true turned 7 (last year) with a mermaid & under the sea party

True's 7th Birthday
Totally late seeing how True turns 8 at the end of this week, but this was her 7th birthday and photographed by my brother-in-law, Christian. True wanted a mermaid & under the sea party, so this is what we came up with. We took her to the aquarium on her actual birthday, but part of her requests was to have a party, so we threw that on the weekend after her birthday. It was a very bright and warm spring day, we had her friends over, and had lots of fun partying with the birthday girl.

True's 7th Birthday
True's 7th Birthday
True's 7th Birthday
True's 7th Birthday
She wanted to do some crafts, so we made some masks…

True's 7th Birthday
True's 7th Birthday
We have this kid food fun recipe book and so she planned out the menu. We served squid dogs, which are just hotdogs that are boiled with spaghetti speared through it, and we had clam burgers, which is mini burger patty put into a half opened bread roll…

True's 7th Birthday
True's 7th Birthday
True's 7th Birthday
True's 7th Birthday
True's 7th Birthday
True's 7th Birthday
We made a mermaid cut out for all the party guests, so they could take an instagram picture of themselves home…

True's 7th Birthday
True's 7th Birthday
And the birthday girl requested musical chairs…

True's 7th Birthday
True's 7th Birthday
Of course, we opened presents, and she got showered with tons of My Little Pony things…

True's 7th Birthday
True's 7th Birthday
We ended the party with a dance party and Taylor Swift…

True's 7th Birthday
True's 7th Birthday
True's 7th Birthday
This year will be different, since as you know from this post, she’s requesting a My Little Pony party at a hotel. I thought that was going to be easier because then I wouldn’t have to worry about a lot of people, but since she’s requesting all the sisters have home-sewn pony costumes, I’ve got my work cut of for me. We really enjoy indulging them (as long as their requests are reasonable) for their birthdays. It is so worth it to see them so excited and happy!

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our hoppy easter

easter 2014
easter 2014
easter 2014
easter 2014
easter 2014
easter 2014
easter 2014
easter 2014
easter 2014
easter 2014
easter 2014
We had a wonderful Resurrection Sunday. We gave the girls a community Easter present (some card games, fun glasses, and things for drawing), we didn’t get to do our own egg hunt, but they got to do one at our church gathering and at Grammy and Grumpy’s house, and of course we had a good time worshipping and being reminded why we celebrate Easter with our church family. We got to spent time with our church family, Ben’s family, and my family, so we were totally happy campers as we bustled from one place to the next.

I know I get lost often and my eyes aren’t always fixed on the prize of Christ, but all my shortcomings just remind me why I need Christ so much more. I’m never going to be a perfect mom, there’s honestly no such thing. I fall short all the time and I make so many mistakes, and I’m thankful for their constant love and forgiveness, but more importantly, I’m thankful for the forgiveness that was given to me because of the cross.

on all the ladies: dresses, vintage (mine and true’s are from ms. tips).

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cinnamon sugar cookies

cinnamon sugar cookies
Cinnamon Sugar Cookies
*adapted from this recipe, yields about 24 large cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 cup all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 pinches of salt

For coating:
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the butter and sugar and mix until it is light and fluffy. Continue to add in the vanilla extract and milk into the butter mixture.
3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
4. Using a spatula, gradually add the wet ingredients into the bowl of the dry ingredients and combine. If the dough is too wet, add some flour a tablespoon at a time (it usually takes about 4 tablespoons).
5. In a small bowl, mix together the remaining sugar and cinnamon for the coating.
6. Using a tablespoon to scoop, roll dough into balls, then roll each ball in the sugar and cinnamon mixture to coat, and place onto un-greased cookie sheets. Lightly flatten top of the cookie with a fork or a spoon (we chose a fork). If desired, sprinkle more cinnamon on top.
7. Bake in the oven for about 8 – 10 minutes, or until golden. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a couple minutes, then transfer to wire rack (or just eat it warm and soft with ice cream because fresh baked cookies are amazing that way!).

cinnamon sugar cookies
cinnamon sugar cookies
The girls wanted to bake, but we were out of eggs, so this is what we made and our tummies were quite happy with ourselves. It’s pretty much like the recipe linked above, but I always opt for more vanilla than a recipe calls for, and we threw in cinnamon because we really love cinnamon. They sprinkle it on their oatmeal and O’s breakfast every morning!

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bada bing, bada boom!

bing!
bing!
bing!
bing!
Bing reached out and wanted me to try their Bing Rewards program and I figured why not. I’ve been using it for a bit now and it works great. I switched my phone and iPad over to have Bing as my main search engine because I like the idea behind their rewards program. I’m constantly doing searches anyways, but with Bing, I earn a credit for every search I do. No need to purchase anything, just search, and earn credit. Once you reach so many credits, you can exchange them for prizes. I’ve got my eye on one month Hulu+ subscription (300 credits) because I really want to watch the season finale of Scandal and not have to wait a week. Thankfully, I’m almost there, so probably after today, I’ll get to sit down and relax with a glass of wine and Olivia Pope (oh and Jake! totally #teamjake). If Hulu+ ain’t your thing, there’s Starbucks, Sephora, Applebees, Amazon, and the list goes on. It’s not a whopping $100 gift card, but it’s a little bit ($3 – $5 increments) that’s pretty much free money since you don’t have to spend anything to get it. You just do what you do already, and keep searching, but just makes sure it’s on Bing, and if you do searches on iOS, you can get credits on that too!

My searches lately have revolved around My Little Pony. True’s birthday is coming up and she wants a My Little Pony party at a hotel (similar to Brave’s last year). I’m trying to look for pony-inspired decor that will be easy to put up in a hotel room and other things I can make to make it more Ponyville-ish. I know a recent episode had a Rainbow Dash party and that gave me a lot of ideas, but Rainbow Dash isn’t her fave, Fluttershy is, so I’ve been trying to get ideas for that. (Oh and she wants me to make everyone a pony costume! Can anyone please tell me where I can search for time to make that?!) I did find a Fluttershy party hat print-out, and sketched out ideas for a Fluttershy inspired dress, so I’m getting there. Thus, while I was doing my searches for that, I was racking up credits, totally works for me.

Ben totally knows more about My Little Pony than I do (he’s a Brony, but not a crazy one), so I’m needing to do a lot of searches to make sure I’m getting my pony facts and ideas right. Rainbow Dash is thunderbolt, clouds, and rainbows (duh!) and Fluttershy is butterflies, shy, and animals. Did I get that right? Don’t ask me about Pinkie Pie and the others just yet, I don’t know much about them. I guess I better start paying attention when we have family cuddle night and watch My Little Pony. I lie in bed with them watching, but my mind zones out and I’m not really paying attention though I’m staring at the screen. Anyone else do that?

Anyway, try Bing out if you like. I say it doesn’t hurt, there’s no cost to you, and you earn a little (without having to spend anything), so bada bing bada boom… Bing it!

This post was created in partnership with Bing. Thank you for your continuous support of me and this space. Fun little things like this is only possible because of you, so thank you! 

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family meals: week 70

black bean chili
black bean chili
Black Bean Chili and Chip Salad. Easy, yummy, and great for Dinner Club Thursdays. Thursday almost guarantees some sort of bean dish variety because it’s the most cost friendly and easy to whip up for a large group.

Week of 4/21 – 4/25
Monday: Ben’s on dinner duty
Tuesday: Soba Noodle Sesame Salad
Wednesday: Spaghetti and Meatballs
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Disneyland!

Last week I cooked all week long, but Ben worked a few late nights, so evenings were really hectic for me and we didn’t have any family dinners together. Our time together at the dinner table is something I look forward to and we all chat about our day. The girls like to give us every single detail about their days that sometimes one girl takes 1 hour (with interruptions from the rest of the family) to tell her whole story. It’s hilarious!

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