Grandad’s 80th Birthday


My grandfather just celebrated his 80th bday. We ditched school to go have breakfast with him followed by cake of course. My mom baked a cake, but hadn’t decorated it, so we raided the pantry and found some random candy for decoration. My five year old had a great time and the final effect was personal and masterful, and my grandfather loved it!


Flower Birthday


IMG_0528My daughter wanted a simple “FLOWER” theme for her birthday party this year. I found directions for tissue paper flowers and some other fun stuff and had a great time decorating. My absolute favorite thing was our pin the tail game. I drew a basic flower picture and then let my daughter do the coloring. I cut out some bees from yellow paper and we put tape on the back. It worked perfectly and was super personalized!

I found the idea of cutting pool noodles and stringing them as a banner  – it worked great!


IMG_0524The tissue paper flowers were very easy and were big decorations – very cost effective! I put them together while my daughter played in the backyard. They were a bit time-consuming.

IMG_0409And of course, we had cake. Well, cupcakes. I made basic cupcakes, then used smashed oreos on top. I found flower decorations at michaels and glued them to toothpicks, then stuck a few worms around the base. Super easy.

Happy Birthday to Me


I turned 30 this week. We’d all been feeling so sick we just weren’t up for really planning anything, so we weren’t going to do anything big at all. We finally started feeling better by Tuesday, so we decided at the very last minute to invite anyone over who happened to be free. We had a couple close friends from church come over for dinner and wine and had a fantastic evening. Even though my very best friends couldn’t be there, I couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate turning 30.

Oh, and my husband got me a real phone. I had a lovely flip phone, which was totally fine with me, but was causing a bit of a problem with me being able to use instagram or square for my business. Now with my new fancy phone, I can do all sorts of things – like take selfies (ha, yeah, right.)

Air’s Birthday


Tuesday was one of our student’s birthdays. Somehow we managed to get a student with a birthday both last year as well as this year (and we love it!). Last year we threw Nancy a birthday party with all the students – complete with cake, presents, pin the tail on the donkey, and a pinata. She cried and told us she’d never EVER had a birthday party before.


Not Air – Another student

This year the director of the program wanted to do a birthday party with the students during class time, so we gave Air the choice to do something with family (us) or with her friends. She decided to stick with family. So – on my crazy Tuesday – I drove my daughter to my friend’s VBS, then drove back home, gathered some supplies, then ran to church (where the Chinese students have their classes).  I met the teacher and she and I spent an hour decorating the gym for the party. Air walked in with the other students to her surprise party and my daughter putting a crown on her head. We sang happy birthday, played basketball themed games (she named herself Air after Air Jordan), and hit the pinata. She was incredibly happy.

Birthday Party

From there, I drove my 3 girls (my daughter, Air and April) to meet my husband for dinner at Chili’s. After dinner, the waiters came and sang Happy Birthday to Air, and she was so surprised and a bit embarrassed. Many of the patrons of the restaurant clapped – it was wonderful!

Go cartsAfter dinner we drove to Boomers. We had found a great discount through groupon for unlimited rides/miniature golf, so we played for a few hours until they closed. The girls – including my 4 year old – LOVED the speedway. They all went one time, then we played miniature golf, which does not exist in China. They were pretty good and had a great time. Air kept saying she had a wonderful day – that it was one of the best days of her life. I am so glad that we got to experience such a special time with her!     IMG_3706IMG_3729




Jake and the Neverland Pirate Party

My Daughter playing pirate

My Daughter playing pirate

For my daughter’s 4th birthday she really wanted a Jake party. Actually, we gave her a choice: Minnie, princesses, My Little Pony, or Jake (my husband tried to offer Dora, Handy Manny or Diego, but how do you decorate for those without just buying the licensed stuff? No thanks!)

Anyway, she chose Jake, and I was super excited! I love pirate stuff! I headed to pinterest to get some ideas – check out my pirate party board here. I didn’t use all the ideas I found because there were just too many! Some of the stuff I made took a little figuring since I found the idea, but not the how-to, so I’ll be adding that (as I add my back-dated posts), but all that work was totally worth it. Not only did I decorate the outside, I made a few decorations for the inside tables and counters – not that people were hanging out there, but guests had to pass those areas to get to the backyard. Here are some of my favorite photos from her party:

Find the Buried Treasure

My favorite part was playing Find the Treasure. My daughter has a sandbox, so I bought a ton of gold doubloons here, as well as necklaces, bracelets, bouncy balls, and some sea creature squirter toys at the dollar store, then buried them. I gave the kids each a bag, then said, “Okay, find a necklace. Find a bracelet. Find a ball. Find a sea creature. Find 5 gold doubloons. Okay, now whatever else you find is yours!” And then they went crazy. They got to keep whatever they found as their party favors. Less that $15 to get a really fun game and really fun favors for a ton of kids.

Ring the hook (more details in another post to come) and the food station (before food) with a “Make Yer Own Treasure” station below for the kids.

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Ship for play and photos. I used a tri-fold presentation board from Michaels – plus a bunch of props, dress-up and Halloween costumes. Plus the walk the plank – made from a long beam and a couple extra pieces of wood.

Dress up   walk the plank

The main characters – drawn on white poster board. (Captain Hook is in the first picture.)

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Her cake – a bunch of cupcakes with blue and chocolate frosting. The chocolate has smashed Oreo crumbs. Super easy to make. Also, signs in the front yard. Made from scrap wood I had laying around.

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The Pirate flag was going to fly, but we tied it between shade that was already up to provide a bit more shade. Sold here. Plus the Pirate Banner – awesome because it was 100 feet! It covered our whole backyard for less than $7. Sold here.

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And a bunch of the random decorations we had lying around that I cobbled together into pirate-y atmosphere.

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This was one of the most fun parties we’ve ever had – for both kids and adults! 🙂