Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Wonder Woman's 3rd birthday

This is one of my favorite times of the year!! I love birthday parties! I never thought I would enjoy it as much as I do, but I absolutely love planning my kids parties. This year I asked my daughter what kind of party she wanted and she said, without skipping a beat, "Wonder Woman!" She is her father's child after all. So another super hero party was done and it was WONDERful! Lets start with the amazing cupcakes we did this year. 

As always, we order from my amazing sister in law! www.arayofcakes.com. She does such a great job every time!

And what Wonder Woman little girl could have a party without a tiara just for her. This was her cupcake!

I didn't have a cupcake stand and I couldn't find one that fit my needs, so I got creative. I went to the dollar store, bought a small vase, and then decorated a piece of paper that I cut to fit inside! And ta-da!! A make-shift cupcake stand to display the birthday girls cupcake!

My sister in law, aside from her delicious cakes and cupcakes, also makes cake balls! And let me tell you, they are my favorite! She has many flavors and flavors of the month. The mint chocolate chip and the chocolate chip cookie dough are a couple of my all time fave's!

And because I am a sucker for themes, I had to have POPcorn. You know like in the old comic cartoons where it says, "POW" or "KABOOM". So we had "POP"corn. I know...I'm so clever, right?

I needed to have something else sweet for people to snack on, so I decided to make my homemade sugar cookies! (Recipe at the bottom of this blog). These are so delicious and the perfect cookie because they keep their shape when you use cookie cutters. I made red, white and blue star cookies with sprinkles on the blue and the white ones. 

And since I had the star cookie cutter out, why not cut the watermelon I had into star shapes as well? 

For favors, I wrapped some of the cookies I had up with a tag that said, "Thank you for coming! I hope you had a WONDERful time!" I do love my themes. 

Throw a veggie platter at the end of the table and this was her table! Popcorn, cookies, cake balls, watermelon and veggies with dip! And cupcakes to finish off this beautiful day at the park. 

I wasn't sure if it was going to rain or not, but it turned out to have sunshine and warmth so the kids to go run and play at the park. I was so proud of my little 3 year old! I love that amongst every theme she could have picked, she wanted something different and fun! O is coming into her own. She has a vibrant personality, is independent, funny, charming, beautiful and has the best curls around! Happy birthday, Wonder Girl! I love having you in my life!

Sugar Cookies (I make these every Christmas because they are great for cookie cutters!)

2 sticks softened butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350

Beat the butter with granulated sugar until well combined and creamy. Then, with the mixer on low, add the confectioners sugar until incorporated. Turn the mixer on high and beat until fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks and the vanilla. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients a cup at a time until its all mixed well. Chill the dough for 30 minutes. 

Use a tablespoon to get dough and roll into balls then place on a baking sheet. Flatten them down some. Sprinkle with sugar or sprinkles prior to baking. Or, flour a surface, roll dough into a flat sheet about 1/4 inch thick. Cut shapes out and place on cookie sheet. Depending on size, bake 12-15 minutes until slightly golden. 

Sunday, November 8, 2015


Manners are important. They are important for kids to learn, important for us to remember and important for general behavior in society. I have seen a great decline in manners over the years and it breaks my heart! Kids are not as respectful and kind, and parents seem to make more and more excuses for their kids to make it ok that they aren't. Its not ok in our house and my kids will learn that you have to respect authority in public and be kind to others even if you don't agree, like it or think others deserve it.

Since my son was 2 years old, we started saying that the one thing we are always is respectful and kind. We taught him to say no thank you if he didn't want to do something and imprinted in him the importance of always saying thank you and your welcome. (keep in mind, just because he says no thank you, doesn't always get him out of doing something. Sometimes, they have to do it even though they were nice about saying no.) Our kids have opinions about people, activities and things, just as every other kid does. My husband and I were to a point where we were trying to figure out, how do you make them be respectful if the other person is in the wrong or if they don't want to participate? For instance, X had an issue with people he didn't see often, like relatives from out of town. When they would come to visit, we would say, "go hug so and so" and he would scream and cry about it. I thought, why are we making him hug everyone? He's more of an introvert, and it takes him time to get used to people. By the end of the evening, he would hug everyone, gladly!! So how do we, as parents, teach our kids different options to these scenarios? We decided, ok, you don't have to hug them if you don't want to, BUT you will be respectful and kind in the process. So we taught him to politely say, no thank you. We want our kids to have opinions and we want them to be able to express themselves thats in line with their personalities, but we don't want them to be rude!

I could not be more proud of my kids and the progress that we've made in this. We still have instances where we are sad or upset about something, which is completely normal, healthy and part of growing up. However, within feeling all the emotions we have in those circumstances, we need to be polite. We say no thank you or express our feelings without yelling, crying or being upset. We aren't always perfect and as our 4 year old is coming into his 5's, he has learned to have an attitude and say things like, "I'm frustrated" or "I'm mad at so and so because..." This weekend he got mad at his grandma because she wouldn't let him have dessert until he finished his dinner even though I had given him permission. There was miscommunication and he was quite upset and mad at his grandma. After we told him to be kind, use his words and talk to her about it, he did. And he managed to tell her how he felt about it, in a kind, but firm tone; and they were able to work it out. I was proud of him because there are times that even I don't want to calmly discuss things.

And then there's my wonderful husband who has started to teach our son what being a gentleman is. He holds the doors for us now and lets his sister and I go first. My husband felt it was super important to teach him how to be a gentleman now. He also wants to teach his daughter how a gentleman should treat her, so that they both grow to know how to treat others better, and how they should expect to be treated. I want my daughter to know that you are worth something! And a man needs to treat you that way. And I want my son to grow up knowing he is worth something. That as he treats women with respect, he deserves to be treated like the man he is worth.

All of this is so important; and it all starts now at this young age. Our children need to learn to respect us, even when they're mad at us. They need to know how to treat policeman, teachers, aunts, uncles, grandparents even if they don't like the rules. They will be better people for it. They will treat others well and in turn, we hope that they get the respect and the kindness they deserve. I know that as they grow and get older, reach teen years and adulthood, that this method will change as our kids develop who they are. But I hope, that my husband and I, can at least get the foundation instilled in them to treat others the way you want to be treated, to be respectful and kind even in hard times, and to stand up for yourself in a healthy way when you need to. We are constantly learning too and we will never stop trying to be the best parents and people we can be. I hope that we can always be examples for them and as a result, they grow up to be people in this world that make a difference, no matter how big or small. And I feel like all this starts with a child who has manners.