Twitter birds & ugly, happy cries

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This past weekend my friends threw the most touching, surprise, baby party for me and it was more perfect than I could have ever imagined. I can’t really even describe the emotions I felt when I walked in the room and saw them all there. I had absolutely no idea and I honestly didn’t know what the surprise was at first! I thought it was maybe an early birthday get together to try and throw me off (my birthday is in August)? Seeing all these women that I love dearly, together, out celebrating our 4th little baby and I, just made me the happiest girl in the world. The girls put so much work into all the little details of the party, which I think is what made me break down the most. These girls are the busiest people I know, with kids of their own and they did all of this for me. It’s so easy for me to “lose myself” in motherhood and consume myself with only the needs/wants of my children, that sometimes I forget how important it is to celebrate yourself. I am the first to admit I am terrible at taking care of myself sometimes and my friends know that. Well you all know how to make a girl feel special and so loved!

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The theme was Twitter. If you know our family, Twitter has played an important role in our life in the past couple years–one reason being that Ralph works for Twitter. We all had #hashtag nametags by our chairs, cute Twitter birds everywhere, and even our own special hashtag for the night (#howmanymoreholz). I loved it! There was the prettiest little cake that you ever did see(chocolate with sea salt caramel), mini cookbooks by each spot with all my recipes and photos in them, pictures of my baby bump all over the place, the cutest party games, thoughtful gifts, hand sewn table runners, and unbeatable company. It was so obvious that every detail was meant to reflect everything that I love.

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I still just can’t believe they all pulled this off without me knowing. I am the queen of being nosy and always knowing what’s going on. Just last weekend we had a surprise party for my sister-in-law’s birthday and I told my friends, “Nobody would EVER be able to surprise me”. Little did I know, huh?! I only wish I would have had some make-up on or styled my hair a bit! I almost came in yoga pants and tennis shoes because the plan was just to meet my 2 friends for dinner, yikes!

twitter baby party (12)twitter baby party (2) twitter baby party (3) twitter baby party (1) twitter baby party (5)twitter baby party (10)twitter baby party (13) twitter baby party (19) twitter baby party (16)Thank you so much to Emily & Theresa for putting this together and all your hard work, you 2 are the most thoughtful women I know. And thanks to everyone that could make it, some of my friends came from Madison and Milwaukee straight from work just to be there. This is truly a night I will remember for the rest of my life. My present to you was the ugliest, happy, cry you will ever see me cry! I usually only pull that cry out for my newborn babies, so you should feel pretttty special!

(special thanks to my mother-in-law for capturing this moment on video)

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Alice in Wonderland Tea Party

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*Please enjoy this guest post by my friend Emily, about her daughter Ellie’s Alice in Wonderland themed birthday party. Emily came into my life about 4 years ago and she has been a dear friend ever since. Girl has got birthday party planning talent, always has! This tea party was soo good! The other moms and I were talking at the party about how this party blew all of our parties out of the water. You win! So creative. Take it away Em…teaparty (6)

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When my daughter told me that she wanted her 6th Birthday Party theme to be ‘Alice In Wonderland’, I was elated! That was, until I found that you cannot really purchase many Alice themed decorations. As much as this discouraged me, it also got me excited, and my creative juices flowing.

I wanted our backyard to be as much of a ‘wonderland’ as possible, with a long tea table at the center of the party. That was my main focus. We had plain table coverings,  mismatched plates, napkins, and chairs. For table decorations I made two floral arrangements with some clearanced floral/fruit mixtures, and filled the vases with sap moss. Along the table we displayed our finger foods, and queen of hearts heart shaped sandwiches on various platters. My favorite table decoration had to be the white rabbit statue that I searched high and low for (Hobby Lobby). Of course, no tea party would be complete without the tea pots and cups! This was the most challenging. I thrifted for weeks, looking for the perfect mismatched tea cups, and two tea pots. The tea pots were the toughest, and I ended up finding some at TJMaxx, for super cheap!

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The rest of the decorations were pretty easy, once I realized what I had to do, make them! I blew up images of flamingos for the croquet mallets, cheshire cats for the tree, directional arrows for the tree, a photo of the caterpillar on the mushroom (which I taped a dowel onto to stick into the ground), clocks to hang around the yard, and little ‘drink me’ tags to tie onto kool-aid drinks. We had croquet set-up for the kids to play, and used giant playing cards folded over to make the tunnel for the balls to pass through (found at Party City).

For the cake I made the Mad Hatter’s hat.  I also made cut out sugar cookies and frosted them saying; Eat Me, Take One, and Try Me. The party favors were mini Alice In Wonderland books, mints with playing cards on the wrappers, and a tea bag.


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We also had my daughters classroom Grandmother come and do face painting for the afternoon. With her talent, and low cost, we couldn’t pass it up! The kids loved it! There was no shortage of fun had between the face painting, tea party, croquet, musical chairs, and bounce house. We couldn’t have asked for better weather, or more well behaved kids. It was a blast!

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Pirate treasure hunt party

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Our son Jack recently turned 5 and he really wanted to have a pirate party. I don’t mind pirates but I realllly don’t like that everything pirate-y has skulls and crossbones on it. I don’t like what the skulls and cross bones stand for and frankly think its ridiculous that they are branded all over children’s clothing. So I was determined to throw him a pirate treasure hunt party without using any skulls or crossbones which ended up being quite challenging. Here is what I came up with….

(the banner behind the couch I made using poster board, scrapbook paper, cut out letters, and twine.)

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Jack wanted a treasure hunt, so I started by making a huge pirate map on easel paper with 5 “stops” on it – and I even burned the edges a little bit to make it look really pirate-y. This took me way too long, but it turned out really awesome and of course I didn’t snap a picture! I sketched about 3 maps before I had it perfect and then cut the map into 5 pieces, one for each stop. Then I rolled them up into mini pirate maps, and tied them shut. Each stop had a clue that went with it, so the kids were able to find the stop and the map for the next clue would be hiding at the next stop.

For example: the first stop was “The Pirate Outfitters” and the clue was “find the place where the captain sleeps, to get your gear and look like a real pirate”. On the map and at the stops there were corresponding shapes and numbers to make it easier for the kids to match them. When they found the each stop, the next clue would be there for directions on how to find the next stop. *this took way too much thinking for me to figure out how to orchestrate this treasure hunt, so I hope the way I am explaining it makes sense?

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I made the invites on Zazzle and just covered up the skull on the flag of the ship with a picture of Jack. I think they turned out really grand.

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The first stop was the Pirate Outfitters. Here the kids each got a sword, eye patch, mustache, and tattoos. I could not find eye patches without skull and crossbones on them so I improvised. I bought ones with the crossbones on, peeled them off, hot glued scrapbook paper over them, and then hot glued a wooden letter of each kids initial on top of that. They turned out really cute.

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pirateparty1 (21)The 2nd stop was “Jack’s Tavern”, and the clue was “find the place where the captain eats”. Here we had gold nuggets(cheese), crispy buccaneer veggies (veggies and dip), fruit swords (fruit on little drink swords), cannon balls (chocolate yogurt covered rasins), sea pearls (vanilla yogurt covered rasins), ahoy crisps (veggie chips), banana spilt bars, and my humungous 5 layer poke cake. We sang happy birthday and were onto our next clue!

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The 3rd stop on the map was walk the plank. It was originally supposed to be outside, but the weather that day was rather uncooperative so we moved it to the garage on a table. The clue to get here was “find the spot where the captain parks his bike”. With our help, each kid had to walk the plank with his sword.

pirateparty1 (14) pirateparty1 (11)The 4th stop was to decorate the loot bags. I bought red and white bags, stickers, markers and crayons and let the kids decorate away! This was our last stop before the treasure so after each kid was done I had them put their name on their bag and Ralph took them and filled them with the prize bags I had pre-filled. I didn’t get too many pictures after this point because I was leading the treasure voyage and it got a little crazy at the end!

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Our last clue was “find the place where the captain plays, when you get there find the captains favorite hiding spot. Hint: it is the color of an apple”. They found the red tent in the playroom downstairs, only to find out that it was LOCKED! WOAH. Tucked in the lock was one last clue to find the key. After the key was found, they opened the tent to find a giant treasure box (found at Hobby Lobby) and inside was their loot bags they decorated, with tons of gold money and prizes in them. Every kid got a kite, a package of crayon rings, goldfish, sword glow sticks for the boys, princess wand glow sticks for the girls, fake gold money, fake paper money, bubbles, and some other snacks. Plus they got to keep their eye patches, swords and take home some tattoos.

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Overall the party was a huge success! The kids seemed to have a lot of fun!

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Chris’s surprise 30th birthday

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This past weekend we had my brother-in-law’s surprise 30th birthday party! He had no clue about it, so it was super fun!

The night before we took my sister and brother-in-law to see Brian Regan which was HILARIOUS. That guy just cracks me up to the point where tears are streaming down my face I am laughing so hard: and it takes a lot for me to really belly laugh at a comedian. If you haven’t seen Brian Reagan do yourself a favor and You Tube that up right now, do it! Look up his “show horses” bit.

We just had a great weekend with family. Feeling ever so blessed these days. We felt really lucky to have two nights out in a row, it was a nice and much needed break for mommy and daddy :). With our busy weeks with the kids, Ralph and I sometimes find it hard to find time to spend together without the kids, which I think is very important once in a while. So it is such a treat when we get out and challenge ourselves to stay awake past 9pm. We are so the type of parents that have a hard time leaving our kids too, well ok…I am so that parent. I am always worrying when we are gone how they are surviving with out me. (They always do just fine.) Ok better reign it in before I get going about my psycho mom tendencies and lets not even talk about how expensive it is to do anything with babysitters and all that jazz…yeah…I started out only wanting to post a few pictures in honor of our sister and brother-in-law ( love you guys so much!) and I somehow knew I would get off track!

Happy Birthday to a great brother-in-law! Also it should be noted that my sister-in-laws birthday was just a few days before her hubby’s! Also say a little prayer for my sister-in-law because she is going to have another baby very soon and we are just a little excited about it. (GIRL GIRL GIRL!)

Chris (6)I made this friendly little gift for Chris! Thought it turned out super cute!

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Classy bachlorette party ideas

A few weekends ago I threw my friend Corinne a bachlorette party in Madison, WI. I found some great ideas on Pinterest that I used, and wanted to share with all of you! (sorry some of the pictures aren’t great, some of them were taken with my phone.

Gift bags I made for all the girls filled with dark chocolate, candy rings, candy necklaces that we all wore. The gift tag said “I found a man, but I still need my girls”.

I made buttons for all of us to wear that said “She’s saying I do…want another drink”. I used a gold metallic marker to go over the o in do, and put a gemstone on top to make it look like a ring. For the brides button I made it say “I’m saying I do…want another drink”. (original idea found here).

I hot glued a thrift store veil onto a blue headband (something blue!) and also attached a pretty headpiece for the bride to wear. For the rest of us I made headbands with funky bows and feathers.

We all brought something pink to pass. I made watermelon fluff with a pretzel crust. Click here for the recipe.

I also made some Tastefully Simple juicy watermelon margarita slush! (which is unfortunately no longer available but there are some other great drink buckets here)!

One of the girls brought these strawberry margarita jello shots, in strawberries! They were so good and super cute! They even had salt on the top.

We had strawberry cupcakes with strawberry frosting. So yum!

We played a few fun games. I made this celebrity spouse game in Microsoft Word to see how many we could all get right and whoever got the least amount took jello shots with the bride. I realized afterwards that Angelina & Brad aren’t married yet…but basically…right?! (original idea found here)

Then I made up some mad libs about the happy couple, even in their wedding colors, and we had a blast going around filling them in. At the end I read them aloud to all the girls, it was pretty hilarious. :)

Here is the beautiful bride sporting her headband I made and bling-pop!

We took a moonlight cruise on Lake Mendota…it was beautiful & windy! We had gorgeous views of the capital all lit up at night.

Not a great pic but you get the idea…beautiful!

Then we headed downtown for the rest of the night!

Thanks for including me in your special day Cor! You will be such a beautiful bride.

So a bachlorette party really doesn’t have to be all about tacky you-know-whats……!

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