It’s funny how a picture that most probably would have over looked, or just took a quick glance at, while going through old pictures can tug at my heart so much. I’m not even sure it’s one I remembered. Yet this is the picture that got me the most this evening after our girls went to bed and I finally allowed myself the moment to really think about my Maw-Maw. Today marked nineteen years since she passed. Nineteen years since I’ve had one of her hugs, heard her voice, gotten advice from her, listened to one of her stories, or just witnessed the most beautiful smile in the world. It doesn’t feel like nineteen years when I think of her. It feels like it just happened. It was by far one of the most difficult times of my life and something I still struggle with if I’m being honest with myself.
This picture is probably circa 1980 or 1981. I was probably 2 or 3. I wish her face wasn’t cut off in the picture, yet the second I saw it I know it’s my Maw-Maw. The way she’s standing. The way she’s always right by my side. The second thing I noticed about it is that I’m sitting in “the highchair”. The highchair all three of her children sat in. All of four of her grandchildren sat in. And even all four of my children, her great grandchildren have sat in. The high chair that remains in our dining room to date. Then there are little things that would really likely go unnoticed. Like the breadbox in the background. That thing was a staple item in my Maw-Maw’s kitchen. I always loved it. Many years ago I walked in Matt’s Aunt’s house and was so excited to see the very same bread box in her home. She gave it to me that day. To this day it’s on top of our cabinets in our kitchen and makes me far happier than I’m sure his Aunt will ever know. I also see the kitchen table my Paw-Paw made. I see the oven that I can still hear the sound it made when it opened and even remember the smell of her homemade biscuits she’d bake. And I’m almost positive that’s my cousin Lil Joe standing there. I smile when I see just how much our youngest daughter favors me. A simple photo that brings me so much happiness and yet still tugs at my heart strings. I really miss this beautiful soul. I’m really thankful God let me have her for as long as he did. And I’m really thankful for all of the specially memories that I will forever cherish. I’m even thankful that something as simple as watching Bitty dance around last night to Garth Brooks makes me know how much she would have loved our three little girls. And how much of a blessing it was that she was around long enough to love on Budah for nineteen months before she passed.
Our 7 year old Daughter, Mad, has taken a huge interest in learning how to make things with paracord like her Daddy does. She really has quite the knack for it. Today she made our 15 year old pup, Najah, a new dog collar to match the dog leash her Daddy made for him. Possibly the sweetest thing ever!
Seriously, I sometimes just need a break from the reality of what our country is like right now. The endless “my way of thinking is right and your’s is wrong” nonsense. I’m over hearing about “our great president”, “our horrible president”, the nasty things about a woman’s march, the talk of building a wall. I find myself taking social media break more often. Keeping my focus where it belongs, at home! Getting out with friends for coffee dates or farmers market runs while our littles are at school or just going to visit them for their lunch breaks. Going for a walk, doing yoga, or hopping on the elliptical sounds way more appealing than witnessing endless hatred. All the social media tantrums in the world aren’t going to change anyone’s political views. For sure won’t change mine.
Really, what the fuck people?
We decided on this theme months ago. It’s a party I’ve been wanting to throw so I was thrilled when our soon to be five year old decided she wanted an “Alice in Wonderland” party. I’m thankful for all of the help from my husband, my mom, my sister, my best friend, her Guncle, and our kiddos for helping me turn our home into the Wonderland our little bit wanted! It was a magical day for our beautiful little Alice and a house full of classmates, friends, and family.
I’ll share pictures of family & friends privately, but wanted to blog about the decor & food we prepared for Bitty’s big day!
Back in October, before it got too cold we took Bitty to two spots to get some Alice themed pictures for her party in her Alice Halloween costume in Cibolo & Boerne Texas. Both were perfect back drops and she loved being able to finally gobble up the “eat me” cookies she took pictures with.
Typically I give myself A LOT of time to fully prepare for a party I’ll be hosting. This time I decided a week would be enough time to run around like a chicken with my head cut off. Thankfully I had a lot of helping hands. I’ll attempt to blog this in order, but I have A LOT of pictures to share, so we’ll see how that goes.
The front of our home. I have a birthday flag I always put out. The flamingos were a must since the Queen of Hearts plays croquet with them. Then I found a “This way, That way, Over there” sign on Party City’s website for our front yard.
For the inside decor we had to get pretty creative. We could only find so much store bought items, as Alice in Wonderland must not be an overly popular or average party theme. So we made a lot of it, my husband designed and printed things, I found some free printables on pinterest, and got crafty with some things I found at a local craft store. What I could order I found on Amazon & Party City’s website (wasn’t available in store).
I found three different types of scrapbook paper I liked at Hobby Lobby and cut them into 1 1/2″ strips to make traditional paper links for the windows in our kitchen & dining room with my mom and one of our girls.
We set up this cute little area for her to open her gifts with some tea party themed cutouts that I ordered from Party City as well as the balloons I ordered from them and was able to bring into their store to have blown up.
We also hung some cute streamers from all of the lights in our kitchen that I got from Party City as well and some “drink me” pictures that we printed from pinterest and hung over the cups. As well as more pictures colored by the kids and more printed pictures of Bitty on the rest of our cabinets.
For the party favors I remembered an idea I used for her sister’s 8th luau themed party when we sent the invitations in little bottles we ordered from oriental trading. So I took to amazon and found a smaller “potion” looking bottle and ordered 48 of them. I recently made a batch of unicorn (pink/strawberry white chocolate) hot cocoa (recipe blogged earlier this month) so we filled 20 of the bottles with the cocoa and printed some free printable labels from pinterest that said “drink me” & “eat me”. For the 20 “eat me” bottles we filled them with some red, white, & pink (Valentine) m&m’s. And just tied the tags on with some bakers twine I found at Target.
I lined them up on our daughter’s chalk board painted table on top of some beautiful vintage doilies my mother in law made and used a chalk board pen to write on the table. We put some of the extra cut outs behind the table and tied balloons to the table.
With the last eight bottles I decided to use them for decoration and we put a drop of food coloring and water in them with the “drink me” tags to put on the counter for decoration. Surprisingly, no one even tried to drink them.
The day before our daughter’s party my husband took the day off of work on his own to help me with last minute preparations. He surprised our little girl with a dozen red roses when she came home from school. Which was perfect since the Queen of Hearts loves her red roses. But more importantly, was the love that shown through our five year old daughter’s little face when her daddy gave her flowers. Absolutely priceless moment.
My dad got Bitty a mini Alice in Wonderland porcelain tea set for her birthday to match my full size set. We put my Maw-Maw’s even tinier set that would all fit on a playing card out on her cake table long enough to take pictures of her before guest arrived. She was very excited about this since she’s always loved looking at her GG’s set in my China cabinet. Now she has her very own set to put in there too.
We put my Alice tea set on the counter too! One day this set will be Bitty’s as well. For the games, we played “Pass the Mad Hatter” (like pass the hot potato) with her stuffed Mad Hatter and played the “Very Merry Unbirthday” song while they played the game. Tons of giggles!
For her second game they played “Pin the grin on the Cheshire Cat”!
A VERY BIG thank you to her incredibly talented Guncle Ryan for creating this amazing Cheshire Cat! He really outdid himself. It was so much more than we expected, so last minute my sister ran to the store for me to get some masking tape for the “grins” so the poster wouldn’t get ruined! Now we can hang his masterpiece up for our girls upstairs! The picture really does it no justice.
Now on to the food & drink bar!
For the drinks my husband created the drink labels. For the strawberry tea it said “This one makes you taller” and for the lemonade it said “This one makes you smaller”.
For the cups, I ordered them from amazon. We buy them in bulk for most of our kiddos parties. Perfect size and the lids save many messes. For the straws, I also ordered them online from Party City.
My mom, sister, & best friend made all of the tea sandwiches and pin wheels for me while I ran all over the place decorating. They really do love me!
“Alice’s pb&j tea sandwiches”
“Alice’s ham & cheese tea sandwiches”
“Alice’s turkey pin wheels” (I’ll blog this recipe soon)
“Donut” be late mini powdered donuts
I found this really cute Alice in Wonderland ice tray at Spencer’s (also saw them on Amazon, but for twice the price) and just had to make these little candies.
“Why is it you’re always too small or too tall”
“White Rabbit’s favorite snack” (carrots & ranch cups)
“Queen of hearts” (kind of convenient that her party is a few weeks before Valentine’s day. Lots of cute goodies available)
“Curious & Curiouser”
“Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum Dums” (in adorable heart shapes)
“The March Hare’s goodies” (Valentine m&m’s)
“We’re all mad here”
“I’m not crazy. My reality is just different than yours”
“Cookie dough dip & pretzels” (dip recently blogged, also good for a cake or cupcake frosting)
Around the time we did Bitty’s photo shoot I decided I wanted to learn how to flood cookies. I wanted some “eat me” cookies, but didn’t want to pay three dollars or more for each cookie when I knew I’d want a few dozen. How hard could it be, right? I told myself I had months to practice. Only in those months were tons of holidays and countless events. What happened was me realizing it was a week before her party and being faced with three choices. Scratch the idea, order them, or just give it a try. I went with giving it a try. Wish I had practiced, but they weren’t so horrible that I couldn’t serve them. It “only” took me about three hours to bake and decorate three dozen cookies. All that mattered was how incredibly thrilled my lil bit was over them!
“Mad Hatter’s tea cookies”
Found some cute plates and napkins on Party City’s website. And then used various dishes we have to give it even more of a whimsical tea party vibe.
I baked 3 dozen colorful butter almond cupcakes in these cute little cups and made smaller candies with a mold I found online for cupcake toppers.
We put the cupcakes on various cake stands & platters on her cake table.
It was a ton of work in a very small amount of time, but anyone that knows me knows how much I love throwing parties for my children. It was a fun filled day and out little gal beamed all day. This was her first party that her very own school friends were able to attend. Her Paw-Paw even enjoyed her party from six hundred miles away on facetime. I’m so thankful that she had a beautiful day surrounded by so many people that love our sweet girl!