soul’s 8th birthday breakfast in bed

December 4, 2017

It’s tradition and so Soul just had her 8th birthday breakfast in bed! My pancakes and French toast didn’t come out as planned, so she got tiny little, mishmosh stack. Of course, part of that tradition is a fruit/veggie animal on the tray, and made this cute pup from an old banana. Our little cutie was so excited her birthday was finally here!

We use this book for ideas on how to make our fruit/vegetable characters.

england news & beyond // halloween 2017

October 31, 2017

This year the girls decided they wanted to do a news story with their different characters. They’ve been making news videos on their iPad and their show is called “California News & Beyond,” so the new video is a play on that. Brave has really gotten into Harry Potter series (have you seen her Harry Potter birthday?), so of course she wanted to be Hermione Granger. And if you’re a legit Star Wars fan, you love Debbie Reynolds too, so True wanted to be Kathy Selden from Singing in the Rain. Soul decided early in the spring that Paddington is who she wanted to be for Halloween, and Glow loves Ash from Sing. She loves singing “Set It All Free” all the time, and quite loudly too (though you get a tamer rendition in the video, must have been a bit of stage fright). With all their random choices, they thought it would be best to present it as a news story, with each character getting its own segment.

The girls take care in planning their characters, costumes (and what needs to be made), and how they will bring it all together. They have so much fun prepping for Halloween and doing creative projects like this. In fact, they’ve started discussing their plans for next Halloween already. It’s been a busy month, so the video didn’t get done until last minute (yesterday), and I’m rusty on editing (miss my sister and her skillz, she made last year’s video), but I hope you enjoy the news show we put together!

Get ready for your Tuesday briefing…

Have a look back at our past Halloween stories…
2016: Cutthroat Kitchen: Bratcher Edition
2015: The Mystery of the Missing Leia and Yoda
2014: The Zookeeper’s Wild Day
2013: The Mystery of Pinkie Pielilocks and the Three Bears
2012: The Adventures of Spider-Girl & She-ra
2011: Barbershop Quartet
2010: The Three Little Piggies
2009: Hannah and Gretel
2008: The Untold Story of Oz
2007: Little Red Riding Hood

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

P.S. Instructions on how to make the Ash porcupine costume will be shared soon.

glow’s shapes birthday party

October 19, 2017

Last year, Glow requested a “shapes” themed 6th birthday as soon as her 5th birthday was over. I had no clue what I was going to do, other than make lots of shapes. Eventually, the idea came together after my BFF showed me this book (we ordered it and gave it to her as part of her birthday presents). As you know, if you’ve been reading here awhile, we like to go on vacation for birthdays. Thus, this celebration was pulled off in our hotel room and it was shapes everything… homemade shapes dress, shapes cake topper, shapes wrapped gifts, and shapes background, exactly what this birthday girl wanted. 

The backdrop was made at home, on large drawing paper, and I taped it up over our headboard. Birthday cake was homemade and assembled in the hotel room. By the way, I used a Trader Joe’s boxed vanilla cake mix, and doctored it up with lavender infused milk, along with lavender frosting, and it came out so delicious! For her birthday meal, she requested shrimp (she loves shrimp) and even that was prepared at home (made this recipe), and put together in the hotel room. Thankfully, there was a microwave, which I knew prior to coming. The sisters made her all sorts of shapes-themed birthday gifts, and after we sang “Happy Birthday” and were all feasting on cake, Ben read us Triangle. She was filled with giddy at all the shapes and surprises, and Ben and I are always so happy to be able to fulfill birthday wishes.

She’s been 6 for about a month now, and I have yet to hear what she wants for next year, but I’m sure her birthday theme request will be coming soon. Once she gets an idea in her head, it sticks and rarely ever changes. 

a very harry potter birthday

October 9, 2017

Moving into double digits is a big deal and we celebrated Brave’s 10th year with a full day of 10 Harry Potter activities. Of course, we started with the traditional breakfast in bed and she had a letter delivered to her by an owl. The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry made an exception for Brave since she’s only 10. Along with her letter, she received a handmade wizard robe and Harry Potter-esque glasses, which she pretty much wears all the time (glasses purchased here).

For the next activity, she had first had to discover what type of wand would be suitable for her, so we set her up on Pottermore to find out . Then, she was whisked off to Olivander’s Wand Workshop to make her wizard wand a reality. Using 18″ chopsticks and various bits and bobbles (basically, beads, glue stick, and paint), the girls each created their own wizarding wand.

Then, it was off to Platform 3/4 to head back to Hogwarts!

The brick wall was made with red and brown cardstock paper, cut into rectangular pieces and taped onto a string (with an empty brick space between each brick). Then, we hung it from the ceiling and alternated the spacing of the brings to create the brick wall. The girls loved walking through it. Actually, it’s still hanging up in our house.

Once at Hogwarts, she put on the sorting hat to get sorted into her house, which was done via Pottermore. The final verdict… House of Gryffindor! Just like she hoped. Then, we ordered her this patch (and I later sewed it onto her wizard robe).

While she was getting sorted, I was running around like crazy downstairs transforming the wand workshop into the next part of the celebration.

Due to all this wizarding, the little wizards were bound to get hungry, so they stuffed themselves silly at the Great Hall Feast. They were served my-own version of “shepherd’s pie” (we called it Italian shepherd’s pie), caulderon cakes (brownie bites with green icing and sprinkles), butter beer (butterscotch soda and vanilla ice cream), licorice, Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans (oh they had fun with this one), and loads of other sweet treats.

After lunch, the birthday girl was given her own broom (and one for all her sisters) and they all indulged in a round a quidditch.

After all that running around, the girls headed off to “Transformations and Potions” class, which probably should be called bartending school for mini wizards. They all took turns creating concoctions for one another, and giggling as the watched the recipient of the potion drink it.

Unfortunately, class was interrupted by Voldemort, and he was after Brave. Thankfully, with her cleverness and wizardry skills she was able to stop him. Yippee! Thus, the celebration continued…

Hagrid came and delivered her birthday cake, albeit, a little smashed. Nevertheless, she loved it and so did her sisters!

The rest of the evening was spent with the whole family cuddled in bed watching the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Whew! Needless to say, she was one happy 10 year old!

Believe it or not, Ben and I put this whole thing together in just one day. I have no Harry Potter knowledge whatsoever, so I tapped into the minds of all the Harry Potter fans I know. Ben’s cousin had given the girls their first Harry Potter book a year ago and Brave has been hooked ever since (True thinks it’s creepy, so she’s not into it). Originally, we were supposed to go out of town for her birthday, but that changed last minute, so Ben and I were scrambling on what to do to celebrate this new year. This idea popped in 2 nights before her actual birthday, so the day prior Ben and I divided up the to-do list to tackle it. We were both running errands, making stuff, and cooking/baking in preparation. Our whole kitchen and family room became the staging area and it was quite a busy day to pull this off. Also, thankfully retail stores have holiday things way ahead of time, so Michaels had so many props that helped bring this wizard vision to life. Oh, my feet were aching by the end of the afternoon. As crazy as it was, her smile makes it all worth it. She was beaming all day because she said she really felt like it was all so real.

It is one really long post, filled with lots of stuff, so it took awhile to sort through it all to share here. I wish I had a wand or potion that could have helped pull it all together. Hope you enjoyed reading all about how we celebrated our Harry Potter lover!

Beyoncé inspired baby shower

September 28, 2017

Finally, at long last, my girls are getting their first official cousin. My sister, Reinna, is expecting a little boy and her request was a “Beyoncé” themed baby shower. So when life hanods that request, you make lemonade! Inspired by Beyonce’s recent music and visual album, we created a celebration fit for a queen (Reinna means queen).

My job was decor and it was on a beautiful roof top, so not too much was needed. I used bunting that I had sewn for my best friend’s wedding several years ago and the centerpiece of the decor was the lemonade piñata (tutorial via oh happy day here). My baby sister and friend made the protest signs, which were a fun touch. To get that extra Beyoncé-esque vibe, I made a floral crown remiscent of that surprise baby announcement that was dropped by the queen B herself. Naturally, my girls got in on the creating too and they made the lemon adorned wrapping paper. I love how that turned out and I think for Christmas, I’ll be having them draw on all the wrapping paper! Add some music by Beyoncé and Solange and the celebration was exactly was this mom-to-be wanted.

a little teaser

September 27, 2017

I was trying real hard to get a post together about the Harry Potter celebration we threw for Brave’s birthday in August (!), but time just wasn’t on my side and I was running out of it this week. I’m off to Texas for Pinners Conference, so sharing about what we made and did for her birthday will have to wait until next week. Until then, the photo above is a little teaser.

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