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Monthly Archives: November 2018

Jedi’s third birthday party!

Gosh, y’all, Jedi’s birthday just crept up on us this year!  It was like 2 weeks before his birthday before I realized that we hadn’t even THOUGHT about what we were going to do!  Maybe it’s having a new baby, maybe it’s just our busy schedules, but it came fast and furious!

Jedi is REALLY into Superheroes right now.  He’s all about Batman and Superman and Spiderman… you name it… he likes it (well, except for the Hulk… he’s scared of the Hulk).  He’s also into costumes.  Nearly every day, he asks to wear one of his MANY superhero costumes.  He got a few as a reward for potty training, one was a hand-me-down, and the others we got at a garage sale (a whole box of costumes and masks, all for $5 DOLLARS!  #boymom SCORE!!!).  You can see a Stormtrooper, or Batman or Spidey strolling down Main Street or playing out in the yard on the regular.  

So the day after Halloween, we happened to be in Wal Mart grabbing some essentials, and saw the clearance rack full of costumes.  So I sent Trent to check them out to see if there was anything Jedi would like that he didn’t already have.  He came back with 4 Incredibles costumes… they just happened to have one for each of us in all the appropriate sizes (well, mine was a bit on the small side, but close enough).  Now what are the odds of that?!?  It seemed like it was meant to be!  So we bought all 4 costumes for 20 bucks.  The only problem was that we knew that the baby’s costume wouldn’t fit him next year, so we decided to wear them this year, even if it was only to put them on and take some fun family pictures.   Then an idea was born…

I realized how close Jedi’s birthday party was and we decided to do a DRESS-UP super hero party, with us, as your INCREDIBLE hosts.  🙂

Over the next few weeks, we threw together a party- we sent out invites and started getting things together.  Pinterest became my best friend (oh, how I’d missed you!) and my creative side began to thrive!  We were super busy leading up to his party (aren’t we always), so there were a lot of late nights spent getting things ready.  But here is how it all came together!

Games:

We had a few “formal” games and then some other games that the kids could just do on their own.  I found some cute printables that inspired me for some games, others I just added a little Superhero “twist.”

Game number 1: Pin the star on Captain America’s Shield

I bought some red, white and blue poster boards and went to work making Captain America’s shield.  I scoured my home looking for the right sized bowls/cups, etc to make the concentric circles, and then used a star cookie cutter to trace and cut out the star in the middle as well as the stars the kids would later try to “pin” on the shield.  Then I wrote one kid’s name on each star and put them in a bag.  Voila… done with that one!   All I had to do was hang the shield and hand out the stars.  Easy peasy! 

This game was a big hit!  The only thing I would have done differently is hang the shield a little bit lower… as you can see, the little kids all put theirs too low.  I had the kids all line up from youngest to oldest and, as I put tape on them, the birthday boy helped me pass out a star to each kid.  I had the little kiddos just close their eyes (or I covered them for them), the older kids got a blindfold.  I used a scarf I had given my grandma before she passed away earlier this year.  It had butterflies on it- her favorite.  So even though she couldn’t actually be here, she was still here in spirit.  ❤

Game number 2: Hulk Smash

I saw several different versions of this game.  Most used Hulk hands to smash ice cream cones.  We didn’t have Hulk hands… soooooo… I changed the game up a bit.  I had seen somewhere else online that you could blow up black balloons and pretend they were “bombs” that needed to be destroyed in order to save the city.  The kids could pop the balloons however they wanted- with their feet, hands, whatever!

The kids went nuts for this game too.  I did have to warn the little ones that it might be a bit loud.  But even the little ones got into it… just with their ears covered.  

The “Supers” even cleaned up after themselves and all picked up the balloon pieces when they were done.

The other games we had were just for fun and we didn’t do them formally.   These were simply a part of “Superhero Training Camp!”  The kids played these as people arrived, mingled, and ate.

Game number 3: Avengers Throwing Practice

For this game, I bought a 4 pack of thin, red plastic plates at Wal Mart for $.97 cents.  I used paper and that same star cookie cutter to make these plates into Captain America shield frisbees.  Then we used cans and decorated them and stacked them for the kids to knock down with the frisbees.  I got the sign printable free, but added a little extra flare with some clip art from the internet… and because I’m a nerd, I laminated it all.

Game number 4:  Cornhole

I didn’t have to do much to make this game superhero themed.  I just printed off some superhero logos, laminated them and slapped one on each side!  The kids loved playing this!  Grown-ups too!

Game number 5: Ping-pong toss

This game was also very easy.  I just printed off different point values and put them on several buckets.  (I was a teacher for YEARS, so I have all sorts of these things still sitting around.  I used to use them for different learning centers).  Then the kiddos had to try to throw the ping-pong balls into the buckets for points!  The closest bucket was worth 1 point, the second one was worth 5 and the farthest one was worth 10.

We were going to have another “game” but it was a flop… literally.  We have this cool blow-up Captain America weighted punching bag that one of our friends was thoughtful enough to give to Jedidiah after his baby brother was born… but it had a hole in it somewhere, so literally… it was a flop.  This wouldn’t have been so much a “game” as just something fun the kids could have done.

Other than the official games, my mother-in-law (who graciously hosted) had a swing-set and this awesome car roller-coaster type thing (for lack of a more official term).  That was a HUGE hit, especially with the older kids.  They LOVED it! And of course, Jedidiah loved it too.  He pushed it back up after EVERY. SINGLE. TURN. (his or anyone else’s).

Food:

For “thematic” foods, again, Pinterest for the win!  Some of my favorite touches were the “Thor hammers” (pretzel sticks and little blocks of cheese) and the Captain America shield fruit platter.  My mother-in-law prepared this one and it looked superb!  I saw several versions of this online- I went with the marshmallows because they were easier, but you could do bananas if you wanted something a little more healthy.  You could also use cherries or raspberries as one of the other red circles on his shield.  I used that same star cookie cutter to hold some vanilla yogurt in the center for dipping.  We also made green “Hulk” Jell-o cups and simply drew an angry Hulk on the clear plastic cups (you will likely notice that my artistic skills do not extend to drawing…).

Some of the other little things we did were simply a matter of presentation.  We had applesauce pouches that I put out in a Batman shoebox (from his superhero shoes that Nana gave him).  Spidey held the napkins, we put silverware in those inexpensive plastic superhero cups you can get at Wal Mart or HEB and of course, we decorated with some framed art as well.

Then we just put out some sandwich and veggie trays and we were all set!

The food table looked great!

For drinks, we simply had bottles of water and little juice boxes for the kids in a cooler.  I printed off a little sign for the lid that said “hero drinks.” 

I also made some “Hulk punch” using equal parts of Sprite (or 7-Up or any sort of lemon-lime soda) and “Green Berry Rush” Hawaiian Punch.  Then I added a couple of scoops of lime sherbet on top and voila!  Hulk Punch!  My pic isn’t awesome… I didn’t even realize my decorative Hulk had toppled over… but the punch was a big hit (pun intended). 

For the cake we ordered a chocolate cake from Costco without any decorations on it.  They didn’t have any Superhero themed cakes, so we just decorated it using his own Superhero action figures.

Photo booth:

Anyone who knows me knows that I LOVE taking photos.  I’m not an avid photographer by any means, but I sure do enjoy it!  So, of course we had to have a photo booth!  My mother-in-law found this awesome backdrop on Amazon and ordered it for the party.  I bought a cheap pack of cardboard superhero masks at Wal Mart and the rest of the props we either had or I made.  Thor’s hammer was simply a box that I covered with tin foil and the handle was an old wrapping paper roll that I had cut down to size and reinforced with some tape. 

Then I made sure to take photos of each family as they came in.  For thank you cards, I will simply make prints of these and write a short thank you note on the back.  🙂

Decorations:

We tried to keep the decor simple.  We had two signs as people came in. “Superheroes welcome” and a separate sign that Nana made.

Because of my son’s affinity for costumes, we decided to use these to decorate!  We hung them along the fence and trellis as people came in.  They ended up looking pretty cool!  

We kept the other decorations pretty simple- we taped a superhero emblem on each table- the picnic table where people ate, the gift table, the entry table and the kids table.

The entry table was Batman themed.  I used an old coffee can to create a city scape and added the Bat-signal to the top.  I also added one of his stuffed Batman toys, a photo of Jedi and his brother wearing some “super” shirts that one of Trent’s students’ parents made.  Beside that is a little frame that says “Little boys are just Superheroes in disguise.”  Then I just printed off some blank superhero logos and put out some pens and instructions for our friends to leave a note for Jedi and left it at that!

The gift table was decorated with what used to be Trent’s classroom treasure box- a cool Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle chest that we got for 7 or 8 bucks years ago at Ross.  Black Panther held a little “Gifts and cards” placard.

Goody bags:

Well, goody cups, in this case.  We set up a few party favors- superhero stickers, a Batman pencil, Bubbles, a few starbursts and these super cool snap bracelets that Nana found on Amazon.

I printed off little “POW” emblems and put them on the bubbles.

Then Nana set them up on the way out so all the kids could grab one!


That was it!  We opened presents and the kids wrapped Jedi up in a big group hug and then people went home.  

We want to give a very special “Thank you!” to Nana and Popo for helping with the food and decorations and for letting us use their backyard.  It was a wonderful party and Jedi had a SUPER time!

He’s got the best Nana and Popo!
 
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Posted by on November 28, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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On to new(ish) adventures!

Oh, y’all… I type blogs and don’t ever get around to finishing them… and then they sit here until I come in again and realize that I never finished/posted them.  This is one of many that are/were half-written.  Sooooo… as you can see, I penned this MONTHS ago, but here it is!  Our new(ish) adventure!

August is here (Okay, it’s almost December…), and historically, for as long as we’ve known each other, August has also meant the beginning of a new school year.  Trent has taught for 12 years and this will be my tenth year in the teaching world. We’ve taught in all sorts of different settings, forums and countries: public schools, charter schools, International schools, private lessons, private tutoring, home school… and now… no school (at least for Trent). 

***This is no longer 100% true, he teaches Pre-K on Tuesdays for the same homeschool co-op that I do***

Normally at this time of year we’d be setting up our classrooms and having parent meetings, be attending trainings and getting to know our new students.  But this year is different. This August we are beginning a new adventure that has been over a year in the making… Trent is officially into real estate!

real estate

This is an exciting albeit nerve-wracking time in our lives.  Although teaching is a profession which is constantly evolving, it was something familiar to us.  And, quite frankly, we were good at it. Trent has always been good with kids, in fact, that was one of the qualities that drew me to him when we first met.  He is easy-going, fun and goofy, but still genuine, hard-working and serious. His kids loved him, his parents spoke his praises, his admin relied on him… but teaching was taking too much time away from our family.  It was getting too stressful. He was doing multiple peoples’ jobs without getting paid any extra for them. He was working many Saturdays and getting home late in the evenings. There were some nights the kids didn’t see him at all.  We were locked into the school schedule, trying to schedule vacations and other things during school holidays or summer time. And for all the time and effort he put in, he just wasn’t getting paid enough.

You see, when we were both teaching and we didn’t have kids yet, we could pour the necessary time, effort and energy into teaching and still have time for ourselves, both individually and as a couple.  But when we had Jedidiah, things changed. There was a sweet little bubbly blonde-headed boy waiting for daddy to get home from work each day, and there was a frazzled, tired, hot-mess momma who also craved daddy’s time and attention.  I remember saying a long time ago that I could either be a good teacher or a good momma, but not both. And although some people can do it and do it well, I think that one will eventually suffer, and I didn’t think it was fair to the kids I was teaching or my own kids to try to split my time, energy or efforts like that.  So when Jedidiah was born, I left the public/private/charter school system and went into offering private lessons and tutoring and then I got involved in the home school community and began teaching at home school co-ops and out of my home. Now that Levi has joined our family, we are realizing even more so that Trent can’t do both either.  Even though kids instantly love him, and have often told him that they “wish he was their dad,” he’s got two boys at home who also need their daddy. And they have a daddy who desperately wants to spend more time with his family, while also striving to make more than a measly teacher’s salary.

So, for the past year and a half, he has been diligently studying and doing his classes, (even after 60 hour workweeks), taking notes and tests, making flashcards and quizzing himself all so that we can build a life of freedom for ourselves.  A life lived on our own terms, and hopefully financial freedom to go along with that.

Anywhere we’d go, I would drive so that he could study and not miss out on family time.  Every night after the kids were in bed, he would study. Early mornings, down time… any time he could squeeze it in, he did.  He worked so hard and so diligently! And all his hard work paid off!

In late July he passed his Texas realtor’s exam (on the first try) and has now signed with eXp Realty.  

We are excited for a new adventure filled with all sorts of different things- realtor trainings, open houses, mentorship, meetings with potential clients and, of course, buying and selling some houses!!!

***Update!!! Since August we have a house on contract and closing in mid-December and we will be putting another beautiful house on the market soon!***

We are thankful for the teaching journey that brought us together (we met at school), brought us to China (to teach internationally) and has now equipped Trent with the skills needed to be a good realtor.  He’s collaborative, good at communication and negotiating (often in hostile situations), organized and patient. He is genuine, hard-working and kind, he always has a positive attitude and, most of all, he has a heart for people.  He’s easy to talk to, fun to be with and just plain awesome!  You could say he’s one super dude!

If  you are looking to buy or sell, or just want to ask him some questions, please call/text/message Trent (and pass along his info- we LOVE referrals)!  It would be a tremendous help to our family and you will be getting someone who will work extremely hard to get you what you want. Also, follow us on social media- @realtlogsdon or like his Facebook page- https://www.facebook.com/RealTLogsdon/

PS.  I’m a little sad that Trent didn’t go with my favorite head shot for his business cards.  HA!  Love this guy!

Here’s to our new adventure… CHEERS!

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2018 in Uncategorized

 

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