Sunday, February 13, 2011

Quick & Easy V-Day treats!

I mentioned that I was in the mood for crafting but not full-fledged take-all-day crafts. Just nice and easy, no more than an hour, do it during a nap kind of crafts.

My mom and Cutie Face whipped up a delectable gift that was super easy but looks like it was done by a professional.

All you need are some pretzel rods, candy melts, and sprinkles.

Mimi had the hardest part--
put the melted candy on the pretzel rods

Cutie Face had the fun, toddler-friendly part
shake shake shake the sprinkles!

Mimi's trick is to immediately put a tray of prepared pretzel rods into the fridge. Once hardened, she puts them in little plastic baggies for a professional presentation (please excuse these iPhone photos--camera died!)

Tie with a ribbon and...Voila! Instant V-Day gifts!

Cutie Face will be attending her preschool V-Day party tomorrow. Originally, I thought I'd use these adorably sweet V-Day printable cards made by Meg from Olliegraphic and offered on Oh my! Handmade Goodness

We got as far as decorating with Cutie Face's favorite craft accessory--
the pink glitter glue

and then I received an email from Tammy Mitchell Photography
(i subscribe to her email feed and always glean lots of inspiration from her ideas!)

and I was inspired...
sadly, i cannot use her pictures on my blog so check this link if you're curious

Anyway, I wanted to do something along those same lines but my own twist

I knew that Stauffers made cheese crackers in the shape of whales
so Mimi and I went to the Dollar Store to stock up on whale crackers

Using the clear cellophane bags from the pretzel rod craft 
and Avery Shipping Label 5163

I drafted two stickers for whale treat bags

One says: "I whaley like you"
the other says: "Whale you be my Valentine?"

Here's the finished product:

If you need a last minute Valentine sticker, let me know, and I'll send this sticker in jpg form to you! I'm very excited for Cutie Face to hand these out tomorrow!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Don't get jealous if you aren't immediate family

but the Cuties have been up to some

Valentine Day fun

set to arrive to our family's mailboxes

on February 14

I thought it'd be fun for Cutie Face to stamp V-Day symbols on hand-cut felt. 
She picked out pink glitter glue
I picked out felt and craft scissors

Turns out, at 2.5, she's not quite ready for the crafts I planned for. 

So we scratched that craft and made toddler hand-friendly stamps...
out of potatoes!

Take note: half potatoes are perfectly sized for a toddler to grasp and stamp

the good news for Cutie Face was...
she could still use her pink glitter glue!

in other MAIL news:
we daily get our Christmas Cards 
(yes, I know we were just talking Valentine's...)
returned to us

For some reason, the post office wants to deliver postcards to the return label

some cards have made it all the way to the state intended 
just to be processed back to Atlanta!
So today I took my pen to the address label
blacked it all out

and will be marching the cards back to the post office this afternoon

Hopefully the last 50 of you to receive them will appreciate the
Christmas/Valentine greetings!


and that felt that I had such high hopes for? 
(seen below on cutie cakes' food tray)

happily hanging out in our sunroom playroom for all our new neighbors to see

let's just hope they don't think it's an eyesore!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Betty B wannabe

My Grandma and the Cuties' GiGi (maker of the famous security blankets the girls are always seen with) is not just a knitter. Actually, knitting is a side hobby that she just happens to be good at. 

What GiGi (aka Betty B) is really spectacular at is making cakes. My Grandma is a professional cake baker! She has made all of her grandchildren's wedding cakes and countless birthday cakes for her grands as well (not to mention the thousands of cakes she's made for customers and friends!). 

The twin and I used to love to watch her decorate and she'd always let us decorate our own 8" circular cake when we visited. 

Sadly, I should have paid more attention to her lessons because now I have daughters that would like decorated cakes for birthdays and special occasions!

I know you're thinking...uhh, didn't they have  Cutie Cakes' cake made by a bakery?

Yes! BUT 2 days later, Cutie Face turned 2 and that oh-so-crucial "half". 

I signed up to bring snacks for her preschool class on the day of her half birthday. Since she's a summer baby, she won't get to celebrate her birthday in school with friends so I figured a half birthday cake would help make up for that.

the tricky part was making this cake without eggs--
one of her classmates has a severe allergy to them 
which is why this eggless cake looks...a little flat

That didn't stop Cutie Cakes from being super excited about it!

but maybe that's just excitement about the lollipops

oh and as much as i adore polka dots 
and as much as the ones on the cake looked planned...

they're really just there to make up for my sorry attempt at decorating!
clearly I could still use a few lessons from talented Grandma B!

Though not planned, Cutie Face had a present waiting for her when she returned home from school.

I review products for a natural baby goods blog and one item arrived on her half birthday--Zylie the Bear--a stuffed bear that doubles as a dress up "doll".

As Cutie Face told J later that day, she is a very lucky kid. Looks like Zylie is a lucky bear, too!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Cutie Cakes at ONE

Dear Cutie Cakes,

You are ONE!

No one can believe it, definitely not your mom.

You are so animated and absolutely into everything. It is strange to have to actually babyproof a house. Your curiosity for life and quest to accomplish your mission gets you into many...precarious adventurous positions. 

For example, this is where I found you when I accidentally left the door open to our laundry closet:

You're too much but I love it!

I could watch the way you slide open the play car door, climb in, stand up and squeal with delight all day long. The joy and wonderment you get from a sense of accomplishment is very fun to witness. 

You are very much a ham and giggle just like your sister--i love that.

you're really not into walking yet even though i know you can do it

The reason: you're smart enough to know that walking means
 you'll be toted around less!

Musical! Oh! you LOVE to sing and you really can!

You are very blessed to possess that attribute of your Daddy's!

We swore we wouldn't do it but we did--we've somehow been more lenient with you than with your big sister. You get away with crying for something. For example, you still cry out in the middle of the night--with Cutie Face, she was sleeping 12-hour stretches at 4-months old. You, my dear, still end up in our bed for a midnight nursing session. It's baffling and understandable at the same time--we don't want our baby to grow up just yet!

While that baby rearing aspect of your life is very much part of the baby phase, we've given you more mature options when it comes to food, DVD watching, and the like. You've eaten nearly all finger foods since 9-months attempt to keep with the baby weaning philosophy and give me a break from making and feeding you pureed food. It was NICE! 

We let you watch Little People DVDs with your sister and Curious George episodes. I really can't believe that we do that but I think you'll be okay :) The great thing is, you get the most enjoyment out of Baby Signing Time DVDs just like your sister so I know you are processing and understanding something that we put in front of you!

You know exactly what you want and you definitely get frustrated when you do not get it. I swear at times we're already going through the "terrible 2s" but then your dad reminds me that you don't know how to express yourself yet...which is why we need to practice our signing! Though there are some key words that you do know: mama, dada, ball, BA (balloon...definitely different than ball), more (more like "mawh"), and a few words that you've only said once and probably by accident (dog, thank you, etc.)

Like your sister, you L-O-V-E the blanket that your GiGi made you. You're quite taken with dolls as well as stuffed toys--and your newest lovey is a Kitty Cat from Grandma

it gets dragged around with you everywhere

I love that you're a love bug like that! I pray that you continue to show love and empathy and kindness toward people and animals!

You're also such a joy that we didn't even know you had your second double ear infection! We found out at your 1-year "well" checkup visit with your doctor :(

of course...there might have been signs...

but as the second, slightly more neglected child, you've found an amazing way to thrive and be joyful while doing so. As your Poppy says, you are an absolute delight and we praise God for your presence in our family!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Fete for a Cutie

Somehow 52 weeks exactly passed since Cutie Cakes arrival. Instead of celebrating on her actual birthday (ahem...Superbowl Sunday), we gave the boys a break and celebrated a day early.

A party for a one-year old involves little prep work in our household. We visit Publix, order a cake (complete with a complimentary smash cake for the birthday girl), order catering, order balloons, and invite family only for a low-frill, highly intimate, quality celebration of a first year of life.

While ordering the aforementioned cake, the girls and I decided that the colors should be pink, yellow, and purple. Why not, I say? Who knows what Cutie Cakes favorite colors will be...we certainly don't want to limit her to just one when she looks back on pictures!

So with those colors in mind, we ordered coordinating balloons. Being in a slightly but not full-fledged crafty mood, I decided we needed some birthday bunting in the form of felt garland.

introducing my new addiction: sewing felt!

The Monday prior to the party, I'd made a cake. 
Providentially enough, the cake did not come out of the pan:

So we smashed it up, rolled it into 15 balls, 

dipped them in candy coating, and made cake pops!

Now that I know how easy this "craft" is, it could replace my felt banner addiction!

The day of the party, J's mom and the girls' Grandma arrived from Michigan. We immediately set her to work on the decorations but she was incredible and even helped with last-minute cleaning and picture-hanging! 

Then we took the birthday girl and her festively-clad sister to the grocery store for a party pickup--highlight of the trip--riding in the car grocery cart (for the girls) and not running into anything (for me--i'm such a klutz!)

note: picture used in new banner!

The girls were eager for their first guests so we plied them with animal crackers.

While the big sister periodically checked the front door

Cutie Cakes was smart enough to look for party goers 
from the warmth & the comfort of the indoors

thankfully, she's easily distracted by books!

But books also signify the start of our bedtime routine for Cutie Cakes--and down she went for a late-afternoon nap!

at 4 o'clock sharp, the guests arrived and managed to entertain themselves without the birthday girls' presence.

chaos also ensued both in the upstairs and downstairs playrooms but too many of us were playing referee and safety officers to take proper pictures of the excitement. 

Bummer for documentation, hooray for safety first :)

We finally gathered for a fajita buffet catered by the most excellent Willie's. I think everyone at least had seconds (including the babes!). A brilliant choice made by the proud birthday girl's daddy.

too busy devouring fajitas to care about anything else

the babe of honor finally awoke and joined her party!

She might have been a little distracted by her favorite thing--
BA! BA! 
(in case you don't know "Cutie Cakes language that's balloon)

Shortly after digesting dinner, it was time for cake--
one-year olds don't have a big enough attention span for too many breaks!

Cutie Face was very eager for her sister to blow out the candles that she could dive into the cake!

Yay! It was time!

12 candles lit for 12-months of life, 1 candle lit for 1-year of life!

After help from Cutie Face, the candles were extinguished and the smashing could begin

Cutie Cakes couldn't believe what we were telling her to do:

but she did it...

much to her chagrin (wash my hands mama!)

I'm not sure if she ever enjoyed it, but at least she did it!

...and had the smashed cake face to prove it!

It appeared that the cake pops might have been a little more her speed...

at least all the other kids thought so!

After a brief sugar high reprieve, 
we moved Cutie Cakes right along to her very generous spread of presents

everyone was more than generous 

and then, just like that, it was over!

The party ended, 
the toys, games, and food were put away
and we had two sleepy girls who were ready for bed

We cannot thank everyone enough who attended or sent well wishes to our Cutie Cakes! What a great way to fete a cutie!