Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
1 Corinthians 3:17

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Birthday Kiddos and Other Things

Hey strangers, did you miss me?  =) The past two weeks have been an explosion of parties, family & friends, and excited little kids. Bigger kids, too, truth be told. Ha! My mind is absolute mush right now so this may just be the most jumping-around post of all time!

My baby boy Caleb is now eleven, and apparently eleven-year-olds no longer wish to have a major presence on the ol' family blog. There may be one or two photos of that handsome fellow from both his school concert and the Christmas play at church- he was one of the narrators and he spoke so clearly and expressively...I was super proud of him! I was also incredibly proud of Isabelle Kate, who, this year, was not so apt to turn around on stage and glare at her classmates and fidget with her headband the whole time! She sang her little heart out, smiled, and paid attention to her teacher. Phew!

Someone went and turned seven. Even though I pretty much forbade it.

I found out that cake sugar crystals make a pretty decent substitute for actual glitter, in case anyone was wondering.

And I may have burned off a fingerprint or two with all the hot-gluing around here lately.

If you'd like, you can read about the Birthday Brooch here, and the cute Reindeer Barrette/Clip here.
ps- stop by and say hello! I'm soooo excited because I got my very first wonderful follower today! Thank you very much, Martha!  ;)

The hubs pulls me over to the French door the other night to show me this- I had no idea she'd made a little snowman! Just about the cutest thing in the world!

Caleb plays so beautifully! He did a fantastic job!
Jonah had his school concert today- and in no uncertain terms am I to dare post a picture of him- and I can't even tell you how amazingly moving and beautiful the whole concert was! So, so good! (I do post lots of pics on Instagram if you're curious- you can find me at roseruffleco) 

I haven't finished writing the tutorial yet, so...yeah.

I just have to include this, but nobody tell Ethan because then he will be really, really mad at me, which I cannot take! This is my life, folks. Every.Single.Day.  =)

One very last thing, on a deeper level: if you've been reading for a while, then you already know that we are adopting again, and that things have not gone smoothly at all so far. We know it is all in God's hands, and we trust in His timing, but there is something going on, like, RIGHT NOW, and I know everyone is so busy with Christmas, but if you could keep us in your prayers this weekend, we would be eternally grateful. Thank you so much! Blessings to you all!

 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
Hebrews 11:1

Monday, December 16, 2013

Winter Birthday Party Ideas: Hot Cocoa Bar

Today always marks our official descent into Crazy Town as I think ahead to not only upcoming Christmas festivities but to our two December birthday kiddos. While I've certainly embraced winter-themed party ideas, I try to keep them completely separate from actual Christmas-related items. That makes sense, right?

This hot cocoa bar was one of my all-time favorites. (I think I shared it on the Rose and Ruffle blog, but not here.) It was a cinch to set up and it looked so festive and fun...and it was! Truth be told, you don't have to celebrate a birthday in order to enjoy this party- it's great for any gathering of family or friends throughout the winter season!

You can never go wrong with colorful balloons and crepe paper. This was a big family party for a boy and a girl so we kept it colorful and non-gender specific, which is surprisingly easy to do.

I removed a few of our Christmas decorations in the dining room for the party, but the greenery above the windows and the tree all lit up in the corner add to the festive spirit.

Our Thanksgiving weekend tradition- cutting out snowflakes while watching Elf- also adds a nice touch. =)

You can make your own cocoa mix or simply pour store-bought powder into fun containers like this one. We had several flavored creamers for guests, as well as "shots" of different cooking flavors such as vanilla and peppermint. Candy canes are a must- and they look so fun!- and so is the whipped cream (not pictured). We also had cinnamon and nutmeg to sprinkle on top, which is fantastically yummy.

To add the most color possible, I simply cut pieces of ribbon and displayed them throughout the tables. Just an easy little something which adds big impact. I used all the Christmas mugs I own, and the Dollar Tree came in handy when I decided to grab a few more.

One last look at the whole room- we had such a fun time at this party!

My birthday boy...

...and my birthday girl

This had been her beloved, much-requested hairdo...which lastly about thirty seconds into the big shindig. She's too much of a mover and a shaker for fancy hair, ha. (There's a post about how to make a birthday brooch over HERE if you'd like to see it.)

The pics are so blurry, but one of our birthday traditions for Isabelle is that she can wear a summer dress on her special day. She looks forward to it every year. #winterbirthdayprobs

 I'm not sure why she looks grumpy here because she definitely was not!
 Our birthday princess :)

Painting some snowflake ornaments to hand out as party favors later...
 I couldn't find the glitter so we used cookie sprinkles instead. Clever? Of course. Sad? Maybe just a little bit.

Since the next day was her actual birthday, Daddy pampered her with pretty nails

She looks like she's in the middle of some grand conversation here while Daddy simply paints away and I just love this picture!!!

Here is the cake that Caleb Marbled Cheesecake with Chocolate Crust. Good choice, buddy! I need to blog this recipe!

Isabelle got the ol' standby ice cream Snowman cake, ha ha. She will get a special cake in January for her party.  She was SO excited!

Here is Caleb on his actual birthday...

 And Isabelle on hers...

We had a fun friend party for Caleb the weekend before, a winter pool party - you can read about it here.

As usual, we'll have Isabelle's friend party sometime in January...after all these parties, and then Christmas, I need a breather!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Caleb's Winter Pool Party

It's nice to break from traditional winter-themed parties once in a while, and that's what Caleb had wanted to do. So a Winter Pool Party it was! We headed up to our timeshare for a fun afternoon.
I think he had so much fun at Jonah's pool party earlier in March that he wanted to have one of his own. =)

Food was super simple: cupcakes, left over lollipops from school, and some snacks and drinks. I think we brought pretzels, chips, Capri Suns and some Coke. Easy!

The main area is decorated so nicely at Christmastime!

Heading upstairs...

Can't get enough of this view.
It's spectacular in winter and even more amazing in summer & fall with all the colors .

 There are pool tables, ping pong tables and X-Box games upstairs. So of course that's where they all congregate to within seconds of arriving. Boys. ;)

This pool area has slides and islands to jump from, but it's generally crowded with little kids. So we headed to another pool that is much deeper and much less crowded. Aren't those trees indoors so neat?

All my pool pictures are basically one giant blur, so I'll spare you. This one isn't too bad, ha!

Everyone had lots of fun, which is all you can ask for.
I know Caleb loved his pool party because he has thanked us approximately 834 times since yesterday. He is such a grateful guy, and that makes it even more fun to make things special for him because I know he really appreciates it.

I wonder what we'll be doing next year to celebrate!
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