Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Beach Party!

This year for her birthday my girl wanted a party at the beach. I wasn't sure how it would work since she also wanted to host her first slumber party too. I really wanted to just say yes to whatever ideas she had this year to make up for the fact that I felt like her last year's birthday party was not up to my usual standards because of me not feeling well. I was determined to make this year's party the best ever.

To start out we designed the cutest invitations. We decided to have all the girls meet at the beach and then after that we would head back to our house for the sleepover. My girl pinned tons of great ideas from Pinterest and we had so much cute stuff planned. But...turns out that the weather in Florida in January is not really as beautiful and predictable as you might expect. I kinda suspected it might be a bit chilly for the beach part, but it ended up raining almost that whole day so we had to call off the beach part and just move the whole party to our place.

I felt really badly that my girl wasn't getting the beach party of her dreams (she was great about it, it was me that was disappointed for her!) so I decided to try to recreate the beach indoors. We had planned on taking her quilt from her bed to the beach and using a coffee table to set everything out on. We just moved it all to our living room floor and it was so cute! Her beach themed quilt looked perfect and we put out some fun beach floats that the girls lounged around on.

My favorite part of the decorations were these palm trees!  They were so cute and everyone loved them.  They really helped to bring out the beachy vibe.  To make these I spent just $4 at the dollar store.  I bought 2 sheets of green poster board and cut the leaves out of them.  The coconuts are brown balloons and the tree trunk is a gold plastic tablecloth cut into strips.  It's all held into place with a ton of painter's tape.  I thought they would fall down but I actually ended up having to take them down a couple days later because they were still up.

I had so much fun with the beach themed snacks. These didn't last long.

The 'sand' pudding was so delicious. It was layered vanilla pudding and golden Oreos crushed in the blender. The cupcakes were amazing too. My friend who makes wedding cakes lent me some of her stuff and got the sugar sea shells for me too.

The beach balls are gumballs. My mom was supposed to bring over a pitcher for us to use for the blue punch and she had forgotten so I was all distraught trying to figure out what to put it in when my boy reminded me of our party ball drink dispenser. We got it for a white elephant gift one Christmas and had never used it (it had a tequila sticker all around it and I just ripped that sucker off and it looked great). It was a hit and the girls had fun getting their drinks out of it.

I'm pretty sure the girls' favorite part of the party were the favors. My amazing Mother-in-Law sewed all of these mermaid tail blankets with help from my Great Aunt. I still can't believe how generous they were to go to all that trouble and then ship them all down here from Ohio! It was something my girl will never forget, that's for sure. The girls were all beyond excited and couldn't believe they each got one to keep and take home. They watched "Aquamarine" (a mermaid movie) while all wearing their tails and it was so cute. They didn't want to take them off and were hopping around the house in them like potato sacks (except for much cuter with their fins dragging on the floor behind them). They kept slipping and falling on the hard floor so I had to make them stop.

There was a lot of silliness happening that night.  I have no idea what is going on in this pic, but they were having fun!

They played a bunch of games too.

Opening gifts. My girl has some of the sweetest friends. They all got her such thoughtful gifts and wrote lovely things in her cards.

They also had fun making balloon animals. I absolutely hate the noise that it makes when you touch a balloon so I had to keep leaving the room. They all did great and were making little dogs and everything.

These are from when we were signing Happy Birthday to her. I cannot believe my girl is 12!!

After her party we did the traditional birthday survey. I love reading all the answers and seeing how they've changed from one year to the next.

~How old are you? 12
~How does being 12 make you feel? Wondertastical
~What's exciting about turning 12? Because you get to sit in the front seat and it's wondertastical and saying the word 12 seems magical.  
~What do you want to learn this year? About different types of foxes.
~What was the best thing about being 11? I don't know. It was all pretty good.
~What did you do on your birthday? We are going to Steak and Shake tonight. What about your party? I had a party and we got mermaid tails. It was a beach theme and it was a sleepover.
~What is your favorite color? Aqua
~What is your favorite food? Donuts. What about dinner food? Buffalo Chicken Casserole
~Who is your favorite person? Probably you. :)
~What grade are you in? 6th
~What is your favorite thing to do for school? Like, reading and writing.
~What is your favorite game to play? What kind of game? I don't know, board game or made up game or outside game. Probably silent touch. I love silent touch. And I like climbing trees, that's not really a game but it's fun.
~What do you like to do with Daddy? Two favorite things. #1 I love to fish with him. #2 I like playing this game that we made up called Daddy Push n' Shove.
~What do you like to do with Mommy? I like to have girl time and go shopping and go to Starbucks.
~What do you like to do with your brother? I like playing weird games and one of them is called Alaskan Survivors and we are explorers and we're on trees and if we touch the ground it's lava and these flies called 'nya, nya' flies come and eat us. There's lava in Alaska? No, we are from Alaska. I don't know, Dean made that part up!

~What’s your favorite thing to do with the whole family? I like movie night and I like when we all hang out together and you roll your eyes at us because we are being ridiculous.
~What’s your favorite store? Ooo, probably, hmm, I like Target but I don't know if that's my favorite. I like any store that has fox stuff. Any cute store.
~What’s your favorite place to eat? Steak and Shake and Culver's and Rumba.
~What’s your favorite book? Oh gosh, I like the Max and Liz series and the Harry Potter series and the Storybound series.
~What’s your favorite song? I like the Oceans Song. What about the River song, I thought that was your favorite. It is, I just have so many I can't keep track. They change all the time.
~What’s your favorite thing about God? That He loves me so much.

~What do you want to do this year? Well, if I could pick anything I would say adopt a fox but I can't do that so I want to go to Homosassa Springs and see the baby foxes with Abby.
~What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be an author and an illustrator and maybe me and Abby will write a book together because she wants to be an author too.

~What's your favorite animal? Fox, red fox though, not just any fox. But I do love all foxes...except the Tibetan Fox because it's so creepy.

I love my girl sweet girl so much and I'm so glad that she had such an amazing birthday this year. She said it was the best party ever and she deserves it for being the best daughter ever. :) Happy Birthday, my favorite girl!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Christmas 2015

We had such a fun time spending our first Christmas in Florida this year.  The weather was warm which was weird but nice all at the same time.  I missed seeing most of our family who we normally get to visit, but having my grandpa and my brother's family here was so nice.  It was a smaller, simpler gathering than usual, but I kinda liked that.  Our celebrations were spread out and not all crammed into 2 days of mass chaos and sensory overload.  I have no idea what we are going to do in the future, but I'm glad that this year we stayed home.  It was so nice to wake up in our own beds on Christmas morning...even though that wake up call was way too early, as usual.  :)

On Christmas Eve we had a very small gift exchange with my grandpa, my brother and his kids.  Each kid just got one present and they were totally okay with that.  I didn't even take any pics.  After that we had pizza and got dressed up and went to church for the Christmas Eve service.  It was a really lovely service that focused on Christ and even the boys were very into the music and especially liked the candlelight portion at the end.  The cousins all had matching outfits this year and they looked so cute. I had forgotten to take my camera that day so all I have is one iPhone shot of them all together.  My son had matching grey pants, but he spilled something on them, so jeans were the only backup.  Oh well, they are more his style anyway. 

Christmas morning at home.  My kids got a lot of fun stuff this year.  Most notable were a fish tank from Santa for my girl so she could get a betta fish and a Lego x-wing for my boy.  They both got new scooters from Santa too.

We finally decided to get our kids their own electronic devices.  This was a pretty major thing for us.  We've been pretty adamant about them not having them for a while now, but after some research into the Kindle Fire and the Free Time app they offer, we decided we would give it a try.  When they first opened them they were so shocked and confused.  I don't think they knew what to make of it!  My son's face looks so suspicious here.  I'm sure he's thinking it's too good to be true.

They are getting a little excited in this shot.  We've set time limits on the games and the kids have been great about it.  Overall, it's been a very positive experience, but don't expect them to get their own phones anytime soon. ;)

Just a shot of the aftermath. :)

Later that day we headed over to my mom's house for Christmas dinner and it was warm enough to swim! Love these cuties.

I made an exception for Christmas Day and there were no time limits on apps.  These boys were loving it.

My kids with their Great Grandpa.  Can you believe he is 90?  He looks amazing!

We went to the beach to watch the sunset.  You really can't beat a Christmas where you can swim and go watch the sunset at the beach!  Check out my niece's adorable gap toothed smile.  In the next week she would lose two more teeth on top!  She's lost more teeth than my son and she's 3 years younger.  It's crazy!

These boys are so adorable together.  I love how they just get each other.

I love this gorgeous girl!

And this handsome boy!

I love these 4 together.

I'm almost all caught up on blogging!  Next up, my girl turns 12!

Friday, January 29, 2016

December ~ Cliff Notes Version ~

December was a busy month for us too, and once again, I'm cramming it all into one post.  I'm gonna do a separate post about our actual Christmas celebrations on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day though because otherwise this would be way too long.  Just fyi, these are all iPhone shots so please excuse the terrible quality.  Here goes...

We watched the annual Indian Rocks Beach Christmas parade with my mom and grandpa.  It is so fun to celebrate Christmas Florida style.  This was the first year we'd stayed here for the holidays since we moved here.

Our friends had a little party that same day and the kids all made gingerbread houses.

More parade fun.

Showing off all his parade swag.

We also watched a boat parade with my mom.  I thought it was pretty cool, but the kids weren't as impressed.  The boats go pretty slow and we got there really early so we could find a place to sit.  It was still fun though if you ask me.

My good friend Kelly and I were talking one day about how fun it would be if we could surprise our girls and get them together for her daughter's 13th birthday in Ohio.  After some thought about it and research into flights, I realized it would only cost about $50 for a one way ticket!  Just so happens that my mom was headed back to Ohio for Christmas and then just a week later my brother was driving here for Christmas. guessed it, we sent her to surprise her friend and it worked!  They facetimed each other and my daughter was at her front door and she came to answer the door and was shocked.  How fun!  She spent the week hanging with friends and family in Ohio and made the long drive back with my brother.  To tell her about this surprise trip (I didn't tell her in advance because I didn't want her to have to keep a secret from her bff that long) I made a scavenger hunt and she had a bunch of clues all around our house.  At the end she found a box with the last clue cut into a puzzle.  She was so shocked!  Of course, the whole time her brother didn't really realize that this was a gift just for her and he was outraged at the unfairness of it all.  To make it up to him I made him his own scavenger hunt the week she was gone.  At the end of his were tickets to see Star Wars.  I'd had him convinced that he wasn't going to be able to see it since we don't normally let him watch movies rated PG-13 so he was very surprised and excited.  We also took him putt-putting that week and tried to make his week extra special.

The day before my mom and daughter left for Ohio we opened gifts at her house since she wasn't coming back until January.  My girl opens gifts like a girl, and my boy opens gifts like a maniac.

My grandpa got these amazing chocolates.  They were almost too pretty to eat!  My girl made cards for everyone and this one was my favorite.

This year was the Christmas of BB-8.  He was obsessed.  He was so excited that every single one of his gifts from my mom was BB-8 themed.  He even loved the shirt and he hates getting clothes!
My girl got the cutest outfit from my mom and her own CD player for her room.  She was very happy.

A week later and the cousins were all together!  They had a lot of fun.  I miss them and can't wait for them to be back for Easter!

We went to the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and got to see Winter.  Another dolphin that lives there named Nicholas was happy to show off for us during a session with his trainer and that was our favorite part along with the ferry ride across the intercoastal waterway.  I think my boy's favorite part might have been the puffer fish.  The kids all had fun trying to pet the stingrays too.

The kids had fun swimming in the hot tub.  The pool water was pretty cold but they would dare each other to jump in and then get right back in the hot tub.

Just some other random cuteness from December.  My girl decorated her bedroom door to look like a snowman.  They love any sort of game with their dad that includes wrestling or him trying to get them off of him. :)

Next up, Christmas!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

November 2015 ~ Cliff Notes Version ~

I'm determined to catch up on my blogging so I'm at least writing about the correct year!  So here goes November in one giant post.  It was a jam packed month with visits from my sister and my mother-in-law.  First up was a visit from my sister who hadn't been here yet since we moved.  It was also my sweet niece's first time at the beach!  The weather was perfect and it was still warm enough to get in the water which we took advantage of.  

 Here is my girl practicing her skimboarding.  The water was so still that day.  

My littlest niece absolutely loved the beach!

The coolest thing we've found at the beach yet, seahorses!  They were amazing!  They would hold on to pieces of seaweed with their tails.  They are one of my favorite animals and I've always been fascinated by them ever since I was a little girl so I was especially excited about it.

All my nieces love my daughter because she's the oldest.  This little one had fun swinging with her.  She has the cutest smile and is such a busy little thing.  She kept us on our toes!

We went to Legoland again.  My niece loved it and it was fun watching her enjoy it.  My kids loved it too, of course.  Cute story...when we were getting off one of the rides that day my son looked at me and whispered, "You were the prettiest mom on that ride."  Oh yes, he is gonna be a heart breaker.  I love that kid.

My husband had a birthday!  My girl did the cake.  She wanted a fishing theme since that's something he loves to do and she likes to do it with him.  I like that picture in the middle of my 3 favorite people in the whole world. :)

My girl was in her first real play.  She joined a drama class at our co-op and they did the play Not So Grim Tales.  It was really cute.  They didn't have a lot of time to practice and for a lot of kids it was their first time in a play so taking all that into account I thought it was fabulous.  Of course, Little Red Riding Hood was the best.  She had some pretty serious stage fright going into it and I am so proud of her for overcoming her fears.  She is taking drama again this spring so I'm looking forward to seeing what she does next!

My mother-in-law came the week of Thanksgiving and stayed with us.  When she's in town it's always like we are tourists in our own city and it's great!  We went to Weeki Wachi Springs and saw the mermaid show which was fascinating.  While we were there we also go to take a boat ride on the river.  The water is so crystal clear it's amazing.  You can see straight to the bottom and see all the fish and plants.  My girl was pretty excited about the mermaids.  I might have been just as excited as her.

We went to the International Mall and saw Santa.  That's where the snow is falling on them.  We also went to Gaylord Palms in Orlando and saw the Ice show.  They have all these amazing ice sculptures, but it's only 9 degrees inside.  I thought my face was going to freeze off!  Back in the warmth of the hotel we checked out a Cirque show in the atrium complete with fake snow.  It was fabulous.  I want to stay at that hotel some day. 

On Thanksgiving Day we went to the beach for sunset.  Our friends were there too.  What a fabulous way to end a holiday!

Next up, December and Christmas!


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