Posts Tagged ‘friends’

Evan is 5! A Pirate Birthday Party

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Evan choose a pirate birthday party for the big FIVE and it was super fun.

My dad pointed out (several times) that a pirate birthday party might not be the MOST appropriate theme for a bunch of 5 year olds. Murdering, robbing, raping and pillaging don’t really seem like good party games for kids, but based on the internet pirate is still a really popular theme.

“Popular theme” can mean two things – easy to find supplies is the good part. TOO MANY IDEAS is the bad part. I could have used an extra 6 months to plan the perfect pirate party but I’m sort of glad I didn’t give myself that time. This might actually have been my lowest-stress party to date (although it also might have been one of the most expensive – SO MUCH pirate stuff on the internet!)

OK, now for pictures because you’ve probably already skimmed this whole intro. Blah blah blah my kid is 5 blah blah so big blah blah blah some people came over. I’ll source stuff at the end, if I miss anything let me know and I can add it.

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I drew that chalkboard map with chalk pens. It is not impressive but I am very proud.

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She ate so much her belt didn’t fit anymore.

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Also, apparently tiny ginger pirates have pet lizards instead of parrots.

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Once again my parents and my in-laws came for the party, so I had a ton of help prepping food. There actually wasn’t TOO much to do this time, besides cutting  fruit/veggies and making sandwiches. I made the cookies and cake and jello ahead of time and counted on my cute names to make boring food more exciting.

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The empty spot on the bottom right is “Catch of the day”, which was fish sticks (a bigger hit than I expected – they were all gone at the end!)

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E carved that watermelon with my instructions being “I dunno, like a ship”. It’s even better than the one on Pinterest.

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Really excited with how blue these came out – just blue jello!

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GONE at the end of the party

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Turkey, cheese and hummus in a spinach wrap

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One part weird blue raspberry sugar water that came in jugs at Walmart, one part Sprite Zero

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Bottle of pineapple soda, bottle of Sprite Zero, half a bottle of orange soda, bottle of orange/peach/mango juice from BJs

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Second try cake! I still hate frosting them myself but it looks adorable and was very, very tasty (I made lemon curd for the filling)

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All the kids got to hit the pinata and LOVED it.

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Eventually E hit it – first he broke the bat, then he smashed it open with a hockey stick.

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The stomp-rockets were the first gifts Evan opened and E wore all the kids out playing with them in the yard

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My Pinterest Inspiration Board – lots of the food ideas came from here
Plates, napkins, round banners, table cloth, straw, chocolate gold coins, pirate shower curtain (backdrop) – Target
Hats, swords, 5  balloon, pirate balloons, pirate flag, torn sail netting, pirate mugs, popcorn boxes, fake coins, treasure maps, pirate tattoos – Oriental Trading Co
Sword toothpicks, flag toothpicks, pirate pennant banners, pinata, gummy sharks, pirate masks, skull shaped cookie cutter- Amazon
Pinata favor bags, buried treasure, candles – Walmart
Evan’s costume & Caroline’s tights – Costume Express
Caroline’s costume – made by my awesome friend Leah
Signs and watermelon ship sails – designed by my awesome friend Becca
Plank (board & cinder blocks), galvanized tub, sand, twine – Home Depot
Lots of fabric – JoAnn’s
Recipe for sand dollar cookies – Delicious Inspiration

Ta-da!! That really was a great time. SO glad the weather (mostly) cooperated (it wasn’t actually warm enough for Evan to be barefoot) and the kids all got to play outside. We had friends stay all afternoon and when they left my kids COLLAPSED into bed. I love parties.

I’ve got a BUNCH of hats left over, so if anyone is throwing a pirate party I’ll give you a great deal. Plus also masks, toothpicks, fabric, banners…yeah. Lots of stuff. Someone please have a pirate party.

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Sunday, March 16th, 2014

I spent 3 hours and $900 on my minivan today, and if anyone had ever told me that would be my life 10 years ago I would have died.



Chalk markers changed my life.


She will literally sleep on any flat surface.


Bunk bed building buddies



Good bye, see ya, I’m done here.


Matching princesses


My goal for Monday was to clean the new shared room. This was after THREE HOURS. We own too. Much. Stuff.



Everyday I’m scooterin’




Peek-a-boo princess



Hugging a beach ball


Hugging a different beach ball


Learning to dive is his MISSION IN LIFE



Go $#%& yourself, Winter


Birthday balloon update: Still mostly floating after 3 months.


Thursdays are exhausting



Dress up and glitter slime playdate


Showing off the muscles he grew when he ate his whole sandwich



Warm up moves


She thinks having a blue tongue is the most AMAZING thing ever



ONCE nice day this week and I’m ruined. I’ve lost my ability to handle the cold at all. I’m like a snake that shed its winter skin and all I can do is think about how nice and warm I would be if I lived in Florida or California or Hawaii.

Although right now I will accept 2 more weeks of cold as long as we can have beautiful, warm, sunny weather for Evan’s 5th birthday. The world of “these are your friends because I like their moms” and “these are my friends because I go to school with them” collided, and my guest list is a little out of control. Mostly that’s exciting, since this might be the first party Evan REALLY remembers and it’s going to be super fun. But also having all those people trapped in my house instead of using the porch/patio is going to be…well, horrible. It would be horrible.

Fingers crossed.

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Sunday, December 22nd, 2013

I didn’t want to jinx it before now, my it looks like E is really truly on vacation. The kids are ALMOST getting used to having him around, although every time they wake up and he’s still here they freak out again.


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FTR as of today (a week later) this balloon is still floating

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Playing with her favorite baby friend

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They are excellent babysitters


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De-icing the steps

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This is clean now, or I’d be too ashamed to share the mess

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The view from my new couch is pretty good


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This hat is the best purchase of the winter so far

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They sent the kids home early because THIS.


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Doing snow karate in his pajamas

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Sledding is 100 more fun when there is someone to help pull the sleds

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Decorating all the cookies for her school celebration in the morning




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Twinkle lights on the train

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She had a super great time


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Princess Caroline is pleased with her new gown

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Chilis serves blue slurpees to children

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A pile of gingers and pillows


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This is how I get to sleep in on Saturdays

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Two serious movie watchers

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This is why having my husband home is AWESOME.

We’re watching The Walking Dead from the beginning (we’d only seen the first couple of episodes) so I’m not really sleeping. I CANNOT HANDLE ZOMBIES and yet I can’t stop watching this show. If E wasn’t home there is no way I could handle it, so we have to get through all of it before he goes back to working insane hours. I’m just so happy it looks like he’ll be home for Christmas.

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Caroline’s 3rd Birthday – Princess Party!

Monday, December 16th, 2013

This is not the most amazing party I’ve ever thrown. I think Caroline’s woodland fairies from last year was a lot more creative. I decorated more, I made more food, I had more crafts and activities. But both kids are now at an age where they have An Opinion on what kind of party they want and as much as I like throwing fancy parties I really just want them to be happy – which means this year Princess Caroline got her Princess Party. She had an absolutely amazing time and will probably talk about it every day for the next year, and that’s really what matters.

Food and decorations first: The giant 3 balloon is from Oriental Trading and I will be buying one for every birthday from now on. I bought one of those disposable helium tanks since none of the local stores would blow up a balloon I bought somewhere else and it’s still floating 2 days later. The printables all came from an Etsy shop called Mama Moonlights, who customized the colors and name for free. Almost all the other decorations were from previous parties (one of the advantages of so many parties is I have a TON of stuff!).

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I am not a chalkboard writing expert yet, but give me a couple years.

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That frame has been in the basement since a yard sale last summer. I bought three for $2.

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The tulle covered lights were from Caroline’s first birthday.

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Christmas lights are the best part of December birthdays

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A reading/relaxing/seating corner

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Seriously LOVE this balloon

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Dress up selection – I bought the adjustable rack for $20 from Amazon


Lousy iPhone photo of the Royal Tents – also from Amazon and extremely well made by Pockos. They’re around $30 right now but I paid about $20 each.

For our food and drink, my theme was Pink and Fancy. It was a 2 pm party, so I went with mostly light food and desserts instead of a full lunch. Of course I had a ton of stuff left over, so please come to my house and eat some fudge and candy. I bought a bunch of pink candy from Amazon and Oriental Trading to make the table extra pink.

Food table

Food table

Crown cookies, decorated by my mom and the kids

Crown cookies, decorated by my mom and the kids

Tomato & cheese tea sandwiches

Tomato & cheese tea sandwiches

Recipe found here

Munchkin fruit skewers (these were totally gone)

Munchkin fruit skewers (these were totally gone)

Jello cups with pomegranate seeds (so sparkly!)

Jello cups with pomegranate seeds (so sparkly!)

Sugar cookie cups with mint buttercream (the crowns are Wilton, I bought them at Michael's)

Sugar cookie cups with mint buttercream (the crowns are Wilton, I bought them at Michael’s)

Recipe found here (way prettier than mine, but mine were gone post party so they must have tasted OK)

Thumbprint cookies

Thumbprint cookies

Radish dip

Radish dip

Fruit "crowns"

Fruit “crowns”

Tex mex tortilla wraps - these were also ALL gone

Tex mex tortilla wraps – these were also ALL gone

Adapted from the recipe found here

Cake from Big Y. I highly recommend their bakery for your ridiculous cake needs.

Cake from Big Y. I highly recommend their bakery for your ridiculous cake needs.

Hot chocolate bar with grown-up options

Hot chocolate bar with grown-up options

Pink punch - strawberry soda, strawberry guava juice and raspberry sherbet

Pink punch – strawberry soda, strawberry guava juice and raspberry sherbet

Enjoying her punch from fancy cups

Enjoying her punch from fancy cups

Strawberry milk in "milk bottles" (frappuchino bottles)

Strawberry milk in “milk bottles” (frappuchino bottles)

Kids love straws

Kids love straws

Fancy pink goblets to drink sparkling cider (from Oriental Trading Co)

Fancy pink goblets to drink sparkling cider (from Oriental Trading Co)

Also a hit

Also a hit

For activities, I was counting heavily on the kids enjoying dress up and using their imaginations to entertain themselves. It actually went pretty well! I also had the printable coloring sheets that came with my Etsy set but didn’t get a picture. They’re really cute.

I started buying accessories for the Princess Makeover station a long time ago. Walmart and Target both have cute party sections where you can find costume jewelry and tattoos and crowns and things, and they often go on clearance to make room for new stuff. The temporary tattoos and the clip-in hair braids were two of the most popular items (I left out some sponge pieces and a small cup of water so grown ups could help with the tattoos).

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Crowns, tiny hair clip crowns, hair extensions, rings, necklaces, bracelets, eye patches, foam swords and wands

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Browsing her options

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That chalkboard was the train schedule sign for Evan’s train birthday

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One of his many tats

I also collected all the princess dress up I could find. Some hand-me-downs, some consignment store finds, some gifts, and some purchased over the last year meant we had a ton of wardrobe choices for our guests. The pink dress Caroline is wearing and the knight costume Evan is wearing were both awesome deals, purchased for $5 after Halloween. We now have an extremely complete collection of size 3-5T princess dresses.

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We even dressed up our baby friends as princesses

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Caroline was happy to share her dresses, although at first she kept saying “You have the same dress as me!”

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Friend hugs

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So blurry, but so happy (That’s my dad)

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We are a no judgement princess zone. There were only 3 boys in attendance so they got into the spirit too.

Caroline has been talking for WEEKS about how everyone was going to sing Happy Birthday to her and how excited she was for that part, so please excuse the ridiculous number of photos.

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Her brother helped her blow them out.

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The cake topper opens into a purse/castle toy and Caroline has been playing with it ever since. Pretty good deal if you ask me.

Well, that was over 1000 words about a pretty simple princess birthday, so I’ll wrap it up by saying thank you to my parents and E’s parents who both came to help basically just for the party. I could never have gotten all the food made and the house in decent shape without them. It means a ton to me that our family understands and supports my birthday party addiction. And thank you to all our friends who braved the snowstorm to come celebrate with Princess Caroline – she had a truly magical birthday and it wouldn’t have been special without all of you!

One more of the birthday girl:

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 p.s. Caroline’s actual birthday isn’t until Thursday, so I’m going to be totally fine until then. But expect a SERIOUS meltdown on Friday about my baby turning THREE.


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A Frozen Adventure in NYC

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Is it ironic that we’ve been so busy doing totally bloggable stuff that I haven’t actually blogged any of it? I need to get better about posting things sooner, since right now it looks like I’m going to put the kids Halloween photos up some time around Thanksgiving.  Although at this point I’m mostly still updating the blog because it’s the only baby book I have, not because anyone is reading. When you almost never post it turns out all your readers get bored and wander away.

Maybe I’m also blogging because sometimes it still leads to super cool stuff, like an invitation to see the new Disney movie Frozen in NYC on Monday from Samsung and The Moms. I’m getting to be an expert at taking the kids into the city alone and they had Veterans Day off of school so of course I jumped at the chance.

Disney's Frozen

We took the Metro-North into the city and got lucky with one of the fancy new trains. I plugged in my phone in our own private outlet and the kids played games on the tablet the whole way in.

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I got a little bit lost on my walk from Grand Central to the theater, but it was a pretty nice day and the kids were happy to ride in the stroller. My arms are KILLING me from pushing that much weight around for an hour. I convinced them to get out and walk in the park, but then had to hustle them back into the stroller every time they saw a playground. And then we got held up when a construction foreman with an amazing Irish accent who wanted to chat with me and the gingers about Santa and how blessed I am to have redheads. It was actually not at all creepy or weird, and is exactly the sort of thing that always seems to happen to us and I love it.

We made it to the Samsung/Frozen event just in time to get some popcorn and give the kids a chance to try out the new Galaxy Tab 3 Kids Tablet. Caroline would have stayed out there playing all day if I hadn’t convinced her there was candy in my purse to eat during the movie. On our way in she practiced her step-and-repeat pose, for when she is famous some day.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Kids Tablet

Samsung Frozen The Moms

She’s a paparazzi pro already

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3D glasses in 2013 are way cooler than the blue/red ones I remember growing up.


This was the first movie I’ve seen in 3D where I actually wore my glasses the whole time. Even the kids liked it, and they usually take off their glasses within 30 seconds at the mini-theater at the aquarium. It made the already deep-looking (do you know what I mean by deep-looking?) animation pop right off the screen (and there wasn’t a ton of things flying out of the screen at my face, which is why I generally don’t like 3D). I was surprised Frozen was sort of a princess movie, since I hadn’t seen much marketing for it with that spin, but it was definitely the kid of princess movie even the anti-princess crowd can get on board with. It was easy to tell it was made by the same people as Tangled, but the snow and ice made it feel original. The music is sort of opera-like, with lots of talking-turns-into-singing and songs that really tell part of the story. I really, really liked it. I might take the kids to see it again when it’s released, especially because they both keep begging me to see the cute little Mickey Mouse mini-movie they played before the main feature again. Of course I like it a little extra because one of the two main characters is a ginger, but even if she wasn’t a ginger the story would be fresh, fun, and beautifully animated.

After the movie we stayed for the Q&A with Idina Menzel, where I couldn’t think of a single Q because I was too starstruck that she was in the same room. It was ok though, because there were plenty of NYC stage kids there who were THRILLED to ask her adorable questions about being on Broadway. And then she sang for us and I almost died. She’s so pretty.

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After our event we met my friend Sara (Aunt Sara to the kids) to go to a giant candy store/restaurant but it was closed so we went to one of the many Greek diners where the menu is 40 pages long. Caroline ate a giant cheeseburger and Evan attempted to eat this giant doughnut but failed.

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By then the kids were absolutely insane, hopped up on soda and sugar from their movie treats and exhausted from a busy day, so Sara walked us to Grand Central and we caught an old train home, which meant no charger for my dead phone. Luckily the people who made room for us to sit down were super nice and their 5 year old played with Evan and Caroline the whole time. We made it ALMOST all the way back to our house before Caroline fell asleep (Evan never did) so they slept like rocks and I lay on the couch and moaned about how old I am and how exhausting it is going to NYC alone with 2 kids. That’s not going to stop me from taking them back for Christmas stuff though – we still haven’t done FAO or the big Toys R Us or seen the tree or the Macy’s Santa. Having kids makes things like movies and Christmas way more fun.

Big thanks to Samsung, The Moms and Disney for the invite! We will happily come back for more movies any time! This is not a sponsored post, we just had a really good time.


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