Happy First Birthday to our son, Leeland Thaddeus! We hit a grand slam with you, kid!

Last week our youngest El turned 1. It was a really exciting time for all of us. As I mentioned in an earlier post, we had baseball themed parties for our other boys when they turned one. But, this was the first time we had a birthday during baseball season. We decided that we would celebrate with immediate family-only, that’s 28 people, with 24 that live in town and 4 that live out of town. So, we had a small party for 24 people! WHEW! It was tons of fun. Here are pictures from our afternoon/evening. We served hotdogs, chili dogs (I found a really great chili recipe online for chili dogs, which I normally don’t eat. But, I ate 2 cause they were delicious!) chips, fruit and fresh homemade lemonade. After dinner, we sang to the birthday boy. Notice how he covered his ears when we sang to him! It was hilarious. I think it was just too loud, but he never stopped smiling. Then, we had cake and headed over to the Ballpark to watch the Astros play. After the game, they have a fireworks show on Friday nights. So, we stayed and watched that. It was a Queen inspired show and it was probably the best fireworks show we have seen there. It was really impressive and ended with Bohemian Rhapsody. Awesomeness.
So, everything was great. We had a wonderful time. And, Leeland managed to stay awake and didn’t go to bed until 1130 that evening. Waking at nearly noon the next day. He’s pretty cool.
So, we want to say happy birthday to our little Leeland, lovebug, little boy. You are amazing. We are so proud of you. We love you, we love being your parents and we love watching you grow. You rock, kid!

Me with my 1 year old son, Leeland. LOVE!
Grandmother giving him cereal before the party

LOVE!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cutie on his new ride

New present from Grandmother and Grandfather

Birthday boy with El Momma

The food was delicious if I do say so myself.

Happy boy with his Jiddy

with my Jiddy

Playing cars with my cousin

Look at my two teeth!

the crowd gathers for the birthday song

almost ready to sing

the song begins

covering his ears

covering his ears for the birthday song

the crowd waits

ready to blow out the candles

Big boy!

Cake!

Grandma love

You’re one!

bitter cake?

Princess T and the birthday boy ready for the game!

daddy’s little boy

the party at Minute Maid Park

our view

can you say “cotton candy?”

pretty

Fireworks with Momma

Ready for Birthday Fireworks!

Rockin  out with Christian to Queen during the fireworks show!

Leeland’s Birthday Painting, the Third Painting in the series

When I began painting the first of what would eventually be three paintings, I had no idea that I would be painting variations of the same painting more than once. The first painting was for our first son, Bakri, when he turned one. We planned  a baseball themed birthday party. I made him a cake shaped like a baseball and decorated like a baseball and I painted a baseball jersey on canvas for his wall in his room. I used the painting as part of the decoration for the party and I made a cake that matched the jersey. That was all for the first birthday of the first child. Little did I know, God would bless us with 2 more little boys with first birthdays! So, this week, I began the fun job of painting Leeland’s first birthday painting to go with the paintings for Bakri  and Maddux. Here’s how it went:

And, here they are all together….Leeland’s is nearly complete. My blue paint was old and didn’t offer much coverage. It was the day of his party when I made this discovery. So, we just went with it. I’ll finish it soon. I promise. As for the significance of these paintings, well they are very important to my babies. I realized that this week when working on Leeland’s. It was so cute to watch the other children light up as his painting became more and more finished. In fact, Bakri (our 6 year old) now wants me to find a way to make real jerseys…hmmm…I’ll have to think about that one for a bit. Maybe when they stick with one size for a while.
Leeland’s painting with a cake ordered from H.E.B. They do a good job with the jersey, don’t they?!
The famous baseball cake by El Momma. I really do enjoy making this cake!
The Happy Birthday side of Leeland’s baseball cake.
Pictures from Leeland’s first birthday party and day to come soon! We had a great time celebrating our little Leeland!

How to throw a Successful and Happy Brunch that the Hostess can enjoy!

So, I can’t say I’m an expert in party planning. However, I have hosted four brunches at my house which started right when I arrived (right after church.) And, I’ve definitely learned from mistakes along the way.
When I think about what makes throwing a party easy and fun, it’s always about the preparations. How much can I prepare ahead of time? The more I can do before the party begins, (the day before, preferably) the more I enjoy the party.
Here are the tips from my home to yours:
1. think about your guests, the kind of mood you want to have and set your menu
2. choose a menu that can be prepared almost completely ahead of time
3. choose a menu that will use a variety of colors and look beautiful and appetizing on the table
4. choose beverages and make preparations (ie. preparing the coffee pot so it only needs to be turned on when you arrive or setting the timer
5. set the table with your decorations; tablecloths, flowers, serving items the night or day before
6. have time (ask your husband or a friend to occupy the kids for a while so you can have the necessary time) set aside to cook
7. make as many dishes ahead of time as you can. The menu I chose for this event was:
                                                       Ina Garten’s tri-berry muffins
                                                       Ina Garten’s easy cheese danishes
                                                       Maryana Vollstedt’s brunch bake (a quiche-like egg dish) needed to
                                                                                     heat this dish at the beginning of the party
                                                       sides of fresh salsa for egg dish
                                                       fresh watermelon (cut ahead of time)
                                                       cake (ordered from H-E-B)
                                                       orange juice, champagne for mimosas, decaf and regular coffee,
                                                                                      assorted juices, sodas
8. Once the food is on the table, enjoy every second! At this party, I actually ate! Which is a miracle. I’ve definitely come a long way in party prepping!
whipping the cheese filling for the danishes

first pan of danishes complete!

berries for the muffins

tri-berry muffin mix- mixed

tri-berry muffins





barefoot, in the kitchen!

The cake

The brunch table!

Our First Baby Turns FIVE

 
Happy Fifth Birthday to our First Baby Boy, Bakri!

Our Bakri turned five last month. He loves Mickey Mouse, so he had a Mickey Mouse party at our house with a MM jumpy house, MM cake, lots of friends and family AND an appearance by Mickey Mouse himself. It was a great day and a great way to celebrate our Bakri.

He is a very special and loving boy. When teachers describe Bakri (from his school now and church activities) the first thing they say is how sweet and loving Bakri is. And, it’s true. He has so much love to give and flourishes in environments where that love is returned.

Before Bakri’s fourth birthday, we withdrew him from the school he was attending at the time. It was absolutely the best decision for Bakri and our family. We spent the entire Summer together. Bakri also did a couple of camps- including a Warrior Prince Camp and Vacation Bible School. We spent a lot of days at the pool and enjoyed the Summer. In the Fall he started at the preschool where he is now. It has been a world of difference from our experience at the previous school. Bakri is doing so well. He loves his teachers and they love him. He does well in circle time, art class, music class and chapel and loves playing outside with his classmates. He seemed to really mature over Christmas time and has had a wonderful Spring semester.

Bakri is fun. He loves Mickey Mouse, Goofy, telling stories, Buzz lightyear, playing pretend, being with his siblings- especially his brother, tussling with his brother, reading books,  counting, reciting facts, puzzles, watching home videos, spending the night with both sets of grandparents, his cousins, talking about camping, sharing a room with his brother, riding his bicycle to the park and back, running the bases, hitting the baseball, being a part of his tee-ball team, and his family. I’m sure there are numerous other things that Bakri loves, but if I wait to post this until I think of them all, I never will.

We love our Bakri and our so proud of the five year old boy that he is. I never want to forget this age. I hope I won’t, because like all of the other times in our children’s lives, they will only be this age once.

HAPPY FIFTH BIRTHDAY, BAKRI BOY! WE LOVE YOU!!!!

“Where the Wild Things Are” 3 year old Birthday Party

Would you believe that a “Where the Wild Things Are” birthday party would be so much fun for adults and children? Well, it’s true AND it was so fun to plan. My almost 5 year old (the birthday boy’s older brother) is already asking for his “wolf suit.” Although, we may think of another theme by March. If you are interested in “how to,” here are the details:
I drew the invitation with map pencils and based it on the book illustrations. I just changed the words to read:
“The day Maddux wore his wolf suit
and played one game and another
his mother called him “WILD THING”
and said “Let’s have a party!”
“And now,” cried Maddux, “let the wild rumpus start!”
The king of all wild things- Maddux is turning three!
Where the wild things are- (our address here)
Wild rumpus- 11am-12:30pm, Saturday, December 5, 2009
Hope you can celebrate with us…
we’ll eat you up, we love you so!
I’m going to get the invitation scanned in at some point and I’ll add it here.
I made a “Where the Wild Things Are” costume for the birthday boy. I watched the following video and with the exception of a few things that didn’t work- followed the directions to make the suit. I even used my Nannie’s very handy sewing machine!
Next up, the cakes. This was really really fun to do.
I found this website and loved the “wild thing” cake. Our invitation had the boat on it, so I decided to make both! I used homemade almond flavored fondant to make all of the flat decorations and to cover both of the cakes. The fondant is easiest to work with when it is cold. For the “wild thing” hair, I used a buttercream icing. That was my favorite tasting cake, because it had two kinds of icing. Gotta love a girl with a sweet tooth!
Maddux’s costume- included a homemade fleece wolf suit with claws, an attached hoodie with ears and whiskers, a fur tail, a ruling stick and a furry gold crown. Our son happily wore his costume for the entire party and beyond.
This was a wonderful party for all of our children and guests. Outside, we had a bouncy castle and a cotton candy machine. All of the guests decorated and made their own crowns. And, I found “where the wild things are” rings on ebay that we gave everyone in their gift bag. Also, one of my best friends from LA sent us hats from the movie for the gifts bags as well.  Those were a big hit- especially with the parents.
Hope you enjoyed reading about it as much as we enjoyed doing it. This is a really fun party!