex! 

Lunch Sacks 

This group was the quietest I’d ever heard them during the decorating of the lunch sacks.  It was a fun way to use the new school supplies.  Then we “packed our lunches,” which in this case means we ate lunch.  On the menu:  PB&J, Nutella and crackers, apple and peach slices, juice boxes, and chips.  Very “lunchboxy.”  For dessert?  Cupcakes, of course! 

The kids loved this party and are already talking about what they want to do next year! 

Jennifer 

Special thanks to: