Oct 29, 2011

She likes to Accessorize

I think I mentioned that we put a mustache from the party on Tessa and instead of screaming at us, she just walked around with it on. She didn't want to take it off. Good girl. She is taking after her Aunties and Mommy who love the accessories too.

What? Don't you think Tessa has the serious detective look nailed?
The whole next day she kept trying to reapply used up mustaches from around the house. And the tie here? We put it on before the party and took it off when we put her to bed that night. I knew she would leave it on all day.At one point setting up, I couldn't find the bag of "jewels" (fake necklaces) for the Guard Dog/Robber game. I found them a while later. Tessa was wearing every one. She was not about to let me take them off either. She drapes as many necklaces as she can find around herself just about everyday and walks around with them. Safe? No. Major choking hazard so I have to watch her.

This next photo has nothing to do with accessories besides the fact that she loves her Auntie Krista and snuggled in when she held her. I sure do love having my Sis and Brother-in-law right up the road from me.
I want to post more from this weekend, but my computer is telling me all of it's memory is full and I can't edit or add photos. Which is why the photos in this post are not edited which is bugging me. Slight photo addiction here? I'm off to delete and move pictures to the external hard drive because it's killing me to not have the photos posted yet of my sister Katie's baby shower.

Oct 27, 2011

Angry Birds, a Mohawk, and a Crumbled Resolve

I've been gone this a lot this last week visiting family, so the blog posts have not been forthcoming. However, here is a small quick post.

So Hunter needed a haircut. Like super super bad. So while I was cutting it, he realized we could make a sweet mohawk. I was thinking, "heck no!", when I realized how close we were to Halloween. Because I am the coolest Mom ever, I graciously allowed the mohawk until Halloween. Then because I am the craft addict that I am, my wheels started turning on what sweet costume we could do with that mohawk.
This was the beginning of my crumbled resolve to not make Halloween costumes this year. You see, last year, we found about 20 - 30 costumes at a $2 each on the after-Halloween-clearance, and between my mother-in-law and I, we bought out Walmart and filled up their costume baskets. So I said, no way am I spending money on one when they can just pick one from last year.

Then I found this. I didn't have a fighting chance. Hunter is a COMPLETE Angry Birds game addict. Instead of the hat, Hunter can spray red hair coloring in his hair and have the mohawk. I'm off to the fabric store for a lot more red felt in the next couple of days.
Source: google.com via Jenny on Pinterest

Then Ainsley asked if she could be the green fat pig (if you've played the game, you know what I'm talking about). I convinced her a princess was way more fun.

Oct 15, 2011

Hunter's Secret Agent Detective Party

So last night we threw Hunter his first "themed" big boy party since he is turning 7 on Wednesday. We did a Secret Agent Detective Party and it was SO fun to put together. I took a ton of pictures, but I did try to narrow them down for you in this post. I just had a really hard time since the party was pretty detailed oriented. I'm just going to go ahead and post a ton and even so, these are just the highlights.

First is the invitation. I figured out how to do red reveal on photoshop and they turned out great!

I promise you could read it a lot better than this shows. It was impossible to read with out the red cellophane and pretty easy once you laid it on top.

It says:
You are Invited!
Future Secret Agents: You have been specially selected to attend an advanced class in super spy and detection techniques on
Friday, October 14th at 4:30 pm.
Where: Hunter Plumb's house.
Why: Hunter's 7th Birthday party
Upon graduating you will have mastered the skill of observation, sneaking around, pizza and cake consumption. Black clothing would be appropriate but not necessary. At 6:30 we will send you back into the field prepared to fight crime and fight badguys with a license to nil.
Please RSVP to reserve your spot in the academy.
See you then!

I put magazine strips around water bottles to look like newspaper wanted ads and headlines. Question marks were written on the cups and napkins and everything was in black.
We have a vintage flight map framed in the playroom so we moved it into the main room and made it into a crime scene map.
On the desk I had the first activity. The kids got to make their own ID badges. They picked two silly words from two boxes and put them together to make their code name. They also picked a super spy strength and put a thumbprint on the badge. We had clear labels of all the words printed ahead of time so as they picked them, we matched them to the labels and fixed them to the badges. Some of my favorites were Quacking Clown, Blue Pickle, CooCoo Moose, and Silent Walrus. The kids thought this was SO funny.

Some of the super spy strengths were Cracking codes expert, Silent sneaking, Spy weapons expert, Ninja quickness specialist, etc. We had to have 8 adult ones made up ahead of time to be the suspects in our clue game.

To the left of the table I took down more pictures and hung up a "Most Wanted" wall with vintage wanted posters printed off the internet. I hung black streamers and a footprint, magnifying glass and question mark from the light fixture (which doesn't really show here).

The cake was a magnifying glass with a fingerprint in the middle. Don't mock it. Tone said 50 points to the person who could guess what it was as I was making it. Hey, the black frosting was NOT squeezing evenly out of the tube making it really difficult! We were both cracking up while decorating this cake as it was just not turning out like I had in my brain. Oh well.

There were footsteps taped to the ground from my front door all the way to the coat rack and bench were I set up a safe that had been broken into. Tone made the safe from a cardboard box and some hardware salvaged from an old bench I had. We played a "Clue" game during the party.

We started with dinner which was pizza and fruit. I guess I could have been creative with the food but we are talking kids here, and I actually wanted them to eat it. After that, we did badges and rounded them up for games. Here are the games.

The first game was called Guard Dog and I had a bag of fake jewels that sat behind the red chair. The Guard Dog sat in the chair and got one chance to turn around and try to tag the spy sneaking up to steal the jewels before the thief could make it back to the line.

This simple game was a BIG hit.

The second game was Laser Beam. We have a really long hallway, so the kids stood at one end and Tone and I taped red crepe paper to the walls to be laser beams. The kids had to get through without touching them. We kept adding more and more and the kids had such a fun time trying to get through. The hallway was completely filled with red lines when we were done. It was pretty tough, but some of them were pretty agile.
The big event was next. Tone and I created a "Clue" game that young kids could do. We told them to go to the safe where their Spy Detective tools had been kept so they could be "real" secret agent detectives. Unfortunately, the tools had been stolen and the thief had left a note and some clues in a folder in the safe instead. The thief had rehidden the tools in a suitcase and if they could figure out where they were hidden, then they were "real" detectives and would have earned them. Here we are explaining the game and reading the note.
Inside the folder were three red reveal decoders, the typed note and their first clues.We divided them into three teams of three kids each and they had to follow clues to find the bags with their symbol on it (thumbprint, magnifying glass or question mark) in 7 rooms of the house. They also had a little notepad and pen that had the suspects (adults at the party - whose badges we had pre-made), the tools that the safe was possibly opened with (shown in a vintage suitcase), and the rooms that the tools had possibly been rehidden in. They checked them off as each room held clues that eliminated them.We read the clue on the white strip of paper to find the next room to find the next bag of clues. Then we found the bag with our symbol and inside was a red reveal paper which we read with our decoder. Each room told us three things to mark off our list (a suspect, a tool, a room) in a silly way. Then they followed the clue on the white paper, which was also in the bag, to find the next bag/room. To keep a better flow, the order was different so no team was in a room at the same time.All the kids ended back up in the living room with their last clue and there were two left of each thing (tool, suspect, room). That clue told them to find a clue on the bottom of the tool that opened the safe (which was the crowbar). On the bottom of the crowbar was a clue that "silly secrets" had the clue to where the tools were hidden behind their name badge. "Silly Secrets" was the clue to the actual suspect "Crazy Whispers" who had a folded up red reveal clue in the back of his badge. That clue gave clues to where the suitcase was hidden in the kitchen cupboard.The kids quickly found the old black suitcase and we pulled it into the living room where they were "Wow"ed with their goods.
They each got:
A Fedora: This was the big item but they were only $5 at Walmart!
Silly disguise glasses
A fake mustache
A flashlight
A magnifying glass
Fake money bills
A little notepad for taking notes
Then they posed with their new detective tools. Have you ever seen anything cuter?
We ended with cake and presents of course. Hunter wanted Funfetti cake. It was tasty!

Even our littlest spy, Tessa, was dressed up with her little black tie on the whole time. She loved it. We thought we would tease her after this photo and put a mustache on her and to our surprise, she didn't want to take it off.

This is quite possibly my most favorite family picture. EVER.

It was quite possibly the best birthday party I have thrown. EVER.

Hunter asked if we could do it again next year as soon as it was over.

Oct 14, 2011

The Big Fresno Fair

So we decided to hit the Big Fresno Fair on Wednesday since it was free entrance with our homeschooling group.

They ought to just name the fair this sign below, since that's pretty much all there is to eat there:I refuse to eat such over priced gross food. Though it smelled amazing the whole time we were there. I just like taking pictures of all the bright food signs without actually eating anything. Note to self: Never go to the fair hungry.

Nope. With my iron will in check, we had the kids do other amazing things such as milk a fake cow and then watch the real dairy cows get milked. Whoo hoo! Isn't the fair amazing! They were mildly impressed and then started asking for food.
We were ambling along looking at all the other livestock when we walked up to the sheep pen. Mama Sheep, right next to fence, was birthing. Really truly. It crossed my mind that this was supposed to be new life and a miracle, but really all I was thinking was,
"That's really super gross."
Then she had another one. Twinseys. I just thought I would share some of this loveliness with you after she's cleaned it up a bit and he doesn't look like a yellow sticky blob and you can recognize it for a lamb. You're welcome.
Standing by the sheep pen I had a "celebrity moment". Kinda.
I met a blogger in real life. How about that? She recognized me, and we said "HI!", because we read each other's blog but have never met. Joni totally made my day. I love that kind of thing!

We did a lot of walking, watched a magician, played on an amazing play structure, saw some of the exhibit buildings...and the kids were begging for rides at this point. And food...but I still have my iron will in check.

Moving on, we decided to pay $14 and let the kids ride 7 rides each. Random number but it seemed good at the time.
Yep, 7 rides a piece ended up being perfect.On the way out, I had Tone take a picture of me with the creepy clown trashcan. Because clearly...if there is a creapy clown trashcan, one must do this kind of thing. Tone didn't even ask questions. He's used to my strange picture ideas.We forced the kids back across the whole fair, to the car and past all those amazing food signs and smells (this is the part where our kids are doubting why they were blessed with such stingy parents and being vocal about it) and we drove straight to Burger King where we bought other really unhealthy stuff but at a much better price off the dollar menu.Did I mention the really amazing ride pictures you can get there too? Even on my poor little point and shoot camera? (I was NOT dragging my good camera around the fair all day with kids).

I would go to the fair just to take pictures of the signs. Does that make me a dork too?
So the five of us got in and out of the fair (parking, tickets, rides, and attractions) for $14. I dare you to do any better.

Oct 11, 2011

Thankful Jars Centerpiece

Here is an idea for a fall centerpiece that I am doing with my children. The jars and round vase are once again from the Dollar Tree and I just cut up brown slips of paper and stuck them in the vase. We stamped "Give Thanks" to tags and attached them with twine to the top and stamped leaves on cardstock and glued them to the front. We put them in a tray and the kids artfully (?) put leaves, nuts and fake gourds around them from a bag of leftover flora and fauna from random projects I've done. They loved helping decorate.Every night at dinner we tell Jesus something we are thankful for and write it down and add it to the jar.
Hunter's first thank you was, "I am thankful for my sisters." Then he told me all the reasons why. Some were because they played with him and because Tessa was so cute. He was sooo sweet describing them!

Ainsley was thankful for her Barbies. But when asked why she said, "Because Hunter plays them with me."
That was nice, but then Hunter retorted, "No I don't!" (As IF!)
So she said, "Oh. Huh well, then it's because Tessa plays them with me." (Tessa doesn't).
So Ainsley is a little confused still but in a roundabout way she's also thankful for her siblings.
Then we prayed and thanked God for the things we put in the jar and called it a wrap for the night. We have until Thanksgiving. Hopefully Ainsley will get a better handle on this.

Oct 10, 2011

Seeing the Moment Monday

Two years ago, my first DSLR camera was put in my hands. I was scared to death of it, but I wanted it so badly. I wanted to take pictures that captured those precious fleeting moments that were passing by unrecorded every day and I thought a decent camera would help with that. The first time I pushed the shutter button (which was pointed at Ainsley eating lunch in her high chair), I almost dropped the camera when it made the shutter noise. It was heavy, expensive, and awkward in my hands...and I was hooked. I remember looking at the picture it took and thinking, this picture is wonderful and captured an everyday moment so much better than any of my other attempts. There was my first everyday moment captured on the good camera.

I NEVER looked back.

I spent the next two months pouring over photography blogs, photography sites on the web, reading books, watching DVDs that showed me how to work my camera as I shot alongside the person on the screen. I got the dial off of automatic and learned to shoot mostly in manual and set all my own settings to capture the light and movement just right. I learned and am still learning to be artistic in my pictures. I learned to take three times as many as I think I might want and to just keep shooting because you never know what you might get. And then...

I felt comfortable with it. I could adjust without looking at any of the buttons because my eye was looking through the view finder. Then, I could concentrate on the art rather than the camera buttons, and I started to have fun trying different camera settings, different camera angles, and I started to capture those little moments that fly by so very fast when you are living life to the fullest with little ones at home. And little by little my pictures got better and better and better. At this point, I have pushed my entry level camera to it's fullest and feel that I can't get much better quality out of the camera I have. At this point, the quality of the shot isn't in the camera settings (which I know very well now), it's with the photographer and my vision and whether I can capture what I am seeing behind the camera. Daily I am being challenged as my three wild kidlets run around and practically dare me to get the shot. Yes, I pose them, but I also realize that the best pictures are sometimes just because I let them BE.

Seeing the Moment Monday is all about that. The tiny, precious, fleeting moments that make up life and what it is about. I am trying so hard to live each day to it's fullest and to make sure that enjoying them and my husband is the greatest priority of my day, and I don't want my children to grow any bigger. And every day they do just a little bit more and the camera is my tool to freeze them and the moment and make it into one of importance just because I chose to take a picture of it.

This is also why I blog. All my life I kept a journal. However, I found that a blog is so much better. I am a very visual person and it's the partnering between photographs and words that I found true "love". Photographs say more than words could ever say, and yet, I often need words to explain the "why" of the photo and to remember the circumstances that surround it. A blog is the keeper of my memories and moments that I want to cherish before, "POOF", they're gone. This blog has become an excellent exercise in "seeing".

I decided to share on Mondays a moment in the last week of a simple event that I chose to see and capture with my camera. This last Thursday, I was recovering from a week of a house full of people and I had cleaning to do. Ainsley, however, was begging for a bike ride and the kids ran out front and grabbed their bikes while I went out to get the mail. Rather than shuffle them back inside, I stayed out because I knew that letting them enjoy the outside was a bigger priority than clean floors. My camera captured some delightful moments between the three of them.

This first one is my favorite. They thought Tessa needed a kiss.
Ainsley also never goes anywhere without her "Nanny" blanket, so she stuffed it in the back of her bike. This picture speaks so much to me about her.
They decided to tell each other secrets. How cute is that?

They apparently had so much to share with each other.

Then Hunter said, "Hey Ainsley, you wanna go cruise?" And just like that they were off to the corner together.
Then they realized they forgot Tessa who just sits and waits for someone to push her around since she can't push yet. Hunter ran back and pushed her to the corner too and lined them all up together.
They sat like this for a while until they got bored and ready to cruise again.

And then up and down they went.
Hey, it's a traffic jam! They thought this was so very funny!
Oh my! They are just so delighted with each other.
You see why carrying the camera around made a normal moment into a precious one? Riding bikes are quite common around here, but using the camera, I was able to capture and record the little precious parts that make life meaningful and happy. Without the camera, I'm not sure that I would have even noticed - at least not with the same attention. The camera forced me to "see". I have found that ordinary moments are full of meaning and giving them notice and enjoying them is what truly makes life extraordinary. This is what makes me addicted to photography and blogging as well. I'm telling a story as it unfolds and it's by purposefully stopping to notice all the beautiful parts, I realize the story I am telling is really, truly one that is extraordinary and I feel blessed beyond measure.

I would love it if you would share your own moments with me. It is for this reason I blog and enjoy photography so very much. Doing a link party is a first for me, but since I have several blog readers I thought perhaps I would try it. I would love to see your own special ordinary moments. Please share. It could be a photo of a special time captured between two people, a moment to yourself, a quote, a favorite object or place in your home, or anything else that shows how an ordinary thing can be a special, happy thing. Feel free to grab my blog button to add to your post if you choose to link up. However, I have no rules to linking up. I would just be happy to see anybody joining me this week!