Sunday, May 17, 2015

Country Days

Back in the fall, the children's department at our church did a "fun day" at a local pumpkin patch/corn maze called Country Days Corn Maze. It was really fun, but it was really hot because I was super pregnant and the sun was shining - note the short sleeves and shorts on our family. Gotta love a NC fall :). 
 You park in their lot and then you take a hay ride to the actual farm. Fun, fun! 
 One of the first things we did was play in this little corn house. It's exactly as it sounds: a little house full of corn. Kids loved it and thought it was super fun but the germa-phobe in me was totally grossed out. Ick! I mean, you's probably been changed like NEVER. Bleh! 
Once corn started flying because kids thought it would be fun to chuck it at each other, I pulled the plug and yanked my crew out. On to the next thing! 

 Seriously - look how deep. Craziness. 
 Next up was riding/bouncing on these little inflatable horses and the point was actually to race them, however, this is about as far as the racing between my three babes went. I think Avery bounced herself off after one hop and Grey's little arms were too short to reach around to the handles. 
This one was a bouncing pro. I think it's in her favor that she pretends to be a horse so much that sometimes it's quite convincing. 
Daddy to the rescue. Pretty sure it would've been contraindicated in my state at that point. 
Oh those dimples. 
This was about the extent of their "petting zoo"...some baby piglets in a super muddy pin. Petting zoo: check, and check. I think they had some bunnies and some chickens that we got to look at too but there was no petting really unless you wanted to enter aforementioned muddy pin. Um, no thank you. 
The cow train. These little cow "cabs" were pulled along by a tractor and my kiddos loved it. 

The corn maze. We debated on whether to do the adult maze or the kiddie maze and I'm so glad we elected for the kiddie maze because it was so hot and the kids really weren't interested in trying to figure out what way to go...they just wanted us to tell them. 
Truth be told, I could likely have gotten myself lost in the kiddie maze...I have ZERO directional ability and I do mean Z.E.R.O. Also, maps and I do not get along. If there's a map of any sort I collect it and pass it straight to my man. I think he's hoping Kennedy doesn't turn out like me. Ha! 

As always, she was a trooper...she really wanted to figure it out and she did pretty good with some assistance from Daddy. 
My boys. 
There were all these signs about not picking up the corn, shucking corn, etc. in order to preserve the maze but these two were so interested (don't ask me why) and so we broke the rules a few times. I mean, how's picking up an old rotten cob off the ground going to hurt anything? Just sayin'

Out of about 15 shots in front of this little sign, this was the best I got. Sigh. 
I feel like I got some photographic redemption on these next ones though. So funny. 

The last thing we did was this duck race "situation" for lack of a better description. You basically pumped these water spouts and tried to push your duck down the PVC pipe to the other end where you could collect it and do it all over again as many times as you'd like. The ducks were ours once purchased (and they are up in our bathtub toy basket as I type...honestly). They had a really good time with this. 
My kids aren't competitive at all...*cough, choke, spit*. I don't know where they get it...ha ha!

It was a really fun time and the church was so generous to provide such a fun family outing. We genuinely love our church family so we're always happy to participate in any outings.  


I suppose if you get baby showers with your 1st and sprinkles with your second then maybe I got misted for your 4th? I dunno. I'll say this - I got blessed for sure. People and their generosity never cease to amaze me and Lord I hope that is said of me so I'm just thankful beyond words that my sister and friend Jennifer decided to "mist" me and my sweet Micah before he arrived. It was perfection - some food, some fun and some of my really good friends. 
I spend a lot of time at the gym so it's no surprise that the majority of these gals are gym buddies turned super good friends. In order from L to R are Anna, Julie, Jess, Jennifer and of course a regular appearer on the blog: my sis Melissa. 
 Oh this girl. The Lord has provided such a sweet friend in her. She would do anything for me and our kids adore each other and it just leaves me thankful beyond words that she lives so close and we see each other so often. 
 Again, these are gym friends but the group of us regularly has girls nights and get togethers at the pool and play dates, etc. Julie (on the far L) is also our hair stylist - bonus! 
 Sisters. What more can I say - there is no closer bond or friendship. I can only hope that my kiddos are as close as we are one day because there's just nothing like it. 
 So, here's the thing about Jennifer. She does everything to perfection. There is no half effort with her. She researches everything and just always does her best. She has marveled over my cake creations at birthdays past and always seems so amazed and overwhelmed by it all but sister made these perfect little delicacies for my shower all by herself. I mean, c'mon - how good are these? So pretty and better yet: delicious! 

Everyone brought sweet little gifts to the shower...mostly Mommy gifts like lotion and hair products and fun stuff like that but I also got super practical and awesome things like diapers and wipes. Thanks girls for making me feel so love and special before the babe arrived! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Dolphin Party

So, I kind of eluded to my confusion over a dolphin themed party in my last post. I honestly cannot say where Kennedy got the desire for a dolphin party. I mean, we see porpoises at the beach every summer and of course we all freak out when we see them because, well...they are just awesome and beautiful and amazing and so when we see them in the ocean we squeal and basically act a fool. Maybe that is why?!?!? I'm pretty sure she has some Barbie Island Princess Movie that has dolphins in it too so who knows. Anyways, she said dolphin and in my true form I said I wasn't going to do a big ole party with tons of dolphin decor but after Grey's train party she straight up said "Mom, what kind of dolphin party decorations are you thinking of?" True.Story! And thus the dolphin party planning begun. 

We sent out little free e-vites with a picture of K in her swim suit because we decided to utilize the blessing that is our neighborhood pool during her party. Because I was almost at my due date and feeling way more sluggish than usual my BFF was precious enough to send a bunch of dolphin themed items from The Oriental Trading Company. I mean, honestly? How thoughtful is that? A true friend! I really DIDN'T end up doing a ton of decor so those items were just the icing on the cake for her little party and we were so thankful. Without further ado: the pictures! 

We'll start with the details: 
 We pretty much always have a coloring table at our birthday parties. You can find free coloring pages for ANY party theme. Easy peasy! 
 I no longer have access to a cricut like I did in Lexington so now I have to get a bit more creative with how I do cut outs like these. We printed a dolphin silhouette onto card stock and then I cut them out and glued on googly eyes. Pretty simple. 

 Good ole' card stock - tons of uses! I also found all these beachy themed stickers in my "retired" scrap booking loot. Score!

 All the cups, plates, napkins, and these lei's were purchased in the clearance section at Party City (a perk of a September birthday in the Carolina's when it's still hot enough to use such clearance items). 
 I bought this dress me up plate years ago at a Southern Living Home party and I swear I've used it more times than I can count for birthdays, holidays, scriptures, just whatever. I love it. There is a little bowl right in front of the plate containing "super awesome" was with the Trading Company loot from Chelsea and they were a bit party hit. 
These little creations were compliments of Pinterest. Vanilla wafers for the sand, jelly belly's for the ocean and gummy dolphins on top. Perfect little send home treats. 

More trading company goodies - dolphin bracelets. 
These little cups were from Chelsea too and we just added some personalization to them. So cute! 

 Now for the fun: 
We started things off in our neighborhood pool once all the guests of honor arrived. I found this float a few days before the party on clearance at Walmart (again...perk of being in the South in September :). We tossed some water balloons at the pool too but I didn't get any pics of that. 

 Oh these sweet girls - Kennedy's besties! 
 Sweet "Ellie Belle" as I like to call her. I can't believe how much she has changed since September! 
 Jennifer and I got in on the rafting action, because: why not? 

 Right as the clouds starting rolling in for a little summer shower, we headed back to the house and got the kids dressed and then headed back out once the shower ended for some more outdoor fun. 
 These. These things are so super fun. These are called Guar Gum bubbles. A quick internet search will provide you with recipes, some amazing pictures and some tutorials on how to create your own. Do it! Your kids will love it. 
 Then, you too can snap hilarious action shots like this one and all that follow! 
 I mean, seriously! How cool is that? 

This throng of children chasing bubbles was getting a little cray so we ended up separating the "littles" and the "bigs" and that made for a much more enjoyable giant bubble experience, but the giant bubble mob pics are pretty funny too - see for yourself. 
I love how in the above picture the "bigs" are trying to act all cool and hold the "littles" back as if they aren't every bit as excited and then in the next picture you can tell they totally lose composure and act a fool once the bubble is almost released. I mean, I'ma keep it real with y'all - these bubbles are so awesome, I want to chase them too. 

 These pictures just make me happy. I've been reading a new book called "Nobody's Cuter than You". It is Melanie Shankle (aka "Big Mama's/ third book and I can already tell it's going to be another favorite for me. The book is about friendship and in the book she recounts some of her childhood and adolescent friendships with other girls and reflects on how even then - those friendships had a purpose and were precious. I mean, I know you can't/don't/won't keep all of your friends from all your life's stages - but some you do and will and I love that she's got good friends right now in these gals - they're so darling and she loves them so and they have fun together and that's pretty awesome when your 7. And hey, after we moved here I reconnected with a girl who I first met in 7th grade and her daughter is the one below in tie dye. True Story!!! You just never know.

 Sister decided to kick a bubble. Ha ha! 

 After bubble popping, we took it back indoors for pizza, caesar salad, fruit and then CAKE!

The cake was something I was back and forth about but ultimately decided on this ruffling technique because I thought it looked like waves. I used brown sugar for the sand and we had the painted sea shells from a craft we did a few years ago (we picked those shells up on our beach vacation). There are some gummy dolphins on top but you can't really see them in this picture. 

I was really happy with how well the cake turned out. My only disappointment is that I was going for an ombre look to the icing and that is WAY harder than you think because icing dye comes in containers that make it kind of tough to really measure it out and it takes a good bit of icing dye to get rich color so it's hard to get drastic differences like I was going for. All in all though - pretty and delicious cake. 
Please excuse all the upcoming blue teeth photos. Ha! 
Time to open presents! Y'all remember these? Skip Balls!
 Reading and Horses/Ponies are two of her favorite things. Put them together and you get the best gift idea ever. Thanks Nana and Pawpaw for her new chapter books - it took her approximately a week to tear through them all. This kid is a READER. 
You know how at Christmas and at Birthday's there's always a "big gift". You know, the one thing that either A. they really wanted super bad or B. was super expensive and thus it got named the "big gift". Well, next up was her big gift. She'd been asking me for an American Girl Doll because her older cousin AH has one but those things ain't cheap and my kids honestly spend WAY more time pretend playing (house, horse, doggy/kitty) and playing outside than they do with their toys and so I wasn't sure it was a wise investment for us. Enter my sisters offer to give her (yep, you read that right) their older American Girl Dolls that they don't really play with anymore. Um, yes...yes, we'll take them thank you very much. So: it's the BIG GIFT and the best part is - it didn't cost a thing. The best! 
Even more thoughtful than them giving us their dolls: the fact that my niece took it upon herself to include a precious little note about the dolls and how much they meant to her and how she hoped K would enjoy them, etc. So, so sweet. 

I mean, honestly - did you have to wipe tears away because I did. Love, love, love. 
Kennedy and her sister have shared these dolls well and they have dressed them, had tea parties with them, had them ride their our generation horses (pictured below), etc. A treasured and perfect gift for sure. 

This horse was from her friend Sophia and I can't even begin to tell you how much she has played with this thing. My girls LOVE horses. It's like they have that part of KY in their blood. 
My Mom and Jim got K a locket and she loves it - she's wanted one for a long time. 

My girls live in boots in the winter. Skinny jeans and boots or leggings and boots are pretty much an every day thing. These boots were given to K from Grandaddy and Gigi. 
It was such a fun party. It's hard to believe she'll be 8 at the end of this summer. Going way to fast. Let's end on a less depressing note - some of the cutest party guests: