Monday, March 18, 2013

Cecilia's Fifth Birthday!

Well, it's about time I get to posting photos from Cecilia's fifth birthday party!  It's only been nearly two months ago... :-P   Above is the birthday banner I made for Lucy's first birthday, with a new section made for Cecilia.  Caroline's birthday is in just a few days; I wonder if I will get around to making her a personalized section, too?

It was a busy weekend... Caroline made her first confession at our church that Friday evening:

Here is our whole family in the church narthex afterwards... I'd forgotten my camera, but a sweet friend took a family photo for us!  Caroline is one of seven homeschooled kids who will be making their First Communions this spring!

Saturday... back to the birthday party!

Cecilia takes on the tradition of getting to lick the frosting for your own birthday cake!  She wanted a chocolate cake this year.

Her birthday theme was The Sound of Music: My Favorite Things.  I saw this idea here at Shower of Roses and thought it was just adorable, and it looked like so much fun!  My girls saw The Sound of music over Christmas, and they were hooked... they sing the songs all the time, they act it out (Cecilia is always Maria, and Caroline is usually one of the oldest girls).  It is hilarious to hear Cecilia imitating the British accents while she sings the songs!!  "Do, a deah, a female deah," and so forth...

Anyway, with the way they went on about the movie, I was excited to be able to borrow lots of ideas from the party theme idea, so thank you for sharing it, Jessica!!

So here we have our party decorations, foods, gifts, and other details, all encompassing the song My Favorite Things!

~Raindrops of Roses~

My parents were assigned to bring some roses from Trader Joe's, along with a few other things, since they live right near one and I don't (boo hoo!).  My mom actually had a bad cold/sinus infection and stayed home to recuperate and to keep her germs away, but my dad still made it, and he brought some red roses with him!  Luckily we had a pretty day, so there were no raindrops on our roses!  They made a pretty addition to the table.

~Whiskers on Kittens~

Along with the next line of the song, "warm woolen mittens," I decided to use a cat shaped cookie cutter to make some plain cookies that the kids could decorate with icing and sprinkles!  I don't think anyone actually frosted whiskers onto their kitten cookies... maybe I should have provided a tube of frosting with a thin tip!

this is my brother Mike, helping his daughter Julianne to frost her cat cookie.  Mike brought both of his daughters to the party - his wife had an event to work at that afternoon.

The frosting was just left over from the cake, and I pulled out whatever assorted sprinkles I had.

The birthday girl enjoys her cookie!

Lucy is holding another kitten for "whiskers on kittens" - Cecilia got this little Calico Critter kitten on a seesaw as one of her birthday gifts... it was wrapped inside a Hello Kitty bank for yet another representation of whiskers on kittens!

Here she is opening the bank and Calico Critter kitten.

~Bright Copper Kettles~

Isn't this the cutest little teapot??  The girls use it in their play kitchen.  I set it out on the table for the party!

~Warm Woolen Mittens~

In addition to the mitten-shaped cookies that we had along with the kitten cookies, I asked Chris's mom if she could check her local Yankee Candle store and see if they happened to still have some of the Favorite Things collection of candles.  Apparently this is a Christmas collection, and they did have some still, on sale!  I asked her to just pick whichever one smelled best to her, and she chose "Warm Woolen Mittens."  It has a musky, warm, almost cinnamon type smell.  We burned it during the party and are still enjoying it!

Here is where you can see this candle scent, and you can search for the other Favorite Things scents on Yankee Candle's website.

~Brown Paper Packages Tied up with Strings~

Well, that one was easy to take care of! ;)

I had fun also incorporating each of her gifts into one of the song lines... and I wrote the corresponding line on a tag on each gift, a small hint as to what might be inside!  Here we have "whiskers on kittens (the bank and Calico Critter I mentioned above), and "one of my favorite things from Caroline (a mini American Girl doll, Cecile - Cecilia wanted it because it almost shares her name, and Caroline got a Caroline mini doll for Christmas... so Caroline wanted to buy this fro Cecilia with her own money!).

This tag says "cream colored ponies."  You'll see the gift just a little further down!

She also got a few horses from Uncle Mike, and one was white - they thought that was cool, that it fit the party theme!

~Cream Colored Ponies~

Cecilia was eyeing this stuffed unicorn when we were in Barnes and Noble one day... and I happened to have a coupon!  So I got it for her to go along with the theme, even though we have plenty of stuffed animals!!  And... we can't even find this one two months later.  :(  It was so soft, and she carried it everywhere - almost as much as she does with her soft stuffed horse uncle Stephen gave her for Christmas! - and I am afraid she left it somewhere accidentally.

~Crisp Apple Strudel ~

Doesn't look so appetizing on the baking sheet in a long roll...

Ahh, that looks better!  This was made from the actual recipe used at the Von Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont!!  They have a recipe section here on their website, and I made our apple strudel from the same recipe so we could be "authentic!"  It was really yummy, and we had it with our dinner!

Cecilia liked it!!

~Doorbells and Sleigh Bells~

Caroline tried to get the guests to ring the doorbell as they arrived!  The girls also strung some pastel colored bells onto strings to wear during the party.  Caroline made one ahead of time for Julianne and convinced her to hold it up for this photo!

~Schnitzel with Noodles~

We didn't have actual schnitzel... which is pork pounded out thin, breaded, and fried.  My mom told me that it was easy to make, but the birthday girl already had her heart set on bratwurst from Trader Joe's, another food that would be typical of the region in which the Von Trapps resided.  So we had bratwurst and noodles with a gruyere cream sauce.  Apparently Cecilia just wanted a dab of mustard?  Or maybe she didn't want it and stopped somebody just in time, before they "ruined" her bratwurst!  I think the authentic way to eat them is just with sauteed onions - yum!!

~Girls in White Dresses with Blue Satin Sashes~

So no white dresses, but Caroline and Cecilia each tied a long blue satiny ribbon around their dresses.  Caroline also wanted one around her Caroline mini doll.

I didn't get a better photo of it, apparently, but on the right, you can see Cecilia's "girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes" gift... a little blonde doll I ordered from Nova Natural when I placed an order at Christmas for a baby doll for Lucy... I went ahead and got this doll for Cecilia as well to save on shipping.  We tied a blue sash around her before wrapping her up!

~Snowflakes That Stay on my Nose and Eyelashes~

These snowflake cookies were the cake topper... I made the cookies from the same dough as the mittens and kittens and just frosted them - I have two or three snowflake cookie cutters and had never used them before, so this was a good opportunity to use them!  I just stuck lollipop sticks into them very gently when they were partly cooled, but not completely.  They held together just fine, which was better that I expected, honestly!

More snowflakes: the cute little tealight candle holders are something I have had for years and never used... I think they were a gift back when I was a teacher, maybe from a party gift swap?  They are really cute; I think I will use them more in the future!  they have stayed out all winter and lured Lucy to the tabletop where she takes the candles out of the snowflakes!  We also had just a few snowflake plates for cake... ahem, left over from Cecilia's second birthday, which is when she requested a "snowman cake."

Caroline, Cecilia, and I spent some time crafting these snowflakes out of coffee filters.  We had made snowflakes like this once before, so long ago that Caroline didn't remember (which is almost physically impossible for Caroline ;)... I hung them up on our dining room light fixture, scattered a few on the table, and put some in the doorway to the dining room.

~Silver White Winters that Melt into Springs~

I thought this was the best idea of all from the Favorite Things theme ideas... the cake is a double-decker one that is winter at the top, giving way to spring on the cake below.  The top cake is just made with two small cake pans - 6 inch, I think? - and then frosted white and sprinkled with silver sprinkles for the "silver white" effect.  The bottom cake is madregular 9 inch cake pans

Monday, March 04, 2013

A Gallery of Preschool Drawings our own preschooler, Cecilia, who just turned five about a month ago.  You know how kids who love to draw will go through so much paper that it's practically spilling out of the windows of the house??  I try to take photos of some of it so we don't have to keep every single drawing.  I also recently decided to get them each a large drawing pad and that way, their drawings are contained.  and when they run out of paper, they have to wait a bit to get more rather than asking me for sheet after sheet of printer paper!

Most of these were drawn over the past few months, so from a bit before she turned five until the present.  I love looking at little kids' drawings - they are so interesting!  So, here's a little tour of her artwork:

Unicorn mother and baby.  I think she copied this from another picture - not traced, but copied just by sight. I love the angles of the mother's neck and the baby's legs!

St. Bernadette with Our Lady of Lourdes appearing to her.

A fairy reading a book on a toadstool house.

This is a pretty old one, from last fall most likely.  She was into coloring things in really detailed then; now she is very into line drawings.

Dancing ladies... love the angles of the arms.

Ballerinas... also one of the older drawings in this batch.

One of her first horse drawings... now she draws them constantly!

She drew this after we studied an Edgar Degas painting of a ballerina bending over to put on her shoes.

More dancers... another of her favorite subjects.  I love the dramatic movements as they leap forward.

Don't know the story on this one...

A hen - rather simple, but I had to include a chicken, or course!!

Bride and groom dancing.

This one cracks me up... a lady being courted by a manatee, or a beluga whale??  Hee hee.  All I can think of is the episode of the Simpsons where the dolphins come out of the water and try to take over the town...

I think this is her with Caroline.

Three girls... she named two of them Rose and Wendy.

This one is a bit odd... she said it is a girl crying because her grandfather died.  I just thought the perspective on the person kneeling with her back to us was very interesting, complete with the bottoms of the shoes showing... for a five year old, she has an impressive sense of perspective.

Two girls side-saddle on a horse

A man swinging a girl around in the air... check out how his toe is pointed!  Attention to detail on the legs and feet is pretty common in her drawings.

Here's a colored St. Bernadette/Our Lady of Lourdes that she did right after the feast day in February.  She also did a whole series of saints but those photos are in another album somewhere... she did Sts. Agnes, Barbara, Lucy, and Appollonia, I think.

She drew this for Caroline just a couple days ago.

No idea what this one says...

A horse using its tail to pull a girl out of the water.  Love that it has five legs, lol.

Girls riding sidesaddle past a toadstool house with a cat.  I like seeing how she places objects in front of each other, and again, the angles of the horse's legs are really interesting.

Two fairies and a horse with an impressive tail!

A girl kneeling and hugging her horse's neck... again, detailed perspective and angles of the limbs - more accurate than one would expect of a preschooler.

She's also experimenting with side views more lately...

And back views... drawing the same subject from different views.

Last one... look at how the feet are shaped to simulate movement as they "walk" across the paper.

Her fine motor skills have been refined since she was really young - she never held a pencil in her fist but always gripped it correctly from around a year and a half when she first started to draw.  My mom, a preschool director, said, "That's not normal!"  I agreed... and now I see what it has led to.  Surprisingly, she begs me to print off coloring sheets for her!  She loves to both color and draw her own things.