Mystery Book Birthday

Because birthdays are so special with kids, we make every effort to have a party each year for each kid.  I know some families who do it every other year, and some that keep it simple all the time.   I can understand that… but I love finding out what theme our kids want and then having a party to celebrate!  This year, my oldest chose her favorite pastime as her theme: mystery books.  So, we put together a mystery book theme, based mostly on Nancy Drew.  (On a side note, this was the 20th party we’ve thrown for our kids’ birthday… whew!)

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We used Nancy Drew’s signature teal and yellow for the color scheme, and added as many vintage finds as we could.  My favorite piece was a gorgeous typewriter loaned to us by this sweet friend.

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Goody bags consisted of flashlights, magnifying glasses, sunglasses, stickers, and candy.

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Activity # 1:  Fingerprint art.

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Activity #2: “Questions to ask witnesses.”  (not pictured)  Kids were given a list of questions to ask each other as if they were investigating.  I thought it would be a good way to break the ice and get them talking!

Activity #3:  Charades using titles of Nancy Drew books.

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Activity #4: “Who stole the cupcakes?”  (not pictured)  This was my “big” game of the party.  The kids were divided into teams and given a checklist.  They had to go into different rooms and ask each of the witnesses questions to find out who dun nit.  (Specifically, who stole the cupcakes, with what did they steal them, and which rom did they hide them in.)  It was all beaded n the classic game of Clue, and was by far the hit of the party!  The winners each got a decoding kit from the Dollar Tree.

Activity #5:  Mystery menu

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Each kid had a menu with made-up names for specific items, and after all the kids were served they had to try to decode and figure out what each item was.  More fun!  The menu consisted of all of Allison’s favorites: homemade spaghetti and meatballs, caesar salad, garlic bread, peaches, homemade lemonade, and sweet tea.  Included on the silly item names were things like forks , napkins, and straws.

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Present opening:

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As you can see, Allison is holding a cupcake (above).  I can’t believe I didn’t take a single picture of the cupcakes, but they were magnifying glasses made out of miniature Oreos, black icing, and tootsie roll handles.  They turned out really cute. We had such a great time.  Happy 9th birthday, my sweet girl!

Birthday Breakfast

Breakfast… my favorite meal of the day!  We have quite a few breakfast recipes we rotate, but just a few saved for special occasions.  The last few birthdays, I’ve done cinnamon rolls as a treat.  This year for Allison’s birthday, I decided to try something new – a Norwegian “birthday wreath.”  (What could be more appropriate, right?)

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The recipe comes from my new Norwegian cookbook my aunt Carol gave us for Christmas.  I’ve been excited to dive into it, and thought this would be a fun way to start.  And, it was…

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…Except that mine didn’t exactly look like the picture.  In many ways it was delicious, but it could have been so much better.  I can’t wait to try it again.  I am glad I at least have a little experience under my belt for making a flaky butter pasty now.

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After breakfast, Allison opened the rest of her gifts from Mom and Dad.  (Her under-the-bed present was the Nancy Drew movie.)  The big hit was color-your-own socks craft.   Sisters got in on the action by coloring their own t-shirts.  It made for a fun and busy birthday morning!

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That afternoon it was mystery party time; pictures to come!

Summer Sampling

Summer has only just begun for us.  Technically, the calendar still says “spring,” but I am in full summer mode and loving it!

This past week was quite busy, and my husband unexpectedly had to be gone longer than I had hoped.  Nevertheless, it was not a surprise to God. That fact alone gave me a lot of peace and comfort.  Add to that the lack of stress for not having to plan school… and honestly, it wasn’t so bad!  Another challenging week is ahead of us with lots to do, but I am ready!  In the meantime, here are some samplings of our summer fun:


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We said goodbye to our baby birds for the 4th year in a row.  It is always so fun to see them fly for the first time!

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This sweetheart can swing and sing for hours by herself.  I NEED to record it for her wedding!

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Origami was a favorite of mine as a kid.  In fact, I still have a huge box of all my origami from when I was a girl.  The big girls have been on a little origami kick, and it has been super fun for me — even if I have forgotten a lot.

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This paper bead project was inspired from this post.  I thought it would be a huge hit — but it was a bust.  I am not giving up, though — I think it was only a bust because it was just my oldest and me and she was wanting to read her new books.  I’ll let you know how take 2 goes!

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 Hanging out with friends we rarely see during the school year is a highlight of summer for us.  I just love this picture — so summery!

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 I think I started this post over a week ago.  I accidentally deleted it, and haven’t had the time to re-do it… until now!  LOTS more summer fun to come!

Fire Station Visit

A few weeks back, we were invited to attend a birthday party down in Orange County.  When I looked at the address, I noticed it was just 2 miles from where my husband works.  So, I decided not to tell him about the party, and to take the kids to surprise him afterwards.


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I knew that it was a little risky; after all, he could be on a call!  But he would eventually get back, so we would wait… and boy did we wait!  After an hour, I finally got a hold of him on the phone only to discover he was at a different station that day!  So we drove another half hour to the next station.

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Long story short, we ended up seeing him first at the grocery store, so we bought lunch together then headed to the station for a short but fun afternoon visit.

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This was really Malachi’s first visit that he remembers.  I wish we lived closer, (but not enough to move, Honey — sorry!)  The kids had a blast and we took way too many pictures!

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I promise these were just a handful of the shots we took that day.  Despite the setbacks, we may try to pull another surprise visit in the future!

First Tomato(es)

I was passing by our garden bed this morning on my way to the chicken yard, when it occurred to me.  We have had a LOT of green tomatoes for quite some time.  Why isn’t there a red one, yet? I peeked inside, and guess what I found?

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I was super excited and immediately called for my oldest daughter, who is also a huge fan of fresh tomatoes.  Being the good mom that I am, I offered it to my daughter.  She peeked in even further and found a second tomato!

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“Aw… God must be blessing me for offering the tomato I wanted to my daughter.  I will eat the second tomato!”  (Please don’t learn your Theology from me!)  My son looks up at me and says, “I want it, I want it!”

“Are you sure?” I ask.

“I want it.”

“Here… smell it… do you think you would like it?”

“Yes.”

“Ok, here is your tomato.”

He chews and chews.  I am so excited; a healthy snack for my son!  Yes, I have found another tomato lover!  Oh wait… he pulls it out of his mouth and hands it to me.  “Don’t yike it.  You eat it!”

And so, the chickens got a morning treat!  (Though I did ponder eating it!)

And that is the story of our first tomato(es).