Monday, December 23, 2013

Benjamin turns 5 and Christmas #1

Even though we celebrated his 5th birthday in a big way last weekend, Benjamin didn't officially turn 5 until the 21st. We have a tradition of celebrating being a year older with a birthday donut.

Happy Birthday my sweet boy. I love that you are still my little cuddle monkey even though you barely fit on my lap. I love that you spontaneously say several times a day "I love you mom." I love your energy and the fact that you can not sit still. You are so busy, all the time. I love that your mind and imagination are as busy as your body. I love your creativity and your ability to work out these outlandish scenes in your head. I love your ability to see a finished product before you even begin to build. You always see the big picture and yet you appreciate the little details. You are, without a doubt, my very favorite 5 year old.

How is it possible that this tiny little baby, my 4 pounder, is now FIVE!
Benjamin had a rather dramatic entrance into the world, you can read about it here.

After our birthday donuts, we headed to Granny and Paw-Paw's house for Christmas #1 (the boys get several Christmas' due to our large family). 

The boys were very anxious to open a couple of gifts.

Caleb was very excited about a new board game. This kid takes after his momma, he loves games.

This scooter was our gift to Benjamin for his birthday. He loves it.

Could he be any more handsome?

Playing with Sadie.

Taking off on his new scooter.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Crazy bounce house fun!

We rented a bounce house slide for Benjamin's super awesome Lego Star Wars party last weekend. The company we rented from is a local, family-owned business. They had to go out of town unexpectedly over the weekend so we got to keep the bounce house for 5 days! The boys were thrilled to have a bounce house in their backyard for almost the entire week. AND we were blessed with some crazy nice weather too. We have been having some major bounce house fun.

Caleb worked so hard to tackle this massive 12 foot ladder.

He could get about halfway on his own before he couldn't go any further and I would have to step in and help him the rest of the way. Watching him try so hard but not succeed is frustrating. I'm thankful that he works so hard but I'm also kinda ticked that he has to work so hard. 

And then I see him with all smiles. This kid is having fun.

You're never to old to go down a bounce house slide with your momma.

Airborne Benjamin. He could not get enough of this thing.

Ms. Vicki (our wonderful PT) even found a way to use the bounce house in therapy.

Silly boys. They had such a ball this week. Who doesn't love a bounce house in their backyard?

Working on that core strength! 
Hmmm...I wonder if I could get insurance to cover the cost of our own bounce house. It's for therapy right?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Getting Curious at the Museum

I took the boys on a little field trip to the museum earlier this week. The museum currently has a Curious George exhibit that the boys have been begging to see. I'm not sure why they have wanted to go so bad, neither of them watch George like they used to. I think their new obsession with Star Wars has taken the place of the curious little monkey. Although when they were younger, Curious George was a big favorite with both boys.

Quick pose in front of the tree.

Working together.

George on the big screen.

The exhibit was pretty cute and the boys seemed to enjoy it.

Their favorite part of the museum, every time we go...
...the outdoor water area. They love it.

Trying to build a dam to stop the water.

Problem solving.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Benjamin's Lego Star Wars Birthday Party

We celebrated Benjamin's 5th birthday this past weekend with an over-the-top, out-of-this-world Lego Star Wars party! Benjamin decided on this theme weeks and weeks ago so I had plenty of time to scour the internet for ideas. Man, there are so many creative, fun, and inexpensive things to do with this theme. I had a ball researching and planning. Seriously, this was the most fun I have ever had planning a party. The possibilities when you combine Lego with Star Wars are limitless. I used quite a few online resources from other awesome moms, and I'll share links to those resources when it applies.

First, the invitations.

I got this fantastic idea here. I used her template and then added the picture of Benjamin and the text using PicMonkey. I pretty much followed her directions fully. I cut mine by hand since I don't have a Cricut. They came out so cute and Benjamin just loved them. He was so proud of them....I was too.

The next project I worked on was a Death Star Pinata. We've never done a pinata at the boy's birthday parties so I thought it would be fun to do it this time. I loved the idea of a Death Star pinata and I found several online tutorials on how to do it. I looked at several ideas but for the most part I followed the directions here. I followed her directions pretty closely. I've never used paper mache in my life but I gave it a go. I used a beach ball and did 4 layers of mache. I think another layer or two might have been better. I spray painted it with silver and then used black paint for the details.

Overall I was pretty happy with how it came out considering I've never made a pinata! Benjamin loved it. It was fairly easy to make and very cheap. You just need a beach ball, some flour, and newspaper. I think this cost less than $5.

Now for the goodie bags.
I bought some inexpensive gift bags and added the circles to make the bags look like Lego blocks. I made the name tags using a Star Wars Jedi font I downloaded (just do a search, it's easy to find) and then I added the "Lego Star Wars" logo. Super easy.

Benjamin actually had a Lego birthday party last year so I was able to use some of the same items again this year. One of the things I put to use again was the Lego Minifigure mold. I used the mold to make minifigure crayons. I just grabbed a box of crayons, peeled off the paper, snapped them into smaller pieces and melted them down in the mold (250 degree oven for about 10 minutes). So easy and free for me to make since I already had the mold. 

I created a quick coloring book to go along with the crayons. I just found about 10 Lego Star Wars coloring pages on the internet, and put them together into this book. Again I used the Star Wars Jedi font and "Star Wars" logo for the cover of the books. Easy, and basically free to make (minus the use of my printer ink and copy paper). I also put a "Jedi Knight Certificate" in each bag, I got the printable here.

One thing I saw over and over again in my search for Lego Star Wars party ideas was the Pool Noodle Lightsaber. This was a must and a huge hit (literally) at the party. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to find pool noodles in December but Target actually had a few. They were $2 a piece, I bought 5 then cut each noodle in half giving me 10 lightsabers.

I used silver duck tape for the handles and then added black electrical tape to add detail. I made each handle different because I'm weird. If you ever have a Star Wars party, you must make pool noodle lightsabers. So inexpensive and so fun.

Caleb working on his lightsaber pose.

Next up, decor and the little details...
I really wanted to make sure I combined Lego and Star Wars since Benjamin was very specific that it was a "Lego Star Wars" party. I wanted to use bright Lego colors but keep it in line with a Star Wars theme. So I went with Blue and White paired together and also Black and Red together. My thought was the journey from the "Light" side of the Force (blue and white-think Anakin before he goes bad) to the "Dark" side of the Force (red and black-think Anakin becoming Darth Vader). Okay, so as I just typed that out, I'm realizing that I know WAY too much about Star Wars. Oy. Clearly I'm the mom of 2 boys.

I ran across several Star Wars party posts that involved giving the guests their own Jedi robe. I loved the idea but I don't sew. Period. If it involves sewing, I'm not doing it (I learned my lesson planning Caleb's SK8 party!). Then I found a super smart mom that shared her idea for an easy Jedi robe. When I found brown felt on clearance at Walmart, I was all over it. I bought 4 yards of felt and was able to make 7 Jedi robes with it. I used burlap ribbon for the belts. It took me about 5 minutes to have all the robes ready. So easy and cheap! All the boys at the party received a Jedi robe. I knew that we would have 2 girls coming to the party so I wanted something cute for them and when I found this tutorial for Princess Leia headband buns, I knew I found the perfect thing. I'm not going to lie, these were a bit of a pain to make, and I mean that literally because I was burned about 10 times by my hot glue gun while making these. Thankfully I only needed 2. They came out really cute (sorry I didn't get a good picture of them).

I put the lightsabers in a box that I covered with blue paper.

I had a couple of games for the kids to play. I did a "guess how many Lego's" game and I hid 7 Lego minifigures for the kids to find (this didn't go over great, I hid the minifigures too well and very few found them). The blue Lego box was a prize box.

This Jedi was so excited about his party.

I ran out of felt before I could make a Jedi robe for I decided to go another way for his ensemble.
I painted a black t-shirt (that he already had) to look like the front of a Darth Vader Lego minifigure. I pretty much spent about 15 minutes on this. It came out pretty good in my opinion.

This is what I did above the table.
I got the banner here (free printable). I actually used some weed barrier cloth to drape down from the lights. We already had the cloth from when I attempted gardening a couple of years ago so it was free!

I saw the idea for a Tie Fighter using a black paper lantern here. I just cut the wings out of cardboard, painted them black and used gray paint for the detail. I hot glued the wings to the paper lantern. I think the Darth Vader minifigure is a nice touch, don't you?

What kind of party would it be without themed food?
I kept my color theme going, half the table was blue and white (light side) and the other half was black and red (dark side).

I got the template for the labels here, I used to add my own text (using the Star Wars font) to the label. I used stickers from the "Lego Star Wars minifigure sticker book" to add to my labels. If you google "Star Wars party food" you will find a million ideas. I think there is even a Star Wars cookbook specifically created to give you ideas on Star Wars themed food. 

Wookie Cookies (a.k.a. Rice Krispie treats with plain and cocoa krispies)

Tie Fighters (a.k.a. Oreo 100 calorie crisps with a mini marshmallow in between)

Padawan Popcorn (a.k.a. popcorn)

Vader Veggies...self explanatory. 

Obi-Wan Kabob-ies (a.k.a. fruit on a stick). I had planned to prepare a bunch of fruit kabobs but I ran out of time so I just set out a bowl of fruit and some wooden skewers. I figured people could make their own if they really wanted one did. 

Ewok Treats (a.k.a. Teddy Grahams)

Yoda Soda (a.k.a. Sprite and Lime Sherbert punch)

Light Side cupcakes with lightsaber cupcake picks.

Dark Side cupcakes with plastic rings on top (Darth and Storm Trooper).

Lightsaber napkins! I couldn't resist when I saw this printable
I think that just about covers everything. Whew! I went a little crazy I know, but it was so much fun.

We were actually supposed to have Benjamin's birthday party last weekend but Texas had an arctic blast come through that forced us to be "Iced In" and we had to reschedule the party for this weekend. Thankfully we couldn't have asked for better weather for Benjamin's birthday party. It was perfect bounce house weather.
So much fun! Having a bounce house in your back yard is a pretty cool thing!

How cute is this trio of Jedi's?

Blowing out his #5 candle. I have to admit I cried when I bought this candle. I just couldn't believe I was buying a number FIVE candle! How is this even possible? 5 just feels like a really big deal. Stop time please.

After snacks, cake, and presents we went outside to defeat the Death Star Pinata with this awesome lightsaber.

I just bought a wooden dowel at Home Depot. I painted it to look like a lightsaber.

Unfortunately I don't have pics of the brutal beating of the Death Star. Handing a stick over to a bunch of kids so they can whack something is very dangerous and scary. It needed my full attention, which meant no photos. The Death Star pinata received a severe beating and surrendered all the candy to the violent mob of Jedi's. 

I think that about sums up the party. I'm so pleased with how everything came out. Benjamin had so much fun and loved all the details. He said to me: "Thank you mom for all this cool stuff you did." That made all the time spent planning and preparing worth it. It really was a lot of fun.

Still can't believe my baby is turning FIVE!

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