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 🙂

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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?

 

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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 Kind Word

We all walk through dark valleys in our lives- where it seems nothing or very little is going right.

Then all of a sudden a kind word of encouragement, a warm hug or a gentle nod of understanding. Perhaps even shared tears and or a thoughtful note are all it takes to help us through.

This year has started with much trial for our family- yet God has been kind, good and faithful.

Thanks to those of you who have stood by us with a prayer, a note or a word of encouragement. We love and appreciate you!

Through the Tunnel

A week has passed since I got back from my Mom-cation to living and surviving my real life.

The temp of real life is so fast, so rushed, so full. At times I feel overwhelmed by it all- yet in a positive light now.

This week I celebrated my birthday and meeting up with other friends who have infants I saw that they too are struggling and overwhelmed like I felt just 2 weeks ago before I went on my little vacation.

I have this visual picture of Moms going through this tunnel. Being a Mom and raising a child are by far the most difficult task I have ever known.

As a Mommy I know how you feel when you are sleepless, over-tired, and over-dramatic. A ticking time bomb waiting to explode with the smallest spark. A fussy toddler, a disobedient child, a word thoughtlessly spoken- each of this fuel to kindle your already raging soul-fire.

I know the guilt of feeling you ought to be a better, more patient, more organized, more healthy, more ANYTHING Mom.

I know the longing for peace- wholeness- and a healthy, harmony filled family.

I know that walking through these days of having young children seems like a dark tunnel at times. It may seem you have no time for you and your identity is disappearing into days spent doing monotonous everydays.

But YOU will survive. You will thrive. You will LIVE.

I can see that I have come through that tunnel and I had no idea how that could occur, For me the break into light was my mini vacation. For you it might be something else, but I want to encourage you to find time to be alone (or with your infant0 and sort through your emotions.

Today when I opened my Bible these words jumped out- perfectly spoken on this topic. ,

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.”He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat.

Mark 6:30-31 NLT

I know dear one that you might feel badly taking a few hours or days for yourself. I felt the same way, but the old saying goes, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.”

A quote I read the other day blessed me much, it is so true and helps keep perspective in our search for joy in life:

For most of life, nothing wonderful happens. If you don’t enjoy getting up and working and finishing your work and sitting down to a meal with family or friends, then the chances are you’re not going to be very happy. If someone bases his/her happiness on major events like a great job, huge amounts of money, a flawlessly happy marriage or a trip to Paris, that person isn’t going to be happy much of the time. If, on the other hand, happiness depends on a good breakfast, flowers in the yard, a drink or a nap, then we are more likely to live with quite a bit of happiness.”
— Andy Rooney


Why every Mom needs a Mom-cation

After 6 1/2 years of being a Mom and all the joys and stress that goes with three kids and a puppy and life I can tell you I was wound up, stressed out and easily angered. I found myself using the word “nervous” to describe myself and I had never done so before. I found myself impatient and tired, and just worn out.

My sister needed a break from her life, she invited me to meet her in England. I hesitantly agreed; with the requirement that I would go only if my husband could get off work for those 5 days. He did so- joyfully- and I found myself headed on a Mom-cation.

I must say the weeks and days leading up to that I was worried, feeling very guilty and wondering how everyone would do with me gone. I felt so scared as I flew away, wondering if I’d make it home safely again. I consoled myself with the thought, “if I am meant to die it will happen whether I am flying or at home.” (Pathetic? I know. But I was feeling dramatic).

6 days and 5 nights later I got home and now know that was exactly what I needed to get my life back where it needed to be.

So here is why every Mom needs a vacation.

  1. You have time to think, sleep, BE and sit in silence. 
  2. You come back feeling like a new person; the things that would have made you lose it before are no longer so irritating because you have “unwound.”
  3. You come home realizing once again that your husband is the best man and Dad and that he is TOTALLY capable of running the house without you or your constant bossing. He is the DADDY not the baby-sitter. 
  4. You see your husband and your marriage with new eyes of appreciation, which makes you feel like you are starting a new phase in your lives or perhaps a 2nd honeymoon 🙂 
  5. You have time to just be you. If you wanna shop, you do it. If you wanna chill in a coffee shop- go for it. The thing is that no one has any demands on your time and you can just live it up, or down ALONE or with a friend or sister 🙂
  6. You get your life readjusted and back on track and have time to gain the perspective you just couldn’t grasp while you were at home. 
  7. You realize you are strong in ways that you had forgotten or never knew (depending on what you do for your mom-cation). 
  8. You see your life when you come back through the lenses of peace- which makes you value your blessings where you had forgotten how. And prepares you for the challenges facing you.
  9. You have time to do the things you want to do: journaling, sleeping, shopping, sitting, walking.
  10. You realize that your position in life at this moment as a Mommy and wife is the best thing in the world and your favorite place to be and all you needed was to step back so you could see the whole picture.  . 

The Power of Words

 http://www.styledbysusie.co.uk/blog/uncategorized/giving-receiving-believing-compliments/

We have a couples Bible that has both text and great stories that make the truths of the Bible hit close to home with their real life stories.

I have always known my love language was words of affirmation. You know- the person who loves getting notes and needs to hear what they have done was appreciated? I’m that sort of a girl.

But the best story I have ever heard on the power of the spoken word is the illustration used in our Bible. It goes like this: (Couples Devotional Bible pg: 1131)

Years ago graduate students at an Ivy League college conducted an experiment. First they observed undergraduates until they found one of the most unkempt, most socially inept women on campus. 
They they drew up a schedule each would spend a month getting close to the woman. They would “happen” to bump into her Beeton classes. They would show up in line behind her in the dining hall. They would call her for lecture notes or assignment reminders. Moreover, when each was “on duty” he would compliment her insights, her clothes, express delight in her voice, her talents , her clothes. 
The first student performed well. In spite of his misgivings he began to speak to the woman, finding ways to affirm her. By the end of the month he found his task less onerous as the young woman started to respond. She smiled occasionally, combed her hair more often, and paid more attention to how she dressed. 
The second graduate student took the experiment a step further. He asked the undergrad out on an official date and spent the month showering her with gifts and compliments. 
The third month there was a new glow about the young woman, and the third researcher enjoyed her company more than he cared to admit. When the graduate students got together to share their experiences and laugh at the “progress” of the victim, the third student had to force chuckles through self-conscious embarrassment. 
The fourth member of the group never got the chance to lavish attention on the young woman because by then she was engaged to the man assigned to her during the third month. What started as a cruel and belittling pastime for the students turned into a love story. 

This shows despite the evil intent at the start that when a person receives positive attention both the one who gives it and the one who receives it change.  Imagine the place the world could be if we started giving, real, HONEST praise to others and who they and we might become!

This Day

With its early morning for tired kids. After a weekend of partying and a late evening for the celebrated girl with a names day. (They celebrate name’s days here in Latvia).

When you are trying to get 3 kids fed and out the door and accidentally zip up someones leg in their boot. Ouch. Sorry!

When you feel like you will lose it and are trying so hard to have it all together.

When the weather is just too brisk and chilly and the warmer clothes are still in the attic.

When your kids are whiny because its been that long weekend and they are not at their best for their lesson with their teacher.

When you have stayed up too late and your patience is ebbing and you are trying so hard to be the kind of Mom you want, dream and pray to be.

When you compare yourself, your shop, your paintings to those of all those how have already sold 4-8 things this month and the friend who has 500 sales over the last 2 years when you only have 147 in the last 4 years and you sell the same type of things.

When  you wonder why you compare yourself and try to stop and whisper a prayer asking God to help you. And bless your shop and bless you with sales and even as you sit listing your next item suddenly you sell a item (the first this month). Because God IS GOOD and HE answers the prayers of his children in HIS time and in HIS way.

When your kids are so wild, they are bouncing off the walls and no one wants to concentrate on anything they need to do.

When you finally have a quiet moment to take the dog on a walk and let the wind blow your head-ful of cobwebs away and you have time to think, and train that pesky pup and breathe.

This is my life. This was my day. This little bit of nonsense. This life I don’t understand. This sometimes meaningless existence in this BIG world.

And God is in Heaven and here with me, and all are well and at peace in my little world!