Natalie’s Frozen Art Birthday

I love that for many of my daughter’s birthdays, being so near to Christmas, she has chosen “wintery” themes.  This year?  Frozen Art.  In the past, choosing the theme was about the extent of the input I allowed the kids to make.  I mentioned in previous posts how this year has been different in that I allowed Natalie to help with decorations and planning… Well, this year she was also allowed to pick her party date and guests completely on her own.  She decided she wanted her party on her actual birthday, (which was also a school day).  And so, today we celebrated Natalie’s birthday with a Frozen Art party!

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See those hanging snow flakes?  They are handmade and were supposed to be one of our crafts today, but I had to scrap the idea after breaking several yesterday… sigh…

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I love the outfits the girls chose.  “Cuties… I think I’ll keep them!”  (Somebody please get Frozen quotes and songs out of my head!)

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I stole all of my menu ideas from Pinterest.  You can check out my Pinterest board here.  The cake was my only (somewhat) original idea, and was a lot of fun.  My only regret was making our ice crystals too green.

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Frozen coloring pages, “How to draw Olaf,” and coffee filter snowflakes.

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Watching the snowflakes “fall.”

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“Do you want to build a snowman?”

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“Don’t eat Olaf.”  This game was such a hit… way more than I expected!

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Happy 8th birthday, sweet Natalie!  We love you!

Makes Me Smile…

Right now it’s crunch time.  Grandma arrives today.  Birthday and party tomorrow.  Christmas in a week.  All good stuff.  Here’s a glimpse of life around here:

My 2 oldest have continued to help me with party planning.  I am loving having them “in” on the planning… this may be a new “thing,” (though I am still keeping a few secrets for the big day.)

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I keep finding this one playing with the nativity set.  LOVE IT!

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We pulled down the snow gear… fun times.

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My lunch… leftover grilled pork, homemade guacamole, lettuce, and homemade naan.  I think I could eat like this every day!  (But, of course, I won’t.  Sadly.)

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I bribed the kids into doing laundry by offering a fire and hot chocolate.  Definitely a good move.

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Daniel played with the shutter speed of the camera and we created a ghost.  So cool.

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I made Daniel pull out his trumpet for the kids.  Less than 60 seconds later I regretted it.  That thing is loud!  But, the kids loved it, and he truly is amazing.

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Dance party in the hall.  (Check out Sierra’s “serious” dance face.  Too funny.)

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If I could freeze time… Oh, if I could freeze time.  Right now.  At these exact ages.  Right now.  It is busy, it is tiring, but it is oh so sweet and fun.  They are all still “little” and have so much fun together.  I love watching them and hearing their interactions.  Yes, right now.  Oh, if I could freeze time…

Schooling with Sierra

Four and five year olds are so much fun… so young that most of their “learning” is still play time.  But, I do get around to doing a little “school” with Sierra.    I’ll be honest; it can be a struggle.  She is not one to naturally want to do school.  (It wasn’t that way with my first two, so this is a learning curve for me!)  But, once she is “doing” school, she often enjoys it.  (I think)

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My main goal with Sierra is to have her enjoy learning.  Many days I feel like I am failing at it.  Then she shocks me with something she says, or reads a word, or draws something new, and I know we are getting somewhere.

“Please, let them be little,

‘Cause they’re only that way for a while.

Give them hope, give them praise,

Give them love every day.

Let ‘em cry, let ‘em giggle,

Let ‘em sleep in the middle,

Oh, but let them be little.”

-Billy Dean

Party Helpers

Growing up, I never had a say as to what my birthday parties would be like… and that was ok.  My mom did an incredible job surprising me and blessing me with amazing birthday parties.  Now I know how much work goes into them… wow.  I often do most of the planning myself, but this time I had to enlist the help of my littles.  So much to do, so little time.ph 1

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  The past 10 weeks have seen a mission trip, a wedding we all traveled to and were in, Halloween, a farm birthday party, a funeral I traveled to, Thanksgiving, a construction birthday party, and a mini Disneyland vacation… whew.  It’s been a busy fall!  One more birthday to plan for, and then I can think about Christmas and New Year’s!  :)

First Sleepover!

If I could start every blog post with these four words, I would: we are so blessed!  When I think of the people God has put in our lives, I just can’t help but feel like the richest person in the world.  My prayer has always been that my kids would also build meaningful friendships with great friends.  It is such a fun story about how God orchestrated this friendship… We originally met these girls when our girls were part of a “Keepers of the Home” group.  We both left the group at about the same time, and both joined the same homeschooling group this year and re-connected.   My oldest two and these girls are just months apart, and get along great.  It was a blast having them here!

Painting nails, games, cookie decorating, crafting, more games, laughing, talking, more games, and even some sleep…

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I just have to say it again… we are so blessed!  Everyone did so well; I would do it again in a heartbeat.  (I have a feeling it will be requested again very soon!)  Thanks for being such great hostesses, girls!  And, thanks for choosing such wonderful friends.  I still can’t believe you’re old enough for sleepovers!

Christmas Light Walk 2014

Every town has one… a neighborhood that goes crazy with lights.  Last year we never made it due to rain and scheduling.  This year the timing was great!

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These must be children of the 80’s… Cabbage Patch Dolls!

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Grandpa… is that you?

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Yes, that is my child with bare feet on one of our chilliest nights this fall.  I have no words…

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Hope your weekend is merry and bright!