2022 Christmas Card Reveal

It’s that time of year! Time for the Busches annual Christmas card. This is our 22nd Christmas card and it’s pretty pun-ny, if I do say so myself. Ironically I had picked out holiday ensembles for the whole family (I didn’t go shopping for clothes, this is just a conglomeration of stuff we owned) but in the end most of our outfits weren’t even visible in the card! For the record we actually had cute boots and red shoes.

Anyway, drumroll please. Here it is…

Merry Christmas from the Bushes with a “C”. I know it’s cheesy, but it’s supposed to be. I can’t even take credit for this genius idea. Years ago (I’m talkin’, probably 8 years ago) when I was handing out Christmas cards one of SJ’s teachers said “You know what you should do? Merry Christmas from the bushes and be popping out of some actual bushes”. This year I needed that kind of silliness in my life and so we went for it. Only since our name is actually spelled B-U-S-C-H and not b-u-s-h I bought a wooden C to be in the photo with us. When people ask if we are Bush like the president we always have to clarify. No, it’s actually Busch with a C. Or we say Busch like the beer, but I didn’t think that would be a good theme for the card.

 

Stamp prices are outrageous, but I still like to mail some of our cards to friends and family far away. One of my favorite traditions is when we do the Christmas card assembly line.

However, I also love to hand them out and hear peoples’ reactions. It brings me so much joy to see the smiles and hear the laughter. In the words of Buddy the Elf (which we just watched for the third time this month) “Smiling is my favorite” and also “I don’t care who knows it!”

And one final word to all of the people that don’t send Christmas cards, or just didn’t do cards this year. That is okay! One of the most common responses I got with women my age when they received my card was this look of shame and a confession of guilt about not doing Christmas cards. It’s something I am just as guilty of doing, except not about Christmas cards. I act like this when I  just recently did the same thing when my friend got me a present and I didn’t get her one. Oh the horror. It’s cool though, because as soon as I started trying to explain myself I realized I needed to take the same advice I give to others. When I give a card to someone and they start to apologize about not having a card I always smile and say “You don’t have to give a card to receive one.” I also unnecessarily self-deprecate by explaining how it’s our one and only tradition and I am not really consistent at anything else in my life. I should probably stop doing that. Whether you sent cards or not here is our Merry Christmas to you! I really hope that it’s the best one ever. 



 

 

By | December 21st, 2022|Crafts, Family, Laughter, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Messy Mom Christmas Time Finds

I’m a decorate-after-Thanksgiving kind of girl. Which means Christmas time is just two days away and I am SO EXCITED!!!

This week I have a THREE products to promote that will fit right in around the tree this holiday season. One will be perfect to wear when you are hanging out around the tree, one you want to wrap up and put under the tree, and one is actually for the tree!

Let’s start with something I am wearing right now, my fuzzy red Aromasoles.

Aromasoles are a line of super cozy, scent-infused slipper socks that have been flying off shelves for years. All are made with natural therapeutic oils with scents like lavender, rose, cinnamon, and neroli, and they come in an amazing variety of colors!

The aromasoles are my new favorite socks. They are cute, warm, comfy, and smell divine. I recommend picking up a set for yourself and your mom, grandma, teacher, sisters (anyone with feet). They are the perfect companion to watching Christmas Hallmark movies or doing your online Christmas shopping. Speaking of shopping, this three piece gift set is only $20.00. So cute!

Another recent discovery for me is the BlendJet 2.

You may have heard of this amazing portable blender. If not, let me fill you in because I’m loving my new BlendJet. Unlike other blenders, which are uniformly monochromatic in color, BlendJet 2, the original portable blender, is sold in a wide variety of colors – everything from ocean to geode to leopard print.

It’s powerful too – and BlendJet even offers a range of must-have accessories, including 20oz and 32oz jars, insulated sleeves, and carrying totes.

I love so many things about the BlendJet 2. It’s so perfect not just for smoothies but other items that I would use a food processor for. I’m really not a fan of battery operated cordless items, because the cost of replacing batteries adds up quickly, but the BlendJet 2 is rechargeable. 

 



The cord is a USB too so you can plug it just about anywhere.

I’m thrilled with my new BlendJet and I know it would make a great gift for a college student, health enthusiasts, or any family that is on the go a lot.

The last item I want to rave about is The LightKeeper Pro and LED Keeper .

This time I’m not talking about something for under your tree, but for if something goes wrong with your tree! With just the press of trigger, these tools can fix broken holiday lights – so you can make sure your decorations are always colorful. If you already decorated and noticed some faulty bulbs grab the Light Keeper Pro today, or if you are like me and are about to throw your tree up you can have it on hand and use it year after year. This gadget has been featured on NPR, USA Today, Real Simple, even Steve Harvey! Every home needs a Light Keeper Pro.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving, a successful Black Friday, and a delightful Holiday season all the way around!

 

By | November 22nd, 2022|Crafts, Family, Home, Projects, Uncategorized|0 Comments

How to Make a Nerf Party Cake

How to Make a Nerf Party Cake

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As promised, here is the Nerf Party Cake (modified version of the archery cake featured on showerofroses.blogspot.com).

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You will need

A box of cake mix and two 9″ round cake pans

2 cans of white frosting

13 KitKats or 4 of the XL size you find in the candy aisle of the grocery store

42 oz Party size bag of M&M’s

Nerf Dart

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Instructions

Bake the two round cakes according to package instructions.

Let cool for at least 15 minutes and trim the tops  with a knife to make them flat.

Place one round cake on your cake pan and frost the top.

Add the other layer (trimmed side down, smooth side up to make frosting easier).

Frost the entire cake liberally. It doesn’t have to be pretty because it will be covered with candy.

Separate the red, yellow, blue, and brown M&M’s.

You will need approximately

22 yellow

70 red

110 blue

50 brown

41 kit kat sticks trimmed to fit the height of the cake

Start your dart board design with adding a rim of brown m&m’s all the way around the diameter of the cake. This gives you a frame to line everything up with.

Next add approximately three more rows of blue M&M’s in a circle.

Then add three rows of red M&M’s.

Lastly, make a bullseye circle in the remaining space with yellow M&M’s.

Lining the cake with KitKat bars is easy. Just trim about a half inch off of the bottom of all the bars with a knife then stick them to the edge of the cake. They should stay in place without any trouble.

Then top off your cake with a decorative nerf dart. Just remove the M&M’s in one spot and gently push the Nerf dart into place.

I cut the cake servings with two Kitkats per slice. This meant that cake made about 20 servings.

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It was festive and delicious. Most kids and adults will love it!

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The candy is the priciest part and sorting the M&M’s was a bit time consuming, but the good news is I used the blue and orange for another side dish and I also plan to use the leftover green and brown for my other son’s party next month which is Ninja Turtle.

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I would definitely make a cake like this again! I loved it. Next time maybe I’ll try a different pattern like a number or a flower. Oooh, now my wheels are turning!

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By | September 15th, 2017|Parties, Uncategorized|6 Comments

Indoor Nerf Party

Z’s 10th birthday was a bullseye with this Nerf Party.

I love making printables and Z helped me with my designs this year. He also spent a lot of time coloring and making his own Nerf theme signs to hang up around the house.

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Even little brother helped set up.

As each guest arrived we had a sign in sheet where they wrote their name, gun model, and number of darts. This made everything so much easier!

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The “Armory” was a pegboard with hooks moved from the garage to the play room. The boys could hang their guns up there until battle time.

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We made these ammo pouches full of nerf darts as party favors.

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They were really little messenger bags from the dollar store that Z covered with black duct tape and then individualized with names taped on with clear tape.

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All the boys had a way to carry their own bullets and they all used them. It turned out so great.

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The first game was Whack-A-Villian which was a game that J and Z made for a Cub Scout carnival and then we played at Ezie’s 4th birthday party. Everyone used the same gun and had to see how many bad guys they could hit. The two boys with the highest scores were team captains for the nerf war.

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Next up was the Mess Hall (military phrase for cafeteria).

Of course, the food had to be Nerf theme which meant lots of orange and blue.

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We also bought some frozen pizzas and added our own toppings in the shape of a dart board.


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Then there were fun military theme touches like cheese bombs


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War Heads and Explosives (Pop Rocks)

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Gun powder (pixy stix)
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and more…

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The cake turned out amazing. I’ll be sure to post a recipe/tutorial for that soon.

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Lastly was the ultimate capture the flag show down. There was a blue team and an orange team. Each team got some face paint markers in the corresponding shades of their team color. I explained that this was their war paint and war paint started with the Native Americans who would apply paint to their face and bodies to prepare for battle. This was the print out for the war paint station.

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I turned a full length mirror on its side so that multiple boys could paint their face at once.

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The blue team was using the bathroom mirror.

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Then each team had 15 minutes to build their fort out of cardboard boxes.

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After that was the big moment. The Nerf War.

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The rules were the same as capture the flag and they had an orange shirt and a blue shirt as flags. If they were hit they had to go back into their forts. The final battle was a free for all and the boys went wild tearing down their forts, firing their guns, and making an insane amount of noise. It was probably not the safest most organized activity, but it can you imagine anything more fun for a group of 4th grade boys?

Yes there was some bickering about who was shot and who was cheating, but all in all they really just had a great time.

I have a lot of favorites when it comes to kid’s parties, but this one is going to be added to that list.

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By | September 6th, 2017|Parties, Uncategorized|4 Comments

How to Throw a Successful First Birthday Party

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Having your little baby turn one only happens once and you want to make this first birthday party special. Where do you begin?

Having gone through the experience 4 times with each of my children I have a few tips that been helpful to me.

Here are 5 tips for throwing a successful first birthday party

1. First Birthday Party Theme

The theme is like pizza crust. You can’t start adding all the delicious toppings until you have your crust. The theme can be as simple as a color, number, or letter. You can also go with characters from movies or books. Sometimes the theme ends up being whatever was on the clearance rack.

For my oldest son the theme was construction. He got a Tonka truck that year and 9 years later he still uses it!

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Baby #2 was Cupcake theme. Delish.

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Baby #3 was One Happy Camper

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Last, but not least we just recently celebrated with a Fun to Bee One party.

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2. Party Time and Location

The most important part here is to go with what you know works best for your child. If their bedtime is early have an afternoon party on the weekend. If your child is uncomfortable in unfamiliar places stay home.

3. Enlist Helpers for the First Birthday Party

You cannot do this alone! You should be enjoying this special event and you can’t do that if you are running the whole show. Here are some jobs that you may want to assign to close friends and family, or a professional.

  • The food and drinks
  • Cake
  • Decorations
  • Photography/ video
  • Someone to watch the baby during set up
  • Someone to keep a record of what gift is from whom for thank you cards.

4. First Birthday Party Schedule

You don’t have to stick to the schedule, but it is better to change it as you go than make it up as you go. Given that your child is turning one, short and sweet is going to be your best bet for this occasion.

Here is an example schedule from our last first birthday party

1:00 pm guest arrive

1:15 Eat (pizza, salad, snacks, and drinks)

1:35 Sing happy birthday and eat cake (change baby’s outfit after cake)

2:00 Open presents

2:20 Piñata

2:45 Watch slideshow of guest of honor

3:00 Party ends

5. Some Things to Consider When the Party is for a One Year Old

Throwing a birthday party for a one year old will be different than any other birthday party. You will want to decide how to handle some of the party activities before hand.

Here are some questions you may not have thought of
*Who is REALLY going to blow out the candle?
*What will the baby wear before, during, and after the cake?
*Is the party going to be after naptime and how long will it last?
*Who will help the baby open presents and how much will they assist? 

*What is your backup plan if the guest of honor does not seem to be enjoying things? 

Pinterest is full of ideas and it’s fun to incorporate your own special touch. However, don’t let unrealistic expectations get in the way of being able to enjoy the moment. You can’t control if your baby cries through the birthday song or if he or she is disinterested in the presents. Just be prepared for whatever happens, the more relaxed you are the more your child will be. Have a good time and be sure to document it. The guest of honor probably won’t remember their first birthday party, but down the road you can remember how special it was and later don they can hear all about how fun it was and see pics of how cute they were.

By | January 6th, 2017|Parties|2 Comments

Bumble Bee Birthday Party

“Fun to Bee One” Bumble Bee Birthday

I had been planning Elle’s “Fun to Bee One” bumble bee birthday party in the back of my mind since she was 6 months old. It all came together beautifully and I wanted to share some of what made the “Fun to Bee One” party a success.

Before I dive in, let me stress that all of my parties are small space and small budget. I hope that can be an encouragement for some other families out there. Now, let’s get started.

Bumble Bee Invitations

First off, it was no coincidence that Elle was a bumble for Halloween. I took photos of her in her costume and then designed this invitation (I censored the time and place, because this is the internet after all.) The Bumble birthday party invites were printed on 4×6 photo paper at Costco for 13 cents a piece.

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Bumble Bee Photo Collage

I decorated this old door with photos of the birthday girl. I made a pom-pom garland of yellow and black and picked up some scrap book paper from Hobby Lobby to use as a frame for the photos.

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Bumble Bee Birthday Outfits

We didn’t totally coordinate, but I tried dressing the family in yellow and black.

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SJ was also a bumble bee for Halloween so her outfit for the bumble bee birthday party was a no brainer.

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DIY Bumble Bee Piñata

You probably spotted the piñata in the photo. This was one of my favorite parts. This is my 5th DIY piñata and I’m proud to say the whole concept was my own.

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The body was made from a papier mache balloon covered in streamers. The antenna were from SJ’s bee costume. The face was simply card stock, marker, and googly eyes I pulled off of one of the kid’s art projects. The wings were a wire hanger with white panty hose. In other words the whole thing was made almost entirely from items found around the house.

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I’ll admit, it wasn’t my best work in terms of functionality. The whole bee sort of dropped off of the string instead of gradually bursting open and flinging candy everywhere.

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It wasn’t a total wash though. Would you look at those smiles!?

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Side note, in the background you’ll see the compost pile I wrote a tutorial for a few months ago.

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Bumble Bee Birthday Party Decor

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The yellow gift bags were from the Dollar Tree and were used for gathering piñata candy. They also made good weights for the balloons and they had a wallet size print of Elle in them. So that was our party favor.

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The party was buffet style, but I set the table anyway to make it look festive. Most of these paper products were from Amazon and since I had a lot of left over unused plates and decorations I sold it all for 20 bucks on Craig’s List. Score!


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We served water or lemonade for beverages and the stripes on the lemons were colored with a thick black sharpie. I actually had a dream that we served lemon wedge bumble bees on the edge of a glass and that’s where the idea came from.


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I found this little guy for a dollar at a yard sale over the summer and hung him from the ceiling.
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Bumble Bee Cupcakes

The cupcakes were made with white cloud frosting tinted yellow and topped with chocolate sprinkles. The cupcake wrappers were from Amazon and they were so fun because one side was striped and the other side was bumble bee and bee hives. The bee hive side I used for the snack cups which were filled with Honey Comb cereal. Lastly, the cupcake stand was the cheap pink cardboard one that we have used over and over and painted black for Ezie’s batman party. This was the last use though. J made me throw it away. In all fairness, it was time. 
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I think this busy little baby enjoyed her first birthday party and so far I’d say she’s proving that it really is fun to bee one. 

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By | January 4th, 2017|Parties|1 Comment

Batman Party

We celebrated Ezie’s 4th birthday on Sunday.

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You can probably guess the theme from the above photo.

The buffet was pretty simple, regular ol’ party food.

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I did do my signature fruit pizza using blueberries and pineapples to make the bat signal.

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Their were two convenient coincidences about doing a batman theme.

  1. It’s almost halloween so it’s easy to find black/bat decorations everywhere right now!
  2. Elle’s party is in November and her theme is bumble bee so all the black and yellow stuff can be reused.

The cake was both a store bought batman cake and there were some really simple home made cupcakes free of dye and artificial flavors as well.

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The number 4 candle was something my friend in Michigan had laying around. They knew Ezie would be turning 4 this year so when we were up there in July they asked if we wanted to take it with us. Candles are super cheap, so we certainly could have just bought one, but it was fun knowing a piece of Michigan was at the party.

We had different “stations” represented throughout the party and I made batman themed signs, but unfortunately our printer doesn’t work so at the last minute my parents darted off to Office Max for me. Hooray for helpful grandparents!

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We had signs directing our guest to the bathroom (or bat-room as the sing indicates).

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There was also a tattoo table.

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And there was a costume station with a sign that said “Where is my super suit?” Can you name what movie that is from? The kids definitely could.

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Then there were two games. The first was “Mr. Freeze Mission”. The idea is that Mr. Freeze froze batman and the party guests had to rescue him out of a block of ice.

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They broke up into two teams and used water guns to squirt at the ice until batman was free.

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The first team to rescue batman won. It was a little chaotic, but they all loved it. Mission accomplished.

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The next game was one Z and J made for a cub scouts carnival last week called Whack-a-Villian. I read a really short story from a lego batman book that went with the theme of the game. Then each party guest had a turn to throw bean bags at the lego batman villains and knock them over. The two boys that got them all down won a prize.

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That was about it other than presents and party favors.

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We had 17 little ones running around in the back yard and the weather was great.

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I am definitely pleased with how it all turned out and more importantly Ezie felt really special.

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Happy birthday to my little super hero!

By | September 27th, 2016|Parties|4 Comments

Cow Under-appreciation Day

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First off let me say that I love Chick-fil-A. If you read my blog then you probably already know that I am HUGE fan. However I do want to bring some attention to how Cow Appreciation Day has made some changes that I’m not too sure about just yet.

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This will be our 7th year to participate in Cow Appreciation Day. I finally broke down and ordered a full blown cow costume for myself this year, but I am a little concerned that the tradition is starting to fizzle out. I do realize that this is going to be the goofiest thing I have ever gotten riled up about but here goes.

Cow Appreciation Day 2016 is taking place this Tuesday July 12th.

Cow day used to be on Fridays but they switched it to Tuesday last year. I remember because my bloggy friend at Little Dove was the one who noticed the date changed. I understand that Fridays are the busiest day and Tuesday are the slowest so it make sense to drive more traffic in on the slow day.

The thing I am disappointed about is that they are no longer giving a free meal to anyone dressed in a “Head to hoof” cow costume. Instead they are “simplifying” things by giving a free entree to anyone wearing any kind of cow accessory at all. This includes the paper hats that they give out for free at the restaurant. They are very clear on their website that you can dress up or just wear the hat.

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To which I go from saying moo, to saying boo.

Now hear me out, I am not being greedy. I am thrilled to get a free sandwich or shake, plus the kids still get a free kids meal so I think that’s super generous. The thing that chaps my hide is that there is no longer any incentive to get all dressed up.

Why would someone go out in full blown costume in the heat of JULY to get free food when all they have to do is throw on a paper hat provided by the store?  The campaign went from dress like a cow, to simply wear anything “cow like”. Does this mean we will continue to see more and more patrons dressed up cute like this

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or this?

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I hope so because that’s my favorite part to see all the creative costumes.

I do understand why they streamlined it because I am sure there were people showing up with a dot here and spot there demanding a free combo meal and complaining when they didn’t get one. I just think they should at least have a photo contest to keep some buzz going for this event. 

So I emailed Chick-fil-A, because yeah I am that serious about this dilemma and I say Please tell me there is a photo contest. If there is a photo contest then I’m in. They sent me an automated response stating that they would eventually really reply. So, for now I guess I will begrudgingly go through with the original plan to wear my  cow suit. I suppose I could just have a good attitude and do it for my kids, but it’s a really hot costume. Really hot. Seriously.

Aside from my oldest child who started at age 2 all of my kids have been participating in Cow Appreciation Day for their entire lives.

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I’ve been a pregnant cow twice.

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I had a daughter and a niece wear the same cow dress which will now be passed down to my youngest calf who I also by the way have a cow cloth diaper for.

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This is big stuff in our family! I would hate to see the tradition dwindle away.

Let’s keep the dream alive people and show our appreciation for cows all across this land! Come on Chick-fil-A. Please don’t let us down.

By | July 5th, 2016|Creativity, Frugal Living|3 Comments

Create Your Own Speech Therapy Book

When SJ was first diagnosed with hearing loss I was encouraged to create an experience book. Books are a great resource for speech delays anyway, but a book that has pictures and experiences that your child can directly identify with is even better.

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I try to make a new one every year so that we can expand on what she has learned. Here is a look at how easy it is to create and implement.

First Words

The first book was the most basic both in it’s design and the words that were in it. For this one all you need is

  • 4×6 photo album
  • Pictures of your child or objects that are familiar
  • Index cards to spell out the words you are encouraging the child to say

I chose words like hurt along with a picture of SJ with a boo boo

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or sleep with a pic of her sleeping.

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Trash is a word you may not find in your typical “first words” book, but trash (or some people say garbage) is a word we use everyday. That’s the beauty of customizing your own language book. You get to choose what to put in it.

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When we first made this book we weren’t even ready to start with saying words we were mostly working on the ling sounds like “Shhhhhh” for sleeping or “mmmm” for eating. Eventually she learned all the words and it was time to make a new, more advanced book!

First Sentences

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At this point she was learning the names of everyone in the family

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Along with the places we visited frequently (like the grocery store, museum, or school).

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When we started the book we kept it very simple and I had her repeat the words “Breakfast” “Lunch” “Dinner”. Eventually she started saying sentences and so we could expand to say “I see my teacher”. You can show a picture of a friend or a teacher, but it’s more meaningful to the child when they see their friend or their teacher.

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Early Reading and Abstract concepts

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She got this book for her birthday and she absolutely LOVES it. For this book I wanted to put in some sentences that she could read on her own because she is learning to read now. So for example “I love my family” is not expanding her speech because that is a sentence she has been able to say for a while now, but it’s simple enough to read. SJ loves to point to and sound out all the words.

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Then I included parts that are a little more difficult to read, but they are words and ideas that I hope she will start to have a better understanding of. For example, this page says “Sometimes I am sad, but I still obey mommy and daddy because that is a good choice. If I make a bad choice I say I am sorry. Mommy and daddy love me when I am happy or sad. They will always love me.”

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This can certainly apply to any child, not just special needs. My oldest son has recently requested that I make a book for him and I plan to do that next.

Now let’s look at the progression

If the first book says “School”

The next book says “I go to School at Ohio Valley Voices”

Then the next book says “I go to School at Ohio Valley Voices in Loveland Ohio”

It’s been so rewarding to watch SJ learn to communicate. I am really grateful that the idea for this was introduced to me and I hope it can be helpful to others.

Both of the hardback photo books shown here are from Shutterfly and I cannot recommend them enough. Right now there is a promotion going on for a free 8×8 photo book just like the one I’ve shown on here. The coupon code is ” SPRINGONIT “It expires tomorrow (March 22, 2016) so I know that’s not much time, but I will tell you that the Shutterfly website makes it so easy to throw these books together, so it doesn’t take much effort and they turn out beautifully. If you miss this offer you can catch the next one. Just Like Shutterfly on Facebook or sign up for their email to be in the know on the latest deals.

Your child will love seeing their pictures in print and you will love hearing them say all the new words. It’s a simple, but wonderful tool all the way around.

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The Big Six

SJ turned 6 years old on Friday. If you have spent any time around MessyMom.com then you probably know I like to party. SJ has had a Cupcake Party, Green Eggs and Ham Party, Donut Party, and Tea Party. However as I said in my blog post “How to avoid overboard kid parties” I don’t do theme parties every year and this is an off year. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have fun though! SJ still had a fabulous birthday and I still got to cherish all those gigantic smiles with FOUR teeth missing.

I started the day by sneaking in her room to hang some streamers in the door and throw some pink balloons on her bed. This might sound fancy, but trust me it was nothing you are going to see on pinterest. She woke up late so all 5 of us snuck into her room to surprise her (not hard to do with a deaf girl). We sang happy birthday as a family and she was beaming!

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Her birthday outfit was a shirt I got from a yard sale that had a number 5 on it, but I covered it with a pin that said “I am 6” and she also wore her cupcake headband from last year which was from a conisgnment shop.

No slaving over the oven this year. The cupcakes I sent with her to school were store bought and the 13×9 cake that we ate that night was all from a box.

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My parents and nieces and nephew came over for her “party”. It worked out great because they were going to come over anyway because their mom just had a baby and needs to rest. It made for a really great surprise birthday slumber party though.

Decorations $2

Birthday accessories $6

Birthday desserts $10

Birthday joy- Priceless

So as you can see it was definitley a low budget simple year and I know SJ still loved it just as much as the years I go all out.

The fun continued on Saturday since the family was still around to hang out and ride scooters.

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Then Sunday she graduated to the big girl class at children’s church and yesterday she had her first daddy/daughter date.

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That’s the last of it though. The birthday festivities are officially over until next year, which may or may not be a theme party. I’ll warn you though, if an idea sparks, there is no stopping me!

 

By | March 8th, 2016|Frugal Living, Motherhood, Parties, Uncategorized|5 Comments