my boy is getting big

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If you think kids grow fast (and I DO think kids grow fast) you should see boxers. I can’t believe that Jake is 9 months old. He is such a sweet boy. I can’t imagine our family without him. He is so excited about…well…everything. Of course his excitement can knock you over now; but it is still pretty darn cute.

I know this probably sounds a little trite; but I just love this little guy so much and I really enjoy how much he loves me right back. (That’s just one of the really great things about dogs.)

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Jake in February (3 months)

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He still loves his little green bed, even though it isn’t quite as accommodating now.

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Meg and Jake: best of pals

my little helper

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Megan has grown into such a big helper. I just love the pleased little smile she gets when she is helping me out. She opens the gate for us and runs to grab her little broom whenever I am sweeing up. Often this helping makes the job last a little longer, but she is so happy to do it, I just about melt when she says “I’m your big helper, huh Mom?”

Last week, I thanked her for picking up all of the books she and Emily got out. After a few minutes she came in and announced that she was going to “clean the living room and make it fancy.” She told me not to come in until she was all finished. I finally came in to find favorite toys arranged on the couch, chair, bench, etc. It was so cute! I wish I would have thought to get a picture. She is one great little girl!

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tea party fun

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One thing little girls love (and actually big girls too) is a tea party. We have gotten the opportunity to do quite a few in the last several months and I think I am honing my girl-pleasing menu. Here are a few favorites:

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The number one item needed for a tea party (aside from a tea set of course) is the frilly toothpick. You stack anything onto a frilly toothpick and it is FANCY NANCY. (ie. really good.) Pickles, fruit, veggies, cheese, whatever. They’ll love it!

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The girls love thickly sliced banana with peanut butter and sprinkles on top.

Also impressive to little party goers is the cracker topped with peanut butter and banana or a slice of apple or some cheese.

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Almost as vital to the tea party as the frilly toothpick, is the cookie cutter. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is transformed when shaped like a butterfly.  Don’t feel like you have to stop at sandwiches though. Cut out a few fun shaped quesadillas, we like to add peperoni to the top and make a “pizzadilla.”  Another option is to cut cheese and lunch meat as well as bread or tortillas into fun shapes and let the kids layer their own little sandwiches.

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Finish off with cookies, cupcakes or any little treat and you have a memorable afternoon girl-fest. You can pick up a mini muffin tin (or two) at the grocery store. One cake mix will yield about a million mini cupcakes; which can be frozen. Then just pull out what you need and let the girls frost and sprinkle them. They get all the fun without loading up on sugar. Really, it is all about the extra little touches that make it more than an ordinary lunch. It is a little bit of extra work, but the girls just get so excited about doing it. You can’t beat a tea party!

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this is how a tea party is done.

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Tomorrow I will share some recipes that I have culled from the many tea parties we have enjoyed since Meg got her tea set for Christmas. (And let me just say that we have had quite a few tea parties.) However, today I am going to show you how the pros do it. :D

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Every summer my wonderful neighbor, Mary Winters has us over for a tea party. Let me just say that it is a big summer highlight for the girls and possibly an even bigger one for me. Mary is one of the most amazing women in the world and I just love getting to talk with her over a long, delicious lunch.

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She served her chicken salad with airlight buttery rolls and peanut butter and jelly for the kids along with fresh fruit and the cutest individual jello molds.

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The girls had a ball dining in Mary’s playhouse. We enjoyed sitting back in the shade and figuring out life a little. (Which Mary is very good at.)

After we ate, the girls decorated cookies. Which is a great tea party finale. I love that she has a kid’s table at the end of her island in her kitchen. She is all about kids!

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….Wonderful.