Monday, April 20

Braden's Donut Truck Party

When I asked Braden what kind of birthday party he wanted to have he (of course) said he wanted a donut party. This is, after all, the boy who wanted to be Cinnamon Toast Crunch for Halloween.

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So we had a donut party. I found a cute donut truck image on Etsy that became the inspiration and started planning different donut themed treats. It was a very sugar and carb heavy party!

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I custom printed some fabric with donuts on it that my neighbor embroidered on to his shirt and found these little paper hats I embellished with some printables--and we were ready to start selling donuts.

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Since we couldn't have an actual donut truck (they certainly don't exist in Beaumont!) I constructed this PVC pipe awning to be a stand in. If anyone asked at the party, I proudly told them I made it ALL BY MYSELF after the man at Home Depot cut all the PVC pipe.

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I tried to have a few breakfasty type treats (pancake kabobs, fruit) to break up the plates of SUGAR. But it was hard. I commissioned a local macaron baker to make cute donut macarons and they were a big hit! And they were adorable. I ordered a large custom mix of sprinkles that matched the party and gave her a little baggie of them to sprinkle on top.

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The cake was probably my favorite part--it was so simple to make! And so cute. I think this may have been my first party without cupcakes--but we certainly didn't miss them!

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Have you heard of fairy bread? It's an Australian treat--bread with nutella and covered in sprinkles! I cut mine into donut shapes and snacked on it for several days after the party. I love making towers out of storebought treats that take up a lot of visual space but are cheap and don't take any time to make--so donut towers! I think I singlehandedly ate all the chocolate donuts. And Victoria (of course) made her famous sugar cookies in donut shapes. I served the extras the next day at bible study and everyone was literally in awe of their deliciousness.

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Seriously, the cake and the bunting. It was my fave. I sent Vic a picture of the cake mid sprinkle to have her help me not go overboard. I tend to go overboard.

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The cute little kids table was my favorite part. I normally buy the boys a melamine plate to match the party--but we have a TON of melamine plates, so I opted to print paper ones this time and LOVED them! They were so cute and made the table look even more coordinated.

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And another donut tower as the centerpiece. The donut shop didn't bat an eye when I asked them to make my batch of white sprinkle donuts with my custom colors.

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Braden was so excited about all parts of his party--when he came down in the morning he said, "WOW! WOW!" and was thrilled. Mission accomplished. It just made my heart so happy to see him enjoying everything so much!

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Coloring walls are another of my cheap, large visual impact faves. This one was $4.78 at the UPS Store--it served as a wall decoration until we were ready to color it!

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The balloons (while still one of my favorite parts) were a bit of a fail... I bought them last thing Friday night to paint them and by Saturday morning they'd lost just enough helium that the added weight from the pain made them all droop forwards. I wouldn't have had time to do them Saturday morning--so it was good enough!

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I was so thrilled with how this donut pinata turned out! I was dreading making it--but once I got started it was way easier and more impressive than I thought! Not to mention free--I already had everything on hand! We were a little worried it was too well constructed to actually break--but it did! And the kids all grabbed leftover Easter candy. #resourcefulness

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I think everyone's favorite activity was decorating the donuts! The birthday boy ended up just eating spoonfuls of candy. And I let him.

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I tried to get a picture of all the kids with the donut truck... but that was like taking a picture of a bunch of animals. Literally. Still love the picture, even though I think only two kids looked at the camera! You may see this truck show back up next week as a Police truck... if I find some time to paint!

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Happy birthday Braden! I hope you come down from your sugar high soon. You are just as sweet as all the donuts.

Friday, April 10

Easter 2015

Easter accidentally snuck up on us this year. I kept reminding myself to start our Resurrection Eggs 12 days before Easter... but I miscounted and was a week off. Oh well.

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We had Braden and Keaton's pals over to dye eggs and grill out--and the kids had a blast. We dyed eggs, made resurrection rolls and ate hot dogs with much zeal.

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All three of the boys had Easter eggs hunt the Thursday before Easter--pretty much all at the same time. I went with Braden and Keaton and Sol went with Finley. Braden had fun--he collected his eggs very slowly and deliberately. I was a class act mom and couldn't find an Easter baskets--so the boys all brought Halloween buckets. No one seemed to mind... but I felt a little ridiculous next to all the kids with their fancy embroidered baskets.

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I wasn't sure Keaton would know what to do with the eggs--but he did! The babies either collected the eggs or they would crack the first one open and be finished. He got quite a few and was so delighted with himself! Then all the babies went back to the classroom for cookies.

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On Easter Sunday, we hunted for eggs in the backyard with our neighbor, Sophie. We recycled all the eggs from the previous egg hunts... no one needed more sugar. And--spoiler alert--the candy is going to be recycled again in Braden's birthday pinata tomorrow.

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We managed to take a decent picture in the drizzle after church--I wore the dress from my rehearsal dinner and managed to fit a small bump in there with me. Happy Easter to all!

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Monday, April 6

Last Day at Disney

Sol managed to make it back for our last day--we took our little ducks to Animal Kingdom for the morning then took a break before heading to Magic Kingdom for the evening. I was exhausted from 8 days of Disney magic... but Sol was ready to go. :) Lunch at Tusker House is probably my favorite character meal. You get to meet the Fab 5 (except not Minnie this time!) and the food is really good. Daisy and Donald appropriately fussed over my little ducks.

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Those kids are skinny. Someone needs to throw them a loaf of bread.

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Disney might be the magic that can occasionally get my kids to take a decent picture.

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Castle picture! I need to figure our some way to get the Disney photographers to pay attention to what's in focus--90% of the time they focus on the castle instead of us. Even when I manually select the focal points. Grr.

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Enchanted Tales with Belle is so fun--Finley loves it even though it's about a princess. The kids all get cast as roles (he's normally Maurice or Chip) but this time he was committed to being the Beast. He practiced his roar in line and we kept gently reminding him he may not get to be the Beast... but lo and behold, he did. This video is actually from a previous day--so its super long because I wanted to make sure Sol could see his son's theatrical debut.




Considering my children don't like Toy Story... they were awfully excited to see Buzz. I mean, he is a cool guy. He can fly. We stuck around to see the Electrical Parade and the show they project on the castle--which really was amazing. Sol really wants to squeeze in one more trip before our Annual Passes expire in November... and I really want a nap.

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Thursday, April 2

Epcot and Animal Kingdom

Epcot gets a bad rap--its maybe my second favorite park, and the kids always seem to love it too. Our Epcot day happened to be Cory's birthday--and we kept telling him we had a special birthday lunch planned. And we did--with princesses! We were a little boy heavy to full appreciate the princesses--but the food was so good and all the moms liked seeing them... and that's what really matters. Poor Edmund was having a rough day and spent the entire meal sleeping on the floor. No princesses for him.

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We tried real hard to get a picture of the kids in their Target Mickey shirts. It was hot and sunny.

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We were at Epcot during the Flower and Garden Show--and while we missed a lot of the fun things they had set up, we did spend some time at one of the parks they had brought in for the event. It was a really cute park--with chairs for the parents and rocks for the kids to jump off of. In typical kid fashion--we take them to a park with fast rides and fun shows--and they have a blast jumping off stuff and drinking from a water fountain.





Animal Kingdom was our shortest day--we did the Safari, the Lion King show, the Dinosaur ride and the grown ups went on Mt. Everest. Our main goal at Animal Kingdom is always to meet Russell and Dug--and this was one of our favorite meetings. I love how they fuss over the boys! And Dug showed them his toys and pretend squirrel. I tried to coach Finley on his character interactions by brainstorming questions to ask them--he asked Russell where Mr. Frederickson and Kevin were... his answers were pantomimed "sleeping" and "babies."

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I love that they'll still all dress up--even if Keaton refuses to wear the hat that matches his outfit. I'm guessing these days are numbered.

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Tuesday, March 31

Hollywood Studios: Big Hero 6 and Jedis

Hollywood Studios is such a fun one for kids and grown-ups! After doing a few rides, we headed over to Hollywood and Vine for lunch. I tried to schedule a few character meals while we were there--it's fun for the kids and relaxing for the parents... even if it is a little pricier. You can only eat park burgers so many times before you begin to die inside.

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Today's shirts were Mickey characters. The Woods boys were Buzz and Woody and my boys and Piper were Peter Pan characters. I'm getting to be a pro at making these shirts... but I don't want to make any more. I retire. As you might expect, getting a picture of all 6 kids went poorly. That second one is about as good as it gets!

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Finley was so delighted to have Edmund there with him--even if Edmund was bigger (but younger!) and could do all the roller coasters. Next time pal! Maybe.

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Want to hear a Disney secret? A few times a day, there's an unpublicized character meet and greet through some gates behind the Tower of Terror--called Characterpalooza. We got there about 10 minutes early and waited to see which characters would be there and met Princess Tiana and Aladdin and the Genie! Sometimes awesome characters like Mary Poppins and Bert will be there--or Robin Hood, a favorite around our house.

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All the boys were most excited to see Hiro and Baymax. We're pretty obsessed with Big Hero 6 these days. We waited in a LONG LONG line and right as we got to the front--Baymax had to go "recharge". The sweet cast member let the boys run all over Hiro's lab and talked to them about everything--it was sweet and much needed after the super long wait. We squeezed in a group picture with everyone looking before Hiro and Baymax came back out.

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Baymax was pretty impressive. The boys really liked seeing both of them!

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We dod the Jedi Training Academy on our last visit--but it was too rainy for the little Jedis to actually fight Darth. This time... they got to fight him! Edmund and Finley were adorable and were quite terrifying with their light sabers.

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They practiced a little sequence of moves as a group--and then one by one got to fight Darth.

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And a few cute videos of the boys...







Monday, March 30

Magic Kingdom Days: Castle and Peter Pan

Before it becomes April, I figured I should start posting Disney things! We spent eight days at the parks this trip (it was a lot). I didn't take as many pictures as you might expect--Sol had to go home for a few of the days to do some work and three kids just keep me busy. I did get some shots that I love--but I always kick myself for only grabbing the camera when they meet characters and getting fewer of the more candid shots.

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Everyone needs a picture with the castle! Except Keaton, who made a run for it. We were really lucky to have Courtney with us this trip--a former Disney photographer. It means I'm in a few pictures! Hooray!

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We (and especially Finley) are suckers for the Street Party Parade in front of the castle. All the characters and performers get down off the floats and the kids (and Sol) get to dance with them. Braden wasn't sure if he wanted to have fun yet.

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Dumbo! And little Piper dressed as Elsa.

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This was our first trip to get to ride the Seven Dwarves Mine Train--and its pretty fun! This video has Sol, Court, Braden, Finley and I on the thrilllling ride--frozen on a lovely shot of me.



The next day at Magic Kingdom... Yep, I made us all Justin Timberlake shirts. They made us very popular. Cory tried so hard not to wear his unless he had to--but I think he secretly liked it. We got lots of comments and we thought we were hilarious. We made it to rope drop most days--a perk of children who all wake up very early. The opening show at the Magic Kingdom is fun and sweet--as is rushing through the park to get in a short line.

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The whole group in from of the castle! And some faces--it was clearly very sunny. It was SO fun to go with a big group. They were very kind to me and (for the most part) followed the plan I made for every day. They'll thank me if they ever have to go back to Disney and fend for themselves.

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Carousel! I always think its funny that Disney even has a carousel... but everyone loves it. And Courtney almost got a picture with all five of our faces--not easy when you are standing on a spinning platform with everyone going up and down.

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And our third day at Disney. We had to break out the Peter Pan costumes obviously. For some reason Braden always refuses to be Peter and wants to be Hook... I'm not sure if I should be concerned about that or not.

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Meeting Tinkerbell is always fun--her set is really cute! Piper gave her the sweetest hug before she realized she was not a person and was actually a character and resumed being scared of characters.

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We had the characters all sign polaroids we took of them with the boys--which was so fun. We got a lot of really hilarious pictures and the boys love flipping through them now. It was also pretty motivating for Finley--he loved the "magic" camera and showing the pictures to the characters.

Friday, March 27

Spring Break in Little Rock

Sol wasn't able to come on a spring break adventure with us this year--so I decided the easiest option would be for me to take the boys to my parents' house in Little Rock for a few days. It's a six hour drive, which seemed almost reasonable to do alone. The day before the trip, the air conditioning decided not to work, which made the trip a little more uncomfortable. It would periodically come on--but not when we needed it most.

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I've been a lousy photographer lately--I think its because my children outnumber my arms, so its hard to actually use a camera. We had lots of fun in Little Rock--the boys played with my brothers and learned about Super Smash Brothers. We went to our favorite train restaurant and an awesome children's play place. We also ventured out to a trampoline park on what happened to be character day. The boys had a ball running around chasing Spiderman and Batman! They mostly wanted to build towers out of foam blocks instead of jumping... whatever makes them happy.

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I managed to squeeze in three Pure Barre classes and many more donuts. I routinely call Finley and Braden by my brothers' names--Dan and Ben. So I was glad to have this picture of the big boys matched up with the brother I confuse them with! They thought being on all the shoulders was pretty funny.

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