Something to Celebrate

Archive for the ‘Special Occassions’ Category

Hannah attended her first “friend” birthday party a couple weeks ago and had a blast.  When we got the invitation to this little boy’s 5th birthday party my first thought was, I know nothing about boy gifts.   Let’s face it, I live in girl world, I never had brothers and I really have no clue what 5 year old boys get excited to play with. I did, however, have a good clue about something this sweet little guy liked because the party theme was batman, spider man and legos.

So I did what most clueless moms do, start browsing pinterest.  That’s when I came across the homemade fort kit idea.  What boy doesn’t love building a fort, right?  I took some ideas from the pin and got to work to make a kit customized for Hannah’s friend.  Here’s what I purchased/used/created:

  • Little red, zipper-top bag (86 cents): The pin had a tutorial for how to make a cloth bag to put the kit in but I am not a great sewer and didn’t want to spend a lot of time trying to make a bag that probably wouldn’t look very good.  I made the bag I bought more sturdy by cutting a cardboard circle the same size as the bottom of the bag and then covering it in red craft foam.  Here is what that looked like:

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  • Navy blue queen sheet ($2)
  • I cut an old white t-shirt into 7, 18-inch (1 inch wide) strips to make the “hooks” for the sheet.  Just stretch out the strips a little then tie knots on each end of the strip.  Make a little loop and then sew onto the sheet.  3 loops go along the long sides of sheet and one in the center.  Here is a photo of the loops/hooks:
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  • I took 5 clothespins I already had laying around the house and had Hannah paint them blue. Then I found superhero/lego clip art, printed them out and covered them with laminate I had.  I glued the laminated art onto each clothespin to make them more fun and in line with the theme:
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  • Now it’s Dollar Tree time.  We got red nylon rope ($1), suction cup hooks ($1), glow sticks ($1) and a flash light ($1) to put into the bag.  I also included some popcorn and fruit snacks because building a fort takes lots of energy 😉
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  • The last step was making a cute sign for the front of the bag so the birthday boy would know what he was getting (or really the birthday boy’s mom because she was the one reading it!):
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The next week when I ran into the birthday boy’s mom at school, she told me that he absolutely loved the fort kit and had been playing with it non-stop the entire weekend.  I’d say the kit was a hit and not bad for just about $7!  If you have any questions about the assembly of this kit just leave me a comment and I’ll get back with you!  Also, if you’d rather not go to the trouble of making the kit, you can always pay me to make one for you 🙂  I can also do a “girly” one…Hannah has already requested one.

008Linked up at New NostalgiaHousewife How-To’s, Atlantamomofthree and All Things with Purpose.

October was a busy month for us.  It seemed to fly by!  We survived our first long car trip with Leia when we traveled to Connerville, Oklahoma for my family reunion.  Even though it was only 2 hours, this was a big accomplishment for Leia who used to start screaming the instant her carrier snapped into the base.  Both kiddos did great being in the car for 4 hours in one day.  It was fun seeing so many of my cousins that I had not seen in many years and of course getting to see my Grandparents, who I had not seen in almost a year.

Hannah finished up her Fall Blastball season on the 27th.  She really came a long way during the season.  She began by being totally freaked out by the squeaking first base and ended the season jumping as hard as she could on it to make it squeak as loud as possible.  Not sure what we’re going to do yet for the Spring but I have a feeling with her love for baseball that this will not be the end of her T-ball career.  Here is her official Blastball picture:

Go Marlins!

Oct. 25th was Hannah’s Halloween Dress-Up Day and Party at her preschool.  She was Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony.  My mom, Leia and I hung around with some of the other parents after we dropped her off at her class to wait and see her “trick or treat” in the lobby.  We had no idea that this “little” trick or treating was actually the entire staff of the church dressed up and they created themed areas for the kids to visit.  They had Wizard of Oz, Charlie Brown, Snow White, Shrek, Little Bo Peep (who was hilarious because it was a male), Cinderella and some more I am forgetting.  They really went all out and it was so fun to see all the kids in their costumes light up when they visited each area.  Here are some photos of the day before we left and at school:

On the yellow brick road.

Hannah says this is her “real pony” pose.

Hannah’s Class–her teachers are Fancy Nancy.

The weekend before Halloween we did what all good Texans do–go to a Pumpkin Patch and take pictures of course!  We went to the Flower Mound Pumpkin Patch which I highly recommend.  It costs $5 to park and then everything else is free.  There are hay mazes, bounce houses, a big inflatable slide, a hay ride and tons of wooden cut-outs of characters kids love to take pictures beside.  Here are a few of my favorite pictures from our afternoon:

We also stopped by Sean’s work costume party and of course, Leia is in true form here:

So that sums up October!  I leave you with one final October photo of the girls that cracks me up:

I’m not just talking about the fact that the pumpkin spice latte’ is back so obviously that means it’s fall.  I actually mean a new season of life for Sean and I.  We are now parents of a preschooler!  I was warned that Hannah’s first day of school would leave me teary eyed and although I am a sappy person (especially since I’m still hormonally challenged nursing a 5 month old), tears were not shed.

I have tried my best to cherish and appreciate every stage with Hannah (even the not-so-fun stages of potty training and trying to be the boss).  Because whether the stage is sweet or painful, it passes in the blink of an eye.  I know one day I’ll look up to see her walking down the aisle (that makes my stomach hurt right now) and so I want to enjoy every moment I have with her before sending her into the care of some hairy legged boy (as my Dad would say).

So, I have no regrets about Hannah’s infant or toddler stage passing too quickly because I was present for those stages–trust me, I remember it all 🙂  And now, her entry into school is another stage to cherish.  God’s Word tells us to be content no matter what phase we’re in (Holly International Version).   It’s easy for me to think on the past or the future but it takes effort to be in the present.  There are so many blessings though when you’re present–you notice and appreciate the little things more.  I try to “memorize” these moments, facial expressions, hugs and kisses so that one day I will have an entire bank of good memories to recall when my house is empty of little girls!

Okay, enough sap.  Here are some photos of Hannah’s first meet the teacher night.

Getting Ready (of course you must have painted fingers and toes, curly hair and a fancy dress to meet your preschool teacher):

Her carpet square

Hannah and Ms. Jennifer

At her desk

On August 3rd I celebrated my 29th Birthday.  My final year in my 20s but hey it’s okay, I still feel 16.  Except for the fact that I’ve had 3 miscarriages, 2 babies via natural childbirth, several jobs, shingles, & 4 wisdom teeth removed all in my 20s…wait, maybe I DO feel almost 30!  God has given me many blessings in my 20s though and I know He has even more plans for me in my 30s.  I am just thankful I am alive and well today!  I don’t want to miss a moment with my sweet family.

On my birthday I got to enjoy my first 1 hour massage since before Leia was born (only had to wait 4 months) as well as a fun family dinner complete with food from Maggiano’s and an ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins.  The ice cream cake has begun to be a tradition for my birthdays.  It started last year and got me hooked I guess.  I mean, if chocolate ganache, Baskin Robbins ice cream and chocolate cake are wrong then I don’t wanna be right.  I think my love for ice cream cake started back in my TCU days when my two girlfriends Kim, Amanda and I decided to by ourselves one as our Valentine’s gift to ourselves since we were all single at the time.  We bought it at the Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins on “Scary Berry” and you know that’s a scary area when the ice cream cakes are chain locked up in the freezer case.  Seriously.  I’ll never forget digging into that cake and dancing around to Boyz II Men in our dorm…..wow, that dates me.  I really am almost 30 but I don’t care–I still love Boyz II Men 🙂

Our sweet girl Hannah turned 4 on May 18th and we celebrated in Veggie Tales style the next day with a party at our house.  The party itself was only 2 hours (long enough trust me) but the bounce castle was set up by 11 am so you can imagine Hannah’s excitement at getting it all to herself for several hours prior to her party starting.  I did make her take a break to eat lunch and lay down to rest which she heavily protested of course.   Here is the bounce castle in all its glory:
ImageWe rented this from Joe’s Jumps, a local company that serves Denton and surrounding areas.  They have a great variety of nice jumpers at great prices so I highly recommend them.

This was Hannah’s first party with friends (aka little people) invited.  I definitely recommend a bouncer if kids are involved in your child’s birthday party–it keeps them out of the house, entertained and wears them out so they will sleep well that night 🙂  Here are some of my favorite pics of the kids (big and small) in the  bouncer:

H & friend Cameron
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Hannah’s Great Grandmother, Oma (yes, she jumped inside too!)

H & her Aunt Tiffany

I made several of the Veggie Tales characters for decorations and games.  We did pin the nose on Bob:

Now lets move indoors where I did let the children go periodically 😉  Here is the food table.  My friend Megan who owns Tiny Kitchen Cakery, made the adorable Laura the Carrot cake.


Not pictured were the Veggie Tales balloons.  I ordered these from the Veggie Tales website and I would NOT recommend them.  Many of them busted when Kroger tried to fill them with helium–cheaply made.  Of course no party is complete without favors:

It was a great time and so fun seeing Hannah just love life!

My mom and I looooove a good spa day!  We frequent Sutera Spa in Flower Mound but also enjoy trying new spas.  I did some research and found the Renata Salon & Day Spa in downtown Grapevine.  It really stood out to me in my spa internet search because it is located in the “Dorris House”, a historic, Victorian style home built in 1896.  I also liked its close proximity to Grapevine’s Main Street which is just so cute with its many restaurants, bakeries and fun shops.

We really enjoyed our treatments at Renata but to re-cap our full experience, here are my lists of what I thought was fabulous and what was not-so-fab at this spa:

The Fabulous:

  • Beautiful atmosphere: when you first walk in you notice the gorgeous spiral staircase and then the waiting area (picture above) showcases a comfy couch and cute animal print chairs.  Treatment rooms are also very beautiful.
  • The beautiful jewelry and Bumble & Bumble products they sell and have on display in the waiting area.  I had to buy some B&B Coco shampoo because I love what it does to my hair and it has the best smell EVER.
  • They brought us a complimentary mango Bellini while we waited for our treatments….mmmmm
  • The staff are super-nice
  • They have their own line of amazing make-up and let me try it all on after my spa treatment while I was waiting on my mom (see photo above).
  • In the same room with the make-up is a nice sitting area, beautiful windows overlooking downtown Grapevine and lots of magazines to read while you relax or wait on your spa buddy (photo to right).
  • Their pricing for services is pretty on-par with other local area spas.
  • They offer a variety of massages and body treatments plus there is a salon on the first floor.  I had a body wrap and it was great because it wasn’t one of those where they make you “sweat it out”–they just painted some stuff on me and wrapped me in saran wrap…tmi?  My mom had a 90 minute massage and said it was wonderful.

The Not-So-Fab:

  • Once we arrived and filled out one page of paperwork there was really no quiet, “spa-like” place for us to go.  At other spas you can go change into a robe/slippers and relax somewhere.  At Renata we just sat in their “waiting area” which was nice but a highly trafficked area and we never got to change into a robe.
  • The spa treatment rooms are not completely private.  My mom could hear everything Polka (the lady who did my body wrap–love her name!) and I were saying in our room because the walls do not go all the way to the ceiling.
  • There are no  “extra amenities” as I like to call them such as a sauna, hot tub or cold plunge/pool.

All in all we enjoyed our time at Renata Salon & Day Spa!  On a 1-10 “spa scale” with 1 being a spa I’d never recommend to my worst enemy and 10 being the best spa I’ve ever been to, I would give Renata a 7.  We left very relaxed and ready to take on downtown Grapevine.  I will do a separate post about our experience on Main!

*If you are a spa and would like to be reviewed or “secret shopped” please contact Holly at hdspecialevents@gmail.com!* 

For Staycation Part 1 click here otherwise read on…

Our Denton “staycation” continued on Wednesday with a trip to the zoo since that was Hannah’s actual birthday.  She had been requesting to go to the Ft. Worth Zoo for several months since she actually remembers going there on her 2nd Birthday.  It worked out great that her 3rd Birthday fell on a Wednesday since that is half price admission day at the zoo!  Hannah also requested to invite her Pappy & Gingie so Sean’s parents met us there.

Before we got to the zoo, however, we had a birthday breakfast at IHOP in Hickory Creek.  We had a free Rooty Jr. coupon so Hannah got good and fueled up for the trip.  I fueled up on lots of coffee.  Hannah got to open her first birthday present from us which was a Beach Boys CD…yes, she really did ask for that and we listened to it all the way to Ft. Worth and back.  At least it’s better than kiddie music all the time!

The Fort Worth Zoo is really a great place and gives you MUCH more for your money than the Dallas Aquarium.  They happened to have a Dinosaur exhibit going on which Hannah loved because there were real looking dinosaurs throughout the zoo that moved and made sounds.  She was continually on the look-out for the next dinosaur.  There were signs posted by each dinosaur that told its name and what part of Texas their fossils were found which was neat.

The FW Zoo has a train and carousel which Hannah enjoyed last year but this year she was more interested in making sure she saw every single animal in the zoo so we didn’t have time for those.  That was okay with us because you have to pay extra for both of those amenities anyways!

The zoo’s website states they “discourage” coolers but I did pack some snacks and a sandwich in the stroller.  No one even looked at our bags or stroller so I say bring your sack lunch (just leave your very obvious gigantic ice chest at home).  There are several dining options if you want to eat at the zoo including a Crocodile Cafe’ (Burger King & mexican food), Grandy’s, & Dickey’s BBQ.  We ate at the Crocodile Cafe’ which gives you a perfect view of their crocodile exhibit.  I was glad I brought my own sandwich because Sean said the Burger King food was not very good.

Hannah’s favorites at the zoo (besides the not real dinosaurs) were the meerkats, gorillas, snakes, exotic fish and flamingos.  It is a LOT of walking so wear your good shoes!

After we returned home from the zoo, I started in on Hannah’s birthday dinner (chicken pot pie) and chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing.  The look on her face was just priceless when I stuck a candle in her cupcake and Sean and I sang her “happy birthday.”  She kept saying “Thank you, thank you!”  After dinner she got to open her final present from us which was the Dora version of Candy Land.  And then we played LOTS of Candy Land…Hannah kicked our butts.  Needless to say after 5 hours of walking at the zoo & holding Hannah up to see the animals and lots of cooking, I slept well that night.

After our Wednesday festivities I was ready for a low-key day on Thursday.  Sean let me sleep in (insert angels singing) and he and Hannah went on a donut date.  We went to lunch at TX Land & Cattle in Hickory Creek.  I had a free appetizer coupon so we got the steak nachos thinking Hannah would also like that but they were REALLY spicy.  So not so much kid-friendly but she ate half of the loaf of bread and the entire container of butter so she was happy 🙂  After lunch we had to go to Wal-mart to get supplies for Hannah’s birthday party coming up on Saturday then had a pretty low-key rest of the day.  I did a lot of cleaning to get ready for the party and also my cousin Candace who was coming to stay with us Friday evening.

Friday my mom watched Hannah for a few hours while Sean and I did a little shopping at Target (I got a cute new dress for Hannah’s party) and ate at RG Burgers.  Now if you know Sean very well you know that no vacation would be complete without a burger at his favorite restaurant.  RG Burgers also has good coupons in the Ad Pages magazine so that’s nice.  I like it because I can get a turkey burger on a wheat bun and sweet potato fries.  I pretty much make a million substitutions and they don’t mind 🙂

My cousin Candace arrived about 7 pm on Friday–hooray!  Candace and I spent a lot of time together growing up and since I do not have any siblings she is the closest thing I have to a sister.  We ate dinner at home and then after Hannah went to bed she and I escaped over to my fave coffee place, Cafe’ du Luxe.  We had delicious latte’s and talked wedding stuff since Candace is newly engaged!

Saturday was the big party day–we threw a Wonder Pets themed party per Hannah’s suggestion.  I will post picture on here soon but it was a lot of fun.  Of course, what 3 year old wouldn’t love being the center of attention, opening lots of presents and eating hot dogs, macaroni & cheese and strawberry cake?!?  I also created a photo slide show with music that we showed (thanks to my awesome husband for figuring out how to get it burned onto a DVD that would play on our BluRay).

Saturday night we hit up another one of our fave Mexican Restaurants in Denton, La Milpa, with our good friends Bryan & Melinda.  It looks like a hole-in-the-wall kinda place but it is really good.  And there’s never a wait for a table since it’s not a popular chain type place.  I had their chicken fajitas and they were yummmmmy.  They are also another restaurant that frequently puts coupons in the Ad Pages.

Sunday we went to church then came home and had party left-overs.  After lunch Hannah and I went outside to try out her new sidewalk chalk Candace got her and her new soccer ball from Bryan & Melinda.  It was fun but boy was it hot and muggy outside so Hannah got a bath when we got back inside.  Then she and both napped for about 2 hours to recover from the staycation 🙂

For me, the best parts of our staycation were:

  • sleeping in our own beds
  • eating out more than we normally would
  • exploring some new places in our area
  • not having to spend a lot of money and
  • just being able to relax at home

So, I highly recommend a staycation wherever you live.  There’s more than you think in your own neck of the woods!