Monday, 31 March 2014

#MeAndMine - A Family Portrait (March 2014)

March is probably the busiest month of the year for our family.

Both children were born in the month.

MC on the 11th (she was 5) and TC on the 28th (he was 2).

Throw in Mother's Day, a themed Minnie Mouse party and a few other prior engagements and I'm ending the month feeling pretty exhausted... but full of love and happiness.

I have been taking a lot more photographs of the children with the 'big camera' this year but it's very rare that I'm in the photos. Setting up the timer can be a bit hit and miss and the kids get easily distracted but asking other people to take photographs is probably worse - especially when it's my mother-in-law. She's good at a lot of things but sadly she's no photographer (not that I am but you know what I mean).

The day before Mother's Day we met up with my in-laws at Trentham Gardens. It was a lovely warm but slightly breezy day. Lots of scooting, fun, laughter, bickering (Matt and his mum - not the kids!) and ending with drinks and ice cream. I only have one half decent photo of the 4 of us that my MIL took that I'm including this month but I have lots of quite nice photos that I took of the kids enjoying themselves.

This month has been all about them so I wanted to share them with you (even if MC had fallen over 2 days earlier and is sporting a huge graze/bruise on her forehead!).

*Sports the voice of a newscaster about to mention that funny bit at the end of a broadcast*

And finally…

After MC's Minnie Mouse theme party earlier in the month we did have this photo taken - I wanted to share it because even though I'm exhausted on it, I couldn't stop laughing at Matt and TC sporting exactly the same expression. Priceless!

dear beautiful

Friday, 28 March 2014

Happy 2nd Birthday Little Man

He's 2 today.

I can't believe it.

Doesn't seem right calling him Tiny Ched anymore. He's really growing into a proper little boy.

He loves cars, trucks, diggers, trains, helicopters and aeroplanes. He also has a fondness for One Direction!

He adores his Micro Scooter and has done for the past year. Everyone who sees him whizz past always comments on how he looks too little to be able to scoot so well.

I'm hoping he has the same passion for the first bike we've bought him for today.

His speech is coming on in leaps and bounds and despite being a strong-minded little boy he is the cutest, funniest and most loving little boy we could ask for.

Here's to the coming year. I just hope it goes slow as I don't want to give up my baby boy just yet.

Happy Birthday TC. Mummy and Daddy love you so so much xx

28th March 2012
28th March 2013
28th March 2014

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Mini Cheddar's Minnie Mouse Themed Party!

I've never thrown a big party for the kids at home. Although we had family (and a couple of close friends) over when she turned 1 she didn't have her first proper party until last March when she turned 4.

This year, what with the school issue, I wanted her to have a special party. I asked her if she would like a huge soft play party for all her school friends and some others like she had last year but she said she wanted family and some friends at home. Now we've moved house we have a lot more room and our kitchen is large and great for social gatherings so I figured why not?

"What sort of party would you like?" I asked her only a couple of weeks before her birthday (Last Minute Lucas!).

"Minnie Mouse!" she grinned.

I repeat….I've not thrown a big party for the kids at home… never mind a themed party!

I could do this I said to myself. After all, I'd been to two great themed parties at Susanne's house over the past few months.

I Googled some ideas and created some of my own too and within a couple of hours I had a plan of attack.

The Minnie Mouse themed party was on!

I simply invited family and friends in person, via text or Facebook rather than send invites out so that saved me a job straight away *wipes brow*

Next I decided that I wanted to make the cake. Not only had I not thrown a party for the kids before but I hadn't baked them a cake myself before. I know! I know! Mummy failure but, in my defence, I hadn't had the right tools. Matt bought me a KitchenAid mixer for my birthday last year and I adore it - and baking.

I set off Googling recipes and decided on adapting a recipe from Sweetapolita (if you haven't discovered Rosie before then go check out her amazing delicious recipes) which I liked the sound of. I did consider trying to construct some sort of Minnie Mouse decoration for the cake myself but having never worked with fondant icing or anything like that I was reluctant to let MC's birthday be the guinea pig. So, I admit it, I bought a bow and ears already made from eBay. BUT the cake itself was all homemade by my own fair hand and my awesome Sister as my sous-chef for the day.

The cake was delicious. Everyone commented on how lovely it was. It wasn't the best looking cake. I've never piped icing before and I have never frosted either - I actually had to borrow a cake palette knife from my neighbour - but I was impressed with our awesome work for beginners. I have since learnt that trying to frost a cake with your neighbours large old palette knife is seriously hard work. You'll be pleased to know I've now invested in a new small one and it will be having it's first outing on Thursday in readiness for TC's 2nd Birthday on this Friday.

The food for the party was easy. The Internet was awash with ideas and some I made up myself.

I'd bought some rice paper cupcake decorations that were personalised with MC's name and age but instead of using these on the cupcakes I baked, I cut them out and stuck them to some pink card I made into little tents. They were perfect for writing the food descriptions on and everyone thought they were fantastic. The food I prepared (with help from my sister again on the morning of the party) was really simple to do. A lot of it was just pre-bought things and the rest were simple things to make but the food cards made it all so much more special.

So here's the 'Minnie Mouse' theme menu (the ones I can remember!):

  • Hot Diggity Dogs - mini frankfurters in finger rolls (cut in half)
  • Donald's Cheese & Quackers - selection of BabyBel, Cheese Sticks etc, with cheese biscuits
  • Minnie's Bow Pasta - farfalle tricolore pasta
  • Mickey's Sandwiches - a selection of filled sandwiches cut with a Mickey cookie cutter
  • Pete's Popcorn - Butterkist popcorn and salted popcorn
  • Minnie's Mallows - heart-shaped pink and white marshmallows
  • Clarabelle's Cheese Puffs - bowl of cheese puff crisps
  • Daisy's Garden Veggie's - cut carrot, cucumber and mini breadsticks
  • Chip's n Dale's Dips - Pringles with some dips
  • Boo Boo Chicken Nuggets - breaded chicken nuggets

There were more adults than kids at the party so I also prepared an absolute huge pot of chilli con carne and rice and also made some barbecue pulled pork and hot rolls. These were wolfed down by everyone.  

In fact, all the food went down a treat! I'd got a small kiddies picnic table and set it up in the kitchen for the really small ones to eat at and it was perfect.

Better than the food and the cake was the 'Decorate Your Own Cookie Station'.

It wasn't much to look at but it was a high hit!

The kids all loved it. 

I made 12 large Mickey shaped cookies the day before the party with the largest Mickey cookie cutter I had. I wish I'd made more as I got asked later in the party if there were any more cookies. How bad did I feel?

I had put a small table in the corner of the dining room and bought some different decorations and put them in bowls along with icing writing tubes in different colours. The kids could then go and decorate a cookie (and make a big mess). It was brilliant and they all loved it.  

I'd highly recommend this for ANY kids party. If it's not themed you could just make simple round shaped cookies and do the same. It's a good alternative to your usual party game and keeps the kids very entertained.

I did organise one party game though... 

'Pin The Bow On Minnie'.

I had got some large black card and some pink card and made a Minnie silhouette. I used a large pizza tray to draw around for the head and a plate to draw around for two ears in black. I then cut out lots of bow shapes in the pink card and wrote all the kids names on them. The bows had a blob of Blu-Tack on them, the kids were blindfolded and turned then asked to 'pin the bow on Minnie'. The closest named bow won. Simple! The kids seemed to enjoy it. 

In addition to the usual balloons and banners which were shop bought, I also made up some simple Minnie decorations which I hung from the ceiling in the lounge and the dining room. I bought a couple of the round pink VISIONAR decorations from Ikea (I have since seen them cheaper in supermarkets) and cut out some smaller black circles from card and simply stuck them in. The result was perfect for a Minnie Mouse party!

So, that was it in a nutshell.

Would I host another themed party at the house?

You betcha! I loved it.


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