Monday, December 31, 2012

Deer me

It isn't hunting season that has these deer down.

Nope. It's exhausted homeowners. And wind. And rain.

And, well, maybe embarrassment.

The buck has been unable to stay up since we found the two does mounted one morning.

Good Samaritans have tried to erect the deer on various occasions, but the wire beasts continue to be found moping on the ground.

The other day, a couple we'd just met informed us we are the "Dead Deer" house. Ho ho no!

I feel guilty for writing this post  about holiday decor back in 2008 BC (Before Children). I didn't realize the homeowners were probably too busy saying things like "Take that golf club out of your ear!" and "Get your finger out of your sister's nose!" to their own little elves to care two antlers about reindeer on the lawn.

Any holiday decor is a testimony to the holidays that someone cared enough to haul the electrical nightmares out of storage.

Next year, those deer are hibernating.


Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Crockpot Dressing



Holiday feasts are just regular ol' meals to me without cornbread dressing.

The females in my family have a sick sense of humor. Once, when I was young enough to not be expected to help in the kitchen, I ran in and asked if the dressing was ready yet.  They exchanged glances and my mother looked me square in the eye. "Nope. We decided not to make any this year."

I tried to be tough, but I couldn't stop the tears.  They were laughing so hard it took them a moment to recognize my heartbreak. Then,  because they're not entirely evil, someone opened the oven to let me peek and smell one of the several dressings they'd prepared.  It wasn't uncommon to have three or four. Some family members liked oysters, some didn't, some liked onions, some didn't.

I liked them all.

Now that I help with the cooking I've realized the tremendous effort required to juggle all of the holiday dishes with one oven.  So, when my mother's friend gave her a crock pot recipe for dressing, I've cherished it ever since.

This recipe has more steps than the others I've posted, but it's dressing... in a crockpot.

We've made several adjustments over the years. Feel free to do the same.

DELICIOUS CROCK POT DRESSING

8 inch pan cornbread, crumbled
Pepperidge Farm cornbread stuffing  
1/2 Cup celery, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon salt
2 Tablespoons sage (Note: I prefer a big handful. The original recipe called for 1 T.)
1/2 Tablespoon black pepper
4 eggs, beaten
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 cans chicken broth  (or home made)

  • Saute celery and onion. 
  • Pour all ingredients into crock pot. 
  • Dot top with butter. 
  • Cook on low for 4 hours. If it doesn't seem brown enough at the end of time, lift lid and continue to cook. It will brown.I usually leave the lid off for a good half hour or so.

Adjustment 1: We like to mix the dry ingredients the day before so the flavors have time to combine, but it is still delicious if you don't plan ahead.

Adjustment 2: Make your own chicken broth and add chicken to the dressing. Here's how we do it:
  • In a pot, place cut up onions, celery and 4-5 chicken thighs. 
  • Put just enough water to cover it. 
  • Once it boils, turn it to simmer until tender. 
  • Use fork to see if meat pulls off easily.
  • Cool broth and chicken at room temperature.  
  • Pull meat off bone. Chop or pull into edible pieces. 
  • Mix meat in with other ingredients.(Dry chicken before adding, or it will make the dressing too moist.)
  • Measure your homemade broth to substitute for the two cans of chicken broth. 

Adjustment 3: If you'd prefer to avoid the crock pot--hey, who am I to judge?--simply place in a 375 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until brown.

Let me know how you like it!








Monday, December 17, 2012

Mommy Monday: Connecticut

I grieve with the people of Newtown, Connecticut. 

I have no words.

Thankfully, my friend Dr. Lisa Marotta does. 

Her blog entry is entitled Helping Your Child Weather the Storm of Tragedy, but it is good advice for helping adults make it through as well. 

As Lisa said, "Be courageous in your comfort."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mary Engelbreit's Nutcracker

I found it!

I've looked long and hard for a picture book of The Nutcracker that fulfilled the expectations of my childhood imaginings.

Over thirty years ago, my dance teacher and our moms escorted a bunch of little girls to see The Nutcracker ballet in Tulsa. I'd never seen anything so magical. The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy made a lasting impression.

My mother bought me a nutcracker ornament that day. The fur is sparse. The nose is gone. But I still love my nutcracker prince as much as any little girl.

Click here to see a few pages of Mary Engelbreit's beautifully illustrated version of the story. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Jingle Jangle

I'm not athletic or crafty, but that doesn't keep me from trying.  On the way to a 5k, I sewed ribbons on shirts.

See that ribbon? I sewed it. My son was impressed.
My friends Ange and Shannon invited us to join them at the Jingle Bell Run.  Well, they knew I wouldn't actually run, so Ange volunteered to walk with me.

But I did run--three times--during the 5K.  That's a personal record that provides bragging rights.

My pals still make fun of my attempt in high school to run a 5k for extra credit. OH MY GOODNESS. And no witness can forget the hilarious ONE DAY in the spring I went out for track. (In my defense, the boys and girls were both state champions, runners-up, gods straight from Mt. Olympus or something that year).

I don't have a good track record.

So, I'd planned to train for this event, but...I didn't.

My training buddy and I still have not met and my treadmill is used by my hubby, who WON a 5k last week, by the way.
That's Ange, Shannon, and Garrett holding me up before the race (and mimosas).
I may not be cardio-fit, but at least I'm festive.
Shirts personalized at Society Shirts. Proceeds provide birthday parties for children in emergency foster care.

Our shirts supposedly say Super Cutie or Awesome Hottie or something similar in Cherokee.  Garrett suspects Ange and Shannon tricked us and they really say World's Greatest Grandpa.
 
 


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Writer's Wednesday: Literary Boyfriends

Long before I wanted a real boyfriend, I juggled several from literature. And what's better than a literary boyfriend? A literary love triangle!

No matter who the main character chooses, I always choose one similar to my first love: Rhett Butler from Gone With the Wind.  That other guy Ashley Wilkes? Ew! Rhett may have been no "gentleman," but at least he stood up for what he believed and fought for it. My eleven-year-old brain read between the lines and wanted Ashley to stop being such a wimp about life and man up already.

How about you? Who are your favorite literary boyfriends?

To get the conversation started, let's talk about famous young adult titles that are already movies or will be soon.


Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Edward vs. Jacob
No contest! Edward is just too polished (like cold marble, I know)--and whiny--for my tastes. (Get it? Vampire pun there.) I prefer the warmth and personality of Jacob. He's a fighter.



The Selection by Kiera Cass
 Prince Maxon vs. Aspen
This one throws a wrench in the whole bad boy thing.  I prefer Maxon over Aspen.  Is it because he's a prince? Nope. I think it's because he really wants what is best for her, is willing to stand up to his father for his own beliefs, and doesn't whine about circumstances.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Peta vs. Gale
It's always been you, Gale.  Always. You're a rebel. A fighter.  Peeta...okay, in the book, you are not the wimp the movie makes you. You are your own kind of hero. You know how to use your brain and teach me, I mean Katniss, a thing or two. You save the heroine a few times yourself. Without you, she wouldn't have survived. But, Peeta, I'd rather be friends. Let's have dinner. You bring the bread.

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Four vs. ???
So, there's no love triangle here, but I still wanted to mention my most recent literary boyfriend. 



Who is your literary boyfriend?  Do you prefer books with love triangles or not?


Friday, November 30, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Southwest Chicken Chili

Tired of rich, savory holiday foods?  Add a little spice to your life and check out this chicken chili recipe!
The last time I made the chili was Halloween, so the skull and crossbones is not a commentary on the contents of the bowl.

The ingredients can be kept on hand at all times, so it's easy to whip up for gatherings.  Each year, we have a chili cook off family reunion and...ahem...I bring home an empty container. It's also a snap to take to a potluck soup and salad dinner. When hosting a group at my home I like to bring this out because it's all done beforehand and I can enjoy my guests. We've even served it on Christmas Eve to have something super easy for a bunch of people that tastes completely different from the big Christmas meal.

Southwest Chicken Chili
2 cans kidney beans--rinsed
3 cans pinto beans--rinsed
1 can corn
1 can Rotel tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes
1 pkg. ranch dressing mix
1 pkg taco seasoning
3/4 bag of frozen fajita pre-cooked chicken (you can also use leftover chicken breast or rotisserie chicken)


1.  Nuke the frozen chicken in the microwave about a minute so that you can break it into chunks.
2. Rinse and put the beans in first.
3. Add remaining ingredients.
4. Cook on low six or more hours so the flavors mix.

Everything is already cooked. You're just warming it up. 

Complete Magical Meal Suggestion
I'm not above setting out the premade Wholly Guacamole and a container of sour creme to add dollops of flavor. However, if you have a little prep time, create a variety of add-ons for your guests with lime slices, shredded cheese, sour creme, and avocado slices. Add cornbread or tortilla chipsLemonade, margaritas, and other fruity drinks are good. Add a brownie since it's the little black dress of desserts. If you simply have water or tea, lemon bars, lemon cookies, or key lime pie finish off the meal nicely.
Enjoy!

Giving credit: I revised this chili from a delicious beef taco recipe my friend Ange gave me.


Monday, November 26, 2012

Bedlam, Baby!

If you are a college football fan, you may have heard of a little game we Okies call Bedlam.

Garrett and I rarely get a date, so the fact that we had an entire day together was an exciting prospect. Spending it on the campus where we met almost nineteen years ago was rather romantic.  The stadium was packed, the game was tremendous, and the University of Oklahoma won in overtime. Bonus fun!

Don't let me mislead you. I am not what you'd call a football fan. People stopped inviting us to Superbowl parties years ago. This weekend I had a revelation. I realized when the love was lost.

In high school I was a cheerleader. The news stations came to our games and recorded our pep assemblies.  Red and black was everywhere because school spirit was contagious.  It was easy to be a fan then. Our teams won. All the time.  My little high school had impressive athletes. Games were a blast. I grew up thinking that sports were always like Switzer's Sooners and my hometown Bulldogs. If my school didn't win the championship each year in basketball, football, track or whatever, we held our own in the finals.

As a little girl, I thought that being a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader was a reasonable and attainable career choice.

After attending OU, of course.  I'd heard you could learn things besides football there.

Then I went to OU...during the early nineties.  Football fans, you may recall this as the dark ages.  Coach Schnellenberger. Coach Blake. Just thinking about it makes me frown.

After one of the first home games, I remember refusing to leave the student section when everyone else had gone home.  Hot sun reflected off the empty bleachers surrounding me. I was going to be a real fan and stand by my team. Sweat poured down my face and back, but no one was around to see it.  I stuck it out until the fourth quarter, then I left, too. It's not like anyone was there to see me leave.  It was like our team had never shown up in the first place. The score was demoralizing.

It was that moment when I defected.

College can be confusing for many reasons. It's a time people reinvent themselves, lose themselves, renew themselves, etc.  But if this small town Oklahoma girl didn't even have a football team that was good, what was I to hold onto? How could I have school spirit?

After that, the madness that hit campus every game day surprised me.  What was the big deal? Didn't these people realize it was just football? College campuses were supposed to house smart people. Didn't they realize in a few hours they were going to be upset at their "victory" parties because our team was awful? What was with all the pomp and circumstance? How long could a team--no, an entire school--live on their laurels?

For some reason, yesterday gave me perspective and made me get it.

My son has attended several games with his dad and papa.

at his first OU game holding his first football
 He wanted to go yesterday, too, but nobly told me I would have a good time in his place. He filled me in on details an experienced OU fan could impart to his mother.

"The guns are loud. I don't like that," he said.

Then he told me what he did enjoy. "I like it when the whores run on the field."

I'm pretty sure he meant the horses and the Sooner Schooner.

He also told me "tailgating is the best part."
Tailgating. When friends--old and new--gather together over food and drinks and share a common bond. Everyone is drenched in crimson and creme. The air is electric with excitement. Generations of people fill the campus.

As The Pride's baton twirler artfully tossed flaming sticks into the air, I thought about my Max and his wise words.
Maybe game day isn't about football after all. Maybe it's about being a part of a community. Sharing fun. Reliving memories and creating new ones.

This must be what the Grinch felt like when his heart grew three sizes in one day. With the help of his dog Max, the Grinch took their Christmas presents, but the Whos celebrated anyway.

Even in the dark ages of football, OU fans gathered together for a common purpose.

Wow. I get it.

Of course, it didn't hurt that we won the game.  Boomer Sooner!  

Friday, November 23, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tasty Tuesday: Crockpot Round Steak with Rich Gravy

Prepare yourself. 


This meal is one of my absolute favorites.  When you serve this home cooked, feel good meal, people will think you know your way around a kitchen. In reality, all you'll need to locate are the crockpot and can opener.

But that'll be our little secret. Shhh!

Four ingredients. Seriously.

Round Steak with Rich Gravy
2 1/2 pounds of round steak
1 can Golden Mushroom soup
1 packet onion soup
1/4 cup water

Place meat in bottom of crockpot. Pour in remaining ingredients. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. If you cook it longer, the meat will fall to pieces--which can be really yummy on a baked potato.

Complete Magical Meal Suggestion
This meal is delicious with country green beans and mashed potatoes. Since made-from-scratch potatoes require more effort than I usually have time for, we bake sweet potatoes in the microwave.  Add green beans, corn on the cob, and a roll, and you have a meal that looks and tastes like you spent the entire day in the kitchen.

 Newlyweds, this one will impress your in-laws.

Giving credit where credit is due: My mother "held this recipe close to her heart for years." Her words.  She doesn't know where she found it, but you will be grateful she did when you try it yourself.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mommy Monday: Hooked on Ph-on-ics

Me: You know what I love about these blocks? They have pictures. What letter is this, Maximus?

Max: F!
Me: Which stands for...?
 
Max: F-rog. Frog!
Me: And what else?


Max: F-ish. Fish!
Me: (beams in delight thinking my kid is really catching on to this whole phonics thing)
Max: F-**k. F**k! (he nods and raises his eyebrows knowingly) That word, too.
Me: (sighs) Yes. That word, too.

In case you wondered, I have not seen the block with that picture on it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Writers Wednesday: Kid Lit Community Auction



In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Kate Messner organized the KidLit community and created an online auction to benefit the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.

Whether you are a children's literature fan, an aspiring author, or a published author, there's something available at this auction that might interest you.

Check it out.

Donate.

Do good.




Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vote!

Alexandra: My family believes in the right to vote so much that they dragged us to the polls last Friday right after they opened.

Max: It's important to make an informed decision.

Alexandra: Agreed, Big Brother. You all watched the debates without me--

Max: It was past your bedtime.

Alexandra: --which is why I borrowed Mom's phone and read the transcripts.

Max:  Well, at least I'm glad we're all on the same page.

Alexandra: I don't know about that...

Max: Wait...what? Sister, you voted for who?




 No matter your politics, exercise your rights. 
Vote.

Tasty Tuesday: Crockpot Potato Soup Magic

The weather is crisp. Bring on the comfort foods!

We need 'em. When the front porch light turned off after the last trick-or-treater, the official holiday mania began.  Plus, you know, there's that little election tonight. So, over the next few weeks, I will share some of my easiest and most favorite crockpot meals.

It's my little gift to you.


See those sparkles on the rim of the bowl? That's not light. That's magic.


I adjusted the recipe found here and added some ingredients to create this comforting potato soup. It is yummy magical goodness in a crockpot.

Crockpot Potato Soup Magic
1 30 oz bag of hashbrowns
1 32 oz box of chicken broth (or three 14 oz.cans)
1 can cream of chicken soup
1/2 of an onion, chopped
chop up some cooked ham
chop up some carrots
1/3 tsp. pepper ( I added way more than it called for because I had so much fun with my pepper grinder. I just did it until it looked kind of polka-dotted cool which made it pretty spicy.)

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours. or 8 hours. Whenever you get home is fine.

*****An hour before you serve, stir in 8 oz. of cream cheese.

Garnish with whatever tasty delights you prefer.

Complete Magical Meal Suggestion
Even though the carrots and ham add a little something to chew on, crackers add a nice crunch. You can always throw in a salad or a grilled cheese sandwich. Fresh fruit on the side adds sweetness and color.

Enjoy!


If you missed the first Tasty Tuesday, check out the recipe for Pinterest Chicken.
Click here for Tiffany's Chicken.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloween Pictures!

I made costumes for Halloween 2012. 

Scary.

I'm creative, not crafty. Big difference.

Max's robot was fun to make. No sewing. No glue. Just Christmas lights and ducktape and recycled materials. My mom spray painted the box. 

My kind of costume.

He carried a toolbox to hold his candy.
The real monster was making Alexandra's silver tutu.

Glitter covered every surface and made me realize why my mom was always so cranky around Halloween when I was a kid. All I did was tie glittered tulle to a ribbon, but I was so, so finished before the project was.
Having snacks at Max's preschool party.   

 Our little robots were so cute and had so much fun that it was worth the whole glittery mess.
Someone powered off our smallest robot just as we started trick or treating!

Monday, October 29, 2012

R2D2? Optimus Prime? Robot Mania has struck.

Me:  What do you want to be when you grow up?
Max: A robot.

Usually his answer is trashman. A year ago, it was construction worker.

But life is fast-paced and ever-changing with the preschool set.  Just a few months ago, my uncle excitedly gave Max a Transformer saying he wished he'd received such a cool gift as a kid. 

He peeked inside, dropped the bag and said, "No, thank you." Max was so terrified, he wouldn't stay in the same room. 

Uncle Ed claimed he gave it to another little boy, but I suspect that robot is carefully tucked away so he can play with it when Aunt Mary Sue isn't watching.

No matter the history, Maximus Prime is geared up about robots now.

Any guesses on his Halloween costume?

For now, check out this cool book for your robot man.

Will your little robot love Boy and Bot?

Affirmative.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday Favorite: It's the little things...

I like Lucky Brand clothes.  We get catalogs from them. The winter issue arrived and I laughed out loud when I saw it.

If this is the style this season, well... I just don't get it. Could they be for real?
Is it just me, or does this model look like a (sexy) homeless man who stole some bag lady's sweater to throw over the flannel he found that was so small he couldn't button it?

And look at the expression on his face.  My mind came up with all sorts of scenarios of what he must be thinking.

Give it a try. Leave a comment on what you think a caption to this photo should be.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Confession of an Earth Mother Wannabe

Image from blog at mozardien.com

Everything that has gone into my kitchen trash this morning could have been recycled. Everything. But the recycling bin is full. Which means I'd have to empty it first.

And it's heavy.

And my back hurts.

And...I don't want to.

When I was in high school, the upperclassmen voted me Most Likely to Save the Planet. Pretty fancy title just because I wasn't a litterbug.What a hefty responsibility to lay on a teenager!  I was bound to fail.

Am I the only one who feels guilty when I don't recycle? 

We're usually pretty good around here. I mean, my son had a trash/recycling birthday party for Pete's sake.

I'm not feelin' it today.

C'mon! Let's be practical. Surely we have enough places on this big ol' planet to store trash until the end of time. The Mayans say it's December 21, right?

 If we're still around for Christmas, I'll definitely recycle all of the wrapping paper. Definitely.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Favorite: Celebrate Society Shirts

Everyone possesses talent.  How one uses it makes all the difference.

When Jennifer Laws was in the hospital with her newborn twins and planning their future parties, her mind wandered to other babies in the world who were not born into such happy circumstances. Recently, she decided to use her party skills to make a difference.

Thanks to Jennifer, children who are in a local emergency shelter on their birthday will get the regulation cake from the kitchen--and they will also get a "party in a bag."  It's a kit she created that helps each child, when surrounded by strangers on the anniversary of his or her birth, understand that someone knows their existence is worth celebrating.

I love this idea almost as much as I love Jennifer's heart.

Want to know how to help?

She's funding this endeavor by creating designs that you can buy at her etsy shop. 

 

Print and iron the design yourself or pay a little more for her to create the whole shirt.

What a simple way to celebrate your little ones and help celebrate another child as well!

Any day decals:



birthday party decals:
and check out these adorable Halloween decals--just perfect for a t-shirt or treat bag:





 
Last month I witnessed the giddiness that is Jennifer on the morning of her sons' birthday party. "I love party day," she said, practically bouncing with joy. "This must be what Lebron James feels like on game day!"

Pretty accurate comparison.




Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Writer's Wednesday: Rowling Risks the Wrath of Muggles

Ouch. Some reviews of JK Rowling's new book The Casual Vacancy are downright painful.

C'mon, folks!

You weren't really expecting a grown up Harry Potter, were you? I mean, there are very few books that have rocked the world in the way the occupants of Hogwarts did, and there have been about a kajillion writers trying. Give her a break.

Granted, the premise of the new novel does not interest me. However, I will buy--and probably read--the book for one reason:

I applaud Rowling for writing something else. She could have pulled a Margaret Mitchell or Harper Lee--hiding from public life and not producing another published work. She could have left the world wondering if she could write anything else. She doesn't need the money. She could be a one-hit (I know it was a series, but it's one story) wonder, but she didn't rest on her laurels. 

Go, you, J.K. Rowling!  I look forward to seeing what you come up with next. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Maxisms

Our week was full of Maxisms. Here are a few:

Monday:
The boy child had been ornery all day. Frustrated, I asked, "Who are you?"
He said, "Maximus the Magnificent."
Hmmm. I'm sure this all might be connected.

Tuesday:
Max: Did you see Miss Bri's dress? It was pretty, pretty, pretty.
Me: Did you tell her?
Max: NO! (grinning and nodding knowingly) I want it to be a surprise.

Saturday: 
Max: EW! What's that smell?
Me: Steamed broccoli.
Max: It smells like Elmo poop.

Sunday:
Max: Mom, you're a princess. I'm going to buy you a crown.  A crown you put on your head, not the kind you draw with.
Me: (privately to confused hubby) Crayon. He's speaking with an accent.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

How to Make Newspaper Poms

I've coveted them.

Those beautiful tissue paper balls appear everywhere on the party blogosphere. I figured they were out of my league in craftiness. Especially since I'm not crafty.

Boy, was I wrong!

They are so easy.

At least, I think they are. I've not actually made them with tissue paper. I used newspaper instead, and they were decor in three birthday parties. Plus, instead of tossing them after the parties, I discovered they make great packing paper. I used them to cushion a punch bowl!




1st birthday Cupcake Vintage

How to make newspaper poms:
  • Take 3 newspaper spreads and cut them into quarters.  
  • Stack the 12 squares on top of each other.
  • Fold them accordian-style.  
  • Tie a ribbon or string in the center to hold them together.
  • Cut each end at a diagonal.
  • Fan them out.
Are you more of a visual learner?

Check out this tissue paper tutorial  from www.unbeaujour.fr.  It's in French but the images explain it in any language.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Papa's Birthday Made the Headlines! Black and White and Read All Over


 For as long as I can remember, my dad has loved to read newspapers. I mean LOVED it. The man will read all once a month, once a week, quarterly, or daily publications he can get his hands on. 
A lot of people can picture their dads in a recliner with a remote--well, I can picture that, too--but more prominent than that image is my dad sitting in a recliner with piles of newspapers around him. Even that newspaper smell of paper and ink reminds me of him.
imitating Papa

Our son is in the learning-to-tell-a-joke phase. Many (okay, most) of his original ones don't make sense and we try teach him some old standards. One came to mind and I had the perfect theme for my dad's birthday dinner:

What's black and white and read all over?
A newspaper! 
(insert wild four-year-old giggles here)

hunted red, black, and white tableware and used shredded newspaper to decorate. Instead of tissue paper poms, I made them out of newspaper.
 And since Papa likes newspapers so much, I invited a couple of famous newspaper journalists to the party.
Papa with his Lois Lane and Clark Kent



We had a "super" time.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Mommy Monday: Hospitality vs. Cannibalism

I heard that therapists have children use puppets to work out their feelings.  Maybe my kids are telling me to improve my cooking. What do you think?

Max: Would you like something to eat, Mr. Dinosaur and Leo?
Leo: Do you have people toes? I loooove people toes. (he nibbles on Alexandra's baby feet)
Max: You can't eat toes, Leo! (pauses, then moves to mini kitchen and opens fridge) But I have dead people's toes. They're good.  You can have them with ketchup.

Yes, because ketchup covers a multitude of culinary sins.




Friday, August 31, 2012

4th Birthday Trash Bash!


At two, Max loved Elmo.  At three, his heart's desire was to be a construction worker.  For the last six months, though, he's declared he wants to be a trash man. So, for his fourth birthday party, we got "trashy."

The invitation:
I couldn't find any trash/recycling party invitations--go figure!--so I made my own. Max helped color my hand drawn trash trucks.  The actual invitation was a torn up flap from a cardboard box. Who needs an envelope when you can use a brown paper bag? We just stuffed the torn away paper that was not glued to the cardboard in the sack before sealing it.  It was a trash party, after all!




The decor:
Decorating doesn't get much cheaper than this. Everything was free.
Party brought to you by Maximus Enterprises
My husband and I kept wanting to pick up items that we'd left out on purpose.
How great that we can leave trash around and it's party decor?!

My parents and grandparents donated newspapers to have them "upcycled" into party decor.
I couldn't believe how much trash my family generated once I paid attention. So glad we recycle!
A trash party needs a flyswatter, right? These flowers were purchased at Dollar Tree--two for $1.
Beautiful tissue paper balls have been on the blogosphere for years now.  I decided to try them with newspaper and glam up our trash bash. I am not crafty, so I'm still impressed that I pulled these off. SO, SO easy! I'll post a tutorial later.***Update! Here's the how-to post!***


Those strings were attached to balloons.


Nothing says party like trash in crystal, don't ya think?

Those scraps of paper on the table are facts about recycling. For example, "Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours. In spite of this, Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial fleet of airplanes every three months!"

The food:
 What's a trash party without junk food?


 
Disposable casserole containers that had been taking up space in my cabinets were ideal serving dishes.
 
A new trash can served as an ice bucket and we served non-alcoholic "trash can punch." Check out the recipe.

This beautiful platter is made from a recycled aluminum can. No kidding!

I bought the rats and "take out" containers from Dollar Tree--both 3/$1

Check out my shirt! Our family each wore trash truck shirts with the image from the invitations.



The activities:

Dumpster Diving! Due to rain, our den became the dump.  I set out trashbags and boxes full of newspaper and recyclables. The kids chose a box--the dumpster--and dove in to retrieve candy and robot grabber arms.

The beauty of this game was that they made the mess and then used the arms to pick it up and put it in the trash can. 

 As any good trash man knows, if you want to do it right...you need a truck!
 
The amazing Josh Hutchins, owner of Tahlequah Recycling, Inc. agreed to bring Kermit, the recycling truck, for a visit.  What a nice guy! 
party guests who braved the camera
 The kids loved it.



So did the adults.
Garrett getting trashy

Max was in awe.

 I was disappointed the rain made it an "inside" party, but Max was thrilled he got to wear his galoshes!
Max treated both the truck and Mr. Hutchins with reverence. He kept his distance from both. He was the only kid who didn't sit in the seat and honk the horn.
One of Max's birthday buddies. They were born just hours apart!
But he did dump some recycling in the back of the truck. 
Loading the recycling truck is a great trick to get all that trash out of the house!

 Look at those faces! Who thinks TRI could have a side gig with birthday parties?

 Seriously, how much longer can we convince children that cleaning up is a game?!


The amazing Mr. Hutchins and Kermit show the kids how to crunch and smash boxes.


Even the little guy enjoyed the mess.



The cake:
Our birthday boy loves strawberry cake...and cookies...and ice cream...and shakes....

Reasor's bakery did a great job, don't ya think?



Max was crying because his little friend had just told him she was going to take home the trash truck from his cake. He freaked out.  What kind of mother laughs so hard when her child is clearly traumatized? At his own birthday party, no less!

blowing out the candles
Baby J loving some cake

Oh, yeah. That was one happy baby boy.
Party favors:
The kids took home the robot arm trash grabbers, candy from the dumpster dive, and cookies!
Max just discovered Morgan's Bakery's curly q's, so we sent one home with everyone.

It was a fun time. Even the little ones approved!
Baby Alexandra and Dad 
 Party Inspiration:
Cakes Like a Party: Oh my goodness. When I saw this, I knew we had to try. I showed the pictures to Max and there was no going back! His excitement lasted for months.
BellaGrey Designs: These invitations inspired the wording on Max's. Aren't they adorable? Check out the party with all of the design elements. This party has a little more of the icky idea of trash.

Getting "trashy" and recycling was a lot of fun!