Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cooper Turns 2!

IMG_3288 Here’s the definition of irony…I had always rolled my eyes upon seeing outlandish birthdays for one year olds, thinking, “Really? The kid doesn’t even know what’s going on!”, and yet last year? For my son’s first birthday? What did I do? Throw an outlandish birthday party with hoards of people! =) This isn’t an excuse for my behavior, but here was my thought. My son’s birthday is November 3rd, VERY close to Halloween. So, I thought, why not throw a Halloween/Birthday party all in one? I do love to throw a party, so it was mostly an excuse for my fun. Everyone had a blast (at least I think they did, and I hope they did!). So, this year, I couldn’t help myself yet again. Last year the them was pirates, this year….

Disney Cars!

I decided on the theme after my son discovered a love for Mater, without ever even having seen the movie! The 99 cent store had all kinds of party favors that were Disney Cars theme, so that got me going.

*Party Favors*

I purchased noise makers, frisbees, kazoos, crayons, and spinning tops that all had the Cars theme to put into the party favors. Then, I purchased little tool boxes to fill with all the goodies, as well as little tupperware containers to house homemade play-doh and created a Cars coloring book to accompany the crayons. Here’s a picture of the goods:IMG_3431And here are all the toolboxes, with cute labels attached ready for the kiddos to take home! IMG_3275


Normally, I rather enjoy doing my own “digital” work in creating the invitations. However, I found these on ebay and couldn’t resist the fantastic price and speedy time. They were done by Party Sprinkles. I blocked out the address and phone number, that’s why it looks blank.Ticket - address blocked I still couldn’t resist creating PART of the invite, so I included this little insert:Invite Insert - jpeg


After scouring the internet for some fun, cute ideas, here’s what we decided. Drinks for the party:IMG_3278

Courtesy of Les Schwab…I simply called up and asked if I could borrow old, used tires and return them within a few days. They even loaded them into my car for me! Ahh…=) This greeted the guests at the front door.IMG_3280 Food and cake tableIMG_3276 We set up the garage for the party because there was rain in the forecast and we had about 20 kids and 30 adults coming to our *ahem* 3-4 bedroom house? With some plastic backdrop sheets and a little creativity, I thought our garage looked pretty nifty.IMG_3281IMG_3282  Bless my mom…she helped me paint and create cardboard “cars” for each kid in attendance at the party. Again, I utilized free resources in the community. I called my local grocery store and asked if I could have around 20 “kid sized” cardboard boxes. No problem! Again, they even helped me load my car. We simply painted them, cut a hole in the top (many of which already had one because they were fruit boxes), glued black paper plates on for wheels, glued race car numbers on the side, and created shoulder straps using strips from a tablecloth roll. That way, it didn’t hurt the kids hanging on their delicate little shoulders. Not only did the kids have a BLAST with them, but I thought they looked adorable against the race car fan backdrop:IMG_3283My husband thought I was crazy at first for taking on this next “project”, but boy was it worth it! He helped me by cutting out the shape of Lightning Mcqueen from a sheet of plywood. I painted Mcqueen, in addition to using modge podge to affix some details onto the car body, i.e. bumper stickers, the Rust-eze logo, eyes, etc. The goal was for the kids to be able to experience the role of a pit crew. They could change the tires (they sat on screws affixed with nuts the kids could put on and off), gas it up (we installed a gas tank, i.e. a snack protector for plastic bags I found at Michael’s), and wash/wax him using little tools purchased from the Dollar Tree store (stowed away in the black plastic tub). Look at how stunning it is!IMG_3286Lastly, I set up a card table with some of the activities and door prizes.  Above it was a Happy 2nd Birthday poster with Cooper’s picture on it.IMG_3284


**Door Prizes: The guests were asked to bring the ticket included in their invitation to include in a raffle for a door prize. I had two prizes to hand out for this, a Cars painting book, and a collection of Cars items, including bubbles and a tambourine. We also did a candy jar guess with hot tamales. Here are the jars and wrapped door prizes pictured below:IMG_3285 **Make Your Own License Plate:

I purchased fun foam from Michael’s so the kids could assemble their own license plates for the cardboard cars. They glued a white piece onto a colored sticker piece, then glued the bordered California (I printed them on the computer), and stuck sticky foam letters and stickers to the license plate. Then, they got to choose their car and “personalize” it. Here are some of the finalized masterpieces:IMG_3334  **Pit Crew: Performing all the previously mentioned “pit crew” activities with the plywood Lightning McQueen. Here are the children having a ball! It was definitely top two of the activities for the party!IMG_3294 76978_1631072893496_1136824375_1793337_3341859_nIMG_3328 **Tire Toss: I used two tires acquired from Les Schwab for a tire toss, using little bean bags. I think because this game was located ‘off the beaten path’ so to speak, it didn’t get a whole lot of attention, but the few that did, enjoyed it.IMG_3330IMG_3344 **Piston Cup Race: Last, but definitely not least, this was by far the favorite, perhaps tied with the Pit Crew performance, all the kids lined up outside for a “race” around half the block. We had two adults stand to block any cars coming down the street and the kids did 2-3 laps (depending on their age). We had multiple adults around holding black and white checkered flags. The kids just had a blast running around with their cars. Here are some photos: IMG_3305IMG_3307 croppedIMG_3308IMG_3310   IMG_3337 

 *Mater Cake*

How could I not include one of the highlight’s of my son’s birthday? My good friend, Kellie Cabral, created a Mater cake for Cooper’s party (If you live in the Folsom/Sacramento area and want a cake, e-mail me and I’ll find out how much she charges for you!). I humbly assisted with all the fun stuff after she baked and created the cake form. All day, Cooper kept walking up, pointing and saying, “Eat Mater cake?” Cooper was more of a risk than our 75 lb. dog was to the cake! Ha! The look on his face when we sang Happy Birthday to him says it all!


IMG_3318 Here are pictures of the beautiful cake itself:IMG_3272IMG_3271IMG_3273   IMG_3274

*The After Party*

To top it all off…we invited the kids back for Cooper’s ACTUAL birthday to watch the newly released Mater’s Tall Tales (which are hilarious by the way). The thought was to have a “drive-in” where the kids sat in their cardboard cars to watch. Yeah, kids are a little squirmy, and the cars were a little small. But they still loved the cartoons and cupcakes!IMG_3395 IMG_3399 IMG_3400 Hooray for a successful, outstanding second birthday! Happy Birthday my little lovebug, Cooper. =)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Halloween Parade - Senior Home

IMG_3231 A friend of mine gathered together a group of friends and our children to do a Halloween parade through a senior home, to help brighten their day. We ended up having about 20 kids in total, but half that would’ve been just as enjoyable! She created sweet handmade cards for the kids to hand out, and one of the managers had little treat bags for the kids to hand out as well. Sorry for the blurry factor, but here’s Cooper saying hello to one of the ladies:IMG_3226 What a great way to acclimate your child to different environments, as well as teach them to love others. It warmed my heart to see Cooper walk up to multiple seniors, hand them a bag, and smile saying, “Happy Halloween!” as best as an almost 2 year old can. =) What a treat for these folks! We also had the children sing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” for them. Here they are doing the hand motions:IMG_3228 What a special outing with friends! Do you have a home in your area that you could brighten with a visit? Gather some of your friends and do something similar for the upcoming Christmas season. You could sing a Christmas carol and hand out sweet Christmas cards. Happy Holidays!IMG_3227

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Apple Hill

This was our second year visiting Apple Hill. I must admit, we’re still determining what we enjoy about this trip as a family. Meaning, where’s the best place to visit, and what do we enjoy doing there.

This year, we visited High Hill and Able Acres. We tried something new at High Hill, Ryan and Cooper gave fishing a go. You can rent a pole and purchase bait here, and the pond is LOADED with fish! While it was a fun, new experience, it kept Cooper’s interest all of about 4 minutes. But, it was fun to watch daddy catch something (until it broke off the line).

Here’s Cooper purchasing his bait:IMG_3167 And learning how to cast the line with Daddy:IMG_3170 IMG_3175And here he is investigating, following the short attention span acquired for actual “fishing”:IMG_3178Check out all the fish in the pond!IMG_3181   And, an attempt at a family shot:IMG_3187 He did very much enjoy his pony ride here at High Hill, I mean seriously, check out this string of smiles:IMG_3193IMG_3194 IMG_3196 IMG_3197 I also really enjoy the apple donuts here, but we waited to see what Able Acres had to offer this year.

Able Acres was also nice, the scenery was not quite as picturesque, but nice nonetheless. Both places have quaint shopping booths set up if you are into that kind of thing. Here are a few fun pictures we captured at Able Acres, we also enjoyed a delicious pulled BBQ sandwich for lunch. Yum, yum!IMG_3203 IMG_3205 Cooper enjoyed crawling all around the sea of pumpkins!IMG_3209 I know many families visit this fun area during the fall, what is your family tradition up at Apple Hill?