Thursday, May 31, 2012

Summer List

We made a summer list back in 2010, but last year we didn't get very far with it.  We wanted to make sure we finished our list this year.  For this year's list, I decided to make it in photoshop & frame it {making next's year list a little easier - a few tweaks & a reprint away from framing}.  We can use dry erase markers right on the glass as we check items off the list.  We'll pick up the print & a frame today...and get started on the list!  We can already check off 'Atlanta' & 'Braves Game.' :-)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Castaway Cay

Castaway Cay from our balcony...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Five, Part 2

*We finally celebrated Grace's birthday with her friends a few weeks ago.  Here's how we celebrated her actual birthday if you missed it.

Grace has been asking to have a birthday party like Sam's...including our blow up waterslide, sprinklers, etc.  Having an early April birthday makes having a water party difficult.  We compromised with a having a party at home {we had it at a local party play place last year}.  She requested that we have games, and she wanted Jessie from Toy Story as her theme.  I ran with that to do something along the lines of Toy Story Mania, but without the other Toy Story characters.  It was hard to find things that were just Jessie, so I turned to Pinterest for some ideas.

I designed her invitation with a picture we got of Jessie when we were on our cruise in March & printed them at Costco.  

For games, we had a balance beam & bongo board we made via Family Fun magazine, marshmallow guns with a target, hula hoops, balls as well as our swing/playground set.  And the older boys found things to entertain themselves as well.  

Grace, in her rolled up jeans & boots, with her BFF checking out the balance beam & bongo board

Walking the balance beam

Giving the bongo board a try

Sam was playing ball with the older boys.  The target for marshmallow guns is behind him {& one of his cousins, too}.
The kids had fun moving from activity to activity, but I think the marshmallow guns were a huge hit!  I picked up 2 bags of mini marshmallows not knowing for sure how many kids we'd end up with or how easy/fun it would be for them.  We kept the guns {& washed them good} to use this summer for Sam's party, so I will definitely get plenty of marshmallows for that.

Pete made a target for the marshmallow guns with some leftover PVC pipe, although I think there might have been a few stray marshmallows shot at other things - or people.  Pete.

In addition to the games, etc., Pete made a cow print backdrop for us to use to take pictures of the kids - kind of like a photo booth/gallery like in carnivals or parks.  Time got away from us so he ended up using spray paint to make the spots instead of acrylic.  We used the pictures to send out with thank you cards.

For food, we kept things fairly simple...cake, cake pops {many recipes out there but I used this with yellow cake}, ice cream {pre-scooped in cupcake liners thanks to an idea on Pinterest}, fruit salsa & cinnamon sugar pita chips, Texas caviar & chips, cheese cubes & meatballs.

I decided that I should finally make a cake for Grace's birthday.  I have made some for Sam in the past, but for Grace's birthdays, I have always used a local dee-lish bakery.  While I opted for homemade, I wanted to keep it fairly simple.  I baked & assembled the cakes using buttercream icing.  I couldn't find black fondant for the cow spots and the thought of making fondant black was less than appealing, so I used sugar sheets instead.  Pete free-handed the shapes for me.  They seemed to work out fine.  Jessie & Woody were secured with toothpicks.

Big cake!  3 inch bottom layer with a 2 layer cake on top

Blowing out the candles!

We used a styrofoam cone to hold the cake pops & decorated the bottom with Toy Story characters
For decorations & supplies, we again kept it simple.  We had some red balloons along with  some cow print balloons, red & black plates {value pack = cheap from Targret, as Grace calls it}, & red bandanna napkins.  Everyone went home with a bandanna filled with a Toy Story Pez dispenser & a couple of other small things.

This party took a little work, but I think it was one of the best parties we've had.  Trying to find "unique" things & do a DIY party was a lot of fun.  Like I mentioned, we'll be reusing the guns {as well as balance & bongo boards, cake pans, extra plates, etc.} for Sam's party this summer so we'll get more bang for our pun intended.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Worldless Wednesday - Aquaduck!

One of Sam's favorite things about our cruise on the Disney Dream...the Aquaduck water coaster!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Laundry Soap So Easy My 7 Year Old Can Make It!

Last fall, I "heard" some friends talking about making homemade laundry detergent on Facebook.  I talked to one of the friends a little more about it and added making it to my to-do list.  We do a ton of laundry around here, & I was intrigued by the simpleness of it as well as saving some money.  I finally got around to buying the ingredients {borax, washing soda & bar soap - I bought Ivory} & a cool container to store it in December.  

We had real big plans on New Year's Eve...we were making snacky/watch football/party food and making laundry detergent.  Yep.  That's how we roll.  I grated soap & Pete mixed it all together while we watched TV.  We made either 4 or 5 batches that night to fill our jar. A little over 4 months later, we were almost out so I enlisted Sam's help.  {We had borax, soap & some washing soda - had to buy more washing soda - left from our original supplies so we had minimal out of pocket this time.}  He used the grater for the first time & grated 2 batches' worth of soap for me - all we had time for at that point.

Don't mistake this for cheese!

I kind of expected him to be bored with the project after the grating, but he was excited to help.  We measured out the borax and washing soda, then he mixed away.

After he mixed it really well, I stirred in a little bit of Downy Unstopables {because I love it - not that you have to use it}.  Even without the Downy though, this stuff is great.  Clothes smell clean.  And if you happen to leave a load of clothes in the washer for a while like we have been known to do, they won't be sour like they are with store bought detergent.  You can find a step by step tutorial on DIY Natural's page.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Beach

We took advantage of Sam having a weather day at school & headed to the beach for a long weekend.  We had errands to run {including lunch at Lambert's & Shrimp Basket} and a few repairs to make at the condo by day, but we played in the water in the late afternoon/early evening.

On Friday, the water was pretty rough.  Sam & Grace enjoyed splashing around in the water, but I wouldn't let them go out very far.

When we went back out on Saturday, it was much calmer.  Calm enough to play with some boogie boards from the attic.  The kids played & played.

and played...

and played...

until it was time to go in and get cleaned up.  And try to catch the Super Moon.

We got our work and play done and returned home to wrap up school.  Only a couple of more weeks until summer!  We can't wait!  Until next time, beach...

P.S. If you'd like info about our condo in Gulf Shores, check out this link.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Castaway Hummingbird

Captured on our walk from the Disney Dream at Castaway Cay...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Turkey Leg

A new favorite WDW snack...