Friday, August 28, 2015

The Boys' Combined Birthday Party

This year we did a combined birthday party for the boys, the last year we can probably do so. It was Cars themed but simple and laid back. We had it at the park so the kids could run around (and I wouldn't have to clean my house before or after).

I painted the kids' faces as we waited for everyone to arrive and had Cars pages for the kids to color. We had pizza and snacks for lunch.

Instead of spending more money on Cars-themed cups, I printed out a Cars picture with each child's name and taped it to a plain cup.

After lunch we did a water balloon toss that turned into a fight and then everyone ganging up on Justin. It was awesome.

Next was cake and ice cream. Again, instead of spending extra money ordering a cake or making my own from scratch (I didn't have the time, either), I found a chocolate cake at the store and replaced its butterfly decorations with my own Cars ones.

Unfortunately, the wind prevented the boys from being able to blow out the candles.

Presents followed, and the boys were thoroughly spoiled with lots of thoughtful gifts.

Bubble bath so no more soap fiascos! Also, Gabe would not let go of that last water balloon, lol.

Everyone got a Cars favor box before leaving; we ran out of time for balloon animals.

My boys had a great time, and I hope everyone else did, too. I may not put much effort in decorations and such, but I always try to make parties enjoyable and fun for my guests, particularly the kids.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Featured Seller: June from Threshold Paper Art

This week's featured seller is June from Threshold Paper Art.

I was born in Scotland and immigrated to Canada while very young. Interior design was my main occupation. I have a passion for all that is unique and handmade. I have always been on a quest for beauty doing whatever possible to enhance my surroundings and those of my clients. My love of interior design and craft was born. My craft repertoire included batik, decoupage, faux painting interiors, and mosaics. I was dubbed the glue gun queen by my friends.

Ever since my daughter brought home colorful notices home from school, I have been recycling them into homemade paper to produce unique cards. After several years of card making, the themes I was drawn to exploring required a larger format. I recycle paper and other organic material and transform it into art. I cast, embed, and collage the paper with a variety of materials such as metal, found objects, thread, mica, and text to create dimensional imagery. Hand-spun art fibers add a rich textural component to some pieces.

My design sensibility embraces both the old and the new. I explore themes of antiquity and faith, including biblical symbolism. Antiquity is created both by the rich textural properties of the paper and the symbols of the past.

The recurring theme in my art is transformation. Even the paper I make goes through the process of being destroyed in its original plant form, only to be transformed into a work of art. Inspiration is drawn from many sources including nature, ancient times, instrumental music, as well as contemporary design. The transcendent aspect of nature has a strong impact on my work. Much time is spent contemplating the majesty of nature. My sincere desire is to inspire and uplift others.

Check out Threshold Paper Art for more unique artwork. You can also follow the shop on Facebook and Twitter.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Gabe the Babe Is Two!

Taking a walk on his birthday.

Gabriel turned two last week. Weaned and already potty training, he is no longer a baby, nor looks it. His vocabulary has increased much the past few months, and especially the last few weeks, though his pronunciation is still adorably atrocious. For example:
  • Any word that ends in p he adds an f to, like cupf.
  • Share and sure sound the same.
  • Duts is nuts, sis is light, oh is hole, dutch is bread/lunch/bridge/truck, dirch is church, bff is balloon, bb bb is booboo, goodgy/goody is cookie, dye is bye, siohwy is silly, and ahk is rock and sidewalk.
  • Da is still ball. I try to get him to say it right by coaxing, "B, b, ball." He repeats, "B, b, dah!" Reminds me of the time I tried teaching Caden how to say book.
  • He makes a growling sound for broccoli. I still haven't figured that one out. 
  • All letters of the alphabet are G.
Some of his favorite words that he can say correctly include car, corn, dirt, go, golf, gone, guy, hi, home, off, on, pop, salsa, sauce, see, some, sorry, stop, turn, wall, whoa, whoo whoo (train sound), yay, yeah. He says oi for anything he thinks is gross (Daddy taught him that) and fans the air when someone stinks. He still calls all monkeys George, and now all snowmen are Olaf (aff). He makes the cutest monkey and penguin impressions.

Taking a ride on his friend's scooter

He likes to read books, draw, and play with cars, in the bathtub, and outside. He enjoys digging in the dirt and stepping on bugs. His favorite show is Curious George and he also likes the Signing Time videos. Sometimes he stomps around the house and roars like a dinosaur. He knows how to give kisses correctly and will say sorry and kiss you if he hurts you. He loves fruit, some frozen vegetables, raw mushrooms just as Caden does (and me too), pasta, nuts, and cereal.

Pretending to be No Noggin from the Halloween Curious George movie

He still loves to snuggle and be worn in the baby carrier. He sleeps with a blanket and stuffed animal (or five). He transitioned to the toddler bed about three weeks ago. He sucks his two fingers all the time. He was using a pacifier during the weaning process, but when I found it after it was lost recently, I threw it out.

A dirty diaper is a rarity. He goes on the potty and thinks it's fun to wipe (he just scrunches the toilet paper and taps his bottom, and repeats this several times) and flush the toilet. Then he claps and says "yay" afterward.

He is very silly and stubborn and loud. He screams when he doesn't get what he wants but knows how to calm down when I ask him to. That was an accident, actually. He learned that from watching me teach Caden.

11 days old

I can't believe how big he is now. His first year of life seemed to go by so quickly, but his second did not, so it's harder this time to accept the fact that he's growing up and not a baby anymore. I love my little Gabe so much, even though he drives me crazy most of the time!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

"Scripture Princesses" Book Review & Free Tiara Printable

Has your daughter ever wanted to learn more about the women in the scriptures? It can seem like they are hard to find, so author and illustrator Rebecca J. Greenwood made it easy by compiling the stories of the major women from the scriptures in a book called Scripture Princesses.

*It's a simple, easy read that adheres to the stories as written in the scriptures and includes references for further exploration.
*The illustrations are lovely and break up the text nicely.
*I like that the women were ordered chronologically instead of by scripture set to give you a better sense of when they lived in relation to each other.
*Each chapter begins with a statement about the quality each woman showed through her experiences. (ex: Be wise, like Eve).

*I wish it had included Deborah from the Old Testament.
*Although the last sentence restates the woman's quality and how it blessed her and others, I wish there had been something more. For example, how we can use the quality in our lives or an explanation about the quality (like what it means to be wise). 

This book is great for Primary girls who want to learn about female scripture heroes whose examples they can follow. The stories also make great Family Home Evening lessons and a great resource for family scripture study and Church lessons.

Rebecca also has provided a free princess tiara printable for your little princess to color and wear!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

A Win for Weaning: Gabe's Journey

First time nursing Gabe

Weaning Gabe started nearly a year ago. I wanted to cut out night feedings first to help him sleep longer and in his crib. It went disastrously. We made some progress, but it all went down the drain when more teeth came in. I decided to try again when Justin's family came to town in April since we would all be sleeping together in the boys' room. It took several more sleepless weeks to get him sleeping in his crib. He would only wake up once or twice, and I would nurse him and then put him back in his crib. Eventually he was sleeping through the night.

However, he was still nursing during the day. I whittled it down to three times: once in the morning, once before or after nap, and once before bed. The nap time session was cut out first and then the morning one, so he was only nursing before bed.

The first weekend in July I went to my cousin's wedding. Gabe went one night without me and milk. I nursed him for the last time the day I came back from the wedding, July 4. How fitting that it was Independence Day.

A couple days later, my family came to visit. While they were here, Gabe was easily distracted and tired, just like when Caden was weaning. Once they left, he remembered again. I told him, "No more milkies. All gone." He was very upset. After about a week, he stopped fussing about it. Whenever he saw my naked chest, he would sign "milk" and then go "Ah! Ah!" and I would turn him down, but he wouldn't cry.

Soon he stopped asking for it and drank regular milk instead when he was in the mood. Last week, he looked at my chest, signed "milk," shook his head no, pointed to the fridge, and asked for a cup and straw to drink some milk. I knew then that we were truly done and he was okay with it.
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