Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Single Thanksgiving - Breaking my Blogging Silence

The View from outside my front gate

My House   - View from behind the house and along the road

Morning Routine When the Kids are with me

View from my office - over my right shoulder - faces the road

My Kitchen

Living Area

Office Corner (looks different now) is Thanksgiving, and I am taking a 'slow zen' approach to the day - the kids are on their way to a big Sexton family celebration with their Dad - four or so hours from here and in another state. 

Me?  I am currently alone, in my own house, and 'almost' single.  This is what I have been withholding from most of you since January - the month when my husband and I (after a series of unfortunate events) came to the decision to end our marriage.  No need for details.  Let's just fast forward to today, shall we?

So, my kids, and significant ex (I love calling him that!  He is significant, and always will be - I truly believe we will be 'stuck' with each other for the rest of our lives, so.. deal with it, right?), waved when they drove by!  I was waiting for them - so I could wave (and to suck in a deep breath as I embraced my 'yep, I am alone' time).  And, they were late - 45 minutes late.  The kids each texted me.  I texted back.  (Both kids have phones now. With unlimited text so I can keep them at my finger tips!).

I know from first hand experience that their Dad was probably in his sergeant mode and freaking out about being late .. I texted them back (we are soooo into the 'new communication era' now!) and I told them to remind him that his sister is always three or so hours late with her 'cooking'.  Yep!  I got confirmation... He 'eased' up with the reminder.  

Actually, where I live now, everyone drive's by my place...I am on the main road right before getting to town (if your driving from the direction of the ranch  - and, to be told, I am on the exact same road as my significant-ex!).  I literally moved 7 miles down the road).  So, if the driver's know me, they honk or wave! I'm lucky that way.  And, yes, if I am inside or outside.  My office is at the corner of the house, closest to the road. Totally visible if the blinds are open and lights are on!   No worries.. I only have the blinds open during the day! I like to 'see outside'!

So.. this is what I have been doing... on this gifted day off from work.. and day of Thanskgiving
  • Stayed in bed in until 6:30 am... (very late for me - but notice I said 'stayed in bed'. I was awake for some time before that!)
  • Got the first cup of joe 'in me'
  • Sitting at the computer in my jammies - watched a squirrel play in the yard, and sweet little chick-a-dee birdies playing under the eaves of the windows in front of me.  I normally don't have this luxury since I leave before they wake, and arrive when they are asleep! (Working girl blues)
  •  I have been watching the snow creeping down the mountain.
  • And.... of course... slowly reading all the inspirational messages and fun crafty goodies in my blog reader.
And... as I was feeling a little 'melancholy' with the kids not being here, and this being my first 'solo' Thanksgiving as an um, single-ish woman, I decided to 'break my blogging silence' and write.  My gosh it feels good to write again.  And with this feeling of Peace and Happiness.  I am in a good place.

I am thankful that my little house is ever so cozy.  And, that I have a beautiful view and live in a very safe part of 'town'.
(GET OUT!  Now big fat quail are walking across the yard!!!!)   CUTENESS!  

Uh oh... it is now 9 am and I should start getting ready for the big day. 

 Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  Later I will go to a ranch friends home (party is in the shop) with my garlic mashed potatoes, and a bottle of white wine, and the hope that I can pull off being 'just me' and that I don't stick out like a sore 'divorcee single' thumb amongst all those happily married couples!  Gag.... 


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sept. 22 - Oct. 5th Paper Smooches Sparks Challenge - #2

Birthday Card Using Two sentiments from the Paper Smooches Birthday Buddies Set

The Challenge Site       

The Inspirational Photo

I made a card for one of my co-workers Friday am... and of course, just kept rolling with the current SPARKS challenge.    Since it was made in the 'dark' hours, this photo is taken in my car, on the dashboard, when there was actually sunshine later that day!

I seem to be grabbing lots of Core-dinations cardstock these days with my cards!  That little label on the left?  Is a removable bookmark!

Card Recipe:
Core'dinations Core Impressions card stock (Basic Grey Ornate Collection), SU Kraft card stock
Hero Arts Bling
SU Label punch, ribbons, twine
Paper Smooches Birthday Buddies - sentiment stamps (2)

Thanks for looking! 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sept. 22 - Oct. 5th Paper Smooches Sparks Challenge

Guess What??  There's another Sparks Challenge over at the Paper Smooches Sparks Blog!  (To go to the  Paper Smooches home site, just click on the button over on the right side of my blog). 

Here's the inspirational piece:

Sept. 22 - Oct. 5th Sparks Inspiration Photo

And.  Here is my interpretation:
View 1 - (sorry about the dark photo! It's a rainy day here!)

View 2
What I was inspired by?  The colors (hot pink, mint green), and texture (the ruffles inspired the torn paper).

I would have to say, this was a quick and dirty card.  My card looks a bit 'rumpled'.  My heat gun and the cardstock did not jive very well! 

Card Supplies: 
Paper Smooches Stamp: Sentiment from Pretty Phrases
CHF Kim Hughes Collection Stamps:  Winter Trees (Tree, snowman, star on tree)
DoubleMates Pretty Pink textured Card Stock, SU textured Card Stock, Green unknown source
White embossing powder.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Happy Dance Day!!! Paper Smooches Blog Hop Win!

Look What I found on Heather Pulvirenti's Blog!  A Saturday Surprise!!!!! 

 My blog surfing this am sure lifted my spirits!  I won one of the new October Paper Smooches sets!  Yippee!  Anything Paper Smooches brings a smile to my face.  Thanks Heather!!!! 


Today is Saturday, September 24th.  2011 (I do this so I have a memory!)

It's been one of those weeks!  Jake got sick last weekend, Sami is now sick, and I'm supposed to be taking it easy (I had a trip to the ER on Thursday - we think it was just the result of a nasty virus - and I was dehydrated - I had spots in front of my eyes, my blood pressure was high, and I had uncontrollable shaking.  Freaky!).  

Today both kids have a soccer game at 3:30 pm.  In the heat of the day.  To top it off? Our high is predicted to be 88.  Which is very odd, for Eastern Oregon!  We are at 3,500 feet!   The last Harah of summer is going out with a bang!

So.. my blog hoppin' news was a great lift!  Now?  I want to make something! 

It's noon and I am still in my jammies!!!!!  Gotta follow Doctor's orders, right?

Catch ya later! 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

September Paper Smooches SPARKS Challenge

Click Here to Go to the September Challenge!

September's Inspiration - My take? Twine, lace, Core'dinations textured cardstock, mixed w/ fun & cute

My Interpretation

Another View!
Yes.  I am finally back at my crafty table - thanks to Kim Hughes and her Paper Smooches Stamps and the SPARKS challenge! 

What I LOVE about these challenges is you can use all your Cornish Heritage Farms 'Kim Hughes' Collection stamps as well!  And boy, do I have a collection!!!

Card Recipe:
Stamps:  Cornish Heritage Farms Kim Hughes Collection - Chloe the Deer (a classic!!!), and Paper Smooches Pretty Phrases (Love you dearly).  *** What a GREAT match, eh?  ****
Cardstock:  SU Kraft, SU textured CS, and Core-dinations textured CS from a Basic Grey collection (and sanded)

PP:  October Afternoon
Inks:  SU ink and markers, Spica Glitter Pens, White Uniball Pen
Punches:  SU border punch, fancy label
Button: Basic Grey

Inspiration:  I went with the textures. I love linen and lace mixed with blues and twine! 

Thank you for visiting!

(Let's share 'why' I haven't been crafting, later, OK?)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Just a Quick Hello!

Hello friends!!!  Long lost friends????

I apologize for NOT posting... in what.. two months?  But, in a good way!  I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.. The tunnel I have been crawling through since January....

Hang in there!  I love visiting all my creative friends' blogs, and seeing what is going on.  Once things settle down I hope to be back 'in the crafty saddle'!


Friday, May 27, 2011

Smokin'!!! HOT!!!


Oh my gosh...

Is Elise talented, or WHAT???????????

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Big Garage Sale Tomorrow!!!

Yes.. tomorrow.. at Sarah Martina's blog there is going to be  HUGE sale of goodies!

Me???? I've got my peepers peeped on Waltzing Mouse Stamps!!  Sarah is on the DT.. and
my fingers are crossed that she will be letting some go!

And.. dies! 

Go check out her blog for a heads up on what she will have and the deets on how to get the sale...

here's a link:  Sarah's Blog with Pre Sale info 

ps.. Yes.. I am still alive.. just hangin' low!!  On the creative front, I did a bunch of stuff for NSD that I have not posted yet, and I have been running from one daily life 'event' to the next!!!

Hope to see you all soon!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Porch Play Colors - Moxie Fab World Tuesday Trigger Time!

TT - My Porch Play Color Interpretation

TT Inspiration Source (Pinterest) over at the Moxie Fab World Blog

What can I say???  This card just so happens to be for two challenges! 

It wasn't intentional. But the colors from the Porch Play Challenge over at this Week's Moxie Fab World Tuesday Trigger somehow imprinted into my brain when I was created this morning's 90 Minute Scramble Card over at the Hero Arts flickr site..... Sally's challenge was to use red, white, and blue.. I added yellow.. and hit me...(little voice, in my head says 'haven't we seen these colors?')...

The Moxie Fab Tuesday Trigger!!!


So glad when things come together like that (as in my memory, and the actual source!)....

And yes, this card was created under 90 minutes... under 60 actually!

Super.Simple.  (It took longer to take a break and mix up lamb milk for Sami's four bottle lambs!!!!!)

Have a GREAT day!!!!!

Card Deets:
Cardstock: Bazzill, Stampin' Up
Stamps:  Hero Arts CL488 Type
Inks:  Stazon, Stampin Up, and a Stampin Up marker
Fun tools:  Stampin Up border punch and circle punch

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Welcome to the JUGS Surprise Birthday Blog Hop - for Elise!

Happy Birthday, Elise!!!!
Oh I am so excited!!!!

It's  a Birthday Blog Party!!!!

The ever so talented Dana Gustafson contacted me to see if I would participate in a blog hop for the ONE and ONLY, ELISE!!!  The hop is being conducted by the beautiful  JUGS girls - and they were kind enough to reach out to Elise's friends/fans/sisters/admirers/girl-friends and ask them to participate!  Woo Hoo!!!!!

(P.S..!!!!  What an honor!!)

You MUST go visit all the wonderful blogs featuring cards  for OUR BIRTHDAY GIRL!!!! 

Of course I said YES!!!  I LOVE that girl and would just stop the world from turning to participate!

She is one of my very favorite blogging creative cowgirl friends. Not only is she super talented, but that girl can lift your spirits high and she has a GREAT sense of humor!!!   A BIG smooch to you, Elise!!!!

And.. Now.. a special message for Elise...  

Happy Birthday my kind, kindred spirit and ever so special rockin' girlfriend!   You mean the world to me, and I cherish our friendship and hold it very close to my heart!  YOU are the BEST!!!  Have the BEST day today, and I know that I am sending you a very big HEART for your day!!!!!  Love you!

 (okay.. getting misty over here!!!)

Card Deets:
Stamps:  Paper Smooches Birthday Buddies
Textured Card Stock:  Bazzill
Patterned Papers:  My Minds Eye 
Martha Stewart Twine (how about that party hat pom-pom, eh?)
Blingity Bling Bling:  Hero Arts
Ribbon:  Stampin' Up
Ink:  Jet Black Stazon; Copic Markers
Super fun tools:  EK Success Border Punch (made the bigger banner with it!)

Let's all have a GREAT DAY on Elise's Day!!!!!!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Smooches for the New Bride!!!

Congratulations to Kim Hughes!!!!
The Design Team over at the Paper Smooches Blog is having a little Wedding Hop for Kim Hughes, the ever so talented designer of the whimsical and happy Paper Smooches stamps (and the adorable stamps 'we' have from her CHF Kim Hughes Collection days!)..

Hop on over and share the fun!  Fans are invited to upload a card for Kim on the Fan Flickr site!

I finally inked a few of mine up!  They have been waiting ever so patiently in their packaging, and what a great reason to break them out:)

Card Deets:

Supplies Used:
Paper Smooches Stamp Sets: Friendly Flowers (Stem & Leaves); Falling For You (little solid heart); Pretty Phrases (sentiment)
Pretty crochet pearl flower: Midnight Rooster kit
Textured Card Stock: Bazzill
Ink: Stazon Jet Black
Markers: Stampin' Up

Farm Fresh - Moxie Fab Tuesday Trigger

Moxie Fab Trigger - Hand Painted Towel - Source: Etsy
My Interpretation
Hello Blogger friends!

this week I my heart caught when I saw the  Moxie Fab Tuesday Trigger - Farm Fresh. 

  1. I LOVE the colors of the hand painted towel shown above! Winter will not end in our world, for months we have had white and gray. When I saw the trigger prompt something just made my little heart sing with the thought of Spring!  And, how sweet that the sun came out so I could capture it on the edge my card!  Makes me want to take a cat nap!
  2. I love the window in the background of the image - so I created my own with linen thread on the top panel. I thought about making my own 'window trim' to make it more window like, but no... the simpler the better.
  3. Flour Sack Towels.  Sigh... I have quite a few in my kitchen.  Just plain white.  I distressed the edge of the patterned paper to give it more of that 'thready fiber edge' look.
  4. And, there is just a sweet vintage feel to the image, which I tried to capture with the Stampin' UP set Easter Blossoms.  I never would have thought to stamp the silhouette with such a vibrant color!
 Inspired?  The challenge ends tomorrow!!!!! 

And... I thought I would share some of the trials and tribulations of attempting to make this card:
1.  I wanted to give the silhouette an apron, with orange flowers.  I tried a few materials, but nope! Spent too much time trying, and finally stopped.
2.  There is a dark blue ink error behind the sentiment panel. The image did not ink completely so I was using a paintbrush with my ink pad.  Got a little carried away in one spot!  Otherwise you would see more of the image!

Card Deets:
Inks, Cardstock, Linen Thead and Stamps:  Stampin' UP 
Patterned Paper: Sassafras Lass - Cherry Delicious Spring Sprig (a perfect match!)

Thanks again for stopping by:)

Friday, April 1, 2011

'Thanks' Card - (MME and Hero Arts)

My Minds Eye meets Hero Arts meets Paper Piercing!  - 'Funky Sun Shot' - I like the banner shadow!

Same Card - Different Light Source
Hello blog friends!

Before I share the card....

I have returned! 

The kids and I escaped for a week during their spring break.  I say 'Spring Break', but, as Mother Nature (one tough mama) would have it, it was more of a 'Winter Break'. 

We had a big adventure:  We drove 1,613.4 miles, and spent a total of 28.46 hours in the car (12 hours the first day, 9 hours another, etc.)  to make our trip - 3 of those hours were sitting in snow storms!  (True figures - my car was programmed to track these things!).  We drove through snowstorms and rainstorms to visit some of my closest friends - people I grew up with.  People I got into a whole bunch of trouble made life long pacts with - during my teen years!  Anyway, one of us turned 50 - so there was a HUGE party, and then we traveled some more to stay with my BFF for a few days. This all went down in CA.  The place I love and still call home.. sniff. 

Anyway, the card above, is for the hostess of the party.  She is the girlfriend of the birthday boy, and she generously offered her home when four of us started planning this adventure.  However, with the rain, 70 mph winds, and flooding conditions, we did a good job of going in and out of her lovely home, and some of the kids (older ones at that!) weren't very good at cleaning their shoes off!

I thought a card was the least I could do to thank her for putting up with all of us! And besides, I want to be  to be welcomed back again! 

Card Deets:

Patterned Papers:  My Minds Eye, Fine and Dandy Collection (LOVE it!)
Stamps:  Hero Arts (CL497 Find Joy (sentiment), CL484 Whimsical House (house, bird))
Ink:  Stazon Timber Brown, Jet Black
Fancy Gadgets/Tools:  EK Success Big Scallop Border Punch, Stampin' Up 3/4" circle punch

Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

One Week Later - Missing Our Kitty - Mouse ( June 2007 - February 23, 2011)

Baby Mouse - He came to us in June of 2007

Little Mouse

Mouse Trying to Hang with our Older kitties Rosie, and Toes (Toes was ran over and left us in 2009)

Playing with Sami (who is in a box, wearing a Halloween Costume in June!)

Making Friends!
Learning how to hunt - snakes!

Getting older and Riding the Bus! 

Our Big Boy - Riding the Quad - Nov. 2010!

Our Cool Cat - Mouse

Out near his favorite hunting spot - Such a handsome kitty

Hangin' with his favorite peeps on the roof

He Was Loved - and Just one of the gang

Mouse's favorite chair.  He often just laid here, belly up, legs out.  Happy.

Last Wednesday was horrible.

The kids went out to do their chores at 6:30 am... Shortly, thereafter, Sami came in screaming, balling, sobbing.  It was hard to get her to talk.  'Mouse is dead!  He's out in the field!  Maggie and Bugs were out of their kennel'. 

I freaked. Maggie.  Sami's dog.

She has gotten out before, and has always done damage.  Last summer?  She and her accomplice Lefty, chewed the heck out of one of Sami's bottle lambs, bloody neck.  But it lived.  Sami had to doctor it for months. 

Then another time.  She got out in the fall and killed all of Sami's baby bunnies.  Sami found bodies everywhere.  They were just 'released' to learn how to be in the yard.  Only 2 days of freedom. 

The two kennel dogs have been 'on the list'.  Sami was to find them new homes, or else Dick would send them to their destiny.

I ran outside. In my jammies.  with just mud  boots thrown on. Out in the snow.  There was orange fur right there at the back door.  He must have been corned, fought, then ran.

Jake was standing in the middle of the yard.  Sobbing.

The dogs were back in the kennel.  I had grabbed a stick and told Jake to leave, that I was going to get the dogs.  Dick must have been watching.  I heard him yell to go.

I did not beat the dogs, but I did give each of them a smack and a few words.

Then, I went out in the field.

Mouse was on the snow.  Dead.  He had been killed.  Poor kitty.  I started sobbing.  I picked him up and just cradled him.  I held him to my chest and carried him like a baby.  He was cold, so it happened earlier.  The kids did not witness anything, Thank God. 

I took him in the garage and found a box for him.  I went into the house and got him a large bath towel, and made him a cozy, safe place in the box.  Jake came in and said goodbye.  When Jake went inside I put the box in the back of my car.  In times past, we have had funerals on the ranch, but it's winter.  The ground is frozen. 

I think Sami was still in the house.  I'm not sure.

We made the kids go to school.  I told Jake, he did not want to be home while his Dad took care of the dogs.  He understood.  It was hard to send them to school.  It was painful.  It was a very bad day.

I drove to La Grande for work.  An hour away, with the snowy roads.  I went first to an Animal Hospital and told them, our kitty had been killed.  That I needed a humane way to let him go. 

I decided to have him cremated.  I have never done this before.  And, it's done in a different state.  His ashes will not be here for another week.

After work, I went to a gift shop and got each of the kids a beautiful stuffed teddy bear.  I picked them up from school. Poor Jake.  We started sobbing the minute we got to the car.  They each got their bears.  I knew the night, when it was time to go to bed it would be very hard to sleep, and they needed something to cuddle, and remember Mouse by.

And I made spaghetti for dinner.  Their favorite comfort food. 

Jake.  My poor son.  He was in so much pain.  We prayed and asked God to take care of Mouse.  I told Jake Mouse is one of his guardian angels now, and that he is watching us.  Poor little guy.  Not sure I comforted him.  I can still see his face, pools of tears, and just shaking.  My little man.  Toes was his kitty and so was Mouse.  He needs something he can hold onto, that doesn't leave him. 

This morning he asked about Mouse - when do we get his ashes.  I told him next week.

We will then figure out how we will say goodbye.  Not sure yet, but the kids will be in charge.

We miss you Mouse.  You were one cool cat.  Thank you for taking care of Sami and Jake these last close to four years.  Thank you for being a gentleman kitty - you never jumped on the kitchen counters, you always meowed to go outside to do your business, you had your own favorite chair, and you never scratched the furniture or us.

We love you....

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Hero Arts 90 Minute 'Distress/Shabby' Challenge - Feb. 19 2011

Hero Arts Stamps  + (Ranger Inks + Water)  + Watercolor Paper
I got my crafty on yesterday! (Too tired to do anything else: Sami has been bottle feeding baby lambs/goats at all hours and I am her 'bottle warming' assistant,  plus, it was a snowing/blustering/ever so nasty day outside...)

Hannah, one of the ever so talented girls at the Hero Arts Flickr site hosted a 90 minute challenge yesterday.  The only thing we knew prior to the challenge, was the time the hostess had it scheduled.  I clued in about, oh, 30 minutes prior to the challenge during one of my 'surfing' moments:)

At the appointed 'time' - the hostess post the challenge guidelines and all participants have 90 minutes to make, photograph/scan, and post online their creation.

Yes.  Stressful!

Yesterday's challenge was to either 1).  To use the HA Woodgrain Background stamp (not in my crafty room - yet); or, 2.)  Do some sort of distressed/shabby creation.

I went for distressed shabby!

Supplies/Techniques Used:
Technique: Distress Inks/water on craft mat, then stamps onto that, and stamped onto watercolor paper. Used a water color brush to fill in colors on top image - which was cut out and added to Italian Poetry (note to self:  do not use little micro detail scissors with thick watercolor paper! ACK!).

Edges of papers were distressed.

HA stamps:
Italian Poetry, Butterfly Flowers and sentiment from Find Joy.

Other supplies:  Lace ribbon, SU linen thread, a HA craft envelope, and purple card stock from Archivers.

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Lots and Lots of Love - and some kissing, too!

Lots and Lots of Love (for the Hero Arts February 2011B Challenge)
Did my title catch your eye?

The challenge at the Hero Arts Blog this month is to make a project that features the theme love or friendship or that uses the 'kissing' technique with stamps.

The kissing technique is when you stamp one stamp image directly onto the stamping surface of another stamp to pickup the 2nd stamp's image.  Mine was done with an Apple, and a Heart frame. 

And, this card is also a Valentine's Day card, which falls into the love category!

Supplies Used:
HA Stamps Used:
Four Apples (LP125) kissed with Heart Frame (CG129)
Antique Brocade (CG102)
Valentine Sayings (CL402)
Italian Poetry Background (S1832)
Other Supplies:
Hero Arts Metallic Decor
Stampin' Up Inks, Ranger Distress Inks
Stampin' Up Kraft Card Stock, Markers
Embroidery Metalic Floss
Little Heart Punch
Mini Bag:  Archivers

Thanks for looking!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ride, Dana, Ride

(photo lifted from my Cousin Karen's Blog)

I just read that my older cousin Dana died yesterday.  So sad to hear this.  He leaves behind a legacy of great memories in my mind.  He was that 'cool' older cousin who had an air of  'James Dean' mixed with some sixties rock around him.  

He had an aura.

He lived.

I love this photo of him.  Thanks Karen for posting it.

Ride, Dana.  Ride.  Give my dad a hug when you see him...

A Recap of 1-1-11 - Sami's 13th Birthday Slumber Party

First: Making Pizzas!  We had three..

Jake added his cheese expertise!  The only 'boy' at an all girl party

First Round of the Monopoly Wars

Dinner!  Included Pink Lemonade

Our Creations - One Cheese (not shown), One Super Combo (YUM) and a Pepperoni

Notice the Banner?  Sami made it! 

THE Cake!  Ice-Cream Cheesecake with Brownie Crust. Sami did the chocolate decor


Happy 13th Gorgeous Girl!!!!

The Mani's and Pedi's Begin!!! 

Each girl got her own manicure set (seen in the bottom of the photo)

Special Birthday Girl Treatment!!!!



The Slumberers.... Sunday Morning

At the End of the Party - Darn that Monopoly Game!  It's OUT again (and was played until 1:30 pm)

Treats for the Girls

Manicure Station

Sami's Loot - They LOVE anything Hollister! 

And, later that week.. on her 'real' day - Her Daddy made special sour dough pancakes at her request - she asked for a heart, and '13'.  She had Mickey Mouse too! He's over there, on the left (parts)

The Invites


So.. I am just now sharing photos from Sami's 13th birthday... It was a GREAT event for a very special girl.  Crossing over from preteen to teen is huge! And we sent her out in style:)

(Note: These are mostly my notes so I don't forget the highlights when I make a layout later!)...

I was 'a bit worried' about five teens all together for an over-nighter.  This group is from three different schools - only three of them are together at the same school so we had some 'get to know you' awkwardness. They did great!  No weirdness, no one was excluded, and they all got along beautifully.  Phew!  This was a good number to have! 

The biggest 'hurdle' was dealing with cell phones.  One girl started texting within five minutes of being dropped off.  I asked her to put her phone away.  I had this conversation with three of them - and explained why to the whole group - that it is not fair to the girls in the room (it's like whispering), and that it's not fair to the person not in the room (feeling left out).  I did say they could use the phones to call their parents.  They did good on honoring the request. 

Pizzas were a hit!  MAN!  The tastiest pizzas I might add!  Love making the crust from scratch - yeasty goodness - which has to rise for 45 minutes, but so worth it.  The girls that arrived on time got to help chop onions and cook the sauce.  And, they were the 'shy' girls, so it kept them busy.  We were all in tears from those darn onions!  And everyone helped make their favorite pizza.  Dick made the combo one.  Super yummy!

Jake got lots of attention.  When it looked like he was 'a disruption' to the 'girl time'  I sent him to his room.  It wasn't anything he was doing deliberately. He's just a cute charming boy!  And he was becoming the center of attention, instead of the birthday girl, so off he went.  He was OK with that.  He has a TV in his room and his own world.  Dick and Jake were supposed to go 'out' and have some guy time - but, for some reason Dick decided they were going to stay home instead. 

The manicures and pedicures were fun!  And Monopoly?  I am NOT a Monopoly player!  The TV never go turned on.  No movies or shows.  (The move I had picked out was not a good choice!)...   Again, they played well together.   When there were disagreements they did it gracefully and in fun.  Monopoly for two days?  Crazy...

Sami's cake turned out wonderfully - although the brownie crust was hard as rock! It was her special request, and I made it the day before.  It had to be in the freezer over night.  Cutting through it was a challenge, and talk about rich!  Lordy...  It was GONE that night!  Those girls all had good appetites.  Let me tell you.. girls that eat food instead of pick at it are #1 in my book!  We had one girl doing the 'I'm not hungry thing' until she saw the others dive right in.  She picked up the pace, and even had seconds...

I slept upstairs so I could 'keep an ear and eye' alert for any problems.  They did good.  They had some great silly pre-sleeping time.  The mounts on the walls all ended up with names, and apparently there was a good story made about them as well.  One girl for some reason was standing up in her sleeping bag - head covered, and fell - no injuries - and she was closest to the rock woodstove area.  VERY lucky! 

Things that did not go well:
The parents were to come get their girls at 10am on Sunday... Single dads were late.  One didn't show until 11:30pm.  The other?  1:30pm!  What the heck?  I really don't understand this.  The girls called them to remind them. Several times for the last one.  The Monopoly game just kept going!  I was pooped..

A party on 1-1-11.  This was the only day Sami did not have a Basketball Game... The party did not start until 5pm.. But having a party the day after New Years Eve? Brutal!  The kids and I stayed up until 1am the nght before, I did not drink, but boy, was I tired!  We still had MOST of the Christmas Decor up (tree included) and I had to convert the house from Christmas to a girly party...That was the hardest part..  Cleaning up and turning around and decorating for another event.  Record Time getting all that done! 

The Best Part?  Quote from Sami:  'Mom, I had the BEST time with my friends!'... So worth it:)