#2 Grandboy’s First Birthday

So, I realized that I never told you about my #2 Grandboy’s First Birthday! I told you about #1’s Sea Pal Party, so let me tell you about #2’s Elmo Sesame Street Party.

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Little Man turned 1 back in August and his Mom & Dad did it up right! Little Man loves Sesame Street, especially Elmo and The Count. So, Mom found a giant vinyl sticker of most of the Sesame Street characters and they had a few friends come over to help put it on the wall.

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Then Mom came up with snacks in keeping with the theme…

She was SO clever! And I made the Smash Cake…

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The red dye didn’t stain his face too bad, haha!

They had indoor and outdoor games for everyone…

 

And Husband made Little Man a motorcycle, too!

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A great time was had by all! What a great day celebrating our Little Man!

Peace,

Jill

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#1 Grandboy’s First Birthday

I warned you about this blatant broadcasting of photos of the birthday party, so if you want to skip this you can. No hard feelings.

The first birthday,  you know it had to be a blowout. It was a 2 day affair. First day, his actual birthday, with family. Then, the second day with his church family.

It was a Sea Pals Adventure Party that started with really cute e-vites that my daughter designed with Paperless Post.

 

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This was a really cool e-vite because it had so many bells and whistles. It allowed me to rsvp and add the event to my calendar to name a few. If you are in a community of people like a church or a large family – you really need to check out this site.

My daughter had some really cute ocean-themed decorating. I made a paper whale for the front door…

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She made some paper “scales” to decorate one wall, green, plastic tablecloth “seaweed” to hang in the doorways and styrofoam bowl and ribbon “jellyfish”…

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The food table had plastic sand buckets of snacks of popcorn, cheerios and pretzels, a watermelon shark, fruit kabobs, blue punch and the ocean cake and his scaly smash cake. She also had clear balloon “bubbles” and the plasticware was wrapped in a napkin tied with twine and a lifesaver. (I think all my cake decorating practice was worth it!)

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Outside she had a tent set up with a sunscreen station and a kiddie pool of water and one with sand. They also had a water table and a sprinkler going. For the adults there were hoola hoop targets with sling shots to shoot water balls.

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It was a great day had by all, especially the birthday boy being surrounded by his friends and family and being lavished with fun and thoughtful gifts. And tasting cake for the first time….

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Next up, Grandboy #2’s First Birthday!

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Settling In

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So, I arrived 800 miles later safe and sound. And since I’ve been here we’ve been on full-out playing, eating, laughing and birthday planning mode!

Me and my boys have been getting to know each other better and learning what each other likes and finds funny. I bought the above double stroller at a 2nd hand shop so we could go Rollin’ together. They are so cute when they hold hands when they’re in the stroller together! Both of my kids are planting a church together with their spouses and some really great people. They meet in a movie theater on Sunday mornings. So, they have to go early to set up. I went early this past Sunday to watch the boys while they were setting up and this stroller was a big help. We rolled around outside then inside. Great fun!

Gideon, the cute guy on the right will be a big ONE year old this week and we’ve been in party planning mode. I offered to make his birthday cake and we’re going big! I made a practice cake to see if I could actually make what my daughter was thinking about. I am NOT a professional. I’m just crazy enough to try.

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Don’t judge! I don’t like anything you see here, except maybe the “sand” layer. We’re working toward an ocean theme. Sand, waves, fish scales, you get the idea. I was trying out some canned icing and found it’s not good for piping unless I add powdered sugar to stiffen it up. Then there’s the HEAT to contend with. We also played around with colors. I don’t like any of the colors you see in this pic. So, I will adjust. The Golden Oreo “sand” turned out good, I think. It was fun working with my girls. I really miss spending time with them. They are so creative and daring (especially letting me make the 1st birthday cake!)

7 weeks after Gideon’s birthday, Manny, the handsome guy on the left will turn ONE year old!

So, I’m settling in for my long visit. We’re so used to having just a few days together that we rush around trying to get in all our fun and talking and hugging before I have to leave. But now, we can relax and just BE. It’s SO nice.

Hope you’re all doing well. In my next post, I’ll talk about feeding the grandkids. Is that a source of tension between you and your kids? Let’s talk.

Peace,

Jill

 

Smash Cake Crazy!

Ok, if you know me at all you know that I run about 2 years behind trend. However, I hate to admit it but this time I’m about 10 years behind trend!

But let me say that it’s because I haven’t had a baby in like 28 years!

So, Skrunchkie Gideon is getting ready to be ONE YEAR OLD! He’s so big! And we’re talking about his birthday party. I’m so excited!

(I take FaceTime screen shots, so sorry about the quality.)

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And his Mom said she wanted him to have a Smash Cake.

Now, I knew that birthday kids were having little cakes that they could dig into so that the party guests wouldn’t have to eat a slobbered, destroyed cake. But I didn’t know it had an official name.

Daughter shared some pinterest ideas with me (and you know Distance Family depends on Pinterest) and I decided to try my hand at making a Smash Cake.

I’m not much of a cook but I love to bake and since I’m trying to improve my health and husband is diabetic, I don’t bake much around here.

So, I had SO much stinking fun making Smash Cakes! Now, I’m not a pro and I haven’t done cake decorating in like over 25 years, so don’t be judgey. But here’s a practice run on Gideon’s Smash Cake.

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I’m serious, don’t look too close. But while my technique needs some practice, I was happy with how I was able to tint the icing to get the colors I wanted. I had to add the little mini vanilla wafer clams with pearls. Too cute not to try! I don’t know if we’ll use them, the candy pearls are really hard for somebody with just 5 teeth.

And since I had the kitchen covered in powdered sugar, I decided to try my hand at making a Smash Cake for Manny the Man since his birthday will be in a couple of months.

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He loves Elmo, so I made him a big, red, Elmo head.

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I showed the kids and they approved so I’ll pack up my pans and tools and take them with me when I head out to Texas for the birthdays.

In my research about Smash Cakes and the best icing to use, I ran across Cupcake Jemma and all her YouTube videos. They were very helpful! You should check her out!

I’m going to be experimenting with different icing and practice my techniques so the Smash Cakes will be just perfect before they get destroyed!

Peace,

Jill

 

 

 

The Oatmeal Conundrum & Review of Sistema’s Breakfast Bowl

(I’m not getting paid for this review in case you were wondering.)

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I’m not a hypocrite when I say I bought something and at the same time I’m talking about minimalism. Two reasons, one, I’m trying to be more intentional about my health, eating less and better (thus the oatmeal) and two, my possessions should be helping me free up my time (thus the conundrum).

Cooking oatmeal on the stove is time consuming (the stirring, the watching) and it messes up a pot and spoon. Cooking oatmeal in the microwave is time consuming (the watching it overflow the bowl in the microwave) and it messes up the microwave and usually a pot holder because I accidentally dip it in the oatmeal while trying to grab the slippery bowl that is as hot as the devil’s backside. (I don’t know where that came from.)

Hence the conundrum.

After a reading some reviews I purchased a Sistema Breakfast Bowl from Amazon.

So, here’s what I think.

The plastic is of good quality. You don’t feel like it will shrivel up in the first exposure to microwaves. I love that it doesn’t get hot during cooking, so no burning my fingertips and no messing up a pot holder. It has a lid with a steam vent to it seemed promising that it wouldn’t overflow during cooking….

But alas, that’s not the case. During one cooking episode, I opened the steam vent but I didn’t lock down the lid and it popped off and the oatmeal cascaded over the side. During another episode, I locked the lid and the oatmeal oozed from the steam vent.

One Amazon reviewer said that no matter what, oatmeal will overflow any cooking vessel. Well, that’s just great news! However, they did suggest stopping the cooking after 2 minutes, stirring and then continuing for one minute more. (Don’t judge me. I was absent for oatmeal cooking class.)

I did that and I only got a little oatmeal ooze from the vent.

So, there’s still a little element of attending the microwave while cooking. #firstworldproblems

But all in all, I think this is going to work for me. I’ll eat more oatmeal and spend less time cleaning up that oatmeal slime (if I remember to stop and stir).

Peace,

Jill