Lucky 13

Maggie has always been a girl with a smile so big she can’t help but share it with you.  I vividly remember standing in line at grocery stores with a 3-year-old girl who would ask “Wanna see my wiggle dance?” to anyone who happened to make eye contact with her.  She never waited for a response.  Instead, she would prop her hands on her hips and start bopping back and forth.

Ten years later, and I can’t believe she’s a teenager!  She’s one tough, outgoing, organized, independent gal.  Middle school has been a remarkable transition, with new friends, new sports, and straight A’s.  Here are 13 pictures of our 13 year old through the years:

She woke up to balloons and flowers on her birthday, and went to breakfast with Dad before school.  Her friends decorated her locker, and I picked up her favorite veggie Subway sandwich for lunch.  After track practice we went to Benihana with old friends, and then home to open gifts.  Sam got her wireless earbuds and we got her a punching bag – the perfect gift to help her through the frustrating teen years!

A few of her new school friends spent the night the following weekend.  It’s fun to see her finding her tribe and filling the house with their uncontrollable giggles.

Her only requests were a Reese’s ice cream cake and a mystery dinner.  We’d pulled this off when she turned 11 and it was just as fun the second time.  This time they had to order everything, from the table settings to the salad toppings.  It was hilarious watching them eat with tongs and out of frying pans!  I had 13 menu options for each course, but even with fewer choices it takes many helping hands in the kitchen to make this work.

Here is this year’s menu:

img_6006First course:  Drinks

Complainer’s Carafe = Wine Glass
Stone Stein = Mason Jar
Sixteener = Pint Glass

Pucker Potion = Lemonade
Life = Water
Boxer’s Blow = Fruit Punch
Sudsy Suds = LaCroix
Frosty Golf = Iced Tea

Crystals = ice
Yellow Disks = lemon slices
Green Disks = cucumber slices
Rainy Day = mini umbrellas/parasol poppers
Swiveler = stir stick



Second course:  Table Settings

Alley Act = bowl
Tectonic Table Topper = plate
Cartoon Concussion Causer = frying pan

Two Paths = fork
Little Dipper = small spoon
Big Dipper = big spoon
Biggest Dipper = ladle
Flatland = spatula
Heartbreaker = knife
Snappers = tongs
Twigs = chopsticks

Snuggler = napkin
Dentist’s Delight = toothpick


img_6007Third Course:  Salad

Roman Drizzle = Italian Dressing
Cattle Land = Ranch Dressing

Rabbit Food = Romaine lettuce
Popeye’s Prize = Spinach

Bunny’s Best = carrots
Ribs = celery
Blood Moons = tomatoes
Pre-Pickles = cucumbers
Liberty’s Sneeze = bell peppers
Parsley’s Twin = cilantro

Hay Bales = croutons
Hot Blooms = sunflower seeds
Pebbles = bacon bits



Fourth Course:  Sides and Main Dish

Trees & Branches = broccoli
Cat’s Eyes = Kalamata olives
Wicked Breakfast = Deviled eggs

Kamehameha Crowns = King’s Hawaiian Rolls
Yeasty Vampire Repellent = garlic breadsticks

Red Sea = marinara
Rich River = Alfredo

Coopers = grilled chicken
Bowling Balls = meatballs

Pinchers = bowtie noodles
Twisty Tangles = spaghetti noodles

Snowflakes = parmesan cheese
Dark Speckles = Black Pepper

The key to making this a success is selecting foods that can be prepared in advance.  You will be so busy plating that there is no time to cook at the same time!  It’s also fun to sprinkle in a few favorite foods, which his how we ended with items like Kalamata olives and Hawaiian sweet rolls on our menu.

Our days of big birthday parties are a thing of the past, but it’s nice to know there are still ways to celebrate together and make the day feel extra special!

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