Monday, August 10, 2015

Noah's Dinosaur Themed 4th Birthday Party

Now that I've updated you about Noah's 4th year, it's time to talk about the party!! When I asked Noah what he wanted for his birthday party theme this year, he told me he wanted dinosaurs. So, away I went planning an adorable orange, lime green and turquoise dinosaur-themed party for my little guy. First on the agenda, the invitations. I love including photos of the birthday boy on the invites, and of course, it also had to include his 2 favorite dinosaurs - "hammer head," and "long neck."


I also like to add a little something to the invites to make them unique. This time, it was wiggly eyes! Yep, wiggly eyes covered the dinosaurs at this year's party! I love how they turned out.


After the invitations were mailed, I started brainstorming (aka, browsing Pinterest and Google) ideas for the party. To decorate the house, I bought some turquoise, orange, and yellow latex balloons (inflated with helium and hi-float) at the local party supply store. For this party, I also bought a silver "4" and a generic T-rex dinosaur balloon. I made a custom banner that read "Happy 4th Birthday Noah" using the same dinosaur/color theme. I also hung up fun arrow signs directing guests to the watering hole (swimming pool), feeding area (seating area), privacy bushes (bathroom/changing area), carnivores (main course), herbivores (appetizers), and sweetivores (dessert)!


Here's an example of the banner letters, close-up. I attached the pendants with mini clothes pins to a jute rope. It worked well and looked great! I also made a mini "WELCOME" version for the front door to greet guests as they arrived.

For the party favors, I bought plain kraft paper bags with handles (from Target) and added tags that said "Thank you for making my party DINO-MITE! - Noah." Inside the bag, there was a bag of "Dino Chow," which I packaged in clear, plastic bags and topped them with tags. The chow consisted of pretzel sticks, chocolate covered raisins, peanut butter chips and a gummy worm.


To complete the favor bag, I added a "Grow a Dino!" egg with instructions for hatching their own dinosaur, along with information cards about the dinosaur they might find. I purchased the Animal Planet eggs from Amazon.


This year, I made cupcakes for the party. I didn't want to attempt any elaborate decorating of the cupcakes on the day of the party, so I made cupcake toppers and wrappers to coordinate with the banner and invite elements.


I stuck these toppers in some delicious dirt cupcakes that I could quickly make the day of the party. These cupcakes probably deserve a post of their own. They were delicious! I used my mom's recipe for Texas sheet cake for the cupcakes. Noah is a chocolate man, so I knew he'd love these! ;) Then I topped them with a peanut butter frosting that I'd never tried before, but I was so glad I did. It was heavenly. You can find the recipe here!


After the frosting, I crushed up some Oreos to sprinkle on top, as the dirt part of the dirt cupcake. :) They were the perfect touch for a dinosaur-themed party.


The napkins and utensils were some that I already had. I used jute to secure the utensils in the napkins. They looked super cute in the bucket that I reused from his 2nd birthday party! ;) I bought the kraft paper straws at Target, and added some cute ROARRR straw flags to complete the look. I used the plastic dinosaur skeletons for decorating the food area. I also purchased those on Amazon.


For the dinner menu, I chose:


for the HERBIVORES:
  • DINO chips & dip (pita chips with homemade roasted red pepper hummus)
  • Veggies & DINO dip (carrot sticks with ranch dip)
  • Watermelon SPIKES
  • PB&J sandwiches (sandwiches cut out in dino shapes with this sandwich cutter)
for the CARNIVORES:

  • PTERANODON wings (chicken wings with sauces)
  • BRONTOSAURUS burgers (sliders on Hawaiian sweet rolls)
  • DINO nuggets (dino-shaped chicken nuggets - thanks, Tyson!)
for the SWEETIVORES:
  • DINO bones (yogurt-covered pretzels)
  • Dirt cupcakes (chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing and Oreo crumbles)
  • FOSSIL cookies (I had also planned to make these, but ran out of time - sugar cookies with dino footprints, sprinkled with cinnamon)
To drink, I had JURASSIC juice for the kids (Honest juice pouches), and the WATERING hole for the adults (ice water with lemon and orange slices). I wanted the food to go with the party theme, which is why I chose what I did. ;) Added bonus that Noah loves PB&J and dino nuggets!



Here are some pics of the birthday boy enjoying his THREE parties!! :) His dinosaur shirt, featuring a "Noahsaurolophus," was made by my aunt, from the dinosaur I created for his invites. :)


The final item to take care of was the thank you notes. I made a simple flat 4" x 6" card to go with the theme.


Because who doesn't love getting something sweet in the mail instead of bills? ;) It was an adorable, fun party for a little guy who loves dinosaurs!!

Happy 4th Birthday to our little middle!












All items you see above are available for customization and purchase through my business page, kreations by kristy. You can also find me on Facebook and Etsy.

Monday, August 3, 2015

My Little Middle is FOUR!

Noah may still be tiny, but he's quite the grown up little guy now. We celebrated his fourth birthday this year with (THREE!) dinosaur-themed parties (more about those soon!) for friends and family, and on the 14th, he officially turned 4! Yes, I'm a few weeks behind here. Busy month!

The day after his birthday, I took Noah to his new pediatrician for his 4-year well-check. Everything went great and he appears to be right on track with his peers. He weighed in at 33.2 pounds (up 4.2 pounds from his 3-year check), and measured up at 40 1/4 inches (up 1.5 inches from his 3-year check). This puts him right at the 50th percentile for height and 25th percentile for weight. Looking at both figures, he's now up to the 10th percentile for height-to-weight ratio, with a BMI of 14.37! He also had to get his last round of vaccinations before starting kindergarten next year. So, he received the DTap, polio, MMR and chicken pox vaccines at the visit. Just a few tears escaped before snuggles with Mommy made it all better. Hearing check went well and vision is checking out at 20/40 right now. I'm hoping that doesn't mean glasses in a couple years, but my guess is along with inheriting my baby blues, he also inherited my horrible vision. :/

Noah still sleeps around 10-11 hours a night and normally takes a nap, anywhere from 1 to 2.5 hours, in the afternoon. He still shares a room with big brother, Ethan, and it works well, as they enjoy talking and laughing in their beds for hours some nights. They now go to bed by 7:30 or 8 pm during the school year, with Ethan's early school schedule (the bus comes just after 7 am!). Wake-up time is at 6:45 am on school days. For the summer, they are going to bed between 9 and 10 pm and sleeping until 8 am normally. It's a nice break from the routine. :)

Noah has a pretty good appetite and is usually willing to at least sample most foods. He'd still live on pasta and dessert alone, if we'd let him. He is a chocolate boy and normally picks that over vanilla!

Highlights of the past year:
  • Potty trained!!!!
  • Successfully made the move to a new preschool & easily made new friends
  • Completed his second year of preschool
  • Learning to swim without his Puddlejumpers
  • Took his first cruise
  • Counting to 30+
  • Knows the letters of the alphabet and colors
It's so fun watching the boys grow and their personalities develop. Noah is quite the jokester and as most 4-year-old boys do, he loves potty humor. Why are farts so hilarious?? He still sounds years older than he is when he talks most of the time. It's amazing some of the phrases that come out of that boy! He can be a bit moody as well though. No idea where he would get that from! ;) We'll be sure to remind him many years from now how his legs would often "break," and he couldn't move when we asked him to. Sigh. Hopefully he'll grow out of that one soon. He's still an amazing little cuddler, and of the three boys, he's definitely the most attached to his Mama. :) He always has "just one more hug and kiss" for me, and I can't say that I mind that one bit!!

We sure love our sweet, fun, little middle.



Like I did last year on his birthday, I asked Noah some questions that I'm going to ask every year now, to see how his responses change over the years. Here they are:
  1. What is your favorite color? green
  2. What is your favorite toy? little Legos
  3. What is your favorite fruit? strawberries
  4. What is your favorite tv show/movie? Dinosaur Train & Super Heroes
  5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? peanut butter and strawberry jam
  6. What is your favorite outfit? my dinosaur shirt
  7. What is your favorite game? Dino Meal & Candyland
  8. What is your favorite snack? bunny crackers & pretzels
  9. What is your favorite animal? a cheetah
  10. What is your favorite song? Dynamite by Taio Cruz
  11. What is your favorite book? Balto
  12. Who is your best friend? Austin
  13. What is your favorite cereal? Frosted Mini Wheats
  14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? play on the playground & in the pool
  15. What is your favorite drink? apple juice
  16. What is your favorite holiday? Halloween
  17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? fire dog
  18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? oatmeal & pancakes
  19. What is your favorite dinner? mac 'n cheese
  20. What do you want to be when you grow up? an "army," or an engineer
Happy 4th birthday, Noah. We love you!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

Tomorrow we celebrate our nation's birthday. For most, this means food, fun, and fireworks with loved ones. It's always been a special holiday for me, being so close to my birthday. It sometimes felt like a big party for me, with a great light show at the end. I loved laying under the stars and looking up at the night sky as it lit up with fantastic fireworks. I love that all of my boys are as mesmerized as I am by the sight of it. I still love to celebrate Independence Day, but July is a busy month now in our lives. In addition to my birthday, we now celebrate Noah's birthday, and our wedding anniversary in July. So, sometimes I don't get to take in the 4th quite as much as I'd like, but I'm going to try to do so this year. Hopefully the weather cooperates, so we'll get to take in another great fireworks show this year!

I decided to make a simple, but pretty banner this year for my fireplace, to help the house look more festive amongst all the dinosaur decorations currently set up for Noah's birthday parties! Haha! If you're also in need of some last minute decorations, you can download this PDF printable for free by clicking here! Just print on cardstock, trim the flags, and hang from some jute/yarn/ribbon. I attached my flags with mini clothespins, but you could also punch holes in them and thread the jute through the flags. A simple, beautiful way to bring the flag into your home for the holiday.

Happy Birthday, America!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Homemade Cajun Seasoning

I know I promised this ages ago, but I'm finally delivering, since I took pics while making a batch up the other night. ;) Here it is, our recipe for Cajun seasoning. I use this seasoning in sooooo many of my recipes. Anytime anything calls for Cajun, which for us is a good number of meals that we eat (i.e., Cajun Chicken Pasta, Cajun Stuffed Peppers, Crispy Shrimp pasta, Orange Dijon Pork Tacos, on grilled/blackened salmon, etc), I use this! It's simple, easy to make, and then you know exactly what's in it. :) It has the perfect balance of spice, with a hint of sweetness. Enjoy!


Cajun Seasoning

Ingredients:

  • 3 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper, ground

Directions:
Combine all of the spices in a small, airtight jar or container. Shake it up to ensure everything is mixed together well. Store in a cool, dry place.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Time for Change: Behavior Chart {free printable}

With summer quickly approaching, I knew that I needed to do something to help keep my boys in line. They tend to get a bit crazy when home all day with each other, day after day. This always leads to boredom, whining, fighting and my biggest pet peeve - not listening. Ugh. So, I found this behavior chart while scrolling through Instagram one day. Thanks, Lindsay! You can find many similar ideas on Pinterest, of course. This one has worked pretty well so far for us!

The boys start their day on GREEN (ready to listen). If they behave, and make good decisions, they move to BLUE (good choices). If they continue to do well throughout the day, they move to PURPLE (great job!). If they do something exceptional, then they move to PINK (special privilege).

From green, if they start having problems like not listening, fighting with each other, etc, then they move to YELLOW (warning!). If their behavior continues, they move to ORANGE (oh no! stop!), and finally to RED (consequence).

For us, special privilege includes things like using the iPad, extra reading time with Mom or Dad, a special treat while we're out, staying up a little later, etc. We let them choose what they want their privilege to be. Consequences include things like early bedtime, no TV/iPad, time out, etc. Instead of letting them pick their consequence, I pick. I try to have them line up with the behavior they were exhibiting, or something that works best for them (i.e., no iPad time for my oldest is torture).

To keep track of where each child is, I placed their name on a wooden clothespin. The pin moves on the chart throughout the day. I think the chart works because they can visually see where they are, even as young children, based on the faces. It works well for my oldest because he strives for perfection, and always wants to be "the best," so he wants to stay on blue, purple or pink as much as possible.

My oldest's kindergarten teacher uses a similar system at school for her students. It's a card system with green, yellow, orange, and red cards. When they do something they aren't supposed to (like not listening, talking when they are to be quiet, etc), they have to "pull a card." They all start on green and go from there to yellow, orange, then red. Parents have to sign a form if cards are pulled to acknowledge what their child did. Once my son pulled his first card, it was his last. So, I knew a similar system would work well for us at home, too. :) If they are able to stay on green for the entire month, they get to pick a prize from the box. More motivation. :)

I'm hoping the chart continues to work well for us throughout the summer. I may also be adding something like a "consequence jar," full of popsicle sticks with specific consequences on each one (color coded by child). Then they would pick a stick from the jar if they hit red on the chart. This takes the pressure off me to come up with a consequence that might set off another tantrum. They pick it, they do it.

Here is a copy of the chart. It's a 3-page PDF file. The file includes fields that you can fill in for your family name, and your child(ren)'s name(s). Just print on heavier paper, trim around the color part and tape the pieces together. You can hang it anywhere that's easy for the kids to see it! I hope it works for you, too! :)




Monday, March 16, 2015

Ethan is SIX!

Another year has passed, and the first little man to steal my heart is a big six-year-old now. Seriously, SIX years old! Where does the time go?!? We celebrated his birthday over a long span of time this year due to our big move happening in the midst of all of it. He wanted to have a party with his friends from school in Tennessee, so we had a party there about a month before his actual birthday, but before we would be moving. He decided he wanted to have it at a local gym where he had taken a gymnastics class over the summer. So, most of his classmates from school made it to celebrate with a fun Lego Movie-themed party. More about the parties in the next post!


The weekend before his birthday, the Seeley grandparents made their way to our new house in NC (more about that soon, too!) to celebrate with a small party. The weekend after his birthday, the Frank grandparents, Aunt Katie, Uncle Mike, and cousins Jacob, Hannah, Rachel & Lucas came to celebrate his big day. On his birthday, we had a small party for him with our little family and he opened his presents from us. He requested blueberry pancakes for his birthday dinner, so that's what we had! :) It's amusing that blueberry pancakes are what I made him for his 1st birthday dinner because he loved them so much at the time! I guess some things never change! ;)


I took Ethan to his new pediatrician last week for his 6-year well-check. Everything went great and he appears to be right on track with his peers. He gained just over 2.5 pounds over the past year to weigh in at 44.1 pounds (fully clothed), and grew almost 2 inches to measure up at 45.25 inches (without shoes). This puts him down to the 45th percentile for height and 40th percentile for weight. Looking at both figures, he's down to about the 40th percentile for height-to-weight ratio, with a BMI of 15.1. No shots this year, which made him a happy boy! He passed his hearing screen with no problem, but seemed to struggle a bit with his right eye on the vision exam. I'm still hoping he'll maintain Daddy's perfect vision, but I'm not very optimistic at this point. :/

Ethan has grown so much in the past year. Sometimes it's hard to remember that he is still just a kid! He seems so old one minute, then reminds me 
the next minute that he hasn't completely grown up on me. He is a fantastic helper around the house and continues to be a great big brother to Noah and Amos. He is a whiz on the iPad and enjoys playing games like Angry Birds Transformers and Sudoku. He is a big kindergartener this year and it's been awesome to see him excel at school as well. He loves math and science and has been doing a great job reading beginner books! He can spell fairly well, too, so I guess it's time for Daddy and I to stop spelling words we don't want the kids to hear! ;) Haha! With the move to our new state, he started a new school, which is set up differently than school was in TN. He seems to be adjusting well, but I think we're all still getting used to nightly homework!! He does an awesome job completing it with very little assistance and his new teacher said he is right up to par with his classmates, despite coming in to a new system and the common core philosophies. He has mostly adjusted to going to school all day this year (which meant no more naps!), though sometimes he would still doze off on our 30-minute car ride home in TN. He rides the bus home here in NC though, and is loving it. :) He's starting to make new friends and it appears that the move hasn't been too hard on him. He even commented the other day that he loves his new school even more than his old school! That was good to hear!

He has his Daddy's quick wit and direct nature. When asked by the speech therapist at his new school what he had been working on at his old school, Ethan informed her matter-of-factly that, "I'm tired of speech. I was working on 'r,' but I can say it just fine...carrrrrr!" LOL! That boy gets a twinkle in his eye, and you just know that something crazy is about to come next! :) He's ornery, yet sensitive, and looks out for others, especially his little brothers. He is also fiercely independent, prefers to have things his way, and is "always right," which can lead to conflict and butting of heads. I wonder where he gets that? ;) Overall, he's a pretty amazing little guy. Both Josh and I see a lot of ourselves in him and it's fun to discover new traits he possesses as he grows and matures.


I started asking this list of questions to Ethan a couple years ago, to see how they change over the years. Here are this year's questions and answers (if you can't read them in the pic):
  1. What is your favorite color? pink
  2. What is your favorite toy? little Legos
  3. What is your favorite fruit? clementines
  4. What is your favorite TV show/movie? Star Wars and Odd Squad
  5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? peanut butter and honey
  6. What is your favorite outfit? my Ninja turtle shirt with comfy pants
  7. What is your favorite game? Doggyland
  8. What is your favorite snack? blueberry yogurt-covered pretzels
  9. What is your favorite animal? Daisy and Lego
  10. What is your favorite song? Dynamite by Taio Cruz
  11. What is your favorite book? Knock, Knock! Who's There?
  12. Who is your best friend? Carter and Jonah (in Tennessee) and Easton (in North Carolina)
  13. What is your favorite cereal? Fruit Loops
  14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? climb on the firepole
  15. What is your favorite drink? vanilla milk and sweet tea
  16. What is your favorite holiday? Halloween
  17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? fake doggy
  18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? blueberry pancakes
  19. What is your favorite dinner? tomato soup
  20. What do you want to be when you grow up? an "army," cowboy, or singer

As our firstborn, Ethan still continues to keep us on our toes, teach us about kids and how to be parents. He amazes us daily with the things that he says and does and we look forward to what this year will bring with it. Happy 6th birthday, Ethan. We love you!