Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mario and Luigi Birthday Party

I generally just log on to the Internet to get ideas for birthday parties when I am planning one. Unfortunately there were not a lot of ideas for a Mario Party. I am posting this to maybe help someone else who needs to have a Mario Party for their little gamer.

Gordon was so excited to turn 5 and have his first friend birthday party. He began planning in March and his birthday is on May 16. Gordon loves to play Mario Party 8 so it came as no surprise when he wanted a Mario Party Birthday Party.

I didn't save a copy of the invitation, but I just used Photo Shop to create a Mario Party 5 (because he was turning 5 years old) invitation. I got the image off the Internet.

When they boys got to our house, they got to choose between being Mario or Luigi.

We rolled some big dice I got from the party store for a dollar to decide who would go first, just as they do in the Mario Party games.

The first game we played was jump over the fireball. Seth rolled an orange ball and the kids took turns jumping over it.

After jumping over the ball, we had a treasure hunt to find a star. Whenever we do treasure hunts, we send the kids upstairs and then downstairs.

While they were eating the cookies, we reminded that the stars will make them invincible. Which they would need because after eating the stars, they would be fighting some Goombas.

The boys had to jump from these "platforms" without touching the carpet. Jared had drawn Goombas on some balloons that had money inside them. They popped the balloon, picked up the coin and finished the test. At the end of the platforms, there was a star waiting for each boy.

This was easily the favorite activity for each of the boys. We let them pop 3 balloons each and I think we should have given them more. Even today, a week and a half alter, the boys tell me that this was their favorite part of the party when I see them.

After defeating the Goombas, the boys got to pin the mustache on Luigi. I just took an image and photo shopped out the mustache. I also made some quick black mustaches for the boys to stick on.

Seth made a Mystery Block that was a pinata. He taped sheets of yellow paper together. I drew a question mark on it in white. The boys took turns jumping up and punching it with their fists.

This little cutie is the one that was able to punch his way through it. The pinata was filled with gold coins and some candy.

Here is a close-up of the hat. I used this tutorial and used craft foam. I used my sewing machine to stitch the letter and the white circle on. I also stitched on the elastic. I was pleased with how they turned out.

I printed an image from the Internet and glued it on a bag. I couldn't find green bags, so I used only red bags. I made some with Mario and some with Luigi. It would have looked better if I had found some green bags, but no one really cared except for me.
I also made some gold boxes for the boys to store their coins in.

We ate some pizza and then had mushroom cupcakes. We reminded the boys that when Mario eats mushrooms he grows.
I wasn't thrilled with how the cupcakes turned out, but Gordon really liked them and that is what matters. If I made them again, I would use Marshmallow Fondant instead of white frosting. Initially Gordon wanted a Luigi cake and I feel a little guilty for talking him out of it. This was A LOT easier than making a Luigi cake, so I am glad he was happy with them.

Amber and Aaron came and helped with the party and they also took pictures for me. Aaron played the Mario Theme Song on his IPhone for a while during the party and the kids thought that was really fun.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Pinewood Derby

Let's play "Catch-up" for a minute here. On April 27, 2010 our cub scouts had their Pinewood Derby. Jared was so excited about making his car and Seth did an excellent job helping him while letting Jared choose the car design and colors.

When I told Jared that his car looked nice, right after he painted it, he said, "I know. I tried to do my best work on it." He was so proud of his car, that is until he saw some of the other boys' cars. There were some pretty sleek ones, but my favorites were the ones where it was obvious that the boys had done the work and, at the very least, painted it themselves. When Jared saw some of those cars, he said that he was "embarrassed about his car". That broke my heart a little because I knew how hard he had worked on it and how much he loved it.

Enlarge the photo and you will see that it has rocket packs. When Jared was showing me this feature he was giddy with excitement and said, "Those rocket packs are like my secret weapon. It might be a little unfair to the other cars."

While Jared was painting his car he decided to put a 64 on the top of it. When Seth asked him why he put a 64 on the top of it Jared said, "Because it is a race car."

Since this was his first race, he got a little help setting his car on the track.

Here is Jared's car, #64 getting ready to overtake the car in first place. I guess those rocket packs really did work.

He finished somewhere in the middle and didn't care a bit about not winning. He had such a great time. He ended up dropping his car and bending the axle. When I asked him about it the next day (I had taken the little boys home for bed at that point) Jared said, "I dropped it but them I was able to fix it." The car didn't do as well after it was dropped but Jared seemed oblivious to that. He really had a great time.

The other kids were happy to sit on the back row eating popcorn and jello. I am not sure they even knew there were cars being raced.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

As I get older, I realize how much I appreciate my mom. I have always thought she was pretty amazing but as I gain more experience with my own children, I develop an even greater appreciation for her.

In honor of her and mothers every where, I would like to share a talk that Seth gave the last Sunday we lived in our Sandy ward, 5 years ago.


I was really struggling with this talk. Mothers are a difficult subject. And not just because women are generally difficult to understand.

It’s that motherhood is such a noble job that to speak of it casually would really be off the mark. But at the same, I don’t want to boast it so much that people can’t take me seriously.

I knew I didn’t want to tell stories of my own mother, or of my wife, or of other mothers I have known personally. It’s not that the stories don’t exist, nor that all these people aren't wonderful. But these personal stories just won’t have the same meaning for you that they do for me. And I really don’t want to trample on those feelings by trying to publicize them to an audience that can’t fully connect. In other words, I don't want to bore you.

So I was really having a hard time. Fortunately, and fittingly, my mother saved me on this one. I mentioned to her that I would be speaking. Without prompting, she made a suggestion for the content of my talk. She wanted me to tell the mothers that they are OK just the way they are, and not to be so hard on themselves.

We then talked about how on Mother’s Day we will often hear amazing stories of amazing women doing amazing things. We praise the title and immortalize the individuals who have held it.

We do this with good intentions and to honor mothers all around. However, for the normal mother sitting in the audience--the one without a story to equal those just heard--the message is clear: You’re not doing a very good job.

Let me tell you today that you are. You are doing a wonderful job. You are doing a difficult job. And if it means anything, I personally justify your every failure. And I know that through the Atonement, God is also willing to. He loves you as you are. And He is pleased with you for even deciding to give it a try.

You are all so wonderful, without needing to do this or that differently. Kids are HARD to raise. Homes are hard to maintain. Husbands aren't always very helpful. Sometimes they just make it harder. Add to that additional roles in the community, church, and sometimes work. The enormous task that remains can only be described with one word: Mother.

Let me share with you a quick story from President Spencer W. Kimball which illustrates how loved you are, without needing to do anything fancy:

“At a distant conference, my plane brought me to the city many hours early. The stake president met me at the airport and took me to his home. Having important work to do, he excused himself and returned to his work. With the freedom of the house, I spread my papers on the kitchen table and began my work. His wife was upstairs sewing. In mid-afternoon, there came an abrupt entry through the front door and a little fellow came running in, surprised to see me. We became friends; then he ran through the rooms calling, ‘Mother.’ She answered from upstairs, ‘What is it, darling?’ and his answer was, ‘Oh, nothing.’ He went out to play.

“A little later another boy came in the front door calling, ‘Mother, Mother.’ He put his school books on the table and explored the house until the reassuring answer came from upstairs again, ‘Here I am, darling,’ and the second one was satisfied and said, ‘Okay,’ and went to play. Another half hour and the door opened again and a young teenager moved in, dropped her books, and called, ‘Mother.’ And the answer from upstairs, ‘Yes, darling,’ seemed to satisfy and the young girl began practicing her music lesson.

“Still another voice later called, ‘Mother,’ as she unloaded her high school books. And again the sweet answer, ‘I am up here sewing, darling,’ seemed to reassure her. She tripped up the stairs to tell her mother the happenings of the day. Home! Mother! Security! Just to know Mother was home. All was well.” (Spencer W. Kimball, Faith Precedes the Miracle, pp. 117–18.)

Your children love you for all that you do. Your husbands love you too. And God loves you, just as you are.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mario or Luigi?

After dropping some of Jared and Mia's friends off, Mia was putting some paper scraps on her face to look like a mustache.

She said to Jared, "Look Jared, I am Mario."

Jared said, "I think you mean Luigi. Except you aren't tall enough to be Luigi." Then he turned and looked at her and said, "Oh. You have a beard. You aren't Mario or Luigi. You are Jesus!"

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Zoo

Seth's sister and her husband are visiting from Canada and they invited us to go to the zoo with them today. I didn't take any pictures, but we really enjoyed ourselves.

I am pretty sure that Gordon and Ellis would go back to Canada with them. Any time they have started a conversation, Amber's or Aaron's names are central to it. Gordon told me, "I really like Amber and Aaron." I said, "Yeah. They are pretty nice, huh?" Gordon said, "And they are REALLY funny!

Gordon's favorite thing was watching the bird show. Ellis' favorite thing was "Having Amber hold me."