DIY Gingerbread House for Little Elves

Gingerbread house

Christmas is right around the corner! It’s never too early to start planning those school parties or just a fun family night to make memories!

This is a super easy little spin on the traditional gingerbread house which can be hard for little hands to manage.

I have done these with my kid’s school classes for several years and they are always a huge hit! I have also thrown a Gingerbread Party for my daughter & her friends using this same technique!

Here’s what you will need…

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If I am doing a class party…I just ask my children’s teacher to save the milk cartons from lunch one day. (Tip: hot glue the carton shut)

It isn’t necessary to put the frosting in a ziploc bag…but it sure makes it less messy & easy on little hands!

Graham crackers broke in halves fit perfect on the milk carton!

Use the frosting to “glue” the sides of the house (graham crackers) to the carton.

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Tip: I like to hot glue the milk carton to the paper plate so that it doesn’t move around while they are decorating!

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See how it shapes into a cute little house? The carton gives it just the support it needs!

Then grab whatever fun candy you want to decorate your house! Use the frosting to glue it on!

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It’s that easy!

Paradise…well almost…

Danny & I both grew up in the country. Wide open spaces…no neighbors…and lots of beautiful TREES.

The road Danny grew up on & we lived together the first couple years…

When Daynie was about to start school…we bought a house in a sweet, quiet little neighborhood…just to get in the school district.

We LOVE LOVE LOVE our house.

I said when I first saw it..this house was built for me.

It’s huge, has a massive open living/kitchen/dining area perfect for my entertaining, a large master bedroom with closet to die for, tile throughout (perfect for my allergies)  and the biggest craft closet you ever did see. The neighborhood is wonderful and you couldn’t ask for better neighbors.

Just one little problem….we want land. And privacy that just doesn’t come in a neighborhood.  We want lots of land and lots of trees.

I was already beginning to notice a huge difference in the way my kids were growing up & the way we did. We want a place for our kids to play outside for hours, ride 4-wheelers, shoot guns, go fishing, & just feel that quiet country atmosphere.

I realized this was a serious problem when my kids & I had to jump a gate/fence once a while back  and they were clueless as of how to cross. Such a simple thing I take for granted..you’d think it’s just common sense…but for a kid that has never had to do it..they didn’t really know how to start. LOL.

Over the last few years we have been on the lookout for land to build on  or a home with land in the area. The summer of 2012 we thought we had found “the perfect home” and it had the perfect amount of land with it.  It had EVERYTHING we wanted. A pool, a huge shop, 13 acres, two ponds, and a jack & jill bathroom for the kids! Again..when I saw the house…I had this overwhelming feeling that the house was built for me. We immediately secured a contract and put our house on the market. We were tight lipped about it because we didn’t want to jinx it!

And then we waited.

And waited.

Here we are over a year and a half later and our house hasn’t sold…but our dream home has.

I was a little sad but I knew the whole time that it was completely out of our hands. We did everything possible to make it happen and if it didn’t…then that was God’s plans.

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We kept our house on the market awhile longer as we explored our options and made decisions. Houses are just not moving in the area. I think in a couple of years after the new school is built and people are desperate to get in the district again..we will have better luck. Danny just wants land now. So we looked for something that we can buy to go spend weekends & holidays that we could afford. Something we can do all the things we want to. And we found it.  So we took our house off the market for now. We will try to sell again later on. Then we will find a large acre tract and build our forever home on it.

The land we found for our family for now..while we keep our current home… is about 20 min from our house. It’s a six acre tract  that is lined by a creek. on 3 sides. Adjacent to one side is 30 acres owned by Danny’s family.

Our little piece of paradise is just perfect for what we want it for. It has a massive in ground pool & hot tub. It has a pump room for the pool that is huge and has a bathroom/shower. Beautiful landscaping. There is so much detail even in the driveway pavement/edging. There is a treehouse/fort built into a tree for the kids. And it has a cute little cabin! At one time it actually had an over 4000 square foot house built on it that burned down. So now we are left with a HUGE slab.

This piece of property has been sitting dormant for awhile. It needs a lot of work to get it up to date and in working order. Danny & I are so excited to roll up our sleeves & make it our own!

The land is just gorgeous! We already have plans to build a pond!   We have sooo many plans for this great place!

For the next few years while our kids are growing…we will use it as a weekend & holiday getaway. A place to relax & swim & enjoy the outdoors. Family & friend get togethers. And parties!

I have a lot of other things up my sleeve though…business opportunities & dreams to make come true. This place is perfect for that too!  I saw it the minute I viewed the place!

Texas is turning winter here…& the place needs a lot of work…but here is the pictures of my little piece of paradise in the making….

Here is the retaining wall that is adjacent to the 30 acres…look at all that rock! You can also see part of the driveway.

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This is looking from the slab to the pool below. 050

We don’t know what all we need to do to the pool yet..but we plan on having it sanded & painted. 051 052 053 054 055 056 057

So much space! I can see my kids riding their atvs now!

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Isn’t this just the coolest for a kid? Danny has a lot of work to do to it…but we will make it awesome!061

I am SOOO in love with this cute little cabin! It’s so perfect for us!

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I can’t wait to get the landscaping all cleaned up! You can see in the pic below where the steps lead up to the slab.065 071 072

This is the shallow end of the pool…074

The pool is crazy deep! You can also see the cabin in the background of the top right of the pic below.

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Waterfall that goes down  into the pool….080

 

The hot tub….081 082 083 084 085 383 384 385

Here’s a few pics of the inside of the cabin…we’ve had some big rains lately in East Texas and it flooded the cabin…but we have it fixed now so it won’t flood again. We will tear out the floors & do lots of updating in here..especially the appliances.

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The loft for the kids…389 391 394 396

This is a little bedroom…398 399 400 401 403

The loft…404 406 409 411 412 413 416

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See the washer/dryer in the little closet to the right?419 426 428 430 433 438 446 448 450 452 454 456 458 460 464 472 474

See how huge the slab for the house is?? That’s only PART of it!476 478

 

I will update ya’ll when we start getting to work on this amazing place!

And when it’s ready to go…PARTAYYYY!! (and yes…I’m going to invite all my awesome blogging friends for a weekend of awesome!)

 

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Pretty much the best birthday everrrr….

Yesterday was muh bday.

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It was awesome! Pretty much one of the best everrr.

I didn’t get my drink on & party like it’s 2001…I wasn’t invited to that party. 

I did something pretty equally amazing though…I spent the day with my family just doing stuff.

I stayed off all social media for the day. I only touched my phone to take pics and answer birthday texts.

Here’s how it went:

First thing to make my bday totally awesome….

I got to sleep until I woke up ON MY OWN.

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Since having kids, work, and a husband…this experience is pretty much non-existent.

Danny just laid beside me and patiently waited for me to wake on my own. Then after I woke he was even more patient and we just laid & cuddled & he rubbed my back. I love mornings like this! Then I rewarded his patience & allowed him to give me my 1st bday present…then I hopped into the shower while he started cleaning the house & making breakfast.

Our plan was to spend the day together at our new land & ride Danny’s new toy…but Danny got called into work for an oil leak…so he was gone pretty much the whole day.

I finished cooking breakfast and enjoyed eating with my two babies and Danny’s parents.

Danny's dad & my goofy kids.

Danny’s dad & my goofy kids.

Then we loaded up & headed out to the land to show Danny’s dad the new place.

I CAN NOT be more excited about our new land!

I am going to do a separate post on this exciting birthday present tomorrow!

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We hung out there for a bit and let the kids run around. Then we headed back to the house. I wish Danny hadn’t been called into work b/c I really really wanted to take his new toy for a spin…

Supposedly…that was MY birthday present. Ha!

Back at the house I opened all the doors and let the beautiful sunshine & breeze flow through the house while I took some time to clean, mop, & even scrub toilets and baseboards. As in on my hand & knees with muh yellow gloves on scrubbin every last inch of the toilet. On my birthday. And it made me happy!

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I also added a few more fall decorations around the house. I LOVE LOVE LOVE fall! November is obvi my fav month!

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Then me & the kids loaded up again and headed to work to clean the office. I love taking my kiddos with me! They are so fun to hang out with & a big help!

We went to Walmart to grab dinner to cook & groceries for the week. And guess what?!?! My kids weren’t crazy little heathens in Walmart! Glory Glory Hallelujah Happy Birthday to me!

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When we got back to the house around 5pm…my parents were there for dinner and Danny was finally home from work. I left Danny to cook our scrumptious meal and my parents and the kids and I headed back out to the land to let them see it. Can you tell I’m excited??

When we got home this yummy goodness was waiting on us…

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All of muh fattening favs. Baked potatoe casserole, Stouffer’s mac & cheese, garlic toast, & Danny’s steak. I’m kinda stuck up when it comes to my steak…I only like the edge piece off the ribeye. Danny cooks THE BEST steak.

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And now…the most AWESOME part of my birthday??

The gifts my dad brought! Starting with this cake he made me!

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Seriously…yesterday morning at the store when I was getting breakfast stuff to cook…I wished I had a homemade cake and even stopped on the cake aisle and looked at the boxes of mix. I haven’t had homemade cake like that in years! It was such a great surprise when my dad showed up with it! It was SO GOOD!

My parents even got me this cool cake server that flips and can be used as a punch bowl! Holla!

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And of course my Si bobble head & Tervis cup!

But my the ABSOLUTE BEST THING HE BROUGHT…

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Gorgeous photos of my AUNT NINA!! (prounounced NINE-UH)

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Obviously I this is the beautiful lady I was named after!

Here is her & my Uncle Eddie…

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I also got her drivers license & her and Uncle Eddie’s SS cards.

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Aunt Nina lived in Florida when she past years back. Her son passed earlier this year so his step daughter sent my dad a some of her things.

This gorgeous photo is my Aunt Nina’s daughter…Dottie…

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She passed before I was born from breast cancer. I have heard of Dottie much over the years but never knew why she died. It’s a bit surreal to hear it was of breast cancer. That means it runs on both sides of my family as my Aunt Nina is my grandfather’s sister and my grandmother also had breast cancer.

See the pearls on her photo? When they opened Dottie’s urn a few months ago to split up the ashes…the only thing inside was these pearls.

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I am SO very thankful that my Aunt Nina’s step-grandaughter mailed them to my dad. I have ALWAYS wanted some kind of jewelry of my Aunt Nina’s to have.  I don’t know if these pearls were ever hers or if she bought them for Dottie or even if there is a story behind them…but I am so grateful that they are mine now and I have a part of my Aunt Nina.

Oh..& what else did my dad bring me??

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My Aunt Nina!

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See the box in the middle? That’s her!

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The box is beautiful! I think it’s so amazing that her ashes are inside! I love having her close!

Shhhh…don’t tell Danny he would probably freak! He hasn’t noticed yet!

Her step-grandaughter shipped her here so my dad can bury her next to my grandpa (her brother).

So all in all it was pretty much an amazingly perfect birthday!

Beautiful Day. Beautiful Family. Beautiful Life.

I am sooo blessed!

oh & to top it off….

when I weighed this morning expecting to see a bigger number from the weekend of yumminess:

 

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Thank you weight loss gods & muh scale for that added bonus of a birthday gift!

I think I’ll roll with it and start the healthy eating today!

I’ll be on My Fitness Pal (mommy_edwards)  loggin like a fool!

Circus Party

Our sweet little friend had an awesome Circus Party that I just had to share! 20130817-181845.jpg

 

Her mom came up with some great ideas & I helped her set up before the party.

I got these tables set up while she handled the food & circus tent below.

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I loved her idea to use the peanuts on the table for decoration.

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She made these cute centerpieces for the tables…

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I really LOVE this circus tent she made out of plastic table cloths & a hula hoop!

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Daynie & the birthday girl 🙂

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I also set up this little popcorn table..confession..the little balloon bouquet on the wall is actually a fire extinguisher I was determined to cover because it was ugly! The party was in the church fellowship hall so I used an Awana vest out of the closet & some balloons.

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Such simple deco but makes an awesom impact with the circust theme!

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Typical circus food of hot dogs & nachos! Big hit with the kids!

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The clown was awesome! This was our 3rd time seeing Korn Pop & we LOVE him!

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He has a great show for the kids about Jesus! I had him come do a show for children’s church back in May.

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He also does AMAZING balloon creations. He only let the kids pick from a few things at this party because there were sooo many kids & not much time. But seriously the guy can make ANYTHING. Check out his page & photos.

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oh & the birthday girl’s outfit is over the top adorable! LOVE!

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American Girl Crafts Party

I recently hosted an American Girl Crafts party through www.HouseParty.com.

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When I opened the box of goodies I was amazed! There was SO much stuff! Nice, high quality stuff! I received 12 scrapbooks & all the embellishments we could dream of!

 

 

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I was super excited about this party! I whipped up some invites..

American Girl Crafts Party SAMPLE

& picked up these adorable AG party settings for the girl’s dolls at Michaels. 20130817-203828.jpg

 

PARTY DAY!!

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Zebra pattern plates from Hobby Lobby.

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I made sure I had girl size & doll size of every treat!

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I had ready to grab servings ready to go using mini cupcake liners!

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The cake was actually a Monster High birthday cake from Walmart. I just took off the decorations & used an A & G from the scrapbook stuff American Girl sent me. Then I got mini cupcakes from WM for the dolls 🙂

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I’m no Betty Crocker!  I totally just grabbed some of these at the checkout & cut them up…

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American Girl carries the American Girl Craft partyware online….it matches the doll plates in the pic below…but I didn’t have time to have them shipped & Michaels didn’t have them.

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I opened most of the stuff and added scissors, markers, & glue sticks…and had them all out on the table for the girls to use whatever they wanted.

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The scrapbooks were so cute! I loved the prompts each page had!

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This is the stuff leftover that I didn’t open!

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I love to add balloons on the floor to decorate EVERY party…it just gives it a little more festiveness!

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AG sent two sew & share kits for the party…one for my daughter & one to giveaway. I had all the Hello Kitty stuff left from Daynie’s 6th birthday (check that out HERE) so I grabbed them so every girl could win something!

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Daynie & Ginger

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All the girls!

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Little brother decided to boy up this party by turning the AG scooter into a motorcycle!

CUTEST thing EVERRRR!

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The girls were so excited to get to scrapbooking & I was really surprised just how into it they were!

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They were seriously serious about it! LOL

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We really could have just left them to their selves doing this for hours…

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We played some games to give away the prizes…one was to put a piece of paper on your head & draw an American Girl doll and the best pic wins! I’ve also played this at baby showers! (check that out here)

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Some were really GOOD! The winner drew pants & a shirt on hers! WOW!20130817-222312.jpg

 

I also hid pennies in a few balloons. The girls had to find them. 20130817-222332.jpg

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Then they all took turns sharing their favorite page they did in the scrapbook & telling about it!

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When the party was over & most of the guests left…we continued to stuff our faces with sweets & the girls that were left played dress up with their AG dolls.

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Jungle Theme Baby Shower

Baby Shower Invite

This JUNGLE Themed baby shower was also put on by a group of church ladies. Myself & a friend were in charge of decorations and delegated the food, games, & ect out. We went with the jungle theme because that was what the baby’s nursery was decorated in and we wanted the mom to be able to use the shower decorations in the room. 027

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Almost all the decorations, plates, ect were ordered from Oriental Trading online.

Including these adorable little stuffed animals! I just taped two back to back & stuck on the table for decoration.

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We also made these little diaper centerpieces for the tables….So SIMPLE & cute.

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It’s SO SIMPLE yet very effective to add little details with coordinating ribbon & stickers/foam cutouts….like we did on this little pail to hold the pencils! And we TAPED everything rather than glue it..so they could be taken off & reused!

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These lollipops were also from Oriental Trading. 023

The cake design & embellishments were also from OT. We just ordered an all white cake & added them!024 025

A church friend made the mom this cute diaper cake & it made an adorable decoration on the cake table!026 027

We also had a kid’s table set up with colors & themed activity sheets to keep the littles busy.032

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Candy bar diaper game…guess what the baby ate…036

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And of course I had Miss Priss in party coordinated clothing!

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G Man didn’t go…but he was sooo cute in his church clothes I HAD to include a pic of the guy.008 012

Monkey Baby Shower

Baby Shower Invite

This was a small shower given by a group of ladies from church. I was in charge of a few things. OBVI not the cake or table cloth LOL. There really was no “theme” but you know everything I did I had to go by kinda my own theme.044

The cake was adorable…but ya know I would have made it match my self-imposed theme! Ha!

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Just a little table decoration.

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I kind of threw this little clothes line decoration together at the last minute. I made the shirts, onesie, & signs myself.

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These letters & babies I printed off & cut out to hang..

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The little monkey’s I used to help embellish everything were from the scrapbook section at Hobby Lobby.

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This scrapbook paper was also from Hobby Lobby…I printed the Bible verse & glued on.

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I just grabbed stuff from Hobby Lobby to throw the corsage together too.

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Pink & Brown Polka Dot Baby Shower

Baby Shower Invite

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Bow Bouquet…all the bows are little clippies for the the baby girl!DSC_0115

And of course a “Big Sister” bow for the big sister! Here she is lookin like a doll…

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Here is my Miss Priss in her shower theme coordinated attire!DSC_0122 DSC_0123

And the big sister!

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I had their outfits & bows made specifically for the shower…Also the baby had a matching “little sister” outfit!

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I printed up the “Guess what the baby ate” game sheets to match the theme. The prizes were super adorable purses with nail clippers ect inside.

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When I ordered the plates, cups, napkins, prizes, ect online…I got these matching babies to use as decoration & to add to the corsage.

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The diaper game..

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Another fun game we played is for everyone to put a piece of paper on their head & draw a baby in 30 seconds. The best baby wins!

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Fairies Baby Shower

Baby Shower Invite

This is the first baby shower I had ever thrown…it was for my good friend (she gave me my shower when I had G Man)

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I got banner paper from Hobby Lobby & freehanded the sign with the baby’s name.

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As you can see that “It’s a Girl” sign is from my shower when I had Daynie…I STILL have that sign.

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The whole theme was centered around these baby fairies…I forget what they are called. This shower was about 7 years ago!

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The only game I remember playing (but don’t have a picture of) is where you have guests drink from a baby bottle and race to see who can drink the juice first. I remember my mother-n-law cheating and taking the lid off.  ALWAYS GLUE ON THE LIDS. I’m sure we played the diaper ‘guess what the baby ate’ game…but like I said..this was over 7 years ago!

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And of course I had to put Miss Priss in theme coordinating clothing!!

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Muh Baby Showers

Baby Shower Invite

Let’s get this party started with a looky at muh showers.

First though…here’s the Christmas card I sent out when I was pregnant with Daynie…

118The little pink gingham bow was just a stick on fabric bow I found in packs of (a bunch) in the craft section at walmart!

 

 

1st Shower…given by my side of the family…2208390-R1-005-1

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This was almost NINE years ago…before Pinterest, digital invites, & unlimited internet resources! I think everyone did a great job! Everything was SO CUTE! My first shower that muh sistas threw me…was kind of a pink gingham theme b/c that’s what Daynie Muffin’s crib bedding was.

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My house was decorated western & it looks so small with so many people in it! We moved from this house when Daynie was about a year & a half old…we have rented it out ever since.

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2nd Shower given by Danny’s side of the family.

 

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Danny’s brother’s wife did almost everything for this shower…including hand typing these adorable invites! They were paper sacks that people were to bring baby food in to the shower. We got 59 jars of baby food, 13 bottles of juice, & one box of cereal!!

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Her and her mother also hand cut all the fabric & assemble these adorable little diapers…then stuffed them with mints!! I took the leftovers on a tray to the hospital when I had Daynie for the nursing staff….they were sooo excited!!

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I still have that frame with Daynie’s sono.

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And here is that PRESH little baby the day she was going home from the hospital!

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She is dressed in the same outfit I came home in. Here I am in it…

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My shower from when I was preggo with Garridon was a lot more low key since it was my second baby. My good friend had it for me at a local restaurant.

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Here’s Miss Priss in her Big Sista shirt!

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My friend’s grandma made these precious quilts and they were my FAV gift…& I still have them and the matching pillow!

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And here is that perfect little man the day he came home from the hospital…

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Both  my babies hospital pics…

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Yes…that guy IS flippin off the camera. He was also takin cars for joy rides by 4.

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