Monday, October 31, 2011

3 Ways Words Speak to your Child

One of the blogs I enjoy reading,, shares great encouragement for moms and I wanted to share just a couple of posts with you today that I've found encouraging and convicting.  Please take time to click on the links provided and read the simple truths!

First, back in August (I know, hard to believe it is already November . .almost!), one of the writes of the website, wrote a great article on 3 Ways Words Speak to Your Child.  (It actually links back to the authors own blog).  We all know the simple words to the children's rhyme "Sticks and Stones May Break my Bones but words will never hurt me" and we all know that is not true!  This post gives some great truths on how to use words to help your children become stronger people.  As moms, we have the power of words to use every day - but how do we use them?  I re-read this article periodically as a reminder to use my words wisely.

Second, just today, Janelle from Comfy in the Kitchen posted A Child's 10 Commandments.  Wow, take time to read that and then, put it into action this week - I plan on printing this information and posting it near my desk to help me remember some simple truths about my children! 

Finally, there is another blog that I have started to read entitled An Inch of Gray.  This family recently lost their son in a freak accident during all of that flooding that occurred early this fall out East.  She posted this post on her blog thanking her son for all that he taught them.  As I read it, it reminded me of the things I should be looking for in my kids as well as modeling for them so they can learn.  I don't think when she wrote those simple truths that she thought they would be used to teach other parents how to be better - yet that is what it has done. 

I believe that if you take time to read through these posts, you will learn lessons just as I did and also, your heart will be touched. 


Sunday, October 30, 2011


I will admit, I love Halloween.  I don't get into all of the scary, gruesome stuff but I don't have any issue with enjoy the spirit of fun.  I love decorating with pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns, black cats, and other fun stuff.  Picking out costumes for my kids, getting candy, and planning fun little things to do is just, well, fun.  It is one of my favorite holidays, behind Christmas and birthdays :-)  This year was more fun then normal because my kids are starting to "get" the "triceeting" (Trick-or-Treating).   It was funny, on Friday night we put the boys to bed and my oldest said "Josh go night-night, get up, get in truck, and go triceeting" ha!!  We had to do a lot of searching this year though, because, due to my husbands work schedule, he won't be around Monday evening and he didn't want to miss Trick-or-Treating. 

First up in our Trick-or-Treating fun was a trip to the annual Autumn Fest which is held in our downtown.  The businesses all hand out candy plus the businesses from outside of the downtown set up "trunk or treat".  It did not take long for my little Engineer and Scarecrow to figure out how to get candy! 

 Waiting for candy at the first store - they were still a bit overwhelmed at this point - with the people, the noise and the crazy costumes.  (Well, we think they were costumes - in our town you never know HA!)

 The weather was perfect - notice that there are no coats over the costumes?  The last two years it was so cold that we almost froze to death.  This year was so much fun because the boys could run around and actually be part of the whole evening.
There were a few raindrops as we came to the end but the boys just stood under an awning while I got the balloons :-)  Such a fun night!  Both boys slept very late the next morning :-)

Our next trick-or-treat adventure took us to a church that did indoor Trunk-or-Treating on Saturday night.  We really didn't know what to expect but it was great.  They actually just had people set up every few feet, handing out candy.  Some were dressed up but the main focus was candy :-)  Josh and Nate loved getting to pick out what they wanted (and yes, they already know what they love!).  The cutest thing is when we got to the end, they had Cider and Donuts, Josh held up his bag for his "treat" HA!  I got him a donut hole and he put it in his treat bag :-)

We sat and enjoyed some of the treats while watching Charlie Brown before heading home. 

Finally, because no matter how hard I try, getting a really good photo of my little cuties is hard.  Thankfully, we have a photographer who does a free Halloween Shoot every year and she got awesome shots!

Aren't they just adorable?  I love picking out their costumes every year! 

I'm still debating whether or not to take them to our Church Trunk-or-Treat on Monday evening; that is a decision that wait until the last moment :-) HA!

Happy Halloween!!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Weekly Menu - October 29th

Last weeks menu was a mix of success and failures with both lunch and dinners!  I look forward to sharing some of those recipes with you in the coming weeks!

This next weeks menu is based on two principals: 1) With the birthday party last week, I have a smaller amount of money left in the budget for this week so I needed to try to keep things simple 2) I'm helping my mother-in-law with a wedding shower for my niece next Saturday and there are a few new recipes I need to try before we actually make them for the shower! 

Check out what we are eating this week!

Saturday: It is going to be a simple day - we are planning to go to the Zoo Boo so I'm not sure if we will eat at home or what - I have Pot Pies (The cheap frozen ones) on the menu for lunch and Pancakes and Sausage for dinner. 

Sunday: Stuffed Shells (with Cheese), Green Beans and 7-up Biscuits for our main meal; Then for dinner, Breakfast Casserole in the Crockpot and Donut Muffins - these are two test recipes for the shower. 

Monday: Homemade Cheese Pizza (kid style) and chips

Tuesday: Overnight French Toast with Bacon Stuffed Sausage Roll-ups (another trial run of recipes!)

Wednesday:  Gingerbread Waffles and Bacon (are you sensing a theme this week HA!) 

Thursday: Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Brown Rice, Peas, and Lonestar Rolls (finally "real" food!)

Friday: Chicken Fried Steak, Fried Corn and Mashed Potatoes with parsley Gravy

In case you hadn't figured it out yet, we are doing a Brunch for the shower :-)  I'm hoping that everything is good and I'll be able to share all of the shower recipes and ideas with you after the shower (it will be a Pinterest post since most of the ideas came from there!)

Enjoy and keep cooking!

Food Friday - Breaded Chicken with Parsley Potatoes (and a bonus recipe too!)

Welcome to another "episode" of Food Friday.  I have soooo many recipes to share with you that I just can't seem to keep up!  I really enjoy cooking, I enjoy great recipes, and I enjoy sharing what I find with others so you can enjoy too!  Just the other day, one of the blogs I follow (Shugary Sweets) even shared a recipe on her blog that she read on mine - how flattering!  Anyway, I'm holding back from posting some because there is a recipe challenge I want to start being part of but one of the requirements is to have all of your own photos - some of my posts I've used photos from other sites so I need to make the recipes again and take photos :-)  (Or I may just delete some photos on some for now!)  Hoping I can "join up" soon!

I believe that I've mentioned that I've been getting ideas for my weekly menu from Confessions of a Homeschooler. She posts a monthly meal calendar at the beginning of each month and it has really inspired me AND has given me some new, great, easy recipes!  That's where this meal comes from and it is a new favorite!

Breaded Chicken with Parsley Potatoes
adapted from Confessions of a Homeschooler

This recipe was a very quick family favorite - the kids ate everything and the adults love it too :-)  I actually used bone-in chicken thighs because they were so much more less expensive then boneless.  I did pull off the skin though :-) Also, the potatoes - they are fantastic - I have never had success with "flavored" potatoes - they always seem so bland - but this recipe really, truly reminds me of what you get in a restaurant!  

Breaded Chicken:
  • 6 boneless/skinless chicken thighs (can substitute with chicken breasts, but let’s face it, they’re just not as yummy!)
  • 1/2 c. seasoned bread crumbs (I use Progresso Italian)
  • 1/4 c. shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • olive oil
Step 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×13 pan with cooking oil.
Step 2: Mix breadcrumbs & shredded Parmesan cheese in shallow bowl. Beat egg and milk together in another shallow bowl. Dip each chicken breast into egg mixture then coat with bread crumbs and place into 9×13 pan.
Step 3: Drizzle breaded chicken breasts with olive oil and bake at 350 for approx 45 minutes or until golden brown

Parsley Potatoes:
  • 3 russet potatoes (can substitute with red potatoes)
  • butter
  • 1 T parsley
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tsp onion salt
Step 1: Fill large sauce pan with water and bring to boil.
Step 2: Wash potatoes thoroughly, then dice into about 1” pieces and place in boiling water. Cook approximately 15 minutes or until tender. Drain water.
Step 3: Meanwhile, melt approx 4tbs of butter in saute pan on low. Add garlic salt, onion salt and parsley. (Can add more of any ingredient to taste)
Step 4: Stir cooked potatoes into butter mixture until coated well and serve!

Now, I "promised" you a bonus recipe.  We had this chicken dish on a Sunday after church; I try to plan our main meal for "lunch" and then make dinner something simple.  I cooked a couple of extra chicken thighs and we made some awesome Chicken Quesadillas for dinner!

These are so simple!  I just used to tortillas (I used taco shell size so that they are easier to flip).  Lay one shell in a small skillet, layer in cheese, chicken, onions or any other toppings you would like, and place another shell on top.  Heat over medium heat until the cheese has started to melt; flip and finish cooking.  It is such an easy meal and again, everyone loves them because they can put in only what they want! 


Thursday, October 27, 2011

What I'm Reading

I'm not sure if you realize it or not, but I love to read! HA!  This is something that was instilled into my brothers and I from the time we were little and, for the most part, we still all love to sit down with a good book.  I'm so thankful that my kids seem to be picking up that same love of reading too!  I think it helps that they see me picking up a book and reading too.  Yes, they already do have favorites and they both have books that they can even "read" themselves - it's fun to hear them say words from a page and reading it with the same "voice' that I read it to them in. 

Lets get to what I read this week!
This book, What Women Fear by Angie Smith, is one of the books from this "quarters" reading list.  It was a new release as of September and, I must tell you, it is fantastic.  I couldn't put it down and, for a non-fiction book, that says a lot.  Don't get me wrong, but I think most of would say that when reading a non-fiction book that is meant to teach, it is hard to just read through the book.  The way the book is written makes it so easy to read and understand.  In each chapter, Angie introduces a fear such as "The fear of the 'what if . .'".  She beings with an example from the Bible, such as Sarah and Hagar, but she doesn't just tell you the well known in's and outs of the story, she tells it in a way that allows you be in that moment and even, at least for myself, pointed out ideas that I had never thought of before in relationship to the particular scripture.  From there, she goes to real life examples, explanations, ideas, solutions, and just talking about how to have some success over the fear.  Each of the fears she hits are fears that many women have or can relate to in some way.  Personally, I don't live a life in fear, like the author has had to overcome.  There is one thing that I truly fear though.  I am not an "over-protective mother" and by that I mean that I am not a germ-a-phobe.  My kids ride in a grocery cart without a fabric seat, I pick toys up off the restaurant floor and give them back to the kid who dropped it, I didn't sterilize a pacifier that fell on the ground.  (I will admit that we crossed a line recently, though.  We were in Walmart to buy tennis shoes for the boys and Josh was in the back of the cart.  I turned around and said "Oh my word, we did not bring that chicken nugget with us."  He had found it in the cart  . . Darryl quickly ripped it out of his hand  . . well the half he hadn't eaten and tried to explain to him he wasn't in trouble but not to eat things out of a cart as I went into the next aisle and dry heaved for a few moments.  Man that was gross!)  BUT the one fear I have, the one thing that I can obsess over if I'm not careful, is that something will happen to my kids.  If we are out somewhere, they are never out of my site - I keep my hand on theirs, strap them in to anything, and walk behind the wagon if we are using that.  The thought of someone taking my kids can be almost crippling but I've learned to trust God more in this area - do I still constantly keep my eye on them, yes, but I also pray for peace and safety for each of my boys.  I think that whomever picks this book up will find that it will speak to you in some way.  I highly recommend this book to anyone. 

I had to go back to some Fiction for now until I can pick up another book on my reading list.  This book, by Tracie Peterson called What She Left for Me is a book that tells a true story of a family; of strong women actually.  It is the story of Jana, who faces great tragedy but, through it all learns more of family history and comes to love a mother who she thought never loved her as she discovers the truth about the past.  This book, in some ways, is not an easy read because it touches on tough topics like divorce, death, rape, drugs and the hippie lifestyle but, don't let that scare you - it is very well written and in the end you see a beautiful picture of forgiveness and reconciliation.  This is a great book to pick up and read this winter - sit back with a cup of hot cocoa and enjoy a good read.

Jumping in Sunset by Dawn Ringling is another fantastic read - one that I had trouble putting down.  The story begins as Pamela Thornton's husband abandons her and destroys the life she thought was perfect.  As she regathers her wits and emotions with a friend at a rustic lakeside cabin, she realizes how much she has been missing in her life.  She discovers the depth of true friendship, the solace of her artistic talent, and the comfort and compassion of God.  This is a great story of true healing and it is almost fun to watch the character unfold, learn and grow.  Another great book for a cold, snowy day! (Yes, sorry those are coming!)

I've shared this series before - The Elm Creek Quilt Series - and they really are very good books.  This is by far one of the best in the series.  The Aloha Quilt by Jennifer Chiaveriniok - this one can stand alone, you won't know the connection she has with some of the names in the book but really, this book is about her life.

That's what I've been reading!  My next book I'm working on now is
I started this previously, then put it down, now I've restarted it all over again and really want to read the whole thing so instead of trying to do it as my daily devotions, I'm just going to read it :-)

See you next week !

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Making Your Home a Haven - Week 4

This is week four of the "Making your Home a Haven" being hosted by Courtney at Women Living Well. 

This weeks challenge is to have some family fun! I'm really going to refer you back to Courtney's POST to read all of the details only because she says it better then I ever could!

This is something I struggle with but my goal is to work toward one family fun event a week.  Maybe a game, a movie night, making dipped fruit or marshmallows, playing ball - just something that is planned specifically because we all know, if it isn't planned, it isn't happening. 

Enjoy :-)

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I'm loving . . . .  that I finally put my fall decorations up!  I don't know why I waited so long but they are up and will stay up until I decorate for Christmas near the end of November.

I'm loving . . . that for the moment, I've figured out how to organize my desk and overflow area . . .I say for now because I'm ignoring the couple of piles in my bedroom that still need to have homes :-)

I'm loving . . . that we had a fabulous birthday party on Saturday.  Hard to believe though that my little man turned 3!!

I'm loving . . . this fall weather.  After the horrid summer weather, this has been fantastic - cool nights, warm days, and a great mix of sun and rain.

I'm loving . . .  getting to read to my boys.  They both love books and I love that the oldest likes to "read" to his brother too!

I'm loving . . . my family; family time; and family memories!

What are you loving today?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Too Cute Not Too Toot!!

I have to admit that this first idea started from one blog, when to another, and then to a second post!  So, I started over at Oopsey Daisy where she was talking about making your own distressed canvas art.  She provided a link to Delia Creates, where she found the original tutorial.  In reading that idea, she linked to another post called Trucking which I fell in love with because it would be the perfect piece of art for my sons room that I am trying to finish.  The best part is, when I was going to just link to Oospey Daisy I was going to say this is probably something I would never do but I thought it was too creative not to share . . . .still not sure if I will do this exactly but you will see something soon on how I use this that big boy bedroom!!

This dip from Mom on Timeout sounds delish.  We love roasted red peppers and I'm always looking for something different when it comes to dips.  I'm thinking I might need to try this soon!!

I realize that I just finished with a birthday party but I know that in the next year or two, the theme for my sons party is going to be Halloween so when I saw this idea for a Candy Corn Cake, I wanted to save it for the future!  Check it out over at Bird on a Cake.  I also love her cake plate - adding the ribbon is so festive!
Like many parents, I am always on the look out for craft ideas I can use now or in the future.  Pink Umbrella Photography shares several craft ideas including this adorable bean Mosaic.
I don't know about you but my house needs numbers.  Since we moved in, we have kinda been looking for the perfect "something" to put on the house that would show the house numbers.  I came across this idea over at Life on Maple and think it is awesome.  I already know I wouldn't use license plates, since I don't have extra, and I wouldn't use piping since I can't weld BUT I bed you could use plumbing pipe and fittings to do the same thing!  We'll see :-)
I mentioned in a post last week about my desk area so right now I'm on the look out for organizing ideas.  This idea comes from The complete guide to imperfect homemaking and is a great idea for a simple file box.  This specific post is part of her 31 Days to an Organized Home series - I was skimming through some of the other posts and she has some really great ideas!
Countdowns to anything are fun and And I thought I loved you then . . . shares a cut "countdown to candy" along with a few other decor ideas too!

Pinterest Challenge - Week # 3

To catch up on previous Pinterest Challenge success' and fails, just click HERE.

As you more then realize from reading posts from this past week, my oldest son turned three.  I actually used a lot of ideas that I found on Pinterest to put his birthday together as you can read in this Post.  Since I technically already posted those ideas even though I didn't list any specific links back to Pinterest, I wanted to chose something else for this weekly post.  It is still a Birthday Idea but I haven't shared it as of yet.

So, I came across this next idea out on Pinterest and it links back to The Jobling Family.  Based on a few posts I looked at before and after this post, it looks like she took the challenge to take pictures weekly (some do it daily) and this idea was just too adorable to pass up.  Check out her original idea:
I really love this idea; I love it so much that I do something similar each month for my kids but without the pictures.  Each month (and yes, I miss months) I try to write down all of the things they are doing and saying that are new and unique.  I then add this to the scrapbook as I start each months photos.  The idea of taking a picture on their birthday and adding those very specific things they are into right now, though, is fantastic.  What a perfect intro page to the pages in the scrapbook that relate to their birthday.  I picked out a picture from the photo shoot we had done recently that just showed Josh being all boy and this is what I created:
Isn't that awesome?  I may play with the fonts/size of fonts more before I get it printed when I print the October 2011 pages but it is the basic idea of what it will be.  Sometimes, when I come across ideas like this, I feel bad because it isn't something I started when my boys were first turning 1 but, I've had to learn to let go of some of that guilt and just start where I'm at and do the best I can each day.  It is really easy, though, to let life get too busy and not take time to write things down to remember in the future.  So, whether your kids are turning 3 or turning 13, maybe try this for their birthday, and enjoy just that moment of what they are doing. 

Have you completed anything from Pinterest?  If so, leave me a comment and a link - I'd love to check out the post!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest - What do you do?

I would like to think that I'm "up" on the latest things as far as technology . . .except when you consider that I don't own a flat screen or LSD TV, I do not have an Iphone, and Ipad, or anything else that starts with "I' and . . well I don't do this:
That's right, I don't tweet.  I don't even get it, actually.  And, on top of that, the tweets that post to facebook annoy me.  I wish those people that do it, would disable the feature (and yes, I know it is possible because I have a friend who did it when he realized how annoying it was!).  I did set up an account once because I was participating in a blog challenge but I don't even know what my screen name was (or whatever you call it)

So, what do I do?  I love

Yep.  I do.  Even when they do changes that I don't like and that annoy me. I still love Facebook.  I know of friends who have had problems with facebook - having it used for mean purposes but I have not.  I do have a few guidelines I try to follow.  One, I don't debate.  I don't comment on political, ethical, or questionable posts.  Recently, a friend from high school, who is now a pastor,  had posted a Biblical question on his status.  I actually had something to say but did not want to cause a debate so I just sent him an e-mail and explained my opinion.  We had a great conversation and chose to disagree on a few things - but it was private (as private as computers can be!).   I have even been known to delete a comment I write in a string if the topic becomes a debate because I don't want to be part of it.  Two, I keep things light and fun.  I don't post "dirty laundry" and I also try to remember one general thing - if I wouldn't want it said about me to the world, don't say it about others . . .even if it is funny!  I've learned that truth the hard way and won't make that mistake again.  On this same string of thought, I try to not write things on some one's wall that could cause someone else to feel left out.  It's one thing to have a simple conversation; it is another thing to invite several people over yet leave someone else out.  We never really had that problem before Facebook - you just invited people over and no one was the wiser but now, when it is so public, it is easy to feel like the odd man out.  This is especially true in Church groups.  On the flip side, I also don't take things personally.  I expect others to have close friends that don't include me just as I do.  Three, don't be mean!  Every once in awhile, someone makes me upset either by something they say on facebook or  the people who are attention getter's annoy me - they make me want to make some sarcastic comment.  I just say NO!  Don't use Facebook as a way  to vent or get even.  There are Biblical ways to handle those situations but in the very least, just walk away (or close the computer HA!).  So yes, I love Facebook.  I know of many people who have to take a break from Facebook or who delete their accounts but . . .not me :-)  I don't play games (I mean the ones on facebook!) and I don't let it control me - I just use it to stay in touch :-)

Do you know what else I do?
Do you know what is a bigger time waster then Facebook?  Yep, Pinterest HA!

So what is Pinterest - basically it is a huge selection of anything and everything - it is a giant "Favorites" board.  Instead of having to save something as a favorite or even tag it for later, you can just "Pin" it to one of your boards (you can create as many as you want and name them anything you want). 
It is a free site but you do have to be a member.  You can either go to the site and request a membership but that can take weeks to get an e-mail or you can ask someone (like me) who is already "in the know" to send you an invitation.  Then, you to can spend endless hours searching for everything from recipes, to quotes, to clothes, to decor all in one place!

So yes, that is how I waste time :-)  If you read my blog on a regular basis though, you will noticed my Pinterest Challenge Posts recently where I'm actually trying to do some of things I pin :-)

Finally, and obviously, I blog.  I started this blog over a year ago as a way to be creative; an outlet of sorts.  It can take a lot of time because I actually try to post at least once a day.  I've been working really hard to write posts 1 to 2 weeks in advance thinking it would free up some time for me to work on Scrapbooking but I've found that if I scrapbook, then I get behind on posts and if I posts, well, you get the idea :-)  But I love to do both so I'm working on making it all happen :-) 
Enjoy :-)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Mommy School - A Little Computer Fun

Lets be honest.  I've let myself off the hook and am no longer pushing the school stuff but rather moving with the flow of what my kids want to do and on Wednesday, I introduced a computer game to Josh.

To say that he loved it would be an understatement.  He played the "fish" game all day long off and on and he would just laugh and laugh when it made sounds. The CD is Charlie the Church Mouse - Preschool and has quite a few different games that tie into different Bible Stories.  He was playing the one that went with the Loaves and Fish. 

We have an old computer that I'm hoping still works (it worked recently!) because I want to put this CD game on THAT computer so I don't have to worry about my computer getting messed up. 

Other then that, we've just been hanging out.  I have been working on a birthday party, family Christmas plans and a bridal shower.  Plus with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming . . .well, that's lots of planning :-) 

Down on the Farm - A Third Birthday Party

When I first started planning my now three year old's birthday party, the theme was "John Deere" and slowly evolved into "Down the the Farm".  I'm not sure why, other then I had a hard time finding ideas to fit the John Deere theme and the ideas I found that were the cutest had to do with being down on the farm.  The whole idea stemmed from the fact that he loves tractors. . . .
Our parties are still pretty simple since it is all adults :-) But I still love to plan games, great food, and picture opportunities.  I did a lot of searching Pinterest and found some cute ideas or, at least cute inspiration and then went from there.  I just say, as I pulled this party together I often wondered how some folks have the money time to get those over the top parties completed! 

Lets start with food!

My original inspiration came from Giverslog and it is based on a BBQ in a Jar.
Doesn't that just look fun?  Well, it did to me but I happen to know that there are some people who do not like their food to touch.  So, I nixed the jar idea but decided that I liked the food idea so we had
Root Beer Pulled Pork sandwiches, 3BC (The Best Baked Beans), Cole Slaw, Macaroni Salad and chips. I served Lemonade and Sweet Tea for Drinks. (I will be posting the recipes this coming Friday and will link back at that time)

I do like to have snacks out when guests arrive and put out a few fun things.  I saw an idea for a Caramel Apple Bar over at The Best Wedding Blog Ever and fell in love with that idea. Well . . .I decided that doing this was more then I needed to do so this morphed into . . . Caramel Apple Dip with Apples. I made some cute dipped marshmallows and also had fresh made bread and Apple Butter

As far as dessert - I really struggled with this because there were so many great ideas that I came across that I wanted to make. Originally I planned on purchasing the latest fad - Push-up Pops to use for Cake Pops but, in the reality of the budget, I decided to just make cupcakes using John Deere Colors for the frosting.  I used my a great new cupcake and icing recipe for the cupcakes which got RAVE reviews (and I will share, I promise!).  . Finally, the all time favorite Chocolate fountain was also running.  This is always a big hit. 
Check out Kellys Cottage Shoppe to order printables like the cupcake wrappers and toppers.

Next Up is the Decor:
One of the first ideas that I saw had to do with decorating with Pinwheels and I fell in love with the idea.  It didn't hurt that Josh also loves pinwheels.  Over the course of a few months I picked up lots of the old fashioned pinwheels (they were everywhere around the house because the kids kept finding them) and I secured them all around our fence. I thought it looked super cute. Plus, I used an idea from a Too Cute Not to Toot Post and made the large Pinwheel and I saw this cute idea for balloons over at Snippit's from a Happy life I knew I wanted to do something on our porch too.  Using kitchen string, balloons, and crepe paper, this is how our porch looked !  

I just tied the balloons to the string, had Tall Man (I.e. Darryl) attach it to the roof and stretch it down to the porch railing.  I used the crepe paper for added decoration (I forgot how fun crepe paper is!!).  Do you like my Halloween decor too?  I made that little fence last year, picked up a hay bale and, of course, pumpkins :-) 

Then, I saw this cute idea over at Pizzazzeria and totally stole it - a Hay Wagon!  I threw a little hay in the boys red wagon and attached a sign (made by Kelly's Cottage Shoppe - she does great work!).  Plus we had the boys John Deere Gator in the yard as well.   I covered the tables in simple table clothes and used Green and Yellow Plates, Napkins, etc for the tables. Can you guess where I got this fantastic birthday banner??? You guess it - from Kellys Cottage Shoppe.  I just loved how it turned out!!!

And, of course, activities!:

I had a few games set up and everyone had to work their way around the games, keeping track of points.  One game was "Drop the spider in the "boot"",  Farm Animal Bowling, and Ring the Cow. (Yes, my family just goes along with my games even if they don't all love them!)  We ended with a friendly game of "toss the udder" hahahaha   The person who got the most points . .. got to take home a pinwheel :-) Hehehe
Check out the link above to learn about these cute characters!  I printed them and attached them to bowling pins we had for a kids bowling game.  It worked perfectly!

Instead of sewing horseshoes out of felt, I used rings from a ring toss game to make this a Cow Ring Game.  I spray painted the board and had my husband attach a dowel.  My kids enjoyed this game a lot.

The original idea for this game is to drop a toy snake into a boot.  I used a green vase and the guests had to drop spiders into the vase.

Finally, the "Udder Toss" was a water balloon toss. 
Of course, how could I not post just some snap shots from the party.  I realized too late that we never got my normal huge group shot but that's ok :-)  My niece also was taking pictures with her fabulous new camera so I'm sure she got even better pictures then I did!

This is the birthday Boy!  Don't you just love the shirt?  I ordered it from Frills 'n Frogs.  She was fantastic to work with and was able to get the shirt to me on short notice too. 
My nephews, Seth and Breadon being their normal fun selves :-)

"Nana", Josh and Nate dancing to the music.

Josh sat outside with Grandma LeBeck eating "Fruit" (strawberries)  It was just so adorable!

Josh (and Nate Too) LOVED being outside all day.  We could not have asked for better weather - it made it possible for people to be inside and outside during the party (and gave the kids LOTS to do since they were able to play outside!)

Papa and Nate just hanging out.

Josh enjoying some snacks - specifically those wonderful Marshmallows that were covered with caramel and chocolate.

Yes, they even enjoyed the hay wagon.  My niece, Kate, and her friend Ashley, took turns pulling that wagon all over the place.

It was so cute to look outside and see Josh hanging with his cousins, Micah and Breadon.  I don't know if they realize how much he looks up to them.

Time for the gifts :-)  He is a "careful" opener of gifts!  One tiny piece at a time.  This was a Thomas the Train Track.

He also got this awesome kitchen that he and Nate took to right away. 

Finally, we enjoyed Cake!  And yes, he did blow out all three candles.
Yes, it was a fantastic party!  And to think, Darryl and I still have our "Family" birthday activities to do with Josh - some gifts, which we'll give Josh today,  and even a fun lunch that will come next weekend.