School is back in session tomorrow which meant we had an our annual back to school dinner this evening. Steve and I decided on our theme for the school year: The more you read, the more you know. We’ve got an early reader and a budding reader and one that can read well and doesn’t fancy it. We keep reminding them that reading is power and there’s endless books to enjoy and to go on an adventure with. We went around the table talking about our favorite books and things we learned from those books.
Although I’m not headed back to school it was still a good reminder for me to pick up a book. I used to love to read and made time for reading. I haven’t done so in years. So while we were making reading goals for the kids, I added a few reading goals for myself – perhaps reading more than the instruction manuals for my tools!
I called several bakeries to find school themed cookies and no one had any! I asked Hallie if we should make cookies or make some brownies. She insisted on cookies. I can’t remember the last time I made a sugar cookie. In fact, I didn’t even have a recipe for sugar cookies. The worldwide web did not let me down and I found dough and frosting recipes that were great. They were easier than I thought they would be but definitely not something I’m going to be making on a regular basis. I’ll have to start calling around earlier next year for school themed cookies! (can you see a couple fingerprints in one of this cookies – hence the blog name!)
Dinner was a family favorite – bacon wrapped chicken kabobs with fresh pineapple from the grill. It was a little slice of heaven and the kids came back for seconds and more. The only meal catastrophe was the half bottle of teriyaki sauce that ended up on Mr. B’s plate as he so carefully tried to pour just a little on his rice. Cannon could’ve finished off more than his fare share of jello if given the chance and there wasn’t a single drink spilled using the fancy glasses. A success on all accounts.
The cookies were so large each kid only got through half the cookie. I see baggies on the counter with half-eaten cookies with names written in marker. I’m sure they’re saving them for their first day of school lunches, a special treat from mom.
See our previous back to school dinners here and here.
People often wonder what its like marrying into a large family – its loud!
One game we always play when we’re all together is “three deep” and it’s the loudest of loud games. We played it over Memorial Day weekend and I came across this video footage of us playing. It makes me laugh because it’s full of chaos and screaming and laughing.
Here’s how you play:
There’s a little prep work for this game; someone types up multiple categories and each category has three related subjects. (We usually have several extra categories so after playing a couple rounds you can retire one category and add a new one.) Everyone gets a slip of paper that has two “counterparts” you have to find. For instance, if you have the word “red” on your paper, you are most likely looking to match up with people who also have colors. If you get a paper that says “Strawberry,” you are probably looking for other people with fruit.
Before you start looking for your partners, you “mingle” with everyone to switch the papers all up. Then someone yells “go!” and you take your little paper and yell out what you have until you find three things that go together.
Once you find each other you sit down “three-deep” according to the letter on your paper (“B,” “M,” or “T” which stand for “bottom,” “middle,” or “top.”)
Last group to get seated is out and you remove the category and play another round. The group gets smaller and smaller until you one group standing.
This is what marrying into a big family looks like.
I avoid Target at all costs. Not because I don’t love it – because I do – I just can’t seem to walk out without additional items I forgot that I “needed”!
One thing I’m a sucker for at Target is tablecloths. Not your everyday tablecloths – but their outdoor line. They usually show up toward the end of April and it’s hard to find once their back-to-school stuff hits the shelves. They’re nestled in the back of the store in between the bocce ball set and the picnic ware. There’s usually a couple designs to choose from and they’re made of polyester – easy to clean and even easier to throw in the dryer to get wrinkles out.
Every year, I treat myself to their new line and buy two tablecloths with the same print; I’ve done this for several years and I’ve accumulated quite the collection. (we often entertain with two long tables which is why I buy 2 of each print) And before you think I’m crazy – I use them all the time. In fact, on the last day of school I was gearing up for the party we were hosting and I went to my beautiful linens closet and pulled out two tablecloths and thought to myself, I love all of them.
Each one has been used and loved. Every birthday party I throw I walk to the closet and look through to see which tablecloth I can decorate around. Often times I’m layering tablecloth on tablecloth, not to mention the solid red ones I have are used the most. I’m convinced red is the universal party color!
Have I mentioned that we host a lot of gatherings and parties?? Here’s just a few examples of how I’ve used them:
Because they’re polyester they look just like they did the day I bought them. They’re perfect for fun parties – however, you can probably give them a miss for your fancy holiday dinners!
I tell you all of this because they’re currently in stores and I just picked up this years print. In the past I’ve stayed pretty consistent with basic geometric shapes and this year it is not quite as universal, but I really loved them. It just means I need to start throwing Memorial day and 4th of July parties.
Everything is branded “Peanuts” this year for their outdoor line – but I assure you there are no characters on the actual fabric.
There’s another print that I have my eye on, and only if it’s around when they start marking everything half off will it end up in my closet. Fingers crossed.
The first great-grandchild is on its way to the Pothier family. When I heard the exciting news I quickly claimed – if Kathryn, the mama-to-be, can make her way to Phoenix (they live in Wisconsin) I will throw her a family baby shower. (I’m always up for a fun party!) She loves us enough that she came for a visit!
This woman has to be one of the most talented pianists you’ll come across and it only seemed appropriate to throw a Grand Adventure baby shower with a delicious crepe bar.
A fabric banner with two simple banners – piano music and gold circles.
I tried my hand at coffee filter garlands for the first time and I’m in love. Simple. Cheap. Big impact.
Baby boy already has a name – he is going to be a 5th generation Robert, or Bobby. Kathryn’s mother had a picture of her when she was just a little girl holding her little baby doll and on the back of the picture, dated “1990”, it read, “Singing to Baby Bobby”. Way back when, Kathryn had a baby Bobby in her arms and she’ll have one in her arms again shortly. We displayed the picture on the TV.
I’m not typically a shower game kind of person, but we had all the girl cousins there and I knew games would be fun for them so we played two little games. The first – we examined a tray of baby items and they tried memorizing everything on the tray.
The second game – we divided into two teams and we went back and forth singing songs with the word “baby” in it. Even the young girls contributed songs and it was fun to listen to the performances!
What’s hard is knowing she’s going to have that baby in Wisconsin and we’re all going to have to wait to hold him!
History says my kids get their first birthday party with friends when they turn four. I had all intentions of doing the same for Bennett but we got busy. Steve was finishing up school. We were out of town. Steve was out of the country. We had visitor after visitor. And before I knew it his birthday had come and gone without a party. And I was okay with it. On his birthday he kept talking about seeing his friends (luckily we saw one of them). Two days after his birthday he asked when his friends were coming over for a party. I’m not sure what kid reminded him that he hadn’t had a party yet but it was enough to make me feel a little bad.
Bad enough that I threw a party together in no time and it was just as fun as the ones I spend weeks planning!
The best part is we didn’t tell him until the morning of – just two hours before his friends arrived. You can’t tell that kid anything too early or else you spend days fielding the same exact questions, he’s relentless. Even two hours was questionable but he was so excited it was more funny than annoying!
For the invites I took a picture of Bennett and drew it on the computer to turn him into lineart.
Steve led the superhero training. They learned how to fly.
They learned how save people. We froze superheroes in blocks of ice and they used water guns to free them.
I used the same drawing from the invite and printed a large poster (engineering print from Staples for $4) for a party game.
We colored and decorated superhero journals with their own emblems.
How great is one of his friends that brought a superman balloon guy. That’s talent!
Sources: Gift bags from Amazon Round stickers used on drinks from Amazon
Cake toppers – Used a paper punch, attached round stickers attach a toothpick
City background made from cereal boxes wrapped in black paper (I found the paper at a teacher supply store)
Blank journals from Hobby Lobby in a pack of six. I printed an emblem for each kid on a sticker and put it on the cover.
Invite – designed by me
Comic pennant made from old comic books from a local store – they sell old comics for 25¢ each.
Cape for Bennett (he received for Christmas) from TJMaxx
Blue and Yellow tablecloth from Target several years (Used first at one of Hallie’s parties)