Sunday, July 29, 2007

Finally THE Birthday Party Post!

I am sooo sorry that it took me this long to write about Allison's 6th birthday party. Life has been very busy! One thing I have learned from my absence in posting is that I have great readers out there. I've had so many emails and requests for the party post that I am touched that you all care. Thank you!
Now on to the party! If you have been a reader of my blog you know that I give Allison the freedom to pick her birthday party theme each year and then I run with it. This year she picked a kitty party which is probably no surprise to anyone. She didn't want "Hello Kitty" because it was too "girly."
I found a couple other choices and we settled on the one pictured. It is called the "Cat's Meow" and ended up being fun and a perfect choice! I couldn't find any of the supplies locally so I ended up getting them on the internet. My advice to you is to check as many websites as you can when online shopping. They are all different prices. I thought I found it the cheapest as one place was "clearancing" them out but then Birthday Jubilee came in even below the clearanced ones! Shipping really isn't that expensive with the price of gas these days and it was definately worth it being able to shop at 5:30 in the morning in my p.j.'s! Another secret of mine for online shopping is to go to and use one of the codes they have listed for hundreds of online retailers to either get free shipping, discounts, bonuses or special deals.

Now that we have the kitty theme going, I had trouble with the invitations. I didn't like the ones that matched the partyware.
I also didn't like anything I came up with. I settled on these and they worked just fine. The cat and the writing was printed on the computer. The balloon is a diecut and was attached with a pop up dot (double sided foam tape) to add dimension. I then sliced a slit on either side of the cat's tail and then connected the balloon to the tail with satin thin ribbon. Inside I printed "Join us as we PAWS to celebrate Allison's 6th Birthday!" I use a paw print font to spell out the work PAWS and it was too cute! Along with the details of the party, I added the line "Kids, We will be doing a craft with paint so don't wear your Sunday best!)

Now that the theme had been picked, the partyware ordered and the invitations made and sent I kicked it into high gear. We rented a shelter at the local park this year since we were inviting more people (her classmates) than we usually do. The park is 5 minutes away and it was so PERFECT! We will be doing this every year!
I didn't have to worry about borrowing tables, cleaning my house company clean, organizing the basement (since this is where you walk out to my deck and picnic area) or having enough parking! The shelter I chose has electric, lights and water so it worked out great! It seats way more people than we invited so we had plenty of room for the food tables, gift table, craft tables and seating area for our guests. There are even bathrooms at the end of the entrance to the shelter! I'll need to call early next year to make sure we get the same one. I LOVED it! I've already started a party notebook with checklists to cover everything I used to have a party away from home. I packed everything into totes and it was very little effort at all...that is after all of the planning! Okay, sorry for the rambling about the shelter!

The decorations were easy! I used purple, sky blue and yellow tablecloths on the tables.
I added balloons in the same color and then put these adorable stuffed kitties on the tables for decorations. I got them from Oriental Trading and when the party was over we let the each kid pick one out and then we tied a name tag on the kitty with their name on it.

Since we had a very large grill this year that came with the shelter, Chef Curtis cooked hot dogs, smoked sausages and kielbasa for us. I also made my pasta salad (with kitty faces and paw pasta), "calico" beans, potato salad (thanks, Mom) and I also had bags of potato chips in a basket on the table. Oh, and a big hit with the kids was the goldfish crackers in a kitty dish. I bought Princess new bigger ones but didn't use them until after the party.

This year I decided to make the cake. I knew I wanted a cat cake but I hate having to cut the cake to shape the cat. I was telling my friend, Sandy, who lives in South Carolina that I hate all the crumbs you get when you cut the cake. She said "Why don't you make a cupcake cake!" I said "What?" and then she explained it to me. She said it was really big down there and was too cool! She was right! It was too cool and so easy to serve! Thanks Sandy! Here is a picture of the cake. You have to click on it to enlarge it to get a better look. It turned out better than I had hoped. I put it off until last as I knew that I wanted a calico and wanted it to have fur but I wasn't sure how I was going to pull it off. I am proud to say that everyone loved it and one little girl asked me why I put fur on the cake! Poor thing! She thought it was real fur not icing!
Since the cat cake was white cake, I decided to make chocolate cupcakes too. I piped the icing on them and sprinkled them with nonpariels. I also made (well actually sister put them together for me) sticks to put on the cupcakes to make them more festive. I took a picture of Allison and her kitty, Princess, and added the text "Happy Birthday Allison" to it, and shaped it into a circle. I had them printed on cardstock and punched two holes in them so we could attach them to the sticks. And then to top them off, tied purple and yellow curling ribbon to the top for a little added touch.

I wanted to keep the activites for the kids to a minimum. I didn't want them running around the shelter and getting hurt. I decided on one craft and one game. I purchased paper mache frames from Oriental Trading so the kids could paint them. I made craft kits for each of them. It included one frame, one foam plate, one sponge brush, one artist brush and one cotton swab. This worked out great because all we had to do was pass out a ziptop bag to each child and those adults that wanted to do one too. They picked their acrylic paint colors and went to town. Once they were dry, they picked cat or dog stickers made out of craft foam to embellish their frames. This was a big hit with both the kids and the parents. Here are some pics from the craft.

A Daddy getting involved with his daughter!
The big kids! My sister Alesia & niece Stephanie had to do one too!
Another big best friend Susan.
A couple of finished products. Their names on their frames have been whited out for their protection.

After the frames were done, we played a fishing game. I made fish out of craft foam. I put a paperclip on each one and numbered them from one to twenty. Those went into a fish bowl which was a large tupperware bowl decorated on the outside to look like a fish bowl. It's amazing what you can do with craft foam and markers! I then took a dowel and added a ribbon to one end and at the end of the ribbon was a magnet. Each child got a chance to go fishing and the magnet caught a fish because of the paperclip. The number on the child's fish corresponded to a wrapped prize. Yes, every child won a prize. I don't like games when all the kids don't win. Maybe when they are older I feel different. But for now, no child goes away disappointed from Allison's party.

One more thing I want to share before I post present pics is the gift bags. I just took plain white handled shopping bags, wrote each child's name on them, stamped them with a cat's face and paw prints and added paw print ribbon to one of the handles. In addition to their frame and stuffed kitty, they also got a pencil with cats all over it, a cat bookmarker, cat stickers, a rubber cat (like a rubber duck but a cat) and a Kit "Kat" candy bar.
Now for the present pics:

She LOVES snakes!
Starting to tire out here!
First of all, this is the most unflattering picture of me and my best friend, Susan. However this picture definately says a lot! My Mom, Dad & sister, Alesia, gave Allison a tv/dvd combo for her bedroom. Allison was THRILLED! It is something that I said she couldn't have for a long time. They did clear it with me and Allison knows there are rules with it but boy was she excited. She knew it was for her but wasn't sure where it would go. When it came time for her to make a wish and blow out her birthday candles, her wish was "I wish that tv can go in my room!" How cute! By the way, Allison doesn't know that her wishes should be kept secret and I don't plan on telling her anytime soon. I love hearing her little wishes!
Another shot of the surprised Allison. The flash didn't go off on this pic so I had to play with it with a picture program to enhance the image. I love the look on her face!

WOW this post has gone long! Sorry! Now that I am at the end of it, I want to say that I LOVE doing parties. I wish I could do them for a living. Maybe some day! However, Allison's parties could not be possible without the help of my friends and family. Thank you Curtis for putting up with my craziness in planning the party and helping me with whatever I ask of you. Thank you Alesia for coming the day before and helping me with the last minute details and entertaining Allison. I will make a crafter out of you yet! Thanks Mom for everything and the potato salad. You make the best! Thank you Susan, Grandma Sandy, Stephanie and Doughty for your help the day of the party. I couldn't have done it without you! Thank you to my friend Sandy in SC. The cake was an awesome suggestion! I have faith that one year, you'll be here in person!

One last pic before I go...the traditional family cake pic!

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Just Another Day or So!

I promise! I've been so busy that I haven't had time to sit down and do a proper post of Allison's birthday party. I had planned on doing it last night when I got home from my sister's house but being on the computer was the last thing I wanted. I went to her house (she lives about 1 1/2 hours away) to set her computer up and puppysit (that's another blog entry). Yes, she finally got a home computer! Well actually, she got a laptop. And of course she knows NOTHING about it (and wouldn't have the patience to figure it out anyway) so I came to her rescue. She went with DSL and they send you a kit and you have to install it yourself. Crazy, huh? Oh, and they charged her $19.95 for the shipping and installation...but you had to do it yourself! (Things that make you say "HMMM"!) My cable company came out and set everything up for me and it was FREE installation! Anyway, she has the new Windows Vista operating program and it was new to me so it took me a little longer than I would have liked. I also installed her printer/scanner/copier, downloaded AOL (since it's the most user friendly Internet service out my opinion), imported her pictures from her camera and attempted to install her camera printer. This took FOREVER! The CD that came with it wasn't compatible with Windows Vista. No, problem, right? I just went to the HP site to download it from there. WELL, after 1 hour and 24 minutes, that didn't work. It kept saying something about allowing "activeX" or something and I couldn't figure out how to do that. So I tried something else which took 58 minutes to download and then finally after that it worked! Thank GOODNESS cause I was running out of steam! Of course, my day wasn't done because I had to give a course on "AOL 101" and "Digital Pictures 101" to my sister after I was done with the installation. Needless to say, being on this thing when I got home was the last thing I wanted and now, I have too much I want to get done since this is really my last working day of vacation before the weekend. I would love to enjoy myself Saturday and Sunday before I got back to my day job. In the meantime, here is another pic from Allison's party. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A Quick Hi and a Sneak Peek!

Wow! It's been a week and a half since I've last posted! Hi! I've missed posting! I have lots to share but not enough time to do it right now. I will be back over the next couple of days with Allison's birthday party post...but until then, here is a pic of the day! She had a blast! I had a blast doing it for her! And I think the kids had a blast too!
Have Fun!
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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Busy Birthday Preparations & A Question!

I've been busy all day with birthday party preparations for next Sunday! I can't believe my baby is going to be 6 YEARS OLD! I have lots to share but it will have to wait. I'm tired. One question before I go. Anyone want a kitten???

Yes, this is Princess stealing a drink of water from Allison's cup! Do you notice the lamp isn't straight? She almost knocks them off every day. I want new lamps but I would like to find new ones that I like before she destroys these!
I thought only puppies chewed shoes? She is obsessed with my Crocs!
Yes, that is a lampshade she is on! In fact, it's a floor lamp! She crawls to the top of the recliner and then climbs right up to the top of the shade! And the lamp is on!

Have Fun!
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Saturday, July 07, 2007

Thank the Cat for this Great Finds Post!

Today is Saturday. Curtis doesn't work today. We have no place to be this morning. Finally a day to sleep in! Unless, of course, you have a kitten that wants to get up at 6:15 AM! Good gracious! Doesn't she know that I NEVER sleep in? Doesn't she know that I've been so tired on a daily basis anymore that I am trying to get more sleep? Doesn't she know that I could have gotten 3 more hours if she would have let me sleep until 8 AM? Doesn't she know that poking my face with her paw would wake me up? Doesn't she know that her "human mother" was in the next room and she should be bothering her? Doesn't she know that she shouldn't bite the hand that feeds her? UGH! I gave up at 6:25 and got up! I guess I got an extra hour or so of sleep. So now what? Laundry? Cleaning? A blog post? YES!

Last week when Allison went to Vacation Bible School, Curtis took her the first two days and I was responsible for the last three. Hmm, what to do after I dropped her off? Well, first I went to Sheetz and got an Iced Hazelnut Latte from their new Espresso Bar. Yummy! Then I set out for the thrift stores to see what treasures I could find. Neither of the two Salvation Army stores or the St. Vincent de Paul thrift store had anything that I couldn't live without. However, Goodwill provided me with a few great items I loved. It was my duty to give them a new home! Yup, that's my story and I'm sticking to it! Here are a couple of the items. The frame is a Burnes of Boston picture frame and the second one is a Rosina teacup and saucer with violets on them. Each item cost me $0.99 a piece! I know! I had to bring them home! They also will go great in the Cottage Style decor that I am favoring these days. I would love to eventually change the decor in my whole house to the Cottage Style. Anyway, I also picked up a discontinued Home Interior rose picture for $2.99!
I'm not sure where I am going to put it just yet but it's so pretty and in perfect condition. I also picked up some hand towels for Curtis to use as rags. I cut them in half and got 8 nice thick rags for $2.00. I had a great day! On Thursday, I stuck with Goodwill only and found a wooden bread box. Aside from a little wear around the handle and on top where they put stuff, it's in great condition. No smells at all on the inside or anything. I've been wanting one since my cupboard space is limited and the bread has been getting smashed. I found one that I liked and it was $50! To store bread in? No thank you! This one was $4.99! Yippee!! I am going to paint or refinish it so I'll share it with all of you when I do that. Oops! All of this thrift talk is making me want to hit all the yard sales today! Hmmm, Curtis is home. Allison is sleeping. I could duck out and leave a note and no one would know the difference! Gotta run!

Have Fun!

"I believe that thrift is essential to well-ordered living. "
~John D. Rockefeller
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Friday, July 06, 2007

"Saddle Up Your Horses!"

Allison completed a wild ride during her first week ever of Vacation Bible School at our church last week! She had a blast! She wasn't too thrilled the first couple of days but after Wednesday she was sad that it was ending in two days. Our church did an amazing job for the kids. I was VERY impressed! I will be sure to drop a note in the mail to our Priest and the Director of Education to tell them so.

My sister asked me if she was going to VBS at the church where she attends school (which is Lutheran). I told her no and that is was at our church. Her reply was "Wow, a Catholic church that has VBS?" I would have to agree with her. We went to VBS when we were kids but not at our church. We went with our neighbor and friends at their churches. I don't mean any disrespect here but the Roman Catholic Church that we went to didn't do VBS. In fact, I don't remember any of the ones where I grew up doing them. This is what I LOVE about our church. They have tons to do for the kids.

Here are some pics of the week. As always, you can click on any of them to enlarge.

Allison is standing in front a huge "barn" scene that they had in our activity center. Can I just tell you this thing must have been 30 feet high?!? They really outdid themselves with the decorations! They were awesome!

This was her VBS teacher. She was also her teacher in C.C.D for her Kindergarten class. She is going to miss her next year!

These next couple of pictures are of Allison on the last day of VBS. The first one is blurry...sorry! She, finally, was comfortable singing and dancing with the others. It was a lot to learn for the little ones. They had this big screen that had the words going across it...sort of like a karaoke screen but the words moved too fast for a new reader. They had the CD of all of the music for sale on the last day and we have been singing them EVERY time we are in the van! Did I say EVERY? Ya, I just wanted to make sure you go that!

Have Fun!

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The 4th's Festivities!

Stopping by with a quick post to share some of tonight's pics. Since I was 8 1/2 months pregnant with Allison, we have been going to watch the fireworks that the Butler County Fair puts off. We go to a road behind the fairgrounds and park along the country road and sit in a farmer's field. He is awfully nice to let the hundreds of people do this. Anyway, these are some of my favorites.

Yes, this is the same shirt Allison wore last year! I went to look for a new shirt and realized that I would be buying the same size so I just pulled this out from the clothes from last Summer that I thought she would have grown out of by now! I think I should have looked in the mirror before we went to go to the fireworks. Nice hair and make-up, huh?

It think this is my new favorite of my two favorite people. As much as I profess that she looks like me, she looks a lot like her Daddy too!

The beginning of the show. The lights at the bottom of the pic are the fairground lights.

This one really lit everything up. You can sort of see where we sit for the show.

I was trying to get a little artistic shot here but the fireworks were'nt cooperating!


The finale!

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Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day to all of my blog readers out there! I know it's been over a week since I last posted. I've been very busy. I'll be back soon with lots to share! In the meantime, have a great 4th of July! Here are some FIREWORKS for you...just click on the link and enjoy!

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