Tag Archives: Holden

Birthday Safari ~ Holden Turns Six

When it comes to our kids’ birthday parties, I always have two things in mind….

Keep it simple.

Make it special.

This year we decided to have Holden’s party at the Wildlife Learning Center. We’d never been there, but learned that they do parties so I thought it’d be something different and educational at the same time.



To keep things extra easy, I scheduled the party in the mid-afternoon from 2pm-4pm so that I didn’t feel I had to serve a whole meal or heavy snacks since that would be harder to transport, keep cold, etc. I just made a huge batch of Safari Trail Mix for munching on and served two-bite cupcakes and mini ice cream sandwiches {the cutest & perfectly kid-sized ~ Ralphs/Kroger brand}. We had mini water bottles from Trader Joe’s that I covered in leopard print duct tape to keep with the theme.


{easiest party trick ever}

A big thank you to my talented friend, Richelle, who helped place and hang the decor as she is the event planning guru…


{embroidery hoops with remnant fabric purchased from Joann’s ~ all 3 hoops cost less than $5 to make}



{the “H” is just a piece of cardboard that I covered in yarn and the “6” is from the dollar bins at Michael’s}




The first 30 minutes of the party is a presentation of several animals with facts and a chance for all the kids to touch said critter.







{my fave, the porcupine}





After the live animal presentation, the kids went on a little tour of the grounds to meet more animal friends…










“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Holden, Happy Birthday to you!”



I really try to make the party favors useful {which probably translates to boring for the kids, but perfect for the parents!}

The kiddos went home with some safari band-aids and a little mini B&BW hand sanitizer for their backpacks or lunch boxes…



The 3 and under crowd took home fun little monkey melamine plates…


…and the under 1 year old guest went home with a pair of giraffe mittens…


{ok, so I don’t know how useful mittens are in So Cal, but they sure were cute!}



This non-profit was a pleasure to work with and the two ladies that ran the party were so great with the kids and very knowledgable. The only thing that bugged me was that the pavilion where the presentation and the party is held is right along the main thoroughfare and we had a few “party crashers”. I got irritated enough and kindly informed them that it was a private party and they went on their merry ways, but other than that, I think the safari-goers had a fantastic time and all seemed very engaged and interested.

The weather couldn’t have been more beautiful. I was a little worried since we had some rain and lots of wind earlier in the week. Holden showed up in shorts and flip flops. Cannot ask for more perfect February weather than that!

I am always reminded each year as we celebrate our kids birthdays of the special group of friends that we’re blessed with in our lives. I loved that this party was a gathering of old friends that have known Holden since before he was 2, new friends that he has made this year in kindergarten, sweet next door neighbors and friends & family that traveled all the way from Orange County and San Diego.

And then there are the same friends who, year after year, are my cupcake passer-outers, clean up crew and schlep-everything-to-the-car helpers. Thank you to my Stevenson Ranch ladies ~ Karen, Melissa & Janet for always lending a hand. We may no longer be able to meet at the park and chat once or twice a week, but I still love you, of course, and will always remember those times special times we spent together before school came and interrupted our social life! Darn it.

THANK YOU to all who came ~ we loved having you there to celebrate Holden’s special day with us.


Cannot believe our baby will turn SIX tomorrow…


It’s been a WILD 72 months, but we wouldn’t have it any other way!

We love you to pieces, Holdy, and hope you enjoyed your party and celebrating with your friends ~ both animal and human!

Stripes & Polka Dots

The circus came to town this past Saturday {Holden’s actual birthday} and it was nothing short of chaos ~ beautiful chaos.

We packed almost 60 {59 to be exact} clowns, big & little, into our circus tent and I think everyone had a grand time.

The day started off with Jay taking Holden to get donuts in the trailer…


The invites were just thank you notes that I flipped over so the {thank you} was on the back.

{The cards are from Target and the stickers from CVS}

I fell in love with the detail on the envelopes.

This theme was so fun to plan ~ stripes, polka dots and LOTS of color are right up my alley. About a year ago I found these little monkey flags at Kohl’s for like 49 cents and used them to start the circus craziness.

A huge orange star greeted the guests on the front door…

My friend, Hollie, made this cute “Happy Birthday” sign for the front yard.

If you’re local, you can rent it and have it personalized for your special birthday someone. Contact me and I can put you in touch with her! So fun.

Gramma threw together this “5” banner…

I picked up a rainbow of fabrics and made a little bunting to hang across the fireplace…

{just get 1/4 yard of fabric, rip into 1 inch strips, cut those strips in half, loop around a long piece of twine ~ voila!}

My mom found some polka dot paper lanterns at Pier 1 and I hung 2 of them above our big dining room table…

I love the way they look and want to get some solid colored ones to leave up permanently!

I filled my sconces with bubble gum and stuck rolls of tickets on top…

The large ticket sign is from Kohl’s for cheap…

Gramma Kathy got the clown piñata at Party City {this was the first piñata we’ve ever had!}

{I stuffed with Dum Dums, Smarties, Mott’s Medley gummies and Florida’s Natural Fruit Nuggets}

What’s a circus without popcorn?

Circus animals with sprinkles are also a must…

I made myself a gum ball necklace based on this tutorial.

Gramma schlepped her sewing machine up here to make this shirt for the birthday boy…

Of course we had to feed all the circus-goers…

I found Cotton Candy Liqueur and made this sangria…

I made a 5-layer ombre cake in cotton candy blue…

I found cotton candy sherbet push-ups at Target {Market Pantry} as modeled here by our darling neighbor Miss Nataliyah and her beautiful mama…


Making a wish and blowing out the candles…

I wanted to set up a photo booth backdrop in the backyard, but it was too windy…the kids bounced in the jumper, hit the piñata, played Wii and ate WAY too much sugar!

Our little clown friends were sent home with some practical party favors ~ socks! Striped for the boys and polka dots for the girls…

I also made little bow ties for all to take home…if you didn’t get one and would like one, please let me know and I will whip one up.

The bigger boys {that are too cool for striped socks} got to take home a box of Bottle Caps…

A huge THANK YOU to the following:

Mia for the props and photo booth stuff

Hollie for the Happy Birthday sign

Karen for the popcorn machine

Alina for the jump house

Sun for her face-painting services

Cheryl & Janet for being my sous chefs

Gramma for her sewing skills

Jay for his photography

Here was my {pin}spiration for this party.


I love putting these parties together for my babies ~ it truly is a labor of love.

Thank you to all who came and helped us celebrate our little clown. He loved having all his buddies there and is such a lucky boy!


This was my happy view from the couch the next morning…


I didn’t think I ever wanted to see another paper plate or plastic fork, but I’ve recovered.

When’s the next bash?

Admit One

The spectators crammed into the circus tent, lined the bleachers and had a smashing time at Holden’s 5-ring circus celebration!

It was {the greatest show on earth}, but I feel like I’ve been hit over and over with a stick.

Party wrap up and Holden’s belated 5-year birthday countdown to come!

{You can read Elliott’s 5-year countdown here, here & here}


Happy Sunday, friends!


The Circus Is Coming To Town

Once Holden’s FORTH birthday was over, I immediately went into pick-a-theme mode for his FIFTH {coming up in about a month}.

Remember this post?

Well, since then I wondered if a circus/carnival theme was too overdone ~ if he was too old since most of the parties I saw were for one, two and three year olds…I toyed with coming up with more of an original theme.

But, ultimately I decided to stick with the {5} ring circus theme with a side of carnival and I am obsessed with pinning, googling, bargain hunting and menu planning.

I recently came across this soiree which is breath taking…honestly there are bajillions of carnival parties out there on the interwebs that are magazine material.


Does that not scream fun?

Well, I can say that I am certainly having fun jotting notes down in my journal and hunting for all things carnival related on my shopping travels.

Click here to see my board on Pinterest…if you dare.

{Just let me know if you’d like an invite and you could be pinning tonight!}

Small Fry Gets Some Skinnys

While browsing through the racks at TJMaxx last week, I came across some Hurley skinny jeans in size 3T for $7 a pair.

I didn’t have Holden with me, but figured they’d fit since he’s itty bitty…

See, he loves them!

I don’t think skinnys are OK for just anyone…in fact you will probably NEVER {ever} see me in a pair. Not even in my dreams am I wearing skinny jeans. Not because I don’t like them, I am just….well, not skinny. And if I ever DO get skinny enough to wear them, they will be long out of style!

But I LOVE my kids in them.

I think they look adorable on him. I had to convince him that they were cool, though.

“They’re skater pants!”

“Snowboarders wear these pants!”

I think it worked.


Graphic tee ~ The Children’s Place for $3

Hurley skinny jeans ~ TJ Maxx

Zapatos ~ Crazy 8

Back Pack ~ Dante Beatrix from Nordstrom {hand-me-down from Elliott}

Yellow VW bug ~ Hospital gift shop from Gramma {my first car was a yellow VW bug}


My little small fry and I wish you a Happy Friday!


This little fetus had his first day of his {last} year of preschool today…

Man, five years has never gone so fast.

I remember September 28, 2006 like it was yesterday…

And in 5 years from now when he’s starting 4th grade, today will seem like it was just yesterday, too…

Elliott sent him off with good luck hugs.

Lots to learn this year in pre-K…

…and Miss Sandi will show him the way.


The LAST thing I want to feel is that I hurried away these days…

These days of short order meals.

Water on the bathroom floor.

Lego explosions.

Sassy back talking.

Repeating things 18 times.

Yadda. Yadda. Yah.

So I will sit back and {try} to LOVE these days before a whole new set of challenges arise.

Sometimes you need to stand back and reflect to truly appreciate where you are.

And I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Snail’s Pace

Cue Alice Cooper…

School’s out for the summer, folks.

Holden had his last day of {instruction} yesterday and sang sweetly in the end-of-the-year performance last night.

Just like that.

His first year of preschool is over.


We went from this:

To this:

All that in 10 months which translates to about 5 weeks these days. A good way to judge the passing of time when you have kids is by the school year and let me tell you, the school years go by WAY TOO FLIPPIN’ fast.

It’s Summer! Weren’t we just picking apples, carving pumpkins, stuffing stockings and frolicking in the snow?

I do LOVE me some October 1st through December 25th more than anything, but this is ridiculous. I may adore the last quarter of the year, but I cherish the days of my {little} ones even more.

They must slow down.

Here’s to a S-L-O-W, relaxing, snail’s pace of a summer.

Peanuts & Cracker Jacks

Holden was {drafted} to his first t-ball team!

Not only will we be rooting for the Padres this Spring/Summer, but we’ll be cheering on Holden and the Orioles!


So exciting….lots of good buddies on his team, too!

When I told Holden what his team was called, Elliott overheard and yelled, “Yay! The Oreos….I LOVE Oreos!”

Sorry sweetie, it’s a bird, not a cookie.

Looks like we’ll be shopping for some teeny-tiny size 8 cleats this weekend!


Happy Birthday, sweet Holden Oliver Aspiras!

Here you are in your little bouncer almost 4 years ago…

now you’re bouncing off the walls and keeping Mama & Dada busy!

You are the friendliest little guy and will join any group of boys at a park {or Chick-fil-A play area!} and will easily fit in.

You love applesauce and ham currently.

You’re getting better about getting dressed every day, but if it were up to you, you’d wear your pajamas 24/7.

You bring home the sweetest and most heartfelt artwork.

You possess some serious dance moves and know the words to Taio Cruz’s {Dynamite} and you love “Sha” {Usher}!

I love the way you literally crack yourself up…you love to laugh and smile and show off those darling dimples.

You and {sissy} play so well together and I love all your secret codes and games that you share.

You can recite {Despicable Me} almost word for word.

I love the way you say “Wait to me!” instead of “Wait for me!”

But most of all YOU make Dada and me SO proud.

Happy, happy day little one!

We love you, Bubba!

Now let’s CELEBRATE!