Saturday, September 6, 2014

Charley's Birthday Party

I feel like I have had a bajillion posts here, on Instagram and on Facebook in the last three days regarding Charley's birthday and party preparations and all, so I promise this is the last thing. I just had to share a few things we did for her party and then that's it until September 4, 2015 - PROMISE!

So, for Charley's birthday this year I went back and forth with what I wanted to do. Charley's friends consist of children of friends of John and I and while a couple of them she is closer with (Ella, Aidan) and are her age, for the most part they are all older and it's hard to entertain a wide range of children at a birthday party. The older kids are bored with toddler activities and it just stresses me out. SO. I decided we were doing family only. The family that Charley is very familiar with and it wouldn't be stressful to have them over if my house wasn't spotless or the food wasn't ready on time (it wasn't). I just needed the stress factor removed this year.

When I was still considering a normal friends and family party I was going to do a umbrellas and rain boots themed party, because we all know that Charley lives in rain boots. But then once I took the party down a notch I decided that the thing that Charley would love the most was not a Pinterest inspired party chosen by me, but a party she designs and plans herself so to speak. One Friday night I took Charley to the party aisles at Wal-Mart and basically let her throw whatever she wanted in the cart with no input from me.


Some of it was quite normal: pink balloons, streamer in different colors, cupcake plates for cake, but then the character stuff she chose got pretty random. We ended up with a Mike Wazowski pinata, Monsters University tablecloth, Minnie and Daisy plates and party blowouts, Disney Princesses cups and a pink leopard party hat that we forgot to wear. On top of that, Charley was very specific with her cake request of a Goofy cake with pink writing. To her, that was the "perfect party" so that's what we went with. Can you believe I let her do all that character stuff after my outright hatred of character stuff? Man, I'm getting soft.

Last night I set to work on Charley's cake. My problem with buying cakes from some of the amazing cake decorators around is that yes, the cakes look AWESOME when they are done, but a lot of the times the cakes are dry or not the tastiest cakes because they a) take so long to do that they have to make them ahead of time and b) they use fondant instead of sweet, sweet buttercream icing which I'm not a fan of. I like the sweet stuff, and nothing can compare to a plain ol' grocery store birthday cake. So yes, I did look through the book at our local grocery store Harris Teeter for the off chance that a Goofy cake was in there but as I thought, it was not. So I ordered a cake with nothing on it but a green border so I'd still get my grocery store cake, but I could add Goofy myself. Here was my starting point. (They accidentally gave me a 1/2 sheet cake instead of a 1/4 sheet like I ordered, which ended up being a good thing because I don't know that I could have scaled Goofy down enough to fit on a cake half this size. I tend to draw very large.)


I printed a couple of images of Goofy's face and set them down next to the cake. I also watched this quick little video of how to draw Goofy which did actually give me a couple of pointers too. From that video I decided I should fold my drawing in fourths to find the center point to kind of keep things in scale. That seriously helped a lot when sketching it out with icing. I made a dot for my center, and went from there. This was after the first sketch and I wasn't terribly sure about him at this point.


From there I just put a #16 tip on my icing bags and set to work filling in the colors. I also purchased the same buttercream icing that the grocery store uses. When I used to work at the Cookie Company we used that buttercream to decorate with and I've never been able to buy or make any icing that compares for decorating. Luckily my grocery store sells this icing in little tubs for only a few dollars, so again, one less step for me to screw up. I bought white and green and a little tube of black (not from the bakery) and used those to mix all of the other colors.

I filled in the colors, outlined with black and then wrote in pink just as Charley requested. I was so, so pleased with it when it was done. It has seriously been at least 8 or 9 years that I've decorated a cake like this so I thought my end result may be laughable, but instead it ended up paining me to cut it! Ha!


Ok enough about the cake. I was obviously pretty proud of it which is why I can't shut up about it.

Anyways, so I squeezed in a party when everyone was free and for the first time in a while, all 17 of my immediate family were able to make it (and we didn't do a family picture - ahhhhh!). We grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, had some guacamole and chips and called it a meal.

The party was pretty casual and fun. We just chatted, the kiddos tossed balloons around and played, opened presents, played some pin the tail on the donkey and knocked open the pinata. Easy peasy.

The poor donkey though - the party was at 12:30 and at 12:22 I decided to sketch him out real quick. Listen - Goofy turned out good because he took 2 hours. Spending 2 minutes on a donkey didn't fare well AT ALL. Here was the image I used to copy...


 and here is how mine turned out after I let Charley and my nephews color him in some...

See, what happened was - I placed his one eye too far over to the right, so I added in the second eye to fill in some of that space and well, he's just horrible. Poor little donkey!
But you know what...who cares! That darn donkey game was a hit and tons of us ended up playing. Kids, adults, big kids and teenagers. We had some good laughs over that donkey too.


We hit the pinata in the garage and then all of us scrambled to get some candy and fruit snacks. Adults get to play too when the kid count is low!


So anyways, even as much as I enjoy putting together the more Pinteresty parties, you can't beat your toddler repeatedly telling you "this is the best party EVER" all day long. Granted, she's only had 3 years of party experience to compare to, it will still make ya feel good. And you'll feel good too when you aren't stressing to clean your baseboards at the last second. That's not to say I didn't run around at the last second, but it definitely wasn't a stressful run around. I liked it; I recommend.

Just a couple more pictures. Then that's it. Done with the birthday stuff. Promise...


It was a good day!

Thursday, September 4, 2014


Today my sweet Charley girl turned three years old!


She had a fairly normal day today as both John and I had to work, but she did get to go to school this morning and take (mini) cupcakes to all of her little classmates and she was THRILLED about that. She spent some time at my sister's before and after school and then she was at my parent's this afternoon until we came to get her. Tonight we had my parents over for dinner and cupcakes and we gave Charley all of the gifts from John and I. It was a fun night for our little family and I can't wait for her low-key family birthday party on Saturday. You guys will be shocked when I share the details of it, promise.


As sort of an overall Charley update, I'm stealing pieces from two different bloggy friend's birthday posts for their children. I'm sure they won't mind.  


We go for her 3 year old appointment in the next week or two, but based on our home growth chart and scale she's 38" tall and around 30-31 pounds I think. Can't wait to see her percentiles because I have a feeling she's moving up the charts.


Still great! Bed usually closer to 8:30 or 9, and up for the day by 7 or 7:30 unless it's a work day, when we get her up at 6:45. She naps really well for my sister still with 2-3 hour naps. For me, not so much, but that's okay.


She started preschool last week and I was so proud of her for how cool and calm she was when I dropped her off that first day. She gave me a hug and a kiss and just walked off with her new teachers, not a tear to be shed. I was left to see myself out.

I can't really think of anything else that stands out right now as far as milestones. I mean, what more is there between now and getting her license at 16, right? Ha.



Charley still loves her lovey blankets named Owly very, very much. Must have them to sleep every night. She is also really into art, play-doh, Littlest Pet Shop or other toys that have little figurines, and still loves her kitchen. She LOVES to go places. "Mama, let's go somewhere" she says almost daily.



Charley loves a good playground (or even a crappy one will do!) and loves to go to the bounce house place too. Of course there is also the amusement park Carowinds that we frequent often that rates pretty high on her list too. And you know what else she asks to do pretty often? Yard sales. She's totally my kiddo.


No major changes here. She loves chicken and dumplings and probably spaghetti the best, but is pretty good about eating whatever we give her. Green beans and broccoli are usually the easiest vegetables to get in her, although she does love some coleslaw too, especially her Gaga's. She still loves all fruit too.



Her best friends remain Ella and Aidan and we try to see them as often as we can. You guys already know how big of a role my family is in her life, and also John's Aunt Sharon as well. She sends Charley notes and little surprises in the mail and Charley makes cards to send her back also.

And finally, as if this isn't long enough already, I asked Charley a few interview questions that I hope I'll remember to repeat each year.

1. What is your favorite color? Pink!

2. What is your favorite toy? Pink Bear

3. What is your favorite fruit? Grapes

4. What is your favorite TV show? Beauty and the Beast (she doesn't know the difference between TV shows and movies - they all play on the TV!)

5. What is your favorite outfit? Princess Dress

6. What is your favorite game? Hungry Hungry Hippos

7. What is your favorite animal? Kitty Cat (though I have to mention that a hippo rates pretty high up there too)

8. What is your favorite song? Monkey song from school

9. What is your favorite book? Hippo Goes Bananas (that was a library book and she still talks about it even though we took it back weeks ago)

10. Who is your best friend? Mama (oh melt my heart)

11. If you had $100 what would you buy? A pink hippo

12. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Bubbles

13. What is your favorite drink? Orange Juice

14. Where is your favorite place to go? Library

15. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Barona Dolphin, Hannah Hippo and Owlys

16. What is your favorite snack? Goldfish

17. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Cancakes

18. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Bacon (ha! Don't know if she's ever had bacon for lunch but good answer I say! Bacon is good any time of day!)

19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Cupcakes

20. What do you want to be when you grow up? A princess