Category Archives: Let’s Party

Four Years Old.



…and just like that he is four. Absolutely one of the brightest spots of my life.


This fall has been crazy. Emma turning 10, Greyson turning 4, my oldest turning 16, our 20th anniversary next month, along with all the regular holidays at this time of year. Not to mention we are grieving and adventuring our way through our year of “firsts” here in Missouri. So, on a Sunday I was like, “aaaah I want to have a party for Greyson”. We were so happy that with six days notice we had a houseful of friends young and old to help celebrate our little man. We had a little breakfast party using some 90% superhero decorations that I ridiculously moved from California to Missouri, hoping I would use them one day.






*that empty plate soon held a yummy stack of quiche ūüôā




On Greyson’s actual birthday, Grandma J was in town and Shawn was able to take the day off. We went to “high town”, which is Greyson’s name for downtown Kansas City. We played at the park, visited Union Station and his beloved trains, and ate Chipotle.

Just a couple weeks after his birthday, we snuck in this quick Pinterest inspired little photo shoot.







It was 22 degrees and downright unacceptable weather for a photo session outdoors, lol. BUT we made it happen.

Happy Birthday Little Man.

Your mommy absolutely adores you.

Greyson’s Birth day

Greyson’s First Birthday Monster Party

PicMonkey Collage g4

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That One Valentines Day

So there was this massive prayer and decision and looking at plan a through z campaign going on last week. At the end of the day my husband and I just decided that it would be best for me to stay home and not attend the services for Joany in California this weekend. He would go and we would stay. All of the options broke my heart, quite frankly, and it was very mostly due to the fact that she was no longer here and we were planning to go to her memorial service. Anyway, I have to say that I am just downright bummed that I couldn’t go and trying to continue to trust that God knows best and there is a reason why I was not to be there. So with a very heavy heart I went about my week. It included an overnight work trip for my hubby and 24 hours after his return from that, I put him on a plane to California to stay with my parents and attend Joany’s services. Somehow, we managed to sneak in our annual family meal with papa murphy’s heart shaped pizza in the afternoon for his plane departed at 6 pm.


On the way home from the airport reality jumped in my front seat and hit me hard. The reality that I was alone with the kids in Missouri. Missouri. You know because I live here now and all. I know I am not really alone because our new church family has sucked us in huge and I love that. However, at that moment, I felt very much alone. Sometimes the brain and heart need more time to get on the same page. I think my toddler knows when he can get stuff from me. He promptly asked for ice cream for dinner. Done. I had an hour long drive home. A lot of thinking time, too much. I was hit to the core of my being what it means to give everything to Jesus. Giving him your loved ones and trusting Him. I don’t understand why Joany had to die. I wish she and Ron could live out their lives together enjoying each other and their children and grandchildren. I don’t get it. She was just 60. However I was reminded of a sermon I heard many years ago. It went something like this….why would you serve a God that you understood everything He did. Doesn’t His ways HAVE to be higher than yours to be worth following? Or something like that… Terrible translation but the reality is we serve a God that is far above our understanding and that should not make us doubt and fear, but rather trust deeper. He’s got it all. He knows what He is doing. He makes all things beautiful in His time, as the song goes.


Anyway, I arrive home on this Valentines Day alone in my house with my four kids. Ready for bedtime for the little, computer for the oldest, and Anne of Green Gables for the middles. A late night of chick flicks and a cozy fire. I was completely ready to get lost in Avonlea. I set my toddler down on the ground and he promptly slipped on some ice and smacked face first to the ground. Instinctively I ran to him to pick him up and in doing so I slip and begin to fall. While trying to catch myself I trip again on a 2 inch raised area between the driveway and the garage. It was enough to send me sprawling. After several incredibly ungraceful steps to try and regain balance I manage to lose the fight and lose big. Everything in my hands went flying up and I went down. I still have no idea how I landed. However, the next thing I knew I was on my back laying in dirt and oil in a garage in Missouri unable to breathe because the wind had been knocked out of me. You know that moment after a fall where you are all, please don’t let anything be broken. I lay there waiting and moving limbs and hoping. My left elbow, and both knees clearly were the casualties. Along with my trusty iPhone. Shattered. Obliterated.


My 15 year old is a rock star. Calm as can be took the baby inside. The girls started to ask a million questions and in a voice strangely similar to mine he took THAT tone and said, “take the baby, NOW”. He ran and got snow to put on my elbow which was swelling rapidly. I’m not going to lie. I cried and reached out for my son’s hand to comfort me and in the middle of all of this as if my heart wasn’t in enough pieces you know what I realized? With that hand grasp, I think I entered the next stage of life. A baby step towards when you move into a two way relationship. I needed him and he came through.

And let me lay it all out for you because I have no shame. I had to go to the bathroom really bad when I arrived home from the airport. Somehow in this fall I basically peed my pants. Like I slammed so hard it made my bladder stop working properly? What the heck. So not only am I laying on the floor in oil and dirt, hurting, and lonely in Missouri being comforted by my 15 year old. I am also laying there and came to the realization that I have just peed my pants for the first time since preschool. Awesome. So now I have no dignity, so you might as well cry it out ugly style because now I am absolutely certain I am going to have to start wearing depends at 42 years of age. This must be rock bottom of complete humiliation….and if it wasn’t I have just put myself there by sharing that information.


So upon further investigation, My elbow now had basically two elbows it was so dang swollen. My left knee is swollen, pants are ripped, and my right knee is cut. After I change my clothes and throw my pants in the garbage, I come downstairs and my kids get me various bags of frozen vegetables for ice packs and my son brings me alieve and instructs me to take it and I obey…and after googling has diagnosed me with a severed nerve and a broken elbow. Fabulous. He gets his overdramatic from me, just in case you missed that.


Nothing was broken I assure you. I am sore today. Bleh. In reality the fall was again another straw, that poor camel. People fall. Ice is slippery.

So, yeah, that was my Valentine’s Day. Gimmie a break.

“Hey remember that Valentine’s Day that dad was in California and mom fell in the garage and peed her pants.”

There, thought I would say it first.

Hope your day was a wee bit better than mine. Tell me about it. Redeem Valentines Day ¬†2014. For the love of cupid and all his minions tell me one thing about yours that was better than mine…

I beg you.


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Little Man


I have always wondered who decides what is going to be popular. Let’s take mustaches for instance. Are there people that sit in board rooms across America and go, “yeah, mustaches. Let’s make THAT trendy this year.” I mean, really? If there is, I want that job…bad.


Mustaches, no offense men, are kinda hideous all by themselves. BUT, I go with it. BECAUSE Little man. Oh, little man. Those two little words make my heart pitter patter. So ridiculously cute, right?

So a Little Man Baby Shower was born. I had the opportunity to throw a shindig for my girl, Moni.


While I would enjoy throwing David Tutera style parties, budget does absolutely not allow. One way I try to save cost is to pick something with a color that comes in basics. For example, white cups. Super cheap because they are well, white. Add some black mustache stickers from the mexican fiesta party line and you have a dang cute cup for not much dinero. Then repeat on some balloons because you saw that idea on Pinterest and you are set. Pick just one expensive piece from the expensive party line, like the plates,  and you get just as much bang for way more buck.


Grandma {of our upcoming little man} took care the game. It is so funny that grown women get together and play these games. My kids asked why we do this. “I really don’t know”, I reply. Tasting food in diapers, measuring prego bellys, and all of the other weirdness we do. Then we reward the winners with presents. No shower would be quite complete without it, right? I personally hadn’t see this particular game. Cracked me up. Draw a baby, on a plate, on your head. Complete it with a little man mustache sticker. Look at the concentration. Ha. #gograndma


We had a chocolate fondue party. I emailed a few of the guests before the party to ask if they could help and bring different things to dip. I had them bring the items ahead of time to avoid a potluck feel to our party. Chocolate fountains are temperamental but well worth it when you get them going. You have to do it just right, or they look like this and you might have to video it and send it to the friend you borrowed it from and ask her how to fix it. She will tell you and it will be fine. Don’t panic.


¬†Any potential disaster is worth it because really, who doesn’t like to stand and hold bite size dessert items under dripping chocolate? Best of the night had to be the glazed donut holes. Just regular glazed donut holes from the donut store. Ridiculously good.


*Bake My Day provided these freaking adorable mustache favors. 


I  get the blessing of photographing this sweet baby when he comes and I seriously can not wait. This whole family rocks. They are beautiful inside and out.shower4 Collage

*mom and daughters on the right! Beautiful.

I recently had the opportunity to do a four generation session with them. Go take a peek.


Can not wait to meet you Will. Get here safely little man.

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You are my sunshine, my only sunshine


*my 8 year old made a birthday breakfast with a little help from Pinterest and her daddy.


*and she spent her quarter chore money on a Target gift card for her sister. Every last cent. 


You make me happy when skies are gray


You’ll never know dear, how much I love you


Please don’t take my sunshine away



Man, I love her.

A bittersweet (for mama’s heart) celebration of the end of her childhood and the beginning of her teen years.

Time indeed does fly swiftly by.

I love you Taylor Grace.


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46 Days

It’s that time of year again. I have been blogging absent for a bit as my calendar boxes were overflowing with scribbles of fantastic opportunities to start celebrating early. I had the super fun opportunity to put on an event at my church this past Friday. It was a DIY crafting event for women. Seventy -ish women came out for eight hours of crafts, food, and all things Christmas.

Every single aspect of event planning fills that spot in my soul. From the random moment an event idea hits, to the scribbled notes on my white pad of paper, to the gathering of peeps to help make it happen, to the moment when I stop and look around mid party at smiling, laughing faces of people, to the flurry of cleanup, to the drive home wondering what I could do next, and then the final flop in bed, tired to the bone moment. I do not have the opportunity to do many events these days, so this one was extra cherished.

Little bright spots in life. Memories. A break from the potential mundane. A moment when time stops. A chance to deepen relationships with your people. It’s important. Creating that is fantastic. Responsibilities of life beg to be interrupted with moments to pause and be carefree. Life is better lived this way. You need a healthy dose of both.

Since I was on the go the whole evening, I had very little opportunity to snap away, but I managed to grab a few images before we started.

I had the most fantastic group of people donate prizes to this event. PLEASE make sure and stop by these Etsy shops. Small business of fantastic people using their talents to make handcrafted items. G R E A T early Christmas shopping.

Sweet Elegance

West Eighty Third

Blissful Blooms

Dan Snows Wooden Toys

Bake My Day

After many late nights, I had a ten hour sleep last night. I am ready for a full day today.

Remembering that life is not a to do list.

Days are special and these holla-days seem to be extra special.

Here’s to the Merriest of seasons.

Happy Sunday.


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We keep it pretty party simple around here. One guest for each year of life. The theme is usually not what’s popular or in right now because what was popular or in two years ago, is usually on sale for ridiculous cheap prices. This year our party was Hannah Montana. My mom found about a gajillion party necessities for like .10 cents, I kid you not. She gave me a brown grocery bag full of goodies: favors, plates, color your own pillowcases, cups, and I was half expecting to pull out Hannah herself. I mean there really was everything. I think she paid like $10 for the whole bag. Most items were over 90% off.

This, added to the press on nails, make up, and mirror kits she found for like a half a cent earlier on in the year, made for a glam party that was perfectly perfect.

Poor Hannah. Her party theme value is no more. However, we scored. Thanks grandma.

The girls had a great time. They played Just Dance, ate pizza, cake, made pillowcases and had their hair/makeup and nails done by my older daughter and our sweet neighbor friend. It was loud and giggly and chaotic and tiring, exactly how I like it.

I pinned this cake a while ago and was super excited when Emma requested it for her party. It’s adorable and incredibly easy. I will be making it again!

I love birthday cake, birthday blowing out the candles, birthday song sung with no regard for pitch. It’s all fabulous.

Happy Birthday my sweet and quirky Emma Rose.

Have an awesome weekend, my friends.






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The Weekend.

School is out. Not sure if I had mentioned that or not.

I love summer. Love it. It can not be hot enough or light late enough for me. I have just about one hour left of paper work to officially wrap up this school year, but the kids are done.

We finished up this school year really low key. We had our final class store (which three years later we are still doing and I love it as much as I did three years ago), I dished out grades, and the kids threw out their old workbooks (which they get a kick out of).

We celebrated the first day off of school by just hanging out. Sometimes a big celebration seems in order and sometimes doing nothing seems like the big celebration. We had a yummy pizza and salad lunch at Whole Foods, we visited grandma and papa at their house, and we went to Great Harvest Bread Company.

I realize that sounds strange to go to a bread store, but what you need to understand is that when you walk in the door they immediately ask you if you would like a piece of FREE bread. They cut the fresh out of the oven bread into huge slices. They have this one kind….white chocolate cinnamon. They slather it with real butter and you just about die and go to heaven when you eat it. It is amazing. It has just the perfect amount of little bits of white chocolate and cinnamon. It’s pretty spectacular and pretty healthy as far as a dessert option would go.

My daughter also had her 12th birthday party this weekend. She had a backyard stargazing slumber party. My house was invaded with 10 little girls to spend the night. It was super fun. My son was banished to his room to play video games because everytime his 13 year old face appeared there was high pitched squeals. ¬†My little son went to bed and my other daughter headed over to a friend’s for a sleepover.

My 12 year old daughter is at that age. A remarkable grown up difference in all of these not so little anymore girls from just last year. I have known some of these girls for about six years. It is just as heartbreaking watching them grow up as it is my own. Seriously, I understand that growing up isn’t an option and I don’t get sometimes why it is so sad and why we all want them to stay little, but I do.

Despite the fact that they are all fantastic young ladies and I enjoy each one of them tremendously in the here and now, I was wishing to rewind the clock to six years ago when the party was themed American Idol. There were costumes and little girls adorned in contestant numbers dreaming of being on a big stage. The gifts were Barbies and Princess crowns, not gift cards and handbags. It’s all lovely, it is and I’ll catch up….just somedays, I really miss my babies. Tear.

~May 2006~

The girls hung out, had homemade ice cream sandwiches, listened to music, and slept under the stars.

My husband and I kept them supplied with food and aimed for that pre teenage needed balance of close enough that you know we are there, but far enough away to pretend that we weren’t. We sat on the porch and talked. I felt old….in a fabulous, content, I’m going to be more than o.k. with this kinda way.

With the disappearance of the play kitchen food, oversized cheap plastic high heels, and dollhouses appears the strangest realization that these little babies you brought into this world are now turning into little adult humans right before your very eyes. They have borderline grown up opinions and interests and ever developing senses of humor. I can catch a glimpse of ten years from now and its a crazy wonderful view.

For now I buckle up to enjoy the new ride of teen land and simoultaneously hang on to every thread of Dr. Seuss shirts and pre cut baby curls because they are slowly but surely being replaced.

And I will forever miss them.




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Love Day

We had a simple day at home today celebrating.

It started off with four mom friends and our thirteen offspring at 9 am! We had heart pancakes and heart strawberries and all kinds of other goodies. The kids all got to hang out and play for the morning.

We also did a Valentine exchange with the kids. A mixture of homemade and store-bought. There are SUCH cute ideas for home made Valentines. We had adorable sugar cookie pops and these cuties. However, there is the good ol’ fashioned box of Valentines thing that cannot and should not be ignored. My kids just love standing at the row at Target picking from the gazillion choices of little cards. They totally dig ripping apart and piecing together their little treasures….(and I am so cheap thrifty that we always buy at 90% off and save for the next year).

It was a great morning. I am so blessed to have such amazing friends around who homeschool their crew as well.

After a nap and a full afternoon of studies, we partied for the second time with the family. For starters, Papa Murphy’s heart pizza. Because who DOESN’T love heart shaped pizza?? It tastes so much better, right?

I decorated the table all fancy schmancy with things from around the house. I also pulled out my stash of Valentines party things that I bought last year at Target. I got the whole set up  for about $4.00. Add in some candlelight and it just makes everything extra special and twinkly.

We had lots of hand made love notes.

and we ended the night with little cakes…

…and some little treasures that I picked up during the after Christmas toy clearances.

Happy Love Day.

Hope yours was amazing.

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Greyson’s One Year Monster Party.

Very early on I knew I needed to do a Monster Party for Greyson on his first. Completely Necessary. I also needed it very budget friendly. Join me on a little tour…

First ~balloons. Did you know that Walmart sells polka dot balloons for just $1.50? Also, Party city sells their balloons~ by the balloon~ for just .$.19. Blow ’em up yourself and hang upside down and there is no need for expensive helium. Plus, you can choose which ever colors you actually want instead of buying a million of one color or those bags of assorted. It’s like a balloon buffet, really.

 Pinterest led me to some free monster inspiration from this genius woman. She shared her darling monster coloring sheet. I was able to copy it onto a transparency and armed with a sharpie, an overhead projector and some white paper from Lakeshore Learning (all of which I had on hand), I was able to bust out the monster banner for free.

I also made copies of the original sheet and included a couple of crayons with it in the goodie bag. Monster flyers and sparkly bouncy balls were purchased at the Michaels 70% off toy sale and joined them in a clear cellophane bag, which was given to all the munchkins who helped us celebrate.

Back to the dessert table…I made Greyson his very own monster cake to smoosh and eat. First attempt at cake pops. Those little suckers are not as easy to make as they seem.

I served monster marshmallows ~made with marshmallows, coconut and Wilton chocolate.

There were Monster cupcakes for the guests and

A jar of lollipops that I collected from Staples…completely free!

($3.00 off any purchase coupon and the lollipops were .50 each)

The birthday cake dip from Pinterest quickly upstaged the entire table. It has three ingredients. THREE. It took approximately 46 seconds to make.

Try it. Don’t delay.

* Tip~ always make a DOUBLE BATCH!

Some chocolate covered pretzels, caramel corn mix and pixie sticks were all purchased from Target at the 90% off of Halloween sale.

The 50 napkins,  50 plates, and tablecloth were all purchased from Walmart for just $9. Amazing price difference from the pricey party stores.

I purchased the case of short water bottles for just a few dollars at Costco and wrapped them in aqua duct tape.

Then I purchased a couple of  packs of googley eyes from the Dollar Tree to put on the oranges and the water bottles.

My girls and I created a monster banner from construction paper that I had on hand. Again FREE and they loved helping.

We played Pin the Eyeball on the monster. It was made with left over white paper, scrapbook paper, and duct tape from the water bottles.

The highlight of the party was watching a one year old who was given an entire cake to destroy  eat, at will.

My little guy was quite polite and didn’t get too messy.

This little guy was showered with gifts.

I can not believe a whole year has passed since I met him. It hardly seems possible.

Sometimes words just are not enough. They do not do justice in this case. Not. what. so. ever.

Your family loves you Greyson Michael, SO MUCH.

Happy First Birthday ~my sweet sweet little Boy.

The Girl Creative

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Emma’s Birthday…on the cheap.

We have switched to a semi uncomfortable way of living. Cash! It’s quite a concept. With baby four on the way, school costs, Christmas coming, another child birthday coming, new tires needed etc….I needed to be super frugal on Emma’s 6th birthday. We normally don’t go crazy on birthdays around here. However, it was fascinating that her entire birthday party cost me literally $25 and she was absolutely in heaven.

Friday night was kid birthday time. Our kids are allowed to invite one person for every year old they are. We celebrated by playing at the park, build your own sundaes, and present opening. Last year Borders had a major clearance and I was able to get $18 zebra lunch boxes with cookie mixes inside for $1 a piece. YAY. They were perfect party favors for the girls and the perfect price for me! I used regular dinner bowls and placemats and nobody questioned where the overpriced themed paper goods were….no one.

On Emma’s actual birthday day my older two kids got up and made green pancakes, pink milk, and honeydew melon for our birthday girl….and they did the dishes!

On Birthday night grandma and grandpa came over and we ate tacos for dinner and had cake that Emma decorated herself. The cake was $2.50. Normally I make her a big cake, but with her being allowed to decorate it herself, she didn’t miss mine at all…

The highlight of the night was thanks to the 75% off toy sale at Target. Emma has wanted a motorized car for a year at least. You know the kind that you can ride on. I have been telling her for a year that she will never get one because they are SO pricey. However, thanks to Target, I became a liar. My mom called me one morning, not knowing about Emma’s extravagant wish and said she found the $180 motorcycle for just $45. DONE! Thanks mom and thanks God for providing even a hot pink motorcycle.

We wrapped up a picture of the motorcycle and then took her outside for the real thing.

One very successful, inexpensive , and exactly perfect 6 year old birthday!

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