This baby is 4.  Where oh where did the time go?!

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He is really REALLY into Legos… and not the mega blocks or Duplos… he likes the big boy Legos!

This year he requested a Star Wars Lego party.  It’s fun to see him so passionate about something. Well, he first requested a superhero-starwars-Chima-angrybird-transformers-Lego party, but I managed to talk him into narrowing it down a little.

A lot of the decor was compliments of Pinterest.

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As were the party favors which were Lego bags made from small paper sacks and circle card stock.  The Lego men and block crayons were made using some cute molds and melting down black and red crayons bought on Amazon (I didn’t have enough broken red/black crayons since those are his favorite colors and he always uses them up).

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His cake was a red velvet and yellow cake, with butter cream and white chocolate filling.  I made it in the shape of Clone Captain Rex’s helmet following a YouTube video tutorial, but changed his coloring from blue to red to accommodate Luke’s favorite color.  I also covered it in homemade marshmallow fondant (soooo much tastier than the store-bought gunk) and used the fondant for his helmet decorations.

20140710_180600 20140710_18060620140710_082041P1130589 P1130540 P1130541I used an edible ink marker to outline his mask, and Luke wanted in on the cake-writing, so I let him autograph the back….. that’s also where it’s especially apparent that this is only my 3rd fondant cake and I have a lot to learn.

P1130542 P1130591We had a fun time naming the food. My awesome graphic design sister made them for me (see her Etsy shop for those and more birthday printables).

P1130588 P1130587 P1130586 P1130535The kiddos beat the heat by splashing in the kiddie pools and slip n’ slides.

P1130563 P1130557 P1130560 P1130550The party ended with our homemade Darth Vader pinata being bashed by lightsaber noodles.

P1130624 P1130630Much fun was had by all, and one 4-year-old is neck-high is presents and Legos :)

Next year we’re going to Chick-fil-A and taking a family nap for his birthday.  I’m tired.

Links:

Clone Captain Helmet Cake Tutorial

Food card tents

Lego men & block molds

Lego man graphic

Star Wars Font

 

 

 

A month ago, my baby turned 1!!!
Where did the time go?!

The past year has been a wild ride! I’ve heard it said before, but didn’t always believe, that the jump from 1 child to 2 is crazy!

And crazy indeed it was.

And yet, here we are, a year later, all alive, all healthy, and much to be thankful for.

After perusing Pinterest for a while, I decided to do a non-theme party and instead chose a color scheme as the theme.

I used an embroidery hoop and hung streamers and ribbons from it to make an outdoor decoration. And added balloons for fun.
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This pin inspired some of the color palette and the tassel garlands.
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Her name in gold tacks was another Pinterest project.See the inspiration here.
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My sweet husband found and printed out some Bible blessings that we framed and placed on the mantel.
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I made a thank you sign by cutting letters out of card stock and hot-gluing them to gold ribbon. Then I took an empty frame, taped streamers to the back, and added the sign.
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I dipped pretzel rods in vanilla candy melts and used sprinkles for some color. Then I used the Wilton Pretzel bags and some decorative paper tape to make some really easy favors.
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I made balloon “wands” for the kiddos to play with, adapted from a tutorial by StudioDIY blog, one of my new fave blogs!
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To make these sliders, I used a meatball recipe found on Pinterest. Then I bought some half-baked dinner rolls from Wal-mart. I baked them as directed, then split them open to make top and bottom halves. I placed them under the broiler to toast them, this kept the meatball sauce from absorbing too quickly and making them soggy. Once broiled, I placed a meatball and sauce on the bottom half and topped with a slice of fresh mozzarella. Then again added this to the broiler to melt the cheese. Once melted, I topped with just a little more sauce and put the tops on. I didn’t get to taste one because they went fast, but I hear they were great!
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I used this recipe for the Italian Pressed sandwiches. I mostly stuck to the ingredients, except that I used 1/3 lb each of salami, pepperoni, and ham.
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Individual cakes were made using a vanilla cake mix, using food coloring to achieve the perfect mint hue. Then I baked it in an 11×17 sheet pan so the cake would only be about 1″ tall once baked.  I used a cookie cutter to make 2″ rounds, and used raspberry jam for the center. I made a vanilla buttercream for the topping which I dyed to match the cake. The toothpick toppers were made out of regular toothpicks and crepe paper streamers.
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“Is that for me??!!”
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A family picture. Yes, Batman lives here.
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Kisses!
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An outfit change had to be made after the cake smash. One must always have a tutu on reserve just in case!
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We had some cute babies in attendance!
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gifts

The week before we leave for vacation, we try not to go grocery shopping and instead try to use up what we already have.

This makes for some interesting meals sometimes.

And sometimes necessity breeds innovation, as it did in this case.

A can of black refried beans and some chicken broth make a very yummy and easy black bean soup that serves two.  Add some cornbread or tortilla chips and you have lunch!
two ingredient black bean soup - hilldalehouse.wordpress.com

two ingredient black bean soup

Easy 2-ingredient Black Bean Soup

(makes 2 1-cup servings)

1 can refried black beans

1+ cups chicken broth

2 Tb Sour Cream or Greek yogurt (optional)

Splash of milk (optional)

Few cilantro leaves (optional)

Empty the can of refried black beans into a pot.  Add one cup of chicken broth and use a whisk to mix together.  Add more chicken broth if you prefer your soup thinner. I didn’t add any seasoning because I found the salt/seasoning level  just right, but you can taste at this point and add more salt/pepper, or even some water if you find it too salty.

Bring the soup to a boil, stirring occasionally to prevent the soup from burning.  Once boiling, remove from heat promptly.

While the soup cools enough to be eaten, you can prepare your garnishes.

I mixed some greek yogurt and a splash of milk and put it in a Ziploc bag to make the cream swirl on top.

A spoon of salsa, some avocado, or even a splash of lime would also be great in this.

Enjoy!

I finally got around to making something for baby girl.

I have a long list of DIY projects I have wanted to make for her including headbands, bibs, shoes, and dresses but the time has just slipped away from me.

So when I saw this faux leather ribbon at Joann’s, I just had to have it.

It took about 1 hour to complete the little bow headband based on this tutorial from Ruffles and Stuff.
The only changes I made were using a shorter elastic length, and I also sewed the bow on instead of using glue.

And it seems she loves it as much as I do :)

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4 months ago heaven smiled down on us and our little lovebug, Celia, was born.

It has been 4 crazy months! No one can prepare you enough for the jump from 1 child to 2 children!

First of all, you are now outnumbered. If they are both crying at the same time, you have to choose whom to soothe first.

And Luke, who is 2 1/2, gets a little jealous sometimes. This manifests itself in tantrums, yelling, throwing things, etc. Loads of fun.

But the emotional changes are the most drastic.

I didn’t think it was possible to love another child the way I love Luke. But you can, and for me, having 2 to love makes the love so much more intense!

Of course it makes all of the other emotions intense as well…
If I get stressed, I get twice as stressed.
If I feel guilty over not spending enough time playing with them, the guilt is twice as intense.
If I worry about them not getting enought to eat, the worry lasts twice as long.

All of this said, I would not give this up for the world! I am so beyond blessed to have two happy, healthy children, and I can only thank God for allowing me to be their mother.

And now for some pictures of the little darling who gives the best gummy smiles and likes to have full babbling conversations at 5am :) Words cannot express how much I love her.
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This year we finally dug deep in our pockets and invested in a pre-lit, 9-foot, artificial Christmas tree…

…the only reason why I made this promise to Deric:
“I’m going to decorate the tree without buying any new ornaments”. Gulp.

Luckily, I had a bazillion or so shimmery orange ornaments that I scored for 6/$1.00 a few years ago. Those along with some blue, silver and glass ornaments made the tree look just ok.

It needed garland.

So, here’s my updated take on garland. Super easy, but gave the tree an extra umph! (All supplies were left-over from previous projects).
p.s. the color combos/possibilities are endless! use any color paper, with a contrasting paint color to achieve a personalized look for your tree.

Instructions:
Start with 8 x 11 cardstock, gold acrylic paint, any old paintbrush.
Gold triangle garland - supplies

Paint 5 rows of triangles (pennants). (If you want your triangles to be larger, paint less rows.)
Gold triangle garland - entire paper

Paint your lines fairly thick, and then cut in the middle of the lines. That way, each triangle (pennant) will have a gold border.
Gold triangle garland - cutting triangles

Gold triangle garland - pile of triangles

Use a gold/beige colored thread to sew the pennants together. I used a medium stitch. Pull the thread out about 6 inches before you start to sew, this will be used to attach the garland to the tree.
Gold triangle garland - gold thread

Very important: leave about a 1-inch space between each pennant – the space will allow the pennants to hang over the branches without looking too stiff.
Gold triangle garland - spacing

Also very important: Sew only about 3-4 feet of garland at one time. If you make a longer strand, the pennants will get tangled. It is also easier to drape a shorter segment on the tree.
Gold triangle garland - spaced

And there she is! kind of a mish-mosh of styles, but it’ll do!
Gold triangle garland - tree

Gold triangle garland - up close

Gold triangle garland - entire tree

I subscribe to the “better late than never” philosophy – it’s mandatory if you are a procrastinator, it’s in the handbook.

So that’s why I’m posting maternity pictures after baby is born…

Also, my sister did such an amazing job that I want everyone to see how talented she is.

Here are a few of my favorite shots:
If you want to see more, visit her blog post where she writes about her visit to Dallas. As a bonus you will also get to see me at the fair without make-up in my mommy costume (jeans, tank, tennis shoes, whoa sexy!). and If you have an extra hour in your day and are a sucker for punishment, you can check out her flickr page and see more pictures of me pregnant than should be legal. Thanks again Tabi, you are the best!

We took our family pictures in the park down the street. It was windy, and close to Luke’s nap time. That’s why our best family photo has him sticking out his tongue. But that’s ok because it captures what he is really like – a spunky, strong-willed 2 year old boy!
Wardrobe:
Me – Dress: H&M, Shoes: Thrifted
Luke – Shirt: thrifted, Jeans: thrifted, Boots: Target
Deric – Shirt: TJ Maxx, Jeans: Levis

I had envisioned casual maternity photos wearing a maxi dress or jeans. But as I scoured the stores for a green maxi dress, I stumbled upon this polyester satin gown at Target… it cost me a whopping $8.65 my friends!! I wasn’t planning on doing such a formal look, but once I found the dress, it set the tone for these pictures taken in our home. (this group is my favorite :)
Wardrobe:
Dress: Target, Lipstick: Tarte

And finally my sister wanted to take some photos at sunset because of the golden light at that hour. Luckily, there is an overgrown field very close to our house. By this point I was pretty tired and my poor feet had enough. That’s why my smile looks a little forced… because it kinda was :) But the pictures turned out so lovely in that light!

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