Alice’s 5th {Camping Themed} Birthday Party.


I think every time I talk about a themed party, I deem it my favorite.

But I really, really feel like this one is my FOR REAL favorite!

I have never had so much fun planning a party.  And a lot of it was done at the last minute, which is not usually something I do – but it worked!  And Alice thought the whole thing was pretty fun, and she had a blast.  So…yay!!  FAVORITE.

The best part about planning this party for me was — I didn’t buy a lot for it.  We camp.  And the weekend before her party, we’d camped.  So a lot of things were still out — like lanterns and sleeping bags and twinkly lights.  So I used her party as an excuse to not pack everything up so quickly, and I used them as decor around the house.

I’m also not an artist at all — but for this party, I just needed to be able to draw a triangle for a tent shape, and stars.  Even I can do those things.  So I was able to decorate a lot with just those simple shapes.

I used different shades of pink paper for a lot of the signage — and I already had those pink papers.  See?!  Hoarding crafts supplies is SUCH A GOOD THING.

Alice and I made her big “5” out of poster board and crushed up pieces of tissue paper I already had.  I’d seen a more extravagant version of that “5” on Pinterest, but I honestly felt like our version looked almost the exact same.  Yay for shortcuts!

The things I bought were the pink canteens from Oriental Trading, the teddy bears and bug boxes from the Dollar Tree, and I bought science fair display boards to make tents for everyone. What tents, you ask?!



I bought 2 display boards and taped them together at the top with packing tape, then I let the kids decorate them! I just sort of propped them up to look like a tent, and they stayed for the most part. (There was one exception, so we added some cardboard to the inside to make it more straight.)  They could’ve slept in them, but they didn’t.  (Well, my niece did, but the rest opted for actual beds that night.) Ha!

When Alice and I were talking about her party, one of the first things she said was that she wanted to play “Pin the door on the tent!”  I loved so much how she asked, “You know that game, right?”  Like, “Pin the door on the tent” is totally common!  How cute is that?!  She was all about it, too.  (Also, everyone totally peeked!  Gus put his off to the side, but I have a feeling that was more to be funny, and not because he couldn’t see where he was putting it. Hahaha! #blindfoldfail)

We made rain sticks out of old Pringles cans, earned our badges (free printable here), hunted for pretend bugs in the backyard, made a fire, laughed with our friends, and had cake!

It really was so much fun!!

And you know how much I love doing an easy thing that looks like it was a hard thing?  That was the cupcakes this time!



Green candy melts + ziploc baggie + pretzel sticks = edible tree cupcake toppers!  Took 5 minutes, required no skill, and looked so cute!  These were my favorites.  (You could totally do these at Christmas too, adding sprinkles for ornaments right?)

I loved this camping-themed party for my outdoor-loving little one.  She had so much fun, and was so happy to say she had a slumber party!  (Her cousins spent the night.)  She was gracious and excited the whole day, and just loved her special party day.

LOVE you, Alice!!



Posted in Alice, Crafts, Family, Friends, Motherhood, Parties, Tom, Weekly 2017 | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Alice’s Best 4-Year-Old Quotes.


My girl is the funniest little thing.  She constantly cracks me up with the things she says!  She’s pretty much kept us laughing her whole 4-year-old year.  Here are some of her funniest moments from the year she was four…

1. March 21, 2016
Me (hugging Alice between me and Kevin): “Gelsthorpe sandwich!”
Alice: “Am I the cheese?!”

2. March 23, 2016
Alice: “Guess what happened at school today!?”
Me: “What?”
A: “Mohnish ate a crayon and I was fashion forward!”

3. March 29, 2016
Alice: “I like your sunglasses!”
Me: “Aw! Thank you!”
A: “That doesn’t mean I really like them, I just didn’t want to hurt your feelings.”

4. April 8, 2016
(Kev was out of town all week & asked what we did.)
Alice: “We went to the mall, and saw BIG GIRL PANTIES!”

5. April 14, 2016
Tom: “Stop staring at me!”
Alice: “I can’t help it. He’s just so handsome.”
*Tom blushes*

6. April 18, 2016
Alice: “Do you like this meal I made? It’s made out of chocolate, chocolate milk, salt, and trash.”

7. May 15, 2016
Alice: “I love everything that’s on you. I love your skin. I love your eyebrows. And I love your little…teeth.”

8. May 17, 2016
Me: “Alice, how do you spell your name?”
Alice: “A-line-i-c-e!”

9. June 8, 2016
Alice: “Can you bring me a drink in the car? Because we always have drinks in the house, and that’s a little bit boring for me.”

10. June 21, 2016
Alice: “I played with Tomato today!”
Me: “You mean Matteo?”
Alice: “Yeah, Tomato shared his Play-Doh with me.”

11. June 28, 2016
“I think I have brain freeze on my leg.” — Alice

12. July 11, 2016
“I want to write ‘Ham’ because that’s my Grandma’s name!” –Alice

13. July 19, 2016
Girl at playground: “How old are you?”
Alice: “I’m 4. But I’m almost 16.”

14. July 21, 2016
“I want to watch ‘The Boy Who Cried Sheep.'” — Alice

15. July 22, 2016
Alice: “I just want to have fun. And eating? That’s not fun for me. Fun is fun.”

16. August 5, 2016
Me: “Why don’t you like Jasmine?”
Alice: “I don’t like princesses who wear PANTS!”

17. August 8, 2016
Alice (pretending to talk on phone, hangs up abruptly): “My friend was just talking crazy, so I had to shut her down.”

18. August 16, 2016
Alice: “Mom, I am just not a share person. My brain, my heart, and my bones say it. I don’t want to share. This is my life.”

19. August 24, 2016
Alice: “This is called a secuni, did you know that?”
Me: “A bikini?”
Alice: “Yes, a bikini. Isn’t that weird?”

20. August 29, 2016
Alice: “You know what? You’re weird, and fun, and funny, and I love you all the way to Saturn.”

21. September 6, 2016
Alice: “I just really want to live in Paris! Please?! They have macarons, and other desserts…”

22. September 25, 2016
Me: “This Halloween party lasts until midnight.”
Alice (gasps): “That’s a real time?!?”

23. October 11, 2016
Alice: “Can I have a Popsicle?”
Me: “Yes, but you have to go inside to get it.”
A (stomping off): “Ugh. It’s SO hard being me!”

24. October 14, 2016
Alice: “I love you, Thomas! I want to marry you, but I can’t.”
Tom: “Yeah, that’s not allowed.” *blushes*

25. November 8, 2016
Tom: “She called me a stupid dummy!”
Alice: “I’m sorry, Tom. I meant to say ‘I love you’ but the wrong thing came out.”

26. December 5, 2016
“Mom? How do I spell, ‘Matilda, come to my birthday party, there’s going to be cake.’?” –Alice

27. December 8, 2016
Me: “You’re gonna make a great Mom one day.”
Alice: “I already know how to do everything, except turn on the bathtub faucets.”

28. December 8, 2016
Alice: “I’m gonna sing a love song to my brother!”
Tom: “No!”
(We all wait to hear…)

29. February 1, 2017
“If I had two mommies, you would be my favorite.” –Alice

30. February 1, 2017
“I want a Finding Dory party! No, Star Wars! No, Palace Pets! No, tamales!” –Alice

31. February 7, 2017
“I’m going to be mad at you all day! Until I die.” –Alice

32. February 8, 2017
Alice: “Were you alive in the 1980s?”
Me: “I was!”
Alice: “Oh my goodness, were you in black and white?!”

33. February 8, 2017
Me: “Show and tell is tomorrow.”
Alice: “Yay! I’m gonna show this bump on my head.”

34. February 21, 2017
*I’ve explained dam/damn*
Alice: “So I can’t say, ‘That’s a damn shiny egg!’ I just have to say, ‘Oh my goodness, that egg is soooo shiny!'”

I am still dying over the damn shiny egg, y’all!! Probably will be for the rest of my life.


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Happy 5th Birthday, Alice!


Dear Alice,

It’s the day you’ve been waiting for!  You’re FIVE YEARS OLD!  I can hardly believe it.  This morning as soon as you woke up you said, “I’m FIVE?!”  And I said, “Yes!”  And then you said, “And next time I’ll be SIX!”  You are always thinking ahead to the next big thing.  You are always so ready to be older.  But I love, love, LOVE little you.  I will love, love, LOVE bigger you, too.

You are a happy, joyful, brave, strong, and awesome little girl.  Your best friends are your cousins and brother. You love to make crafts, so much so that I had to make a rule that we can’t do crafts until after we’ve eaten breakfast, or else you would craft, craft, craft and forget to eat.  You LOVE to be outside playing.  Yesterday you used all of my kitchen bowls and spoons to make mud pies, before baking them in your cardboard box oven.  You are incredibly creative.  Your favorite place to go is the library.  You love to play games, but what you really love is to WIN.

You are great at soccer.  You’ve been asking me every week since November when the pool is going to open.  You wanted a slumber party with your cousins for your birthday this year, but when it was time to sleep in your sleeping bag, you said, “Well, I really just want to sleep in my bed with my mom.”  So we did.

You have great fashion sense, often putting together cute outfits I would never think of.  You love to help me cook and fold clothes.  You love to give Huck treats, and when people ask you how many brothers you have, you always say, “Two. One is a boy and one is a dog.”

You love to climb.  If I look away for a moment and lose sight of you, I need only to look up to find you, because you are surely up on something.  You love your dolls and babies.  African-American baby dolls are your favorites, because you love their hair best.

You get excited to visit the doctor and dentist, I think because you love to prove how brave you are on these visits.  (And you are.)  You love going to school, and your school friends, and you always have so much to tell me when I pick you up.

You are competitive.  If I tell you I love you, you immediately say, “I love you!  The most!” And if I disagree and tell you I actually love you the most (which I do!) you always, always, always say, “No. I love you the most.  AND I SAID IT FIRST!”

Sometimes you wake up in the middle of the night, and if that happens, you always go into Tom’s room to sleep with him.  At least two nights a week, I find you in bed with him.  I don’t know if you know this, but he actually sets aside a pillow and blanket for you near him, in case you come.  He loves you so much, and you are the best little sister.

Daddy can always count on you to go with him on any errand he has to run.  You are always happy to go along with him, mainly because you know he will buy you gum on those trips. And if I ever hear huge belly laughs from you, it’s almost always because your Daddy is cracking you up. You are really generous, and if I ask you to go through your toys or books and set aside the ones you don’t want anymore, you are always happy to do it to give to someone else who might need it.

You are an explorer, an adventurer, and you love to play.  When you were born, you were a complete joy right from the very beginning, and that has remained true.  I am so lucky to be your Mama, and you inspire me in ways you can’t even imagine.  I love you.  The most.  And I promise, I said it first.


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Great Birthday at Great Wolf.


I’m behind on my weekly postings!  But my excuse is this: Tom got sick the day before we were heading out of town.  Then we went out of town later in the week. Then I got his sickness.  And y’all, I’m still not completely well!  What in the world?  Apparently it now takes me about a month to get over the common cold.  #old

But where we went was oh-so-fun!  I asked Tom if he wanted a “friends” party for his birthday this year, or if he wanted to go on an adventure, and he chose adventure!  So a couple weeks after he turned 7 — and then a couple of days after we were originally supposed to go — we headed to Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte, NC.

This place was awesome.  It’s a lodge-themed resort hotel with a water park inside of it.  We absolutely had the best time.

We stayed in a room where the kids had their own separate tent-themed sleeping area, which they loved!  Our room had a little porch that led out to the grass, which was awesome for them.  They love, love, LOVED the water park!  They were able to do a couple of slides all by themselves, and we all totally loved the family water slide that we could all go on together.  And the resort had some sort of magic wand game that my kids were nuts about.  We bought our kids their wands, and then we bought a game book for Tom so he could complete all the tasks and earn points.  With Alice, we just bought her the wand, but no book, so she could just use hers to make things magically move. Alice LOVED her wand.  Any spare time she had, she wanted to go around the hotel and try to get things to move, light up, open, or talk.  It was so neat, and Alice could not get enough.

We also went bowling, went to the arcade, saw their nightly lobby show, and met a couple of their characters.  I think in the two days we were there, we went to the water park 5 different times.  We LOVED it.

I loved how much the kids loved this place.  As soon as we left, the kids kept talking about the next time we go.  (They want their cousins to join us next time, which I agree would be perfect!)

Basically, we had a blast!  I’m so happy Tom chose this adventure for his birthday, I think he was super pleased with himself, and I know he had the most amazing time.

Happy Birthday adventure, Tom!

The way to our kids’ hearts is bunk beds.

In cool Kate news, I accidentally wore my “Mama Bear” shirt to meet a bear.  Also, Alice is the cutest, and Tom doesn’t care AT ALL about meeting characters.

Water park fun!

Bowling and sorcery!

Now I’m going to do my best to keep up with my weekly goal!  More posts soon. LOVE!



Posted in Alice, Family, Motherhood, Tom, Travel, Weekly 2017 | Tagged | Leave a comment

Life Lately.

Life lately has been crazy hectic and beautiful, and I’m going to show you the beautiful parts!

(The hectic parts are not very picturesque.  Unless you like pictures of me typing articles on my computer, or of me organizing a school Read-a-Thon, which is mainly me typing on my computer.)

Here’s what we’ve been up to this week:

I’ve continued to try to be more present on Alice and I’s Fridays together.  I’ve mentioned before that I felt like I had started using Fridays to run errands and stuff, and that wasn’t really why I didn’t want Alice in school on Fridays.  So I’ve tried to do more things with her that give us more quality time.  Last Friday I took her back to High Shoals Falls in Dallas, Ga. and we had the. best. time!  We explored, we laughed, she collected “treasures” like wrappers, and old cans, and she gave me a heart attack a couple dozen times because she’s so fearless.  It was a truly great day.

We took them to the zoo on Saturday!  This was extra special because Kevin went too, and usually it’s just me taking them on school breaks.  They were thrilled to show Daddy everything, and we had the best weather and a great time. And we go to see the new baby panda twins!!  Alice and I loved them, and Kevin and Tom were like…”Yep. Those are baby pandas. We’ll meet you outside.” Whatever, boys! #lame

The good news: I tried cooking three different new meals this week!  The bad news: They were not hits with the kids.  Ugh.  Hey, Kevin liked them! Ha!

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Our LOVE day looked like this: cute, silly kids; a robot valentine box made out of recyclables; and heart-shaped brownies for my loves.

Tom got this letter from his secret admirer on Valentine’s Day. “You are the best at looking ham sum” is really my favorite thing ever!!  Oh my gosh, I just died when I saw this!  So awesome.

My sweet friend, Sabrina, drew this picture of Tom and Alice for me!!  Isn’t this the most special surprise?!  Y’all, I actually cried when she gave it to me, like a big ole blubber fool.  I couldn’t help it!  So amazingly special.

And one day after school this week, we went on a hike with my friend, her mom, and her daughter.  My friend’s mom told a couple stories about skunks, and oh my goodness, Tom belly laughed the whole time!  It was the best thing!  If you wanna hear Tom belly laugh, just tell him a good “a skunk once sprayed me in the face” story! Obviously.

And that’s life lately!  Tom’s currently fighting a fever, and I really hope he gets well soon because we’ve got winter break plans this week!  Woo-hoo!  Hope y’all have a great weekend! LOVE.





Posted in Alice, Family, Friends, Georgia Outdoors, Kevin, Motherhood, Tom, Weekly 2017 | Leave a comment

Tom’s Transformers-Themed 7th Birthday Party!


This year I gave Tom a choice — he could either have a big friends-invited party, or he could have a family party and an adventure.  He chose the latter!  (Yay!!)

The adventure he chose is a visit to Great Wolf Lodge over his winter break.  We can’t wait!

And we had the family party last weekend, and we really had the best time!

And gone are the days of me working hard on a theme for Tom’s parties, and going all out with crafts and foods.  Here are the days of asking the birthday boy what he really wants to see at his party — and he said, “Transformers cups and plates and a Transformers balloon.”  Such sweet and simple requests!  I actually think he’s rebelling against cute themed parties.  I mean, he wants the themed cups and plates I’ve avoided all along!  Ha!  But I was happy to oblige.  I wanted him to feel like this party was all *him* — and I think we accomplished that.  I LOVED this party.  Truly loved it.  It was all about Tom, and it was just a fun, good time.

One of the others things Tom requested early on was a cake that he could decorate with his Transformer toys.  He had a whole plan for it, and described it to me in great detail. So I baked and iced a cake for him.  Once Matilda, Gus, and Hazel arrived, I got out some sprinkles and candles, Tom got some of his toys, and I let the 5 of them decorate it however they wanted.  And y’all?  They did the best job!  It was the cutest, most hilarious thing, and I really can’t see myself decorating a cake myself ever again.


The decor was pretty simple — and my favorite was this 7 we cut out from a cardboard box.  Tom told me which pictures he wanted printed, and then he glued them on there and colored in the blank spots.  Y’all, this boy hates crafts, but he LOVED this!  He was so, so proud of it.  It was perfect!


Plates and cups as requested!


He also did get a Transformer balloon. (Not seen here!)  It was one of those huge, gliding balloons.  He loved it…at first.  And then it popped a little and caused tears.  Then it popped even more and caused even more tears.  I think the balloon ended up being some type of torture!  By the end of the day, it was so deflated he asked me to “hide it away so he wouldn’t have to look at it because it made him so sad.”  Umm….great gift!

Best Buddies.

Alice’s pose cracks me up!

Party cousins!

It was a super great time, and I’m so happy with all of Tom’s ideas — that boy knows how to throw a great party!

Happy Birthday Party, Tom!

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Happy 7th Birthday, Tom!


Dear Thomas,

You are a dream come true.  You honestly are.  You are a dream I never even dared to dream out loud, because it just seemed too big.  I still look at you sometimes in complete amazement.  I could never have imagined how awesome being your mom would be.

You are someone who is just…kind.  So, so, so kind. If someone is ever mean to you or someone else, your first response is total confusion.  You cannot even imagine why someone would ever be not nice.  You are the epitome of kindness, and it is inspiring to witness.

You are the most wonderful son, always telling me that I’m “the best mom ever!” even though I’m definitely not.  You are the most amazing big brother.  You will even play DOLLS with Alice on special occasions. I mean, that’s true love.

You love to help your dad put together Lego creations, and you’ve recently started helping him build model airplanes.  Your dad loves sharing these things with you, and I’m so happy you love it too.

You are a great cousin, always willing to share your toys. Giving away toys to Gus is your new favorite thing.  I think you just love making him happy.

You wake up at 6 a.m. on the dot every morning, and on weekends you stomp on your floor to make sure I know you’re awake.

You’ve told me you’re done with dinosaur toys for now, but you still always check out dinosaur books from the library.  When I read your favorite dinosaur books to your classmates on Friday, you stood beside me and added extra dinosaur facts to every page, much to your classmates admiration.

You won a science award last week for your class, and I think you kinda loved the attention, but you still couldn’t wait to give me your certificate to take home so you wouldn’t have to keep it with you.

You like to watch a channel on YouTube that makes you laugh out loud.  You still have the best belly laugh in the world, and that’s pretty much the only reason I let you watch YouTube.  Hearing that laugh makes me laugh.  So. Great.

You love Transformers toys right now.  You told me you wanted a Transformers party for your family party and I asked you what you especially wanted.  You wanted “Transformer cups and plates and a Transformer balloon.”  How sweet are you?!  Such easy requests. Done and done.

You are a smiling, happy, joy of a boy who is the definition of goodness.  I still cannot believe that you are our boy.  And that you are SEVEN!  Thank you for making these past 7 years the best of our lives.  We LOVELOVELOVE you, and we cannot wait to see what you accomplish next.

LOVE you,


Posted in Tom, Uncategorized | 2 Comments