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Puppy Party

28 Apr

As you may know little dude turned 4 this month, and today marked the arrival of his long awaited Puppy Party. I am remiss to say that this was his first solo birthday party (mean mommy makes him share with his brother…), but justify it with the knowledge that he won’t remember much of those years anyway. It’s how I live with myself.

With parties growing bigger and better every year in our neighborhood, I asked the little guy with trepidation a couple of months ago what he wanted to do to celebrate. He waffled for a week or two, as four year olds are prone to do, then stated definitively that he wanted a puppy party. And pink cake. So with the help of google I made it happen. When I had envisioned how today would look I dreamed of a throwback to the simpler days. The times when a birthday party meant some kids, some parents, and some cake in the front yard. Bam, done. So that’s what we did. Well, that plus 10 puppies.

On my end the goal was simplicity, and, hallelujah, Idunnit! I even had time to enjoy little dude’s buddies from school and a group of beautifully interesting parents, all wrapped up in one wholesome afternoon. And energy on top of that to share pics the very same day? Miraculous! I may even get to thank-you notes this afternoon…ah who am I kidding. I’m totally napping instead.

Still, this must be the kind of party that bears repeating, maybe even year after year. If he’s lucky.

The cupcakes

The candy

Gorgeous custom cupcake toppers by The Paper Perfectionist!

This makes me smile.

The party

Old fashioned refreshments


Dog chow (aka: coco puffs)

Chew Stix

Hot Dogs


The puppies (look mom, no rabies!)

Mama painted faces. That’s one happy pup.

The Pup-cakes!

Four years old…really, so soon?

Birthday song. My favorite part.

Adopt-a-Puppy station…snuggle. This is the little man in his happy place.

After party swim for the birthday boy.

Somebody put a fork in that kid – he is DONE!

So I have to give credit where credit is due and thank Val Marini, The Paper Perfectionist, for her wonderful cupcake toppers, banners, party favor tags (which went around the adopted puppies necks), and thank-you cards. And apparently my mom knows as well as y’all do that I don’t do dishes…so she did them all for me. Mom, you are really somethin’. Thank-you. And also my bestie who took the kids post-party for a sleepover. Whaaat? And another friend is picking me up tonight to head out to a really loud concert! My favorite kind.

Really, this could be the best day ever. Happy birthday buddy. I love you so crazy much.

An earthy Easter

7 Apr

As a kid growing up in the mountains of Big Tujunga Canyon we used to have a hippie tradition that was so wonderfully wholesome it set me up for Easter disappointment for the rest of my adult life. Nothing can compare to the warm spring evenings and homemade root beer that drove all of us kids running in the direction of our friend’s horse property half a mile down the road. Right before dusk the whole neighborhood would convene to help the kids tie leaves and grass around our eggs with twine, and then boil them in a cauldron of bubbling onion peels. After they were cool we would carefully cut the string free from our packages and press back each strand of grass until a fluffy nest had formed around our precious eggs. As a by-product the eggs were left with the most delicate shadowy patterns of whatever leaves imprinted upon their shells, and we all felt like the grand creators of something very, very special.

This year I realized, rather to my own surprise, that I had yet to share this experience with my boys. Perhaps it was time. And lucky for me a dear friend happened to forward a post from which included suggestions for dyeing eggs naturally. So this afternoon the boys and I donned aprons for our first attempt at an old tradition. Although I fudged a few details here and there (trading cheesecloth for wild grasses and coffee for root beer…) I am happy to say the results were various hues of yummy neutrals, and between picking leaves from the garden and chowing down on the fruits of our labors the boys and I most definitely succeeded in bringing back the old days. Can’t wait for next year to do it all over again. Read on for how-to!

Boiling spinach and onion peels to make dye. Next year I'll skip the spinach as it didn't provide the pop of color I was hoping for.

Big bro steeps black tea.

All geared up for the main event!

Add 1 tablespoon white vinegar per cup of dyeing liquid.

Collect greenery to imprint onto your eggs. I found that ferns worked best, but cilantro, parsley, and any other small leaves from your yard will work as well.

Wrap cheesecloth around egg and leaves, and secure with a rubber band.

Happy kid!

Place wrapped eggs into bowls of dye and let steep for about 10 minutes.

Little bro snacks on the job.


Papa takes a break to wrangle the lizard friend that joined us in the kitchen...

Little bro releases our new buddy back into the wild.

Back to business just in time to take the eggs out. Dyes made of boiled turmeric, boiled frozen blueberries, boiled yellow onion peels, grape juice, and black tea.

The finished product! This pic makes me happy.

Happy Easter, friends. Boom Shakalaka Boom Boom.

Handmade holiday

7 Dec

The weekend after Thanksgiving we hunkered down in front of the fireplace with some string, colored pencils, scissors, and card stock, and made some new Christmas decorations for our home this year. Then I boxed up half of our decorations from years past and shoved hubby out the door to Goodwill. The result: a wonderfully charming and handmade collection of holiday cheer. Just what we were hoping for this time around.


One proud big brother. Notice the family of 4 red nosed reindeer on the wall above his head, carefully drawn and labeled as dad, mom, big bro, and little bro.

Pennant flags *glee* hand decorated by the boys. And in the reflection, our happy mismatched stockings.

More happy, more mismatch…

The dining room fireplace. And more pennant flags!

And of course the tree.

Flags, wish envelope, and star.

The sweet ceramic angel that my dad made as a kid. I think I might have the boys re-create this one next year.

~ Be inspired this holiday season, friends! Then share with the group. I’d love to see what you’re cooking up this year. ~