July 22, 2010

Circus Carnival Party

(This week, I am going to attempt to catch up on documenting our summer so far.) 

I've been promising a post about Asher's Circus Carnival Birthday party since January. Since I was so busy making sure all the booths were running smoothly (at the party), I forgot to take many pictures!  So, I had to wait until the Circus traveled to San Antonio.  (After all that work planning Asher's party...and a lot of which Avery helped out with the week of...we hated to see all of it go in the trash, so we loaded up my brother's truck and shipped the circus to San Antonio. Perfect...I could finally get some pictures!!)

On Memorial Day Weekend, we went to San Antonio to celebrate my niece's, Brynn & Camdyn's birthdays.  My sister was so smart to combine their parties...I may have to do that next year and celebrate Asher's "1/2 birthday" with McKlayne's birthday.  (It is pretty crummy trying to plan a winter birthday.   Because all of our friends and family have so many kids...which we love...and we like to invite the whole family, the guest list gets long fast, which excludes having an inside party at our house!  Every indoor venue is terribly expensive to rent...and in College Station, you just don't have many options.)  We were planning on bearing the weather having the circus party in our backyard...which is pretty large, but the week of the party it rained and rained, leaving our backyard flooded!  Our sweet friend's, the Terry's, generously offered that we have Asher's party in their barn and we gladly accepted!

After much scrounging the internet for birthday party ideas, I found this site and it was my biggest inspiration for the Circus Carnival Party.  Charlie, of course, made the invitations:

Bags of peanuts and popcorn were passed around as guests arrived.  I ordered the bags from this Etsy store.


I can't believe that I don't have any full-body shots of Charlie as "Charlie Brown the Clown".  (Does anyone else?)  He spoke in his best clown voice as made balloon animals for guests as they arrived.  (This totally made the party memorable, honey, even if you did scare a few kids.)

I had a LOT of help from childless guests.  Our siblings, and some other college students and friends helped us run the booths and pass out tickets, accordingly.  (We could not have pulled this off without all of your help!)  The booths included:

Face painting by Uncle Cary. (I didn't get a picture of him...this is Char from our niece's party with Stella...but look at Cary's masterpiece of the octopus on Asher's cheek below.)  The kids really loved this.

Spray Away:  Kids get one ticket for each ping-pong ball they knock off a golf tee with spray from a water gun.

(I don't have a pic for this one.) 
Lucky Ducks: A galvanized bucket full of water and rubber ducks.  The children pick a duck and look underneath to see the number of tickets they win.  Ten ducks were numbered 1-3.

Feed the Elephant: This was a big hit with the little kids. (Charlie painted this on a washing machine box and used a dryer vent for the trunk.)  The kids would place peanuts in the trunk to "feed the elephant" and raise the trunk until the peanuts dropped inside. 

Someone was inside the box to drop tickets in the other side of the trunk and when the child pulled the trunk back down, tickets would fall out.

Pie Toss:  My brother was such a good sport.  He allowed the kids to throw whipped cream pies at his face all day.  Once again, Charlie painted the "strong man" that Jordan donned.  (This station was also one of kid's favorites.)

Clock the Clown: My sister and I made these clowns out of plastic juice bottle (filled with water about 1/3 of the way) covered with fabric and styrofoam ball decorated with pompoms and pipe cleaners for the heads.  The kids got a couple balls to throw and got a ticket for each clown they knocked down.

Feed the Lion: Bean bags were tossed into this lion's mouth. Tickets were handed out accordingly. (Char, our parties would be lame without your brilliant handiwork.)

(This also doubled as a good photo opp.) 

Lastly, my favorite booth was the photo booth that our dear friends Ryan and Sara worked.  (You've probably heard of us talk about them before.  We love these people.) I got the photo booth inspiration from this blog.

I hung a piece of fabric inside of a HUGE refrigerator box.  We had a box of fun dress up clothes and asked each family to take a picture.  We mailed these pics out with the thank-you notes.  This was another big hit!!

I didn't take a picture of the "Concessions" table, but we had chili and hotdogs with all the fixings, chocolate covered pretzel rods, lemonade and water.  

And...again, I didn't get a pic of the prize table, but imagine something beautiful like this:

We had glass jars full of all kinds of yummy treats & prizes: groucho marx glasses, gumballs, twizzlers, M&M's, temporary tattoos, crazy straws, goldfish, and candy bracelets.  Each jar was marked with a number for the number of tickets that it cost.

Asher's cake was decorated with some of his plastic animals.  I found that clown on the unicycle at Dollar Tree and balanced him on top of some old peanut butter lids.

Charlie designed some really cool banners for all of the names of the booths and tables, including "Happy Birthday".  And because I would be clueless as where to start with all of this without a graphic designer/artist for a husband, we've made the files available for you to download and use.  Just click here and you can download a pdf with all the letters for the banners for you to print.  

Let me know if you use them! I'd love to see pics of your circus-carnival themed parties!

More pics from Asher's party:

And a few pics from the Currie Girl's Circus Party:

McKlayne did not want to give back the Minnie Mouse ears or the beads.  She wore them for half the party.  When I'd ask her if she was ready to put them back, she'd say, "No! I  Minnie Mouse!"

I just adore him. Did you notice how much he matured in just 4 months?

Avery had a tattoo and nails booth where she painted the girl's fingernails!!

My sister, Kyle, took the following and said, "It's like I wasn't even there."

She's right.

I love these two and all their interactions...okay...almost all their interactions.

July 17, 2010

Friday Funnies

A little late...sorry, I haven't been feeling the best around here.

I just started throwing up...I didn't do that with either of my last two pregnancies. So, I guess every pregnancy truly is unique. The good news is, I don't feel sick at ALL in the morning or throughout my day (as long as I am continuously eating...I am snacking every two hours, it is ridiculous) until about 4 p.m. as I am trying to get dinner ready. Then right around dinner, I throw up and feel much better. At least their is some relief and I don't feel nauseous until bed time like I did before throwing up...I would feel sick all evening...so, for this I am thankful.

I'm also thankful for my sweet Charlie who has cooked more than half the dinners since I started feeling so nauseous. He is an expert at breakfasts for dinner, grilled cheese sandwiches and grilling.

Anyway, I know you didn't come to read about me puking...so...on to the Friday Funnies:

Before Asher went to bed, I was eating some Coffee Punch that was leftover from Ashley's wedding shower. (It's like the next best thing to having Blue Bell in your freezer and I don't even like coffee! I'll share the recipe below.)

And an hour and a half later, Asher was still awake, so Charlie went to go talk to him:

A: Daddy, I want to tell you a story.

D: You can tell me a short story, because you really need to be asleep.

A: OK... Once upon a time, Mommy made some coffee punch and saved some for me.


Daddy takes McKlayne potty outside at the park:

(After tee-teeing while Daddy was holding her in a squatting position, legs out)

M: Daddy, I want to do it again.


We were standing in line at the store a couple days ago and a beautiful young Asian teen with long hair piled up on top of her head was behind us in line talking to her friend.

McKlayne pointed behind me and said: Look, Mommy! There's Ni-Hao-Kai-lan! I see Ni-Hao-Kai-Lan!

(My kids don't even watch that show but I think they must see commercials for it while watching Wonder Pets?)


Coffee Punch Recipe:

(Marylou gave me this recipe several years ago after she made it for my wedding shower.  Now, I hardly throw a shower without making this.)

3 c. strong coffee
2 c. sugar
1 pint cream (or 1/2 & 1/2) (2 c.)
1 quart milk (4 c.)
2 t. vanilla
Dissolve sugar into hot coffee and let cool. Add other ingredients.  

Pour into rubbermaid to freeze (at least overnight). Remove from freezer 2 hrs. before serving.  Mix and serve very icy in a punch bowl.  (One batch serves about 18 small punch cups.)

July 9, 2010

Friday Funnies: Scary Baby

Yesterday I went to the doctor.  I am 8 weeks pregnant.  My due date is February 19.

So, we told the kids they were going to have a new baby brother or sister.  Asher wanted to know why he couldn't see the baby in my belly and when it was going to grow.

I tried to explain using the magazine I received from the doctor's office:

July 5, 2010

The Concoction

Since everyone loved the last video so much, we thought we'd share another one:

July 3, 2010

The Princess and the pee

I told you I would get to this potty training post.

(Sorry that we've been on vacation from blogging, our summer has been jam-packed with tons of weddings, all kinds of shower planning & throwing, a trip out to YonderWay Farm, and an extended stay at Mimi's. Just to give you an idea of how behind I am in the blogging world, my GoogleReader has 389 unread posts...and I normally only have 10-15 unread posts at a time.)

If you've ever talked to me about potty training, you know that I will brag all day on the 3 Day Potty Training method. I love it. I completely believe in it. I recommend it to everyone. Most everyone I know that has stuck with it (over 15 toddlers that I can think of right now) and followed the plan precisely, has had success with it...in only 3 days. 

I'm sure I sound like an infomercial.  But, it really did click for Asher on Day 3 at 27 months old.

WARNING: The 3 Day method is NOT for the faint at heart.  Let me warn you now.  You clear out your schedule for 3 days, so that you can be by your toddler NONstop.  You're under house arrest and no cooking or cleaning (other than the accidents) allowed.  No checking email.  No phonecalls. Nothing, while your child is awake.  It is worth it, but it is hard.  I really can't imagine doing any other method- some take months!

So...I say all that to let you know how devoutly we believe in this method.

We had a difficult (yet insightful) 3 (which turned into) 6 days of potty training McKlayne.

I never thought that potty training would teach me so much about her.  It was difficult...but good for this momma to learn a few things that she hadn't seen before.

McKlayne was doing great with the 3 Day method.  By Day 2, we really thought she was starting to "get" it.  Her bladder control was impressive.  Not once during the whole potty training period did I have to change her sheets because she'd wet the bed during naps or at night.  She stayed dry all night long.

I'm telling ya, the girl could hold it when she wanted to....but that was the key, it was when she wanted to.  We were on her terms.  And she could care less about pleasing us.  (This was just so opposite than Asher, that I never saw this coming.)

By the evening of Day 4, I was very discouraged....wondering where we'd wandered from the plan.  Then a sweet friend discernly asked, "Do you think McKlayne is strong willed?" 

"Ummm...not really," was my response as I pondered about how laid back she was most of the time.  (Later this same sweet friend, told me she already knew the answer to that question...and that I had answered incorrectly.)

As I began to watch McKlayne closer with a fresher perspective, I began to realize how stubborn she was being...and how much control this whole potty training thing was giving her.  (How hadn't we seen this?  Was it because she was "the baby" and so we let her get away with so much more than we'd let Asher at her age?)  She totally knew when she had to go, she was just refusing.  It was no longer, "if" she could...it was a battle of the wills with her.

On Friday evening, (Day 5) McKlayne told me, "I want a sucker."  I told her that she could choose the flavor she wanted, but that it would have to go on the potty and would be her reward for tee-tee-ing in the potty.  She marched over to the sucker jar and chose the one she wanted.  Then she put it right on the back of the potty and told me, "I need to go tee-tee."  Sure enough, she did.  A ton. 

To celebrate, we went to Spoons and let her choose her frozen yogurt with any toppings she desired.  We really wanted to make a big deal out of it, since it was the first time she had initiated it.  She loved the celebration.  We told everyone that we saw that we were celebrating that McKlayne was a big girl with dry panties. 

Afterward we went to Target to let her pick out a few prizes for going on the potty.  And while we were at Target, she eyed this princess potty seat:
Desperate and worn out, we consented, even though it wasn't much different than the Elmo seat she'd been using all week.  And you know what happened next?

As soon as she got home, she ran in to go potty on the "princess potty".  Three weeks later, she's only had 2 accidents.

Could it be?  That all that the little princess needed was her throne?