Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Puppy Party!

This year was a little tricky coming up with a theme for the kids joint birthday party. They are getting older now and I don't know how many more years we'll be able to do one party for the both of them. We looked through party catalogs and the kids were not excited about many of the options for gender neutral themes. Pirates/Princesses? No, A didn't want to be a princess. Mustache party? No, they thought that was kind of silly. ('Why would a kid have a mustache party Mom?') Yeah, I didn't know the answer to that either.

I tossed out the idea of having a dog themed party, I thought A might be too old for that at 9 years old but she was all for it. G didn't seem to mind so the Puppy party got it's start in my planning. I love planning their party, thinking of the details that will make them smile and bring back good memories when they think of it in years to come. I started pinning ideas on Pintrest and found so many fun things to do. Some of the ideas came for people who were throwing their dog a birthday party instead of kids having a dog themed party.

There were a lot of different dog party supply options but I wanted one that was multi-colored. After A and I found some in at a party store called, 'Paw-ty Time' I used them to make the invitation.





Decorations:  So with the primary colors it was really easy to mix and match party supplies that I already had with a few of the 'Paw-ty' extras. I generally try to do parties very economically so I got some of the puppy plates and adorable paw print napkins, but I couldn't pass up the matching fire hydrant decoration.





 

 I brought all of the kids stuffed dogs to bring as decorations too. They went up in the windows. This is only a few, they had a ton!

 Then after that I just used primary colored supplies and printed out paw prints to use as confetti on the tables.

 I got these Happy Birthday Banners years ago and I use them almost every year. Throw some streamers and a few balloons up in the color scheme and it's a big effect for pennies.


There were a few dog dangling things I'd found at the Dollar store in there too.



Food: The was a lot of fun and everyone thought it was funny. We had a bunch of pretzel rod 'Fetch Sticks' for them to enjoy...
 I also made the Chex dessert called 'Puppy Chow' (chex, peanut butter, chocolate, and sugar) and 'Doggie Food' (Cocoa Puffs and Scooby Doo Cereal). I put them in dog bowls that I got at the dollar store. People asked me if it was human food or actual dog food.

 I made tortilla chips from corn torillas and cut them out with a dog bone cookie cutter and put them in the oven to crisp them up. I'd seen the idea online and it was so easy and super cute and good for my gluten free friends!
 I popped some 'Pupcorn' (just regular popcorn!) and the day before the party I finally scored on finding a box of the Scooby Snack cinnamon graham cracker cookies at Dollar General! I'd looked for them everywhere.

I created a couple of printables for the food labels:


I also made some cupcakes and used some of the paw prints for toppers. It's hard to see from the picture, but on a few of them I used a paw print stencil (made just by cutting out the insides from the paw print confetti) and sprinkled colored sugar on the icing. Those turned out great and I would have done more of them but I was running out of time.



The cake: was pretty easy compared to previous years. I saw a dog paw shaped design that someone else had done online and thought that would be a piece of cake! I just made a 8" round cake and four little round cakes (with a small white Corningware dish) and frosted with chocolate icing. The example had colored frosting balls around the edges, but I did mine with gumballs and that was the kids favorite part. A had looked through the party catalogs she'd seen the 'candy bars' since they are popular at weddings and parties now. She said she wanted just a whole jar of gumballs at our party. So when she saw the cake she was so excited. I thought I was going to have to spend a bunch to get colored gumballs but then I found the 'movie box candy' of colored gumballs at Walmart and got three boxes for $3.



The Games: For games I put Kevin in charge of coming up with some things for the kids to do outside that would burn off some energy. He put together a doggie obstacle course. The kids had to jump through a ring, run through some cones, escape a dog catcher, and catch a frisbee (not in their teeth, ha).

 Then he had 'Doggie Obedience School' and taught them all how to sit, stay, and roll over.
Once the kids came back inside we had a craft where they could make their own puppy ears. I'd made these out of headbands and felt and I had pieces of felt circles that they could glue on to their ears for spots. Don't ask how long Hubby and I stayed up the night before cutting out felt. 20 kids, 40 ears....lots of spots.
But the kids loved them and wore them around the room pretending to be dogs.



Gifts: Then it was time for the presents....or to pack the presents that is! We love participating in Operation Christmas Child and instead of bringing birthday gifts for the kids we asked the guests to bring items we could use to pack boxes for children around the world. It's our 4th year doing it and we got some great feedback from some of the other parents saying how glad they were that we included them and gave them a chance to participate. Hubby explained to the kids what we were doing and we watched a short video to show them how to pack a box and where it was going to.
 The supplies were all out on the table and the kids grabbed items and filled up boxes.
 We were able to fill up 18 boxes!
 The birthday kids got sung to...
 and blew out the candles on their cake.
Goodie Bags: All the kids took home 'Doggie Bags' with little treats I'd found. Dog themed treats were tough to come by but each bag had a Snoopy pack of tissues, Snoopy bandaid, Scooby popping candy, Scooby fruit snacks, Scooby taffy, and a dog sticker. We also gave out a bookmark from Operation Christmas Child.

It was nice to be done with the party and we already started thinking about next year.....Lord of the Rings maybe? We'll see!

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Million Little Ways

I don't think of myself as a creative or artsy person. I call my sister or friend for advice in matching outfits. I don't pick up a paintbrush unless I'm just copying something. I know my gifts are not in arts and crafts. Even though I enjoy making things, it's not likely any of my projects will end up on Pintrest. So getting a book about how to 'uncover the art you were made to live' wasn't something I was expecting to resonate with.



But this book touched my heart and gave me a new perspective on what art truly is. It made me see that the creativity in the universe comes from the original Author of life and He is one that is crafting a story through us. Or one might say He is an Artist painting a masterpiece. Or crafting a poem, we are His poeima.

I really enjoyed this read and didn't want to hurry through it but savor each bit as I let it sink deep down into my soul. Like I said, I'm not crafty but she explained that since we are made in the image of God and He is a creative creator we will be like Him in that. I loved her image of us a colander and how he pours into us and that his glory is revealed through us in 'a million little ways.'

As we are willing to be used by Him we will reflect his creativity. My favorite part was that she didn't just keep to the typical ideas of what an artist looks like, musicians, writers, painters. She included all the different ways one can serve in this world from CEOs, janitors, or stay at home moms. I particularly resonated with what she spoke about moms and how to live present in the art God is doing through me.

It was a wonderful word picture for me that has inspired me to live more fully alive and aware of all that He is doing around the world.  

I received a copy of this book through the Revell Blogger Review Program, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

A Confident Heart Devotional


I consider myself a pretty confident person, sometimes overconfident and prideful. So what would I get out of a book that was about how to be more confident?

As I read I realized that my confidence is often times misplaced. I am confident of my studies because of my education. I'm confident in my interactions with others because of my experience. I place a lot of my confidence in my own talents and gifts instead of placing my confidence in God's ability to work through me.

It's a subtle difference but it was the main thing that I got out of this book. It is written to women who struggle with doubting themselves and is the companion devotional of the book with the same name. I found each devotion to be like a shot in the arm of confidence for the day. Each of the 60 devotionals was encouragement for me to not look at my surroundings and worry, but to look to my God and be at peace.

I enjoyed this book even though I had not read the original book, A Confident Heart. I think both of them can stand alone. In reading this devotional it made me want to know more of the author's story and how she arrived at this point. She mentions her journey and struggles personally but each day's devotional is only a few pages so she doesn't elaborate as much as she probably does in the other book.

I received a copy of this book through the Revell Blogger Review Program, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.