Thursday, February 28, 2013

February 28

I realized tonight that I haven't posted much on the blog this week.  So here are a couple of pictures of the girls in their matching pajamas before bed tonight.

Monday, February 25, 2013

"Golden Hollywood" Oscar Party

 My friend Heather and I threw our annual Oscar party last night.  The party was fun, and everything went well.  Except for the actual awards show.  I could write a whole post on my thoughts about the show (maybe I will!), but I can sum it up with one word:  boring!  Seriously, these people are supposed to be the best of the best in entertainment...why can't they put together an entertaining awards show?  It was a good season for movies, and there seemed to be a lot of potential for a good show this year, but for the most part, I was very unimpressed...and bored.

Most of our guests ended up leaving before the show was over, due to the fact that it was boring, plus everyone had babysitters who needed to be relieved back home.  But still, we all had a good time.   I will say that this party completely wore me out.  I was EXHAUSTED by the time I got home last night; I am getting too old for these kinds of things!

Daniel wins the husband of the year award, because he spent the afternoon taking care of the girls while I helped get the party ready.  Then he skipped the party and stayed home all night with the girls, because we couldn't find a babysitter.  And while I was out partying, he also cleaned up our whole house!!

Here are more details than you probably ever wanted to know about our party!

Heather and I make a good party planning team.  She likes to do all the food and party games, and I like to do the decor and crafty things.  So all credit for the menu and food preparation goes to her.   Our menu included:

Oreo peanut butter brownie cupcakes and a golden tuxedo cookie cake

 Mini spinach quiche bites and ham and cheddar cornbread bites
Golden Hollywood punch and  Homemade Panera mac n cheese

 Tiramisu trifles and a popcorn bar (with various popcorns, seasonings and mix ins).  The popcorn bar idea was inspired by this.

 The decor was inspired by this gold and black New Year's Eve party.    I just love the look of the sparkling gold paired with the black and white stripes.

I throw a lot of parties, and I don't have a lot of money, so I have found that it is necessary to recycle many old party supplies and reuse them over and over again for different parties.  I decorated these votive candle holders for my book club last month, and the sparkling gold wrappers were perfect for this party too.  I just took off the pink paper and the rhinestone, made the Oscar party tag and attached it to the front...voila, it's like a brand new candle!
I also LOVE these white frames from Ikea and use them all the time for parties.  It is so easy to just switch out the papers inside and create a totally new look with the same frames.  The frames are only 99 cents, and next time I am at Ikea, I am going to buy 10 more!
 One more recycled party item:  these office binder clips that serve as name cards for the food.  I cannot even count the number of times I have used these same clips.  They are large binder clips, and then I just tape paper on them and tie ribbon around them.  So easy to switch out and redecorate with a new theme!

Each year we have a packet for each party guest, which includes a ballot, a bingo card, and usually several papers that we use to play games throughout the night.  I saw this idea on Pinterest, and I just had to copy it.  It matched our theme perfectly!!  I bought the bags through this Etsy shop.  I used the template provided here, and traced the Oscar statue onto sparkling gold cardstock.  Then I cut them all out and attached them to the bags.  I did not love this idea while I was cutting out all those statues, but I did love the final product!

For favors, I got these little gold boxes from Oriental Trading (I also go the black/white striped table runners from there).  Inside I put some gold wrapped candy (Werthers and Rolos), then I finished them off with some black satin ribbon and Oscar party tags.  I thought these were super cute.  Too bad we forgot to pass them out to about half of our guests before they left!
I folded the napkins to look like envelopes.  But I think they looked too pretty, because hardly anyone used them!!
OK, that is just about everything!  Heather planned some games for everyone to play to try to keep the show interesting, but once the party actually got started I didn't take many pictures.  Here is one group shot while everyone was consulting their ballots and bingo cards during the show:
Whew, just putting this post together has worn me out.  Good thing I have a few months before the next big party (Isla's 2nd birthday in May!).

Saturday, February 23, 2013

February 23: Randomness

We did take the girls out to play in the snow yesterday morning.  We woke up and it was 33 degrees, so we hurried outside to make sure they had a little play time before the snow melted too much.  As we were playing, it was raining.  Or at least it felt like rain; it was really just all the snow melting from the trees.

Daniel and Audrey attempted a snowman, but Audrey didn't show much interest in helping.  All she wanted to do was put on the carrot for his nose.  She was not afraid to walk in the snow (as she has been in the past), and she was not afraid to touch the snow (as she also has been in the past).  I think she had fun,  but she was also eager to come inside for some hot chocolate!
Isla was not a big fan of the snow.  She was also not a fan of the hat I made her wear.  I did get her to kick the snow once with her foot, and she thought that was funny.  But that was the only contact she made with the snow.
Daniel also took Isla for a ride down the street on this little sled.  She didn't give much reaction, so I'm not sure what she thought about her ride.

I also got new glasses yesterday.  The girls weren't exactly encouraging when I came home wearing them.  Audrey told me they looked funny and were too big, so I should just take them off.  Isla kept pointing at my face and shaking her head no.   They just made me feel so good about myself!!  =)

I have never liked the way I look in glasses.  I normally only wear my glasses at home, and most of the time I just wear my contacts.  It stresses me out so much to try to pick out a pair, and it has been at least seven years since I bought a new pair of glasses.  I probably spent 45 minutes trying on pair after pair after pair, and eventually they all looked the same!  I ended up just grabbing two pairs (it was cheaper to get two than just one) and going with looking back.

Here is the first pair, and also the pair that I like the most (out of the two I bought):
 And pair #2, I'm not so much a fan of these.  I need to get them adjusted, because they sit really crooked on my face.  Maybe once they are straight, I will like them better.  But I'm not feeling it.

 Speaking of glasses, Isla has been all about sunglasses the past two days.  I think seeing me in glasses makes her want to wear her own.  Why do little kids always put glasses on upside down?  Audrey did the same thing at this age...too funny!  Isla really wanted to take her glasses with her at bathtime tonight, so I let her.  Then she was more than willing to pose with them for a couple of pictures!

My friend Heather and I are getting ready for our big Oscar party tomorrow night.  This party planning stuff is a lot of work!!  I will have much more to post about that after the party, but for now, here are two sneak peeks.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

February 21: Snow!

It snowed this afternoon!  Probably about four inches of snow or so, and now there is some sort of sleet/freezing rain coming down.

I'm not a huge fan of snow, but there is something exciting about watching the snow as it first falls to the ground.  There were some huge snowflakes this afternoon!  It was fun to get Isla up from her nap and show her the snow outside.  She wanted to go to all the windows and doors in the house and look outside at the snow.

I have watched with guilt as many of my friends have posted pictures of their kids playing in the snow today.  My kids did not play in the snow.  Isla was sleeping, then I was fixing dinner, and then it was dark.  So I had good excuses!  And honestly, the idea of playing in the cold, wet snow is just miserable to me.  I told Audrey we would go out and play in the snow tomorrow (conveniently, when Daniel is off work!). 

My idea of fun on a snowy day is to put on PJ's and find things to keep us warm and cozy.  I had my sweats on by 3:00 today!  Then I made homemade chicken noodle soup and homemade bread for dinner.  We also had snow ice cream for dessert.

Now, Daniel and I are getting ready to watch a movie while snuggled under warm blankets.  Maybe with some hot chocolate too!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February 20: Isla's Speech

Isla had her speech and developmental evaluations with Early Intervention this week.  Wouldn't you know that once it was time for these evaluations to happen Isla FINALLY started talking?!

When I scheduled these appointments a few weeks ago, Isla was saying about 5-6 words.  She wasn't really repeating anything we said, and she hadn't added any new words to her vocabulary in about six months.

Then last week, right before her evaluations, she started repeating things and saying 10-15 words consistently!  I would be annoyed about her timing with this, if I wasn't so excited!!  =)

She still has a ways to go, but she has made huge progress in such a short time.  In her evaluations, they were very pleased with how she is doing.  They said she might be a few months behind, but she is not far enough behind to qualify for speech therapy.  So, this is exciting!!  It's really fun to hear her start to say more and talk back to us.

Here are the words she is saying right now:
1.  Mama
2.  Dadda
3.  Bye-bye
4.  Ball
5.  Duck
6.  Bubble
7.  Go
8.  Cracker
9.  Baby
10. Block
11.  Hello
12.  Shoe
13.  Juice
14.  Down

These are the sounds she will make right now:
- "Baa" for sheep
- "Woof" for dog
- "ooo" for cow
- "cack, cack" for duck
- "ooh, ooh, ah, ah" for monkey
- "choo-choo" for train
- "la, la, la" for Elmo

She has been trying to sing more songs lately, and though she doesn't get many of the words, she does occasionally match pitch a little.  Here are a few of her favorite songs to try to sing:
-The Wheels on the Bus (her absolute favorite!)
-I Love You (from Barney)
-Hot Dog (from Mickey Mouse)
-Elmo's World (maybe this girl watches too much TV???)
-I See the Light (from Tangled, she likes to sing along when this plays on our Rapunzel doll)
-Baby Mine (this has always been her bedtime song.  She likes to hold her babies and try to sing this song to is so, so cute!)

Monday, February 18, 2013

February 18: Catching Up

I took an unplanned break from blogging the past few days.  All weekend, I kept telling myself that I should blog, but I never did.  I also kept telling myself that I should clean my house, but I didn't do that either!

Here are a couple of pictures that my friend Lindsey sent me from the weekend.  On Friday night, Daniel and I went out for a date night.  Lindsey and Adam watched the girls at their house.  They all seemed to have a good time, especially Isla.  I think she ate her weight in pasta!

On Sunday afternoon, Lindsey and Elliot invited Audrey to go to a music class with them.  After class, they went to Baskin Robbins for ice cream.  These two always talk about how they are going to get married when they get older.  I don't even know how the whole marriage talk started, but they take it very seriously.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day!

The girls woke up today to open up their final Valentine's day gift.  Audrey got a Mulan doll.  This was the one thing on her Christmas list (which contained three things) that she did not get, and she has been patiently waiting for it.  She actually found it on the shelf at Walgreens a few weeks ago, and since these Mulan dolls aren't regularly shelved in stores any more, I figured Valentine's Day was a good excuse to get it for her. 
 Isla got a Lady and the Tramp Little People play set.  I just love the Disney line of Little People stuff.  The girls got the princess castle for Christmas, so now they have a couple of dogs to play in their castle with them!  Isla wanted to play with her new toys while she was eating breakfast.
Then Daniel surprised us with flowers and cards for his three girls!!  I should have taken a picture of the three of us with the flowers, but I failed...again.
Audrey had her Valentine's Day party at school today.  We decided to order photo Valentine's day cards from Pear Tree Greetings, since we had this adorable picture of Audrey hugging her teddy bear! 
The cards were really cute, but when I got them yesterday afternoon (yes, I waited until the last minute!), they did not have any envelopes.  They were supposed to come with envelopes, and I was annoyed, because I planned to tape candy to outside of the envelope.  Pear Tree Greetings apologized for their mistake and credited me back half the cost, so I didn't stay annoyed for too long.  I just had to be creative in figuring out how to package the Valentines.  I found some clear envelopes down in my craft supply stash, and they ended up working perfectly to hold Audrey's card and her candy treat.

For Audrey's teachers, I used an idea that I found here.  I found the measuring cups at the dollar store, then filled them with a Valentine's bag filled with Hershey's kisses.  I printed out the tag (provided for free at the link above) which read "You measure up to be a really sweet teacher," and tied it on to the cup.  Super easy, and I thought they turned out really cute.
On Thursday nights, we usually cook dinner for my friend Lindsey and her family (and on Monday nights, she cooks for us).  I tried to make our meal a little festive tonight.   I included some fruit with their meal and typed up little tags to go with them.
Then Audrey and I made Valentine heart cupcakes.  I used this technique found on Pinterest and put a marble in each cupcake tin, creating a heart-like shape.  Without icing, the cupcakes did look heart-ish, though they didn't really look like hearts.  However, once we added the icing in a heart shape, they looked much better.
That's about it for our Valentine's Day today.  Daniel and I are hoping to go out and celebrate Valentine's Day with a date night this weekend.

I'm still not feeling the greatest, and I am so annoyed by that.  It's been almost two weeks since I have felt normal, ugh!  I do feel better than I did a week ago, so I guess that is a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Valentine's Week: Day #4

This morning, the girls got an M&M filled heart, with a tag that said "have a Magnificent and Marvelous day."
We all enjoyed a few M&M's at 6:30 am this morning, which is when Audrey woke up (and in turn woke all of us up) because she was excited to see what her present was going to be today!

We did not take any treats to anyone today, because I totally forgot about it.  Oh well, we have plenty of treats to give away tomorrow.  I just finished getting all of Audrey's valentines ready for her class.  She is so, so excited about passing them out tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentine's Day #3, plus a new word for Isla and an appearance from Cindy Lou Who

For day #3, the girls got bubbles, with a tag that said, "You blow me away."
The bubbles were a big hit with both girls!  We always seem to buy the cheap bubbles that don't work very well, but these were really good bubbles.  Audrey had no trouble blowing them, and they stayed together really well, bouncing and landing on the carpet where Isla could smash them. 

 And with this new toy, Isla said "bubble" a lot.  She has said "bubble" before, but never consistently, and I was never quite sure if she really meant it.  She probably said it 25 times today!  And she said another new word...cracker!  It was really clear, and she said it several times while eating her graham cracker.  I was shocked.  In the past week, she has also started to say "go" and "uh-oh".  So with the addition of these four words, she has doubled her vocabulary.  Just in time for her upcoming speech evaluation!  This video shows her saying "bubble" and "cracker" though it isn't very clear.

I made up another batch of cheesecake stuffed strawberries and packaged them up for the secretaries at church.  They are always giving the girls treats whenever we stop by the office, so I thought it would be nice to give them a treat too!  And of course, they couldn't let the girls walk away empty handed, so Audrey and Isla left with some chocolates and a Fruit by the Foot.

On a side note, Audrey has been obsessed with the Grinch lately.  It is really random, but we found the movie recorded on our DVR the other day, and she watched it.  Tonight, she wanted me to fix her hair like Cindy Lou Who's hair.  I tried my best, and this is how it looked:
 Audrey loved it.  She then wanted to sing "Where are you, Christmas?" from the Grinch soundtrack (which I found for her on Spotify).  I wish I had recorded her singing it, because she is so cute and serious about it.  But she would not let me stay in the room while she was singing, because she said I would smile and clap and she didn't like that.  She sang along with the song over and over and over again.

Audrey remained in character as Cindy Lou Who for the rest of the night.  And she really was in character!  She talked in a different voice, she had a fake laugh, even her posture was different.  She kept walking around the house and acting like she was from a different place (Whoville, I guess!).  She would point to things and say, "What is this?  I've never seen this before?"  She kept introducing herself to Isla and telling Isla that she was so adorable.  It really was hilarious.  I caught a few little clips on video, but this doesn't even begin to do justice to her entire act.  (Her hair was majorly falling out by this point in the night!)

Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine's Week: Day 2

Today, the girls got glow sticks, with a tag that said "You make my heart glow."  I meant to take a picture of the girls with their glow sticks, but I forgot.  They did seem to really like them...for about 10 minutes or so!

I told Audrey that she could pick one person to give a Valentine's treat today.  She picked her friend Cael.  When I asked her what she wanted to give Cael, she said she wanted to go to the dollar store and pick out a boy toy for him.  So that's what we did!  She picked out a Batman magic towel that starts small and grows into a hand towel when you get it wet.  She also made him a card.

We took the gift to Cael's house tonight and gave them a call first to make sure they were home.  Amy shared this picture of Cael anxiously waiting by the window for us to get there!
I meant to take a picture of Audrey and Cael while we were there, but obviously I stink at taking pictures these days.  Plus, I was distracted by the fact (and the smell) that Amy's house was about ready to burn down!  Thankfully we smelled the pan burning on the stove before it actually did start a fire.  And thankfully, my sense of smell is starting to return to normal so I could smell the burning pan on the stove.  I still don't feel great, but surely normal health will return to me soon!!