Thursday, October 20, 2016

Bookworm Birthday Party, Take Two

When Kaity and I started talking about plans for her 16th birthday party, there was only one theme that kept rising to the top - books! I did a book-themed party for her second birthday, and wrote about that on Barefoot in the Kitchen.

Be prepared for lots of pictures! As always, you can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Kaitlyn sweet-talked the librarians into giving her some library checkout cards to use for party invitations:

Kaity and I were especially excited about the sign we made for the door!

(Tolkien reference, for those who aren't familiar.)
Kaity wrote out all the signs for the dishes we served. She looked up fonts specific to each story so that they would match.
References, left to right, top to bottom: Lord of the Rings, Strawberry Girl, The Grapes of Wrath, I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato, James and the Giant Peach, Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Kaity's favorite birthday cake, Aunt Jan's Chocolate Cappuccino Cheesecake! It is rich and decadent and worth every minute, every penny, every calorie. I topped it with whipped cream, fondant flowers, chocolate-covered espresso beans and Sixlets.

We decorated the hallway with floating candles, just like the Great Hall at Hogwarts! They're made with fishing line, toilet paper/paper towel rolls, tape, and battery-powered tea lights.

And speaking of Hogwarts... Kaity dressed up as Bellatrix Lestrange! She wore two of my dresses, and I braided her hair the night before so it would be kinky and wild. Add in some dark make-up and she was spot-on!

She was cracking herself up trying to channel her inner Bellatrix. I told her to pretend like she was annoyed with Joe.

We played a few games, one of which was to guess which book matched the first lines Kaity had written out.

Here you can see a few girls dressed as characters from the Narnia series, Percy Jackson, and Harry Potter.
The food! (In the background, you can see two girls wearing "robes" - they're Gandalf the Grey and Gandalf the White.)

The butterbeer was delicious! By the time I took pictures, it was all gone. I mixed a jar of butterscotch ice cream topping with vanilla ice cream and cream soda. It was tooth-achingly sweet!

Another game the girls played was to write a story. Kaity wrote the first line, then passed it to the next girl and wrote the next line, and so on until it made its way around the circle. Another party guest started a story, too, so we had two going around. They were quite silly!

Party decorations ... It's hard to tell, but this is Kaity's initials - KGP.

(Man, my wall really looks yellow, here! But as you can see above, it's gray.) The banner is a cheap one I picked up at Target, and we embellished it with book page triangles, curly ribbon and twine.

Opening presents!

Our gift to Kaity was a scavenger hunt for little gifts, leading up to a card with cash inside. Her first clue led her to "the Dalek shelf" where she found a Whovian bookmark, a Doctor Who calendar, and these, which I couldn't resist buying!
Tom Baker is my favorite "classic" Doctor - and the first one I remember watching. He was known for offering people Jelly Babies.
In this picture, the girls are trying to solve a word search to find the clue to the next gift.

That led her to the cupboard under the stairs, where she found Bertie Botts' Every Flavor Beans (another Harry Potter reference), and a riddle ...

 ... which led her outside to Gandalf, where she found a puzzle book and another clue.

Back up the stairs! It felt a little like the movie Clue, with Tim Curry.

This clue led her to a Pride and Prejudice themed gift and some jumbled Scrabble tiles which (when arranged) spelled out ...

And Kaity recognized that immediately as a reference to the TV show, Psych, and found her card with cash in between the DVD sets.

Birthday Cake! 

In the basket in the background of this picture are the party favors. Kaity made bookmarks for each girl and we filled the bags with aqua and gold candies and a traditional party noisemaker.

All told, it was a lovely, fun, tasty 16th birthday party for our little Kaity-Kaity.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Graveyard Walking

Several weeks ago, Jeff was studying Google Maps, like he does, and he saw an interesting area in Athens that he'd never noticed before. It turned out to be Oconee Hill Cemetery and we decided to drive over to check it out.

I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, but I'll give you a hint: It was awesome.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Granny's House

A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I loaded up Claire and drove south to see Granny. (Jeff had to stay home to get some work done and to take care of homework for his college classes.) It was an impromptu trip that was almost derailed by tropical storm/hurricane/whatever Hermine. I took a risk and drove down anyway, and I'm glad we did!

Granny's front porch swing!
We had a few visitors the first day, including Aunt Belinda (Steve was in Jacksonville caring for his mother) and Uncle Donnie, cousin Jessica and her children. Selah was so excited to get to see Donnie so she could tell him not to call her Sailor.
Lauryn batted her big brown eyes at Uncle Donnie and got her to color with him.
Playing at Granny's house is exhausting! After her bath, Lauryn climbed up into the rocking chair and passed out.

My kids always look forward to Jessica's kids coming over to spend some time with us. They all love to read and because of the storm they couldn't play outside anyway. This was in the afternoon, when the rain had mostly passed. We lost power for a few hours, but by this time it was back on. They played outside the next day - tag, hide and seek and exploring Granny's yard.

Kiley, Kaity, Abby, Joe - and Granny's foot.

Selah, Jarrett, and Lauryn coloring.
It's always fun "adventure sleeping" as Opie Taylor says! The girls fell asleep during the traditional viewing of Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!. Although how they could sleep through Alex, I don't know.

When the storm was gone, every Gill on the Hill was calling around checking on everyone, making sure all was well. We had several visitors including (great) Uncle Theron (Pig), Uncle David, and my cousin Eric.

On the way home ... driving past my great-uncles' sugar cane field.

Leaving Gill Hill.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Sister Ballerinas

Though I love my own children and, frankly speaking, think they hit the genetic jackpot, I have to say that the combination of these two little ballerinas is just too much! I'm going to have to break out the thesaurus to find the words to do justice to how adorable these two little crumbsnatchers are.

Those buns! Squee!

Selah is taking ballet/tap combo this year and she loves her new tap shoes!

En pointe.

I think this picture sums up how gleeful Lauryn feels about her new ballet class:

Our beautiful little "Sailor" ...


And another silly picture of our Lolly to illustrate the following story:

At the end of each class, moms are always invited in to see the girls "jump the puddle" - a felt oval on the floor that they have to leap over. All the little girls line up and one by one leap gracefully (in theory) over the puddle to hug Mrs. Tammy and get a piece of candy. Lauryn's turn came and she stood poised, arms in a lovely second position, perfect tendu, waiting for the word from Mrs. Tammy to go. When she got the signal, Lauryn dropped her arms, tucked them against her sides and ran like a linebacker for the puddle.

Her enthusiasm was both sweet and hilarious at the same time.