We are taking a roadtrip to Philadelphia, PA in a couple weeks, which will include spending a couple days at the Sesame Place theme park. I made the mistake of telling the kids about the trip as soon as I booked our hotel. Ever since, they keep asking "are we going to see Elmo today?!" So.....I threw together a paper chain countdown using construction paper, craft glue, a 2 inch scallop punch, sharpie marker, googly eyes and scissors. Here is the finished product:
Boo...Printer was out of ink so my signs aren't very pretty!
Ashlyn Grace's VP shunt is 3 years old! Is it silly celebrating the birthday of an inanimate object? Not at all! After all, for a child with hydrocephalus, this medical device, which drains excess fluid off of the brain, is a matter of life and death. Ashlyn is an energenic, normally developing 3 year old diva thanks to her shunt. Many hydro kids are not as lucky to have such a reliable shunt and require frequent revisions and replacements. I am blessed that we have gone 3 years with no major problems and pray for many more surgery-free years!
We spent Ashlyn's "shunt-a-versary" at the Strong National Museum of Play, our favorite place in Rochester!! We had a blast as usual, and I was overjoyed to be able to watch Ashlyn playing like any other normal, happy, healthy 3 year old. Thank you VP shunt! You rock and that excess CSF doesn't stand a chance against you. Happy birthday!!
Ashlyn and Daddy giving hula hooping a whirl!
The gang hanging out at Sesame Street.
Papa teaching Ashlyn how to play the archaic video games from back in "his day".
My 3 year old is a genius...she can play a mean game of chess!
(Of course, by chess, I mean just randomly moving pieces around with a intense look on your face.)
Remember when you were applying for colleges and how exciting it was to get that big envelope in the mail? Well, as a parent, it is just as exciting and nervewrecking getting a Pre-K acceptance letter in the mail!
Braeden has a spot in Pre-K for the Fall!
Upon opening, we discovered Braeden will be attending a Pre-K at a local elementary school that is about 5 minutes from our home in the afternoons. This will work out great! I can drop B off at school, make a quick stop at the Wegmans across the street if we need any groceries and get home in time to put the girls down for their afternoon naps.
I am reluctant about going the public school route, but I have decided to use our Pre-K experiences as a way to test drive the public school district. If we are not satisfied, we will strongly consider going the Catholic school route instead.
I spray painted the ceramic owl and birds that I found at Michaels for $2.50. The birdhouses were also found at Michaels for $1, which I painted, stuffed with shredded paper and added a small adhesive bird decal to. They were placed on spray painted candle sticks purchased at the Dollar Tree.
The Party Bags
These party bags were crazy easy to make, and I think they are freaking adorable! Start with a plain gift bag. I used a 2" scallop punch to cut out white cardstock, and then I glued a blue sparkly foam circle in the middle (in hindsight, I wish I used a small circle punch for the eyes so they would be perfectly round and even). I cut triangles (free handed it) out of orange sparkly foam sheets for the nose. Attach two eyes and a nose to each bag....and ta da! Instant owl goodie bag!
Party favors included: miracle bubbles (from Target; $5 for 12); bird whistle (from Toys R Us for $0.50 each); mini paint kit (from Toys R Us for $0.50 each); paintable bird (from JoAnns for $0.25); molding clay (from Toys R Us for $0.50each)
I admit that I can be a bit of an overzealous party planner, and when I have a vision, I run with it! For Ashlyn and Maddyn's joint Bird and Owl themed birthday party, I decided I needed to incorporate birdhouses in some way. I took a stroll through Michaels and lo and behold, there are paintable birdhouses for $1! What a perfect arts and craft activity!
(All supplies to paint birdhouses can be found at Michaels)
I found these adorable paintable masks at Joann's for $1 each.
I painted them beforehand, and viola, perfect photo prop for a bird themed party!
To the right, you can see a basket filled with supplies to make sand art necklaces.
The birthday girl painting a birdie!
This picture is classic Ashlyn...she is always such a hoot!
Pretty girl wearing her sand art necklace she made at the arts and crafts table.
Second party outfit!
Yup, we anticipated her gorgeous party dress getting paint on it and were prepared. Great news: the crayola paint is definitely washable, and her dresses came clean in the wash!
Painting a birdhouse
Braeden loved making the sand art necklaces.
He made one for various family members and friends!
I didn't realize that the sandart kids I purchased at Michaels did not include strings to make them into necklaces, but we improvised and used leftover ribbon from the party decorations. I think they turned out super cute!
The arts and crafts table
The arts and crafts table
Suffice to say, the arts and crafts table was a hit with the kids and adults alike!
Braeden and Ashlyn's first experience bowling did not disappoint!
She looks so tiny compared to that big ball!
Braeden waiting for his first turn at bowling EVER!
Daddy is a great football coach, and now I can say he also makes an awesome bowling coach!
The ball was too heavy for Ashlyn so we used this handy contraption!
Braeden quickly got the hang of bowling, and he couldn't wait for another turn.
There was a mini meltdown in true 3 year old fashion.
The Final Standings!
Ashlyn definitely had beginner's luck with a winning score of 106! Triple digits?! I can count on one hand the number of times I have actually bowled over 100! It cracks me up that Chris came in last because he is always super competitive, but I will add that he and I allowed the kids to bowl our frames halfway through so the scores are not reflective of his true bowling skills.
I surprised the kiddos with Valentine's mailboxes filled with goodies this year! The mailboxes were found at the Target Dollar Spot, which I balanced on top of the candlesticks I found at the Dollar Tree. The hearts and letters I used to decorate the boxes were found in my usually neglected bin of scrapbook supplies. That's some easy math...grand total of $12 to make these adorable mailboxes! Cheap, easy and oh so cute!
Notice there are 6....yes I even included one for Ozzie, our cat!
Today's craft involved dying penne pasta with food coloring and stringing necklaces. We decided to be festive and used black and orange for Halloween. Once the pasta was dry, the kids counted out 13 noodles and strung them on black yarn (we found using a bobby pin or twist tie is a safe alternative to using a needle). The kids had fun, and it was an educational craft as the kids helped identify colors and count.