Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sweet 16

                                              Can you believe this little cutie turned 16?

Well she wanted a party so a party she got.  Morgan and 19 of her closest :-) friends celebrated this past Saturday.  We had the food catered from Chipotle and I have to say,  that was money well spent.  Not only did all the girls love it, but Chipotle literally provides everything you could need-lots of good food, bunsin burners to keep the food warm, an assortment of salsas, soft and crispy tortillas and all the paper products.

The other thing she asked for was a hot chocolate bar.  We found a really good mint mix that was clearanced for Christmas and then we also made a batch of the creamy crockpot hot chocolate and that was really rich and delicious.



And although she really didn't want a cake, I wanted one.  So she asked that it was nothing that screamed "sweet 16" and asked for an ombre cake.  That was kind of a challenge, but I think the bakery did a great job.


I told her that I had a surprise for the party, but didn't give her many clues.  As the party got closer, I got a little nervous that my surprise was not going to be a good one.  Turns out, it was a hit.  We had a henna tattoo artist here for about 2 hours and the girls just loved it.

                              Happy Birthday Morgan Olivia...may you have a sweet 16th year!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Safari West

Our last activity before break was over was a trip to Safari West in Santa Rosa.  We have been here once before, but I'm guessing it was 9 or 10 years ago.  The tours take place rain or shine and the first time we went it was pouring.  We came prepared, but I think we all preferred the sunshine.  Of course, that's a bit deceiving as the sun may have been shining, but it was cold.

Anyway, it was a great excursion.  The first part of our tour was a bit of walking around the property.  There are some caged animals, but the pens are large and it is a much different experience than going to the zoo.  Even the aviary is pretty spectacular and lots of birds we had never seen before.
Once on the tour, we got to see the larger animals.

These two boys were rough housing...guess it doesn't matter what species-siblings like to fight!

There were also lots of babies to be seen throughout the tour.

And what I surprise we had.  As the guide was telling us about sables, one of the other passengers on our jeep calls out, "Hey, I think one is having a baby."  And sure enough the calm and quiet mama sable was in the middle of giving birth.  Our guide let us peek in for awhile, but then it was time to move on and give the new mom and baby some space.  But that was quite a little bonus on our tour.

On the property on tent cabins where guest can stay the night.  Perhaps our next visit will be an overnighter so we can have a little more up close time with the animals.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Short Halloween Story

 This year Jack wanted to be a Ninja.  Again.

 I think it's all about the swords.
 It was supposed to rain and we didn't expect to get much trick or treating in.  But it didn't.  Not even a drop.  We met a couple friends  (one who was also a ninja) and the boys ran from house to house.

And then I heard crying.  Jack never cries.  But apparently when you're running in the dark and run into a black mailbox, that will make you cry.  And that will be the end of trick or treating.

He had a big lip so we iced it and watched It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown and ate candy.

The End

Sunday, October 12, 2014

On the Memory Card

Lots of picture taking this weekend!

Friday night was homecoming.  Don't remember the final score, but it was  a blowout.  The theme for homecoming this year was bedtime stories, so that's was their halftime routine was choreographed around. They wear pink bows and use pink poms for Breast Cancer Awareness month.

 Jack also had a game over in Alameda this weekend.
 That evening was the homecoming dance.  Lots of girls met at a location in town for picture taking.  It. Was. Chaos.
Not my kind of picture taking atmosphere.

 And Sunday, we woke up and decorated for a belated birthday party for Jack.    This game truck arrived and the boys were in seventh heaven (plus two girls too).  For two hours they played video games.

So busy, but what else is new around here?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Grad/Goodbye Party

We have been in major party planning mode over here and as much fun as it was, I'm glad it's over.  Phew, parties aren't for wimps!

My friend Kristi, who has twins Garrett's age, has been a friend since we met in first grade (for the boys).  The boys, while their interests have varied over the years still remain friends and we have a similar circle of friends.  So when I approached her 6 months ago about a joint party, she loved the idea.  The only decision we made was to hold off till the end of summer before many of the kids head off to college.  We had several ideas, but we kept coming back to the fact that we wanted the boys to love what we did.  And one thing about our boys and their friends is they love good food.  So pizza was not going to cut it.  We researched food trucks (they all seem to be big fans of these type of shows on the Food Network) and we found this one-lots of great review on Yelp.
I have to say, we initially decided that this fit the bill for boy food, but it was better than awesome. The tater tots...yummo!  It was kind of fun just watching people go up and order what they wanted.  This was definitely different from any other party we have been to.

The boys could probably care a less about decorations, but Kristi and I did.  The party was initially planned for the backyard, but then we decided with food truck out front, to turn my driveway into the party area.  We strung lights between our garages and then added the Japanese lanterns.  The pictures don't do it justice, it really looked great.  On the garage door on the left, we hung a banner (all printables from Amanda's Parties To Go) and then I had 4 group pictures of the boys and their friends blown up as 2x3 foot engineer prints ($3.59 @ Staples-such a deal!).  On the front porch we hung two vinyl banners of the boys.  Wish I had a picture, but they were kindergarten pictures of the boys next to grad pictures of them.  Got a great deal on the banners too, maybe $11 for both.
We rented 3 round tables with chairs for the garage and then 5 cocktail tables.  Loved the cocktail tables.  People could put their food down and then move from place to place.  Party started at 6:30, it was a really warm day, but the sun was starting to go down and it was a perfect evening.

Table decor-  Kept it simple with a mason jar of flowers and the banners.  I found those white wooden paper clips at Michaels and added some Washi tape along the bottom to add some color.  We put pictures of the boys from when they were younger.

Inside was all the dessert.  Kristi had a chocolate fountain and put together a great spread of food to dip.  This was a big hit with the teens.
And no party would be complete without cake.  We got the cupcakes from Safeway and I put the grad picks in them and the cake from from a local place.  It was excellent.

Just this week, several of Garrett's friends left for college so this may have been the last get together for many of these kids for awhile. I think we had about 75 people here, but since it was mostly outside, my house looked pretty amazing the next day. I think Garrett was pretty impressed by what we pulled off and it was a great night.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Muai '14

So Maui is now one for the memory books.  It's been just about a month since we went.  We have been to Wailea twice before and while we love that area of the island, we keep trying different hotels trying to find the one that fits our family best.  This year, we settled on the Kei Lani Fairmont and ding ding ding, we have a winner.  It's a beautiful property with a great beach.  The pool doesn't have the same wow factor as the Grand Wailea.  But, it's a smaller, more intimate property.  No need to go stake at chairs as soon as you wake up.   We stayed in the villas-2 bedrooms/2 bathrooms-worked perfect for us.   And here is the view from our villa. And here is the view from the back of our villa-
Just to the right of the villa was this hammock-pretty convenient.
And this was also part of the villa.   In the "backyard", there was a plunge pool.  At first I thought it was kind of silly, but we all loved it.  In fact, Jack says his favorite part of the vacation was this little pool and we would walk around and around and create a whirlpool.
We did spend plenty of time at the main pool.  Best day was renting a cabana and just having a relaxing day.

We did 3 excursions on a boat.  The first was a sunset cruise.  We do this every year.  This year the catamaran took off from Makenna Beach just down the road.  Jack camped out on the trampoline on the boat.
The next boat was a first.  We chartered a fishing boat.  We weren't out to catch any big fish, just wanted to catch dinner.  It was a great excursion.  We all loved it.  Jack caught the most, lucky boy.  The best part is they bagged up the fish and we took them to the chef at Ko restaurant which is at the Fairmont.  And here is our dinner that evening-tuna and blue striped snapper.

We also spent a day snorkeling.

And just coincidence, but we got to celebrate another anniversary on our favorite island?  23 years-that's the year of sand, right?

Morgan brought along her go-pro, so here's our family vacation is 3 minutes. (link, if embedded video not visible )
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