Monday, June 17, 2013

Burke's Farm Party

Burke is the kid you see sitting on every riding mower in Lowes. He loooves tractors. {what little boy doesn't, I guess...} And he loves animals of all shapes and sizes--his favorite {the day I asked him, anyway} is a cow. So we decided to put together a farm party to celebrate his second birthday this year. Although I didn't really get many actual invites sent out {thank goodness for Facebook events!!}, I printed these invitations and built Burke's party around them. 

I thought it would be cute for us all to wear a shirt with one of the animals from the invitation on the front. So, using this diy screen printing tutorial, I whipped up some shirts for us to wear. {Of course, I didn't really start planning his party until about a week before, so naturally I was begrudging my ambition as I stayed up way too late the nights before the birthday bash.} And ps--don't you love his outfit?? He insisted on wearing his boots and I think they completed his outfit!

I found some free templates for animal silhouettes and scaled them in Word {because I don't have fancy programs that would probably make my life a bit easier} to be the size of the print I wanted for each shirt. I used a 6" embroidery hoop to make the pig, cow and horse and a 4" one for the duck. I found Ben's and my shirt at our local thrift store and used one of Burke's old t-shirts, since his would be irreparably filthy by the end of the day. I had the hardest time finding a single white onesie for Violet to wear and ended up having to buy a 3-pack. {I should have read the label better because when I got them home and washed them I realized they were LONG SLEEVED onesies...ugh! So I just cut off the sleeves and left them unhemmed because, well, there just wasn't time for that too!} I thought they turned out pretty well but the paint did separate a bit when the shirts were stretched. 

And because Violet couldn't just wear a onesie to her brother's birthday bash, I quickly whipped up a cute little diaper cover with some leftover gingham that wasn't otherwise being used. I used this free pattern and tutorial and found it super easy to follow. {You can find the tutorial I used for her bonnet here}

I decided to skip the cake and go with cupcakes this year. We had vanilla bean cupcakes with vanilla bean icing and vanilla bean cupcakes with strawberry icing. Both were delicious and I may or may not have eaten half of the icing as I put them together. I made the cupcake toppers using free images I found on the internet and simply inserting them into Word and adding a circle shape over top to make cutting easier. Then I put my hubby and inlaws to work cutting and pasting! In addition to cupcakes, we had my mom's homemade whoopie pies {cow patties??? I neglected to make that label!}, and a ton of other sweet snacks. 

I went with a traditional picnic menu {at least for my neck of the woods} since it reminded me of things you might eat on a farm {at least we ate them growing up on a farm}. I kept the menu simple with pulled pork, hotdogs, baked beans {from scratch and to die for!}, macaroni salad and fresh fruit and vegetables. Click here for my burlap happy birthday bunting. And for another easy diy, I painted an old wooden cutting board with chalkboard paint which we usually use as our grocery list. 

Burke is super into singing happy birthday to anyone and everyone all the time, so he was really excited for that part of the party this year! I found tractor candles at the grocery store {surprising little win!} which pretty much made his whole year. {I love 2-year-olds!! They can--at times--be so easy to please}

Although he was a little shy with all of the attention, he wasted no time diving into the icing on his cupcake. I'm pretty sure this {and the bajillion cheetos he ate} was his favorite part of the party. And seriously, check out his grubby face and hands...those are beautiful signs that he was having the best day ever and that's all I wanted for him.

We kept the party small this year {went waaaay over board on #1, but with 2 huge families, it's kind of hard not to} with mostly local family members in attendance. For the few kiddos that came, I made cute little drawstring bags and filled them with some toy animals and an apple.

All in all, I'd say his party was a huge success. He had a blast and I had so much fun participating in his joy. Seriously, guys, kids are the best!!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

A Few Things

Happy hump day! We're in Allentown visiting the inlaws and to celebrate my FIL's birthday. Today has been stellar on many levels: BOTH kiddos napped in the car this morning on our drive {Burke has given up morning naps and most car naps looooong ago}, it's gorgeous outside, Burke and his cousin Jake had some awesome wrestling matches and fun at the park, and both kiddos actually went down for an afternoon nap! {For Burke, this is AH-MAZING because he usually only crashes in foreign beds when he's toast}

In addition to my FIL, I'd like to give another birthday shoutout to my baby sister, Moriah, who turns 20 today. Even though 20 is pretty much a non-year and a 20th birthday is definitely a non-event, I hope she has a wonderful day and even better year! Cheers to next year!

Also, today is my parents' 32nd wedding anniversary! Woot Woot! Happy Anniversary M & D!! {guys--this means that I'm getting OLD!! Eek! They were only married for one year before I was born...} Wishing them many many more happy years and time to enjoy life now that most of their {extra-large} quiver have grown up.

Finally, I'm happy to say that my friend Becky, who blogs over at Mommy In Heels, agreed to be my guinea pig!! Ever since Ken Bruggeman's awesome photography workshop, I've been itching to do some more shooting {of still models and not the spastic hurricanes that are my littles}. So Becky agreed to let me shoot her gorgeous self and I'm thrilled with this fun collaboration. She gets photos for her blog {her hubby is probably breathing a sigh of relief now that he's off the hook--I know mine would!} and I get practice learning my way around my camera and trying to capture the beauty before me. You should definitely hop on over and check out her blog {and my photos!!}.

Happy Wednesday! Have a great day!!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Easy No-Sew Burlap Birthday Bunting {Tutorial}

Happy Monday! It's a dreary rainy and perfect day for recuperating from our busy birthday weekend! {It's nap time and the silence is beautiful...I can even hear the dog snoring!} We celebrated Burke's 2nd birthday on Saturday {post coming soon!} and although I was exhausted from planning, cooking and crafting for his big celebration it was such a pleasure to watch him enjoy his day. So while I'm still going through all of the pictures from our weekend and working on a post about his party, I thought I'd share a simple no-sew project you can whip up for your next party.

What you'll need:
>> burlap {a 1/4 yard should be more than sufficient}
>> a piece of paper to use as a pattern {unless you want to freehand your triangles}
>> twine, ribbon, or other material to use to create the bunting
>> fabric paint
>> paint brush
>> pencil, chopstick or other similar item to poke holes in the burlap
>> stencils {optional}

What you'll do:
>> Draw a triangle on a piece of paper and cut it out. This will be your pattern. {Make sure the triangle is long and wide enough to accommodate a letter plus two holes along the top--mine were about 4 in. at the widest part by 8 in. long}
>> Using your paper pattern, cut out enough triangles from the burlap to spell whatever sentiment you wish. I needed 13 triangles for my "happy birthday" bunting.
>> If you want to use stencils to get nice uniform lettering, this is the time to break them out. I opted to freehand my letters and I think they turned out pretty good. Make sure to lay down newspaper so that your paint doesn't ruin your work surface. I simply eyeballed the center of my burlap triangle and painted each letter in that spot. In order to keep my letters about the same size, I placed the triangle I was about to paint on top of one that had already been painted and outlined the shape of the letter using the bottom letter as a guide for height and width.
>> Once your letters have dried, take a pencil, chopstick or anything else that might be similar and poke two holes in the top of each triangle, about an inch down from the top. I tried to center my holes about 1 inch down and 1 inch in on each side. I used my first triangle as a guide for the rest.

>> Lastly, cut a piece of twine, ribbon or whatever you're using here as long as you need your bunting to be. I cut my twine about 6 feet long and had plenty on each end to help attach it to the table it decorated. Starting with your first letter, insert your twine up through the back of the first hole and across the front of the triangle back down through the second hole. Repeat this process until all of your letters have been strung.

Hang and enjoy! {PS--I snapped this photo quickly before any of the food hit the table so pardon the empty table}

What are some of the easy diy projects you have done for parties and celebrations? 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Dear Burke {a letter on your 2nd birthday}

dear sweet boy, 

i love you. more than anything. more than a sunny day, sushi, and a good book. seriously, you make my world go 'round. watching you learn, grow and experiment with each one of your five wonderful senses has given me such pleasure these past two years. {has it really been two years?? my goodness} i couldn't have imagined this life just two years and one day ago. i couldn't have imagined how happy i would be. how much i would learn to love. how far i'd be challenged. and how deeply my life would be enriched. but just like that my world turned upside down and i am so deeply in love with my job as your mama. i wouldn't want it any other way. so on your second birthday, i just want to say a few things. pray a few prayers.

i pray that you'll never lose your contagious smile and soft warm eyes. you have a way about bringing out the best in people, from those you know to strangers on the street. when you're around the world is all right. your smile penetrates any barriers and your eyes let them know it's okay.

i pray that you'll always possess a passion for life the way you do now. you take life by the horns, excitedly navigating your way through each moment of each day. no obstacle is too big for you. you're a problem solver and a daredevil. you eye up an obstacle, run a few quick calculations in your little head and then dive in full force, smiling all the while. and even when you stumble or fall, you bounce back up and try again. nothing keeps you down and i love that about you. 

i pray that you'll always have a generous and empathetic heart. you may be a tough kid when it comes to bumps and bruises, but you have the most pure and authentic heart. you've cried when others have cried...empathizing with them. you share your food and toys even when unprovoked. when your sissy cries, your first instinct is to pray for her because you think she might be hurt or upset. when you notice someone with a boo boo, you kiss it. and then you pray for healing. you adore your sister and she adores you. even at your young ages, my eyes tear up with the adoration you share with each other. it is really so precious. the thing i love most about you is that you love everyone without inhibition. you don't see size, color, or disability. it's like you see straight into a person's heart and you just love them. i want to be more like you, Burke. i want to love like you do. 

happy 2nd birthday, sweetheart. i love you.