4/17/15

Rubber Duck Birthday Party!

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Last weekend my baby turned ONE year old!  We threw a little party for him on Sunday, just for close family and friends.

I'm not sure what made me decide on a rubber duck theme - it just came to my mind one day and seemed perfect.  It turned out to be a really good choice, because it is so easy to make rubber ducky-themed decorations and food!


Rubber Duck Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

Rubber Duck Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

Rubber Duck Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

Rubber Duck Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

Rubber Duck Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

Rubber Duck Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

Rubber Duck Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

Rubber Ducky Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

Rubber Ducky Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

Rubber Ducky Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

Rubber Ducky Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

Rubber Ducky Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

Rubber Ducky Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

Rubber Ducky Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

Rubber Ducky Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

Rubber Ducky Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

Rubber Ducky Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

Rubber Ducky Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

Rubber Ducky Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass


Here are all the details:


Food

-Rubber Ducky Cake.  My sister is into cake decorating, and she made this adorable cake for Clyde's party!  I thought it turned out perfectly, and it really was the centerpiece for the theme/decorations!

-Smash cake.  Also my sister.  It was the cutest little cake!

-Pudding cups.  I just bought clear plastic cups, made six boxes of Jello pudding, and dyed them blue, then stuck a rubber duck on top.

-Cookies.  I used Pillsbury's Blue Raspberry cookie mix and frosting, which I bought at Walmart.  Then I burned an entire batch, so I made my own blue raspberry jello cookies using this recipe.

-Punch.  I mixed one bottle of Welch's Chillers Blue Raspberry drink with two bottles of lemon-lime pop.  I added a packet of blue raspberry Koolaid mix, just to intensify the color.  Then I three some rubber duckies in on top!

-Popcorn.  I used blue raspberry jello and this recipe to make the jello popcorn.

-Sandwiches.  Just tuna fish, cut with a rubber ducky cookie cutter.


Decorations

-Picture banner.  I printed out the monthly pictures of Clyde that I have been taking and hung them with baker's twine and mini clothespins.

-Rubber duck banner.  I used scrapbook paper and the rubber ducky cookie cutter as a stencil.

-Chalkboard.  Made at one of our MOPS meetings this year!  It even matched my color scheme.

-Paper fans, balloons, streamers. Bought them on Amazon - they have so many color choices!


Other Details
-Water bottles.  I used scrapbook paper and washi tape to match them to the party color scheme.

-Bow tie.  I made that bow tie for Clyde, and I also made a matching bow tie for Wyatt and hair bow for Gwen.  They turned out so cute!  There are whales on them, not ducks, but it matched the colors (and whales…water…ducks - it works right?).

-Ten Little Rubber Ducks book.  This is the book on which I based our party color scheme (royal blue, teal, yellow).  I got a copy for Clyde and had all our party guests write birthday messages inside!



I am really happy that the rubber ducky theme randomly came to mind, because it was simple and easy to pull off!   It took a little while to make the food, but that was the hardest part - the decorations came together really easily.  This was an inexpensive theme to work with, and it turned out really cute!

If you want to share, here is the pinnable image!  For more inexpensive party ideas you can check out my group Pinterest board "Great Party Ideas" (or comment if you are interested in contributing to it!).



Rubber Ducky Birthday Party | Through Clouded Glass

For more family pictures at the party, check out my photo blog (or subscribe to my newsletter - I'll send out links)!

4/15/15

Clyde At One Year Old! (Plus One Year Photos)

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I got a treat for you today guys - in honor of Clyde's first birthday this past weekend, I thought I'd share some one year old pictures on my main blog!  I usually post all my pictures of the kids on my photo blog, but this is a special occasion.  We are going to get some professional one year old pictures taken with my friend Danae (she always does such a fantastic job), but I decided to use Clyde's birthday as an excuse to practice my own photography skills, and I like how they turned out.  So I am sharing a few of my favorites of my adorable boy - prepare yourselves for the cuteness!

You can still see the rest of the photos on my photo blog (I'll send out links in my next newsletter, so sign up if you haven't already)!




Clyde is officially one year old!

The last month has been so fun, and Clyde has changed so much.  He now crawls on his hands and knees everywhere, instead of his belly crawl, and I'm kicking myself because I don't think I ever got a video of the belly crawl.  He still pulls himself up on the furniture all the time, but no standing or walking by himself yet!




He has been talking so much more this month - he tries to copy the words we say, and he calls me all the time by saying "Ma-MA!" (emphasis on the second "ma").  His other favorite words are still "dada", "dog", "hi", and "yeah".



We started giving Clyde more table foods this month, and we introduced some of the foods you are supposed to avoid until a year, like dairy.  He loves eating "real" food!  He has started eating so much more this month.  It's so funny to watch him, because when he eats he just stuffs things in his mouth as fast as he can.  I'm just amazed at how quickly he jumped into eating table food.



He is really developing a little sense of humor, and he likes to play games with me - like peek-a-boo.  Sometimes he'll shake his head back and forth while I'm talking to him because he thinks it's funny!  When he starts laughing hard it is so cute - it's kind of like a shout-laugh, the kind that comes from your throat and that place behind your ears, if that makes sense.  It sounds just like every baby laugh sound effect you might have heard, and it's adorable!




I think one of the cutest and funnest things that he started doing this month was that he started singing.  I wasn't there the first time he did it, but Derek was, and Clyde started trying to sing along to "Jesus Loves Me" in his little baby language - but he was kind of carrying the tune!  I couldn't believe he could start singing that young, but we sing "Jesus Loves Me" every night, so it shouldn't surprise me that he figured it out.  It warms my heart to think that is the first song he ever tried to sing!




He also started giving kisses this month - he blows kisses pretty well, and the other day I picked him up and he just leaned over and kissed my shoulder (the closest part of me to him) three times!  Three little open-mouth kisses with the "mah!" sound!  It was the sweetest moment.  He is generous with his little kisses, and I love every single one!




---


Baby Clyde,

My boy, you are almost not a baby anymore!  I can't believe you are one year old!  This last year has been such a blessing with you in it, Sweet Boy.  You are such a sweetheart, and you make me smile every time I see your happy little face.  It is amazing how quickly you are learning new things, and it is so fun for me to watch you learn.  It makes me look forward to this next year with you even more - all the things you will learn, like walking, talking, and singing (more).  Most of all I'm looking forward to watching you learn more about Jesus, Clyde-Boy.  My deepest wish is that you and your siblings will come to know Him too.  I am so grateful He gave you to us, that He chose me to be your mama.  I'm the luckiest lady in the world.

Love you always, Sweet Boy, and I can't wait for all the future birthdays I get to spend with you!

Love,
Mama




4/14/15

Capture The Moment Review

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Unnamed 6


Every now and then I like to read books on photography.  Even though I am not a professional photographer, I do like to get good shots of my kids whenever I can, and when I read photography books I am more inspired to take pictures of the kids and try new things.

Capture The Moment is written by the CEO of Clickin Moms, Sarah Wilkerson.  Each chapter is on a different aspect of photography, and each page is filled with gorgeous photos accompanied by photography tips.  This book covers natural light, composition, story-telling, fine art, black and white, and low light photography.

I loved this book, and I think it has great inspiration to improve your photography, particularly portrait or lifestyle photography.  I loved all the tips, and though I already knew some of the information presented, I learned a lot of new things as well.  I especially liked the focus on how the photographer can change the mood of their photos by adjusting lighting, white balance, items that are within the frame, etc.

This book not only gave practical/technical tips, but it gave a lot of ideas for encouraging you to be creative and try new things with your photos.  I liked the challenges at the end of each chapter, ideas for activities to help you experiment with style.  I thought the tips and exercises would be helpful for beginners or for more experienced photographers.  You should probably have a DSLR camera to get the most out of this book, but if you just have a point-and-shoot- or phone camera and are looking for composition ideas, this book is full of them.

If you are a mom (like me) who just likes to play around with photographing your kids, this book is perfect to get you thinking outside the box!   Check it out!

Note: I received a copy of this book for free front he publisher in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.

4/13/15

A Year And Two Days

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Feetblog

A year and two days ago, I was worried.  Your labor and birthday was the most highly anticipated of all the kids, Sweet Clyde, mainly because I was so worried your daddy wouldn't be there.  I so badly wanted us to both meet you at the same time.

You had given me a false alarm several days before, and I was so hoping that you would come over the weekend.

Thursday night I spent mostly leaning over the toilet, emptying my stomach, and I felt awful Friday morning.  I managed to keep down some water and a granola bar.  Even though I was anxiously watching for signs of labor, amidst all the nausea I almost missed the steadily increasing cramps that started at 11:00 AM.

But the instant I realized I was having contractions I forgot all about the queasiness in my stomach.  Instead there were butterflies.  I was going to meet you today!

DSC 4166blog

I met your daddy at the hospital, and we walked around, and my contractions started slowing down.  My heart dropped, and I thought maybe this wasn't the day after all.  But you were just a trickster, Sweet Boy.  Soon I knew without a doubt that this was it.

Fast-forward a few hours later, and the happy-go-lucky attitude that I had maintained throughout labor had faded into a serious anticipation. They rolled in the warmer, and I just started to cry.  Even in the midst of my pain, I knew what that warmer meant.  You were coming.  I was about to meet my son.

Your daddy thought the tears meant I was scared or hurting, but that wasn't it at all.  I was crying because I was excited!  I just couldn't wait to see your sweet face.

And before I knew it, the rush of late labor slowed down, and I peeked open my eyes, and there you were.  The doctor was holding you up underneath your arms, and your face was scrunched up in an incredibly adorable scream.

It was one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen.  6:33 PM.  You were here.

And you were mine.

---

This last year has been such a huge blessing, Clyde-Boy.  I have loved every minute of it.  I love your little snuggles.  I love your adorable smile that you are so quick to share.  I love your throaty giggle, and I can't help laughing myself every time I hear it.  I even love the times when you won't stop crying because you just want me to hold you. What a blessing you are to your daddy, your siblings, and me.

You are my sweetheart, and when I think back to the day that I was so surprised to find out that I was pregnant, I am so thankful that the Lord gave you to us.  He had a better plan than I even knew then, and I can't imagine life without you, Precious Boy.  You are a gift.

Clyde1year13editblog

I am so deeply thankful that you are mine.

4/9/15

No One Has It All Together All The TIme

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The last couple months have been hard.

While we have had so many happy things to celebrate - like expecting our fourth child, and all the joy that comes with that - it seems that in every other area, things have just come crashing down.  Life has been crazy, and up in the air, and messy, and stressful.  I have just been powering through, but when I stop long enough to think about my emotions, I usually end up having a meltdown.  Even a meltdown toward someone, which I am not proud of.

I wish I could just spill my guts and tell you everything that has been going on, because I love being transparent with you guys - you all always have such wonderful words of encouragement, and I so love that.  But I feel that a couple of the situations, though they involve me, also largely involve the stories of others, and I'm not here to share their stories, just my own.  Another situation, which I could share since it mainly involves me, is still touchy, and not something I feel quite at liberty to share yet.  Let's just say that God is changing and rearranging, and growing me right now.  And like growing pains, sometimes it just hurts.

It is ironic, because a couple months ago I sat at this same computer, and pounded out a little blurb for our local MOPS newsletter about encouraging other moms - and about how sometimes you need to think outside the box.  We all know those moms who always seem to be in a rush, who are ready to tell you the truth when you ask how they are doing, and who you always think of first when someone asks you to reach out to someone who needs encouragement.  You might know that woman who is obviously going through something big and painful, and it is so easy to recognize the need and reach out to those people.  And by all means, you should!  They do need encouragement, and you probably thought of them for a reason.

That said, I think it's important to remember that the truth is, everyone needs encouragement sometimes.  Even those women who always arrive places on time, who seem to juggle multiple projects and kids effortlessly, and who are always dressed as if they are heading out the door to a photo shoot.  Not that I am necessarily in all those categories.  My close friends and family specifically can tell you that sometimes I am a mess, but I know from personal experience, as a person who likes to stay positive, that sometimes people overlook those who seem to have it all together.

But you don't see what happens when that person goes home.  You can't see into their minds in the dark moments.  Trust me, everyone needs encouragement sometimes - and even if you don't catch them at their most dire time, I haven't met a person yet who will reject a word from the heart that is meant to encourage.  And if they do, then the shame should be on them.

Though I think I have hidden everything admirably (or not so admirably) well, and those who do know the whole story have been such a comfort, there have also been moments when I have received encouragement from people who I suspect had no idea I was having a rough time.  I don't even know that they knew they were encouraging me.  But those little gestures do a lot to soothe a heart that is hurting.  Don't underestimate the power of small kindnesses.

So I wanted to share all this right now to say that you should keep your minds and hearts open when the Lord gives you the tiniest little nudge or wondering about someone you know.  I suspect there are many, many people around us who are dealing with surprising and difficult struggles, and no one knows except God.  So when He tries to pass the information on to you with His still, small voice . . . listen.  I also know from personal experience that I have missed chances to encourage others, unknowingly right when they needed it, and I wish I could do it over.

4/8/15

My Simplifying Journey (So Far)

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DSC 0723blog

(How I spent nap time yesterday - making a lemon pound cake from scratch, which I have never done before.  It turned out really well!)


My word for 2015 is "simplify", and truth be told, my year feels anything but simple so far.  We have had so many things happening in our family, and so many things changing, that my life feels more chaotic than it has in a long time.  However, I kind of expected that - simplifying, ironically, is not a simple process.  It takes a lot of work to get to the point where things feel more simple.  My goal is mainly to get to the end of this year and be left with a more simple existence after all my hard work of organizing and getting my act together!

At the beginning of the year I listed three areas where I wanted to improve.  So how am I doing with the areas that needed simplifying?


Belongings 

I actually feel really good about how much progress I have made with cleaning things out over the last couple months!  I have cleaned out most of the areas of my house that really needed it (closets, clothes, toys, books).  I have made at least three fairly large trips to Goodwill since the year began, and I also have been pleasantly surprised at how many books and toys I have been able to sell to local buyback stores.  I've probably made $100 on things I have been able to sell back.  The house is slowly but surely starting to feel less cluttered.

Favorite buy-back stores?  For toys, I have been able to sell a few things to Once Upon A Child.  They don't pay wonderfully well, but it's something!  For books, I have been selling to Tradesmart, and they actually do seem to pay better than a lot of book buyback stores - I have been able to use the money I have earned there for more book money, which is kind of fun!  I wish I could find one that would take my (non-designer) clothes.


Finances 

I have been doing better at not spending so much and staying within my budget, but there is definitely room for improvement.  One thing I have decided that I think will help me is to use cash more often, especially for grocery shopping.  I still use our credit card for gasoline (because it would be way too hard to take all the kids in to the gas station to pay every time), and I was doing really well at keeping track of what I was spending from my bank account for groceries…then Paypal decided to take a purchase out of my bank account randomly (what?), and my account was overdrawn, and I was slapped with a $30 fee.  Not so simple.  If I am using cash more often (and watch my Paypal payment method more carefully), I might be able to avoid this happening again.

Favorite budgeting tool?  The GoodBudget App.  It's basically the envelope system in an app, and it helps me keep track of what I'm spending (and is especially useful for the things I use the credit card to buy, like gas).


Bible Study

I have been able to stick with the She Reads Truth year-long reading plan so far, but until the last couple weeks my quiet time was still feeling stale.  But lately I have started forcing myself to get up earlier, and I have started using a journal.  I think these two things have helped me a lot!  My main problem has been focusing on prayer and Bible study when I have little kids running around, needing me in the mornings.  Waking up earlier has given me a little more time before the chaos starts, and writing in a journal has helped me focus on what I am reading a little better.

Favorite Bible study resource?  I got an inexpensive app that has the Matthew Henry Concise Commentary, and there is so much wisdom in it - I have really been enjoying it, and I write the quotes that especially stand out in my journal, along with my own thoughts.


I think I am seeing slow improvements in each area, and I am starting to feel a little more organized!

What was your word of the year, or what kind of New Year's goals did you set?  How is it going?

-----

Appropriately, I am also on Tommy Nelson today, talking about the process of spring cleaning - especially for those of us who are sometimes lacking in motivation!  Visit the Tommy Nelson blog to check it out!

4/7/15

Handmade First Birthday Invitations: DIY

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You know how at baseball games, they play a song for each baseball player as they go up to bat?  The songs the players pick for themselves?  Usually they are some intense song that is supposed to say something about who the player is.

When Derek and I went to our first baseball game together, he told me that if he was a baseball player, his song would be "The Rubber Ducky Song".

You know, "Rubber Ducky, you're the one!  You make bath time, so much fun!"

He'd rather make people laugh than try to be some big, tough guy.  I kind of love that about him.
But what were we talking about?  Rubber duckies.  Somehow, when I thought of Clyde's first birthday, rubber duckies kept coming to mind.  And when I was working on Clyde's first birthday invitations, the rubber ducky song was playing through my head.

Excuse the long intro, but if you don't know Derek, or don't know the "Rubber Ducky" song, you wouldn't get these invitations.





I've made almost all of our party invitations myself, and today I wanted to share a simple little tutorial for these first birthday invitations.




Materials:

Blank notecards
Coordinating scrapbook paper (about 1 sheet per 15 invitations)
Word processing program and printer
Washi tape
Modge Podge



1. To start, I created a document with all of our party information on it.  I created mine in Photoshop Elements, so I could add the stripe border, but you could also do this in a regular word processor program.  For this invite I used the fonts Return To Sender, KG Somebody That I Used To Know, and Notera.

2. Print the party invite papers, and also a paper with the number "1" in a large font (I used Allstar font in  244 pt).

3. Cut out the number "1", and trace it onto your scrapbook paper.  Cut it out, and repeat for your number of invitations.  Cut out the party invitation information into rectangles that will fit inside your notecards.





4. Tape the information to the inside of each card with wash tape.




5. Use the Modge Podge to glue the numbers onto the outside of your cards. Cover with a thin layer of Modge Podge to seal (it will dry clear, but use matte Modge Podge so there isn't an obvious shine).





And you're done!  I have a terrible time finding party invitations that go with the themes that I pick, and if I do, they are often expensive.   I love making my own invitations because it is easy to really personalize them to my own party theme!



Ideas for making invitations that will match your theme seamlessly?

1.  Think about the colors you will be using for the party, and incorporate them into your invitations.

2.  Add wording to go with your party theme.  If you are using a specific theme, it's nice to give your guests a heads up of what to expect!

3. Add cutouts or confetti to the inside of your invitations that will match your colors or theme.  I was thinking of adding little rubber ducky cutouts to the inside of these invites, but I ran out of time.

4. Finish them off well - add a strip of washi tape, a sticker or envelope seal, or a little hand-drawing to the back of your invitations before you drop them in the mail!




Have you ever made your own party invitations?  I'd love to hear how you went about it!

Check back soon to see how Clyde's rubber ducky first birthday party turns out!