Monthly Archives: August 2013

Splash Pad Fun

With our CRAZY busy summer, we had little time for spontaneous trips to the pool or local splash pad.  That is until school started back for the Hubs, oddly enough.  We have been swimming at a church friend’s house twice and spent some time at the Splash Pad for our one and only visit of the summer before it closed.  The kids had a ball–even if they did spend way too much time begging for snacks.

It was a fun way to end the summer, and I am really glad I managed to squeeze in one trip before starting school.

Birthday Party Rewind: Pirate Parrrrrty

I am in full on party planning mode for B’s fifth birthday party that is coming up in a few days.  With all thing birthday party being on my mind, I got to looking at some of our picture from previous parties.  I decided to write what I could remember from a few of the kids’ parties of birthdays gone by.  Today is a recap of B’s fourth birthday Pirate Parrrrrty.

Pirate stuff has been pretty easy to find for the last couple of years so this was an obvious choice for a party theme.  I ordered the invitations from Vistaprint and they came out super cute!

The same friend who did the cute Mickey and Minnie items for C’s party did B’s pirate shirt.  I love it!!

We kicked off the fun with our swashbuckers earning their pirate garb.  They had to ‘Walk the Plank,’ ‘Swab the Deck,’ ‘Dig for Treasure’ and then gather where ‘x marks the spot.’  Once all the pirates had gathered on the x, they could get their gear:  a hat and eye patch.  It was a fun time for the kiddos.

We served a delicious lunch (if I do say so myself) of Sword-ourves, Land-lubber Subs, Peg Leg PB&J, Treasure Chips, and of course, cake and ice cream.  I did the cake myself, and as much as I hate to say it, it was not one of my best.  I mean, good grief, it even looks kinda crooked in the picture!!  The white stripes and skulls n crossbones were made of fondant, and I can say with absolute certainty that I DESPISE working with fondant and probably will not do it again.

I purchased red solid and black and white striped fabric from Hobby Lobby and cut it into rough-edged squares for the table settings.  I topped them with fish netting that I borrowed from the storage closet at church, ring pops (for the kids to take home after the party), beaded necklaces and gold doubloons.  And of course, and party is not complete without BALLOONS!!

I made the bunting banner with scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby and lettering printed out on cardstock.  The pirate plates and polka dot napkins are from Wal-Mart (I think).

After opening presents and saying goodbye to friends, we were exhausted, but the kids had a great time.

Church Missions Summer Reading Program

The missions committee at our church sponsors a kids summer reading program every summer.  The kids keep up with how many books they read about missions and have one of the committee members initial their reading log.  At the end of the summer, the kid who has read the most age appropriate books gets a prize.  This year, the first place prize was a Kindle!!!

I felt kind of inspired to participate in this program to teach B more about what missions is.  So, I grabbed the small amount of books for his age that our church had and ordered several more from our local library system.  So at naptime (and when I thought about it), we would grab one of those books, sit on the bed together as a family, and read about a missionary.  Then, the former elementary school teacher in me took over.  I pulled out the old map that I had in my classroom and hung it on B and C’s closet door.  After reading about each missionary, I would write the missionary’s name on a small piece of masking tape and place it on the map in the country where they missionary served.  B loved looking at the map and was quite taken with how many people were missionaries to China.  He was also quite taken with the fact that Jonathan Goforth had blue eyes just like him.

When the deadline came up, I was pleased as punch that B won second place for ‘reading’ (or having read to him) 13 books.  I was so proud of him.  And honestly, I was glad he didn’t win first place–as much as I would have loved to have a Kindle, it really would not have been fair for a 4-year-old to win it for having books read to him.  And the first place winner was a high school aged kid who read 19 chapter books.  Props to him, for sure!!!  So B was presented with a $20 Wal-Mart gift card which I promptly confiscated to be used to buy stuff for his birthday party–with his permission of course.

It was really fun spending time together as a family learning more about those who have served the Lord.

I {heart} Les Mis


As a HUGE Les Miserables fan, I am almost ashamed to admit that I just today watched the recent movie with Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway.  Now, I have seen this show twice on stage—once on Broadway in NYC in 2007 and again at the Fox Theater in Atlanta last year.  It was truly amazing both times.  I have seen the 10thAnniversary concert and have the 25th Anniversary concert on DVD.  I love the story, love the music—I just love it.  And I am a purist—I love it just as it was written.  The music is simple yet moving, and the story is brimming with lessons in forgiveness, redemption, and love.
I was not expecting to be a fan of the movie, but boy was I wrong.  The movie did not disappoint.  It was beautifully done and absolutely brilliant.  It filled in some of the small gaps that are present in the stage performance and captured the emotion of the characters much better than I expected.  Hugh Jackman was captivating; Anne Hathaway was stunning.  I audibly gasped when the unmistakable Colm Wilkinson appeared on screen as the Bishop.  Samantha Barks and Eddie Redmayne were fabulous as Eponine and Marius.  One of my favorite scenes in the movie was them together singing “A Little Fall of Rain.”  And typically “Empty Chairs and Empty Tables” is one of my least favorite songs in the show, but Redmayne nailed it!!  Sasha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter were hilarious and quite fitting as the Thenardiers.  The kids in the movie were adorable, heart-warming and super talented.
Sadly, I found Russell Crowe to be a bit lukewarm.  He was fine and obviously talented enough to be a part of the cast, but he just paled in comparison to the rest.  Javert (as least in my unprofessional opinion) is cocky, arrogant, and without one notch of humility or compassion.  I just didn’t get any of that from Crowe’s portrayal—he just came across as angry.
The final scenes of the movie moved me to tears—which is something that has never happened in the many, many times that I have seen Les Mis.  Jackman left me speechless, and Amanda Seyfried’s emotion was spot on.  I found the presence of the Bishop as the third voice as opposed to Eponine to be sheer genius.  Not to mentioned the fact that I actually sobbed when I saw Wilkinson’s sweet face again on screen (which made me really glad I had not watched it in the theater—holy embarrassment, Bat Man).  And the whole thing was wrapped in a bow with the final song “Do You Hear the People Sing” being sung by all those who had died.  I really cannot say enough good things about this movie.  Well done, Tom Hooper.  Well done.