Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Birthday Parties

Monkey girl's 3rd birthday is coming up soon and we've started planning a small party for her. The bounce house I posted about previously just arrived yesterday. Her Strawberry Shortcake party supplies came last week and are very cute. I ordered 18 sippy cups since most of the invitees are also around 3. I figured the sippy cups would be nice because then they can also take them home. Goody bags are also enroute with some small toys and my kids favorite fruit leather and fruit pouches.

I was originally thinking of making Pioneer Woman's Strawberry Shortcake cake, but after a trial run, it's pretty time consuming to make and I'm not sure the kids would be huge fans of it. It was absolutely delicious though if anyone wants to try it. I completely endorse it for consumption, just not necessarily a 3 year old's birthday party. My next thought is to make 3 sets of cupcakes: strawberry, lemon, and lime. I tend to over think things sometimes so it might be wiser to scale that down. We'll see. There are 16 children on the invitee list plus my two monkeys and I'm anticipating that maybe half will come.

I'd also read about a cute game called Pupcake's mess and we were thinking of doing that, but once again, I'm reconsidering that. We'd buy the little strawberry candies, spread them out over the deck and hand each child a bag to collect as many candies as they could and help clean up Pupcake's mess. The party will be two hours. After going to a friend's 3 year old's birthday party, I'm convinced that is a good length of time. It's just enough time to play outside, eat cake/ice cream, open presents, and play a little more before heading home. Now we just have to hope it doesn't rain. Plus we're hoping to get the deck finally finished this weekend. The party's just the little push we need to get us going again.

I'm looking forward to the party and I feel like I'm pretty well prepared for it already. Finishing the deck, picking up a couple of last minute items, and getting carpet cleaners out here should just about round out my to-do list. I think we might take a friend's idea though and only have parties for the kids every two years. In the alternate year, we'd just celebrate with family. Monkey girl is already looking forward to it and talking about it. The part I'm looking forward to is watching her enjoy her special day.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bounce Houses

We had discussed the possibility of just buying our own bounce house to save money in the long run. Then when I sat down to start seriously researching them yesterday, I came across the Big Ol Bouncer on sale at Toys R Us! It's a larger bounce house with a bounce floor of 12x12, holding 6 kids (100 pounds or less) for a total weight limit of 600 pounds. Dadda monkey was let down when I read the part about each individual weighing under 100 pounds. I guess he thought he was going to be able to bounce with the kids. I looked at several 8x8 and 10x10 bounce houses that ranged from $400 to to almost $1000 before I found this one on sale. I decided not to hesitate on this deal and pulled the plug. I just had to share what I think is a great deal so I hope it helps someone out there.

Obviously I haven't tried it yet, When it does arrive it will probably sit unopened until Monkey Girl's birthday in April. However, I think if you're in the market for a bounce house, there aren't many deals that come along and can beat this. I figured we were going to spend about $100 to rent one for the day and with two kids birthdays each year, this was an easy decision for me. It'll pay for itself by the end of next year. Plus we can use it for other special occasions such as the 4th of July. Who knows, if it's warm enough, it may make an appearance for Thanksgiving!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Gardening Endeavor

Today we're finally going to put the raised garden beds in. Living in San Antonio (or at least our area of it), it's nearly impossible to plant anything in the ground. About 3 inches below the grass is pretty solid rock so raised beds are essential to us getting a garden. I thought if I ever lived in such a warm climate that I'd love my own fruit trees in the back yard, but shortly upon moving here and researching it, I found it wasn't a good option for us because of the rock. I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for container citrus trees when we go out today. They'd be perfect for the new deck.

I think we're going to try tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, summer squash, and maybe cucumbers and snap peas. I know very little about gardening myself so this is a big undertaking for me. The plan is to head to the nursery and get the seedlings and a large shovel (I bought smaller gardening tools last night at Costco). Then Dadda monkey will head out to Fertile Gardens to pick up some soil. I was really excited to learn that you can bag the soil there since we don't have a pickup truck. When he gets home, we'll get the raised beds set up, fill with soil, and get our seedlings in. I know it's likely going to be more work than it sounds, but we're all excited about getting it started. The deck staining, however, is going to have to wait another week.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Taking Longer Than Expected

The deck has been done for a couple of weeks now. Done in the sense that the professionals did their job. We still need to get a second coat of stain on it and work on the sides. However, work days and inconvenient rain keep postponing our tasks. It hasn't stopped us from enjoying it and even eating a couple of meals out there. Hopefully this week we'll be able to get the final stain on.

I also want to get our raised garden beds set up. This will be my first attempt at a home garden. I'm excited and hope I'm not getting in over my head. I really want some tomatoes, cucumbers, and snap peas, but I need to find some place that will tell me step by step what I need to do and when. We bought the raised planters and will set them up (fingers crossed that it'll be this weekend) and then start doing some research as to what to do. From what I gather it's too late to start with seeds so I'll have to find starter plants. Then I have to make sure I'm planting them at the right time and doing it all properly. Monkey girl is very excited to have a garden, but she's hoping for flowers so I may have to find a couple of flowering plants to throw in too. That just brings up another question, can I plant flowers with vegetables? If not, I'll find a little corner she can call her own. Here's hoping for a productive weekend.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Ladies Night

I feel like I'm still brand new to San Antonio still so I'm really grateful for all the wonderful people I've met. There are a couple of girlfriends and I that meet once a week. We usually meet to watch a little TV or movies, but last night we went out to eat at Grimaldi's. The pizza was fantastic and we shared a carafe of their house wine. Between the food, wine, and company, last night was a perfect escape from the house and kids. I can't wait to do it again. One thing that I won't let myself keep thinking about is that because this is a big military town, several of my friends are going to have to move on in the next year or two. Hopefully, we'll all be able to stay in touch and maybe we'll end up in the same areas again later. Until then I'm enjoying ladies night immensely every week.

We've got a lot to do this weekend between finally get a second coat of stain on the new deck and attempting the skirt. I've also got to plan Monkey girl's birthday next month. We'll be running around a lot on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Unfortunately with Dadda monkey's new schedule, he'll be returning back to work on Sunday, but I'm hoping we get a lot done before then.