Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baby Shower

I threw my first ever baby shower for my beloved Justine. Here's how:

Invite Cover
I didn't want to go too pastel-y twee, so I went with the pennant theme. It might be nearly played out for some, but I will always love me some pennants. Here's what I designed for the invite. It was a folded card with the deets inside. Feel free to bite my rhyme: if you click the link above it'll take you to my Flickr where you can download the image big & resize however you like. (If you want. No pressure). I used this font for everything.

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I sewed up 20 billion feet of bunting & strung it over the table (between a couple of trees), over the buffet table & from our chandelier inside.

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We served Martha's macaroni & cheese; tomato, basil and baby mozzarella salad; mini-meatballs on picks; foccacia with olives & tomatoes; bruschetta; champagne; the world's yummiest sangria (for which I can take no credit--thanks Jen!) and lemonade for the poor, knocked up members of our crew. We had a store-bought chocolate chip cake for dessert because I'm crazy but not crazy enough to try & bake a cake.

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For the first time in five years I threw a party and didn't make cupcakes. But I can't resist the pull of a cupcake pick. So I made them & used them for the meatballs. I know this is a totally gross picture, but how cute are those picks? I used images from this genius to make them.

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I made bigger picks on bamboo skewers for the flower arrangements. (I haven't allowed my poor, long-suffering husband to throw out a jar in two years. I had no idea what I was going to do with all those jars, but I knew it would be something good. Cut to: tie a ribbon around them, fill them with cheerful flowers & some nutty pennants and ta-da! I sent them home with the guests and now we get to start collecting jars all over again.)

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We don't know what the baby's name will be, so I used the mama's initial for the cookie favors. I used this recipe for the first time & I'm never going back. They were cute, easy & yum. The card toppers had funny quotes about boys & children in general. This is my new favorite way to do goody bags.

(I also made bracelets for the guests out of Shrinky-Dinks. They were code red crazy, but I loved them. I'll try to find a picture to upload later)

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Dash's Aunty Jamie was in charge of the games & she brought it. Here the guests are trying to draw a portrait of the baby on their heads. Justine then chose her favorite for the winner.

Next were Baby Scattergories & Mad Gab (like a word jumble). If you want to use these, just click on the images above & below. They'll take you to my Flickr where you're more than welcome to download & print these out.

Mad Gab 2
Mad Gab was pretty hard, so don't forget to copy the key (it's in the comments on the image).

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And then we got down to the business at hand: prezzies, yo.

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"It's kinda like he's wearing it now."

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Oh nothing, just a quilt I made.

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The end.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Now I Know My ABCs

Yesterday Dash didn't know his letters and today he does. Can someone please explain to me how I can sit there doing letter drills with him for an hour, trying (fruitlessly) to get him to remember the difference between "G" & "H" and then the next day he starts pulling every single alphabet magnet off the fridge and identifying it correctly? Fucker knew the difference between zero & "O." Seriously.

[I should note here that this blog is mainly my baby book. I mean, I love all of you lovely readers who visit and sometimes comment, but I started writing here because I was too lazy to wrestle with the stupid
baby book I couldn't live without that cost $135. Every year after his birthday, I organize all the year's entries in Blurb & print out the whole shebang. When Dash goes to college, I'm sending the books with him. Then I will immediately start writing big checks to his therapist. Anyway, my point is that occasionally I'll write things here that seem braggy or like "who the fuck cares?" That's why. Because it's my only record of how we roll.]

Monday, October 19, 2009


Every year we go to the pumpkin patch & every year I leave empty-handed and head over to Trader Joe's for pumpkins. It started because we'd forget. Now I do it because I think it's funny.

Anyway, Aunty came over and we carved the shit out of some pumpkins. It was our first time actually breaking out the knives since Dash was born, so we all had some pent up pumpkin aggression to get out.

Robot pumpkin, by "Dash." (He helped with the stencil & actually did carve a little bit.)

Aunty is arty.

Harry Potter, by yours truly.

Daddy's awesome ghost.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Patch

Hey! We met up with three of the four lovely Kinkaids & went to the pumpkin patch! And didn't buy any pumpkins! It's become a tradition!

On a scale of 1-10, how creepy is it that we spent about ten minutes discussing what their kids would look like? 20 billion? Sounds about right.

This kid really does spend a lot of time on ponies going in circles.

Oh, um, Mr. O'Lantern? You've got a little something in your nose.

It was a warm day, so Dash took his shirt off. We really need to figure out a way to get him to eat more.

There is nothing like the sense of accomplishment they feel when they get to the top of a haystack pyramid.

Seriously? People wonder why he's so spoiled. How do you say no to a face like this?

"Hi, Mr. Sheep, a lot of people want to shear you but I just want to talk to you, ok?"

The Pumpkin King


Every year Lombardi Ranch has a scarecrow contest. They're displayed in a corn maze and some of them were kinda hilarious. I'm trying to talk myself out of entering next year, but I have a feeling I'm not powerful enough to stop the urge. G.I. Crow. Serious.

Squeal of Fortune. Seriously.

Pat Sayjack-O-Lantern. I need to find this person so I can punch them in the face.

Or kiss them right on the mouth.

11 years old! Genius!

Everyone was really, really tired by the end of the day. But they earned it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Halloween Crafty

This is how crazy people commemorate Halloween:

Halloween card for family & friends who won't see him in his costume on the actual day. (I trot him outside every year for a costumed photo shoot. Then I doctor everything up in Photoshop & voila: dude in space.)

Goody bags for his school friends. I used the image from the card but laid it out differently so I could make a little card stock top for the cello bags. (The first year I made goody bags I filled them with low-sugar, organic spice cookies. They went over like a fart in church. Now I am all candy all the way.)

Here's the back.

In all their glory.

I do wrapped chocolate bars for the teachers. It's kinda become a tradition.

(I would like to note here that Dash has never seen Star Wars or any episode of Clone Wars. I had to Google my ass off to even figure out what his costume is & if he's a good guy or a bad guy {he's good}. But that does not stop him from being OBSESSED with Star Wars. Wait, just wait until you see the crazy shit we have planned for his birthday. Seriously.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Tie

I had to steal this off of Josh's Facebook. It's the only pic we have of him in his tie at the wedding. Come on. Come on.

Monday, October 12, 2009


We let Dash have a chocolate donut in our hotel bed for breakfast on Saturday (on vacation we live like animals).

True Love

God damn, I love a wedding. I really, really do. If you're getting married you should totally invite me because I bring it at weddings. I will cry during vows. I will dance to every song. I will toast mightily. You will know that I'm there and having the time of my life, and that I am using every atom in my person to direct good will and love right between your eyes and your beloved's.

And that's what I was doing this weekend when one of my best girls married the love of her life in a beautiful backyard wedding, filled with amazing good friends and much good cheer.

The wedding was hosted by the incredibly talented and generous Karin Grow and her husband, Art. The entire yard was strung with fairy lights and paper lanterns that Karin painted by hand.

Here's my ring pillow, fulfilling its life's purpose.

I also made this little cake topper. I know I'm not the first (or even the 1,000th) to make a clothespin cake topper, but I'm particularly proud of these guys. I made little clothes to match the bride & groom's actual wedding attire.

Jen + Tom. For, like, ever.

By the end of the night, in true Engel fashion, all three of us were bleeding. Dash: "I ran into a tree with my face." Later, I tried carrying Dash across the lawn (yep, almost 4 & I'm still carrying him around like a fucking watermelon), fell off my insane gold shoes and scraped my knee up pretty good. And Josh tried to slice off his finger with a butter knife.

(Unrelated, I also forgot how to smile halfway through the day. I started doing this clenched teeth thing that makes me look just plain crazy. This {above} is not a normal smile, but the most normal one I could find.)

(Unrelated part two, I am aware that Dash has the pallor of the Joker in this picture. I don't know why. I don't think he's actually that color, but I'll look into it.)

But the most important thing to remember about the night is this. Look at how he's looking at her.

Love is real, babies.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

How Us Nerds Amuse Ourselves

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Saturday, October 03, 2009


I'm reading some c-list celebrity interview where the woman says she feels like the Queen of the World when her son (same age as Dash) smiles at her. And I'm all, Dude. Your kid smiles at you?

Here's what it looks like when Dash smiles at me: