Monday, February 28, 2011

Ice Skating 7th Birthday Party

We decided to have an ice skating birthday party this year for E's 7th Birthday.

The party was for 3 hours for 14 kids!

We were in a party room for the first hour. The kids got a slice of pizza and soda, and we had cake and cupcakes.

I made goodie bags for all of the kids that included bubbles, hot chocolate mix, a mini flute,a sparkling bouncey ball and a crazy straw.

I also made jumbo marshmallows dipped in white chocolate and blue sparkle sugar and packaged them on lollipop sticks.

Scott and I made homemade snowflake sugar cookies from scratch, and decorated them with Royal icing and silver candy beads. 

I also got each of the kids a pair of gloves from the Target Dollar section...only I got them for 75% off...that's 25 cents per pair!! I'm such a good bargain shopper!!

Scott wanted to make  E's birthday cake, and E's request was a vanilla number 7 and vanilla cupcakes.

We fancied them up by making toppers from the invitation design, and added a little "ice" to the frosting with blue sugar.

We played one game, Guess how many snowflakes "marshmallows" were in the vase, and I had a prize for the girl and the boy who guessed the closest. Any guess as to how many are in this vase?

520 mini mashmallows!!

We sang, and the energy level was waaaaayyyyyy to high for the kids to be in this mini room any longer, it was time to ice skate!!

Before we skated, we informed the kids that if they needed any help while skating, to ask one of the parents from our group who were out on the ice. WE identified them by these cute little snowflake pins that took me all of 5 minutes to make.

The kids all had a great time!

We took presents home to open, and went to dinner at the restaurant of E's choice, "Outback" with mom-mom and pop-pop.

Happy 7th Birthday E, Mommy and Daddy love you more then you'll ever know!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Party Prep

Let me start this post by saying how jealous I am of parents with kids who have Summer/Spring/Fall Birthdays!  Winter Birthday parties are tough. It's hard to come up with different place to host the parties without breaking the bank. And it's tough to be the host of  a bunch of kids in your own home. Any other season but winter allows parties to be held outdoors. And there are sooo many options for outdoor parties. I envy you parents!

E turns 7 on Sunday!

We are having his party at an ice Skating Rink.

We are expecting fifteen kids.

I have not been ice skating in at least 15 years. Scott has not been ice skating in at least 15 years.
E has never been ice skating, nor has most of the kids that are attending.

I am scared!

Since the party is at the rink, I don't have to clean my house I don't really have my normal "Party Prep" extravaganza to worry about. And, since the only food that I can bring into the arena is the cake, (I'm sneaking in ice cream, even though the party coordinator told me that they typically don't allow that), I don't really have a bunch to do.

I wanted to keep it simple, (yeah right), and minimial, and not go over the top.

Buuuuttttt, I couldn't help myself with some of the details.

Here's just a glimpse for you: (Sorry for the bad pictures, cell phone pictures, uggh)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Proud Mommy

Tonight was the awards ceremony for the Reflections program sponsored by E's school's PTA.

"Each year, the PTA Reflections Program challenges students to create art inspired by a specific theme, and students submit entries to a local PTA or PTSA. Nationally, the program has six arts areas—dance choreography, film production, literature, musical composition, photography, and visual arts—"

Reflections Program PTA

This year's theme was "Together we can..."

E submitted entries in three of the six catagories: Literature, Photography, and Visual Arts.

He drew a picture of a farm, he took a photograph of a birdhouse, that he and his father built, and he wrote a story about a Hermit Crab.

He won honorable mentions for his photograph and his short story, 2 $5 Target gift cards, a participation medal and a trophy for entering art in three catagories.

Every student is individually acknowledged on stage, and given a participation medal.
E loves to hear his name read outloud in a room full of people. It doens't matter if he wins or looses, he just likes the recognition!

I highly reccommend this program to everyone who has children in a school that participates.
I am a  very proud mommy!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Inside Out and Backwards

What do you get in the morning when you go to bed with your jammies on inside out in backwards?

In Maryland, you get SNOW! (and that means NO SCHOOL!)

And to think, last Friday it was 76 degrees here!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Tooth Fairy Cometh

On Thursday, after school E lost his 2nd tooth.

I was soo glad. It was just hanging there for the whole week. It was gross.(Esp. when it moved back and forth when he was talking- you have to stare at it, you can't help yourself- like in the movie Uncle Buck when John Candy goes to see the principal, and she has the big mole on her that movie, gotta watch it soon!)

I didn't know that the tooth came out until I was already home from work. I don't carry cash, I'm one of "those" people who use my bank card for everything. It's a bad thing and a good thing at the same time. (I'm less likely to buy a $2 soda with my bank card then I am to spend $2 dollar bills)

I had no cash to leave under E's pillow. (And the tooth fairy isn't cheap now a days) But, just my luck, he informed me that he couldn't put it under his pillow until Friday night, becasue he had to take his tooth to school and to the nurse.

me-"Why do you have to take your tooth to the nurse, she's not the tooth fairy?" E-"Duh, mom, I know that, but she gives anyone that looses their tooth a tooth necklace, and you get to wear your tooth in the necklace all day at school, and show all of your friends, and I just have to show everybody this bad boy!"

So, I lucked out!

Friday night E goes to bed and I told him that he had to leave his tooth, in the tooth necklace on his desk for the tooth fairy. (He is a very light sleeper, so I didn't want to wake him while leaving the goods!

I left this note for him on his desk.  It reads,

Dear E,
Thank you so much for loosing your 2nd tooth.

This is a very nice tooth.
It looks like you took extra special care of it while it was in your mouth.

I can tell that you brushed it every day.
(Or almost every day)

Keep up the good job, and dont forget to floss!

There is a little gift waiting for you in the kitchen.

See you soon!


                   The Tooth Fairy

I put Fairy dust (clear glitter) on the image of the Fairy, and on the signature.

The tooth fairy left him $5, a matchbox car, (that I got for 25 cents at Target on Clearance- I stocked up with about 10 of those, as he's starting to loose teeth, and they are great package tie on's for Birthday gifts) and a drawing book that I bought at 5 Below for him for Christmas that I hid, forgot where I put it, and found it a week ago!)

I heard him jump out of bed, read the note out loud, then run in to the kitchen. Then he ran into my room, where he explained that he got a personal note from the tooth fairy and lots of loot!!

He's got two more loose teeth, guess I better have the next letters ready and waiting!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Weekly Thrift Store Finds- Goodwill

Every week, E and I make a visit to our local thrift store and/or Goodwill.

It typically wouldn't be that much fun for an almost seven year old to visit the same store every single week, especially one that sells "used" stuff, but we have turned our visit into a "Treasure Hunt" adventure.

We have a set plan of attack when we enter the parking lot. (Makes us feel like professionals!)

1) We drive around to the drop off dock, and we donate at least a grocery bag containing "something" that we no longer need, use, have outgrown, don't play with, or has collected more dust that necessary.

2) After parking and grabbing our reuseable bags out of the trunk (since we don't need any plastic bags since the recycling company won't collect them in our weekly pick up anymore), we head into the store.

3) We always look at the Silent Auction items first. There are so many amazing collectables that people donate to the Goodwill. There are things like Coach purses, Longaberger Baskets, Estate jewelry, Art, China, Silver, old Toys, etc.

4) Then we go through the "New Item" section. Many people don't know this but Goodwill purchases items from chain stores that have been marked down on clearance or discontinued and haven't sold. I have seen items from Target, (with the Orange clearance tags still attached), Michael's, Kmart, and Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

5) We look at Books and Albums, My hubby loves old Vinyl. He likes them to listen to, and actually prefers the sound of a record player to the ipod. (Um ok)

6) My favorite section is!! You just never know when that perfect piece is waiting for you!

7) The last area that we  hit is the toy/housewear section. E likes to look in the toy section for Star Wars, Hot Wheels, and trains. And, I like to look in the housewear sections for serving wear (for hosting parties). I look for items like large silver platters and serving trays, candlestick holders, chafing dishes, and every once in a while I actually find home decor items.

Here are a few of our Thrift Store finds from the last couple of weeks.

I'll remember for future post to take before and after pictures of the furniture.

Originaly Hunter green ladder back chair with broken straw seat.

Painted it black, added black and white toile fabric to cover the seat, and added a pillow,

Purchase price $8
Paint and fabric scraps $0
Pillow I already owned $0
Not bad huh?

Southern Living at home Carousel Candlestick holders
I had one of these, and love it. I  bought it from a Southern Living Party years ago, I actually still have the catalog add...look how much I paid for it back then:

I got two of them at Goodwill  for $3each  SCORE!!!

And these two items, which match perfectly in E's bedroom... E found these treasures himself, mixed in with the toy section) These are not toys and were originally sold at both retailers as decor items.

Airplane from Pottery Barn Kids. (We paid $5)

Pick Up Truck (Marshall's price sticker is still on the bottom for $19.99, I paid $6)

Coconut Chicken

I don't cook. Not because I don't like to cook. I'm just very lucky that my husband LOVES to cook, and our schedules make it so if we want to eat dinner before 7:30 at night, he HAS to cook!

I am sooo grateful that he cooks everynight, but lately I feel like we have been eating the same exact menu every week.

I've been searching online for simple, kid friendly, inexpensive recipes, and have found a few that are "attempt-worthy."

So today, I decided to try Coconut Chicken.

 I altered this recipe from Make 5 Dinners in 1 Hour. to fit our needs.

I really liked it, my husband liked it a lot, and E, who all of the sudden doesn't like coconut peeled the batter and coconut off of the chicken strips and dipped it in BBQ sauce.(Can't please everyone all of the time!)

If you like coconut shrimp from Outback, you will really enjoy this simple recipe!

All that you need-

1-1/2 lbs chicken tenders (I bought a pack of Perdue fresh chicken tenders at BJ's that included 5 indivually packaged packets of 5 strips per pack for $13) I used two packs, for 10 tenders

1 cup of PANKO bread crumbs (I had no idea what Panko bread crumbs were, so I googled them and found them at Target in the Ethnic food isle. They were with the Asian food items)

1 cup of Coconut flakes (Target in the cereal aisle by the chocolate chips)
2 eggs beaten
1/2 cup of Orange Marmalade (Bought at target for $1.69/jar)
1/2 cup of Honey

Preheat oven to 400degrees

Mix the coconut and  bread crumbs together in a shallow dish, beat the two eggs and put in a separate shallow dish, put the raw chicken in another dish and have a cookie tray with aluminum foil, sprayed with cooking spray ready for the assembly line.

Dip your raw chicken tender in the beaten eggs. Use tongs to coat both sides, then place chicken into the bread crumb/coconut mixture and coat.

Place cookie sheet in oven and cook for 25 minutes.

I pulled the tray out of the oven after 15 minutes, and flipped the chicken, so that it could cook evenly on both sides. (And I was worried that I would overcook the chicken because the coconut was getting a little dark- BUT the next time that I make this, I will actually cook for at least 5 more minutes, to make the bread crumbs a little bit more crispy/crunchy)

While the chicken is cooking, make your dipping sauce.

1/2 cup of Orange Marmalade and 1/2 cup of honey I mixed together in a bowl, and put in the microwave for one minute.

We had a caeser salad, and mac and cheese with our coconut chicken, and had a quick, simple, tastey dinner!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hand Tree Art

I love when E makes artwork for me! He makes me something EVERYDAY! He makes me things like colored pages from a coloring book, pictures of cars, skateboards, Spongebob & Patrick, Ships, Treehouses,dogs,cats, frogs, birds, leaves, rocks, stars, planets, people, places, things, and even the kitchen sink! (I kid you not!) And, this is just what he creates for me on paper at home!

He also makes models out of boxes that are supposed to be in the recycling bin, clay, play doh, rocks, legos, pillows from my sofas, wire hangers, string, food, etc.

And now, we are blessed with one major piece of artwork a week that is sent home from school, not to mention the hundreds of random papers that come via. backpack express into my kitchen for display.

So, who am I to tell him to stop creating Art? I would never! But, it has come to the point that I am starting to not think that every piece of artwork is "display worthy."

Don't judge me, you know what I mean!! Seriously, how many sheets of paper with a star can I put on the fridge?

Anyway, thanks to some amazing blogs that I am addicted to have discovered, I have found great art projects, that E can make, with my help or on his own, that are actually DISPLAY worthy for long term decorations!

Check out At Second Street for a tutorial on this Hand Tree.

This "hand tree" is made from fabric scraps that I went to Jo-Anns and bought so that they would match my dining room,  a canvas, burlap, and Mod Podge. I drew leaf shapes on the fabric, and E and I cut out hundreds it felt like thousands of fabric leaves. I covered the canvas with burlap, stapled it to the back, then arranged the first couple of leaves on the burlap, and mod podged them to the canvas. E put the rest of the leaves on, with my direction, of course. Then we traced his hand and arm and arranged it on the leaves as the branches and trunk of our tree. Then we covered the entire burlap with Mod podge, and let it dry over night.

The next morning, I wasn't happy about the edges of the burlap, as it barely covered the canvas, and  it was fraying. So, I asked my super cute husband if he could make a simple frame with scrap wood around the canvas. And he did...2 weeks later. Then, super cute husband asked if I wanted the wood painted or stained. I requested stain, but he heard, "go to Home Depot and buy paint and paint it brown," because painting is easier then staining... But, I didn't complain! Actually, I was so appreciative of him for helping with the project, and surprising me by painting the frame himself.

The best thing is that this piece of Art work, is a one of a kind piece, that was created by our family of 3!
What do you think?

I love how the fabric of the hand matches my Pier 1 curtains!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Kim's Magic Pop

Do you know that feeling about 45 minutes before lunchtime? Or 11'oclock at night when you just need that little snack? Or at 3:15 in the afternoon and your work day is dragging on and on and on, and you need a little pick me up? Well, I found salvation! Actually E found it for me at the grocery store. We were shopping at our local supermarket this past weekend, when I saw a little crowd of people gather around this plastic box, with a store employee standing in the middle. My first thought was, what the heck? Then I thought free giveaway!   I told E we would check it out when we got to that area of the store. So up and down the lanes we went, only to see the crowds remaining at the booth, and then to hear this crazy popping noise now coming from that direction. So of course, we were drawn to the little plastic box with the lady standing in the middle of it to discover Kim's Magic Pop! What is Kim's Magic Pop you ask? I don't really know! It's this tortilla looking crispy crunchy air filled treat! The lady in the box was calling it a  rice cake, but let me just tell you, it's like no rice cake that I've ever had! I was sold! A bag of approx 15 was less then $3, and it is such a great snack. I like it by itself, but the lady in the box gave me some dipping/topping ideas, like Marzetti Ranch dip, honey, Salsa, and Peanut Butter. But, the best topper for my new found snack is liquid crack, NUTELLA!! Ahh, say it with me, Nutella, you know ,the yummy liquidy,chocolately, hazelnutty wonder known as Nutella! It is the most amazing dessert! Last night I said no to Chocolate cake, and ice cream so that I could have a Nutella covered RICE CAKE!! Really, try it, it's that good!!
 I have not been paid to endorse Kim's Magic Pop, but if  Mr. and Mrs. Kim wanted to send me some free samples, I wouldn't be against it! wink wink!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Morning After

It's Tuesday,
the day after Valentine's Day, and I've finally decided to start a blog!again
It's going to be about thrifting, crafting, shopping, travel, hanging out with my friends and family, and pretty much the stuff that I love in life the most. I hope that it's entertaining, educational, comical, helpful, and interesting enough to get a few people to follow along, and comment on my posts! So please, stop by often, and join me in my rants and raves. Oh, and tell all of your bloggie friends to subscribe to my page!