We have had lots of struggles and challenges in our lives, but we've had even more blessings!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Analyse's 3rd Birthday - Part 2 - Decorations at the party

   In Part 1, I shared how-to's and pictures of the decorations we (Analyse and I) had made ahead of time for her 3rd  birthday. I thought you might enjoy seeing how they looked at the party.
    We 'strung' balloons. I used fishing line off of a big spool and a large eyed needle.
I had gotten the idea off of pinterst (surprised? o:->) (this pin). The pin had originated off of the blog 'A Girl and A Boy' (THIS particular posting).
                                               June 2012 #309

   I strung the balloons. Byron and Brandon hung them from the little metal hooks already in the walls (they hang Christmas lights from there during that season). And then I held Analyse up to help spread the balloons out.

    FOR  WHAT  IT'S  WORTH - we also did this method for hanging balloons, at the graduation open house we did for Erin. Both times the balloons had this thing for tangling themselves around one another on the fishing line. THEREFORE, from now on, I intend to connect one end of a length of the wire where we want them hung, then start stringing the balloons to it, connect the opposite end, then spread them out. Betting it will ease the process tremendously!

    At the far end of the room, we hung the birthday banner cards I had made last year. You can find the 'how - to' HERE.
   And closer up's of the three words -
    An overview of the side of the room where the Balloon Wreath was hung. (The ceiling fan kept the thing spinning a lot.  Next time I'd string each side to the balloon strings)
    An overview of the Ribbon Wreath side of the room.

   And a close up of the Food Buffet.
   We served make your own chili dogs (1/4 pound hot dogs, buns, chili sauce, shredded cheese, ketchup, mustard, chopped onions), A couple of types of veggies and dip, potato chips, pink lemonade and chocolate cupcakes.

    { As always, you can see any of the pictures larger by clicking on them }

     This concludes Part 2 of Analyse's 3rd Birthday - Decorations at the party.

     Part 1 was - Preparations for the Party

     Part 3 - Fun at the party, will be coming soon in a posting on this site.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


    Benson and I got to discussing words last evening. We both love them. He has a far better grasp on how to properly use them than I do, but that doesn't stop my continuing attempts.
    We love how putting certain words together, can create all types of sensations. Sometimes the combination is made up of words that suddenly make you hungry. Sometimes they make you feel all nostalgic. Other times they cause you to feel totally frustrated. Occasionally they create the sensation of great excitement. I could go on and on with the examples, but my guess is that the words I chose to use, helped you get the idea I am trying to convey. ;->
     We talked about how slippery of things words have a tendency to be. You can have your thoughts all organized, start talking, then suddenly a word or two just totally disappears out of your line up. And of course the now missing word is always one of the majorly important words to getting across what your trying to say. Or it's a person's name. Often the name of the person your talking to! We both agreed that that is the most frustrating disappearing word scenario! Your mind starts racing trying to come up with the now missing name. It reminds you of their kids and or spouses name, or how many kids they have. You remember what foods they do or don't like. Or types of books. Or movies. Etc. Sometimes you remember something you did together, or some time you were both at the same place. Often all kinds of other information about them will suddenly pop to the forefront of your brain. Everything except their name that is! It can be so frustrating. And embarrassing.
     We talked about how some people seem to have a real gift / knack for using words, while other people seem to have no real flair for it what-so-ever. And why was it that during our school days, too often teachers assigned reading written by people that lacked greatly in the flair department? Did they feel sorry for the authors and thus want to give they sales a boost or what?!?
     That then lead us to talking about poems. I shared that I swear I had to memorize a couple thousand poems over the course of my schooling, yet only a couple still easily come to mind. My favorite being one of Robert Frost's.
     "Who's woods these are I do not know
      His house is in the village low
      He will not see me stopping here
      To watch his woods fill up with snow..."
     Benson's voice had joined mine by the second line.
    He then went on to share what he pictured every time he heard it. He always envisioned a man with a sleigh, all decked out in Christmas greenery and laden down with packages. He thinks it is due to how we always seemed to have to travel through lots of snow, to get to Christmas. Sometimes so much snow, that we would have stayed home if it had been any other day of the winter.
     I, on the other hand, always envisioned an adult male, stopping along the road at dusk. He was trudging up the road/hill on his way home from his shop in town. The town where the man who owned the woods lived. He knew the man and knew that he was of a high enough good character, to not begrudge somebody else the pleasures of observing nature in his beloved-ed woods.
     The man who had stopped, was enjoying the rest from his daily hike up the all too familiar road. He had always enjoyed the woods along the road. But there was just something special on this particular night. Maybe it was the first real snow of the season. Perhaps it was the way the star light was being reflected in the falling flakes. Or maybe it was just simply that his weary soul needed refreshed by the beauty in front of him.  After all, the poem did end,
     "and miles to go before I sleep,
      and miles to go before I sleep."
    Was he referring to actual miles yet to travel, or the seemingly miles of tasks awaiting him?
     I told Benson that I think my rendition has to do with my love of being at summer camp. The camp I attended was literally in the middle of the woods. And I LOVED it! I loved the long paths leading through the woods to the various sections and camp fire. Even at night. I wasn't scared of the 'unknown' in the woods. My fear was always that somebody I knew would be hiding to scare me. And I hate being scared. To tell you the truth, I have no idea if it ever happened. That part is irrelevant to today's topic anyways. I LOVED those woods and I had often wondered what they were like in the middle of winter. I bet they were/are beautiful!
     I'm curious. Do you too like that poem? If so, why? What have you always envisioned when hearing or reading it? If not, why not?
     For the record, no, we were not discussing said poem due to missing winter, seeings how we've been experiencing multiple days in the high nineties with high humidities. That part was totally consequential. Honest!!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Analyse's 3rd Birthday - Part 1 - Preparations for the party

    As I had shared in THIS posting, the party for Analyse's 3rd birthday was to be in Michigan this year. At first I was going to go with this 'theme', then that one. I had come across lots of wonderful ideas on pinterest. The final decision was made, after we had taken the kids to have their picture taken with the Easter Bunny. Immediately afterwords, we went to Red Robin(R) ("yummm" ;-p) for lunch. As we were departing, the hostess gave Analyse a helium filled balloon.
   To say she was thrilled to have said balloon, wouldn't be a strong enough expression of her enthusiasm. Seriously. She dubbed it "her friend". It became her constant companion until she left for mommy's house a couple of days later. 'Okay then' I thought, 'a balloon themed party it shall be!'  
    This posting then, is about the preparations we did, the things we made, ahead of time, for her Balloon Themed 3rd Birthday Party.

   Part #1 - the invites
    Here is a picture of the supplies used -
                                               June 2012 - #119

    This picture is of how the supplies were used, to make the covers of the invites -

    The inside of the invite, listed details about the party. Directions to the party, were printed on the back. I had used the computer and printer for both of those steps, before doing the fronts.

   Part #2 - the Ribbon Wreath
     I had found the idea for it on pinterest (this pin). The pin had originated off of the blog 'Everyday Celebrating' (THIS particular posting).
    When we got to the 'Dollar Store' they didn't have very many curling ribbon packs in stock. 'Okay then, instead of doing it only in the primary color ribbons like I had seen, we'll change it up a bit. Let's see... it is for Analyse, and she does love the color pink...'. I was also able to pick up the swimming noodle to use as the base, at the Dollar Store. However, they didn't carry the metal pins to hold the ribbons in place, but we were able to get them at Hobby Lobby(R)
     One of the reasons I wanted to make the wreath, was because I felt it was a project Analyse and I could do together. We did.
     Step #1, was to measure the wreath to the size I wanted. See, Brian and I had recently stopped at Kingma's Market(R). While there, I had spotted the wooden cheese crates they had for sale. 'Those would be perfect for storing wreaths in.' We bought one, for under $2.00!  I need to go back and get another 'one', at least o:-D
     The idea to use a swimming noodle as the base, came from this pin. Which had originated from the blog, 'The Art of Doing Stuff' (THIS particular posting).

    Step #2, was to tape the noodle to form a wreath.

    While I was getting the ribbons free of the cardboard they came on (something I highly recommend doing ahead of time, like when the kids are napping), Analyse decided to try the wreath on for size.
     Silly girl.
     A look at the various ribbons used.
     I put the pins in, she pushed them down.


    The finished wreath.


   Part #3 - the Balloon Wreath
      This one too, was an idea I had found on pinterest (this pin). The pin had originated off of the blog 'The Creative Homemaker' (THIS particular posting). I had ended up needing to pick up the large packages of the balloons at both stores too, due to low supplies were at the first. I used less than half of the amount of balloons the original blogger had used, and about 3/4ths of the swimming noodle.
      Step #1, was to separate the balloons. Having learned my lesson while making the ribbon wreath, I did the first couple of steps during nap time! (:->)
    Step #2, was to set the balloons up in the order I wanted to use them. (in other words, making sure I'd get a good combination of the colors, without loosing track of what I'd used last, and without having to dig through the bag to look for the color I wanted.) Turned out to be a good plan! 

    This is a close up of the baggies of balloons.
                                                        #252    Step #3, was to prepare the swimming noodle.

     I had also thought that sitting the balloons up the way I had, would help teach Analsye working in patterns, working her way down the row, handing me one from each container in progression. Turned out that was still a bit too deep for her to grasp yet. No big deal! Just had to change where I sat.  
     Step #4, Analyse handing me a balloon.

     Step #5, Align the balloon and start the pin into the swimming noodle. Analyse would then push it the rest of the way in.

    One small section/area done.

     From the front -

    hanging on the front door, where she constantly admired her "pretty decoration!" :-D


  Part #4 - Jelly Bean Bracelet's
      While we didn't want to do large sized "goodie bags" or some such for our guests, I did want to do 'something'. I wanted to have a little something that Analyse couple personally give to her guests, as though she was giving them a present. I had a bag of Brach's(TM) Tiny Jelly Bird Eggs left from Easter, and the idea I had seen for making bracelets out of them kept coming to mind. I figured it would be a simple little project to tackle.
     I couldn't find my original pin for this idea, so I searched for and found said pin. You can see it here. The pin had originated off of the blog ''My Kids Make.. And Yours Can Too' (THIS particular posting).
     Here is a picture of the supplies I used.

    I had picked up a spool of stretchy thread at Wal-Mart(R). While it worked great in aiding the bracelets onto adult sized arms, it didn't like to stay tied in tight knots. A couple of drops of Super Glue(R) directly on the knot itself worked wonders! :->
    And getting the needle to actually go through the jelly beans, took a bit of trickery and effort! I used a wet wipe to clean the needle off between jelly beans. And I chose to only put a few jelly beans on each individual bracelet.
     Wrapped the finished bracelets in a small piece of tin foil. Taped them closed. At the party I walked Analyse around the group, having her hand them out. She seemed to really enjoy doing so!
     She had passed them out before opening her own gifts. Here she is still wearing hers while opening gifts.

   Part #5 - Balloon Paddle Ball
      I wanted some type of a game that EVERY-body could participate in. But what kind can you do, besides board games, that both great grand parents as well as three year old's will enjoy playing? I found just such an activity. Yup, yet another wonderful pinterest idea :->. (THIS pin). I can't give credit beyond that, because when I click on the picture itself, a warning comes up, saying that it's trying to redirect me to a site which might have inappropriate contents..... . I choose to go back to pinterest!      
    I used Elmer's(R) glue to attach the wooden paddles onto the cardboard backed paper plates. But it wasn't taking real good. So I pulled out my roll of pink duct tape and applied some of it to each paddle. The next morning, after being allowed to dry overnight, they were connected but good! :->

    The last "ahead of time preparation" which had to be done, was the cupcakes. I made the cupcakes themselves using the same Chocolate Cake Recipe that I had used for her birthday cupcakes the previous two years. You can find the recipe for both the cake and the chocolate frosting HERE. The 'Balloons' are M+M's(R), laying upside down. And I cheated and used gel tube frosting for their strings.
     This concludes part 1 of Analyse's 3rd Birthday - Preparations for the party.
     Coming soon in a posting on this site -
     part 2 - Decorations at the party
     part 3 - Fun at the party

   { As always, you can see any of the pictures larger by clicking on them }

Sunday, July 8, 2012

We seem to have become the 'partying' type -

    For the past month now, we've been 'partying' every weekend.
    But the 'partying' actually started back on April 28th, when our nephew James married his Lauran.
            June 2012 # 047 - (sorry it's a little blurry)

     Dear Boo had passed on May 5th. A short time later, Brent and Kayla adopted "Brain". A cute little puppy who was so fun to watch interact with Elliot!!! Brent named him "Brain", so that when people asked if he had a brain, he could answer 'yes'. :-p!   They had been told by the rescue place they adopted him from, that all of the little bumps on his head were 'puppy acne'. But it kept spreading, over more and more of his body. And the different vet's they called and asked advice from, never once mentioned the possibility of it being mange. Which is what the humane society diagnosed it as, when they took him there. The humane society also wouldn't let them keep the puppy, declaring 'animal cruelty', even though they had been doing ALL of the treatments that the other places had recommended they do. I had so-o been looking forward to Elliot and Brain growing up together...
               June 2012 - #084

    On May 20th, the partying started up again, when Byron picked the kids back up. Within five minutes of them being here, we headed to the pond.
           A. -  #106   (Grammy has since purchased a larger sized swim suit for our growing girl :-D)
           E. -  #110

    Sadly, two hours later when was Brian injured his Achilles Tendon. He is progressing well. He'd like to be "all better" right now. Then again, he gets to stay at home in front of a fan instead of being at work in this heat.

    On May 27th, we attended the 80th birthday party for (our legal) Aunt Billie. Here is a picture of her with Grandpa "Honey" at James and Lauran's wedding.

    June 10th, Cyndi and her family came to MI, to do their own little birthday party for Analyse. Different things we did while waiting for them to arrive -
           #125 headed to the swings with Uncle Benson
        #128 playing with Poppa
        #132 tossing stones into the creek
        #138 learned to fly a kite

     After they arrived, we ate. Then Analyse went swimming with her daddy, mommy and aunts and uncles.
        #139 - Cyndi and Analyse. Grammy hadn't yet got a new suit and the old one was now too small.
        #146 - Auntie's Kayla and Emma
       #147 - Auntie Emma's Steve and Uncle Brent
       #144 Uncle "Bubba"
     While they swam, Elliot took a nap.
     After swimming, Auntie Jammie said it was cake and presents time.

     Elliot liked the brownie cake too!

     The party we gave for Analyse, was on Saturday June 16th. I'm going to be doing a whole posting about it later. So for now, I'll just share but one picture. It's of Analyse and Byron during gift opening time.

     Saturday June 23rd, we helped do the graduation open house for our neighbor Erin.

     June 30th our niece Jenelle married Simon.
       2011 - 06 - 24 - random pictures        (This picture was copied off of Simon's mom's facebook pictures. THANKS Ranita ;->

      I took this picture while we were waiting for other pictures to be taken. I found the shot irresistible ;->.
       June 2012 - #536
    This past Friday (July 6th), we helped do the reception for Crystal's wedding. It was 107 degrees. 'Helped' as in, grilling chicken and vegetables and working in a small kitchen baking lasagna, heating sauce for the chicken, etc., then running in and out to keep the buffet filled, etc.. We couldn't keep pouring the water in us, as fast as it was sweating off of us. Right out loud we thanked God when he did send a small breeze our way.
     Sorry, no pictures to share, at least yet. Might need to 'borrow' some from Crystal after she puts them on Facebook. It was a BEAUTIFUL outdoor wedding ceremony (wooden folding chairs out under the trees, facing a custom built arbor), with a custom built (by her father-in-law) greenhouse styled dining tent. Then dancing inside the beautiful wood lodge. Dreamy!

    Next weekend is Elliot's first birthday party. :-D

    After that?  Your guess is as good as mine.