Saturday, October 4, 2014

Angry Birds Birthday Party

After looking at a few different party theme options, Ryan decided he wanted an "Angry Birds" party. We bought a few decorations online. Here are a few links for reference in case you stumbled upon this post in a search for "Angry Birds Birthday Party" (which is how I got most of my ideas) and don't want to spend a ton of time searching the internet for the best places to buy. Disclaimer: These are affiliate links but I do personally recommend them. I chose to buy through Amazon because I had gift cards and enough to get free shipping, but there are other sources online as well.

I was planning to buy plain red or green cups, but Ryan insisted he wanted white cups that he could draw on. He eventually decided to draw various Angry Birds scenes on white paper with crayons and we just wrapped them around the cups (bummer I forgot to take pictures!)

I also found these great printable Angry birds faces for balloons on The Party Animal Blog. Ryan and I just taped the cut-out faces on the balloons upside-down so we could hang them from the ceiling. You can see how cute they turned out mixed in with the Hanging swirls to make a table backdrop. (Hint: a $1 standard 15-ct bag of balloons from Dollar General has all the colors you need except the balloon that looks black is actually purple when you blow it up. Ryan didn't mind).

I once again produced the cake for this party, but it was directed by Ryan and was a lot less elaborate than last year's epic Jake and the Neverland Pirates Ship cake. He wanted a chocolate cake (I used a recipe for Old-Fashioned Devil's Food Cake from The Cake Mix Doctor) with lots of sprinkles and wanted his toy slingshot/birds on top, knocking down a tower. We went pretty simple and just did store-bought chocolate frosting on the sides for the dirt, homemade green buttercream frosting on top for grass, and set the tower up on the cake board instead of on the cake (highly recommend!). I piped his name in "Angry Birds font" but he insisted he did not want "Happy Birthday" written in the rest of the blank space, so we just left it as-is. As long as he was happy, I was happy to be done. Frosting a cake while also trying to make lunch and keep 2 helpful little boys and a beagle away from the table is not the most efficient process!

We didn't do much else for table decorations since there were going to be little ones eating at that table. Ryan insisted on draping streamers around the ceiling fan and we put a few balloons outside, but otherwise it was pretty low-key. When your guests are grandpas, grandma, aunts, uncles, and cousins under 3, you don't have to go crazy with games/favors, etc.

We kept the menu simple too--pizza (of course) and salad (Ryan's request), Snicker Salad and drinks before cake and ice cream. A fun drink recipe I want to share, though, is one of Adam's aunt's specialties. You make a 2qt packet of Crystal Light Cherry Pomegranate but only put in 1qt of water. You fill the other 1qt with Ginger Ale. It makes a fruity, slightly fizzy drink. She also does this with Peach Iced Tea which is equally as delicious. However, the Cherry Pomegranate wasn't a great choice for kids because it is VERY red and stains easily (both clothes and upper lips).

After supper, Ryan opened his presents and was excited about all of them. I think we played with all of the indoor ones in the 2 days since the party! He and Cohen are both enjoying the Angry Birds Go! play sets and he couldn't wait to do a Science Experiment from his new kit so we happily stirred around red cabbage powder, citric acid and baking soda on Sunday afternoon :). He also created a "safari" expedition using his new binoculars and pirate telescope.

Ryan had a GREAT night and was so excited for everyone who could come to his party. It makes the prepping and planning worth it to see him so excited about his party. We have a great family and are thankful for everyone who made his day so special!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ryan: 5 Years Old

Birthday pancake!
Age: 5 Years
Favorite Breakfast: Chocolate Chip Pancakes or PB&J
Favorite Foods: Salad with Ranch dressing, cheese, sunflower seeds and croutons, macaroni and cheese, meatballs, Bronco Pizza, broccoli with cheese, apples, chocolate milk
Favorite CDs: Farmyard Tales, Jesus Storybook Bible
Favorite TV shows: Wild Kratts, Curious George, animal shows, animated movies
Favorite Outside Toys: Plasma car, chalk, remote control car
Favorite Indoor Activities: coloring, science experiments, Angry Birds (ipad and set-up games with little characters), wrestling, building forts
Attends: preschool, daycare, Children & Worship at church
Favorite Books: Animal or science books from the library, especially sharks, dinosaurs, bugs, outer space, fish
Favorite Outfit: slick pants and a hoodie sweatshirt
Responsibilities: setting the table, emptying the silverware, picking up toys, letting Nika in, getting dressed, brushing teeth
Gets Excited About: seeing grandparents and cousins, Sunday Ford (Sioux County Nature Conservationist) visiting the preschool, playing games on (he spells it all out for you when he asks) or ipad, catching bugs,

Picture Day on his birthday!
It's hard to believe our first-born is 5 years old already! Many people ask if Ryan ever runs out of energy and the answer is "not really."  He loves running around, tackling, playing with friends and cousins, using his imagination, going to the farm, exploring, and learning new things! We appreciate his curiosity (the questions never end) and more than once have to consult "Siri" or some other reference to find an answer to a burning question.  He talks...a lot...and is always inserting new words into his vocabulary. He has an amazing memory and can recall so many details...he can even tell you things from when he was a "little 3" or a "big 3" or a "medium 4". He understands basic math and story problems and recognizes letters and their sounds, but not sure he could write every letter and number without seeing something to copy for some of them and we haven't started reading beyond a few simple sounding-out activities. He is pretty tall for his age, has blondish hair that's turning darker in the middle, and is usually cut short to keep control over all the cowlicks.

Going to daycare after preschool
Ryan's birthday fell on a preschool day this year (picture day!) so he enjoyed getting to bring treats (Angry Birds cheese crackers) and wear the birthday crown. His daycare provider also made it special by putting up some balloons, making a balloon craft, and serving cupcakes (they usually just have healthy snacks). At night, Adam took him to the movie "The Boxtrolls" and they were the only ones in the theater!  He had such a full day that he fell asleep before I even finished his first book at night. It was a great birthday and he didn't even open any presents! He's looking forward to his family birthday party on the weekend, but thoroughly enjoyed his day of turning 5.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Church Directory

Church directory pictures are everyone's favorites, I know, and it's even better when it falls in your 3rd trimester so not only are you puffy and without a lap for little ones, you also are missing a soon-to-be-added family member. We decided to suck it up and take the picture to be included in the directory because we really enjoy looking through them, but decided to just take the free 8x10 this time. There were only 3 to choose from and this is the only one both boys are looking and somewhat smiling (smirking?) Hopefully we can take a few pictures as a family of 5 soon!

This is a picture-of-a-picture but just wanted a quick reference to what our family looked like before our new addition!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Last of Warm Weather

We've enjoyed a great summer outdoors and took advantage of a few unseasonably warm days this Fall to spend more time outside.  One afternoon, we decided to build a ramp/race track for the remote control car and learned a lot about inclined planes and how to move boxes to adjust the heights until it was something this low-powered card could handle. We also experimented with how sharp of a corner the car can take weaving through buckets (not very sharp). I loved seeing Ryan use problem-solving skills and sharing his car with neighbors.

Another night, the boys were playing in the backyard and a task of using the hose to rinse out the beetle jar escalated quickly into the sprayer first dripping all over Cohen, then Ryan using the mister to make a make-shift sprinkler, to just giving in and getting out the actual sprinkler and letting the boys strip down to their shorts. They had a blast and we actually got it out one more time before the month ended.

Monday, September 22, 2014

September Outdoors

Here's a variety of things we've been up to so far in September.
JV football games
Checking the beetle jar (bury a jar so the lip is even with the ground-they fall in at night).
Playing football
Varsity football games

Clocking pitches at NWC Fall Ball Scrimmage with Cousin Colin.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cohen: 1 Year, 9 Months

Cohen has become a regular chatter-box and part-time comedian. He'll repeat just about anything you say and adds new words to his vocabulary daily. He loves playing outside, especially with chalk or water and likes riding or pushing in the little car Saylor is loaning us.  He falls down easily which usually results in a scraped face and he loves to run in a funny way, kind of like high-stepping it while saying "walka-walka-walka...RUN!" He loves to laugh and joke, like when he asks for a "nak" (napkin) at the table and then pretends to lick it or eat it, then giggles at himself. He also asks for pepper to put on his food at every meal.

He LOVES dessert and will ask for a "kee-kee" (cookie) but will want ice cream if Ryan is having some. He is sure to get every last drip!

Cohen got in some trouble this month when he took his crayons to various walls and toys. Not sure he learned his lesson because he actually thought scrubbing it off was fun for a while!

He loves playing up on the bed, falling over and snuggling up in the pillows. He will lay down just about anywhere and pull a blanket over him, then declare it's time for "nigh-nigh." His favorite music now is a "Wee Sing" CD and he's starting to learn some of the words to Eensy Weensy Spider, Hickory Dickory Dock, and Ring Around the Rosy. He also likes to count in his books, pointing to objects while saying "Wahn, Toooo, Free!" He also asks for his new book "Read, Read, Baby" by name. His favorite thing to cuddle is "George" but he also loves his blue blanket.

Our little man suddenly seems pretty big and it's hard to believe he'll be a big brother soon! He pats my tummy and says "baby" but we're sure he really has no idea what's in store!

Enjoy your last full month of being the baby of the family, buddy!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Happy Birthday, Adam!

We celebrated Adam's birthday by going out for Mexican food with his parents. The boys did pretty well at the restaurant (Ryan polished off 3 tacos plus plenty of chips and salsa). They didn't fare as well at the photo op:

We tried again at home, but with similar results:

I think this is the best we can do:

Happy Birthday, Adam!