Amy Beth

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Train birthday party

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I don’t remember a lot of big themed birthday parties as a kid. There was the party at the roller rink, the 8-year-old slumber party, some other small gatherings with cake and games. I also don’t recall ever being disappointed with any of these celebrations. There was cake! There were some happy streamers strewn about! There were presents! I was a happy little girl.

But times have changed, and now every child gets a meticulously planned party from the very beginning. I understand. As parents we want our child’s birthday to feel special, magical even. We love them dearly and don’t they deserve it? But then again, a stressed out mommy does not a happy birthday make. So one must find the balance. Three years in I feel like I’ve hit upon a pretty good balance for me. There is cake! There are happy streamers strewn about! There are presents! And on top of that there may be just a couple of themed activities to match the cake and streamers. And of course, there is a very happy little boy.

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This year we had a train themed party. The balance was found with a duplo train set and some nice train car printables.

The cake

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I saw some cute examples on pinterest of cupcake trains. I decided that was what I would make without really thinking through the whole turning the cupcakes into train cars part. The day before the party I made the cupcakes (Funfetti, from a box) and realized I should probably figure that part out. I didn’t really want to craft individual train cars from cardboard with ritz cracker wheels so I rummaged around the house to see what I could find. And then I remembered! Charlie got a Duplo train set for Christmas! Cupcakes would fit on that! Easy Peasy. And Charlie loved it. I think he wishes I served all his food on his train now.

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The activities

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Pin the tail on the donkey is a classic party game. Pin the train on the railroad track is just as exciting. I painted a simple railroad track on a large piece of paper, then printed and cut out these train cars. A piece of tape on each and a blindfold made for a quick and easy game. Charlie wanted to play it twice. Success!

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We also did a painting project that I failed to take pictures of. I printed out a train engine and then just cut some paper into smaller rectangles. We painted each rectangle and called it a car for the train. Eventually I’ll find a way to put those on the wall in his room (He still has his abstract car track painting up from last year).

The Caveat

The one thing missing in all these birthday parties is other kids his age. So far all his parties have just been small family affairs. One day I’ll need to get up the nerve to invite other small children over. Hopefully I’ll still be able to maintain the balance when that happens (insert slightly overwhelmed but hopeful emojii here).


Other birthday parties:

1 Year Old – Rainbow Party

2 Years Old – Cars Party

Monday, April 13, 2015

Documenting the Snow

We got so much snow this year! It was crazy. And it definitely needs to be remembered. Enter my Project Life album.

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Since switching to a 12×12 album I was able to fit the story of our snow days into one spread.

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Left side – design A

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Right side – design B

I’m happy with the way these turned out. I really like the look of spreads that all come from one day or event. It makes the whole page look a lot more cohesive. I’d like to try to do more of these types of spreads in the future.


Resources:

12×12 American Crafts Album

Becky Higgins Photo Pocket Pages – Big Variety Pack

Amy Tangerine Mini Kit

Saturday, April 11, 2015

These Days // 14

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High five for… late Saturday night! Some weeks I just can’t get in a moment to write my Friday posts. This week has been full, but good. Here’s what’s been going on these days:

loving: the warm spring days. They’ve come with a lot of rain as well, but the warm sunshine in-between storms has been worth it. And it’s given us a few good puddles to splash in.

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watching: lots of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. When I first heard about this show I was confused. A funny cop show? But it is indeed funny, and about cops. Watching it gives me similar enjoyable feelings as I got from watching The Office back in the day. So if that’s not a recommendation, I don’t know what is.

planting: some flowers in the front flower bed. We got a couple of hyacinths from a friend at church, some violets from my Aunt Barbara’s funeral, and then I tried transplanting a few irises from the side of the house. I’m interested to see if any of these things live.

celebrating: Easter! We kept it pretty low key this year, but still managed to include some fun egg dying, some easter egg hunts, and the worst deviled eggs ever.

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Easter eggs

planning: some new pieces to go on our walls. Hopefully these projects will get done soon and I’ll be able to share them on the blog.

getting: out of the house! This week has included trips outside the house to go to church, the playground, a friend’s house, the grocery store, and the mall. Not to mention a few walks! That’s some major activity for this family of homebodies. What’s even more impressive is that at least a few of those outings involved me going out with both children at once! Without my husband to help me! It has given me the sliver of confidence I needed to attempt that more often. Maybe one day we’ll go to the library, or Target, or (super excited about this one!) Hobby Lobby!

I hope your spring has sprung and you are soaking it in! Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Book Review: All the Light We Cannot See

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I have to say, I started the 2015 Reading Challenge with a good one. Chris and I chose “a book that is currently on the best-seller list” as the first category of the challenge to complete. I went with All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I had no great expectations for it. It was just one of the few books on the list that didn’t seem to center on a murder or crime, so that’s what I picked.

The story is set in Europe during WWII and is told from the perspectives of two different characters – children really – who come of age during the height of WWII. The first is a blind French girl who flees Paris during the Nazi invasion with her father who may or may not be in possession of a cursed diamond. The second is a German orphan boy who escapes his fate of working in the coal mines when his gift at working with radios and mechanics awards him a spot at a prestigious school for the Hitler Youth.

The 500 some pages in the book go by quickly. It’s an easy read, but definitely not fluff. The chapters are short and go back and forth between the girl and the boy, the beginning of the war and the end. It was fascinating to watch the story unfold and reveal how these two separate lives would intersect.

At one point near the end of the book I told Chris that either there was going to be some kind of miracle, or everyone was going to die. It turned out to have some of both. There was a bit of the miraculous. There was a bit of the sad. Some people lived and some people died. Everyone came out of the war with some scars. But many also learned how very strong they could be.

If you’re looking for a book to read, I would definitely recommend this one.

Monday, April 6, 2015

A few adjustments

When I first decided to make a photo album using the Project Life system, I thought the traditional 12×12 size sound like way too much. It’s so big! I just want to keep things simple! Less is more!

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But I quickly found that the 6×8 size that I started with couldn’t hold many 4×6 photos on a page. I was needing to do a lot of cutting and cropping of my photos, and a single event or theme had to take up several pages in my book. So after playing with the smaller size for several months, I decided that was just not the way I wanted this book to go and I took the plunge and bought a bigger album.

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The thing’s a mammoth. But it’s also much easier to work with. I can use several 4×6 photos on a page still have plenty of space to include fun backgrounds and journalling.

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The nice thing about the large album is I can still fit my smaller sheets inside. I just included all the pages I’ve already made and plan to use the remainder of my small pocket sheets to make little “mini albums” of special events throughout the book.

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I also purchased a few kits of journaling cards to make my life easier. I love the idea of creating my own backgrounds and journaling cards, but the reality is that I will never get this album done if I try to do that for everything. The Becky Higgins site has a ton of great card designs to choose from. I went with the Amy Tangerine Mini Kit, the My Story Themed Cards, and the Inspiration Themed Cards. They are all full of bright, bold colors that I think will make this album feel really happy.

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Inspiration themed cards

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My Story themed cards

I’m really glad I started this little project. I feel like it gets easier each time I sit down to work on a spread and I know I’ll be glad to have this album in several years when we’re all older.


Complete list of Project Life products I used:

12×12 American Crafts Album

Becky Higgins Photo Pocket Pages – Big Variety Pack

Amy Tangerine Mini Kit

Inspiration Themed Cards

My Story Themed Cards