Caroline in the birthday dress I made her. (John Deere print with John Deere boots I scored at a yard sale!)
As much as she loves her boots, obviously, she's MUCH happier in her sparkly new dress-up shoes!
Caroline spent the 2 months leading up to her birthday telling me about her birthday party. It was going to have a pony cake and her friends were all going to come. I really just wanted to do a simple family thing. But 2 weeks before the big day, I caved. She was just so excited and cute. So we had an "Itty Bitty Pony Party." It was fun to plan, and I did it all under $20! ( I was so proud of me!) I know I have lots of junk - things I save. But I tell you, it all came in handy for this shindig - leftover plates and bandanna print napkins from Sarah's baby shower, yarn, googly eyes and fiberfill for our stick horses, sparkly doodads and glitter glue. Anyhoo. We had a blast - I made little sock stick horses for each guest and we started the party with stick horse races across the front yard. They loved it! Then we played pin-the-tail-on-the-pony with a "My Little Pony" transparency I blew up and colored on posterboard. We used curly ribbon for the tail. A couple of guests arrived late, so we did more pony racing and then opened presents. Just as presents finished, Daddy showed up with Caroline's pony - our miniature that she named herself "Little Yellow Pony" (creative, eh?) And each child got a chance to sit on her and get his or her picture taken. I love that we're the kind of family that can have a pony at a birthday party. :D We awarded each child a sparkly sheriff badge for their cute western duds, then we had mini cupcakes with horses on top and called it a day. It was SO much fun! I loved watching Caroline playing with her friends and doing what she loves best - riding horses and playing with horses.
Our family party on Sunday was much simpler. I finished decorating the cake just as everyone walked in the door. ( I fully intended to have it done Saturday night but opted for sleep instead. For how fast I did it I think it turned out cute. I couldn't find my shell tip for the icing, so I used a leaf tip instead, to border the fondant that I wrapped around it. To see some of my other cakes, go here and click on the album called "Millie's New Hobby". My favorite part was the lemon curd filling. Yum! The top was green tinted coconut to look like grass under the pony. ) She was so tickled to see the pony on top. But even more tickled about the presents from her Uncle Pete & Aunt Sarah, Sophie, and Uncle Josh, Aunt Susan & Hailey. They got her "Hungry Hippos". She's really into games right now and boy howdy, has she been in heaven for the last day and a half. Even Clayton loves it, and miraculously, has not tried to eat any marbles yet. But the cutest was this: In July (the day Sarah went into labor) I threw her a shower. I had made a darling diaper cake for her and stuck a pink "My Little Pony" on top. Caroline saw it and went head over heels for it. Last week, Sarah asked Caroline what she wanted for her birthday. So guess how she answered? "I want the pink pony that my mom put on the top of the diaper cake she made you." We'll just say that Aunt Sarah really loves Caroline. Caroline and the pink "My Little Pony".
Dora soap dispenser from Mona. She LOVES this!
Playing "Hungry Hippos" with Uncle Josh, Hailey & Clayton.
I can't believe that 3 years ago today I was in the hospital, cradling my brand new baby girl. (Okay, not until 4:15 this afternoon, but since today is CRAZY, I'm posting this morning.) What an amazing and fun three years it has been! Caroline, I love you and can't imagine what our life would be like if you weren't in it. You keep me on your toes with your intelligence, wit and sass. I love you more than anything! (Except maybe Daddy & Clayton) Happy Birthday, Love Bug!
More to come on the birthday festivities, but here's a sneak preview of yesterday's "Itty Bitty Pony Party" fun!
We went into the woods on Monday and picked wild grapes. Even Clayton got into the picking action - he did more than Caroline who was more interested in climbing trees with her cousin Megan. Clayton crashed on the way home, covered in sticky bright magenta grape juice. It was too cute not to snap a picture of.
And here's the fruits of our labors:
The dark colored jars are the wild grape jelly. The pretty pink ones are crab apple jelly. My good friend Brittany let me come pick crab apple off of her tree to my heart's desire. I still have 1/2 a bucket of crab apples to do.
I kid you not, those were Caroline's exact words this morning. Ever since she was about 7 months old and grabbed a lemon wedge out of Jake's water at a restaraunt, she's had a thing for sucking on limes and lemons. She loves that they're sour. It's never really bothered her. I made fresh salsa this morning and had two lime halves sitting on the counter. Just as we were headed out the door to make lunch for "Farrier Focus" (our annual farrier education conference) she grabbed one of the lime halves and began sucking on it. Then she (in sharing mode lately, yay!) announced loudly to her brother, "Clayton, you gotta try this!" and took it over so he could have a slurp. I think the picture does better justice to the face he made than I could ever do describing it with words.
Caroline has been busy this week, too. But I wasn't as handy with the camera for her antics. I keep meaning to take pictures of her in her cute dance outfit on Tuesdays for her Ballet/Tap/Tumbling class. But by the time I get everyone ready to go and out the door, I forget. (Tuesdays are INSANE!)
Here's Caroline helping me make applesauce. She LOVED cranking the handle on the food masher/strainer. She really got a workout doing it, too.
And these are for you, Shaye! I tried the crossover braid, but did four braids instead of two, making two X's. It turned out super cute. Unfortunately, the picture got taken at the end of the day after sitting in the dentist chair and doing other "in town" things, so there are some loose ends. But it turned out super cute and I'm definitely doing her hair like this again! Thanks for the idea! (Check out Shaye's crossover braid here.) And look how long Caroline's hair is getting!
The pictures pretty much tell it all. It's been a crazy week, but here are some of the things Clayton has been up to:
He helped Daddy cook dinner. Yum! Breakfast for dinner. Can't beat it! It's hard to see, but check out the spatula in his chubby little hand.
He climbed up onto his little chair to look out his bedroom window and fell backwards into the trash can. Unhurt but stuck.
He swiped a bottle of hot sauce out of the pantry. It was unopened and still had the seal on it, thankfully. But it looked like he was just chuggin' the stuff.
He is developing a cute little relationship with his cousin, Sophie, and absolutely lights up when Sarah brings her over for our babysitting/running swap. He wanted to give her kisses on the cheek, but was having a hard time maneuvering down to her level with his HUGE noggin. So I told him to kiss her forehead. He bent down and touched his forehead to hers, but didn't quite get the kisses part. It's still so cute, don't ya think?
I love my daughter. I love the precious thoughts and expressions that I'm experiencing with this little one. Jake was called to serve as the 2nd Counselor in our Branch Presidency a few weeks ago. (For those unfamiliar with the church, we have a lay ministry who, in addition to holding a regular job, serve in leadership positions in the church without pay. We don't seek these opportunities, but we don't decline them when they are presented to us, either. Like a minister or priest, we have a bishop who serves with the assistance of two counselors, or in the case of our smaller branch - like a parish- we have a branch president and counselors.) After he was sustained by the branch, he had the opportunity to share his testimony of the gospel. Caroline, sitting next to me, looked up and whispered, "Mommy, I want to bear my testimony." I had to explain to her that it was Daddy's turn, but that she would have a chance another day. A week or so ago as we were waiting for Jake to finish with a meeting after church, the kids and I were sitting in the pretty much empty chapel. Caroline walked to the pulpit, stood up on the little stool, pulled the mic down to her mouth (it was off) and proceeded to bear her testimony. She started out saying "I want to bear my testimony. I know that my pony is true." Well. He IS true. Trusty little pony. It is just sweet to see her internalizing what happens at church and to see her feel strongly about something that she wants to share. I pray we are teaching her the truths and doctrines of the gospel so that those are the things she desires to share because the spirit whispers to her and she knows that they are true.
Tonight, it was her turn to present the lesson for Family Home Evening. (Okay, it's her turn EVERY week, because the little piece on our chart that signifies who is responsible for the lesson is a HORSE and of course, the HORSE MUST be under Caroline's name. See the chart in this post.) Since I have all our lessons for the year planned out already, I found that today's theme was the story of Enos from the Book of Mormon. I shared the story with her from a board book we have. And then I gave her 3 pieces of paper and her markers. I explained that she would be telling us the story and she needed to make 3 pictures: One with Enos in the forest, hunting; one with Enos kneeling to pray; and the last a picture of Enos feeling happy because Heavenly Father answered his prayer and assured him that the things his father had taught him about the gospel were true (she had a hard time making her marker go where she wanted it, so happy Enos looks sortof like a grimacing Enos - but I thought it was beautiful). After we practiced holding the pictures and telling the story a few times, she was ready. She did a wonderful job and I was SO proud of her!
Here's Enos in the forest:
And Enos kneeling to pray:
And this is a happy Enos because Heavenly Father talked to him (in Caroline's words). Notice the eyebrows. I was pretty impressed by them.
The kids and I were outside this evening, waiting for Jake to come home for dinner & family home evening. They were both swinging and as I ducked under Clayton's swing (one of his FAVORITE things - he laughs hysterically and it is SO funny!) I glanced over at our empty pigpen. I shouldn't say empty. There are no animals living there, since they went to the butcher in May. But there are weeds there. LOTS of weeds. I haven't paid any attention to them. But what caught my eye was a sprawling squashy-viney looking thing. So I went closer to inspect. At first, I thought it was a watermelon plant, but figured out that it's a pumpkin plant! I was so sad this year since none of our squash or melon plants in the garden survived. But this plant that somehow got sprouted in the VERY fertile soil of the pigpen has four green pumpkins on it.! Two are pretty good sized already. I can't even describe my excitement. It rubbed off on Caroline who made me take her in through the weeds that are taller than I am to view the pumpkins. And to top it all off, there's also a tomato plant growing a few feet away next to the fence. It has two little green tomatoes on it.
After a whirlwind long-distance summer romance and an even longer-distance engagement, we married 3 days after Christmas in 2002 and have had a blast since. Our four little ones keep us on our toes and entertained daily. Country life suits us and we are currently residing in the boonies of Nebraska on our farm/horse ranch and livin' our dream of owning and operating a world class horseshoeing school.
Check us out at: www.butlerprofessionalfarrierschool.com
Contact me at:
I'm a stay-at-home mom who's madly in love with my Buckaroo. I try to stay busy with 4 little ones, craft, sewing & kitchen projects, gardening and daily life on a farm/ranch. I find strength in the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and by finding little things everyday to be grateful for. Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
A horseshoeing hottie! Tall, dark 'n handsome and the sweetest hubby & daddy in the world. He's a deep thinkin', hard workin', tender hearted cowboy that completely swept me off my feet and continues to make me swoon somehow everyday. Not to mention the daily laughter! What's not to like???
Our Cowgirl Princess
Our Happy Superhero
Our Little Musician
A complete joy and such a sweet addition to our family. Totally laid back and smiley most of the time, we love our new Baby Brother!!!
the BusyButlers Boutique
Check out my latest crafting adventure - I'd love to share my cute bows and accessories with you!
What's Bubblin', Boilin', Bakin' & Broilin' in the BusyButler Kitchen
Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Icing
We have zucchini coming out of our ears here at the ranch. I've frozen tons of shredded & sliced zucchini to use all winter, and we're running out of freezer space (we have to leave some space for that pesky Blackie the lamb!) So I've been trying to find new, tasty ways to eat the green veggie. Clayton is the only family member, I think, who doesn't mind having it at every meal as a side dish with salt, pepper & butter. I came across this tasty cake recipe and it is a hit!
Click on the photo above to link to the recipe at the *Simply Recipes site.
Beat cream cheese & butter until fluffy. Add orange juice & vanilla. Gradually add powdered sugar & mix well until fluffy. Fold in orange zest. After icing, garnish top of cake with a sprinkle of cocoa powder and chocolate shavings.