"So this is spring break."
"Funny. It's not how it looked in the brochures."
- Pacey and Joey - Dawson's Creek

Where Was I?

Oh yeah, birthday parties. Okay, even I am getting a bit sick of the birthday posts. But you idea poachers rest assured there are many more great ideas to pilfer. I'm going to make a few slide shows and finish those posts up next week. K?

So the girls' Spring Break officially started this morning. And damned if they weren't both up and running at 7:00am when I drug my ass out of bed in search of the delicious quiche I could smell from my bedroom. Hubby was making food to take to a work pot-luck (they have them like once a month) and he made an extra quiche for me, which I may or may not have already eaten 3/4ths of. Doesn't matter the entire thing will be gone by the time he gets home. Have I mentioned my love of quiche? No? Well I do, I love quiche. Come to think of it I love eggs in most forms. Except deviled eggs, because I hate pickles more than I love eggs. Oh my god, are ya'll even going to keep reading after that revelation? I think I just sunk to an all time low here at Casa de Pete.

Anyway, an hour and a half in and 3/4ths of a quiche later, we have one injury requiring a Littlest Pet Shop Bandaid, Webkinz abandoned on the computer, tv left on with crappy cartoons and a missing remote so I can't turn it off (the power button on the tv fell off from overuse and the remote is the only alternative) and now the kids are out back. Well, at least they are playing together and no on is crying yet. Whew, it's going to be a long week.

Our plans for the week include the cold community pool, me working two mornings, two day trips to the beach and um yeah, that's pretty much it. Stay-cation my ass, sounds like almost every other week of the year to me. Remember last year? No? Well, I hardly do either. But I vaguely recall a road trip and lots and lots of food. Damn, wish I hadn't unearthed those posts, now I'm really depressed. That's what comes after the recession right? Depression.

One last thing...if you haven't already (and those of you who have, THANK YOU!) take a minute and VOTE for my friend in the Name Your Dream Assignment contest, voting ends April 3rd.

The light at the end of the tunnel?!

My baby is 6. Today! I KNOW! I can't believe it myself.

And we survived another Birthday Party! Saturday Brookie had 5 friends plus a sibling over to celebrate her 6th birthday. We only had RSVPs for 4, but had invited 8 so we had plenty to share with everyone. Whew!

The night before the girls colored lots of Littlest Pet Shop pictures and hung them all over the house. It was a great and cheap way to decorate! And as you may remember getting decorations for this party was not easy.

The cake that Dad made.

Brooke told him exactly what she wanted and he made it.
The coins and yellow road make it look JUST like the Littlest Pet Shop game she loves to play.

Everything but the LPS figurines, candles and the foil wrappers on the coins is edible.
And it's cute from EVERY side.
Dad is getting pretty good at the fondant. And he makes it with marshmallows, so it tastes good too!

First the kids decorated "doggie bags" brown lunch bags, which were for the goodies they would take home from the party. This has become a staple in our party planning. We have the kids decorate their own bag while we wait for everyone to arrive. Cheap, easy, fun and time filler.

Playing "Doggie, Doggie, where's your bone? Someone took it from your home."
They also played a rousing game of animal charades and toss the bone in the dog dish, with graham cracker bones they got to eat!
Pin the tail on the Pony. Painting courtesy of daddy.
Lunch was served from dog dishes.
Puppy Kibble = chicken poppers and pretzel nibblers
Cat Chow = "goldfish" (crackers) and "mice" (cheese in the shape of Mickey Mouse)

With fruit and veggies for the little bunnies.
Happy Birthday to Brooke.

A sampling of the goodies that went home in the doggie bags.
They each got a Littlest Pet Shop toy, Littlest Pet Shop Box of Bandaids (which were declared the greatest idea EVAH) Littlest Pet Shop magnets and Littlest Pet Shop Coloring book.

This makes us one down and one to go on birthday parties for 2009! And now I am enjoying my only 2 days of doing nothing for awhile. Spring Break starts Friday. Ahhhh!

To pimp out an old friend. Because what good is a blog if you can't help out a friend every now and again?

See these amazing photographs?

Voodoo Pilgrimage, Haiti

Coyote, Bodie, California

Lost Coast, California

They were all taken by this guy.

Micheal Robertson.

Who just happens to be an old friend of mine from junior high school. I lost track of a lot of my friends from Lakeland because we moved right before I started high school. But thanks to the internet we recently connected on that black hole of time Facebook. And yes, ladies, he's always been that good looking, and a nice guy to boot.

Anyway, these days he owns his own company Global Eye Photography. Seriously go check out more of his photos, he is amazingly talented. And he has the coolest job ever!

Now that you know Mike, I'd like to ask you, my few but oh so faithful readers to do me, and in turn Mike a favor. It will only take a few minutes but could mean so much to so many. Mike has entered a photography contest of sorts. What is it you ask? Well, it is a contest for photographers of all backgrounds. They’re looking for the most creative, inspiring photo shoot idea out there. The photographer with the winning idea will win $50,000 to bring his or her dream assignment to life.

Click on over to the Name Your Dream Assignment Contest to read about Mike's inspiration.

"Climate Refugees: The Human Toll of Global Warming

What will we do with 100 million people whose land has disappeared? We must see the children, snake charmers, shipbreakers, and honey hunters of Bangladesh, the first victim of rising water levels, to compassionately address this adversity.

My dream is to spend time with the Bangladeshi, collecting images that can be used to inspire governments to act responsibly about climate refugees."

From March 3 to April 3, 2009, the ideas will be open to a public vote. The Top 20 ideas with the most “pics” coming out of the vote will then be judged by an expert panel, who will select the winner based on the originality and creativity of the photographer’s idea. The panel will also take into consideration skill and experience.

Now you do have to sign up for an account to vote, but it only takes a minute. Think of the amazing photos Mike could take and the impact they could have. Go now and Vote. Please and Thank you!

ps If you feel so inclined you may "borrow" the photo/button in my sidebar and link to his entry for the contest on your blog too. Every vote counts!

Alternate working title? Luck of the Irish My Ass.

Please excuse the interruption in the series of "My Birthday Parties Rock" posts yesterday. But as you may have noticed I had a bad St. Patty's Day. Not because it was St. Patty's day, but because I had to resort to selling my soul in order to pay for express shipping for Littlest Pet Shop party supplies. Yes, I should've started looking before, but I knew they made plates and napkins and all sorts of useless crap with the LPS plastered all over just for kid's parties. I saw them in catalogs and online. So I figured they'd be all over in stores too. NOT.SO.MUCH.

Today, right now, I should be cleaning in anticipation of the rugrats coming on Saturday. Which by the way, um, do parents not RSVP anymore? Or are all my kid's friends imaginary? Yeah, so not motivated to begin cleaning yet as I know my kids will just make more messes when they get home. I know it will get done, I always finish mopping before... um, as guests knock on the front door.

So, me? I am procrastinating. Which means, yep you guessed it. More party pictures. Just a little note, the parties are completely over the top, but we really don't buy much at all in the way of presents, the girls know the party is their present so to speak. Also, my parties rock, but my house is almost always a disaster of epic proportions. Some of us have beautifully squeaky clean houses, some of us host a great party. It's good to play up your strengths I say.

Breanna's 5th year was all about Kim Possible. We changed venues and held the party in our community clubhouse. A really big nice room, and a kitchen, we only had to pick up afterwards, but costs $$ to rent, now more than when we first moved in, so this was a one time deal.
The kids played some game which I know we cleverly named, but can not remember so many years later, where they knocked over Kim and her friends with glowy bouncy balls. It was a huge hit.

DNAnimal Toss. Hubby painted DNAmy and we bought these horrible cheap stuffed animals from Oriental Trading which looked a bit like their DNA was off.
Pin the tail on Rufus. We always try to pin on something.
They had Bueno Nachos for lunch and then "Taco" cake, all chocolate and cookie. YUM!
They also got to take home glowy balls and DNA animals. I know their parents loved me. *

At 6 she wanted to camp out in the back yard. We weren't ready for a backyard full of crying kindergarteners at midnight. So we invited everyone to Day Camp.

They fed the bear to keep him happy. How tiny and cute is Brookie at 2 years?
Ate their beans and franks in tents.Had a log campfire cake.
And of course toasted marshmallows.
They took home flash lights, binoculars and compasses.

...to be continued. If I survive the week.

* I can't believe I haven't been telling about the take homes. I HATE goodie bags full of candy, so I don't do them. But the kids always have something fun to take home. The sock hop was blow up guitars and shades. Pirate party: swords, and booty in the form of mardi gras beads and other plastic jewelry. Outer Space: "moon" rocks aka geodes, and something else great I'm sure. Oy my memory of this party is so bad, nursing baby and all.

Shortly after, as in like a month and 5 days, not that I was counting or anything, I gave birth to Brookie bear it was time for Breanna's 4th birthday. I can honestly tell you I barely remember it myself. Maybe because I was off nursing a baby most of the time. Anyway it was an outer space party and I hear the kids had fun.

3 kid sized rockets, courtesy of daddy's handiwork.
Recycling at it's finest! Space helmets and oxygen tanks from painted milk jugs and two liter bottles.
Pin the rocket on the moon.
The kids hunted for hidden "moon" rocks, they got to take home. I'm sure all their parents were thrilled we sent home geodes for them to crack open.
It's hard to see unless you click to make bigger, but there were little tiny plastic "space" rovers on each cupcake.

Geez, we are only to 4. I have 5 more parties for Breanna and 4 more for Brooke to share. We'll see how many I get to this week, as I will be preparing for Brooke's 6th Birthday party Saturday.

help me....

Inside every older person is a younger person -
wondering what the hell happened.
- Cora Harvey Armstrong

For Breanna's first 3 birthdays she was an only child. And baby we made a big deal out of those birthdays.

Her second birthday was a sock hop. She loved to dance, so I figured that was the built in entertainment. When she was little we were part of a huge playgroup. And we invited everyone. NOT to our tiny little 1000sq ft. house. Instead we had her parties at the church in the fellowship hall. It was perfect. One big room, a kitchen, kid sized and regular tables and chairs readily available. And best of all we only had to clean up when it was all over.

How freakin cute are toddlers in poodle skirts?
Daddy made an old convertible for Bre and her boyfriend to cruise in.
Old time photo cut outs courtesy of dad too.
They had Krystal burgers (just their size) french fries and milk shakes.

For birthday #3 the playgroup was anxious awaiting us to top the sock hop party. Breanna had been to Sea World many times that spring and was obsessed with the Sea Lion and Otter show which at that time was about Pirates. And being an only child, what she wanted, she got!
The little pirates fished for toys. And could get pirate tattoos.
They played our Pirate version of hot potato and got beads when they ended up with the Gator. No one was "out" note all the beaded kiddos. For some reason I have no pictures of the kiddie pool full of sand that they dug through to find pirate booty. The church kids enjoyed that activity for months after the party.Pirate ship cake, by daddy.And the ultimate party activity? Playing in the kid sized pirate ship daddy built. It had a working cannon too!

I warned you we host kick-ass kid's parties! Come back next week when I will continue with the birthday madness.

Seems like just yesterday and yet a million years ago. I had babies. I thought they were so big when they turned one, were mastering the drunken sailor walk and sprouting little tiny teeth.

Breanna the first child. All things in her room and her birthday party revolved around Pooh. As in Winnie the. I love Winnie the Pooh so both girls actually had Pooh rooms as newborns. Then they got their own ideas.

Anyway, the first child? She did not have sugar of any kind until about 18months. Her 1st birthday cake? Carrot cake made with applesauce. Hey, quit laughing, we've since become normal, approximately when I gave birth to child number 2. And Breanna didn't know any better she LOVED that cake!

Entertainment at her party? Family, helium ballons, and grandma's community pool. Fun and naps after lunch were had by all.
Brooke's first birthday was Strawberry Shortcake.
Why? Because I caught her doing this the first time she was given fresh strawberries!
Of course the entertainment at her party were her big sister and Breanna's neighborhood friends. I don't think Brooke had any actual friends that weren't somehow connected to her sister until pre-school.
She had lots of help opening her packages.
At least she got her very own piece of strawberry shortcake with a candle on it.

More birthday reminising to follow...

No not Easter. Nope not Spring. In our house March and April are birthday season. Brooke's birthday is at the end of March and Breanna's the end of April. In these two months my MIL and BIL, my father and mother and my niece all celebrate their birthday's too. But really that is secondary, because we are busy in the midst of the PARTY PLANNING. See we tend to be overachievers in all things Birthday Party. They all know and understand this. In fact the in-laws that live close are expected... um, called upon to help out on the day of the parties.

Of course 9 years ago (okay really 8 years ago, since the first year party is just for family and friends seeing as the guest of honor still poops in their pants and naps after lunch) when we started hosting these legendary themed kid's parties we only had one child. With two, some years are more elaborate for one than for the other. We don't alternate years, it really just depends on the themes they choose. And yes, they choose. Sometimes they can be led, read Breanna takes suggestions. Other times they are staunch in their ideas and will not relent, read Brooke wants a Littlest Pet Shop party and daddy can not change her mind. See he... um, we prefer not to be boxed into a certain toy or character. We're old school. We like to build and paint things, not just buy the licensed products from overpriced party stores. We already buy plenty of goodies anyway. So I had to nicely remind him when he balked at the LPS idea that Breanna's 5th Birthday was Kim Possible and it turned out great.

This year Breanna's sports and games party is being planned, games are currently being built, park pavilion deposit is paid and it's Brooke's birthday that is less than 2 weeks away. Over the weekend, daddy, against his will, was forced to throw together a LPS invite and print it on the computer. With a little creative touch the invites are done and delivered. I purchased some LPS advent calendars on clearance I found at Walmart, they included 3 animals possibly for the goodie bags. Beats the $6 a piece those damned plastic foot torture implements normally cost. And that is it! I have nothing planned, nothing bought, nothing made. Let me repeat party is in 10 days and I have virtually NOTHING! Oh and my house is a disaster. Plus we will be out of town this weekend for BIL's birthday BBQ. I'm thinking a pin the tail on some LPS animal, there might even already be a poster in munchkin's room we can use. Toss some of her millions of LPS toys on top of a cake, or maybe the ones we are giving them on cupcakes. Genius. Maybe coloring sheets? Shit, I better get moving.

So the point of this post got lost on the way. Imagine that. Shiny, shiny, pretty, pretty. I was originally going to tell you a bit about each party we've done so far. Including last year's. Because last year is a sore spot between me and hubby. Now I realize there are way too many cute old photos to that I want to share to fit into this post. So I've decided I'm going to post them over the next several days. Then you all will see why it pisses me off to NO END when my hubby questions the girls about last year's parties.

Now I really should try to think of something to entertain 5 to 10 six year olds for 3 hours next Saturday.

This week's challenge is brought to you by Tink's Blog Bot. The words were Nine and Desire.

She is Nine and it was her Desire to go to the pool on March 9th. No it's not heated. Yes it was freezing. But the kids swam anyway. I sat in a chair in the shade and played with my iPhone.

My Desire?
To live here.

And enjoy this
Maybe someday... for now I'll have to settle for a week each summer.

At twenty we worry about what others think of us; at forty we don't care about what others think of us; at sixty we discover they haven't been thinking about us at all.

Normally I do my big weekly grocery shopping at one of the two chain stores within 10 miles of my house depending on the sales. Okay, half the time I just wing it and pick up some crap I think we need and a bunch of junk for the girl's lunches and call it a day after I finish working. All you uber-organized coupon clippers are welcome to tell me about how much money I am wasting. Here's the thing, I know. But damn my kids have some kind of worm and insist upon being fed 3 meals a day PLUS snacks. And I seriously hate to grocery shop, so I can not motivate myself to do more than the minimum needed most days. Hey, you stimulate the economy your way, I'll do it mine.

So a couple of weeks ago hubster wanted to make these delicious, nutritious, good for us chicken enchiladas we haven't had in a long time. We are trying to make an effort to eat better around here, but that's a whole 'nother post. Anyway, they only sell the green chile enchilada sauce at that big super store that is WallyWorld. Oh Joy. This face? Right here. My over the moon face.*

See I HATE grocery shopping, but I do love to shop for nothing and everything at a discount store. To me finding a good bargain is better than any drug induced high. Which is why I avoid WallyWorld and the Red Dot store unless I actually have something to shop for. Lack of self control, who?

So when they plop a grocery store in a discount store, my head spins. I want my grocery store drudgery and fun shopping separated. ** Because I CAN NOT skip all the fun stuff and just grocery shop there. You know why? They put health and beauty products on one side of the store and the food on the opposite side of the acre wide amusement park of possible deals to good to pass up. Did I mention, lack of self control?

Then you know what happens? I find whole chickens for $4. Dude, I don't even know what to do with a whole chicken, but I had to have one for that price. Maybe that's the root of my aversion to all things grocery shopping related, I really don't know how to cook. I can throw a few different meals together, but my hubby is the main cook around here.

Also, I might have ADD.

Back to shopping. That $4 chicken, who's butt hubby shoved a beer can up, was so yummy that I was somehow moved to visit WallyWorld again today. Only problem is my great deal of a $4 chicken is negated by the pile of goodies I didn't need in my cart. Today I'm looking at you, Think Green glittered St. Patty's day t-shirt. Damn the bright and shiny always distracts me. Have I mentioned the ADD?

So we'll agree to just chalk up these extra purchases to me doing my part to stimulate the economy. Okay?

*Anyone know what tv show that quote is from? Hint: It's not on anymore.

**Yes we do have Walmart Marketplaces here. But they are not super close or on my everyday routes so I have to plan ahead if I'm going to shop there. And ya'll already know about lack of organizational skills in all things domestic.

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