Planning a Party

My sister in law asked me for some tips on planning a kid’s birthday party. I had never really thought through my planning process so decided to do it here.

First, I usually ask my child or myself the chose theme. Ex. Lightning Mcqueen, Lego, Owls, etc. For myself when planning my adult parties I usually have a feeling I want to capture. Something from Paris, romantic, sweet, etc. Something Asian, something Italian, etc. I like to spoil my girlfriends when I get the chance with pretty desserts and go overboard with a lot of variety on the dessert table to make it an OCCASION to remember 🙂


The exception to this is when we have parties at other locations. My kids sometimes have their parties at a local indoor play spot where there are slides, balls, etc. If this is the case we usually keep everything really simple and just take the snack foods or pizza to the location.

Once we know the theme we want to go with I brainstorm a menu. For kids, I like to keep it simple, do some finger foods for young kids. If it is a summer party we usually have a cookout/picnic with food that goes along with the season: shish kabobs, hot dogs, or hamburgers.  Typically I let the birthday kid choose their menu and add to that (of course this depends on the age of the child)


The cake is usually a combination of what the birthday kid wants or the theme combined with some new experiment I am wanting to try out or a new recipe I have run across. You gotta remember around here I am the cake lady and love getting a chance to try something different.

As for games if it is a summer party my husband plans the outdoor games. Our son’s birthday is in June and over the years he has had some amazing parties. When he turned 5 he had a Cars party where each kid decorated/painted their own car to “drive” in. Then there were car races with the kids running around the house and yard. The food was all coordinated with the Cars theme and it was a total blast!

Other parties he has had in the summer were a rocket/space theme. Where the kid’s made plastic bottle rockets and shot those. Another year they had a huge squirt gun war, with teams and all.

This year he will be 10 and I am glad we still have time to plan all that. He is getting rather picky.

Our April birthdays are more difficult because our house isn’t large enough for a big party. Two of our kids have birthdays 3 days apart in April. Up till now, we celebrated several times together at other locations and they were fine with that. Before our 3rd child was into parties we had a Cinderella party for our daughter. That time the girls made foam crowns, that they got to decorate with sticker jewels and played other princess themed games.

Now that our daughter is in first grade she wants to celebrate separately from her younger brother. So this time she is having an all girl’s party (no boys allowed this year, not even brothers). She wants to have an owl themed party as she is crazy about owls. We are still in the planning stage. We like to have a game or two and will have a hands-on/crafty sort of activity for the girls too. They will most likely get to decorate large owl sugar cookies.

So there is quick a rundown of how we do parties at our house. I look for menu and decorating ideas on Pinterest sometimes, but that can get a bit overwhelming and intimidating.

How do YOU plan parties?



Just a spring rain


Spring rain, Paris, France

Photo Credit

You know that feeling when you step out into that first spring rain? The one that just a spring rain knows how to portray?

The streets sparkle with a shiny sheen, the lights seem to have a special starry effect.

The first spring rain has an aroma that it alone possesses; so fresh, and full of coming life.

That gentle rain, with no rush or hurry with a gentle dropping so soothing to the soul.

You know the rain, the first spring rain, after a long and snowy winter. That rain that speaks spring as it alone knows how.

Aw, what bliss. Could this first spring rain mean spring is truly here to stay?



Happy Heart Thankfulness

Last year we wrote what we were thinking for down in my daily planner, over supper. I’d asked the family what they had to be thankful for that day, and then we’d share and I’d write those all down.

This year I decided it was time each of my kids and husband had their own thankful journal. And so we try to keep these as up to date as possible, which for us ends up being several times a week (usually).

So today over supper as I wrote mine down before sharing I realized just how much I have to be thankful today.

Despite the fact I am home recovering, I feel great most of the time. I get to go on walks daily and going on with my husband and our 2 youngest boys was a nice Valentine’s day treat 🙂 He even took me out to eat, which was fun since it was our first “date” since my operation. Even though I did stand up the whole time.

So here is my thankful list today:

  • for the snow ( I love when winter is truly wintery)
  • a lunch date with my husband and our 2 little boys.
  • we found a cheap used phone for our daughter
  • I got a lovely red dress 50% at Goodwill. Yay!
  • God kept my 5-year-old safe on our walk home. He is a dasher, and sometimes just runs /dashes ahead of me which happened today when we were waiting at a zebra crossing. It scared me half to death! And I realized how often death has crossed our paths and it was the hand of God keeping it at bay!
  • time to read, sketch and update the website while on sick leave.
  • YOU

What are you thankful for today?

Learning A New Normal

Jan 18 I had surgery.

A surgery for an injury 7 years ago.

An injury I only found out last summer I had.

The recovery time is very long. 2 months of no lifting.

Due to this, my husband is home on paternity leave until the end of March. Raising 4 kids, one of who is only 16 mos old requires muscles. I am thankful my husband can be at home to help out.

Getting used to restrictions is hard. I am used to being active every waking moment. Now I have to learn to listen to my body and rest. I am also going on walks daily. Trying to get my strength up.

Since I can’t lift or sit I am quite limited in what I can do.

Yet at the same time, I am having time to stop and smell the roses, so to speak. Time to rejuvenate after a very busy holiday season in my online business. Time to sketch again. Time to dream new ideas. Time to just BE with my husband and our still at home little ones. And somehow despite my limitations, I feel happy and content. Because I was in need of a change. Something to break the running and stress of normal life.

So let this new normal be a time of healing and breathing.


This is my job

It’s Monday again and so rolls the world in the ho-hum hundrum of everyday life.

I wonder at times if I am accomplishing anything.

Being a Mom of 4 kids ages  8,6,4 and 5 months means a lot of repeating myself. I have even started making a list of what I accomplished on some days next to my to do lists so that I can see I did alot- even if not what I had planned or hoped.

The kids were delivered to their lessons nearly on time. The baby was well cared for. Meals were prepared. Homework was finished. I ran his aunt to the store as we do once a week. . .

Yet somehow I get this lingering feeling that I could have, should have done more.

I didn’t have time to work on my online business, there was no time for marketing my products, there was no time for painting. I long to be selling more, but how does one build an online business? Others seem to do so effortlessly- for me it is sort of hit and miss.

And yet when the day winds down and the kids start drifting off to sleep and I am left with perhaps a couple of hours of quiet I am reminded that this is my job. Mothering is what I need to do now, here, today.

There were will be time perhaps someday for building a business more thoroughly, and chasing those dreams.

But for now I will delight in the sweet scent of my baby- and his cooing and babbling. I adore babyhood and it is such a fleeting time. How I wish there was some way to always have a baby in the house 🙂 But since there isn’t I will capture these moments in my heart, and on paper and photos.

And I will read Laura Ingalls books when my eyes are weary. And pray and talk for so long my arms go numb on the edge of the top bunk while my 8 year old shares his heart and thoughts about ozones, and life, and friends.

Because this is my job. . . . and I love it!

A Woman in Amber: Book Review

For Christmas my husband had ordered me the book, A Woman in Amber by Agate NeSaule. Of course it didn’t make it by Christmas, despite having been ordered early. ( I knew he ordered it since he happened too use my ebay account). But it was worth the wait…

My husband got me this book because I had started writing about my Grandma’s childhood in Latvia in the 193os and he thought I needed some inspirataion.

First of all this is a biography. It is well written. It is raw. It is real. It is heartbreaking.

Reading this book I so wished that he had given it to me a year ago. I could have asked my Grandma much more specfic questions about her years in the camps in Germany.But Grandma is gone, 3 months too late I recieved this book.

I know my Grandma’s version of the wartime, of leaving Latvia, of the camps in Germany. But Agate’s exeriences is far worse/more horrible than anything my Grandma ever mentioned or perhaps she never told us how bad things really were.

My Mom reminded me that Grandma was  never able to watch movies with war scenes or fleeing the enemy and ones country, like Sound of Music. These scenes were always too real and painful for her.

Agate Nesaule writes well;  clearly telling her story and the way it impacted her life . And the way war changes and effects anyone who lives to tell about them.

So desite the utter horror this book aroused in me during many of its scenes I am thankful more than ever that my Grandma escaped, lived and thrived so that we too could be born!