So our story begins over 11 years ago in April of 2000 on the beach in Florida! When I went on a weekend getaway w/ my girlfriends little did I know I would be meeting my future husband and the father of our 2 beautiful children Kaden & Kendall. This blog has been created to share our daily life w/ friends & family as well as creating a keepsake diary that my children can one day look back upon. I love to share exciting firsts about the kids, mommy superhero moments as well as the blunders & especially pictures from our parties & travels. I hope that you will enjoy reading about our daily life as well as our journeys and maybe read something that your family might find useful.
Before I begin I must mention that Kaden's 6th Birthday happened in February! So, sorry just getting around to posting this on our blog :( I realized I hadn't shared any of this super fun event when I was posting about Kendall's birthday celebration last month!
So here it is, my little man's 6th Birthday celebration: You are Cordially Invited on a Safari Adventure for Kaden's 6th Birthday was the wording on the "Passport" style invitations! The invitation had a stamp of Africa & silhouettes of several wild animals. No one really knew what they were in store for! So let me start the story of Kaden's 6th Birthday about the "animals" You can't have a safari party w/out some wild guests! We hired a company that brought the "zoo" to us! We had a macaw, armadillo, snake, legless lizard, huge frog, bush baby & even a Kangaroo! Here are some of our favorite pictures from the parade of animals that Kaden was able to handle & each party guest was able to pet if they chose to do so. It was quite interesting & we all learned some random facts to take with us. I have to admit the odor made us open the windows though!!! :) Kaden requested the bush baby to attend his party from the list of animals we could choose from so here he is: Random fact about Bush Babies... they urinate on their hands in order to keep them sticky enough to climb! And then this happened: Needless to say we scrubbed Kaden's hair that night :) We were all suprised when this adorable furry creature made his debut:
The legless lizard had me uneasy...quite the scwormy worm! Kaden couldn't wait to get his hands on him!
The Frog as big as Kaden's head!
The Snake...wrapped around Kaden's Body!
A very loud Macaw
Nasty looking Armadillo. Still gives me the creeps!
Cute little baby Hedgehog
And here are some of the party guests expressions to all these wild creatures:
Onto the party decorations: My inspiration always comes from one random object, picture, etc. So on a trip to Michael's Kaden was picking out some animal figurines that were on clearance. He loves animals & his favorite shows include River Monsters, Billy the Exterminator, & anything on Animal Planet. So the idea of a jungle/safari party was born & we went w/ it...I love to find a theme that the kids can contribute to & have fun w/ the planning process as well as the party. That day Kaden picked out about 12 figurines, which we later placed at each child's place setting & then at end of evening put in their goody bag to bring home. The placemats were found at Publix while grocery shopping! I used self adhesive foam letters for each child's "place-card" The foam figurines were sold in a bag at Michaels. I used wooden skewer sticks to place at bottom of animal & then add to green grass bags from Hobby Lobby to use at centerpieces on the long table where the party guests sat.
The chalkboard sign was ordered from Oriental Trading & is now used in the kids toyroom. The topiaries are actually part of my fall/harvest decorations that I use in the house so it worked well to pull them out of the attic & use on the table setting. We purchased about 30 bananas that were used as decor & food. The sandwiches for adults were purchased from publix deli & wrapped w/ animal print tissue & tied up w/ twine. The kids "Do Not Feed the Animals" sacks were filled w/ cheese sandwiches, animal crackers & fruit. The grown ups fruit kabobs were put on bamboo skewers & made into arrangement.
Kaden has some random affection for Bush Babies & sleeps w/ this stuffed furry creature on occassion so I knew we had to use him in the decor :) He sat perched beside the utensils, which were wrapped w/ napkin & tied in animal print ribbon for yet another useful centerpiece and made for easy grab & go when passing out cake.
The Cake..... The Cake speaks for itself. I love designing the cake for each party! Making it a true decoration for the party & using Heaven Scent Bakery in Cartersville makes this an easy thing to do and taste wonderful too! Kaden picked out what type of animals he wanted for the fondant pieces...choosing a cobra snake, jaguar, & zebra. The tree was actually fondant too & weighed so much that the bakery had to deliver & assemble at my house day of party!
I actually made these banners myself! Super easy. Just bought burlap cloth, cut out squares big enough for letters & then cut small openings in each corner of square. Used twine to connect squares by lacing through cut openings. The letters I found at Hobby Lobby w/ animal print in packages of A-Z so bought 3 packages to have correct letters for banners. Stapled letters onto squares of burlap. Turned out cute, unique, & was inexpensive. Now using the burlap cloth & letters in Kaden's birthday scrapbook.
Kaden's shirt by Janie & Jack & pants by Mini Boden. He loved this outfit!
This is Keith & Kendall watching the animal show! Their expressions are so true to their personalities! Keith is like a kid in a candy store soaking up random facts about these animals & Kendall is wondering why in the world she has to sit still & listen!!!
People who had not been to our house prior had actually asked me if the murals on the wall were painted for the party! I know I tend to go all out for my kids parties but that may have been taking it a bit too far. The jungle mural was actually painted in the kids playroom over 4 years ago by a wonderful & talented artist/photographer, Brandelyn Shirley. The Hat! This was are last finishing touch & impossible to find. Kaden finally spotted this one at Dick's sporting goods one afternoon & it worked perfect & is now a fun accessory in his costume collection. The balloons were another Ebay find...the best balloons are on ebay! I usually buy all the big mylar's there & then take them to a local party store to coordinate w/ regular latex balloons & have arrangements done & then blown up day of. Keith always hates being sent on the balloon run for a party! He complains every single time, but he keeps going back for more :)
Kaden & his buddies: Kaden sent each party guest home w/ a bag full of goodies. The gift bags were basket bags that had a large leaf print found at Michaels for 49 cents each! Tied up w/ gift tag & included placemat & animal from each child's place setting, an animal on a stick craft we forgot to do at party, & their safari hat.
At the end of the night no one really wanted to cooperate for anymore pictures but we managed to squeeze in one more family photo. Another party finished & over but one that I'm sure will be remembered by Kaden forever! And some of his expressions & laughter will be etched in my mind forever. I like to say that is what makes all the work worth it, but honestly it is not work to me. I love to plan a party & to plan a party for one of my children is my gift.
So Kaden just started first grade at the beginning of the month & today Kendall had her first day of 3 year old preschool at our beloved First Pres. I thought I might share some of our most recent events from our back to school fun here at the Smith household.
If you are not my friend on facebook or just didn't happen to see this week's status you are about to be shocked by my most recent news from Kaden's first couple of weeks back! Ok maybe not shocked, but you will get a laugh :)
He got in the car Tuesday & begins telling me all about his day when he mentions a girl gave him her phone number! He moves on with his story to tell me something about her wanting him to come over to see her grandfather's telescope! Really...1st Grade! Are they already talking on the phone & having arranged play dates???? Anyways I explained to him that we are not quite ready to be calling on girls and that would come in time (like 10 years from now)! He replied..."Well I really want to see her telescope!" Then this evening we get home from church & this girls number is on our caller ID! So I asked Kaden if he gave out our number? And he said..."Well she said if I couldn't call her she would call me." Tricksters! Not getting one over on me. I'm going to have to meet this girl & have a little chit chat w/ her Mother :)
Onto Kendall. Her "homework" assignment was to gather items into a small brown lunch sack entitled "All About Me." The items were to be favorites...color, food, toy, story/book, game/tv show, place to visit, photos of friends, family, pets, & any other small items that she wanted to share. The bag is now literally bursting at the seams from the items she gathered & when she showed them all to me I was laughing w/ tears so I just have to share the contents w/ her explanation for each. So here it goes:
A small baby doll in a pink dress w/ bottle (Her "Sister")...wishful thinking
A purple crayon (favorite color)
Picture of Macaroni & Cheese (She got a box of it out of the pantry & I had to pour the contents into a ziplock bag in order to cut out the picture w/ her)
A Hello Kitty Watch (her favorite character & tv show)...I was not aware Hello Kitty had her own show???
American Girl Bitty Twins Go For A Ride (Book. And its purple!)
White doile from her tea cart (B/c she wants to play tea party at school)
Snow White Brush (Favorite Movie ever)
A small replica/toy dalmation dog (poor child really wants a doggie)
A small replica/toy dairy cow (Not sure where her logic was w/ this one but she just had to have it in the bag)
Mickey & Minnie small character toys (favorite place on Earth she has ever been to she said)
Hello Kitty Ring (Favorite things...dress up, fashion & Hello Kitty)
Hello Kitty New York Snow Globe (She got this on vacation in NYC this past Christmas & I had no idea where it was till it showed up in this bag today)...see the theme w/ the Hello Kitty, the child is obsessed!
Her ballet shoes! (Half the girls in her class are her ballet class & she said she is going to wear them during show & tell!)
Then I let her go through a box of pictures & she got to pick three...& the winners are: (1) A family photo of the four of us at the zoo in New Orleans this past Spring (2) Kendall, Kaden & Kylee (Ky-Ky) going to the movies this summer (3) Her, Mallory & Sara (girlfriends, both of which are in her class) at the pool last summer w/ their sunglasses on!
She was so proud to finish up her first "Homework" assignment & so determined to collect her items...so cute!
So I was googling this morning to verify the correct spelling of Paran (french word for Godfather) & I came across this on an outdated blog called Fat Tony! Since Keith & I were married in New Orleans & have attended probably a dozen other weddings in the city I really thought this was fitting & had to share. Enjoy :)
BTW...Anything that is written in () below is my add in & tidbits to share.
Here are, in no particular order, some observations and nine ways you know you are at a Louisiana wedding?
People Wearing Saints Hats
Even though the New Orleans Saints have been a notoriously terrible football team for as long as I can remember, people in Louisiana still have a strong loyalty to them?even at weddings. (Ok...This was written in March of 2009...before the Saints won the SuperBowl & that is why we are such loyal fans!!!)
Strokin’ Gets The Biggest Reaction
If you have ever been to a social function in the South you know exactly who Clarence Carter is. And you know that when you hear Mr. Carter sing that chorus of “I be strokin’ to the East, I be strokin’ to the West?” that the crowd goes absolutely berserk.
The Groom Does Backflips (or Best man, best friends, distant relatives)
Get a drink or two in the crowd and clothes start coming off and wild dance moves start emitting from peoples bodies.
(I wondered if our wedding would be any different?it wasn’t! Before the end of the night my brother in law was doing the alligator & Shay's then boyfriend was backing it up on the band & was cut off from the bar!)
Girls Dance With No Shoes (Veronica I'm sorry...so thought of you on this one!)
Whether you are at a high school dance or a wedding, if you are in the South, you can bet that half the females in attendance will not have shoes on. Maybe it’s just me, but that’s just gross. When I think about the floor we walk on, everything resorts back to poo. Hear me out on this one? The soles of your shoes touch the ground everywhere you go. You are bound to step in dog crap at some point?directly or indirectly. Then you walk inside the wedding reception hall. Then a girl with no shoes dances on the same floor where you just stepped. So she now has dog poo particles on her feet. Yuck, man. This is the same reason why I never eat anything that has fallen on the floor?five second rule or not.
By The End Of The Night, The Place Is Flooded Like Katrina
“Louisiana” and “rain” are synonymous in my mind so to have an outdoor wedding is verging on insanity. However, people still do it.
(Our wedding was indoors & no rain, but it did happen to fall on the coldest November day on record...Ok, maybe not, but it was freezing. By the time my bridesmaids & I entered the church to walk down the aisle we had a frozen glow & then there were the million pictures we had to take in front of the beautiful tree in the outdoor courtyard of the reception!)
Someone Refers To Himself As “Paran”
In Louisiana, a child’s Godfather is often called the “Paran," with a French accent. When I heard a guy refer to himself as Vanessa’s Paran I knew exactly what state of the Union I was in.
Two Or More Types Of Seafood Are On The Menu
I’m not talking about those cheesy, bland cocktail shrimp you find at other places?things like shrimp pasta, spicy seasoned fish, crab cakes, crawfish étouffée, and so on. If there are more than two of the above dishes on the menu, you may just be at a Louisiana wedding.
The Oldest Guy In Attendance Does A Somersault
One of the oldest guys gets down and does a few break dancing moves just after Strokin’ is finished. This can be wildly entertaining, but not nearly as crazy as an even older guy getting down and doing a full backwards somersault in the middle of the dance floor.
Everyone Says Y’all (This is so Georgia too)
I notice this more and more each time I go to the South now. I suppose I used to say it, but now that I’m not around it much, every time I hear someone say “y’all” it sticks out like Spinner riding trails with Aitken. Phrases heard throughout the weekend include:
“Y’all have a good trip.”
“Can I have y’alls attention?”
“Y’all get up here to catch this garter.”
“What would y’all like to drink?”
“Does this annoy the ever-living shit out of y’all too?”
I know she is my daughter and I'm a little biased but this girl is beautiful! I literally could not have used God's hands to make her any more perfect. I'm doting but let me also add that she is fierce, cranky, has a flare for the drama, has to have her way & did I mention dramatic! But she is all Girl & I love every bit of her. She keeps me on my toes & has etched such a place in my heart that it has changed my life forever. I can see our future in that special bond that mother & daughter hold & having a best friend for life. She is truly remarkable in every way & I'm thankful for this wonderful family that Keith & I have every day... even when they want to make me pull my hair out.
I had so much fun with this theme...mainly because Kendall did too. When she was first born Kaden called her Kendall "B" as he could not say Kendall Brianna. That is how he introduced his baby sister and as she got older she in turn said it and the "B" turned into "Bee" hence the Queen Bee turns three. Quite fitting for this years festivities! Kendall already had a ton of bee items because of her nickname...the bee boots & dress for her American girl doll, tea set, etc so it was easy to go a little overboard. I thought because I was hosting the event at a small park in town & not my house that I would take it down a notch this year. But Kendall & I kept coming across adorable "bee" themed items...such as the green bee favor bags to hold all the goodies as guests departed the party! As my husband & I loaded up BOTH our vehicles the night before the party for delivery to the park the next morning I realized it may be a little much...oh well too late & it goes with my motto..."the more the merrier!"
I have to go ahead & admit that the bee tamborines (Michael's) were the inspiration that started it all. And even more difficult to fess up is that I found them before Kendall's Ice Cream Social 2nd Birthday even happened! Read more about that party here http://4thesmithfamily.blogspot.com/2011/02/kendall-turns-2.html. Yes, those who know me know that I'm a planner! They were just too adorable to pass up. I bought just one for Kendall and then when I got home and opened it up I had to have more so about 6 Michael's locations later I had enough for the party. (Trust me...I do not have that much time on my hands but the actual hunt for something like this brings me joy in some sort of weird way)...ok enough with the admissions of guilt! The wings & headbands were ordered through one of the companies in which I order items for my shop,Great Pretenders, so of course I bought them at wholesale. They were the perfect accessories & walking decorations once the girls all put them on and were playing together on the playground.
Wings, tutu, wand, headband & black flowers were purchased on Etsy at CreaturesbyChase. They are amazingly detailed & so beautiful. The wings literally glistened! Kendall wanted to keep them on all day but I felt bad having her sport all this attire when it was so hot so we only made it through half the party. However, Kendall will, without a doubt, be a Bumble Bee for Halloween this year!
The bee soaps & bath fizzers from Pier 1 made for the perfect Mommy favor. I figured I made the mom's suffer in the Georgia summer heat for two hours...they might as well leave with something for them too :)
I found the mason type numbered 1-3 jars at Tuesday Morning a while back & knew they would come in handy for something :) So here they are, filled w/ lemon heads, & used to display the three pictures of Kendall at each year. (Pictures 1 & 2 by Brandelyn Lee Photography www.brandelynlee.com). As you can tell from the pictures on hand I'm not the best photographer and as I ran out of time b/w setup & guest arrival I did not get to grab as many photos as I would have liked and my mack daddy camera was on the wrong setting for the first half of party...hence the blurred photos. I hired Brandy, referenced above, for Kendall's first birthday and was relieved of the pressures of photographing and got to take it all in instead of capturing every moment, which in turn gave us some beautiful photos we will cherish forever. The yellow vintage frames were bought on Etsy at shabbypinkflamingo. I made the party guests sign-in page that will later be put in Kendall's scrapbook. Yes, I make a scrapbook for each party...I may get to it a year later but it is always done before the next party rolls around & something I hope that the kids will enjoy looking at for years to come & share w/ their children one day...sappy I know! Kendall's doll was even dressed for the occassion. Outfit was purchased from a boutique in Charleston on King street forever ago...one of those items Kendall has had that went perfectly w/ party theme.
The table setting proved quite difficult in the July heat...even at 10am! The tables had to be moved several times to find shade as the sun moved its way high into the sky! At one point I looked over and the beautiful chocolate "3" w/ tiara had melted onto the beehive! Luckily the bakery was one call away & my mom was able to drive it back over for a facelift before guests arrived. The chocolate "3" then remained on ice until it was time to blow out candles. We served iced coffee for the adults in a beehive & lemonade for everyone to cool down. I also tried to theme up the snacks offered. I had found honey sticks & honey drops wrapped in bee paper while at a farmers market in Philadelphia earlier this summer. We served yellow twizzlers aka "flower stems" as well as yellow & white merinque cookies. The theme was originally going to be black & yellow gingham but somewhere along the way I changed it to a damask pattern & it came together! There were a lot of monogrammed "K" items for the birthday girl.
The on site picnic tables were the easiest part to decorate & were in turn not used at all :( Black & white damask table runners (Hobby Lobby) with a small glass vase that I filled w/ flowers (Publix) that I arranged the night before in a simple grouping. They were later used at home by the pool for the after party & were enjoyed there.
Cake pops by Tonya Mulkey Lutjens...find her on facebook. I found this damask planter at Hobby Lobby on clearance & just had to incorporate somehow! I bought some filler flowers and three big sunflowers for the birthday girl. Tonya turned the center of the three flowers into a cake pop...wonderfully delicious & so easy for Mom's to eat while attending to their kiddos. The bumble bees were lemon flavored & amazingily cute! Kendall enjoys her cake pop!
The "Bee"utiful cupcakes & tiered cake were created by Heaven Scent Bakery. I can meet with Tera, the owner, and she turns my vision into reality! And did I mention that it is all absolutely delicious! www.mycustomcake.com
The kids table was so much fun to create & I had a lot of help from my Mom. We did hit one more bump in the road when the rented table linens did not fit the tables, but another phone call & the rental company was on site w/ more linens. We tied yellow organza ribbon around each of the chairs & hung a black & white damask cone (Hobby Lobby) embellished w/ a sequin "bee" (Michael's)filled with yellow & white mints (Tuesday Morning). 12 of these probably cost me $15! Each place setting had a yellow bucket (Target) embellished w/ the sequin "bees" & black & white gingham flower, set on yellow paper doiles (Michael's)...they were filled w/ the bee tissue paper that I found at Bags & Bows & a damask baggie filled w/ teddy grahams & honey graham crackers that the kiddos could snack on & keep busy with while we prepared the cake for singing Happy Birthday! The yellow buckets were later used for a bee pollen hunt.
Kendalls outfit, hairbow & shoes from my boutique, Kissing Frogs Yellow craft pompoms were scattered about & the girls lined up for the pollen hunt. Kaden, my son, had a worker bee hat and led the parade down. The bee tamborines were in hand. I had a vision that this would be a musical parade all organized... down to a Easter egg type hunt that would last a little longer. Although this didn't quite work out it was cute while it lasted! Did I mention how cute these tamborines are!
Kendall has a handful of girlfriends from school, Kindermusic, & the fact that most of them also have older siblings Kaden's age so some of them have known each other since birth! The majority of them have also all turned three this summer within days or a few weeks of each other. So this year instead of inviting every one I know I decided to let Kendall do the picking in an effort to bring down the guest list & keep it small & quaint & not overwhelming for the birthday girl. The great thing about this little group of girls is that I in turn have established friends that I know will be lifelong. It is so neat to know that we will be able to watch our girls grow up together. Balloons by Treasured Bargains on ebay.
A couple of pictures from the after party at our house with family later that day. I couldn't resist sharing these pictures :) It was a great day!