Sophie's 4th Birthday

My little sister, Sophie, turned 4 this year. She wanted to have a "Rainbow Unicorn" birthday party so I insisted to my mom that I make the cake. I had so much fun making something special for her. I'm not a perfectionist but I tried really hard to make it look as neat as possible. I made sure to pull out my food coloring, too. I pulled out all the steps, guys. ;) I divided the cake batter into three cake pans, all in different colors & stacked the baked cakes on top of each other so when you cut the cake, it's colorful. This was a detail that was missed on Sophie, though. She was mostly interested in the icing. Nevertheless, I had fun making it & I think it turned out pretty cute, too.
Sophie had her birthday at "Catch Air." When my mom told me she was having her party there, I had no idea what to expect. Once we got there though, I was completely in love with the place & used any excuse possible to run around the place. i.e. play on every spiny thing possible. hehe. Why don't they make places like this for adults? IMG_2118We had a 45 minute slot where we got a room to serve the kids pizza, cake & open presents. You know, four year old birthday parties are weird, honestly. None of the kids really talk to each other, so it's just all of the parents quietly talking as they sit around a table of 4 year olds quietly eating there pizza. Haha. I think my mom calls this "parallel play." I guess by next year's birthday party they might be interacting a little more with each other? IMG_2116
Rainbow Bright made sure to attend the party via the table ware & goodie bags.
IMG_2103IMG_2101These are all the photos I have from Sophie's party & the place (they don't have a website or great pictures online! But if you're in the Austin area & have kids- take them! It was great!). I wish I could have taken more! All the pictures that I have of Sophie herself, were super blurry, so that's a bummer. Anyways, at least you got a little peek. :)  And now, a few (only a few, it was a packed year!) highlights from Sophie's past year:
 Sophie played in the snow for the first time this year. When she saw it, she immediately laid down & tried to make snow angels in the hard, crunchy Texas snow. Actually, this "snow" was a small plot that my grandparent's neighborhood brought in for a "snow day" for the kids in the community. // We took Sophie & our cousin, Mckayla, to see Veggie Tales Live this year. // Sophie got her first bike for her birthday!
 For Sophie's actual, on the day of, birthday my grandma made her cupcakes & Suphie requested they be Spiderman & Puppy themed. Where does she come up with this stuff? // Sophie went to a pumpkin patch this year! // She also started (pre) school, which she loves!
 Sophie was the flower girl in my brother's wedding! // She also partied hard & had her first chocolate hangover. ;)

Other highlights from this year for her: Going to Jamaica, The Grand Caymans & Cozumel, trying her first hot dog & her first biscuit & jelly, getting a trampoline & watching Scooby Doo & My Little Pony on the reg.

LOVE YOU Sophie-girl. So happy to have been here for your 4th year of life. Looking forward to this next year! Muah, out "little cup cake." 
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Make Shift Costumes

It's no secret that in China you can't buy things that are "normal" & easy for us to buy in the States, especially items that have to do with cooking, eating & holidays. A huge "unicorn" product, that you can barely find in China, are costumes. There are a few costume pieces that you can always find, but mostly you have to get creative.This made Halloween season super fun & quite interesting to see all the make shift costumes the kids came up with with items from home & by adding to those few pieces you can find. Here's some of the costumes you may find in a Chinese classroom. :)
 Paper Masks
As is the case anywhere, paper masks are all the rage. 
White clothing is an obvious choice for ghost-wear. If you have a white jacket, you have a ghost costume. Obviously.
The gold polyester witch hat. 
Though costumes are hard to find in China, this costume is in abundance at all major grocery stores. 
The Cape
The cape is also readily available at all major grocery stores.
The Invisible Costume.
Some kids just come in their normal clothes & act like whatever their "costume" that you can't actually see is. Below, CiCi was a kitty cat. Obviously.
The Puppet.
Puppets are great, aren't they. Great costumes. 
The Face Paint. 
It's an easy go to & transforms you into any animal print clothing you have.
The Princess
You can find these occasionally at the grocery store. 
The Hat
Hats transform everything.
The Plastic, Glitter Mask.
Again, another grocery store common. Why did I say there weren't Halloween costumes in China?!
Then you'll also see lots of Combo costumes. 
mask & capes
hats & masks
hats, masks & capes
masks & wands
see lots of capes, masks, princesses

Tao Bao Costumes
Every now & then, you'll get a student who ordered off line, from Tao Bao, which is like the Amazon of China. These costumes are more like our costumes at home & a little more elaborate. 
 DSC00491DSC00519DSC00482DSC00452DSC00455It's always an adventure on dress up days to see what they come up with! And super cute. :) 
China peeps. any other costumes I left out? post signature


Chara at 3 Months

This is an old post, from an old shall-not-be-named blog that I couldn't help but repost! It was an update on our sweet girl dog, Chara, at 3 months. Her birthday was January 20th & she turned 5 this year! I can hardly believe that she was ever as small as she is in these photos below! Enjoy!

Chara, is getting bigger, and continually reminding us, how impatient we are, I mean....how awesome she is. :) Well Here's an Update from Chara, herself:

An yang ah seh yo. That's hello, where I'm from. My name is Chara! I am now 3 months old! Like any golden retriever puppy, I am full of energy!

I do a great job staying at home by myself, while my mommy and daddy are at work. I don't cry or bark! Honestly! I am really good. And keep myself happy. And I am learning to be potty trained! Yaa me!

I love my life outside of my room, though. I especially love biting my mommies arms, and leaving battle wounds and scratches all over her.

Oh! I also love chewing on tissues, table legs, and anything that belongs to my mommy and daddy. It all just tastes sooooooo good!
My favorite thing to do is anything that daddy tells me not to do. That's the best! And lots of fun!

Also, I haven't yet learned what the word, "No!" means. I hear it a lot, but I am just not sure what it means. I think it's some kind of game Daddy likes to play with me. But I'm not sure.

I do know "Sit!" I always listen to "Sit!"

I love taking baths! And I always need one! It makes me sleepy.

I am learning to enjoy being brushed everyday, too! Because I am loosing my winter coat! And it kind of feels good.

Lately, I have been seeing the wide-wide world on walks! It is lots of fun!

I even have gone running with mommy some! But I get tired, so I just lay down, half way through. It's hard to keep up with my little legs!

I LOVE pig ears! And new toys! I really like to "bury" them behind the black chair. I dig and dig and then bury them there, shhh, don't tell mommy and daddy where they are.

My best friend, is an air freshener that sits on the floor. He is a good friend. We play. I bark at him and hit him with my feet and growl at him. It's fun.

My favorite place to play hide and seek is under the couch! hehe. Mommy and Daddy look for me. They call me. They don't even know I'm under there! I trick them! Oh. But I can't get out. So I have to cry until Daddy comes and gets me.

Ohhhhhh Treats! I eat about 5 treats a day! I am a spoiled puppy! Yummy!

This Saturday I will get my 4th round of shots! Pheww! Only 2 more to go AND then I get to go to puppy school!!!

Well, that's an update about me!

Here are some pictures, so you can see how cute I am getting. :)

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Simple, Last Minute Valentine's Day DIY Gifts

With Valentine's Day coming up, I'm thinking about ways to gift my husband, Zachary, and I bet you are thinking about how to gift the man in your life, too.

What can we do to bless these amazing men in our lives & show them how much they are loved?! Especially when so little time is left before Valentine's! Here's a few ideas for you that I posted a few years ago. :)

An Encouragement Jar
Our first year of dating, I made Zachary a bag of all the things I loved about him.
 Everyone loves to hear the ways they are loved and we should never tire of telling our special men how wonderful they are. This year I made him an encouragement jar with 75 reasons I love him. Don't ask me why the number 75! You can pick any number, really.

A Box of Dates
Valentine's Day is a good excuse to start a date box.
Fill a box with fun date ideas or just simple ways to spend time together.

Truth or Dare Sticks
Going with the theme of fun things to do together, how about a classic; truth or dare. It may be a little corny but still fun. Make your truths and dares as naughty or nice as you'd like.

Red hearts-Dares // Pink Hearts-Truths

Homemade Massage Oil
This gift is fun & easy to make. Plus, it comes with an extra bonus-- It probably ensures you'll be getting a massage, too! A gift that gives back to you! :) Nice! 
But remember, this is Valentines' Day, a day devoted to love! So, make sure your one and only gets a massage, too!

Valentine's Massage Oil Recipe
6 tsp of grape seed, coconut or canola oil
8 drops of an essential oil of choice 
(lavender, mint, rose hip and jasmine are great, relaxing choices!)
Mix & store in a dark glass jar. 
Tie a ribbon around it and give it to your man!

As you can see above, all of these ideas are fun, thoughtful & super easy. Obviously, you can make them look better or use nicer materials. I made the above while in China, so paper & markers it was! 

Do you have any fun, easy ideas on how to bless your guy? Let me know in the comments below!
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