Friday, February 26, 2016

Abbey's 4th birthday tea party

Abbey had her first-ever friends birthday party last Saturday.  Abbey actually turned 4 at the beginning of January, but we were so busy (plus Christmas just happened), that we thought some space between her actual birthday and her party would be a good thing.  And, it turned out to be a fun day.

I picked up some old Belgian and German tea sets off of craigslist last year and we have been wanting to have a fancy tea party with them for quite some time.  So, that is what we did.  The theme for Abbey's party was "Vintage Royal Tea Party."  It was a fairly intimate party.  We didn't invite a ton of friends, because we felt the intimacy of the tea party would lend it to be even more fun.





My friend, Gina, has a cookie business and made these beautiful works of art.  Here is a link to her business:

And they taste as good as they look--amazing!


When we summoned the royal princesses to our party (sent the invitations), we asked them each to don their favorite princess gown.  As the princesses arrived to the party, I snapped their photo on our swing in the front yard.

Our little princess, Abbey.

I won't post the photos of each of the girls, but I will include this one of one of Abbey's friends, because I thought her princess ensemble was very elegant.

As everyone arrived, we asked the moms to describe in detail their princesses' entire outfits by writing the descriptions down on cardstock which we provided.  We had a surprise in store for the moms later.

Then, we headed outside for our first game.  I told the kids that Cinderella was over at our house last week for a party.  She left in a hurry though and somehow ran right out of one of her slippers.  I told them that she just called me and asked if they could help find it.    

They found the first one in the backyard.
Then, I told them while they were looking Cinderella called and said she actually must have lost BOTH of the shoes here.  So, the girls continued on in their mission of finding the missing slippers.

Abbey was obviously not happy that Luke was holding the slipper.
There we go...retake with Abbey holding the 2nd missing slipper.
Next, we had a surprise for the moms.  We took all of the cards that the moms used to describe the outfits of their princesses and had a little fashion show.  The intent was to include the brother siblings who attended the party as well, but they weren't having that.  That would have been fun though!  Here is the video--please forgive the quality, movement and my voice.

(Drew was AWESOME that day, by the way.  He served, served, served.  He was the MC for the fashion show, he served the girls during their fancy tea party and he helped clean up.  He's such an amazing husband and dad!)

After the fashion show, it was time to head inside for the fancy tea party.  The girls were served 3 different courses after their strawberry tea was individually poured into their fancy tea cups.  They were served fruit bowls, heart-shaped chocolate banana muffins, and then the gorgeous cookies (works of art) that my friend, Gina, created.

During the tea party, we had some sweet princess music (classical tunes) playing at a soft volume.   Each princess was given a golden crown at her place setting to adorn her head.  The golden cloth napkins were tied delicately with soft pink ribbons.  


If you look beyond our princess tea party, you will notice the "knights of the square table" munching on goodies as well.

After the tea party, we headed outside for another game.  We played "pass the magic wand."  It is similar to musical chairs.  We started out with all of the kids in a circle.  They passed the wand while the music played and whoever had the wand when the music stopped was out.  The circle got smaller and smaller until we had our winner.


I love this picture.  Sweet Lauren wasn't happy about being "out."

They are laighing here because the magic wand was on the ground when the music stopped here.

It got exciting!
Who is going to win?
Hurry, pass it.
The music is about to stop.

Our final two.
Everyone was a winner though!  Everyone left with a magic wand and some sweet stickers.  

After the scheduled games, the kids just had a blast playing together.

A knight is guarding the castle.

Abbey and a couple of her friends decided to head back inside to have a 2nd tea party in Abbey's room.
Abbey is getting the treats ready.
Andi was getting the table ready.
Sweet girls.
While Abbey and a couple of her friends were inside, her other friends began collecting little flowers from our yard to make a surprise for Abbey.
selecting the best ones...
Then, they asked Abbey to come outside and sit on this little stool for her surprise. 
Here they are telling her about their sweet surprise.  This face is her bashful, excited, feeling special face.
How sweet are they?
We are blessed to have such sweet people in our lives.

Abbey had such an awesome party and her friends helped her to feel so special!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Springtime Adventures

I know, it isn't really springtime yet.  But, it sure does feel like it here in Central Texas.   We have had some absolutely gorgeous weather and the kids and I have tried to limit our time indoors as much as possible.  We are just soaking in this beautiful weather.  I know some have said that having weather this gorgeous in January and February probably means we may have a hot summer, but our family says, "who cares, that means more pool time!"  We just love being outdoors and having adventures whenever possible. 

One random beautiful day at home.

We have had so much fun exploring and hiking lately, that I have decided the kids and I are going to try to go to every hiking trail in the Austin area.  We are going to print out a checklist and see how many we can visit in a year.  When I can remember, I will try to blog about them.  If I blog about enough of them, I will create a page with links to each of the parks I blog about. 

Here are some photos of some of our most recent adventures:  (Most of these are taken with my Samsung Galaxy S5 and edited in Snapseed, and just a few with our DSLR.  Please forgive the poor quality--they have been compressed twice to insert into this blog.):

At Veteran's Park in Round Rock, TX:

The kids and I went fishing on one random gorgeous weekday.  We were the only ones there and we absolutely loved the park!   You certainly do not feel like you are in the middle of downtown when you step foot into this park.  Here are some of the photos I took of our time there.

My little climber immediately found a tree to try to climb. 

But he fished for a little while. 
Then he was back to exploring though.
Abbey stayed with me a little longer than Luke.  We found this pretty log to sit on while waiting for the fish to bite. 

more exploring

We saw fun creatures
But in the end, it was I who was the lonely one fishing. I didn't want to leave until we caught one. We didn't catch one that day.  Abbey was getting a bit tired though.  So, she played an educational game while I tried for a bit longer to catch one.

Mayfield Park and Nature preserve--Austin, TX:

Abbey took this photo of me recently at Mayfield park.
There are tons of peacocks who are residents of Mayfield Park.  What gorgeous animals!

Abbey found a peacock feather.

This peacock led the way during the first part of our hike on the trail.

These flowers tell us that Spring is close!  They think Spring is already here!

Mimi and Papa and their friends from Ohio (but who now live in Indiana) explored Mayfield park a little bit with us recently.

Bull Creek--Austin, TX:

The kids and I went with our homeschooling co-op to Bull Creek District Park last Friday. It felt like the most beautiful summer day and the kids certainly acted as if it was summer. Some in our co-op even had swimsuits on!  The kids had a blast exploring the park together, building things, finding animals and insects, building dams and bridges, and just hanging out.

You can see the 150+ year old wagon tracks that are embedded in the bottom of the creek bed here.  Wagons used to travel this route bringing goods in and out of town.


on a mission.
Abbey fell into the creek with her clothes on.  I hung her little shirt on a limb to dry.
Mt. Bonnell--Austin, TX:

We have been here countless of times. In fact, Mt. Bonnell is where Drew proposed to me.  (Actually, that moment happened this month 8 years ago.)   We visited a few times the past couple of months.  It is the highest point in Austin, so you can see for miles up there.

And we have enjoyed walking down to the creek near our home. 

Our next adventure awaits!