Sunday, March 25, 2012

Fiesta de las Golondrinas

Yesterday, James, Josie and I attended the 54th Annual Fiesta de las Golondrinas Parade and Mercado in San Juan Capistrano. It was our first time at the event - even though it takes place just about 10 minutes from our home. The fiesta is a celebration honoring the return of the swallows to the Mission at San Juan Capistrano. You can see a video and read about the Swallow's return to San Juan Capistrano here.

We got our 'cow folk' fix for the year and Josie was just thrilled to see all the horses in the parade. Many in the parade dressed in period garb. A lot of folks turned out for the event, turning the small town into a party zone. Bars along the parade route were full and serving drinks at 10AM! It was a typical small town 'non-motorized' parade. Not much to tell beyond the fact that we had a great time and learned a lot about the history of the Mission and the surrounding town.

Mariachi Bands performed street-side

The Grand Marshall and family

Marines from nearby Camp Pendelton march to the cheers of the crowd

I'm not really sure how Zorro fits into the story of The Swallows....

Our little cowgirl poses at Mission San Juan Capistrano

Period costumes were everywhere

I guess when there's no donut shop....

Reese the Bloodhound. He has helped locate missing children and a few Alzheimer patients who lost their way...

Fancy hats at the Mercado

Monday, March 19, 2012

Josie Turns '007'

Josie was using her noodle when she requested a "SPY PARTY" for her 7th Birthday. Right now, she's all about the Princesses. However, she was smart enough to realize that if she wanted any of her male classmates to attend her party - well, the Princesses just wouldn't cut it! She requested the SPY theme back in January and I have been working it ever since. I should also put it right up front that the all-out effort for this party is not the standard around here. I was doing penance for neglecting to throw a party for her when she turned 6. (Josie NEVER forgets a thing!)

Our invitations were designed here at home, inviting guest to a TOP SECRET BIRTHDAY MISSION. Josie's friends were asked to report to our house at 1300 hours on Sunday afternoon. Those wishing to undertake spy training would be issued their 'credentials' upon completion of the assigned tasks and by solving the MYSTERY OF THE BETTY CROCKER BANDIT!!

Josie and I made the party gift bags with zippered, cloth sacks we picked up in the $1 Bin at Michaels. It was stuffed with really cool tools we ordered from The Spy Museum in Washington, DC. Maddie got the award for Most Valuable Sister by making all the 'cake bombs'.

These cakes were 'the bomb'! Thanks, Big Sis!

These treats were BERRY Interesting!

Maddie and Hailey were on hand to help the kids out with a secret coded 'clue' that eliminated one of the 3 suspects. (our suspects were: Joey 'Bag-of-Donuts' Marucci, Bucky 'Bad-Teeth' Beaverton and 'Baby Face Nelson') One of these guys stole all the cupcakes made with Betty Crocker's newest recipe!! And Betty herself came to our house to make them especially for Josie!!! Horrors!

We had planned to put our 'laser maze' outside in the small park at the end of our cul-de-sac, but Mother Nature had other ideas... it rained buckets all day! So, we moved the maze into the garage. Props to my Engineer husband for designing it and setting it up !

Italy and Nyra jumped at the chance to tackle the laser maze first... but not one kid got through without touching one of the 'lasers' (made of red yarn!)

We also had 'sniper training' in the garage, using a NERF rapid fire sponge dart shooter. Josie's male classmates perked up considerably when they learned that the best shooter got the NERF set as a prize! I think the garage and the food table were their favorite spots, but they both guessed the identity of the BANDIT correctly and seemed to have a good time!

We moved into the family room for working on the coded message and then Josie opened all her most generous gifts! I really have to mention here that my friend, Sherri- who is the Mom of one of Josie's classmates- was a god-send! I'm a lucky Mom!

It was a great party and Josie was thrilled beyond words to have her friends share her big day. I was thrilled when 1500 hours arrived and all the kids said goodbye with a smile on their faces! Win-Win! Here's a final look at our beautiful 007-year-old Spy Girl!