13 July 2014

4th of July Festivities

I don't have a whole lot of pictures but we had a really fun 4th of July this year. The first event was our annual neighborhood 4th of July party. There was food, a live band, swimming at the pool, crafts, face painting, and a few fun games. Not to mention the fireworks show at the end of the evening. The weather was perfect and everything turned out great.

Then on the actual 4th of July when we had family in town we headed down to Franklin on the Fourth, a festival in our area. They advertised a nice kiddie area but the prices were pretty steep so we let the kids each pick one thing to do. Lily opted for the pony ride. Wasn't she cute?

Avery and Camryn chose this bungee jumping bouncing thing. It looked like jumping on a trampoline in a harness, not too exciting to me. But they had fun. And Avery did a backflip. 

 We bought some super long overpriced corn dogs and then we went home. It was hot and we cooled off at the neighborhood pool. The kids wore all the adults out and I fear that they will want ME to be throwing them up into the air and giving them piggyback rides every time we go to the pool now.

That night we went to see the fireworks in Franklin and our seats didn't end up being that great, but the girls had fun catching fireflies and enjoying the company of the family we had there. It was a great 4th and the weather couldn't have been better! Hope you all had a nice one too.

11 July 2014

Baptism Day

Avery was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on Saturday, July 5th. We were lucky to have some family join us here in Tennessee for the event - my parents, Merrick's mom, Merrick's sister, and her husband. Can you believe that the weather was PERFECT?! Like 80 degrees, perfectly sunny, not too humid? I was in heaven. Last year when the Wells came for the 4th it was a wet mess, the year before apparently it was a record breaking 102 degrees. Somehow we got it right this year! Woohoo!

Here is the Baptism Announcement I gave out to friends, family, and ward members.

Then a few days before the baptism we went down to the field in our neighborhood that has beautiful wildflowers. We took some pics. Here is the one I framed for her baptism day. 

And here are a few more I edited and liked. I'm not very good at editing. I just used an app on my phone and I took the pics with my phone, too, haha but I thought they were cute.

On her baptism day we took a few family pictures before the baptism.

Here's the Baptism girl.

And here she is with her daddy, who baptized her. 

Here is a copy of the program I made up for the Baptism.

She was baptized with a girl from another ward. It was a good amount of kids. Sometimes when there are 3 or more kids getting baptized it makes for a lengthy program.

Everything went very smoothly and we had a great time. We invited everyone over for lunch afterwards but there were only two families from the ward who came so we had a lot of extra food. I made pulled pork sandwiches, baked beans, cole slaw, sliced watermelon, chips, and fruit pizza for dessert. It was all very yummy.

Here's a pic Lindsey took with her husband and Avery after the baptism. So sweet.

Thanks to our family for coming out and supporting Avery on her special day!

10 July 2014

Avery's 8th Birthday

Avery turned 8 this year and we decided to hold her birthday party on the Friday before her birthday. After Camryn's Frozen Party I was so worn out from the party that I felt like we didn't have that fun of a day besides the party so I wanted Avery's birthday to be a nice low key day. Here's the birthday girl. Did you notice she chopped her hair? Apparently it's the cool thing to do for a 7 and 8 year old girl.

We had swimming lessons in the morning and then stayed late to do some extra swimming in the pool, then we headed to the zoo. Avery loves meerkats so they are always fun to check out.

Do you get to pet kangaroos at your zoo? Well, we do. It's awesome. One of my favorite parts of our zoo.

After the zoo we met up with Dad for dinner at an Asian restaurant. Avery had been requesting sushi on her birthday. She's her father's daughter that's for sure! Crazy girl. 

After making all those cupcakes for her party a few days earlier, I wasn't about to make her another cake for her real birthday. But Merrick and Avery decided we needed something so we stopped at Ivey's Cupcakes after dinner and picked up 6 mini cupcakes. They were really, really yummy and we each got to pick our own flavor. Yum!

Avery had a great day and we can't believe we have an 8 year old now!

09 July 2014

Cupcake Decorating Party

In our family we have a tradition that for your even year birthdays you get a friends party and odd years you have a family party. Avery turned 8 this year so it was her turn for another friends party. I tried to keep this one low key because I was still pretty worn out from Camryn's Frozen party but I ended up doing quite a bit of crafting in the end.

We decided on a theme of a Cupcake Decorating Party. It was a perfect mix of crafting and baking, which are two things Avery loves. I just found invitations at Target and they came with matching Thank You cards so that worked for me!

A lot of the printables I used and ideas I got can be found on my Pinterest Board. I found this cute happy birthday banner that had cupcakes on it I just printed off.

I set up my dining room table with a purple plastic tablecloth and pink and purple streamers from the Dollar Store. Then I made three boxes of cake mix into cupcakes - strawberry, chocolate and vanilla (I always prefer Duncan Hines brand). We set them up in the middle of the table and set out personalized cupcake placemats I made up.

I made the placemats in Word, printed them off on white cardstock, and Laminated them. I think they turned out cute and the girls were able to take them home as a party favor. 

Then I bought a bunch of cupcake toppings and set them out on my long buffet table. Mini M&Ms, mini reese's cups, gummi bears, mini chococlate chips, maraschino cherries, and 5 different types of sprinkles. I also prepared several piping bags with frosting in them. I made up a chocolate frosting and a vanilla buttercream that I tinted pink, purple, yellow, and blue. 

In my front room I hung a Cupcake pinata that I got from Party City (they had the same one at Hobby Lobby too). I liked that it had the pull string method. I know these girls can hit a pinata but I didn't have a great sturdy place to hang one so this worked fine.  

I set up a coloring station for the kids as they arrived. This is my go-to arrival activity for parties. I printed off some free cupcake coloring pages and they had fun coloring with crayons and markers. 

Then when they finished up with their coloring pages, I had them start decorating a plain white canvas apron I got from Walmart. I had them draw on them with fabric markers and they all had fun spreading out and designing their own aprons. 

The next craft was decorating these paper chef hats I made. In all it took me about an hour and a half to make up those 11 hats. I cut up cheap white posterboard into long strips about three inches tall, then made the puffy part with 2 pieces of white tissue paper folded and pleated and taped. They weren't perfect but they worked just fine!

They put their name on their hats with sticker letters, added a cupcake sticker, and then we made flowers to adorn the hats with coffee filters, regular cupcake wrappers, and mini cupcake wrappers. It was a quick easy craft that worked out pretty nicely.

Here they are all dressed up in their aprons and chef hats, haha. So cute. 

Next we moved into the dining room and started the main event - cupcake decorating! They each got to decorate seven cupcakes - six to bring home in a little plastic cupcake holder (I got those at the bakery at Publix for 50 cents each), and one to eat. They had a fabulous time making their own creations. 

Then we had snack time. I let them choose one cupcake to eat and we packed the other six they made up. I also made some snacks that were cupcake themed. Little clear plastic cups with popcorn cupcake holders taped to the outside held popcorn, and little plastic cups with colored cupcake holders taped outside held mixed fruit. I also found some free cupcake themed waterbottle wrappers I stuck on mini waterbottles. (Side note - We held the party from 2-4pm so this was just meant to be a light snack. If you wanted to make it a full lunch you could get a cookie cutter shaped like a cupcake to make sandwiches, or even turn it into a full on baking party and have them decorate their own mini pizzas.)

We then played a Sweet Shoppe themed Bingo Game I found here and the kids used M&M's and Skittles for their bingo card markers. Then we did the Cupcake Pinata. Here they all are trying to get their candy. Apparently Lily was in the back, not sure what was happening haha!

We took some pictures all dressed up.

Then Avery opened presents and it was about time for the girls to go home. They each went home with an apron, a chef hat, a placemat, a coloring page, and a 6 pack of cupcakes to take home and share with their families. 

I thought it turned out great and the kids were all smiling ear to ear. I felt a little rushed getting things ready so if I had had just a few hours more time to prepare I would have made a cupcake garland like this and probably made a few tissue paper poms to hang down from the dining room light fixture. But oh well, that would have been just for my own enjoyment. The girls had fun without them. 

I'm very glad that Lily is turning THREE this month and I won't have to do a big friends party for her until next year. These parties are sure a lot of work! :) But Avery did write me a sweet thank you note with one of her extras and that made me really happy and proud to be her mother.