Simple & Sweet: Ella's Frozen Celebration...She's 6!!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Ella is 6!! Wow!! We celebrated the occasion with a Frozen themed birthday party a couple weeks ago and it was such a fun day! The party was made even more special by a visit from none other than the Queen and Princess of Arendelle, Elsa and Anna! Ella and her party guests had no clue that they would be coming to celebrate along with them so seeing their faces when Elsa and Anna walked through the door was priceless! The princesses treated them to story time, princess tattoos, makeup application and helped them make crafts. The party table helped set the mood complete with sparkling white lights and a stunning icicle cake!! It was a magical party for sure! Here are some highlights of the day :)

 The pretty party table that came to life with sparkling white lights!  They gave it such a magical feel!! The backdrop and table topper are actually curtains that I've had. The blue ruffle one was also used to create Halle's mermaid party. I'm all about reusing things in order to keep costs down.

The amazing cake created by my sister Daniah. She makes lots of goodies over at  Southern Rise Baking Co. Check her out if you need something delicious for a party or event!! For the topper of this cake I simply added the Frozen figurines, a snowflake ornament and some icicle beads. It really pulled  the whole table together!

These delicious frosted macarons were also made by Daniah. They were delicious!!

 "Do you want to build a snowman?" I made homemade corn syrup-free marshmallows using a recipe I found here. They were soft and delicious and perfect for building snowmen!

This snowman is ready to be eaten! He is made of marshmallow body, pretzel arms, mini chocolate chip eyes and a orange starburst "carrot" nose. They also had pearl nonpareils to make a mouth.

Sven's favorite...Olaf noses :)

These Frozen flower wands were a $1 find at Target's Dollar Spot. They were a perfect party gift!! Each guest also got to make an Elsa crown. I precut crowns from foam using this template and then they added snowflake foam stickers and sparkly jewels :)

A close-up of Elsa and Anna on the cake!

 Another view of the cake!

The party princess with her party table! That sass is all her own doing, lol! Oh my!!

"Let it Go!"

A simple snowscape added some magic to the dining table :)

I decorated the rooms with hanging snowflakes and white streamers to give the space a festive look on a small budget. The snowflakes are our own Christmas tree ornaments so they costed nothing to use.

SURPRISE!! Look who came to visit!!

Ella and Morgan don't even know what to think! They were all stunned! My niece actually hid, lol!

A photo bomb from Anna :)

Anna and Elsa signed autographs for each party guest!

Listening intently during story time as Elsa and Anna told their Frozen tale! The girls enjoyed joining in and were excited that they knew all the answers about the story! You could tell they were all huge fans of the movie!!

 Ella getting her lipgloss applied by Anna! Elsa applied her eyeshadow.

Kendyl is having her eyeshadow applied while Morgan anxiously awaits her turn for makeup!

Getting some special one on one time with Elsa and Anna. They asked her to come visit them in Arendelle. Ella is really hoping to go! Hmmm...

Ella and her cake!

Making a wish and blowing out her birthday candle!! This is an image I always take of each child on his/her birthday. It's a favorite of mine.

Making princess crowns with the help of Elsa and Anna!

Kendall is proud of her snowman creation! He was quickly eaten after the photo :)

Davis trying to pin the carrot nose onto Olaf! This was a fun game!

Ella taking her turn. I took a turn as well and was waaaayy off!!

Near then end of the party we turned Frozen on and let the girls sing and dance. Let it Go came on and it was incredibly cute watching the girls sing the song with ALL the motions. I think they've seen Frozen too many times lol!

Before Elsa and Anna headed back to Arendelle the posed for a few photos with the girls!

I'm pretty sure they all had a fabulous time at the party and won't soon forget their time with Elsa and Anna! I know Ella won't!!

Losing Oliver: Saying Goodbye to our Beloved Kitty

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Today is a sad post. We lost and buried our sweet ragdoll kitty, Oliver, less than 48 hours ago (at the time I'm writing this). Over the last month or so he has been battling against a blocked urinary tract and even after an extended stay in the vet hospital 2 weeks ago he was unable to become well again. We thought things were improving for several days but then over this past weekend it became apparent that he'd become blocked again. He was howling in pain once again and looking at us with large eyes pleading for relief. I took him to a the veterinary after hours specialist hospital because I knew he was suffering. We could try to unblock him again via a catheterization under anesthesia like he'd just undergone but the vet said the outlook wasn't good. From their experience cats who become blocked early on, and those who block again right after treatment will continue to block again after each procedure. They could see signs that his case was bad. The only option was a very expensive, very invasive specialty surgery that amounted to a gender change. This procedure would remove his male anatomy and create a more female genetalia in an effort to create a wider urinary tract. Even after surgery he would most likely continue to produce crystals in his urine and bladder and kidney stones which could still cause another blockage. There were no guarantees that he would be fixed and would likely have a life of fighting urinary and kidney problems. Poor Oliver was just unlucky to have developed this disorder so soon in life. My heart sank. We had to make the decision to put him to sleep on Sunday afternoon (March 9th). Our hearts are shattered. broken in a million pieces. He was part of our family.

I called Todd from the after hours specialty hospital and delivered the devastating news. He brought the kids to the hospital so we could say our goodbyes as a family. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. We all sobbed and held each other as we took turns loving on Ollie. He was the best kitty and it felt so unfair that he should suffer from such a cruel disease so early in his life. He was 21.5 months old but the length of time we had him is irrelevant. We loved him. Thats all. He was ours and we loved him.

After some time together and a heart-wrenching goodbye Todd took the kids to wait in the lobby and then returned to me to be with Oliver during his final moments. We held him, kissed him, rubbed his sweet soft belly, and told him what a wonderful boy he was. He was calm and affectionate. The vet returned to administer the euthanasia and I could literally feel the ache in my heart. Our Oliver passed very peacefully wrapped in my arms as we stroked him and whispered loving words in his ears. I felt his head become heavy in my hands as he took his last breath and left.

Losing a beloved pet is never easy. We have all Sunday night was really hard, my poor babies were so broken hearted I could barely take it. And watching my husband cry absolutely ripped me apart. He never wanted a cat, and now his heart aches to have him back. It doesn't matter how long you've had them, once you bond your heart is all-in. We were all-in. Sometimes I think that I shouldn't feel so broken and I try to minimize how I feel about this loss for fear of criticism from those who just don't get it. But then I remember that it's ok to feel sad. Not everyone has to understand this kind of human-animal connection. My heart was created with a tender spot for animals. It is part of who I am. It's going to take me/us a little time to heal. Our home is full of reminders. There are nose prints on the bay window where he loved to perch and watch birds. I can't bear to wipe them away just yet. The sound of the ice dispenser brings tears to my eyes as I wait for the pitter patter of little paws to come running to beg for a piece of ice to play with. They don't come. When I lay in bed at night I feel a thump at the foot of the bed and look to see if Oliver has come to settle in for the night. But he hasn't come, it was just Todd shifting his feet. These little things are the things that hurt the most because you don't expect them. Small daily things that trigger a memory and cause the tears to come again. In time though, I know we will heal. Each passing day it will get a little easier to say his name or look at photos and not cry. We have wonderful memories of Oliver that we will keep for always, and for that we are thankful.

R.I.P. Sweet Oliver "Ollie". We will miss nuzzles with your sweet pink nose, rubbing that soft white belly and feeling your big fluffy tail rubbing against our legs. You were our beautiful gentle giant of a kitty. The best kind of kitty :) We LOVE you!!! In our hearts for always.

These are a few iphone photos of our final goodbyes. They completely break me each time I look at them but I am so thankful I have these. The raw emotion is so real. I don't ever want to forget these final moments. They are a part of our story.

Ollie was my buddy. I will never forget him. There will always be a hole in my heart but I am grateful to have had his companionship. For now, I meditate on God's promise He spoke to my heart. "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3 This simple scripture gives me comfort when the pain of my loss feels overwhelming. I know my God is sovereign and my hope is in Him.

We buried our sweet boy in our backyard underneath shade trees and a blanket of beautiful green moss.  Today I visited with him and the most beautiful light shone down on his grave. I know the Lord gave that to me as a source of comfort. He knew I needed it. I think it's just the most beautiful thing. Rest in Peace sweet Oliver.

Rustic Elegance: Halle's 8th Birthday, An Equestrian Affair

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Halle turned 8 on the 6th of this month (gah!) and we celebrated with an equestrian themed party at the gorgeous stables where she rides. We got a foot of snow dumped on us a few days before the event so we pushed it back an extra day to make sure it wouldn't be a mess. Luckily the sun came out and the temperature held in the upper 40s so it was not too cold...yay!! It turned out to be a beautiful day and the party went off without a hitch (no pun extended!). Halle loved spending her special day with friends and family! Here are some details of the event.

Halle absolutely LOVED her party table!! She chose this theme right before last years mermaid party so I had a year to plan it. I actually don't really have a "plan" though when I create these displays...I just make everything I want to include and then show up on party day and just let the table come together as it happens. Kind of an organized chaos is how I roll!! It always falls into place :)

The beautiful ribbon cake was created, yet again, by my talented friend Rachel! She always knocks it out of the park! I added the little banner and pony to tie it into the theme!

The lovely equestrian party table. The riding stables made the perfect backdrop for the rustic yet elegant vibe I was going for! I made the wooden sign out of an old pallet I got for free from my local grocery store. With the help of my hubby we simply disassembled it, cut the pieces to size and screwed them back together with supports in the back. I found the vintage ribbons on etsy and ebay.

Halle and her buddy Smokey! He got a brand new "do" just in time to celebrate!!

 Another view of the party table. The tassel banner was a diy project. They are made from plastic tablecloths.

These macaroons were delicious, made courtesy of my sister over at Southern Rise Baking Co!! She recently started her baking business and makes all kinds of yummy baked goodies. You'll be seeing more from her in my future parties for sure! Be sure to visit her FB page and order something delicious!

"Wooden" straws! Found these on clearance at TJMaxx :)

We had several activities for the party guests to participate in between their pony rides. I made this ring toss out of old-timey soda bottles and some paint I had on hand. Simply paint a base color on each bottle and allow to dry. Then lightly brush a 2nd color over the top with small amounts of paint. This allows the color underneath to show through and the details of the bottle will be highlighted. No distressing needed with this method. I used a combination of latex and chalk paint. Both worked perfectly! Three were pink on blue and three were blue on pink. Then I wrapped embroidery hoops with fabric to make the rings! An easy-peasy project that was lots of fun!

The girls loved hanging out with the horses and ponies in the stables. Ella is getting a little nibble from Donikan in this photo!

I made each party guest a rosette ribbon out of ribbon and cardstock that was presented to her at the end of the party. Everyone received 1st prize but the guest of honor was Best in Show, of course!

The parting gifts were small mason jars filled with homemade caramel popcorn. I finished the look with fabric covered lids and tied with twine with an equestrian silhouette tag on a bit of burlap.

When riding time was over all of the guests grabbed the lead line to bring Smokey back to the stables! He is such a great little pony!

Buddies! I love how he's "hugging" her in this one!

A girl and her cake!!

Make it a good one!!

Another activity was pin the tail on the pony. I made the pony tails by tying yarn to various buttons and adding a little bit of tacky to the back.

Taking a swing at the boot piñata! This was a healthier version of the typical party piñata. It was filled with Yummy Earth Organic lollies, Annie's bunny snack packs, organic fruit leathers and cereal bars. 

They all piled on the hay bales for a group photo near the end of the party to show off their prizes! Everyone had a blast!

Here is Halle surrounded by her friends as she opens her gifts. She is reading a heartfelt letter from her cousin Sage.

Halle, Ella and their cousin Sage taking one last ride with Smokey before the sun set!

Southern C's Equestrian is a beautiful farm owned by a very sweet friend of mine. If you are local to the Summerfield, NC area you should definitely check them out!

The stables!

I just love this weathervane!

Smokey's new "do" included a sweet message for Halle!! She was so excited to see this! I'm pretty sure she could not have had a better time on her special day! Happy Birthday my sweet Halle Mae!! I love you to pieces!

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