Caelan Conversations, Part 19

August 11, 2015

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CAELAN [in a tone of awe]: Guess what, Mommy? Yesterday, Pappy watched a no-hitter. And a guy fell when he was catching a ball!

SARAH: Wow, sounds exciting! You know that was a baseball game. That’s the same game we were playing in the yard the other day.

CAELAN: No, Mommy, it was a no-hitter.

———-

One morning I made a smoothie and poured it into my travel mug.

CAELAN: Are you making a new Alexa?

For reference, Alexa (Amazon Echo) on the right, my mug on the left :)

contigo

———-

On the way to a timeout…

CAELAN: I’m gonna poke a hole in the wall and hope the house falls down.

Um, okay. Not sure he thought that one through!

———-

SARAH: Caelan, please drink your milk.

CAELAN: Did you say “shake your booty butt”?

BILL: No! Not at the dinner table!

———-

On our way to the beach, we passed many farms and saw lots of farm equipment including huge sprinklers on wheels.

CAELAN: Are you kidding me with that sprinkler?!

———-

SARAH: What’s your favorite color today?

CAELAN [who knows all his colors and numbers perfectly well]: Seven.

———-

SARAH: Do you want me to hold your cake pop while you climb out of the car seat?

CAELAN: No, I’m magic. I can hold it AND climb out.

———-

When I get home from work, Caelan runs to meet me in the mudroom…

CAELAN: Mommy, we’re having a face!

SARAH: What?

CAELAN: A feece….[looks confused, and runs away calling] Daddy, what is it again?

After a few seconds, he returns to the mud room…

CAELAN: A feast!! A picnic feast! You want to join us??


Leah Lines, Part 2

August 11, 2015

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Talking to our Amazon Echo, Alexa…

SARAH: Alexa, what is my name?

ALEXA: Sarah’s Profile.

LEAH: Say “Mommy”, Alexa.

———-

SARAH: Leah, can you say “I love you”?

LEAH: We go Chick Fil A??

———-

Leah and I are watching Caelan NOT nap on the monitor…

SARAH: Go to sleep Caelan.

LEAH: Listen a Mommy, Gaga!

———-

SARAH: Leah, do you want to take a nap?

LEAH: A nack [snack]?

SARAH [enunciating]: No, a naP.

LEAH: No, sssssnack.

———-

Leah is very annoyed by a few flies who have sneaked into our house. I overheard this from the lunch table…

LEAH: No fly, that my milk!!

———-

SARAH: Your hair is a hot mess.

LEAH: You’re a hot mess.


Leah’s Carnival Party

August 10, 2015

At this point, it’s no surprise to anyone that I’m going to go all out on a birthday party for one of my kids. I know it’s insane and it’s TONS of work (especially this one), but I love putting the parties together. And my kids have a great time and that is the ultimate goal :)

So going way back to this past Christmas, friends of ours gave us a popcorn machine. My first thought was “Okay, one of the kids is having a carnival party this summer.” Funny how these ideas come about, but that is how this one was born.

Nailing down the details for this party was tricky. I wanted to include classic carnival foods, but also some non-junk foods. And the games needed to appear to kids ranging from 2 to 11 and be self-operating.

In the end, I figured out the menu, the games, the prizes, etc and it all came together really well! The amount of prep was crazy though. I had EIGHT people helping me do food prep and set up right before the party and we still managed to get it together just as the guests were arriving. (PS: THANK YOU to my “crew” (aka my family) for helping out!!)

Invitations

I found a few inspiration pics from a Google Image search and designed this invitation for Leah’s party.

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Decorations

We had minimal decorations since the food and games were kind of the stars. I put up streamers and balloons in the kitchen near the food, but that was about it except for the pictures. I have done this monthly pictures display for both of my kids for their 1st and 2nd birthdays. It’s fun to see how quickly they’re changing!

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Food

Here was our menu:

  • Hot Dogs
  • Chick Fil A nugget tray
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Pasta Salad
  • Watermelon & Grapes
  • Popcorn
  • Soft Pretzels
  • Funnel Cakes
  • Cotton Candy
  • Marshmallow Dumbbells
  • Lemonade, Soda, Beer, Juice

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I also made little signs for all of the food…

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Cupcakes

The cupcakes (ironically) were the only thing that went really wrong. First off, the cupcake liners I ordered from eBay arrived 2 days AFTER the party. Fail. Luckily, I have a stash of liners and I actually had some that were really perfect for this. Crisis #1 averted. I made plain old chocolate cupcakes and planned to frost them with a new icing recipe I found for a whipped cream icing. I was making the icing at the last minute and I was so busy that I kept turning on the mixer and walking away and forgetting about it. Between that and the humidity, my icing was soup :( But a call to my mom and father-in-law to pick up some canned frosting and my sister and brother-in-law icing the cupcakes at the last minute saved the day! Box cake and canned frosting, and you know what, they were delicious. Crisis #2 averted.

Entertainment

I really wanted to have a bouncy castle (as my kids call them) for this party. It seemed fitting. We decided to purchase one instead of renting. It seems a little extravagant to me, but hopefully it’s a good investment since we can use it for future parties.

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I also wanted to include face painting. I was reluctant to hire a pro for this since we had already spent money on the bouncy castle so I purchased a face painting kit. I printed out some simple ideas and hoped the parents would be willing to try their hand at face painting. Many parents did give it a go and the kids looked great! Unfortunately, sweaty faces + water guns and we had a lot of smearing and I’m pretty sure there is a fair amount of paint on the bouncy castle. Oh well, it’s washable.

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Games

We had 3 games. They were set up so that each child could win 1 prize from each game, and the idea was that those 3 prizes would be their party favor. The games were fairly self-explanatory though my husband did supervise a couple of them. And since we were left with more than half of the prizes at the end of the party, I don’t think how to win a prize was quite clear.

Ring Toss

I made this ring toss set with empty iced tea bottles, a cardboard box, and a set of rings (found on Amazon). Each bottle was numbered, and each number corresponded to a prize bag.

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Fish Bowl

For the fish bowl game, I used clear plastic cups and taped a picture of a fish with a number on the bottom of each one. The cups were then filled with water. The kids tossed ping pong balls and tried to get one in a cup. Again, the numbers corresponded to a prize bag.

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Water Gun

For this game, I stuck golf tees in a block of stryrofoam and the object was to shoot the balls off their tees with a water gun. I couldn’t figure out how to do prizes for this game so I just did a grab bag of prizes instead of individual ones. The kids did play this game, but the water guns were a hit on their own (I thought they would be!).

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So that was how we celebrated Leah’s 2nd birthday!! Everyone seemed to have a good time and it was our first time having a large party at the new house. There will be many more, I’m sure ;) Read the rest of this entry »


Leah Caroline, 2 Years

August 2, 2015

Today our baby is 2!! I’ve been saying she’s “almost 2” for ages it seems, but now she finally is. It’s mostly sweet, but it’s a little bittersweet also. The older she gets, the farther and farther away we move from the baby years, since Leah is our last baby. I think the year between age 1 and age 2 shows the most dramatic change. Of course, from birth to age 1 is a huge change but at both the start and end of that year, the child is a baby. At age 1, Leah was standing but not walking (though she did take her first steps 2 days later) and she had about 3 words. For the most part, she was still completely dependent on us and we were not able to communicate with her very well. Fast-forward to today and it’s a totally different story!

Driving Daddy's tractor

Driving Daddy’s tractor

I’ve said this before, but it’s still true…18 – 30 months is hands down my favorite age so far, with both of my kids. The squishy newborn days are sweet and the crawling/standing/first steps are exciting, but the learning to talk is my favorite. It’s fascinating to me to watch Leah learn how to pronounce letters and words and to figure out how to use the words to communicate with us. Naturally, it results in some mistakes – many of which we don’t correct because they are too hysterical/adorable.

Around 22-23 months old, Leah progressed to 4-6 (or more) word sentences. (“Watch a show, Mommy, please?” “I ride the bike, Daddy!”) Her sentences include verbs and pronouns now. The pronouns are mostly used incorrectly, but they’re there. (“Here coming me!”) Right now, she basically narrates everything going on around her and repeats the same sentences over and over again. That can be a little tiring (Caelan has complained about that and I just love the irony :) ) but you can tell she’s practicing. She basically says everything and she is very understandable, even to people who aren’t around her much. Some of our favorite phrases:

  • “Mommy, hot dog me?” (Similar to “beer me” if you’re familiar with that phrase :) )
  • “I sitting here!”
  • “Where Yah go?” (Said while hiding – “Yah” is what she calls herself)
  • “I haveita booboo, Mommy”
  • “Come on, Gaga!”
  • “You comin’ Mommy?”

“Haveita” is my favorite. Bill and I have incorporated it into our own conversations.

Little Miss Talks-A-Lot is super bossy now too! And very, very independent. Reminders to use her manners are frequent. She wants to do EVERYTHING by herself (“I no need help.”). Her fine motor skills are really great. She can put her shoes on by herself and she can even buckle her sandals. I was kind of shocked when she came into the room with her sandals on and no one had helped her! Of course she also wants to help with things like changing her own diaper, which is far less helpful.

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Putting her shoes on

Speaking of diapers, we’ve got nothing on the potty training front. Occasionally I ask her if she wants to try and usually she says no. She did agree to sit on the potty once, but she thought it was weird. We don’t push her because, really, the last thing I want is a too-young, not-ready potty-trainer. Honestly, at this age, diapers are easier. However, when she starts preschool at the end of this month (!!!) she will need to wear Pull Ups.

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Reading

Leah and Caelan are still buddies, but the bickering and fighting has escalated, as has the whining from both kids. Sometimes it’ll be quiet and I’ll investigate (because quiet kids are usually trouble) but I’ll find them playing well together, or reading together, or sharing a toy together. However, more often their play is NOT quiet. Often it’s still fine and they’re getting along, but there are plenty of fights too. I know its normal – I have a sister and while I don’t remember what it was like when we were 2 and 5, I’m sure we did fight. There are fights over toys and someone grabbed something from someone else or Leah starts crying and then I need to figure out if Caelan did something to her or if she’s just being dramatic. We set a lot of timers to switch off using certain toys.

Leah adores Caelan. She loves all the things he loves. When I asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she said “Lightning and Mater!” I’m excited for them to be in preschool together in a few weeks (though they will be in different classes). She still calls Caelan “Gaga” (and Bill and I do too sometimes) but she also calls him Kai. When asked “Can you say ‘Caelan’?” she will say Cay-en, so she CAN, she just prefers Gaga.

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Playing together

Leah’s sleep habits are…slightly better? I can’t really tell if it’s that or if I’m just more used to it by now. How is it possible that we have a 2 year old who doesn’t sleep through the night?! I mean, sometimes she does – probably a few days a week. But the other days, she still wakes up 1-2 times a night. And then she’s up for the day at the butt crack of dawn. At her age, I’m not even sure how to fix it. When she wakes up, it’s easy to get her back down again, but she needs to be doing that herself, without us. Maybe it will be better once she’s out of the crib and in a bed? I think that change may becoming in the next few months. I’ve already started planning an owl theme for her “big girl room”.

In the meantime, her bedtime rituals ARE very cute. Her best “buddy” is (the aptly named) Penguin. Other current favorites are Ernie and Hippo (we are creative with the names around here). She lines them all up, not forgetting the glow bear in the corner, then tucks Penguin under her arm, curls up in the fetal position and waits to be covered with her “owls” and her “fuzzy banket” (both blankets which were formerly “behbens” but are now “bankets”).

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Leah’s buddy, Penguin

Despite being of average/petite height and weight, this girl is a bottomless pit when it comes to eating! Especially snacks (aka “nacks”). Omg she asks for a snack all.day.long! She may prefer to be a grazer, but we don’t really let the kids graze so maybe that’s why she’s constantly asking for snacks. It’s not like we don’t feed her though! She gets 3 meals plus 2-3 snacks a day! But she will literally get up from the dinner table and ask for a snack.

She eats all the foods. She really will eat basically anything. There are a few random things she’s iffy on (like chicken nuggets and potatoes) but I don’t know that she really refuses anything. She would eat fruits and veggies all day long – she is a huge fan.

Leah still has her baby hair and has yet to have a first haircut, but her hair is definitely getting long! She needs a barrette to keep it out of her face and, thankfully, she is very tolerant with me doing her hair and she doesn’t bother it once it’s up.

Her hair is getting long!

Her hair is getting long!

Last month, we went on a family beach trip with Bill’s family. This was Leah’s 2nd trip to the beach, but last year was very different from this year. Leah liked the beach last year, but she wasn’t walking yet so she didn’t do much other than nap and play in the surf a little. This year, she was having a BLAST running in the surf with Caelan, jumping waves, and just running full out straight into the ocean. She kept Bill and I (and Pop) running! She got knocked over by a wave once or twice, but it didn’t phase her much.

Running on the beach

Running on the beach

Cooking up something with a bucket of water and some sand!

Cooking up something with a bucket of water and some sand!

Last year at the beach, we often found ourselves trapped in the house during the afternoon nap which was kind of a pain. But this year, Leah only takes 1 nap and she is much more flexible with it so we were able to get lots of beach time AND some beach naps! Beach napping with Leah was probably my favorite part of that trip. Everyday, she napped on the beach. Something about standing near the surf was like a tranquilizer and she was out within minutes. Going on vacation with little kids is the opposite of relaxing, but that hour or so a day when she napped was like a little slice of the vacations of yore – only better because I was snuggling a sleeping baby AND relaxing myself. (Obviously, Caelan was there too but he was often playing or being supervised by Bill during Leah’s nap times. He’s also become more and more independent, but more on that in his next post ;) ) I’m a little sad that this year was probably the last year for beach naps for the kids. I mean, maybe we’ll luck out and she’ll nap some next year. She is a decent napper…

Beach napping

Beach napping

Now that Leah is older, her personality is really starting to come out. Yes, she is dramatic. She’s bossy and she has a little attitude, but she’s TWO so it’s kind of hysterical too. She has the exasperated sigh down pat and I ALWAYS laugh when she does it. She’s meticulous in the way that 2 year olds are (lining up toys, laying out a blanket just so) and she can dissolve into a tantrum out of nowhere over seemingly nothing. I don’t know, maybe because we’ve been through this before (or because I know this is NOT the worst its going to be), I don’t get that upset about it. Well maybe sometimes. Like when she won’t COME HERE for a diaper/clothes change or when she insists on buckling her booster by herself, which she can’t really do.

This face saves her.

This face saves her.

As dramatic and screamy as she can be, Leah definitely has a quiet and reserved side too. She is vary wary of unfamiliar people and surroundings. Sometimes that makes her a Velcro baby stuck to my hip, but she does warm up eventually. She does so much better with people who *don’t* approach her. Once she’s had time to evaluate the situation for herself and once she realizes that some of these new people might be A) friends to play with, or B) people who will read books to her, then she will join in :)

Leah is very affectionate. She really craves that closeness more so than Caelan did at this age. She likes to be held (which is getting painful at this point since she’s too old/heavy to be carried around everywhere) and though it can get to be too much at times when the kids treat me like a jungle gym, she does like to sit with me/on me/in my lap. I know that won’t last forever and I am already sad about it ending someday. Leah is my heart and I am so excited about the little girl she is growing up to be!

And now some comparison pics…

Pig tails, age 1 and age 2

Pig tails, age 1 and age 2

Caelan and Leah, age 2-ish (23+ months)

Caelan and Leah, age 2-ish (23+ months)

Happy 2nd Birthday to my sweet girl!! Mommy and Daddy and Gaga love you!!

Happy 2nd Birthday!!

Happy 2nd Birthday!!

Leah’s 2 Year Old Stats

  • Wearing 24 month tops and bottoms and 24 month sleepers/pajamas, size 5 or 6 shoes
  • Size 5 diapers
  • Weight: 25 lbs
  • Height:
  • Favorite foods: Yogurt, oatmeal, goldfish, hot dogs, any and all fruits and veggies
  • Loves reading books, lining up toys, spreading out her blankets, trying on shoes, eating snacks, Mickey Mouse, Mater

Leah Lines, Part 1

June 22, 2015

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I cannot believe it is time to start Leah’s conversations posts!! It is so much fun to talk to our kids and hear what they come up with. The very first entry here is from April 2015, when Leah was 20 months old.

——————–

I hand Leah something…

LEAH: Thank you.

SARAH: You’re welcome.

LEAH: MY welcome!

———-

CAELAN: No way!!

LEAH: Yes way!

———-

Leah farts.

SARAH: What do you say?

LEAH: Thank you.

SARAH: No, what do you say when you fart?

LEAH: You’re welcome.

SARAH: Um, no.

———-

Background: Leah calls herself “Yah”

SARAH: Hi baby.

LEAH [sternly]: No baby. Yah.

———-

When I dropped Leah off at daycare, she climbed into Ms. Sheila’s lap as usual and then looked up at me…

LEAH: Go home.


Caelan Conversations, Part 18

June 15, 2015

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I am standing in front of the full length mirror in my closet after getting dressed…

CAELAN: Why are you looking in there, Mommy?

SARAH: I am looking to see if my clothes look okay.

CAELAN: You look beautiful, Mommy.

SARAH: Thanks baby.

———-

I gave Caelan and Leah each a bowl of grapes. Caelan’s bowl was orange…

CAELAN [whining]: I didn’t want the orange bowl, I wanted the red bowl.

SARAH: Well don’t look at the bowl then, just eat your grapes.

After a minute or so…

CAELAN [whining]: Mommy, the orange bowl is letting me look at it!!

———-

Caelan and Leah love to play with empty Tic Tac containers in the car. Caelan can open them on his own, but Leah needs help. After Caelan has opened it for her twice…

LEAH [to Caelan]: Open?

CAELAN [exasperatedly]: Ugh!! Again, Leah?! Mommy, Leah asked me to open hers and then she asked me again!!

Annoying, isn’t it… :)

———-

SARAH: What should we get Grandma for her birthday?

CAELAN: A train! From Target!

———-

Caelan is singing a made up song…

CAELAN: ♫♪ Oh I wish I was a little baby squirrel, baby squirrel! ♫♪ — Daddy, this part will be so funny, you will, like, freak out — ♫♪ I’ll poop on your head! ♫♪

———-

I hand Caelan a cup of milk.

CAELAN: Thanks, from my teeth.

———-

A conversation with our Amazon Echo, Alexa…

SARAH: Alexa, how are you?

ALEXA: I’m great. I hope you are too.

CAELAN: “I hope you are too”?…But you’re not.

SARAH: I’m not? Sure I am!

CAELAN: You’re not 2….

SARAH: Ohhhh…

———-

Caelan opens a birthday gift from Leah. It’s a green Chick Hicks car that he’s been wanting for ages.

CAELAN: Ohhhh Leah! I’m so proud of you!!!

———-

CAELAN: Okay, this is how it is. [points to Bill] You’re wrong. [points to Sarah] You’re right.


Caelan’s Cars Birthday Party

June 8, 2015

I’m going to do a whole post on Caelan’s birthday party this year! This party was THE party I have been wanting to do for years – super theme-y! And honestly what made it so cool was that Caelan loved it so much!! In the weeks leading up to the party, he watched me buy all the supplies and do all the prep and he was just loving every bit of it. I could have done a super theme-y party for his first birthday and it would have been cool, but at age 1, he would have had no clue. At age 4, he was really into it!

We had good weather on the day of the party which was great because everything was outside. It didn’t rain and it wasn’t unbearably hot, so that was great. However, it was SUPER windy. Unfortunately that made getting everything set up a little difficult and I ended up skipping a few of the decorations because they would have blown away. #fwp

Here’s how we put our Disney Cars themed party together!!

EDIT: I forgot to include the invitations!!!

The Invitations

I combined a few ideas I saw online and designed these invites!

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The Cake

I almost chickened out of making this cake. I almost did a regular sheet cake with Lightning McQueen drawn on it, and that would have been cool. But I’m so glad I went for it and made this Lightning McQueen *shaped* cake!

For the cake, I used this recipe which I have used before and I knew it was very sturdy and easy to carve. I made 2 batches, in 2 9×13 pans. I also made 2 batches of my favorite vanilla buttercream icing. I reserved about 1 cup for details and tinted the rest red with Wilton gel color. Red is notoriously hard to make REALLY red but I managed to do it this time by adding half a bottle of the red gel color and then letting it sit in the fridge for about a day before using it.

I looked up a few tutorials online and printed out some pictures of Lightning from a few different angles and then used all that info to free-hand carve the cake into the shape of a car. I frosted it with the red buttercream. Most of the shaped Lightning cakes I saw online were covered in fondant. To be honest, fondant cakes are not my thing so I knew I wanted to stick with buttercream. I did make the detail decorations with fondant.

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The Games

I grabbed a Pin-The-Headlight-On-Mater game from the party store. It came with 8 headlight stickers, but since we had more than 8 kids, I just color-copied the stickers to make more.

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Ramone’s House of Body Art wasn’t really a “game” so much as it was a station, I guess. In the movie, Ramone does paint jobs at his House of Body Art, so a temporary tattoo station seemed like a good fit. Unfortunately, this was one of the things that got skipped due to the wind :(

The major game for this party was the Piston Cup race! We had stacks and stacks of boxes leftover from our move last year so, over the course of several weeks, I picked out 6 boxes and made them into cars! I chose to do Lightning McQueen, The King, Chick Hicks (Caelan’s favorite), Doc, Francesco, and Mater. I used scrap pieces of cardboard, styrofoam, and a ton of hot glue to make the cars a little more stable. I spray painted them their main colors and then used acrylic paint and a foam brush for the eyes and any details. The rest of the details I printed out and glued to the cars.

We kept the cars out of sight until it was time for the race, which was a stroke of genius on my husband’s part. Once those cars were out, only the mention of cake tore the kids away from them!

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This is the race track my husband drew in the yard with spray paint! We also stuck little checkered flags in the ground to help the kids see where the track was. They still sort of took a few short cuts ;)

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The Favors

I can’t really take credit for anything but the execution of these ideas! I found everything via Pinterest and Google searches. These Pit Passes looked really cute and the kids could wear them during the party, but also keep them as a favor. I got the lanyards from Party City and the plastic holders from Amazon. I designed and printed the passes myself.

I also grabbed some little trophies so that each kid could take home their own Piston Cup. They are really, really small so I couldn’t even fill them with treats. As it turned out, we weren’t able to set the Pit Passes and Piston Cups out on a table as I had planned (wind!!) so Caelan handed out the Pit Passes and we just forgot to give out the Piston Cups.

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The Food

Despite the fact that all the food was themed, it was actually less food than we would usually have for a party and it was easier to put together. (I was still running around like a crazy person minutes before the party though. Isn’t that always how it is??) We ordered pizza for delivery (we had WAY too much!!), had sodas, water and juice boxes to drink, the cake, and the rest was just snacks – most requiring zero prep! I made the little signs and uploaded them to Shutterfly for printing. Easier and faster than messing with my printer (which I did do for other things). The plan was for the signs to be held with place card holders, but again…wind…so they ended up taped to the tables and I think a lot of people didn’t get it. #fwpagain Here are the foods we had:

Francesco’s Pizzeria (pizzas)

Sheriff’s Stop Lights (fruit skewers)

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Sally’s Cozy Cones (Bugles)

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Sarge’s Surplus Snacks (pretzels, Goldfish, Teddy Grahams)

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Mater’s Taters (potato chips and dip)

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Luigi’s Casa Della Tires (chocolate donuts)

These were supposed to be stacked into a tower, but I skipped that because of the wind (it was REALLY windy!) but these got demolished so quickly it didn’t matter!

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The Decorations and Paper Supplies

We had several folding tables set up with red and black plastic table cloths. I ordered plates and napkins from Amazon (because it was cheaper than the party store, which is not usually the case for party supplies!) and got the rest from the party store. We had checkered flag banners, a race banner, and little mini checkered flags. I don’t have a lot of good pictures of these things because – you guessed it – wind!

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The Birthday Boy

The most important part of the party!!! This was all for him and he loved it :)

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