Tag Archives: party

A Murder Mystery New Year!

9 Jan

We drove down to Joe and Michelle’s house for the New Years weekend. Prior to traveling, we got emails with our character’s description for a murder mystery! Horror seeped into every pore of my being when I realized that I had to sing every word that came out of my mouth! There were other characteristics of Pepper Keegrip, but all of them paled in comparison to the fact that everything I said would be vocalized in different octaves.

Buddy the Elf comes to mind.


Anyway, Michelle and her friend did an AMAZING job hosting the party! It was decorated beautifully.


The best part of the masquerade decor was that we found Christmas ornaments for 70% off, so these little masks and fans were pennies, AND they were in the right colors!


It was a lot of fun! Two things I had a problem with: 1) The singing, of course. But also trying to gather valuable info WHILE singing. 2) This was the first impression that most of the guests were getting from me!

Josh’s character was a radio DJ, and so he channeled Will Farrell as Harry Carey. He was spectacular! I still laugh whenever I think about him.


It was so fun to ring in the new year with all these fun people! Thankfully, Pepper was able to stop singing once the murderer was revealed around 10pm !!

The next morning, I woke up earlier than I wanted to, but I took advantage of the quiet and had my coffee out on the deck, wrapped up in a blanket while I read my Bible and took in the beauty of the Natural State.


After church, I sneaked out for a few hours to visit one of my best friends since college. As expected, we had a terrific time catching up. I asked her if we could just drive around Siloam and JBU for a while, and she obliged. It’s always so nostalgic to be there, because so much LIFE happened there!!img_3887

That night, Joe made spectacular ribs for us adults. I love nights like that, when we feed the kids and put them to bed, and then we sit down to an amazing Joe-sy meal!


I just snapped this pic on our last morning because I thought Simmy looked so adorable sitting like a big boy at the table!





Simeon’s Birthday Part 1:

4 Oct

(We haven’t completed Part 2 yet!)

On Sept 28, our sweet little bunso turned 2! Josh was still in the Philippines, so we didn’t want to celebrate until he got home. However, Nana had some presents for him, so we let him open them that evening. We even sang to him, and it was fun to see the wheels turning in his head as he figured out what was happening.

He had some great reactions, but I never really captured one because he was usually jumping up and down or swinging around.

Since then, a bunch of us have been sick, so one of these days, we’ll get around to eating some birthday cake and giving Simmy our presents! Thankfully, he’s only two and has no idea….until he’s older and reads this post. We’d better make sure that he is secure in his youngest child role by the time that day rolls around!

That night, he had a little cuddle with the girls before bedtime. Bella was having a sleepover in Kenzie’s room and they both wanted Sim to sleep with them, but I’m not ready to give up the crib just yet!


Here is our big 2-year-old in his leisure jammies. He had stripped down to his diaper 5 min later…



Bella Turned 9!

24 Nov

….and will turn 10 before I end up posting this! Well, not so much. I am, after all, still in the same month as her birthday, so I consider it a timely success.

Bella turned 9 on 11/11, which was a school day. Not only a school day, they also had a field trip! That week in November is always Filipinana Week, where the kids celebrate the Philippine culture that they live in. The kids always love the activities, the food, and the field trips. Bella took cookies to her class (which I didn’t remember to bake until 9pm the previous night. #momfail.)

That night, she chose to go to Vikings for her birthday celebration. We’re racking up quite the number of posts about birthdays at Vikings. I should give it its own tag!

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After our bellies were uncomfortably full, Bella thought we should double the fun by jumping on the bungee trampoline!


She really wanted to have a big sleepover for her birthday. So we invited all of the girls in her class over that weekend. Josh was coaching a basketball game so it was just me and 11 sweet and loud 3rd grade girls.


I planned some Minute To Win It games for them. In the first one, they had to knock over water bottles around the pool with a ball inside panty hose that were hanging from their head! It was comical. I was keeping time, so I didn’t get many pics.

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Then the kids had to start with a cookie on their forehead and get it down to their mouth without using their hands.


We also played a marshmallow toss game, where one partner threw marshmallows, and the other had to catch them in a cup. I didn’t get pics because I was Caleb’s partner. He and I only got 3, as he was more interested in tossing the “marshpillows” into his mouth.

After swimming, we came back up to the condo for some pizza. While we waited for it to arrive, the girls did a photo booth that I set up. The pics are hysterical, but alas, I can’t find the cord for the camera. It ok, I’m fairly certain that I can use these for a little friendly blackmail as Bella gets older!

The kids settled in (for 5 minutes) to eat their pizza.



Then it was time for decorate-your-own-cupcake! That was Bella’s choice and I was more than happy to oblige.

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I thought that letting the girls decorate their own would mean that I didn’t have to work hard decorating a cake. But really, I expended the same amount of energy cleaning up millions of sprinkles!

Josh set up the tent in our living room and the girls settled into a movie until they all fell asleep. We all had to get up bright and early for doughnuts before Saturday soccer. It took a loonnngg time to clean up from the party, but I guess that just means it was a success?!


Indeedy, a Happy New Year!

3 Jan

We got to ring in the new year with pizazz! We started the evening off at school, where we always have alumni vs. varsity games. Its a really fun night to be at school, cause there are so many people there, especially alumni!

Josh played with the boys team that he coaches because their team wasn’t all there. I didn’t get to play in the volleyball game because we had to rush home to get ready for the part-ay!

The party started at 8, but because of the games, we didn’t get there until 10:30pm. As we walked back to the pool, we passed the fattened calf, welcoming us as if we were prodigals!


That beef was fantastic, and Josh just kept going back for more!

In addition to the beef, there were platters and platters of other dishes, like paella and shrimp. I had already eaten earlier that night, so I skipped all that and honed right in on the bowl of bing cherries! I’ve seen them for sale here, but it’s quite possible that they cost more than that calf on a spit!

Another highlight was the bibingka stand. Fresh bibingka is fantastic! It’s a pinoy favorite around the holidays. Don’t ask me what’s in it, just trust me.


They had all kinds of fun New Years decor, including sparkly hats, noisemakers, a buffet of fireworks (seriously!), and other fun, glittery things.


I shot this confetti blower at midnight, only I didn’t realize how it would explode and aimed it right at some guy! Thankfully, it was just confetti and not a firework or a champagne cork!


We heard the boom of firecrackers all day long, but as soon as the sun set at around 6:00pm the pretty fireworks started.


Their pool and deck has like a 275* view of the city, so our talking, laughing, and merrymaking, had a backdrop of fireworks for over 6 hours!

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At midnight, there was noise, cheering, kissing, confetti, and of course, fireworks.



It was a fun crowd to ring the new year in with! There was a live band, with a open mike. Josh jumped on that and sang a few songs. It’s a few steps above karaoke!

The next day, Simeon got in on the celebration with his blue sequined hat.


I think he is our most interactive baby. That might be because there is always someone in his face, playing and talking to him. Regardless, it’s so fun and so easy to get him to smile!


At this very moment, Josh, Mackenzie, and Bella are climbing to 37,000ft over Malaysia. They are on their way to Perth, and literally flying right over where the most recent fly disappeared. Cue nausea now! I was feeling ok about it until I just started writing about it. So, I’ll be signing off shortly to go read some scripture on anxiety and pray!

But quickly, here is a picture of the girls this morning on their way out the door.


Meanwhile, I’m here with the boys, watching TMNT and Super Hero Squad!


Christmas Break Fun

30 Dec

All it took for Mackenzie to stop biting her nails was her little sister beating her to it and getting her ears pierced! Kenz immediately stopped and once we saw a good amount of growth on her nails, we took her to the mall to get hers done. There was a sale this time, so Kenz’s only cost P120 ($3)!


She was excited but nervous!


We don’t know if it was an allergy or a bug bite, but she had a swollen eyelid for a few days. Josh even bought her a pirate eye patch when we were at the toy store as a joke.


A couple of days after getting her ears pierced, she was cleaning them and one of the earrings fell off and down the drain! I sterilized one of my studs, but they weren’t silver, so I think it started to get infected. Josh and I have both been sick the last couple of days, but he powered through and went out to buy her some more. Thank goodness they are only $3!


Keeping up with the fun outings, we all got dentist check-ups. Bella, Deacon, and I were cavity-free – woo hoo! Mackenzie and Caleb both had tiny ones. Caleb looks so adorable in the dentist chair! Our dentist is so great at making them feel comfortable. Caleb was all about the experience and loved spitting in the sink.

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Just recently, I’ve made friends with some other mom’s from Faith. One of them owns the largest make-up company in Manila and lives just down the road from us. She invited us to her daughters birthday party a few weeks ago. It was so fun for all of us! I didn’t want to walk around the house taking pictures as if I was on a White House tour, but it was spectacular, and I couldn’t resist taking one when we were out by the pool.


I wish it was a clear day, so the city would be really visible. My friend just invited us to her New Years Eve party, so this view will be flooded with fireworks tomorrow night! Like I said, Josh and I have both been sick, so I don’t know if we can make it, but I really, really, want to!

Speaking of parties, we got invited to the penthouse of our condominium building for a Fire & Ice themed party the other night.


Everyone had to wear red, black, or white. It was beautiful! Again, I didn’t want to be a tourist, but I quickly snapped a couple photos.

The insideĀ  was the ice room and had an ice sculpture and was decorated completely in white, with snowflakes and lots of lights. It was beautiful! I know this picture isn’t even worth posting, but it will help me remember the night anyway!


Outside on the perfectly-party-appropriate porch was the fire area. They even had fire dancers as party of the entertainment!


So that’s how we’ve been spending our Christmas Break. Josh and the girls leave for Australia next week…on Malaysian Air. After the first airline catastrophe, and even after the second one, I wasn’t nervous about my family flying. But now, after another airline catastrophe in less than a year, all from Malaysia-based airlines, I’m trying hard not to be nervous!

Our Gift from Heaven Just Turned Seven!

20 Nov

I got back from the US just in time to celebrate our sweet Bella’s 7th birthday! I usually miss it because of our overseas volleyball tournament, but since I didn’t do that this year, I made sure to be back in time to wake up the birthday girl on her special day (11/11)!

Since we weren’t having her party until the following week, we still wanted to keep the day special for her, so she called the shots all day.

She wanted to swim at the school pool after school, so I brought up the littles while Mackenzie had her swim club practice.


Mackenzie and Abby have been swimming together since they were in diapers, so it’s fun to see them in swim club together. (Read this in a whisper: “They are pretty awesome too!)


For dinner that night, Bella chose a fun restaurant called Slappy Cakes. I’ve never seen anything like it, but it was fun and the kids LOVED it! There is a grill in the middle of the table, and when you order the kind of pancakes you want, they bring it to you in squirt bottles along with whatever toppings you order. It was really fun, even if overpriced for those of us who know what (cheap) ingredients go into a pancake batter!



Josh got artsty-fartsy with his squirt bottle.

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I think the basketball survived the flip, but the snail didn’t make it.

When we got home, we let Bella open her presents that I brought back from my parents. She got her own backpack Bible and a scrapbooking kit.


A week later, we had Bella’s party. She got the benefit of picking whatever birthday party theme she wanted, since I was able to get it in the US and bring it back. We scrolled through all the party supply stores online and she couldn’t decide between Sophia the 1st and Lalaloopsy. In the end, she chose the adorable, button-eyed doll theme.

I, of course, snatched up the candles so that the cake would decorate itself!


I LOVED making these fondant buttons!! I think they are adorable.


I also brought back plates, napkins, cups, dangly decor, and treat bags. It’s easy to go cray-cray in those party supply stores! If I had the room, I would’ve ended up with a pinata and giant balloons!

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After we picked up all the excited first-grade friends from school, we brought them back to our house. Bella wanted to go swimming and I’m all about parties entertaining themselves, so we headed down to the pool.


Josh made water balloons to take the fun up to the next level.


When we came back upstairs, we sang to Bella, she blew out her candles, and we all had cake. Let me tell you, I ate 4 birthdays worth of cake in its various stages of progression (batter, scraps, without frosting, and with frosting). It was hard to abstain while I made the other three birthday cakes during my sweet fast, so I made up for it with a vengeance!


The fun part! I made a polkadot cake! It was pretty easy. I have a cake-pop maker, so I first made a vanilla cake recipe and divided the batter into four bowls, where I colored them red, blue, green, and purple. Then I baked them and froze them. Then I made another yellow cake recipe and put a little batter in the bottom of 2 round pans. I added the frozen cake balls and covered them with the rest of the yellow cake batter and baked it all. I never got to see the outcome until we cut it up at party time.

So fun, right?


Then we opened presents. Bella got all kinds of fun activities and toys from her friends. She wanted a Lalaloopsy doll, so while I was in the US, I was able to get one ON SALE and with a COUPON. I love that about the US!

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I can’t believe 7 years have gone by, flown by! Bella continues to bring all kinds of laughter and fun to our family. She is smart, creative, and happy, and those of us to are blessed to spend time with her daily, LOVE her fun spirit! She’s doing great in school, and appears to be strong in math (I wouldn’t really know what that’s like!) She’s working her way through her piano lesson book, and doesn’t love it, but is always improving! She has scored a goal in both days of soccer that they have had so far. She loves her family and friends, and can’t get enough of Bo, as well as other animals. It is wonderful to see what each year brings in Bella’s life and we’re excited to see what the Lord has in store for her life!

Deacon is 5!

17 Sep

We’re back on!!! Ok, time to stop waving my jazz hands in the air and start posting…..go!


The night before his birthday, when I told Deacon to lay out his clothes for school, he informed me that his clothes would be too small the next morning since he was turning 5. So cute!

This pic was taken at 6pm! He had to go to bed early because after a fun day with a San Antonio Spur (more on that another time), he was exhausted and reduced to tears at the drop of a hat.


While he was at school the next morning, we got the condo Batman-ified for his party. During our last trip to the Hallmark clearance store, they had all kinds of fun Batman party stuff, and even though Deacon wasn’t into Batman at the time, we figured he would be by his 5th birthday. Bingo! While Batman can’t hold a candle to The Hulk in Deacon’s eyes, he was still thrilled for a Super Hero party!

Here is his cake. I was super-shocked and excited to find black fondant frosting at a fun kitchen store! Deacon wanted Batman and Robin (or “Red Robin,” as he used to call him), but Robin was hiding out somewhere and we had to have the Joker fill in.


A little disc-launching game. We had a little family competition that night. Mackenzie beat us all!


See that streamer banner in the doorway? The picture on the package shows it completely covering someone’s front door. Well, it must of been a door in The Shire, because it only covered 2/3 the length of our door and left gaps on each side.



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I usually don’t remember to do favor bags, but at the Hallmark store, we were able to buy them basically ready to go!


There was also a banner that had perforated edges around Batman’s face, so you could opt to change up Batman’s face with some more adorable ones. We opted in.

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At 11am, we went up to school to bring all his preschool buddies to our house for the party. There were 8 four and five-year old’s partying at our house for 3 hours! It was fun and exhausting. As soon as we got home, they changed into their swimsuits and we tried to tire them out at the pool. It didn’t work.

They ate tuna on pandesal and drank pink lemonade. I know, I know, I went all out on party food.


We started a water balloon toss, that immediately escalated into a water balloon fight. Then Josh sent them all into the pool where he threw the balloons at them. They loved it (until the water balloons were finished.)


After about an hour and a half of swimming, we headed back upstairs for cake and presents.


Deacon got a bunch of fun gifts, including Spiderman and Avengers toys. One of my favorite of his gifts was this minion t-shirt from Despicable Me.


Speaking of minions….

Whenever we pray together as a family, Caleb jumps in and in a soft, prayerful voice, he just spouts off a bunch of jibberish. Even if someone else is praying! It’s so funny because he sounds just like a minion, to where he has inflections and some other smart-sounding grammatical terms, but no understandable words. I told Josh that we must video it before he stops!

Back to the partay….

So yeah, he got some terrific gifts and he’s been playing with them non-stop since his party. I always love the evening of and the next day after a birthday party, because all the toys are so new and exciting and keep them preoccupied for a LONG time!

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For not having many understandable words in his vocab, Caleb doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to Hulk. He shouts it out loud and proud and clear as day.

Who is your favorite Super Hero?