Monday, August 20, 2012

1st Day of School

Another school year has begun, and my son is a first grader! He was excited and happy to go back to school. I wanted to make the morning of the first day a little special, so after he went to bed I set the breakfast table with a few special touches.
Using a black plastic tablecloth from the Dollar Tree, I wrote his school name and mascot on the tablecloth using sidewalk chalk. I used a piece of red scrapbook paper and Jonathan's writing paper to make a placemat with a special message. I covered the placemat with clear Contact paper. I also made a napkin holder from the writing paper. His school colors are red and black, and they are the White's Tower Bearcats.

He was surprised when he came downstairs for breakfast in the morning!

After breakfast, it was off to school! We picked up our neighbor, who is in Jonathan's class.Her mother and I will rotate pick up/drop off duty this year.

While he was at school, I baked his favorite oatmeal cookies for an after school snack, and made a new placemat for dinner.

His day wasn't over yet, we had his Taekwondo awards ceremony that evening. He received his senior green belt. It was crazy hair night, so I tried to make his hair look like his new belt, green with a black stripe in the middle.
It was a full, busy, memorable day, and now we are getting back into a new daily routine.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Free Printables For Back To School

I know I have been MIA for most of the summer. That's because I have been so busy I simply haven't had time to fit blogging in to my hectic, fun-filled days! Jonathan starts 1st grade in two days and I hope to recap our summer and be back to blogging on a regular basis.
In the meantime, Amy at Living Locurto has rounded up some of the best free back to school printables and I thought I would share them.
Hope everyone is enjoying these last few summer days before the kids return to school!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Jonathan's Bedroom Redo

 Jonathan will be starting first grade in a little over three weeks, and I thought it was time to change his room to reflect his interests and to remove all traces of toddlerhood :(.  I worked with a limited budget, using mostly what we already had with a few new additions.
I purchased his bed and nightstand when he was two. It was a floor sample and I got both pieces for $199. I really couldn't afford new furniture, so am using what we have, along with the chest which was purchased with his crib when he was born. His name in colorful letters, as well as a ceiling fan with primary color blades, were part of the nursery decor.
Jonathan is very much in to taekwondo at the moment, which fortunately has very colorful belts. Using mostly primary red, I can use the bright colors as room accents.
I started by rearranging the furniture in his very small room and am very happy with the new placement. Thanks so much to my niece, Michelle, I couldn't have moved it all around without her help! Michelle blogs at Somerset Cottage, check it out! Next came Pottery Barn Kids curtains, purchase new on eBay. I had to search a bit to find a red quilt in the correct shade, but I did find one. I bought a red and blue rug for the side of the bed then added the fun stuff.

 I found the colorful drawer set a Goodwill (yay!) in like new condition. Jonathan wanted a bulletin board for pictures, ticket stubs, drawings, etc., so we found one at Staples. He helped me hang it, putting the last screw in all by himself.

 The black chair is from Christmas Tree Shoppe. I looked for one in a primary color, but could only find pinks, purples and aquas, so I settled on a black one. I actually think it works rather well!
The poster used as a backdrop for his birthday cake now hangs over his bed, and remember all those gumballs in belt colors? The leftovers now fill a lamp base on his nightstand. It is elevated on signed broken boards he has received from demos at testings. He wanted those boards, and I couldn't figure out what to do with them.

The belt racks on the wall were a birthday gift, and the board Mr. D broke at his party is also on the wall, along with a picture of all of his party guests.

His baseball bats from the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum are also on the wall. I hung these on a broom holder!

We went through all of his books and removed the ones he thought were "too babyish" and put some of his geodes, trophies and shells on display on the shelves. We still have some empty space for future acquisitions.

I would still like to add a couple of shelves over the bulletin board for trophies that I know will be earned, and maybe some photographs and a colorful pillow for the chair, but we are pretty much finished with the redo. I love how it turned out, but more importantly, so does Jonathan!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Helicopter Ride

On the Saturday following Jonathan's birthday, we went to the banks of the Ohio River and boarded this helicopter to fly over Cincinnati. It was a short ride, but the view was spectacular! We were the first passengers of the day so we watched the copter fly in and land on the helipad. I thought Jonathan might be a little nervous, but he was just excited!
We talked to each other through headphones during the ride, Jonathan thought that was cool.
We flew over Great American Ballpark, home of the Cincinnati Reds, and Paul Brown Stadium, home of the Cincinnati Bengals. What little boy wouldn't love that? We also enjoyed views of the city and the river, and also the Newport, Ky. area.

Jonathan said it was the best gift ever, and wanted to know when we could do it again. Much better than another toy! I agree. It was a wonderful experience to share with him.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Taekwondo Party Wrap-Up

Jonathan always enjoys his birthday parties so much, which is one of the reasons I enjoy planning them so much. He said this one was the best ever! (Of course he always says this!). He has some great friend, too, and they all seemed to have a good time. A few more pictures:

One guest's gift was balloons with money inside, a great idea!

With friends Liam & Peyton

With his friend Kayleigh

With my sweet niece, Michelle

Jonathan & Mommy
My gift to Jonathan, as you can see in the picture, was a helicopter ride! I'll share pictures from the ride over Cincinnati next post!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Taekwondo Party: FUN!

As I mentioned in the previous post, I was a little reluctant to have Jonathan's party at a location rather than here at home. I must say, this was a good decision.  I did not have to do extra cleaning (before OR after the party!!) and the kids really seemed to have a great time. Mr D. was great with the children and everyone had fun, including guests who had never before attended a class. Here are some pictures of the kids in action.
Warming up

Learning some Taekwondo moves

Jonathan gets to demonstrate some kicks

Everyone kicks!

Jonathan's favorite: Dodgeball

I love this picture!

As a finale, Mr D broke a board for the kids. Jonathan got to choose whether he broke it with a punch or a kick. He chose a kick.

This is the board he broke!

He gave it to Jonathan after he broke it

The whole gang!
I think the parents had fun, too, watching their children enjoying the party. Next, I'll share a few final pictures of pizza and presents.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hai-Ya! It's A Taekwondo Birthday!

I can't believe my little boy is six! Once again, I had lots of fun planning his birthday party. This year, he really wanted his party to be at his Taekwondo academy. All of his parties have been at home, which (I thought!) I preferred, so I agreed rather reluctantly. So I will begin at the beginning and share the planning!
I began by searching for the perfect invitation, looking on eBay, etsy and Pinterest. I found this one on etsy and decided to go with it. It was designed by Elizabeth of Swanky Press, and she did some other printables for me to coordinate with the invitation. She was great to work with! I kept asking for just one more thing, and she delivered!

 Martial arts is not the easiest theme to find party items for. I gave it a lot of thought and looked for inspiration all over the 'net, but I found very few karate themed parties. Most of what I did find featured ninjas, and that wasn't what I was going for at all. I knew my space was limited at the venue, and I only had about a half hour of set up time, so I needed to keep decorations simple. I decided to go with a theme using the nine belt colors of Taekwondo. Once I decided on that, it was a matter of searching for items to fit the theme. I knew Jonathan would be a green belt by his birthday, so I made green the dominant color of the party decor.
As a take home favor, I made chocolate bars in a mold featuring a boy in a karate pose. These were packaged in clear bags, tied with a green grosgrain ribbon and had a tag with each child's name.

It was a labor of love but I was very happy with the result! I served small bottle of Hawaiian Punch (or water) to the guests, and it became "Hai Ya Punch" with these great bottle labels created by Swanky press.
Brightly colored straws were used with Hai Ya straw flags, another labor of love! They are shown here at the party, along with paper plates in all nine belt colors, stacked pagoda style.
I decided to have a table featuring bubble gum balls in clear glass cylinders (from Dollar Tree) in all nine belt colors. Have you ever tried to find brown gumballs? I finally found them, in the wedding decor section at Party City! The gumballs were bagged and given to the children as a take-home at the end of the party.
The table also featured balloons in the nine colors, and for the guests and parents unfamiliar with Taekwondo, I researched the meanings of the belt colors and made a "chart" explaining them.

From Martial Arts Party Store, I ordered this fabulous poster to use as a backdrop for the cake table. It was just paper, so I took it to Michael's and had it dry mounted on foam board to make it firm. I love it, and look for it somewhere else soon! It is being repurposed after the party.
Then there was the star of the show, the birthday cake! Once again, I worked with the fabulous Trish of Fantasy In Frosting. She used my design to make a simple, but simply stunning, cake! I wanted it to look like his gi, complete with the actual academy patch on it. With the Taekwondo America patch, we took some poetic license and put a "6" in the center. I must say, the cake looked like a real cloth uniform! Perhaps the best part was the fondant board showing wood grain, broken with "Happy Birthday Jonathan" on it. Loved it! I also ordered cupcakes, kept simple so as not to detract from the cake, using only green chocolate "6's" for decoration. I also opted (with Mr.D's permission) to use a 6 sparkler in lieu of candles, the kids loved it!

While the kids were busy with party activities, the table was set for pizza, delivered midway through the party.
It was centered with balloons personalized with "Jonathan", and a jar of fortune cookies with personalized "fortunes" inside.

The treat boxes were filled with black and red shread, then with the goodies. They were tied with black grosgrain ribbon and each had the child's name on it. They were placed on the ledge between the lobby and the studio for the kids to have at the end of the party.
Another special touch was this belt with "It's My Birthday" on it, from Martial Arts Party Store.
Here is the birthday boy, just before leaving for the party.
Next post, I will share some of the party fun!