Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Homemade Water Table to Open Summer

So this year we had a super laid-back Memorial Day.  Usually on Sunday night we have a party and invite a bunch of people, get drunk, and hang out until the wee hours of the morning.  When we were asked if we were doing it again this year, I realized that I was just not feeling it.  Apparently what I am feeling is like an old person.  We did decide to have a small group of people over, just to hang out around the fire pit/bowl/burnable garbage depository and drink a few beers.  It was a bit awkward for whatever reason, actually, but I think all involved just don't do that kind of thing a lot.  Better get used to it, though, because we're all getting old and having kids and this is gonna be the new norm.

We always make food for our gatherings, but with so having so many fewer people over, I didn't want to make a whole lot.  This kind of fell on deaf ears when it came to hubs though, so we wound up with a ton of leftovers.  They were delicious though, so I was ok with that.  I'm sure you're dying to know what we had.  Jed made what I call his tea sandwiches (but they're open-faced): mini-rye bread, butter, salami, cucumber, in that order, open-faced.  Weird combination, but yummy.  And Jed is ridiculous, he actually cut the salami into squares to fit the bread.  We also had Spinach-Artichoke dip, veggies (let's call it crudite and pretend we're fancy) and this Oreo Layer Dessert (holy crap was that stuff good.  Super rich).  I also made this Sarasota Lemonade for myself - it was so good, but seemed super sweet to me and I could only drink a little bit of it.  I think it was because I'm not used to drinking pop and really sweet drinks like the pink lemonade that is in it.  And of course I found all of these recipes through Pinterest.  Except the veggies, duh.

Anyway, the next day we just hung around the house since it seemed nobody was really doing anything or had other plans.  It was nice to just laze about.  However, during Romy's nap I did assemble the water table that I put together.  I really wanted to get one for her after seeing my friends pictures of theirs, I knew that she would have a lot of fun with one.  However, they are kind of expensive, especially the one I wanted because come on it's a pirate ship!  Anyway I looked around and decided that I was going to put one together myself on the cheap.  I saw one made out of an under-bed storage tub and I just happened to have one hanging out in my car doing nothing useful.  A water wheel and cheap bag of sand toys ($6 each at Toys R US), a $1 bag of marbles and a cheap pack of sponges later, we were set.  The sponges I just cut into strips, but I did take 4 of them and a rubber band and make this:

Hey, it works.
Her favorite part was the marbles, though, just feeling them in the water, taking them in and out of things, etc.  Yes, she was supervised, all that jazz, and yes she had them taken from her after she discovered (after an hour) that she could put them in her mouth.  This whole setup still kept her entertained for over an hour, so much so that she almost completely ignored the kiddie pool that I'd set up next to it.

Yes our setup is a little janky but IT WORKS.

Jed came out and grilled some chicken (with this Peanut-Ginger Marinade, so good!) with some broccoli and cauliflower, we sat around, we were lazy.  It was good times.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ramona's 1st Birthday Party - With Rainbows!

So yes, I know that this post is a bit...late.  Six months or so.  Let's just pretend it was yesterday, ok?  Sounds good.  Anyway, Romy's birthday party wasn't a huge to-do or anything, just some friends and family, a good time overall.

When I was looking for a theme, I wanted to pick something simple that I thought would interest her, as much as you can at that age, anyway.  I didn't want to pick some random character, because really she couldn't care less about them.  I've never personally known a one-year-old to get super excited about an Elmo party or whatever.  But hey, maybe your kid was, and that's cool too!  At the time the only show she ever watched on TV was Yo Gabba Gabba, but that still didn't really mean all that much to her.  I decided to just go with rainbows, I figured we could have some fun with the decor and she would like the bright colors.

For the decor I kept it rather simple.  From the dollar stores I got streamers, balloons, plates, napkins, and cups in a variety of colors.  I let most of the balloons just float around the floor because I knew that's where the kids would be able to enjoy them.  My favorite thing was the bunting that we made out of felt and ribbon, and it was fairly easy.  We decided how big we wanted the flags to be (smaller for "Happy Birthday", larger for "Ramona!") chose a font and size that would fit (basically by  holding a flag up to the monitor) and traced the letters onto white felt.  A little glue, a little scissor-work, add some ribbon...done!  Plus, I'm planning on hanging the bunting in Ramona's room as soon as I figure out the best way to get it up on the plaster walls.

Awkwardly cropped photo.  I sacrificed the exclamation point so you wouldn't see my forehead.
When I say we: I was very lucky in that I got a TON of help from my mother- and sister-in law.  They helped make the decorations and bake everything.  I couldn't have done it on time without them.  We had cake pops, cupcakes, white-chocolate dipped pretzels and oreos, fruits, veggies, crock-pot meatballs, dip, and of course a little rainbow cake for the birthday girl.  We used rainbow sprinkles, silver dragees and purple sparkly glitter to decorate the sweets.  It was a life-changing revelation when I found out about edible glitter.  I decided that it needed to be sprinkled on all of my food forever (I did not follow through with that).

There may or may not be a Brobee and/or leftover Halloween decor in this photo.
So let me tell you right off the bat- making the rainbow cake and cupcakes, and the cake pops...that was a bitch.  I decided that I wanted to go the swirl route (rather than the different colored tiers), so that wasn't too bad, but trying to split up all the different colors evenly and get them in a muffin tin - headache.  You see people who do these things and they're all like "Omg, it was so easy!"  Well, good for you.  Then there were the cake pops.  Yes, this was our first foray into the world of little tiny edible balls of amazingness, but I still have no idea how these people manage to get these nice round perfectly smooth little creatures.  Mine looked like I tossed them toward the bowl from across the kitchen and hoped for the best.  Then there was the matter of getting them to stay on the stick.  I'm pretty sure they were just trying to escape.  Lumpy, see-through...but delicious.  Once I got them decorated, they were much cuter, though.  And the fact that they tasted great is what counts, right?  And whatever, they were MADE WITH LOVE.  And they were color-swirled too!

I'm still in love with the mini-bunting on here.  Also, no idea how MIL got a ghost "1" on there.
I wasn't sure how we were going to display them, but I remembered that I had a ton of those Target $1 metal pails hanging around in various colors and patterns.  We filled them with sand, covered it with foil, poked the sticks through, and then poured in m&m's and sour gummy worms to cover the foil and add to the color.  They may have been easier ways to do this, but hey, it worked!

Ramona wasn't feeling the greatest, but she still seemed to have a good time.  You could tell that when we did presents and the cake, she was rather confused about everybody standing around and watching her!  She definitely had some trepidation about the smash cake that we gave her, as she didn't get that kind of thing very often.  She got into in the end, as long as she avoided the frosting, which she wasn't a big fan of.  She really didn't make that much of a mess of herself, she was pretty neat and tidy!

We had lots of fun, but I was glad when it was over!  Just like my wedding, I had a good time getting there, but the next day - what a relief.  It's totally possible that I left some of the decor up for a while afterward...I couldn't let all that work go to waste so quickly!

Ramona is almost 19 months old now...guess I better get started planning the next one!

FYI- The first two pics were taken by my BFF Brett, the rest were taken by my good friend Laura of Torn Paper Studios.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Thunderstorm and a Ninja Mom Fail

So let me tell you, I know that we got very lucky in the sleeping baby lottery.  I know this.  So when someone is up in the middle of the night when I'm used to sleeping, yeah I'm not used to that.

We had a pretty epic thunderstorm last night, and for the first time ever, it woke Ramona up, enough that I needed to go upstairs and try to get her back down.  And back down I got her.  Three times.  Each time I would try to sneak out of her room, and each time when I was almost out she'd sit bolt upright (out of her SLEEP) and starting babbling in that tone and with that look that just said "Uh...WTF?  Sit down."

Trying to sneak out of her room is no easy feat, though.  Our house is old and has the original hardwood, so every single step comes with a squeal or a squeak or a groan.  This is especially true of the middle of the room, so by the third time I had enough sense to at least attempt to snake around the perimeter of the room like ninja cat (look up the video for a visual).  Didn't work.  I eventually had to gently let her know the storm was over and mommy was going back downstairs.  She cried for a couple of minutes but settled herself back down (this is a major reason we've never co-slept, ever since she was tiny, 90% of the time she will not fall asleep if someone's holding her, in her room, if she's not in her own bed, etc).  Yes, of course the storm was over by then, I wasn't leaving her alone with the big bad thunder, geez.

What's somewhat ridiculous about this is that the other night, in a panic about having enough summer clothes for her, I went in her room and seriously moved furniture and rifled through her drawers while she slept and didn't make a peep.  She gets that from her dad, who of course slept through this whole thing.

I'll tell you though, I totally reveled in the "I want my mommy" neediness.  I love it.  Two large iced coffees today, thank you.

Look how cute she is when she's sleeping.  Look.