Friday, June 29, 2012

Ben's Art Party: The Little Artists

All lined up and ready to begin. 
 Taking a break for lunch.
 Showing off their masterpieces.
 A little messy water art before leaving.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Ben's Art Party: A Few More Details and Vendors

I ordered all of the PDF printables for the party from The Celebration Shoppe.  The PDFs were all emailed to me and I printed them off at my local Kinkos.  Such an easy way to pull everything together.
 These cute edible photos of the birthday boy for my "self portrait" cookies were sugar sheets that I got from this cute etsy shop.
My original plan was to get Ben's art work laminated to use as placemats for the lunch table.  But at $4.50/painting, it was obviously not in the cards.  Instead I pinned it all up to our big picture windows in the kitchen to showcase my little budding artist's masterpieces.  I ended up loving this so much more, and Ben felt really special with all of his art work highlighted.
This is a close up of one of the place settings, with another printable from The Celebration Shoppe.
And here is the whole table.  I simply moved the paint cans with fruit from the dessert table to the lunch table when it was time to eat.  I made all the kids pick and eat at least one fruit before they were allowed cake and ice cream- so cruel of me. Ha! : ) 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ben's Art Party: The Activities

I planned four fun artsy stations for Ben and his friends and just kept my fingers crossed that they would a) enjoy them, and b) enjoy them for more than two minutes.  For the most part all were a success.  Most of the kids spent a good amount of time on each station and the timing of the party went almost as planned.  Ben was of course the most difficult one, demanding to move onto the next station before it was time too- but that's to be expected, right?  It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to.
The first station was crayon making.  I had some already made up and left some crayons for the children to peel, break, and place in the mini muffin tins for cooking.  While the crayons were in the oven they got to color this picture of Ben as a little artist, done by Sandy Ford Design.
Then it was on to painting a canvas.  Most of the children really took their time at this station and created beautiful little masterpieces.  

The third station was sand art.  This one brought me back the most to my childhood.  I remember doing cool sand art at carnivals as a kid, and just had to bring it back.  I don't think any of the kids had done it before, so it was a big hit.

The last station was play dough.  I whipped up a quick batch of homemade play dough the night before and rolled them into ten balls.  The kids got to choose a food color to squeeze into their dough and turn it the color of their choice.  Then they each played around for a while with our many play dough tools and stored their dough in a little tin.
 It was such fun throwing a big kid party this year with great participation on behalf of the kids.  It was really rewarding seeing them have such a fun time, plus they got lots of creations to bring home in cute little bags to show mom and dad.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ben's Art Party: The "Dessert" Buffet

Yesterday was Ben's Fourth Birthday party.  I really cannot believe that my baby is four, but I'll write more about that on Tuesday when he actually turns the big 4!  I decided to throw an art party for two reasons: one- Ben really enjoys art.  He always does the art project of the day at school and he's always asking me if we can do something crafty.  And two- because it was an easy way to set up activities to keep the ten little party guests busy and entertained the whole time.
I thought I would break the day up into several posts, and would start first with the "dessert" buffet.  I say "dessert" because most people, especially kids would agree that fruit is not dessert.  But I didn't want to completely hop my friend's kids up on sugar and then send them home.
This table greeted guests right when they came through the door and was a lot of fun to put together.  The first idea I had for the table I thought of nearly a year ago, and that was the cookie art.  I really love how it came together.  I splashed melted colored frosting onto sugar cookies to create a Jackson Pollock effect, which I called "modern art," spread half chocolate and half vanilla frosting onto more sugar cookies to create "black and white" art, spread vanilla frosting and covered it with small round sprinkles for my "pointillism" cookies, and lastly placed an edible image of the birthday boy onto frosted cookies to create a "self portrait."
I thought of the cake idea about a month ago and my friend, Sumiko, delivered on my idea.  She did such a cute job, especially on the chunky paintbrush.  I was not happy with my Duff Food Coloring Markers however, they did not work very well except for the green one, but Ben did a great job creating his little edible masterpiece.  The swirly candles in the paint pallete was a last minute discovery, and I really like how it looked.
It took me a while to decide on what to create for a backdrop for the table.  I looked at a bunch of ideas online but wasn't seeing anything that I loved.  Then I realized it's Ben's art party, why not display his artwork.  Most of the pieces already hang in a display in his room.  I just grabbed a couple additional frames from around the house to add a few more pieces.  So the only thing I had to create was the board to hang them on, which I made from a $5 piece of wood from the hardware store and a $5 piece of colorful fabric.
 I really love how things came together and I think the birthday boy was pretty thrilled to see it when he walked in the door with his grandparents.  I think he especially liked all of his artwork on display here and also in the kitchen and living room.  He kept saying prior to the party how his friends are going to walk in and say "oh, Ben!  You are such a good artist."  And while I didn't hear anyone say it aloud, I'm sure their little minds were thinking it Ben.
More photos to come tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Back is Best

They say that the back is the best position for sleeping babies and of course I obliged.  But now that Jackson learned to roll, he just doesn't seem to care about that little tidbit of advice.

He went from a left side sleeper to a full on belly sleeper and I just can't do anything about it- no matter how many times I flip him back over.
 He doesn't even keep his arms and legs in the vehicle at all times.  I guess he's just a rebel. : )

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Roald Dahl

A couple months ago I decided that it would be fun to start reading chapter books with Ben, and he was excited about the idea too.  I thought what better books to start off with then Roald Dahl.  Ben has seen a few of his books which have been turned into movies and I remember loving reading some of them when I was a kid.  We started with The BFG.  I wondered how well Ben would be able to pay attention, considering the lengthy chapters and lack of pictures.  I had my doubts until he started to talk about things we had read the night before and I realized that although he misses several of the details, he was following the plot line of the story.  Plus we got a good laugh together out of the "whizz poppers."
Returning the BFG back to the library.
It took us about six weeks to read the whole book, reading a chapter every one to two nights depending on its length- making our nightly routine, one picture book (from the library) and a chapter from our "big kid" book.  Now we are a week into Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  He is really excited about this one because he has seen the movies and gets excited when he can guess what is coming up in the next chapter.  My goal is to read all of Roald Dahl's books and then start another series afterwards.  It has been a fun experience and it really makes me realize how grown up Ben is getting- he'll be four on Tuesday!  I can hardly believe it.  Soon he'll be reading to me.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Four-Months-Old (about two weeks ago, oops)

My cute boy turned four-months on May 25th, so yes 2 weeks and 1 day ago.  What a difference one month makes.  For starters Jacky boy really plumped up this month.  He went from the 12% to the 57% in less than two weeks time for weight.  He still is spitting up, but nothing that warranted getting him started on acid reflux medicine.  And now that weight is not an issue anymore, it's not something I foresee putting him on.  I decided to give solid foods a go after his doctor gave me the okay.  I began with rice cereal and attempted this twice, but his poor disgusted face was enough for me to give up on that delicacy.  The Easter Bunny left an apple/carrot mix of squeezy baby food in his basket, so I thought he might enjoy that a little more.  While accompanied with some less than satisfied looking faces, he did swallow some so I kept it up for a few days, until my poor guy got really constipated and his stool turned so hard it brought tears to both his and mine eyes.  I don't know if it was the carrots specifically or solids in general, but I decided to hold off on the solids until he's six-months.  I'm not sure if his little tummy just isn't ready to handle solids yet, or if the constipation is going to be something we will have to deal with at six-months, but I'd rather just wait and tackle it then.
 Jackson is getting stronger by the day.  He can tolerate tummy time for a good while, but because he is so good at rolling out of it, I can't get him to stay on his tummy for very long any more.  He is so close to rolling from his back to his tummy, except for that darn shoulder always gets in his way.
 Laughing is the funniest new development this month.  We could occasionally get him to crack a slight giggle when he was three months, but now we can get a laugh out of him very easily and all the time.  What gets him the most is his tickle spots (under his armpits and his inner thighs- even wiping during diaper changes gets him going).  Funny faces and voices can draw a laugh also.  Ben gets fewer laughs from Jacky than James and I, mostly because his tickling involves him screaming "tickle, tickle" in Jackson's face while poking him in the belly.  Poor kid.
 While Jackson is showing more interest in his toys and can very easily reach out and grab a hold of toys within his reach, his favorite chew toy is his hands.  He's not a thumb sucker or a pointer/middle finger sucker, no he's a whatever he can get in his mouth sucker and chewer.  Sometimes it's one finger, sometimes two, and sometimes it's four knuckles.  He even gags himself doing this sometimes.  Teeth just may be on the horizon, because in addition to the constant chewing on his hands, his face and hands and shirt are usually always covered in drool.
Jackson decided to have a pretty unpredictable month with his sleeping habits.  A few weeks ago he decided the heck with sleeping all night, I feel like waking up once or two times a night now.  For a few days his wake up times were right around 2 am and then again around 5:30 am.  This was a rude awakening for me, and I had to keep reminding myself that most babies his age have been doing this since the day they were born to keep from getting too upset with my usually fantastic sleeper.  After a few days he decided to forego the 2 am wake up and was just awaking around the 5 am timeframe for a quick bed and then back to sleep.  The last few days that was pushed back to about 6:30, so fingers crossed he's got all the kinks worked out and this will be the new norm.  Besides from this slight sleep issue, our Jackson has been nothing but a sweet, content, and happy baby.  He smiles at everyone when we are out and about from his stroller and it always makes them so happy I just don't have the heart to tell them he does it to everyone.

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Fair Day

Yesterday I met my sister, niece, and parents at the fair for some good old fashioned fun.  Ben had no fear this year on any rides and went down the jumbo slide with my dad about six times.  Once was enough for me.  The babies got their first carousel ride, although the guy made us ride with them in the carriage, but of course we got some pics of them on the horses before the ride began.  Jackson majorly spit up.  Maybe he's going to take after his dad and not be able to handle rides.  Or maybe he just spit up again like he always does.  : )  Craziest thing ever about the fair.  They had a sea lion show with three sea lions.  Can you imagine, a traveling sea lion show.  Crazy.  Here's some pics of the fun day.
  Looking forward to many more fun days this summer with my three boys!