Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I Need A LOT of Prayers

Let me set the scene for you...

It's about 9 p.m.ish and I have just laid Ethan in his crib and Mason and Brady in their beds.

I do my normal evening routine. I take a hot bath to enjoy a moment of peace and quiet and then make sure that everyone is where they were before my "mommy time."

Mason is fast asleep. Ethan is fast asleep.

Brady.... Is not in his bed.

Do you know WHERE Brady is?????

Brady is sitting in the recliner.

Freshly baked cookies (that WERE on the counter to cool) in one hand.

And the remote in the other hand.

And what channel is the tv on......

The ordering page for the "naughty channels."

Brady Parker is sitting in the recliner eating cookies that he has stolen off of the counter while attempting to order dirty movies On Demand.

This kid is going to boarding school as soon as he hits puberty. Possible, sooner.

Thank you JESUS for the error message requesting that he call to order the channel.

Friday, November 25, 2011

We Gobbled, We Wobbled... Now We Rest!

In our house, Black Friday is not "Black Friday."

In our house, today is exactly what it is... The day after Thanksgiving. 

We relax, we watch movies, we bake, we decorate, and we recover from having to be moved away from the table by wheelbarrow. 

Yesterday was picture perfect! The weather was gorgeous, the food was finger licking, and the company was simply spectacular. 

I whipped up my homemade Martha Stewart Mac N' Cheese and folks.... It was wonderful. 

That Martha, she sure does know what she is doing. 

Then it was off to my grandmother's house.

Now, most people get all fancy on Thanksgiving. 

Tablecloths, fine china, the whole family gathered around a carefully decorated table...


Our Thanksgiving is TEN times better than that. 

Massive amounts of food laid out buffet style for the masses. 

Lots of yummy food, lots of great company, and a whole lot of love. 

My mother and I

What a wonderful day!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a SAFE Black Friday! 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Oh, How I Love This Time of Year!

Yes, I broke down and put up the majority of our Christmas stuff... 

But boy do I love walking into our living room to the soft glow of the Christmas tree lights. 

(Please ignore my droopy art mesh. One of my little Georges of the Jungle latched onto it like it was some type of connecting vine. 

Also... I tried out a new cookie recipe tonight!!!!

Dark Chocolate Chip Comfort Cookies are officially my new favorite cookie.

They're gooey. And chocolatey. And have just a teeny tiny hint of peanut butter flavoring....

They are seriously amazing.

I stumbled across the recipe on one of my FAVORITE websites, She always has super fantastic ideas/recipes and when I saw this one.... I KNEW we were meant to partake in some recipe/baker alone time (which may be described, somewhat, as me baking them and then sitting in the recliner eating them while the boys are asleep and well after I should be in bed even though I originally baked them to take to Thanksgiving tomorrow.... I should still have enough to take. I hope.). 

The cookies are seriously good. Just the right amount of gooeyness while still being a good solid cookie. 

And the chocolate.... 

You MUST give them a try. They are extremely easy to whip up and don't require any fancy ingredients. In fact, you should have most of them around! 

Give them a try. If you love chocolate, such as myself, you will LOVE them.

Now I am off to have just ONE more cookie and then off to bed! I've got an early morning whipping up a homemade mac n' cheese recipe from my Martha Stewart holiday book I scored at the GW a few weeks ago. 

Keep your fingers crossed that the M&C turns out as well as the cookies! 


Christmas Past

Christmas time is near again.

And as always I get to thinking, there is no Christmas quite like a Christmas with children.

Having my boys makes Christmas a very unique experience.

The letters to Santa.

The baking of the cookies.

The repeatedly replacing ornaments that have found themselves used for pitching practice onto our kitchen floor....

Christmas with children is... Well, magical.

So today, in preparation for the approaching holidays... A little of OUR Christmas Past.

Christmas 2009

Loving on his brother, which, oddly enough, sometimes ends up looking like him strangling him.

Mason with his letter to Santa... I wrote exactly what he said, so it ended up pretty funny. If you look closely you will notice that in the middle of the letter he started singing a song he was making up as he went... It all made it into the letter.

How precious was he!

And Christmas 2010

Ethan was only one month old in this shot so he could care less, Mason busted out his catalog modeling shoot pose, and Brady..... As you can see he was not having it. AT ALL. I'm hoping that this year goes a little better than last...

And our little family at Christmas Eve brunch at my mother's house.

And my sweet baby boys all snug in their jammies. I cannot believe how big they are getting!

I am so excited for Christmas this year. Mason is old enough to actually write his letter to Santa himself, Brady s big enough to enjoy the holidays even more so that last year, and Ethan actually knows (partially) what is going on!

But until then....

HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE! I hope you all have a safe and wonderful holiday and that your crazy relatives are magically not so crazy tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Parties You Can't Miss!

Today I have linked up our Vintage Train Bash with some pretty awesome parties!

These ladies are SO talented, so be sure to check out some of their work after checking out the work of some pretty talented party guests!

Don't miss out!

Everyone have a fantastic day!

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Little Party Decor/Food Info

With this party, I really wanted a homemade feel. 

To start, I had Mason paint us a sign directing the party goers to the birthday fun. The wood is from an old pallet (pallet upcycle! free wood!) and the paint I already had on hand so this party staple was a total free bee and very cute! I had multiple compliments on it. Which, who wouldn't love it! It was done by my own little Picasso/birthday boy!

Also, in this same shot, the pennant banners hanging on either side of the railing. The fabric was all scored at a local thrift store for a dollar. I literally paid ONE DOLLAR. I did a rough cut of the pennants, attached them to a piece of twine using alternating pieces of scrap to tie the ends, and these babies hung out down the walkway greeting our incoming guests.

Total cost for these cute additions- $3. (In all actuality, less than that since I still have a lot of twine/scrap fabric left)

Next up! CUPCAKES! Who doesn't love cupcakes! I decided on mini-cupcakes simply because they are precious. Mini things usually are... Case in point, my boys! Mini people are especially cute.

I decided on one classic cupcake and one no so run of the mill cupcake.

For our classic cupcake I did a yellow cake with chocolate frosting. Simple, but loved by kids and adults alike.

For our not so average cupcake, I did a chocolate cake with peanut butter cream cheese frosting that I found here on Annie's Eats.


I am not usually a frosting kind of gal, but this frosting is amazing. I can literally eat it right out of the bowl. 

 To finish them off I added some cute little toppers. Some I made using the train silhouette on my Carnival Cricut cartridge and some left over card stock from the invitations and for the others I tied small scraps of the $1 thrifted fabric onto the tops of toothpicks. (I got A LOT of use from that fabric! That dollar was seriously stretched.)

The mason jars were all collected from the same thrift store and also the GW.

The white toolbox was found at (once again) the same thrift store for .50. She was green and rusted to high heaven. I cleaned her up and gave her a shot of Krylon spray paint in Almond. Afterwards, I scuffed her up to get her back to looking old and used and she fit in quite nicely as a super "manly" cupcake stand.

The red lantern has been in my mom's possession for years. Borrowing= Free Decor!

All of the picture frames were purchased at the Dollar Tree. Once again, shot them with some Krylon spray paint in Almond and scuffed them up. Good thing about them... You can never have too many picture frames so the $5 I spent on frames will get a whole heck of a lot more use than just the party.

My cake (that I decorated all by my little lonesome!) was made using white cake mix and butter creme using the good old fashioned unsalted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk recipe. The black train silhouette was done using probably the best thing ever invented, (for folks like me who want clean lines, but don't have the cake decorating skill) sugar sheets! I cut the shape out of card stock using the same Cricut cartridge, traced it onto the sugar sheet, and cut it using some regular old scissors.

Result- A cake that looks like I know what i am doing without me actually knowing what I am doing. Win!

The cake stands...

2 chargers from the dollar section of Target- $2
2 candlesticks from the trusty thrift store- $1
Glue- On hand
Krylon's Almond spray paint- On hand

After cleaning and gluing together the chargers and candle sticks, I sprayed them with the Krylon and distressed them.

Result- Super cute, inexpensive cake plates that will definitely get a lot of use. I love them!

Another Dollar Tree frame ($1), a chipboard letter from Hobby Lobby ($2), Target dollar section train whistle ($1 and personalized by me for free!), and a lantern (once again) from the trusty old thrift store ($.25).

The window was given to me by my aunt and uncle (FREE!) and the drink jugs I have had for about 2 years now (originally bought at Target for $25 a pop, but I have gotten SO much use out of them).

The stands under the drink jugs were originally meant to be a candle holder and a candy dish. They worked perfectly for what I needed them for. Together they were $1 and after some spray paint they fit in beautifully. I also managed to score the gingham seen here along with the gingham on the cake table for $3 on clearance. Score!

Once again with the scrap fabric! (I told you that I got a lot of use out of it!)

There are a few things I would have done differently, but overall I was very pleased. Our real expense came from the venue and the entertainment, which isn't too terribly bad. ESPECIALLY considering that it was a double birthday party!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic Monday! I know I am!Being back at work is like a vacation compared to our crazy weekend!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Shenanigans

Oh what a crazy weekend. 

Thursday night I was up until 2 a.m. baking cakes to be decorated on Friday.

Friday I ran around like a mad woman buying the rest of the food and supplies for the party.

Friday evening I baked and dipped and decorated cakes until 9 p.m. when my husband doubled over in pain and informed me that we needed to take a trip to the ER. 


Luckily I had JUST finished the last of the baking/dipping/decorating, so I threw on something not covered in chocolate and icing and we headed out. 

Turns out he has a 6mm kidney stone hanging out in his bladder. He still hasn't passed it and we were informed that there is no telling when he will, but IF he is able to (because apparently 5mm is the cutoff as far as the "you can definitely pass it on your own" kidney stones go)  it will be EXTREMELY painful. 

He is definitely not looking forward to that moment and neither am I. Him more so than me of course. 

Luckily his pain subsided and we ended up home around 1:30a.m.. 

Saturday, up bright and early! It was party day! 

The party went off without a hitch. (Thank you Lord)

And today... 

Today has been a whole lot of nothing. 

I've cleaned up from the party overflow and we have sat. We have watched movies. And we have snacked.

And in between...


I hope that everyone had a fantastic weekend! I, for one, can say that although hectic, ours was wonderful. 

I am, however, looking forward to work tomorrow! 

Vintage Train Party, Take 1

Yesterday was the day! 

Months of planning. Months of crafting/shopping. Days of baking. 

Every. Single. Second. was worth it.

The party turned out beautifully and everyone had a blast. 

Now... On to the meat and potatoes! The pictures! 

The food table. Notice it looks a little sparse.... Well, we definitely did not manage to LOSE a bag with some of the stuff in it only to get home and find out that my husband never took it out of his truck. Nice. It worked out though, so no worries. We had chicken nuggets and tater tots for the little ones and chili for the adults. (I know that I get so sick of the same old party food. Chili was a nice alternative for the adults that could be made in a large batch for a reasonable price)

Mini cupcakes in chocolate with peanut butter frosting and good old fashioned yellow cake with chocolate frosting. And s'mores on sticks of course. 

The middles of the tables each had a mason jar with either s'mores on sticks or chocolate dipped pretzel rods (yum) and a wooden train weighting down balloons. 

These little wooden trains came from the dollar section at Target. The red, yellow, and blue didn't really go with the color scheme so I painted them, added the M&E stamp used for the whistles, and then distressed them.

The cake table

I actually made the cakes myself and I am EXTREMELY proud of that. I am not a cake decorator by any means, but I can honestly say that my boys have NEVER had a store bought cake for their birthdays and I would like to keep it that way. 

Mason's side of the cake table. That is my favorite picture of him from the day I took his birthday pictures. 

Part of Ethan's side of the cake table. 

The drink table. 

The drink table, complete with my old window w/ banner that I put together last week. It was perfect! 

The intro to the "Dining Car." This sat at the beginning of the food table. Thanks to my grandmother for allowing me to use one of her old suitcases and thanks to the Dollar Tree for some super cheap plates and napkins! 

Paper doilies folded over a piece of twine with pictures of one of the birthday boys attached with a clothespin. Of course, I had another one with pictures of Mason on it, but I completely forgot to get a picture of it. 

The entrance to the depot. The pennant banners were made with thrift store fabric, twine, and burlap. Cost me next to nothing and worked PERFECTLY! Loved how they turned out!

The birthday sign that Mason painted all by himself! It was so cute! He did such a fantastic job. 

Daddy and one of the birthday boys! (Notice them making the same face.... My little Twinkies)

The gift table. (They got SO much stuff..... Some of it may make it into Santa's bag. It is crazy how much stuff they ended up with!)

My Brady Bean enjoying his brothers' party. He told everyone that this was his train party and we were worried that he may not handle the gift time very well, but he got himself a cupcake and he didn't care. (Plus since it was all coming home, he knew he would get to enjoy everything.)

Mason on his gift from his Pappy. A Green machine.

No, he is not holding up one finger as in a "I'm number 1." He is holding up a small rat pencil topper from Halloween that he likes to take with him everywhere for some reason. 

Daddy and Ethan during the birthday song. 

Cake time! 

Yes, Mason got his own cake too. 

After cake. 

The aftermath.


Mommy and Ethan

My husband and I. 

Ethan, Paw Paw, Brady, and Brysen taking a spin on the train. 

Brysen sporting some of his goody bag goodies. Silly glasses and mustaches have nothing to do with trains, but when I spotted them at the party store, I couldn't pass them up and the kids looked SO cute!

Daddy and Brady Choo Chooing the day away. 

It was SUCH a gorgeous fall day. Perfect for a party!

The months spent planning, the money spent, the anxiety, the baking/crafting/running around like a mad man....

Seeing all of the little smile covered faces.... It was all worth it. 

Thank you for taking a peak at our special day. 

Time to start planning for the next one! Only 6 months until Brady turns 3!