Happy Birthday, Eliana!

On Tuesday, our sweetest girl turned FIVE years old! She was a huge grouch the night before and was boycotting birthdays, parties and anything else we suggested but after a good night’s sleep, she was on board with having a special day:)

Her brothers pooled together their money to buy her a little Lego Friends set and they were beyond excited to give it to her. I have serious suspicions that they woke her up just so they could have her open it! She didn’t seem to mind too much.

We did school and other small things in the day but that evening we took her out to eat! She had such a good time, except for when they servers showed up with a candle in some cookies and yelled out a happy birthday song for the whole restaurant to hear! She was seriously mortified. I can only imagine what it would have been like if she was a teenager:) (hey, I’ll have to remember that!)

Today, we finally had her birthday party! She has had her guest list set since the spring and changed the theme from Frozen, to Princess to Ballerina in the mean time. She settled on a Ballerina party and it was SO fun! I love planning a party and coming up with ideas but I am a huge procrastinator and then I dread the party. Then I love it while it’s happening and after it’s over. I’m weird like that!

The table was set with pink and purple (and a splash of yellow!), fitting colors for ballerinas!

I served little cups with berries, pretzels sticks, pink lemonade and homemade vanilla cupcakes with buttercream frosting. As I am delving more and more into “cleaner eating,” I am shying away from products with food dyes in them. So after a little research, I found out that blueberries make a beautiful purple color!

I just simmered a cup of blueberries and 1/2 cup of water in a pan for about 10 minutes, stirring often. Then I poured the blueberry juice through a mesh strainer and pressed the berries until all the juice was out and let it cool. I added it to my buttercream frosting and voila! So pretty!

Some of our decorations:) Ballerina snowflake/origami!

Someone was very excited to finally have guest arriving!!

She invited 5 little girls, ranging between the ages of almost 3 1/2 and 6 years old. (one of the little sisters was too shy to take part in the picture!) They all came in their best tutus and ballet outfits!

Beautiful Ballerinas!

First I did a little craft with the girls so it would have time to dry during the party. I had cut out paper leotards before hand in shades of pink and purple. We glued them on white paper and painted their hands and made handprints for tutus.

It was a big hit and turned out SO cute!

I love how each little girls’ was different and beautiful!

Next, we went into the living room for a little ballerina story. I read, “Ella Bella Ballerina and Cinderella.” (Ella Bella books are very cute for those who love ballet!)

Love those listening faces:)

We had soft Nutcracker music playing in the background and I turned it up for some ballet dancing! Eliana led the girls in some stretches first:)

Then they twirled and danced to their heart’s content!

I copied off of something they do in E’s ballet class and pulled out a little stuffed animal to have the girls jump over. Big hit!

Love her face:) There were LOTS of pictures taken during this time but most were blurry action shots so I’ll spare you! We also played, “Ballerina Says” (instead of Simon says) which was so much fun. I started it and then some of the girls wanted to be “Ballerina” and lead the game.

Next we had cupcake time!

Love, love this picture! Isn’t she precious?

Blowing the candles out! The girls munched for a little bit and then we corralled them into the living room again for presents! (not hard to do at a party!)

 Surrounded!

Another Lego Friends set!

She got lots of fun things from her friends and cousin! Then we asked all the girls to turn around so we could surprise Eliana with her big present from us, my mom and stepdad and Ben’s mom.

Surprise!

A new play kitchen!! It was so cute to see all 6 girls crowding around having so much fun. We could hardly tear them away! Until….. Wait til you see the next part. My friend’s husband happens to own and operate a very cool local business. He just happened to stop by and offered to do something special for the party….

Ah!! He set up a princess bounce house in our backyard!! (Oh, how much I love having a backyard!!!) I mean seriously, this was the icing on the cake.

We told the girls there was a special surprise in the backyard and brought them in the kitchen.

Love their faces when we opened the door! They all screamed and ran outside:)

What followed was ballerina/princess mania!

Our happy birthday girl:) I’m pretty sure we’ll never top this so that means I don’t have to throw another party again, right???

My friend’s adorable little girl!

Say, “Ballerina!!” What a fun party. It is a joy to be surrounded with family and friends, who take the time to help you celebrate your sweet kids. We are so thankful tonight!

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Busy Life!

It is a beautiful sunny day here and we just finished school! Some days we get done sooner and other days we fit school in and around errands or visitors, of which we had 3 today! Most of the time, visitors are a welcome break!!

Here is a picture of our cute house!! We really are loving it here. The space is so nice and is just working better for us, all the way around. The only thing that is bugging me is that we are trying to locate the source of an unpleasant rotten egg smell. The landlords had the plumber out but it hasn’t been fixed yet. Hopefully soon!  

This is the only picture I have taken of the inside so far:) We are still finishing up unpacking a few last boxes, finding homes for belongings and hanging up pictures. It is really starting to look like a home! Our home;) This is a picture of one wall in the bathroom, where we have tons of built in storage! This takes the place of a hall closet, which we don’t have. I do like the large bathroom a lot.

We had a chance to go apple picking the day after our move briefly. We were really tired but we absolutely cannot pass up a chance to get fresh apples! We may possibly have gone twice this year:)

Cute Mr. Z!

Samuel pretending to eat an apple to make daddy jealous!

Cutie Patootie!

My mom adores her apples, too!

This was the first apple picking. It was much warmer that day!

Zakkai enjoyed trying to climb up to find the most perfect apples!

Checking out how tall everyone is! (or isn’t….:)

Getting taller….

And taller!! This kid is catching up to me quickly!

We have a cute backyard to mow now. We were able to get an old push mower at an auction for $6! Zakkai LOVES to mow the lawn and begs to do so any chance he gets. This was the day we got it and he seriously spent at least an hour mowing that day:)

Z letting Eliana help:)

Mr Z also belt-tested last week for his green belt!

He did really well and is very proud of his new belt (which he was about to receive in this pic!) He is starting some new fun things with this next belt, including using sticks for special routines. We are so thankful that he has the opportunity to do this!

We have officially entered the “busy season” of our life. We were in denial for awhile, fooling ourselves into thinking it was temporary but we looked at each other this past weekend and said, “I think it’s going to be this way for the next several years!” (possibly with a sigh and a groan!

Between settling in to our new place, school, TKD, baseball, ballet, and Awana, our days and evening are really full. We may or may not be looking forward to the end of baseball season so we can have a couple of our weeknights back again. Thank the Lord for fall and winter!!

Remind me I said this when we are knee-deep in snow in a few months:)

New House!

We are all moved in and finally got our internet hooked up today! As much as I try not to be too techy-internety, it is amazing how hard it is to live without!

We are settling in little by little. We even hung our first thing on the wall yesterday:) One very good sign about this place is that we are rapidly giving away/recyling our boxes. A year ago when we moved, I saved every single box that was salvageable! We all really love it here and can’t wait to show pictures:)

One crazy thing we have done is to put all three kids in the SAME room!! It is a huge room so Eliana has her own cute girly corner and the boys have their stinky boys corner. (Hey, boys really are stinky!!) They all  LOOOOVE it! Eliana so much that it’s hard to get her to go to sleep. But that’s really not a new thing with her…..She was super lonely in her old bedroom and would constantly say, “Mommy, I’m all alone in here with just my elephants and Hoppy and my stuffed animals and no persons!”

We are using the 3rd bedroom as our study/school room! We have some adorable old fashioned school desks that my mom got for the kids and our bookshelves and it is really wonderful. It is so much better than having it in our kitchen!

The layout of our new-to us (but really old!) house is much better than our last place. It has really cool nooks and crannies and built in shelves and cabinets, which I just love. We have adjusted really easily so far to having just one bathroom. That’s right folks, just one bathroom for all five of us! It’s a huge bathroom and has lots of storage and I am thrilled to pieces to not have to clean three bathrooms anymore:)

We are trying to get back into school routines and life routines again. Everything gets thrown so out of whack when you move! This is going to be a good change for us, I think. We are very thankful! Pictures soon!