Saturday, February 26, 2011

How to Throw a Polar Bear Birthday Party!

How to throw a Polar Bear Birthday Party!
FIRST- Find 2 kids who are crazed,
No, obsessed is even better, with polar bears.
Having them be born in Dec/Jan. is even better.

SECOND- Decorate in icy blue and white colors. We do balloons, streamers, plates, tablecloth, cups and napkins in color theme, and then added snowflake stickers to the table cloth.
Also a cute or clever invite using words like: float on over to the Cowart's Den for a chillin' good time for a COOL 3rd birthday for the Cowart Cubs may or may not have been on the evite!

THIRD- Make some delish polar bear cupcakes. I did a marshmallow layed horizontally for the snout, used a generous amount of frosting, Junior Mint for the nose, Chocolate chips for the eyes, and a cut marshmallow for the ears. Now coconut would have been DARLING and looked better for decorating, but really- what little cubs do you know that adore coconut. I don't know any! (Paws- Oreo and Junior Mints.)
FOURTH- Clever chow, I made blue jello cups with gummi sharks and Swedish fish. ** Next time I would just add the whip cream on the top and let the kids add their OWN gummis. More fun and well... the gummis were mushy. ** We also had ICE Krispies, Swedish fish, White Lifesavers, fruit and veggies and ...
the POLAR BEAR cupcakes!
THEN- Invite a GAZILLION little cubs (and their parents over).

AFTER THAT- Sing Happy Birthday to one birthday cub (Gavin) with his choice of it sung fast or slow (FAST!!!!!!) Blow Gavin!
Sing again to bear cub numero dos- fast or slow? (SLOW for Grant)
Blow little cub! Nice job Grant!
Yes, you can eat now lovies! Yum!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

THEN, now that your guests aren't starving for chow, open some gifts.
They were thrilled with EVERY SINGLE GIFT!! They were thankful and just couldn't wait to PLAY!!!
Here's Grant in a new dress-up!
Gavin is in a clean shirt after the cupcake, still polar bear though and with a BEAR umbrella!

Here is Gavin waiting to open his first gift.

The barely controlled chaos/excitement of ALL of the children!

Gavin's turn - Hey good lookin', whatcha got cookin'?

FINALLY- paddle the cubs over for a game of pin the hat on the polar bear, you know so the hubby can attack the wrapping paper mess, I can distract the kids with a game, adults can visit and then the toys will all be in the playroom when the game is done!
So much fun to watch them cheer for their buddies!
LASTLY, relax and smile at your 2 happy little boy cubs.
And actually, Gabriel (aka cub number 3) also had a GRRReat time as well! It was a fun, freezing winter day!
We love our 3 little bears!

Friday, February 11, 2011


OK, I love many things. People, things that make my life easier, products, food, things for my munchkins ~ it doesn't take much folks, but for now these "things" are at the top of my list!

1. My hottie hubby and our 3 gorgeous boys!

2. Grocery carts with 2 (+) seating. Ya, you know, the ones with CARS in the front or toddler seats making the cart a beast to push, but hey!!!, at least there is room for groceries!!

3. Nap time ~ I know, selfish but absolutely necessary for SANITY of this mama!

Sometimes they sleep in the tent in the playroom, sometimes on the top bunk,
sometimes on Mommy's and Daddy's bed; I am not picky!
As long as I get my 2 and a half hour break and time to clean and cook dinner.

4. Trader Joe's Peppermint Hot Chocolate *Seriously, YUM!!*

5. RocketDog shoes and boots. It's like wearing slippers, all day! Yup, I have them in the brown and black of the shoes. It was a smokin' deal, so I went ALL IN!

6. Puzzles I think that they are so good for thinking, problem solving, logic, and perseverance.
Plus they do them in the kitchen while I cook. It is fun!

7. Digital Thermometer It is amazing. Punch the button to food type, go to beef and it will beep at the perfect temperature. The meat is perfectly cooked every time, and you know it is safe. Love this thing!
8. Mac Lipshine ~ Doesn't dry out lips and stays on for HOURS!

9. Snack trays ~ Kids eat the snacks that they want, don't eat what they don't. There is no complaining and it is always almost empty when they are done! I always do some cheese, crackers, nuts and then plenty of fruit and usually a veggie!
today it is: Trader Joe's Crackers, oranges, kiwi, T.Joe's Pretzel sticks, blackberries, more pretzels, pear, strawberries, more pears, blueberries, cheese, honey sesame cashews!

10. Platter ~ Great for bringing a fruit or veggie tray, we use for serving up BLT's, hamburgers and the fixings, etc. LOVE MINE!!!

11. Leapster Explorer. I am a big fan of Leap Frog toys, games, DVD's etc. but this is so educational and great for a quiet time for Gab since he doesn't usually nap.

12. Cous-Cous I love mine seasoned with a dash of cinnamon, good amount of cumin, mixed with olive oil, with Craisins, fresh spinach, and a bit of onion stirred in. OH MAN ~ I eat it warm for dinner. Cold for breakfast, and lunch UNTIL IT'S GONE!! Lord have mercy it's good!
So there!! That's a few, 12 really random loves of my life at this present stage of my journey called LIFE!
CHEERS ~ Karen
ps. speaking of cheers ~ I love any margarita with MIDORI in it! I'll raise my fishbowl sized glass to that!!! ;)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Love Squared!

Seriously, I love this face. Seeing it times two is EVEN CUTER than just one!
These two boys give Corey and I more joy than we could have imagined! They are precocious and have inexhaustible amounts of energy. The fun isn't even describable!
Here's the clincher, they are GOOD too. My boys make me so proud. I LOVE my boys. I like other people's kiddos, but mine, OH I LOVE THEM. They are obedient, kind spirited, tender-hearted and cuddlers.
The fact that I CRIED when they told me I was having twins has turned into my BIGGEST blessing. I can't imagine NOT having these two lovies. They are so precious. I am cherishing every minute that I can with these boys that are growing up WAY TOO FAST!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sugar Detox

So the Cowart Clan went on a complete REFINED SUGAR detox from New Year's Day Jan. 1- Jan. 28 (Gavin and Grant's 3 year old birthday party- we celebrate on their due date.)

We did this for many reasons.
1. Halloween to Christmas is saturated with sugar. Ugghh...
2. Sugar is addictive. The more you have, the more you crave.
3. Corey doesn't do sugar, so it can't hurt that much! Right???
4. The grandparents feel that it is THEIR DUTY to give my children sugar.
5. Their teeth ~ our Mr. Gabriel had some cavities.
6. It would be healthy for us.

All right, so the whole family is on board. We talked with our kids and explained that the whole family was doing this, and even when we aren't there, they are to politely decline and say that they are on a SUGAR DETOX.

It was great. We felt good and hearing our children say that they were in DETOX. It was priceless. It was funny EVERY, STINKIN' TIME!! Our children remained 100% healthy the whole time even when surrounded a gazillion, sicky children. They slept better and it was fun to see them suggest healthy items that they could have instead to their grandparents or pre-school teacher. They opted for blueberry muffins vs. cookies or cake. They chose hot, apple cider vs. cocoa. We had fruit vs. sweets. It was great.

My biggest insight was how much tiny sweets are offered to our children constantly. Small items but all day, everyday. Awareness was my biggest discovery. They are offered a sucker at the bank, a mint at a restaurant, gum on Sunday at church, a cookie after dinner, soda by the grandparents, cake at birthdays, dessert any time, candy as a bribe at the grocery store ~ yeah, you heard me- lazy parenting. Now I am more planned with snacks and making honey/ maple syrup desserts in the evening. (If interested see the Nourishing Apron Blog on my blogroll list- we love the caramel popcorn balls.)

So, now that the DETOX is over. We are making some positive changes and more aware of the constant sugar being offered and we turn it down except on special occassions. Balance and awareness are great "friends" to have!

**What about you, what are your fave healthy snacks? Any thoughts on sugar? Balance of sweets with your family? I would love to hear them

Friday, February 4, 2011

My kiddos' favorite things!

My kiddos have some items that are LOVED by ALL (parents, kiddos, their friends). These items are priced reasonably, hold up well, and well fun!! The tour of the faves of the youngest Cowart Clan Members begin:

1. Duplo Legos-
These are pricey, if you buy new ~ but are great gifts from grandparents and I bought a tote full on Craigslist and then just added bleach water to the whole tote, dried and like new. These are indestructible. They last forever. All children like these, especially if you have a lot to ensure that each child has enough to build. Really imaginative, and addictive (parents included!) The best feature was the DADDY draw. Notice who is in the picture building with the boys. All FOUR boys build and build. This was the giant masterpiece!
Corey starting Gavin and Grant early.
We received even some of the Thomas the Train Duplo tracks, and with enough trains and tracks they liked them. We like the PLAIN Duplo the best.
2. Coloring Castle.
$14.99 at Target. We love these. They play in them, do their dress-up, and decorate them.
This keeps them busy FOREVER!!!
Seriously, they love it! OK, start with color crayons and markers, then allow paints (finger, water color, etc.) , then I let my kids attack it with glitter glue (another Cowart Clan fave), then we take our stickers to it. So fun and imaginative! Lots of use for the price! Enough space for each child in a family with lots of small children.

Here we are on Day 1 with crayons and markers in the playroom. It goes to the garage for painting and glue!

3. Masks from JO-ANN's for, WAIT FOR IT, $1!!!
My kids love them! I get a girlfriend together and we do a pre-school craft, book and handwriting page every other week. This week we did P for Penguins!

4. Non-toys: My boys like things that aren't toys, stuff that is around the house and not necessarily toys. These items are: flashlights (cheap), umbrellas - we finally got 3 kid ones (for safety reasons) from Kidorable because it is rainy here often, couch pillows to throw and jump on, and blankets for wrapping up their babies or building forts.

5. Dress-up ~ maybe pricey, but after Halloween they are clearanced. We own a chef, fireman, pirate, cowboy, Indian, and dog. They LOVE them and they are imaginative and not messy.
OH! And we also have 2 SCARY polar dress-ups too!

6. 3 Drawer Organizer by KidKraft ~ Nantucket- This was pricey, but worth it! We have a playroom, and then a bedroom all 3 boys share. Organizing all the shoes was just too much, so I splurged on this 3 drawer shoe box. The boys love it. Finding shoes is easy to get, separated, easy to put away and then they sit on the bench to put ON the shoes. Which is great because we have double bunkbeds, a twin dresser, Gabe's dresser, a nightstand and now a shoe organizer! It is clean, tidy and cozy! Love, love, love!

7. Double Bunkbeds - Cheap from IKEA, and they aren't tall!
My boys love monkeyin' around on them. So do all kids who come over. The double bunkbeds allow for a close bond between all 3 boys, since they are so close in age. Corey and I were very concerned about it being THE TWINS and GABE. Now they are all 3 partners in crime and all 3 are best buds. Sleeping together is fun for all of our monkey boys! Plus it is hard to be scared at night, because they aren't alone and just crawl in bed with their brother.
8. Games - These are the only 3 you should buy!! Kidding~ kinda! These games are the BEST!
I love BUSYTOWN the best, it keeps all the kids busy. Everyone wins, or everyone loses. Most turns are a group effort, so the kids don't have to wait for their turn - losing interest in between. LOVE THIS! Super fun!
The Ladybug Game was/and is my boys' fave for the past 3 years! Such good math skills.
Uno Moo! is a crack-up and simplifies the UNO game. They don't have to "hold" the cards. Great color practice, and just jolly fun! Our games always end up loud, wild and with lots of laughing.
NONE of these games require reading! PRAISE GOD! :)

9. Kid Bible ~ My kids enjoy the picture, pace and writing of this kid Bible. We have tried M*A*N*Y!

10. Shapeable Foam Soap from Bath and Body Works (seasonal)! $4 a bottle.
I PROMISE your kiddos will be OVER THE MOON for this! Best purchase you make in a while!
I bought 4 bottles at Christmas. A bottle lasts FOR-EVAH folks. You can thank me for the Head's Up on this later once you become as obsessed about it as the Cowart Clan!

11. Books ~ Little Critter by Mercer Mayer Yeah, we have a lot and I am still trying to buy more. Kids love these from 18 months - at least 2nd grade (my students still loved these!)
12. Books - Berenstain Bears We have plenty of these too. Both little critter and the B. Bears cover so many child issues.

12. KidKraft Table ~Nantucket~ with BENCH! Seriously, all kid tables are for family's with 2 children, and come with 2 chairs. I love this table. We use it constantly for coloring, pre-school, snacks and whenever company comes! One of the best features is that it is sturdy enough for my husband or myself to sit on.

Good products are hard to find. Ones that are affordable, stand up to kid's use/abuse, and are loved by parents as well. So these are some of our faves from the Cowart Clan to you and yours.

So, what are your kiddo's favorite items? Best games, books, toys, furniture, crafts, etc.? I would love to hear some of your favorites!!!! Please!!