Monday, February 27, 2012

Oscar Night 2012

My neighbor Kara hosted an Oscar Pre-Party this weekend. It was a chance for guests to dress up, chat, and critique the red carpet fashion along with the rest of the crew from E! :)

Several guests dressed up in old bridesmaid dresses, cocktail gowns, and other fun outfits. I was too exhausted from the weekend of partying to attempt to even look for a dress. I brought along a pink boa... but it only lasted on for about 5 minutes and then the itchiness was killing me!

Kara had a great spread of treats and drinks and was the perfect hostess.

Here she is announcing the nomination categories... Best dress, Best accessories, Best hair.

Kara's friend Jill won best dressed for her stylish heirloom dress she inherited from her grandmother. She was pretty stoked that Gwyneth Paltrow was also sporting a cape at the Oscars yesterday :)

It was fun to chat with Kara's friends, get to know new people, and check out all the crazy Oscar fashion.

After the pre-party, I headed home to watch portions of the Oscars with Kevin and Andrew and play with lots of his birthday presents.

Next year I will totally need to be less lame and actually wear an Oscar worthy dress.

Thanks Kara for such a fun afternoon!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Andrew's Lego Birthday Party!

Andrew turned 4 today. He was sooo excited! When we talked about birthday parties he told me he wanted to have a Lego volcano fireman party. It was tricky to combine all three ideas... so I started with just the Lego one. I've been collecting Lego ideas on a birthday pinterest board for awhile. I'm a procrastinator though, so the party mostly came together on Wednesday and Thursday night this week. Thank goodness for awesome creative people on the internet!

I even procrastinated sending out the actual invite... so people just got this jpg in an email. I had grand ideas of giving each kid a little Lego puzzle to use to put together their own invite... but sometimes simple things still turn out ok.

I am anti large kid parties now. I used to love them. Catie can't handle them and Andrew gets crazy at them... Basically I feel like they turn into chaotic events where moms ignore their kids... So instead, Andrew named seven of his close buddies and they were the only guests (plus his cousin Maddie)- no parents (other than Lego helpers). Loved it!

The kids started off the party by making Lego crowns.

Then we broke them into two groups (yellow and orange group- based on their crown color) and they took turns going to two different activities: 1) Lego racing and 2) Printing with Legos (in play-doh).

Then we did Lego relays and played Red Lego, Green Lego (Red Light, Green Light). They were SO INTO the games it was awesome. The intense looks on their faces were hysterical.   

After the relays, we did two more stations where they broke into groups again: 3) Lego painting and 4) Pin the Head on the Lego Man

Then we did a Lego Man Candy walk (like a cake walk) and a Lego scavenger hunt!

By that point they were ready to relax and eat!! For lunch we had mini Lego shaped pizzas, Lego cupcakes, Lego crackers, strawberries, peaches, and go-gurt (all of Andrew's favorite foods). :) 

The kids also got some Lego candies and Lego colored M&Ms to take home.

We ended the party with some balloon craziness and popping giant Legos (made with bubble wrap and butcher paper). 

Each kid got to take home a little baggie of Lego shaped crayons (bought on Etsy) and a little goodie bag filled with a few candies from the party (plus their painted Lego man and crown).

Andrew has been telling me all day how much he loved his party!! The little group of kids we invited from church were seriously adorable. We could not have asked for better guests.

I am so sad the party is over! It was so fun to plan! Good thing we still have another little birthday party with neighbors to look forward to.

Happy Birthday to my favorite 4-year-old ever!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Arise and Shine... spotlighting my cute cousin

I think I've bragged about my cousin Jenny's creativity on this blog before, but just had to share a few pictures. She created this awesome "Arise and Shine Forth" logo to use with the Young Women in her ward. She was nice enough to share the logo with me... little did she know everyone in my YWs would LOVE IT so much that it became the predominant theme of our entire New Beginnings event :)

Thanks Jenny!!

My friend Julie adapted Jenny's logo (bc she didn't have exactly the same font for the bottom word) and used her silhouette machine to create these amazing vinyl designs to then stick on candles. Aren't they so cute? Jenny- doubt you knew that 36 girls in my ward would be looking at your design every night in their rooms for the next several years. Awesome job!

The candles have timers and are battery operated, so the girls can set them to come on each night. My friend Julie talked about how they can be a great reminder to do the little things each day. Just like the candles will consistently burn every night at whatever time they are set, we should also be doing little things like reading scriptures, saying prayers, etc. each night consistently and be working make and keep sacred covenants in the temple. I LOVE the Oakland temple Jenny created as part of this logo. She seriously needs to be setting up her own etsy shop to sell her designs. I would buy them.

We also used Jenny's design for our programs (above) and invitations (the right side I designed... not as cute as her image, but it worked).

There were so many people complimenting the gorgeous images last night at our New Beginnings program. Jenny is not someone to brag, but she has seriously fabulous design talents... so I had to share.

Lastly, had to end this post with a cute picture of my Catie bug. Love this girl. We went to a fun park in San Mateo yesterday on our trip to pick Kevin up at SFO. She was cracking me up with how much she wanted to be a big kid like Andrew. It is amazing how much she grew up even more while we were on our Florida trip.

Love her!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Working Hard

I have far too much blogging to catch up on. I just realized I never posted about Valentine's Day... and now I have our whole trip to Florida to write about. So many fun memories to revisit!!

While I'm sorting through all the pictures, I thought I'd share some fun news. I think I mentioned in a previous post that I am a contributing writer at a kids blog. This week was my first post, so I thought I'd share it about it.

I'm now the weekly contributor on Monday mornings for a blog called Quirky Momma. It is a blog filled with activities for kids of all ages- babies up to middle school.

This week I shared a Lego activity that Andrew and I came up with... which then I also used for his Lego birthday party invites. It is new for me to actually get paid to blog, so hopefully I do a good job. If you want to go over and check out the post (and leave a comment to make me feel popular ;)) I'd love it. I won't spam this blog very often and talk about new blog job, but if you want to "Like" my Toddler Approved Facebook page (if you don't already) then you can just see updates there.

I just got another paid contributing blogger position that I'll share about when that starts too. I'm anxious to have a large chunk of change for Mrs. Fields cookies... so it looks like my dream is coming true ;)

Alright... off to sort through pictures and start posting about all the fun we've been up to over the past week or so!

Monday, February 13, 2012

I Wheelie Like You Valentines

Today was one of those days when I was wishing I could just buy a simple pack of Cars-themed Valentines and be done with them... but all the gazillions of ideas floating around on my Valentine's Day collaborative pinterest board would not let me rest until I came up with something semi cute and homemade.

Andrew and I did heart-stamping yesterday with toilet paper tubes (which then turned into stamping with hands, elbows, arms, etc. by the end of the activity).

Today we took a trip to Target (in the pouring rain) to find little cars. I wanted race cars, but they were out of the cheap ones, so we settled for little car erasers.

Then I made a little tag and taped the erasers onto the card.

I am still a little bit depressed that Andrew's preschool doesn't allow any candy. That isn't a deal breaker for me (since he eats plenty of treats at home), but I love making cute little things with candy attached to them...

Anyways, these were fun to make.

We also deemed today Little Sister Day at our house... so we worked on being kind to Catie all day and doing special things for her. It was cute to see what Andrew came up with. My favorite thing he created was a game called "Hide and Tickle"... since she loves getting tickled and getting chased.

After he would count to 20 he would yell, "Ready or not, here I tickle!"

It was SOOO CUTE! Then we made a list of our ten favorite kind things to do for her and shared it on my Toddler Approved blog... since my 100 Acts of Kindness Challenge is wrapping up.

It was a great day! Now it is time to finish getting everything ready for the little kids Valentine's Day party we are throwing tomorrow! There are not enough hours in the day!

Valentines Weekend Fun

In addition to our Friday night couples Valentine's Day party, I also co-hosted a baby shower for this adorable little one this weekend.

My friend Julie got some of the cutest presents ever and we enjoyed eating yummy salads and treats and just chatting with friends.

I also worked on some invitations for our New Beginnings program at church. My cousin Jenny designed the logo on the left side and I attempted to design the invitation part on the right side. They turned out pretty cute and I am so glad I am done. I am terrible at stuff like this. I can't make decisions!

Kevin was my super Saturday night date and spend the evening slaving away helping me set up for the multi-stake dance where I was in charge of decorations. He hung twinkle lights using his tall ladder and convinced the missionaries to come help us blow up about 50 balloons. :) The Stake YW's President was quite impressed with his taping skills as he helped hang garlands from the party tables as well.

I was so glad a bunch of other friends and young women came and also helped decorate. We are decorating again on Tuesday for another Valentine's Day dance too. My favorite thing we decorated with were about 100 conversation hearts that the girls created. They wrote some really funny things. After we were done hanging decorations, Kevin and I had dinner at CPK. I was in heaven drinking my diet Roy Rogers and inhaling my tomato basil spagettini (sp?).

Sunday came far too quickly and we left for church feeling like a bomb had gone off in our house. Kids were screaming and everyone was rushing around... sitting in church was so peaceful in comparison. While we were gone at church, our cute neighbors came and "heart attacked" our bedroom doors.

Andrew and I also attempted taking photos for some Valentine's Day cards... but then we went a different direction and wound up with paint on practically every surface of Andrew's body. :)

I also spent some time this weekend working on blogging stuff. I am beginning a little paid gig as a contributing writer on a Kids Craft and Activities blog. My first post is next Monday (President's Day). I'm calling it my "cookie job" since the $$ I make will be used to fuel my Mrs. Fields addiction and will be saved for house projects. Love it when I can get paid to do something I love and am already doing.

So glad it is Monday! Time to relax :)

Seriously, I purposely leave Monday unscheduled because the weekends tend to be so crazy. Our only goal today is to put laundry away and work out. I am so grateful for Kevin who did all the weekend dishes last night so that I didn't have to start my Monday with them staring at me.

Have a great day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Friday Valentines Fun

and other Valentinesy fun...

We hosted our first couples Valentine's Day Party this weekend. This little dude was my super helper... and especially loved "helping" frost the cake (meaning, lick the bowl and knife after I was done).  

On Friday afternoon I was thinking I might be throwing the party by myself (since Kevin was delayed on his flight home from Kentucky)... but all prayers were answered and he arrived home 15 minutes before the party started. Hurray! Throwing a party with eleven couples plus me might have been a bit of a bummer, though I had resigned to make it fun whether or not Kevin made it.

We had loads of treats and goodies and each guest brought either an appetizer or a dessert. I restrained myself and only made a chocolate cake and bean dip appetizer (usually for parties I make 4-5 things). I also grab some festive Mrs. Fields cookies. :)

Kim and Jules sent along a little Valentine's Day gift that we snacked on too... "we" meaning me and Kevin while we cleaned up. Yum!

Every time I make a bundt cake I just never quite know if the frosting is going to look good. This cake turned out really pretty though and I love my new cake stand from my mom. I don't think you can ever have too many cake stands (this is maybe my 6th?)... and this one is especially adorable.

I fully support women buying flowers for themselves. Fresh flowers just make me happy. There were so many gorgeous flowers at the store, but I loved this bouquet the best. Kevin always gets me some for our anniversary or Valentine's Day (next week), so I figured these could fill in until then ;)

(table before all the other food arrived)

The party was a smashing success. We laughed because for the first hour we felt like we were back in middle school with the boys in one part of the house and the girls in the other... but then we mixed things up a bit. I snapped photos of anyone who wanted couples pictures in our makeshift photo booth...

and we played an intense version of the Newlywed game. Can you feel the concentration?

These four lucky volunteers got to play while the rest of us cheered them on and attempted to answer questions ourselves. The game was seriously hysterical. It was fun to learn some new things about everyone- and get to know some newer friends better.

Cara was the mastermind behind the game and helped co-host the party with me. She is fabulous!

I definitely want to make this party an annual tradition... I am so grateful for the inspiration from creative party hostess Hayley. We used to go to her V-day party every year when we lived in the South Bay, so now we're spreading the love to the East Bay. :)

The best part of the party was that our kids went to sleep, we were insanely loud for almost three hours, and they NEVER bothered us. That was unexpected and awesome.

Our Friday night party was only the beginning of the weekend party festivities. I am exhausted and will blog about all the other fun events later this weekend/week.

Off to go eat some more leftover chocolate cake!