April 20, 2015

A Frozen Birthday Party.

So.  Of course my daughter had a Frozen themed birthday party.  Of course she did:

Frozen Birthday Party
Let me rewind.  It's birthday season at the Life in Cleveland household - 4 out of the 5 of us celebrated birthdays in the last couple of weeks.  CRAZYTOWN!  And both of the big kids are old enough to have actual friends that they want to invite to actual parties.  But with that much birthday in that short of a time I was uninterested in going overboard.  A frozen theme?  Sure.  But let's keep it simple, shall we?

Frozen Birthday Party
Pictured:  Simple.
Because it's super easy to fall down the pintrest rabbit hole and think that somehow you are a terrible parent if you haven't taken out the glue gun or found the perfect printable.  BAH.  But!  Even without the obsessive crafting I think we nailed the whole Frozen spirit.

The cake was probably the coolest part of the party.  My mom has one of those barbie cake molds from the '80's.  You know the one with the creepy half doll on a spike?  She used that - and my daughter's barbie dolls - to make this happen:

Frozen Birthday Party
Because when you can't decide between Elsa and Anna why not go for both!  Plus the cake basically looks like the picture of the sisters back to back that's on ALL OF THE THINGS:
Elsa and Anna Cake
She wrapped the dolls in saran wrap before putting them in the cake to keep frosting out of their joints.   Afterwards I just used dishsoap to wash them off.  No problem.  Although as the frosting warmed up and melted Anna started to have a.... wardrobe malfunction.

Frozen Birthday Party
Anna's going to end up on TMZ if she's not careful.
The food was easy.  We used a tiered serving platter thing that we already had which made the whole affair SUPER FANCY.  Then we rubberbanded our daughter's other Elsa doll to the top.

frozen party food
We had baby carrots (Olaf noses), blue jello jigglers (ice cubes), and pretzels dipped in blue chocolate leftover from the treat bags.  EASY.

Oh yeah the treats were Frozen Hearts.  We had the heart mold from Valentine's Day and used blue and white chocolate.  They turned out really cute!

Frozen favors
They were also the only thing in the bags.
I poured some blue Gatorade into my trifle bowl and voila.  Fancy Frozen Drink:

Frozen Birthday Party
Also twisty straws b/c FANCY.
The rest was basically just crepe paper and balloons.  Oh and some gingham napkins I still had from the Target Napkins Tote Bags.

Frozen Birthday Party

And snowflakes that were still up from Christmas.  The girl and I cut them all out over the holidays and I told her we could leave them up until her birthday:

Cold day off from school meant my girl and I could finish our paper snowflake curtain.   #snowflake #crafty
During the party we played Pin the Nose on Olaf - Matt sketched Olaf onto poster board and the Girl cut out noses.  And "Snowball Toss" a game Matt devised using mixing bowls some bean bag snowballs that the boys got for Christmas.  We also did a Frozen Freeze dance and let the girls go nuts until the music stopped.  That was a huge hit.  Because who doesn't want to listen to "Let it Go" over and over and over again?

So yeah.  It might not have been insane with the branding or the printables or the pintrest.  But I think we pulled off a pretty spectacular Frozen birthday!  I know our girl was happy:

Frozen Birthday Party
And as a bonus here's a picture of my FAVORITE BIRTHDAY EVER.  I grew up in a double and for whatever reason the other half was empty one year around my birthday.  So my mom had the party there in the empty house.  It was AWESOME.  Pizza picnic on the floor and room to run around and chase balloons?  Perfect.

Yes.  My brother is wearing a bunny suit.  I don't know either.

Next party to blog about?  The Dude's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle 4th.  COWABUNGA.

April 17, 2015

Cheers! I'm 35!

So!  Today is my 35th birthday.  RIGHT?

Although I think I used up all of my I AM SO OLD angst last year with 34 because this year really isn't getting to me at all.  I'm feeling like... I'm 35.  What up.  Sure I'm another box on forms and such but I'm also really happy with my life.  We've had a lot of very hard, very sleep deprived years to get to this point.  And finally we are on the cusp of a whole bunch of awesome.  Both for this year and the foreseeable future.  So yeah.  35?  BRING IT ON.

And what better way to celebrate a birthday than with a shawl named Cheers!
Cheers!  By Laura Nelkin

I'm knitting with this very happy yarn:
Color Run
"Color Run" by Destination Yarn
 The yarn  is one of  my new, speckled dyed colorways.  They are SO FUN to dye and possibly even funner to knit. (Available now from Destination Yarn!)
Cheers in Color Run (btw @DestinationYarn is now on instagram and I tend to post dying behind the scenes stuff there if you are interested). 

Cheers in Color Run
I'm using a dark grey for the border (Storm Clouds semi-solid also by Destination Yarn) and I had some woe about the beads.  The only size 8 beads I could find at craft stores were lame.  I tried to make them work but my swatch said NOPE:

Cheers in Color Run
Can you even see the beads?
Cheers in Color Run
Not really.  Blah.
So I ordered some online and am so glad I did.  They came yesterday and BOOM:

Cheers in Color Run
It's going to be awesome.  It took so very much will power to fold the laundry last night instead of stringing these beads on immediately.  But!  What a nice birthday treat.

So yeah. With that I"m going to spend my birthday knitting in the sunshine.  At least until a kid needs me (so for like 5 minutes).
Happy Easter!!! #stevensonpartyoffive
Pic from Easter.  B/c this wouldn't be a real post without a picture of my kids.  Also Tiny is wearing an Owls Sweater I knit for the Dude way back in the day.

March 20, 2015

Shalom for a Little Girl.

So!  I knit my girl a Shalom Sweater:

Shalom sweater
But... wait.  I have to start at the beginning.  See for the March installment of Kate and Jeanne's Road Trip Yarn Club we wanted a bulky yarn with pops of colors.  The inspiration was Wildflowers on the Great Plains.  I love how the finished colorway/pattern turned out.
Wildflowers on the Great Plains
 There's a couple of extra kits for this pattern up on the Destination Yarn Etsy Shop along with some other colorways on the new bulky base.

But!  It was a new base for me.  And a completely new dye technique that I had never tried before called stipple dying.  It was SO FUN to experiment with.  But it took some serious getting used to.  And after I screwed up one skein... and then another... and then another I threw my mistakes in the dyepot with a bunch of leftover dye and was all FINE.  YOU WILL JUST BE PURPLE.  STUPID YARN.

However my fit of rage lead to some really gorgeous yarn.

Shalom sweater
I figured it would end up as a cowl or something.  But my daughter claimed it.  And I had just enough to make her this:

Shalom sweater
It's the Shalom Cardigan pattern that everyone, myself included, knit a few years ago.

It knit up crazy quickly.  Then on one of the MANY snow days we had she asked me to make a skirt to match.  So we dug out some fabric and cranked out a Lazy Days Skirt.  Easy.

Shalom for my girl
Literally that morning by 9:30 we had made a skirt and the boys had watched a movie and IT WAS ONLY 9:30 WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DOOOOOO.  There were a belligerent amount of snow days in a row this year.

The finished outfit is just darling.  A photoshoot after her art class at the CMA was necessary.

Shalom Collage
I love LOVE the yellow buttons.  She picked them out herself from the button box I inherited from my great-grandmother.  I'd guess the buttons are older than I am. 

Shalom for my girl
90cents for buttons?!
The yellow against the purple is just so kicky and perfect.

Shalom sweater
As far as modifications go it was pretty easy to take this down to a kid's size.  I started with 51 stitches on a size 10.5 needle.  I only did 3 knit stitches on either end because the 5 the pattern called for was a bit much on a little kid.  Other than that I knit as written until the divide for the arms.  After the 2nd increase I had 101 stitches and after the third I had 129.  When dividing for the arms I K23, BO21, K43, BO 21, K23.  Then cast on 9 under each arm.  I omitted all of the waist shaping and just knit straight down from there.

Shalom sweater
I actually had to do the divide for the arms twice.  The first time she didn't like how tight it was across her back.  So I ripped it out and adjusted my stitch counts.  That's one of the best things about knitting.  Make a mistake?  Don't like how it fits/looks?  Rip it out and use the yarn again.  No problem.
Trying her new sweater on for size. She seems to like it! ����#knit #knitting #indiedyer #destinationyarn #yarn #handdyedyarn #knittersofinstagram #instaknit #sweater #Regrann from @destinationyarn
Overall I'm just thrilled with this.  The whole thing started as a mistake and turned into something really beautiful.  She's worn it to school often since it was finished.  I think that's about the best compliment I can ever receive.

Shalom sweater
Also she turned 6 this week.  Which.  DUDE.  It goes so fast.  I'm actually writing this because I'm procrastinating getting the house ready for her Frozen Birthday party tomorrow.  It's amazing how much festivity you can create with a few streamers and some balloons.  Anyways in honor of her birthday here's a side by side of Shaloms from when I was hideously pregnant with her:


Yay for Shalom Sweaters!

March 11, 2015

Lake Erie Thaw.

Edgewater park in the fog.

So Lake Erie is starting to thaw!  It was 45 and sunny today!  Spring might actually be a thing that is possible!  And it's all causing some crazy awesome Great Lakes weather.  Of course I had to take the kids to check it out.

Edgewater Thaw

We stopped by Edgewater Park on the way home from school today.  And it was basically an alien landscape. 

Edgewater Thaw
The blue skies and sunshine against a crazy thick fog and still iced over lake well... I really wish I had brought my good camera:

Edgewater Thaw
Edgewater Thaw

Edgewater Thaw

Although I probably had too much to manage what with 3 small kids and the dog...

Edgewater Thaw

They were super into climbing on the rocks.  Which was all sorts of fun:
Edgewater Thaw
Edgewater Thaw

Edgewater Thaw
Although 2/3 kids have NO FEAR which... yeah it made for a bit of yelling when the girl was determined to climb to the lake. 

Edgewater Thaw
Seriously, child.  You are making me nervous.
I don't think she quite realized that Lake Erie was the giant ice cube in front of her.  Once that was clear she wanted to walk on it.  Which, no.  Not with little ones.  Not during a thaw.

Edgewater Thaw

Although we did check out the beach.

Edgewater Thaw

Kindof.  I realized that sand + melting ice = a terrible plan.  So we drove around to the pier and checked that out instead:

Edgewater Thaw
On the way home we stopped off at our city view place taking bets along the way about if we would be able to see the sky line.  It's usually a great view - Lake Erie in the foreground, Cleveland in the background.  I've posted that shot here many times.  I figured it was about a 50/50 chance of seeing the city.  Turns out I was right.  We could see 50% of the city:

Edgewater Thaw

 My daughter thought it looked like someone erased the bottom half.  Word:

Edgewater Thaw
Yay for spring!

March 5, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Home from the Hospital.

So today Matt's brother and sister-in-law are bringing their second child home from the hospital.  We talked to them for awhile last night about the logistics of all of it.  It brought back a whole slew of memories.  So how about a Throwback Thursday Home from the Hospital style.

Here's Round 1 back in March of 2009:

headed home
I remember starting to go down the road of "I can't believe they are letting us take this baby home!" and Matt SHUTTING ME DOWN.  His take on it? "Yeah she's OUR kid.  Of course we are taking her home.  No one can care for her better than we can.  Period."  And that was it.  No more jitters.  Because he was completely right:

headed home
Then Round 2.  When I thought our girl would want to ride on my lap with me out of the hospital.  Yeah not so much:

She wanted to help push because she was a BIG GIRL.  That was pretty much her attitude from there on out.

We were also super worried that time about our dog.  She was pretty new to our family and kindof a crazy pooch:

The big introduction.  She was fine with him pretty quickly.
Round 3 was completely different.  We were outnumbered!  And I COULD NOT WAIT to get home.  The hospital stay - being on my own away from the other two and under the care of nurses who had AGENDAS - was awful.  We couldn't get out of their fast enough:

Bringing tiny home
Run! Don't even stop for a picture just GET. ME. HOME.
The Dude did want to ride with me.  He wanted everything with me.  He was not so into being helpful or acknowledging his sibling at all:

Bringing tiny home
The girl helping me give her new brother a bath while the dude sulks in the background.  Pretty perfect summary of the day.
He got over it eventually and now they are best of friends - they are literally racing cars together under my legs as I write this.  The dog introduction was very different this time around as well.  Tiny got dumped in the middle of the kitchen while we were unloading/taking care of the other two.  And then we were like oh, right.  Someone should have told the dog:

Bringing tiny home
I think she sniffed him once and moved on with her life.  Babies aren't that interesting to dogs until they get in a high chair.  My biggest memory from that time, though was that sometime while I was in the hospital the girl took a huge chunk out of her hair.  It was BAD.  So I left my Tiny, hoped he wouldn't need to nurse in the hour I was gone, and took my daughter for her first haircut.  MILESTONES:

She had her first haircut ever today.  A few inches shorter and it's a lot curlier! #redhead #picstitch
It was a good introduction into the world of trying to manage THREE.  So yeah.  Those first few days home - especially with other kids in the mix - are INTENSE.  Intense and kindof magical. 
There's just something about a newborn.... #love #siblings

We wish them well!
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