Monday, January 21, 2013


I stitched together hundreds of photos to make this little video of our recent trip to California. (Rich wants you to know that he's not picking his nose at the beginning of this video. He's picking his teeth. That's a little bit better, right?)

Oh, and it was mostly just me and Rich since Alfredo spent most of the time visiting family.

Our visit to Petaluma...mostly by meal from Amy Powers on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


We've been on the waiting list for the display case at the public library for a whole year and finally, on his birthday, the day arrived. Alfredo decided to display his extensive dinosaur collection. Didn't he do a great job?

Today I'm packing for our trip. Hoping to post from California. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Happy Birthday, Alfredo!

Happy birthday, my sweet boy! I love you so much.
Alfredo's birthday always reminds me of when we first met him a week before his first birthday and how he instantly charmed us. The very first time his big beautiful eyes met ours, we became a family.
I remember that first I'd make a little nest for him of pillows and blankets and we'd spend those days reading books, playing games and watching shows. If I left his side, even just to go to the bathroom, he cried and cried. I remember him looking at me square in the eyes, holding my face with his dear little chubby hands. We fell in love instantly.
Rich and he, from the very first night, found that they shared a crazy sense of humor. They played this funny game where Alfredo would play with this toy...closing all the little doors that flipped up...and Rich would open them back up. Alfredo would shake his head "no" like crazy and then laugh and laugh. They did it over and over. That's how they fell in love that first night.

This picture was taken on his first birthday, just about a week after his arrival. This picture breaks my heart. I imagine what this little baby had witnessed, what he'd already been through in his short life. And there's a sadness in his eyes that just gets me. That look haunts me.
But here we are, 5 years later...a family. That sadness and those unhappy things are washed away by all the love we have together.
Happy, happy birthday, Alfredo!

Monday, January 14, 2013

angry bird photo booth

I set up a simple photobooth constructed with pvc piping and a sheet. I already had the piping on hand from previous projects. I just put them together to create a basic frame with a stand. I clipped the ends of the top of the sheet and fed the pipe through it. Easy Peezy. Alfredo decorated the sheet with reusable wall decals which we scored on Amazon for super cheap. ($3 + shipping)
Alfredo posed with each guest or group of guests and they had great fun posing and hamming it up. Yesterday, I set the photos up in strips of 4 (sometimes I just repeated the same image and just cropped it or zoomed in if I didn't have 4 images). Check out how cute the one of Alfredo, Rich and me turned!
I sent them to Walmart to print 2 strips per 4 x 6" print and ordered two copies of each. One strip will go with each Thank You note. The other set of strips will be for Alfredo...I'll  hole punch them together and bind them with a little binder ring. Maybe I should laminate them first to increase their lifespan. 

Angry Bird Birthday

Wow...what a fun party we had! It was so crazy that I didn't get many photos. And some things didn't go exactly as planned. For instance, the Angry Bird game didn't really get organized. Some kids played with the big red ball and others with the big "blocks"...

There was also a bouncy house that was super popular.
I'm really kicking myself for not getting any photos of this but we had a guy put on a big pig mask and run through the field while the children threw Angry Bird plushies at him. I think it was the biggest hit of the party. I hope someone took pictures of was hilarious.
After the field part, we went to the party room.
Nests filled with spray-painted Easter eggs and feathers and paper Angry Birds on skewers made quick and easy table decorations.

I printed coloring pages onto 11" x 14" bristol board. This kept them busy while they waited for their cupcakes, this kept them busy. 
We had a little ice cream sundae bar and had just a few children fill their ice cream bowls at a time.

And just feast your eyes on these unbelievable cupcakes and cake that my friend Caryn made for us...

So much fun!
I have one more thing to show you from the party and then we are on to the next big thing...a trip to California!
Alfredo's actual birthday is tomorrow. He is so excited to be 6. What a sweet blessing he is to us.

Friday, January 11, 2013

angry bird game

I saw this idea all over Pinterest and instantly knew it was the game for us. We're renting an indoor field for Alfredo's birthday party. The idea is that the children will roll (or toss if they can) this huge ball into a tower which another child builds with boxes. They'll place piggy plushies in amongst the boxes.
I painted the extra huge red ball with an Angry Bird face. (I just noticed in this picture that the placement of the black dots in the eyes is a bit off, giving him a bit of a Crazy Angry Bird expression!) I just used regular craft paint and it worked great...until I decided to paint on some sealer. As the sealer dried, the paint just flaked off. So I started over, repainting with just the craft paint. Hopefully it holds up for the party.
I covered all sorts of boxes with wood grain contact paper (found at the dollar store).
Adding strips of the contact paper to the top and bottom, with the grain in the opposite direction, and adding a strip diagonally really makes the boxes look like crates.
My kitchen is currently filled with these boxes and Alfredo has been testing them out by throwing his Angry Bird plushies at them. If his test is any indication, this game is going to be a big hit!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

new 'do

Whenever the hairdresser wants to straighten my hair, I'm all for it. It's like being a new person for the day.

Monday, January 7, 2013

angry birds pennant banner

We are in full-on Angry Bird birthday mode around here. Alfredo is so excited about this birthday and all the fun things we have in store for his friends.

Nothing says party like a pennant banner! This weekend, I whipped up this one...

I decided to make it out of felt instead of paper so that we can re-use it as a room decoration.
You can see how easily they are pieced together....googly eyes, eyebrows, beak and a wedge for the belly. I used a bit of felt glue to secure the face parts. 
I sewed the triangles together using bias tape folded over the top edge. It came together rather quickly. I started cutting out the triangles Friday afternoon. By friday night, I'd glued all the yellow bird faces. Saturday, I did the red bird faces and sewed them all together. There are a few sections, depending on the length of bias tape I had...some short and others quite long. Probably more than 50 feet of pennant banner all together!
This adorable "Happy Birthday" banner is from Target. The colors go so well with the theme. I adore it...especially since it can be used forever. And for just $5, you can't beat the price.
Tomorrow, I'll show you the humongous Angry Bird ball I painted and what we have planned for it. We're having so much fun around here!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year!

We have a lot of catching up to do. I think you can search back my archives and see that at the first of every year I say something like "I can't believe Christmas is already over" so I will refrain from repeating that sentiment.

But I have a lot to show you. Above are darling glittery birds I bought at World Market and then dolled them up with a hat and scarf. If you hurry, you might be able to score them in the sale bin.

I added a quickly embroidered heart to a plain muslin bag and these made great little gifts for friends.

This year, lots of folks on our giving list got this:

An Ice Cream Sundae Party Kit!

I made batches and batches of butterscotch and hot fudge sauces (using the recipes here). I put them in adorable little pint jars using a coffee filter under the jar rim to make an adorable little jar skirt.

We packaged all sorts of toppings including chocolate chips, gummy bears, and sprinkles in little treat bags topped with patterned paper. I decided against labelling them all because they seemed easily identifiable and the paper looked so pretty.

I packaged them all in red gable boxes left over from Alfredo's birthday party last year.
It would have been nice if I'd shared this with you before Christmas, right? But this does make a great anytime gift.
Here's a funny picture I wanted to share with you:

We had a playdate and Alfredo's friend artfully arranged Alfredo's collection of Squinkies all around the house I made in Pam and Eileen's class. I just thought that was too adorable for words.

And now, I switch gears into planning Alfredo's 6th birthday party...

This year, Angry Birds!

Here are his invitations...40 of them, all carefully handmade. Aren't they fun?
p.s. Can you even believe that Alfredo is turning 6?!! What? Huh?