Declan's Dino Party

Today we celebrated my little man's birthday. I have been planning his birthday party for what seems like months, so I am thankful that it was a success...and that it's over! I have realized that I am not one of those moms that can take the easy way out. When it's time to sign up for who brings what to the class parties, I physically cannot bring myself to sign up for the plates and napkins or the jug of juice. No, I am the mom who volunteers to make the cupcakes or the goodie bags. I love a good party, but what's more, I love all the details that make a party really special. I obsess over the menu, the decorations, the favors, the dessert, the outfits...every inch of it.

So here is the breakdown of Declan's party, inch by inch.


For the menu, I wanted it to be really kid-friendly foods. So we decided on the following:

-Spinach & Artichoke dip (ready made from the grocery store)
-Homemade salsa & mexican dip with tortilla chips (by my mama)
-Chicken nuggets (from Chick fil-a)
-Mini hamburgers (frozen section at Sam's club)
-Mini bagel dogs (also frozen section at Sam's club)
-Turkey pinwheel sandwiches (courtesy of my mother-in-law)
-Mac-n-cheese (frozen from Sam's club)
-Fresh fruit salad
-Veggie cups
-Pasta salad
-Cake pops
-Vanilla cupcakes (made from Sprinkles mix) with the Sprinkles buttercream icing recipe

The nice thing about the menu that we chose, was that there wasn't a ton of advanced preparation. We made the pasta salad and sangria Thursday night. We made the cupcakes and cake pops Friday night.
So I've been wanting to make cake pops ever since I stumbled upon Bakerella's blog a couple years back. I decided to take a very simplified variation of her amazing creations. Basically you bake a store-bought cake mix according to the directions, let cool, crumble with your hands, add 1/2 container of icing, form 1 inch balls, and then dip into melted chocolate and then decorate to your liking. We used a devils food cake mix, chocolate icing and then blue candy melts (from the baking section of the Michael's) to coat the cake pops, and assorted colored sprinkles.

They weren't as neat and pretty as I had imagined in my head, but for our first time, they turned out pretty good. Plus, they were sooooooooooo delicious! Here's a closeup:

I think one of my favorite parts of the menu were the little veggie cups I made. I got little orange plastic cups (the size one might have used to make jello shooters in college) and filled the bottom with ranch dressing and then stuck two celery sticks and two carrot sticks in each one. They were great for the kids: super portable and not messy! See:


This banner by Sassy Photo Creations that I found on Etsy hung in the morning room. She also made the cupcake toppers, food tags, and the favor bag stickers.

I also made a photo montage of Declan using my favorite pictures of him throughout the past year. Isn't it cute??


I decided to set up a candy buffet of blue, green, and orange candy that the kids could scoop into little treat bags to take home with them.

I also made each kid an initial tote bag filled with dinosaur coloring books, a mini crayon rollup made out of Michael Miller's dino dude fabric (made by My Sunshine Designs on Etsy) and a package of dinosaur-shaped magic grow capsules. The two babies in attendance went home with these mini ribbon loveys in the same fabric (made by The Posh Tots on Etsy).

Everyone seemed to have a reaaly good time. And, like any good party, by the end of the evening, Declan had stripped off his cute T-Rex shirt (available here), slapped on a tie and looked a little something like this:


weekend fun

This past weekend, Jay went on his annual snowboard trip. This is when he will loudly interject that it is not annual, since he didn't get to go in 2009 (because I was giving birth to Declan) or 2010 (he instead opted to go to Miami for the Superbowl, leaving me 9 weeks pregnant with 3 kids in a blizzard). Anyway....so, while Jay was here for 6 days:

I stayed home and played single mom. After approximately 24 hours of going at it alone, we headed to my moms. I hate being in our house at night without Jay and I figured it would give me some time to hang out with my mama. And I'd get some help! So I figured I'd just plop all the kids and take a little road trip. I vastly underestimated the amount of crap stuff that four kids require to go... well, anywhere! Here are some pictures of the car:

I also forgot what happens to kids when you try to get them to sleep somewhere other than their rooms. The girls, who should have been fine seeing as they share a room at home, maintained a midnight- 6 am sleeping schedule the whole time we were there. And poor Declan, cried to the point of vomiting every night before I had even left the room. Finlay took pity on me one night, thankfully, and slept from 11pm-6am. Here's a picture of her in the morning looking all bright-eyed:

We did have a really good time though. We took the kids one day to an indoor play place filled with moon bounces and other inflatables. The girls suckered me into trying to win them something out of the claw machine. I spent $8, but was eventually able to score a stuffed pig for Emerson (whose arm promptly fell off an hour later) and a miniature Strawberry Shortcake doll for Ava.

We also hit up a few cute little boutiques while I was there and I scored some stuff for the kids. My favorite is this cozy sleeping bag by aden + anais.

It's made of four layers of muslin, the same stuff their amazing swaddle blankets are made from. It keeps babies super warm without needing a blanket but unlike those fleece versions, it's super breathable, so they don't overheat. They also make a classic version for warmer months, that's a little bit lighter weight. I thought it was genius, so we bought one and Finlay's been sleeping in it ever since.

I also got to go to the J.Crew outlet, which is the only one around that carries crew cuts. I got the kids some super cute stuff for spring. I even got myself some shorts and a big floppy straw hat for our upcoming trip to Mexico!

By Sunday morning, the kids were falling all over themselves so we had to leave. And I figured my mom probably wanted to put her house back together after Hurricane Sprinkel had rolled through.


bike dreams

The kids are out of school today, thanks to the freezing rain storm we had overnight. So, we are spending a nice cozy day indoors. The kids are still in their pajamas and watching cartoons, while I am window shopping on Etsy. I stumbled upon these glasses, which I LOVE:

It got me thinking how much I love bicycles. Not the kind with the brightly colored Spandex-clad riders that you get stuck behind when you're running late. More like the retro beach cruiser kind. I'm a sucker for anything printed with an old school bicycle (or tricycle or unicycle). So here are some of my findings:

it's in!

While Finlay slept soundly in the swing, recovering from her croupy seal cough, the rest of the Sprinkel family put on their winter coats, hats, and gloves and went out to clean/play in the garage. Jay and I put together one of those metal Gorilla racks for some extra storage. Here's a picture:

So my garage looks NOTHING like any of my inspiration pictures, but I attribute that in part to the fact that my garage, unlike those, isn't fully dry-walled and doesn't have a shiny painted floor. Also, take into account, it was about 25 degrees yesterday and we had 3 kids and 1 dog running around during the organization extravaganza. Also, it was too cold to open the garage doors, so we didn't have the luxury of taking everything out and sorting through it in the driveway. But in the end, everyone had fun and most importantly, my car fits! Here's proof:


garage overhaul

So, even though it was on my November to-do list, our garage still looks like this:

Ok, this isn't our actual garage. This is a picture from an episode of Hoarders. But, really ours is not much better. So I've been looking for some organized garage inspiration. Here are some of my favorites:

While, I do not really expect my garage to end up looking like any of these images. I would like to be able to pull one car into our three car garage. I'll post pictures of my progress.



Finlay is 5 months old. 162 days to be exact. That is, 162 days that I have not had more than 5 hours of sleep in a row. Every night I go to bed with this tiny glimmer of hope that tonight will be the night. Finlay was finally starting to stretch out her feedings and sleep a little longer each night. So, when I crawled into bed around 11:30pm, I had relatively high hopes of getting a good night sleep.

12:15- Finlay starts to whimper, I get up and give her a pacifier
12:27- Finlay starts to cry, I get up and put her in bed with me, feed her, and start to doze off
12:45- Emerson comes in our room, with vomit in her hair saying she has thrown up in her bed. Since I'm still nursing Finlay and can't get up and Jay is still (somehow) asleep, I tell her to go sleep in her sleeping bag on the floor. She asks if she can change her pajamas first.
12:57- Finish feeding Finlay, put her back in her bassinet, go check on Emerson, strip her bed and put laundry in the hall and go back to bed
1:17- Hear Emerson crying, tell Jay to go check on her, Jay goes into the hall and comes back in. Says it's not Emerson, it's Declan.
1:22- Declan stops crying
1:47- Finlay starts to cough and whimper, Jay gets up and gives her her pacifier
4:14- Finlay starts screaming, it sounds like a baby seal, I get up and walk her around the room to try to calm her down, end up feeding her again
4:52- get Finlay asleep and in her bassinet
7:14- wake up for good

I took Finlay to the doctor, turns out she has croup. This explains the baby seal noises. The doctor said the next couple nights might not be fun. I start laughing.


new year, new me?

Like everyone else, I made a few New Year's resolutions: lose the rest of my baby weight, exercise more, keep my house clean, drink more water, spend less money, blah, blah, blah. I was doing really well too! I have only been to the Target two days this year. I have only been to the Starbucks once. I've replaced my usual Diet Pepsi and Red Bull intake with water. I've been trying to eat really healthy too. I made a really healthy salad for dinner while the kids ate piles of yummy-looking mac-n-cheese. I sipped on my water while they ate their buttery popcorn during the movie tonight. After I put everyone to bed, I sat down with my computer to get ideas for Declan's upcoming birthday party when I spied out of the corner of my eye a shiny gold box in the corner under the Christmas tree. It is a box of Godiva chocolates. It has been sitting in the same spot, untouched, for seven days now. But tonight, it seemed especially tempting. So, when Emerson came down to tell me that she wanted a little snack, I cracked. I told her to run and grab the box. We tore open the cellophane wrapper and her eyes widened at the sight of the giant box of chocolates in various sizes, shapes, and colors. Emerson ran upstairs to get Ava, wildly shouting random words like "Mom", "candy", "us", "eat", and "hurry". Then the three of us sat around this lovely foil covered box and took turns picking up chocolates. We tried to guess what was inside. Ava was sure one had mushrooms inside. Luckily, she was wrong and it was chocolate ganache. I'm pretty sure we all have belly aches now and I really have no desire to even look at anything chocolate again, but we had fun. Here's a look at the damages:


a shower for Osbert

One of my best friends is pregnant with a little boy we are (for now) affectionately calling Osbert. I have friends with kids. I have sisters and sister-in-laws with kids. I have people I have become friends with because of our kids. But this is the first of my tight-knit little group of friends from high school to become a mama. And I couldn't be more excited! We threw her a baby shower this weekend and here are some of the details:


Hummus Bar (5 varieties of hummus and pita chips, crackers, veggies & pretzels for dipping)
Rosemary chicken salad (courtesy of Jay) with rolls & pita pockets
Warm Spinach & Artichoke dip

Multi-grain tortilla chips and yummy homemade (by my mama, not me) salsa

A mushroom flatbread pizza (from the frozen section of the Trader Joe's)


Medley of olives

Lemon squares

Chocolate & yellow cupcakes (from the Sprinkles mixes)

Various bowls of munchies including chocolate-covered edamame, yogurt-covered pretzels, and fruit & nut brittle

Wine, Mimosas, Sangria, and some sparkling juices for the mama-to-be

Decorations: The house wasn't overly decorated in baby-shower garb. It was freakishly clean (thanks to an impromptu visit from my amazing mother). I did make this flag bunting to hang from the mantle.

In lieu of a guest book, we had people stamp their finger and sign this print from etsy:

I'm not a big games-at-showers kind of person. Ok, that's a lie! I really really really hate shower games. I think if someone had pulled out a piece of crepe-paper at my baby shower to guess the circumference of my belly, I might have left. Or cried. Probably both! So, while we wanted everyone to be entertained with an "activity", I was not about to subject my friend to any sort of shower game. Instead, we had guests decorate onesies for little Osbert. Everyone got really into it. Some were funny and some were sweet. I hope my friend will smile each time she dresses little Osbert in one of our homemade onesies. Here's a look at the onesie station:

Favors: Reusable tote bags found here

The shower went really well and baby Osbert ended up with a ton of stuff! Here's a look at his pretty mama (on the far left) and the rest of our little clan:


My top 5

The past two weeks have been insane. Far surpassing the level of crazy that has become normal here. Christmas was a blur. A wonderful blur of family, food, traditions (both old & new), a serious amount of loot, and even a little snow. My husband has this thing of always asking what was my favorite part. My favorite part of a movie, my favorite part of a trip, my favorite part of dinner. So, here are my favorite parts of the holidays (in no particular order):

#1: The fact that I justified NOT wrapping gifts until Christmas eve because Declan would surely have ripped them all open if I had them sitting pretty under the tree, right?! Um...apparently not! Because when I placed gifts in front of him to open on Christmas morning with my camera in hand and an eager grin on my face, this is all I got:

No furiously unwrapping, No squealing with delight at the presents I had spent months hunting for. Nothing! Oh well, there's always next year!

#2: My Christmas present to Jay. I had my favorite picture of all six of us sent to Modern Bird Studios to create this one-of-a-kind piece of art that I am seriously in love with. It's now hanging in our family room where I get to look at it every day. Here it is:

#3: My Christmas presents
from Jay. It's a two-way tie between my new iPad and my new Givenchy messenger bag. LOVE them both! I'm talking take them to bed and cuddle with them-love! Here they are:

#4: Watching my husband read
'Twas the Night Before Christmas to all four kids (in their matching Christmas pj's) on Christmas Eve.

#5: The kids posing with their favorite Christmas gifts:

Ava with her Nintendo DSi

Emerson with her dollhouse from Land of Nod

Declan with his Hape airplane

and Finlay with her Twilight Turtle.

Jay and I (and maybe Ava) are probably the only ones who will remember the Christmas of 2010, but it truly was a magical time here at Camp Sprinkel.