Saturday, April 28, 2012

Very Hungry Caterpillar Button Art

I love button art. I think because A) I'm not an artist at all, but this makes me seem creative and B) it's whimsical without being too babyish. So I was going to do a very cute rainbow for Squirt's "big girl" room, but decided to go with the Very Hungry Caterpillar instead. And as a bonus, it made a very cute decoration for her party. :)

Step 1. Sketch out the shape on an artist canvas. For this project, I used an 11x14. I wish I had done larger. Buttons seem small until you're trying to do button art.

Step 2. I had to use markers for the finer details. There was no way buttons were going to cut it. I thought it would ruin the look, but it really didn't!

Step 3. Okay, so I didn't really do a step-by-step progression here, but this is where you fill everything in. I had tubs of colored buttons. The reds could really be sorted into dark red, pink red, orange red, etc. Pick a hue and run with it. For the body of the caterpillar, it's not just green. There's lots of variation in the picture, so I tried to mimic that.

Step 4. More accents with the markers. The top of the caterpillar is outlined in yellow.

 Step 5. Hair accents make the caterpillar fuzzy.

Step 5: Show off your handiwork!

First Birthday

We survived birthday week. There were some points this week that I thought it wasn't going to happen. Like when I lost my voice on Thursday, or when Squirt's 12-month shots left her bruised and cranky ON her birthday. Poor thing.

But in the end, I do think we accomplished the goal. Remembering her day of birth with joy, not sadness.

Unfortunately, her birthday will forever be linked with the tornadoes. To this day, whenever anyone asks her birthday and I say, "April 25," they make the connection. Or they say, "I'll never forget the day you came home from the hospital."

Yeah, neither will we.

But I digress. Today was about the JOY of the last year, not the stress of her first week.

About four months ago I decided her birthday party would be Very Hungry Caterpillar. It's her favorite book, has been since she was old enough to pick her bedtime story. Pinterest is FULL of VHC ideas (Link to my board here). Some easier than others, I thought it was a theme I could pull off with little effort. Unfortunately, since I've had so much time to think about it, the simple "cake and ice cream with the family" went a bit overboard. But I don't care because I had fun.

The best part about this theme- it's all about the food. And honestly, what else is there to do at a one-year-old birthday party? Garrick and I had long decided we would only invite family to the birthday parties until our kids are old enough to have buddies that they want to invite. That being said, we weren't going to do any crafts or games for the adults. (Although this morning I thought it would be fun to make everyone list all the foods from the book from memory. Alicia, my brother's girlfriend, correctly named twelve! And Andrew is quite the artist, so I gave him a VHC coloring page, which he and Alicia colored for her memory book.)

We had Squirt's one-year pictures done this morning, so I'll have actual professional photos of her dress, the VHC quilt I made, and some of the party stuff soon. I'll definitely post it!

Some of the things not in the photos:
1. The "game" I came up with was pretty fun. I wish I'd thought of it sooner so I could have had a good prize! (The "prize" was the empty helium canister.)
2. I bought a miniature version of the book to use as a guest book. Everyone loved it.
3. We did pre-scooped ice cream in cupcake liners per Pinterest. That and the cupcakes made serving cake and ice cream a cinch. Which was good since I was upstairs hosing someone off.
4. We bought a helium canister because we thought it would be cheaper than buying individual latex balloons at $1.29 +tax each. I don't think it ended up being a savings. I'll know better next time.

Here's a rundown of my execution of all the Pinterest ideas I found. Since none were original ideas, I'll just post the pictures. It's up to you to find the original pin if you want to copy it! If anyone is doing a VHC party in the near future, let me know and you can borrow all of my stuff!

Flowers, using orange slices to brighten the look.

Watermelon (cut into butterfly shapes using cookies cutter. Wilson bug set found at Joann's) and Strawberries. 

Apples and Oranges

Lollipops from Party City. Great party favor for big "kids."

Salami (butterflies) and Swiss Cheese (caterpillars) cut with the cookies cutters. FYI- cutting salami with a cookie cutter is not as easy as you might think. Cheese was easier than you might think. The butterfly crackers come in the Pepperidge Farm Entertaining Pack.

Chocolate cupcakes (cake mix+greek yogurt+water) for the grown-ups and white cake for the babe.
This was actually my husband's idea.  Even though I had seen it on Pinterest, he had not and came up with the suggestion all by himself! Impressive!

The spread

Gorgeous dress made by Squirt's Nanny.
If you must have one, contact her via Etsy! She's very good at custom orders.

Frame off an artist's canvas. We got pictures with Squirt and everyone at the party.


Memo board found at Joann's and button art by me. Ok, so that was original.
I'm going to do a post on how I did that sometime soon.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Meal Planning

In our house, we take the "divide and conquer" approach to mundane household tasks. We've had to reexamine our duties a few times, especially with the arrival of Squirt, but it seems to be a pretty even divide. So I'm not complaining that I'm in charge of meal budgeting, planning, and execution, but it is a tedious exercise. And it doesn't seem to matter how many times I do it, they seem to want dinner every night!

This week we seriously went to Chick-fil-A (the ol' standby) not because we didn't have food in the house or because I didn't feel like cooking, but because I was simply too tired to decide WHAT to make. That's the worst part for me. The deciding.

So on our way to CFA we were playfully ribbing my husband (yes, the one I promised not to talk about in my blog) about how he would have a Sheldon Cooper-style meal plan if he could. (If you're not a fan of The Big Bang Theory, shame on you! Just kidding. The main character is either OCD or on the spectrum or both and always has the same food each week. Thai food on Monday, Cheesecake Factory on Tuesday, Pizza on Thursday, etc.) My hubby and Sheldon have a lot in common, and although he doesn't like to eat out much, he very much liked the idea of a routine.

Well, I'm more OCD than I care to admit as well, so when we got home we decided to nail down a schedule. After much discussion, here's what we decided to start with:

Monday- Italian
Tuesday- Comfort food
Wednesday- Freezer meal
Thursday- Mexican
Friday- Leftovers
Saturday- Pizza
Sunday- Husband's choice

There is some logic to the schedule. He eats mostly leftovers for lunch during the week, so Monday-Wednesday are theoretically meals that would make good leftovers. We try to have date night on Friday nights, so we often wouldn't need a meal that night anyway. On Sunday, he agreed to make dinner if we don't go out with our usual Sunday night crowd.

To further help me, the oh-so-indecisive one, I've made a Pinterest board for each night. Theoretically, all I have to do is scan that day's board for something that looks good and I have the ingredients to make, and meal planning will be MUCH simpler!

Let the playful ribbing commence....