A Sesame Street Shindig

This past weekend we had a fun 2 year old birthday party, complete with the whole Sesame street gang.  Initially I was just going to do Elmo, but once I got to checking out the internet, a.k.a Pinterest, for ideas, I knew the whole gang should be invited.

Every single idea was stolen fair and square.  I take no credit.


I bought this cute Sesame street skirt and top from an Etsy shop called Sweet Sophia Designs.  There was about 3 seconds in my thought process where I thought I might attempt to make it, and then I quickly decided that my sanity was worth the price of the outfit.

I made the Welcome sign with cardboard letters wrapped in wrapping paper and hotglued with ribbon.


I decided to go with cupcakes instead of a cake.  With the cupcakes we served a fruit tray, some goldfish, and some cookies.  To fit the theme; you know…..cookies for cookie monster, goldfish because Elmo loves his goldfish.


This was an easy idea for making an Elmo face, except either my platter was too big or my strawberries were too sparse and it didn’t help that EK kept sneaking in the kitchen and stealing strawberries.


These cupcakes were deceptively easy.  I watched several different methods and decided to go with the easiest.  I was so stressed about the amount of time these would take, but once me and my niece Ashlynn sat down, we had these decorated in less than one hour.  Probably 36 cupcakes.  I made cupcakes from a box cake mix.  Then I bought that canned colored icing like Cheez Whiz comes in.  I think if you study them they are pretty self-explanatory.  For the eyes, I used round white candy melts and we used a tube of black icing to draw on the pupils.   Cookie monster has a half chocolate chip cookie for a mouth and Elmo and Oscar have  half an oreo with gumdrop noses for Elmo.  We also just did some cupcakes with white icing and sprinkles just to change things up.

The cupcake tower is made with three cardboard circles, size 8″, 10″, and 12″ inch (or you could buy cardboard cake circles but I’m cheap).  I used styrofoam flower circles as the base, hotglued together, and green beans as the center dividers covered in cardstock paper.  The circles are covered in wrapping paper and then ribbon is glued around the cardboard circles.  Easy peasy, just a little time consuming.

We played a couple of games.  One was pin the nose on Elmo, which was just hilarious since noses were put all over the place and then a cookie monster beanbag toss, sort of.  They mostly just stood and placed the cookies into his mouth instead.

It is simply a cardboard box with a cookie monster face glued on with the mouth cut out.  I made 3 beanbag cookies by hot glueing felt circles together partway, filling it with beans or you can use rice, and glueing it closed. Those little triangles on top of the cookies are supposed to be chocolate chips, hehe.


Emma had four 2 year old and three-year old friends come and I think they had a fun time.


The sweetest part was telling Emma to tell her friends “Thank you” for the gifts.  Well, she was confused and thought the gift was FOR them instead of FROM them.  So she would open the present and then try to give it back to the giver.  So sweet.

I had also told her prior to the party that her friends would want to play with her toys and that it was okay and she needed to let them have their turns (she’s two remember?)  She did real good and let everyone do as they pleased, but  as soon as the door closed after the last guest left, she ran to her little pink jeep and yelled “Emma’s turn!”

Oh the fun we’re having!

Blogs where I stole ideas:




2 Years Old

Emma Kate Darling,

Happy, Happy 2nd Birthday to you!!!

Oh I hope you know how much you are loved. But I’m sure you don’t. Of all the thousands upon thousands of words I have to use, there aren’t enough to convey it.

And not to boast or anything, (well maybe just a little), but you love your mommy right back. I mean a whole lot. Me and you? We’re like peanut butter and jelly. Or milk and cookies. Like hot chocolate and marshmallows or strawberries and cream. The two are better than one. Of the two years of your life, so far we have only been away from one another for a few hours at a time. 24/7 that’s me and you.

I keep thinking back to this day two years ago when you came screaming and crying into our world. People said my life would never be the same, and boy is that the truth. It is all the more enjoyable because of you.

So what does a 2 year old like you like? Right now, you really love Cinderella and you sing a lot. You pick up items to use as your microphone, and sing into it. You like to play dress up in your plastic, clompy heels and have tea parties with your daddy. You really love the playground and don’t like leaving once we’re done. There’s so many other things. Your dogs: Drew, Grace and Ozzie, your chickens, and your new fish Snowman. You make sure we wait for you to get your purse and put it on your shoulder when we take out the trash. You like to drive your daddy’s truck, so for Christmas you received a pink Barbie jeep but you barely push it to make it go one inch, then stop it.

People think you are timid and shy, but I think you are cautious. And that is a smart thing to be. You like to stay close to your people when we’re in a new place or around a lot of people and you don’t really talk to strangers or even look them in the eye. And that’s just fine for now. There’s not an impulsive bone in your body. You are an observer and a thinker. You wait and watch rather than jumping right in. And even though others might think they can boss you around, you know how to stand up for yourself. You have a strong voice and an opinion and you aren’t afraid to use it. Some of your favorite things to say right now sound very oppositional if you know what I mean.

But you also say so many sweet, kind things too. You are learning your manners very well and say thank you so much, please, excuse me and you tell people bless you when they sneeze. You say “I love you much” and if we’re really lucky we get hugs and kisses. You like to give long kisses until we start to laugh and our teeth bump. You give love pats and like to snuggle up in bed. You have a tender little heart at times and are learning compassion. You crawled into my lap and placed your hands on my face and asked me what’s wrong the other day when I was frustrated with something. Just last night you made me laugh when you fell upon the ground with your head resting on your forearms repeating, “It’s no use. It’s no use.” (learned from Cinderella) when you didn’t get your way. It is very obvious that you are a result of your environment and your daddy and I are trying our very best to show you the right way and give you strong examples to follow.

Of course books are still one of your favorite things but you’re pretty fond of movies as well. We take a weekly outing to the library for a story time and we take a weekly outing to a play group where you have lots of friends. Right now we’re working on learning to share and not be a Bossy Bessie!

Of course you’re smart. You have been from day one when you looked at us with those big alert eyes and understood everything we said to you. You are a talker with a big vocabulary, but you get a little frustrated at times when we don’t know what you’re trying to tell us. You have things memorized already like songs and the previews to Cinderella. You found this Youtube video months ago called egg surprise that you watch over and over and can recite verbatim. You are fully potty trained right now and are showing your independence with wanting to dress yourself and put your shoes and socks on.

You are a small, petite child. And healthy!!! Fortunately, we haven’t had to see a doctor in quite some time, so by our calculations you are about 32 inches tall and weigh about 22.5 pounds. You’re fearfully and wonderfully made and uniquely you. There is no one else like you sweet Emma. I must say I believe I won the jackpot with you.

Two years ago, you came into our world and settled right into our hearts. I have a very special place for you in mine. You will always be my little baby no matter how old or tall or heavy you grow and my desire is for you to have the best possible childhood available to you. I want you to know you are loved. I want you to remember good times with your family. I want you to understand that spending time with you is more important to us than spending money on you. I want you to be kind and generous and compassionate to others. I hope you read this letter when you’re sixteen and you think I hate you. I want you to know that always and forever our love for you is full, unlimited, and unconditional. That nothing you could/would/should ever do will change that. Ever. You are my joy, my love, my sunshine, my hope, my wealth, my legacy.

You are my love.

Happy Birthday, cupcake.


MomMEE ( how you say it, with emphasis on the second syllable)

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Toddler Selfies

My almost 2 year old (like in 3 days) is a phone snatchin’-selfie takin’-Instagram postin’ whiz kid.

When I got a text from my sister asking if I posted some pics to Instagram, it caused a bit of alarm knowing I hadn’t. Geez, what could it be? I quickly popped over to see what she was referring to and discovered these.



I think EK has been taking lessons from the teenager in the house.

But after looking through my camera roll, I noticed she forgot one more so I felt obliged to add it here.


I have a teenaged toddler. Lord help.

At least she’s graduated from the placemat photos and has learned to turn the camera around. These were a bit bizarre.


It’s progress people.

The best magic show ever

Over the Christmas break my family was treated to the performance of a lifetime by my nephew Harley, I mean Hobo Joe the Magician.

Move over David Copperfield.

Hand over your wand Harry Houdini because Hobo Joe is in da’ house.

Hobo Joe began with humble beginnings living in a cardboard box that was discarded after Christmas of 2013. But as fate would have it, his wonderful auntie (that would be me) bought him a magic show kit for Christmas and encouraged him to put on a show for the family.

Hobo Joe diligently learned his tricks and was ready for performing the very next day.

Admission was reasonable and well thought out for a 10 year old lad.
General admission—-$1.00
Kids under 4 (his brother and Emma)—free
His grandmother was free, ‘since she’s a senior citizen’, he added.
His dad was free because he owed him four dollars. Now his debt is only $3.
Teenage girls were $5 each. (He had 3 cousins in this category).

He lost his magic wand before the show and even after offering an award for free admission to the person who found it, with no success, he carried on without.

Hobo Joe will not be stopped by something so trivial as a lost wand. The show must go on.

Hobo Joe turned his cardboard box upside down for his table, threw a table cloth over the top, and began the show.

We all assembled to watch his debut performance.

The audience was wowed by illusions, coin tricks, and sleight of hand. We laughed and cheered and oohed and ahhhhed. And when Hobo Joe got frustrated and threw his trick and said he quit, the audience chanted Hobo Joe, Hobo Joe, Hobo Joe, Hobo Joe till he mustered enough courage to carry on.

It was the best magic show ever and I honestly can’t remember a time where my family laughed together so much. Truly an experience I treasure.

On a side note, Hobo Joe is no longer living in a box and is saving up for a tuxedo.


Here Hobo Joe is thinking of a number or a color or something that Emma picked.


Hobo Joe poses with a picture with his dad, whose been there for him since the beginning (taken before he lost his wand, obviously).

Home is where your purple chair is

I’m home!

I almost titled this post Home, Shit, Home.  A name my husband called one of our former residences, but I would be lying.  It is Home, Sweet, Home to the max.  Yes, I just reverted to my high school era.   It happens.

After being gone for 11 days over the holidays, I literally kissed the ground when we arrived home.  We’ve lived here in this new town, new state for one year now and it’s strange, because I haven’t really felt like it’s home.  But I’ve received confirmation now that truly it is, and I am embracing it as my home instead of a temporary stop on life’s journey.

EK was sure glad to get home too.  I’m not sure which of us was most excited.  She was homesick while we were away, and kept saying she wanted to go to Emma’s house.  It’s hard to try to explain to an almost 2 year old that we’d be back soon.  Their sense of time and ours has got to be so different.  Do you remember being little and it seemed like time was ETERNITY.  Waiting took FOREVER.

When we pulled into our town, it was dark and she was sitting in the back playing on my phone.  Suddenly we heard her say with all the enthusiasm in the world, “OH WE AT EMMA’S HOUSE!”  She recognized the path home.  We turned another corner and we heard, “OH, YES WE ARE!”  Then a bit further, “I KNEW IT!”

We walked in the door and she ran around seeing everything for the first time,  “OH THERE’S MY PURPLE CHAIR!  OH THERE’S MY CAR! OH, THERE’S MY BICYCLE.”

Pure joy and happiness.

From both of us.

And on an added note, I want to say the weather here is paradise compared to the Texas panhandle.  A year ago, I wouldn’t have believed it myself.  What?  The mountains?  Isn’t it cold there?  But I have become a believer.  It’s funny, many of the locals around here THINK it’s cold and I want to tell them to go visit Pampa, Texas for a few days and then come back.  I think they’ll be singing a different tune.

Me?  I’m staying home.


Two years ago, around this same time, there was some kind of hype going on about not making any resolutions for the new year, but instead choosing a word that you would make your word for the year.  I don’t know, something like relax, or faith, or growth.  My friend brought it to my attention.  She chose the word BREATHE, so I thought, what the heck.

I chose the word CREATE.  I wanted nothing less to create wonderful writings.  Also to create some interesting crafts, grow a great garden, create a home from a  real dump we were living in.  It’s funny how things work.  What I ended up creating is sleeping next to me right now, curled into a little ball, her little Clifford binky lying beside her.  It makes me smile thinking of it.  The irony.

This year, my friend’s word is RELEASE and her husband is playing along.  His word is HUMILITY.

2013 was good to me.  We moved away and that was hard.  It still is, but overall the year was good.  This year, I’ve made a few resolutions and I’ve also chosen a word.  My resolutions are more like goals and my word is DILIGENCE.  I must have diligence in order to accomplish my goals.  My focus for this year 2014 is going to be writing and my health, aka my dress size.

When I was teaching school, there were two things we did that I pretty much hated to do, but were necessary for success.

The number 1) we kept a planner of what each day’s lessons were.

and  number 2) we made goals for the kids.

We looked at where they needed to be at the END, and we set SMART goals.

specificmeasurableattainablerelevant and time-bound.

The resolutions of “I’ll lose weight, I’ll study the Bible more, I’ll exercise” are too generic.  They are more like hopes and wishes with no action plan in place.

“I’ll lose weight” needs to have a measurable amount, how much weight are you wanting to lose?  It needs to be attainable, not 100 pounds before summer.  It needs to measured (by a scale or measuring tape) and it needs a deadline.

A better way to state the goal is:  “I will weigh X pounds by March 1.”

That goal is specificmeasurableattainablerelevant and time-bound.  Then on March 1, evaluate your progress and set a new goal.

Now, wake up everybody!  I know that was boring, but it was necessary.   I like setting goals and the truth is, I can usually attain whatever I’m after if I have the written goal and a plan of action.  So, after that lesson in goal setting, I give you mine.

GOAL #1–My Body:

– lose 16 pounds by March 10, my 39th birthday.

How:  Incorporate a clean eating meal plan that I’ve already gathered.  Spend each Sunday doing meal prep for the week for breakfast and lunch.  And exercise to my home video Slim in 6 4 days a week, alternating days.

I’ll be following this Clean eating plan for the first 14 days with some modifications.


GOAL #2—My Mind:


How:  1)Blog once a week or more (every Tuesday).  2)Write one Helium article per week. 3) Finish a book I’m working on by March 31st.  In order to do that I need to write a minimum of  1000 words a week 4 days a week.


How:  Read at least one book every month—-12 books by year’s end.

GOAL #3—-My Spirit:

Maintain a positive attitude and practice gratitude.

How:  Continue writing in my gratitude journal.  Make 3-5 entries every night.

GOAL #4—-My Soul:

Grow my faith in Jesus.

How:  Spend at least 10 minutes daily in Bible reading, journaling and prayer.  Memorize the Book of Colossians following the plan for memorizing 2 verses a week, following this schedule:


Yes this is a lot, I am no dummy.   And quite honestly, I didn’t want to post them.  I thought to myself that I would just keep them written down for only my eyes to see, but there I go losing ALL accountability.

So I share them with you all, my friends, who I know will be rooting for me.   It will take DILIGENCE on my part.  And one more small little thing called FOCUS.  So in order to focus more on my goals, I am erasing distractions from my life, the number one distraction being facebook.  I will be deleting FB from my phone, and only allowing myself to get on fb from my computer, which I don’t use nearly as much as my phone.

2014 will be my year!!!

Bring it!

Oh, yeah……forgot to mention.  I’m starting next week.  I’m away from home and although it may sound like an excuse, it’s a better guarantee for success for me to be at home.

How about you?  Resolutions?  Or a word?  Or both?

Share with me if you’d like.

Happy New Year!!!