Happy Angry Bird Day

So this year for my son’s 5th birthday he requested to have an Angry Birds theme. I was honestly not sure where it came from because he had been most recently obsessed with Pokemon and I fully expected to be planning a Pokemon party and was prepared for that one! So I took to Pinterest and put together a party that he will never forget. It obviously took a little more effort to put it together myself then to just purchase everything pre-made but saving the money was the bomb.

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Welcome to the party! Our party was held in the backyard and we hung this homemade sign from the fence. I purchased paper for this party. A lot of paper. I purchased my paper from Hobby Lobby at 30% off which is a sale that I’m pretty sure is permanent there but it makes me feel better to buy things that are on sale! In the picture, there is red, yellow, green, blue and black cardstock, white cardstock on top. For the letters, if you are incredibly talented and have a super steady hand you can write the letters, but I typed mine and then cut them out. Hole punched the sides and tied them together with tulle.

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I purchased my gift bags from Zurchers for under 50 cents a piece and then cut out all of the faces and glued them on!

I also used the same faces for the party hats.

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You can find the link for the faces that I used here. She used it for faces on balloons which are adorable too! You’ll just click on the link that says free printable Angry Birds Balloon Template.

After picking up their party hat we let them pick out a tattoo! The super tough kind that you put on with a rag and some water!

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We started the party off by letting the kids color! Who doesn’t have a million crayons, colored pencils, and markers in their house? Oh just us? Well, we have a million. So we let the kids sit in the shade on the deck and color angry birds coloring pages which you can literally just google “angry birds coloring pages, free printables” and come up with endless options!

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We followed this activity with some good ole’ fashion pin the beak on the bird! For this activity, I purchased a white poster board, a red poster board (you can get them super cheap at Walmart) and I used those for the birds body, his white tummy, and his eyes. I then hand sketched his eyebrows and the thing on his head, whatever that is called.

I printed a bunch of the red bird faces from the link above which can be found here again and I cut out JUST the nose for the game!

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The biggest hit of our party was the real life angry birds game we had set up! I asked my dad to bring home boxes from his work, but I’m sure that you could ask for some from people you know, they aren’t too hard to find! I was going to print out the numbers that we used and print out TNT signs but with a little less time than I planned I wrote them and taped them on, the kids didn’t notice the difference.

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If you look closely you can see that I spray painted some cans green that represented the pigs but you could use anything! I just saved the cans from our dinners each night!

We purchased a water balloon sling shot on Amazon.com for under $10.00 and we used it to shoot the birds or the balls whatever you wanna call them. I spray painted 3 tennis balls blue to represent the blue bird and then used black, red and yellow birds for the others.

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We drank green and red juice and put the Red bird’s face on the red juice dispenser and the pig on the green juice dispenser.

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I looked at prices for cakes all over the place and couldn’t justify the price, but I am NOT the best baker. Especially when I don’t have the time to cook them, and then try again if I mess up! I ended up settling on this fun cupcake recipe and they turned out awesome!

Here is the pin that shows you how to make them! And then because I’m not creative enough to make the faces on them I used these cupcake toppers stuck on toothpicks for the cupcakes!

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If you’ve never made tissue paper pom poms you are in for an experience. They are time-consuming but can be used for so many things!

Here are the directions, but you can also google multiple tutorials that show step by step instructions!

STEPS
1. Stack eight 20-by-30-inch sheets of tissue. Make 1 1/2-inchwide accordion folds, creasing with each fold.
2. Fold an 18-inch piece of floral wire in half, and slip over center of folded tissue; twist.
3. Separate layers, pulling away from center one at a time.
4. Tie a length of monofilament to floral wire for hanging.

I AGAIN used the bird faces to make the pom’s that we hung from the trees above the gift bag and treat table!

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For our gift bags, we had the treats out on the table and let the kids pick their bag and then fill it with one of each treat. Here are the treats that we put together.

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The first treat was the easiest to put together. I placed gummy worms into small party/treat bags, I ordered 200 of them off of amazon for $2.50. I typed up the label “Bird Food” and the little pictures of the red bird and stapled them closed.

The next treat is “BIRD SEED POPS.” You can use any rice crispy treat recipe you want and replace the rice crispies with Fruity Pebbles and then place a lollipop stick in them. Wrap them up, type, print and cut out the labels, I attached a tiny picture of the yellow bird and tied them closed.

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The last treat is “Baby Blues Popcorn.” Here is the recipe for candied corn.

For the candied popcorn I used the following recipe, but you are more than welcome to use your own.

INGREDIENTS:

Popcorn air popped or microwaved, I microwaved mine.
Melting White Chocolate
Blue Food Coloring
Blue Sprinkles

STEPS:

Place popcorn in a large bowl
1. Melt white chocolate
2. Dye chocolate blue by adding blue food coloring
3. Add chocolate mixture to the popcorn bowl and mix well.
4. Add blue sprinkles
5. Spread out on wax paper and wait for it to dry. Mine took a few hours.
6. Place popcorn balls into clear treat/party bags.
7. Type up the label, cut it out, stable the blue bird picture and then use blue tulle to tie it closed.

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All in all my 5-year-old had a party that required me to invest some time and effort but aside from A BUNCH OF PAPER, I didn’t need many other supplies that I didn’t already have on hand! The last thing that I wanted to provide you with is some free printables that you can use however you see fit! The link is here! Have a Happy Bird Day!

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When Suddenly No Lives Matter. 

It was a little over two and a half years ago, right before I was about to be married that I was asked the question, “Are you prepared for what you and your family will experience seeing as how you are marrying a black man?” Being a white girl raised in Salt Lake City, Utah I was offended. The man I was speaking with took notice to my offense and simply said “I don’t mean to hurt you, I just wanted to make sure that you were aware that things will be different than I think you are expecting. Things will be harder.” I explained that I was fine and that things were going to be great.

Two and a half wonderful years later, our son is now 5 and our youngest is almost 2 and the woman that I am now often looks back at that day and wishes I could have understood what he meant. I wish I would have understood that my husband would be pulled from his car and handcuffed, placed face down on the ground and arrested while I watched his helpless face, all because he had recently expired tags on his car. I wish I would have known that people would accuse my husband of kidnapping our oldest son because he’s white while simultaneously praising me for being a saint who graciously adopted a little black boy. I wish I would have understood the mean words that can escape someone’s lips when speaking about our mixed little family and the heartache that follows. I wish I would have used that time to consider how I would explain to my boys why people weren’t always nice.

In the past few years, there have been multiple events that have transpired that have caused me to really decide where I stand. I’ve watched and read and talked about men and woman of color being shot and disrespected by law enforcement and I’ve found myself on both sides of the fence. I’ve tucked my babies into bed and watched them sleep and with tears in my eyes I’ve thought, how do I protect you from the world? And I’ve also looked my baby in the eye and said “You better make smart decisions. Safe decisions. No robbing a gas station. No walking down the street swinging a sword around. No rioting. You are to be respectful. You are to be a member of society that contributes to the world. You are to be proud of who you are and your heritage. If you are anything less than these things, you might not come home to me one day.”

I suppose that part of the problem with the world is that once you are White you will never be Black and trying to understand their fear based on their experiences will always be hard for you. I would say that it’s been about 8 years since I had a taillight out on my car. I went over a year without fixing it before my uncle offered to fix it for me, not one day did I ever even think about it. Fast forward to about a month ago when my taillight was out again. Given my experience as a white female in the past, my current self had chosen not to fix it and instead save the money. My husband was crazy paranoid. He talked every day about the need for me to go and get it fixed. He would drive my car always on the lookout for police and in the event that he saw one he would quickly take another road, pull over to the side and wait for them to pass. I wasn’t quiet about my annoyance to his situation often complaining about his need to feel that because he was black the police were always out to get him. He would always patiently respond with “Babe, we just don’t need that problem.” Our taillight is now fixed but as I listened to the news of a man being shot in his car and the initial reason for the stop was a busted taillight I found myself feeling panicked. What if that was us and my lack of respect for his fears would have taken this same turn for the worst? I went to sleep that night wondering what the future looked like for my family but when I woke up the next morning I would only realize that things were about to get worse, not only for my family but for everyone.

The world is full of people. It’s not full of police officers, doctors, teachers, Asians, Hispanics, Males and Females. Our earth is full of people. People who fortunately and unfortunately have the same equal opportunity to decide how they live their lives. It’s full of people who get to make decisions whether they are good or bad. It’s full of people who are affected by those decisions whether they are good or bad. It’s so easy to get caught up in the idea that the problem is US against THEM when the reality is that it’s good versus evil and always has been. People don’t come out of the womb hating their neighbor. Hate is taught and learned. Hate comes from the inside. It’s felt and it lingers. Hate pushes you to find revenge for what you feel is unjust and unfair. Equality is something that we can only hope for and in a perfect world it would exist but the reality is that it doesn’t now and the sad truth is that it’s probably going to be a while if ever.

So what do you do now? Now that 5 police officers are dead because of the bad decisions of other PEOPLE. What has that fixed? How many people are going to bed tonight wishing their loved one had come home, black or white, but because of hate they will never walk in the door? All I keep seeing are officers who are afraid of my husband now more than ever. I see wives begging their husbands not to leave whether they are leaving the house with a badge or black skin. I see parents teaching their children to be afraid of the police instead of teaching them to respect those that put their lives on the line to keep us safe. Or parents who pull their children closer when a black man sits to closely on the bus. Ultimately the difference that I want to see in the world doesn’t come from finding justice for those that have been mistreated and disrespected. It comes from what I choose to teach within the walls of my own home. It comes from raising law abiding citizens that respect those around them. It comes from teaching your children that wrong decisions are coupled with consequences and that life isn’t always fair, it was never meant to be. It’s about seeing people as just that, people. Not as their skin color or what they do for a living. Not as who they choose to marry or what they choose to worship. It’s about seeing people as free humans who choose their life and make their own decisions and then finding peace within what you can control. It’s about showing the world through how you live that they were wrong about what they thought they knew about you. It’s about teaching them that while racism is still alive and well, we are working to teach our kids to grow up expecting a better tomorrow regardless of circumstance.

All lives matter but the truth is that Black lives haven’t always mattered. It is important to place an emphasis on finding solutions to our deepest fears as we watch our loved ones struggle to be treated equally. Violence no matter how oppressed you may feel will never yield the trust and peace filled relationships we yearn for. Taking the life of a father or a mother or a husband or a wife will never bring back what you may have lost. It will not take away your fears and it will not calm your troubled soul. It is not paving the way for any future that we hope to be brighter for us and our children. Hate breeds hate and our only hope left in this world lies within what we can control. Hope isn’t in your Facebook status, your Ksl news article debate or even your good-willed peace protests. It starts at home and it starts with you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radio Silent 

I just logged into my wordpress for the first time in a long time and it popped up with a notice that said “it’s been two months since you’ve had anything to say, would you like to do that now?” I have to be honest with you all when I say that I’ve been putting off putting up a blog post because I just don’t feel like I have anything to say. Which I guess for those that know me seems weird as I always have something to say but for the past few months I’ve felt nothing. There isn’t any big topic that I feel like weighing in on. There hasn’t been an event that has pushed me to feel like contributing my opinion. I haven’t gone to bed with a topic on my mind like I have in the past and if we’re being real here, I’ve been stressed about it. The kind of stressed where all I can think about is the fact that I’ve been quiet for to long. 

So much has happened in the world since my last post. Many things that have been controversial and bring out all of the experts on the topic, which just so happens to be everyone most of the time. I’ve thought about posting about the election and my views. I’ve thought about sharing an article about my feelings about how hard parenting is and just how easy and quickly mistakes happen since we live in the era of perfect parents. I’ve seen blog entry after blog entry about gorillas and babies, crocodiles and exercising empathy and understanding and with each entry I think “there’s a person who is organized and has themselves together, I need get moving!” There have been many topics that have crossed my mind but I have very guiltily had next to no desire to write about them. 

The more I’ve thought about it the more I’ve realized that we live in such a loud world. A world where opinions are required on just about every topic. Where the loud oppress the quiet. Where if your opinion isn’t shouted from the rooftops and shared in your most recent Facebook post then it doesn’t count for anything. It’s a world now where everyone is the expert on the topic regardless of how educated they may actually be. No one who has a different view than you can possibly be right or have valid reasons for their feelings. I guess I’ve learned that being quiet means that something is wrong. That not knowing how you feel, or not having anything to say means that you need more education on the topic instead of simply meaning that you don’t have an opinion.

As I’ve looked deeper into my life, my attitude about silence reigns supreme through all aspects. Being in the kitchen doing dishes while my husband sits silently at the table across from me means that I’ve probably done something wrong, not that he’s tired and overworked. Sitting in my dark room at night with only the glow of my computer means I’m lazy for not blogging regardless of how many conversations I’ve carried on with children of all ages all day, or how many episodes of Sonic Dash I’ve watched, or listened to. I’ve found myself sitting on the couch, staring in silence as my child sits on his bedroom floor alone and thought, “he probably needs someone to play with him” even if he didn’t ask. No matter how long the day has been and how welcoming the silence is, there is always something else I should be doing. 
Silence is where I find who I am again at night after a long day of stress. Silence is where I get lost in my memories of meeting my husband, or the day my babies were born and smile to myself. I daydream in the silence about how someday I’m going to have a fridge that I don’t have to share and when I go to Costco I can get the big thing of yogurt instead of the small one because I don’t have to worry about storage space. Silence is where I save myself from ruining friendships and relationships because sometimes it’s more important to exercise love for those that have a different opinion or live a different life. It’s either that or steamrolling them with what you have to say or what you feel you need to say. 

So while I’ve been sitting over here stressing about how long it’s been since I’ve blogged, I’ve found this side of me that needs to take more time to be quiet. It’s not necessary to be the expert on every topic or have the best opinion or comment about the news article that you just read. It’s not imperative that you are the loudest voice in an already loud world. It’s important to educate yourself. It’s important to be an involved member of society and a contributing member of your families and communities. Silence doesn’t mean lazy. It doesn’t mean you don’t know anything. It doesn’t mean that you should hurry and google something so that you can interject how you feel into the conversation being held at thanksgiving dinner. It just means that you don’t have anything to say, and that my friends is perfectly okay.