Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Thank Heaven for Little Girls

Eight years ago Mike and I began our journey down the precarious, frightening, and depressing world of Assistive Reproduction Technology. Through ups and downs and too many losses to discuss, we finally received our miracle....

Follicals - October 2003

Chloe Elizabeth Cross was born at 8:01pm after an emergency induction nearly 6 weeks before her due date. When we were finally able to bring her home she weighed exactly 5 pounds (they wouldn't let her leave the hospital until she met that milestone). She was smaller than a Cabbage Patch Kid.


July 2004

For her 1st birthday we had a Luau party, and I started my tradition of making all the invitations for my kiddos' birthday parties. I wish I had one of the invitations - I thought I saved one but I've never been able to find it. They were pretty basic!!

June 2005

I do have a really bad scan of the thank you cards I made, though. :)

>
For her 2nd birthday we did a "bouncy ball" theme because all she liked at that time was balls. She was in Early Childhood Intervention, Bradley was a baby, and I was pretty exhausted all the time. But, the invitations were still cute.


June 2006

For her 3rd birthday we celebrated at Build-a-bear and I made these amazing cards. I won't be modest - they pretty much rock. lol.

June 2007


For her 4th birthday we celebrated her love of all things crawly with a Ladybug Party. I created a really cool ladybug card for her invitations that I'm pretty proud of.

June 2008

And today she is FIVE. We had her party a couple of weeks ago, but today she and I spent the day together.


June 2009

She wanted to go to Build-a-bear, so we did. She got her first Bear (who she named MyMy) when she was 2, her second when she was 3 at her BAB party (she named her MaeMae), her fourth when we convinced her and Bradley to give up their pacifiers (which we call "ninnies") by putting them in BAB animals (so she has Ninnie Dog). Today she got a cute rabbit who she named Sunny Bunny.


She got pizza and salad for lunch and then enjoyed delicious sweet cream ice cream from Marble Slab. That's a birthday cake flavored ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. You can still just barely make out that baby face... but it's quickly disappearing behind those big girl eyes.


Happy Birthday, Miracle Girl. Mama loves you.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Beat the Summer Blues! (part 1)

I don't know about you, but we are HOT here in Houston! Our temperatures have been over 100 pretty much every day, so it's even too hot to go to the pool. So, we are having to find all kinds of things to keep us busy inside the house where we won't melt!

Here in Houston there are a lot of places to go to beat the heat: the zoo, aquarium, museums, libraries, shopping centers, pizza places, etc. We are members of the Houston Museum of Natural Science as well as the Houston Zoo, but I don't want to spend money (or gas) every day.

But, when we are sequestered in our house the kids get bored. Quickly. And mama can only watch Toy Story so many times before *I* start wanting to blow things up. To avoid this dangerous activity I have had to plan things more carefully to keep everyone busy and away from explosives. (Don't look at me like that - you know what I'm talking about!!)

To save you from coming up with activities all by yourself, I'll share some of the things we've been doing to save ourselves from boredom. In addition to coloring books and play dough, the kids have exercised their creative sides in these fun and inexpensive projects:

Activity #1: Perler Bead Fun



Perler Beads have been around for a long time (I had them when I was a kid and we won't talk about how long ago THAT was!) but still provide countless hours of entertainment for the 5 and up set. Chloe's fine motor skills are just honed enough to enjoy this craft, but Bradley is still too young. Plus these little beads could be a choking hazard, so you'll want to keep your 3-and-unders busy with a different project while your older kiddos are working on it. Perler does sell a selection of Big Beads for kids 3-5 for use with a special Big Bead Board. I don't have any, though, so I can't give you any info about them.



You can buy Perler Activity Kits for as low as $2 at the Perler Store (which also has a ton of sale items), or if you want to save on shipping you can find them at craft stores such as Hobby Lobby and Michaels or discount stores like Wal-Mart and Target. Perlers come in kits, collections of beads, and bulk sets. The collections of beads come in a wide range of colors including glow-in-the-dark (my kids' favorite).

Kids can fill a Perler board to the exact shape, or use guides in the Perler idea book to make fun shapes like bugs, flowers, people, and more. The Perler website also has a great gallery that your kiddos can browse for ideas, as well as specific Perler patterns.

I sort the beads by color family (shades of green together, blues together, etc) because I am OCD and because it makes it easier for the kids to find the beads they want to use. It can get messy digging through a big bag to find a specific color.

Perler projects do require some adult assistance because after the beads are on the boards they need to be ironed to melt them together. Each kit comes with directions on how to do this and it is incredibly simple - but you do need wax paper (comes with the kits) and an iron that can be set for "no" or "low" steam.

The possibilities are limitless - kids can make holiday crafts, coasters, key chains, window bobs, decorations, even 3D items like boxes! They'll have fun and you can turn off Noggin for a while and imagine a world without Moose and Zee!

Have fun, stay cool, and keep crafting!



(part 2 coming soon!)

Monday, June 22, 2009

Precious Blog Award

I got this award last week from Kristine, but I was so busy with staff development the first 3 days, and planning and executing Chloe's party the rest of the week I didn't have time to add it to my blog.

I am so blessed to get this award, "The Exalting Christ Blog Award" from my sweet crafting friend. Even though we only know each other "online" I wish we lived next door to each other! She's the kind of person who sends RAKS just because - and even sent my mom the sweetest card when she had fallen and broken three ribs! Be sure to visit her blog if you haven't because her art will blow you away. :)

This blog award is given to bloggers who consistently exalt the name of Christ on their blogs. What a joy to see crafters blend their passion for Christ and paper crafting. This award is given to bloggers who share Christ through their posts or through the design of their artwork. We are commanded in Scripture to be 'salt and light' sharing the Good News of Jesus no matter where we are (Matthew 5:13-16). This award is just a way members of Women to Women: Sharing Jesus can say thanks for exalting Christ with us!

Rules:

  1. Post the blog award in a regular post on your blog with the explanation, including the original link to WTW and the rules for passing the award along.
  2. Name five people (more or less is fine!) to whom you want to offer this award and link to their blogs. The blogs need to obviously exalt Christ in some manner.
  3. Contact the bloggers you have named to let them know they can pick up their blog award from you.
  4. Invite them to permanently display the WTW blog badge and/or the award on their blogs.
So, here are my 5 blogging sisters who exalt Christ, even on their blogs! :)

  1. Courtney. She is just as sweet as can be and is always ready to give encouragement. She has a daily Bible verse up and a link if anyone would like to know more about her faith.
  2. Becca. One look at her work and you can see that God gave her an extra measure of talent! She is incredibly gifted and uses her art to bring glory to God.
  3. Taylor. From her weekly challenges, to her amazing stamps she is always quick to give praise to God for her successes.
  4. Jamie. She's not a crafter, but she wants to be! She is just an amazingly honest mom willing to share her joys and trials so that we can all grow together. I :heart: her.
  5. Crystal. I'm new to her blog, but so far I really like it. She's a scrapbooker and her style is spectacular!
So now it's up to them to spread the encouragement!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Perfect Fairy Princess Party

Planning a birthday party for your own little fairy princess? Just follow these easy steps! Remember that you can't plan your party in a day, or even a week - so be sure to get started at least 2 months in advance. (I'm already planning our Perfect Pirate Party for October!)

Step 1: The Theme

Your kiddo is probably already telling you what theme she wants - for this tutorial we're going with Fairy Princesses. You've got to have your theme before you can do anything else! :)

Step 2: The Invitations

I wrote about the invitations a while back, but here's another picture. The ones I sent out didn't have the extra bling that Chloe's has. :)

Your time line is important if you are making invitations. You want to mail them out at least 3 weeks from the date of the party, so that means you need to start making them at least 4 weeks out from the event. And so you'll have to buy your materials at least that far out, or longer if you are ordering (say from your favorite Stampin' Up! demonstrator who will also help you put together an awesome design!). So get your theme idea ready way ahead of time!!

This invitation is a postcard style - it doesn't open up like a card, you just flip it over for the information (save your card stock!). The wording reads:

It's a Fairy Princess Party
(but Frog Princess can come, too).
The Meadow will be blooming
with many things to do.
We hope that you will join us
to laugh, eat, and play.
At the Royal Celebration of
Princess Chloe's Fifth Birthday!

And then it has the details (time, location, etc.)


Step 3: The tableware

You can stick with solid colors for the most cost effective table ware - places like Party City often have them on sale (shop throughout the year - you can find pretty pastels on sale after Easter, cute hearts after Valentine's Day, etc). We found ours in the clearance aisle at Hobby Lobby - only $.99 for each pack of 8! They didn't have any of the matching elements, but we just got solid colored napkins in our theme colors from a party store.



For drinks you can always go with the steady standby of juice boxes, but we wanted to have punch in an elegant bowl, so I found these adorable plastic champagne glasses at our local HEB for only $3.99 for a bag of 24! I added the little princess crown to each one for some extra flair.



Step 4: The Food

Food is one of the most important things at a party! Sometimes it's hard to stick with your theme in this area, but as long as the food is good it's okay. :)

Our party was from 2-4 so we wouldn't be serving a meal (important to consider - if your party is from 10-12 you might serve a light lunch, if it's from 11-1 you will have to serve a full lunch, 4-6 will need a full dinner, etc). But, we wanted to have lots of Fairy Princess themed snacks. So, we had Princess Punch (baby shower staple: sherbet and lemon-lime soda) with maraschino cherries to add to the top. We had Fruit Wands with fruit dip (so yummy - cream cheese, yogurt, and cool whip). We also made Magic Pretzel Wands (candy-dipped pretzel sticks sprinkled with sugar crystals) - but I forgot to put them out! Oops! We also had carrot and celery sticks with spinach/dill dip and chips and queso. The Fruit Wands were a big hit!



Step 5: Accessories

No fairy princess would ever be seen without her magic wand, so we had one available for each guest. I found them online for only $.30 each and shipping was only $2! The girls LOVED them.



We didn't do a pinata this time, but each guest was allowed to decorate a goody bag (white lunch sacks $1.99 for 40) with stickers (from my stash) and colored pencils. This was a nice "cool down" activity as the party was winding down. After they decorated their bags they got to select items from the treasure stash.


We had four Frog Princes in attendance, so they got squirty frogs and blow-up swords ($1.50 each from a party store) which kept them occupied the entire time. We'll be getting more of these for our Pirate Party this fall!


The first thing the guests did when they arrived was make their Princess or Prince crowns. The princess sets came with 6 crowns, foam letters and bling, and a carrying tote for $3.99. I made the prince crowns by altering foam visors (on sale for $.22 each). I also provided plastic self-adhesive gems for some added glitz. Everyone had fun making their crowns.



Step 6: The Decorations

We had a lot of fun decorating - and although it took some time, it looked lovely. We had 4 rolls of streamers (2/$1 at a party store), several balloons, and a lot of card stock from my stash. We made the big flowers for the walls with my new SU! Circle Scissor Plus and retiring Kiwi Kiss ribbon. My niece and I made 10 of them to have around the party areas. I bought a helium tank at a discount store for only $18 and only used 1/3 of the helium, so we'll have plenty for the next couple of parties. My niece also did all the streamers - she decorated the railings, fire place, columns... pretty much if it was still, she decorated it.


Step 6: The Cake

Let's face it, store bought cakes are expensive. You are going to spend at least $30 if you buy a cake from the store - even if you buy it from a grocery store. If you go to a bakery it's going to cost triple that or more!! So, we made cupcakes. I bought 2 boxes of cake mix ($.89 each), 4 tubs of icing ($1 each), 1 box of sugar cones ($1.99), and some yummies for decoration (m&ms, cinnamon hots, and sprinkles). I made Chloe's castle cake:


And then we laid out the supplies for each guest to make his/her own castle cupcake! This was MESSY, but a lot of fun!



Step 7: The Outfit

We just used one of my niece's old Easter dresses, added dress-up shoes and wings, and did her hair in a pretty bun. I added bobby pins with rhinestones on the ends to give her hair a little extra sparkle. You could do something as simple as jeans and a cute t-shirt (with wording that says "I'm the Princess") or a sundress.


Success!!!

All the princesses had a wonderful time. So did the princes, but they aren't in the picture because they were beating each other with swords.


I wonder what we'll do next year! In the meantime, I have to figure out how to make treasure maps for Bradley's party.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Theology According to Chloe

Chloe: God has to do what I say.

Me: Well, not really, honey.

Chloe: Oh, yes He does!

Me: Why do you think that?

Chloe: God loves me because God loves everything He made.

Me: Yes.

Chloe: When you love someone you want them to be happy.

Me: Uh-huh...

Chloe: When people do what I tell them to do it makes me happy.

Me: Yes, but...

Chloe: And since God wants me to be happy He will do whatever I say.

Me: Okay, let's start from the top....

Monday, June 15, 2009

Country Living Summer Cookout Kit!

Country Living Summer Cookout Kit

Dates: June 15 - August 31, 2009 or while supplies last

Promotion Details

Take advantage of all the Summer Fun the Country Living Summer Cookout Kit can bring to your summer. This summer, Stampin' Up! has partnered with Country Living magazine to create a unique craft kit, which they will feature in their July 2009 issue. You will love how it can help you create special memories with a fun and convenient, coordinated summer barbeque!

Item #

Description

Price

118070

Country Living Summer Cookout Kit $24.95

The exclusive Country Living Summer Cookout Kit includes the following products:

  • 8 die-cut table tents (2 each of 4 colors)
  • Die-cut components, bamboo skewers, and envelopes to create 8 shish kabob invitations
  • 12 die-cut coasters (3 each of 4 colors)
  • 16 die-cut tags (4 each of 4 colors)
  • 24 12" x 12" printed food wrapper sheets (12 each of 2 colors)
  • 4 printed recipe cards
  • 5 yards linen thread
  • Ruby Red Classic Stampin' Spot
  • Night of Navy Classic Stampin' Spot
  • Dig In stamp set (item number 116700)
Note: the kit does not include tablecloths, plates, or flatware

ORDER YOUR KIT ON-LINE HERE!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

So busy!

Wow! It's just a bit over one week into summer break and I haven't had a moment's rest! I have some staff development this week (Mon-Wed) and more next week (just Wed). Chloe is going to a play group every Wednesday for kids who will all be in Kindergarten at the same school in the fall. We've been to the library once (not a complete success...oops). I'm working on several yard and house projects. I finally finished a HUGE scrapbooking project I've been working on since February (and I gave it away without taking pictures. I'm totally going to steal it back so I can document that I worked on it!!). I still have graduate school every Wednesday night. And I'm trying to get everything in place for Chloe's 5th birthday party, which is just 5 days away and still needs some major prep.

*breathe*

What about YOU? How is your summer going?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Theology According to Chloe

Chloe: Mommy, how many faces does God have?

Me: Faces?

Chloe: He must have a LOT of faces!

Me: What do you mean?

Chloe: God watches over all of us and keeps us safe. But there are a LOT of people all over the world. That's a lot of faces.

Me: I think God just has one face...

Chloe: Then He must have a TON of eyes!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Ah, Summer Break!



Resting beauties after a hard hour of splashing in the kiddie pool.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Quicky Tilda Card

I was so busy this week making gifts and cards for people at my work that I almost forgot to make cards for Chloe's teachers!!! Horrible, I know... But, I did manage to stay up late on Thursday to pull together some cute, but relatively simple cards.

Ms. Sarah came to the school for the Spring semester and was WONDERFUL for Chloe. She, too, loves bugs and all things natural. She brought a pet frog for the classroom, and wasn't afraid to get dirty. It was really good for Chloe to have another woman in her life to encourage her love for science and nature.

Here's the card I made for her:


The paper is retiring SU! designer paper that I got a while ago and never used. I really like the colors, even though they aren't my usual combo. I didn't have time to pull out my Big Shot for any texturing since I spent so much time coloring Tilda. :) I was bummed that the sentiment came out a bit crooked - I was too tired to pull out my Stamp-a-ma-jig and suffered the consequences.

Here's a close-up of her. I have so much fun coloring these images - I still have a LOT to learn, though. I want to color like Kristine, Amy, and especially Claudia!! I don't have the Copics selection that Amy and Claudia have, but I think I do okay with my SU! markers!

Tilda has Dazzling Diamonds on her wings and I colored her with SU! inks, markers, and use my ever trusty Blender Pen to do it.

I can't wait to get some of the new images over at KL Stampin N Scrappin! I hope the new SU! catalog has some images in this kind of style that is great for coloring. Just a few more weeks until it will be here!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Monthly Recipe Card Swap!

It's time to start our Recipe Card Swap Club! Recipe cards are fun for many reasons...

  1. You know that box under your counter stuffed with recipes you never use? Well, now you can get them organized and you can actually use them!
  2. You get tired of your own recipes - try some from other crafty folks!
  3. Everyone will be jealous of your gorgeous Recipe Card Albums.
  4. You can keep them or use them as one-of-a-kind gifts.
  5. You get to share your craft talents AND your Grandma's famous recipes.
:)

Here are the rules:


These cards should be your best work - they will be part of treasured albums and I expect to see high quality. If you send poorly made cards I will return them - we have high standards! :) Look at my other samples (click the Recipe Cards link in my sidebar) to see what I mean. They don't have to be full of embellishments or overly complicated, but they have to look good and be made with quality materials.

Recipe Card base needs to be GOOD, thick card stock (Stampin' Up!, Paper Trey Ink, etc) - we don't want flimsy cards! The cards are 6"x6".

Each card needs to have at LEAST 2 layers - use Nesties, patterned paper, card stock layers.

Each card needs to have at LEAST 1 embellishment (brads, ribbon, bling...etc).

And, of course, you need to include a recipe according the theme of the month!

Please only use one side of the card - most people put them back-to-back in the album sleeves. You can, though, put your contact info (name, blog, etc) on the back. Please, also, give credit on the back if the recipe is not your own (or your family's).

Sign-ups close on June 10th and the swaps are due to me by July 10th. Email me to sign up - the first 12 people to email will be allowed in the swap. Once everyone is signed up I'll email you the final count. I'll also email you my address so you know where to send the swaps. Each month the swap will re-open, so if you don't get in on the first one you can get in on the next one!

You need to put them in a protected mailer and you might consider putting them in a large plastic baggie inside the mailer so that they don't get wet (just in case!).

Everyone will make however many sign up +1. I'd like to have at least 10 people per month - so share with your friends!

The theme for June is Summer Appetizers.

I can't wait to get started!
************************************************************************************

EDITED TO INCLUDE SWAPPERS THIS MONTH:

1. Me
2. Kristine Breach
3. Katherine Winter
4. Michelle Robinson
5. Debbie Pamment
6. K. Johnston
7.
8.
9.
10.

We have room for at least 4 more! Please email me your contact information - some people replied to the post, but didn't send me their email addresses. Thank you!
These spots will be open until June 10th! If you are already signed up you can start making your swaps - you'll have at least 6+1 for now.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Last Chance List!

The Last Chance List (formerly known as the Retiring List) is out - so be sure to check my Stampin' Up! website for the list of stamps and accessories that are going away forever! There are some products reduced to 50% off!!! You don't want to miss it - these things are as supplies last so hurry up and start shopping! :)

Additionally, SU! is having a Summer Fun Promotion! If you host a workshop in the month of June you can earn an additional $20 in free products for every $250-$399 workshop or an extra $40 in free products for workshops over $400. Check out my SU! website for more details. I have several dates open on my calendar - and since school is out I can do workshops during the day. What a fun way to kick off summer break!

AND you can take advantage of my fabulous Frequent Stamper Card program - for every workshop held you get 5 punches on your card! (Catalog parties count, too!) When you order online I keep track of your purchases so that you still earn punches on your card.

Call or email if you have any questions or if you'd like to book a workshop!
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