Sunday, March 22, 2015

How to Throw a Kid Camping Party Without Breaking The Bank

I love throwing a good DIY party on a budget.

Theme: Camping

Food: DIY (with a little help from a local cupcake shop)
In order of guest popularity:
  • S'mores on a stick-chocolate covered marshmallows dipped in crushed up graham crackers 
    • Put marshmallows on stick, dip in melted chocolate (candy melt brand), let excess chocolate drip off, dip in crushed up graham crackers, place on plate.
  • Chocolate covered strawberries
  • Star shaped PB&J sandwiches 
  • Trail mix bowls
  • Flying cupcakes-3 flavors
  • "Bug Juice"-watered down lime green sports drink
  • Pretzel sticks, goldfish 
  • Shrimp tray
  • Carrots and celery with dip
  • Caramel dipped apple bites
  • BBQ cocktail weenies
  • Dirt pudding with gummy worms at the bottom (Jack loved to help put the gummy worms in the jars)

Time: 2:30p-4:30p on a sunny Saturday afternoon

Craft: Parsley and basil potted plats with paint to decorate the pots
Wood necklaces to decorate with paint and markers

Favors: S'more bags to go.

Decorations: Hand me down moss, pine cones, lantern(purchased on Target clearance), tree platters, birch tree straws, handmade place cards (card stock paper). Jack's favorite color is green. Can you tell?

Here are the pictures to tell the rest of the story:

Saturday, March 21, 2015

No Mushy Gushy Here


I'm going to resist the urge to talk about all that mushy gushy mom stuff...

Like how the last 3 years have been the fastest 3 years of my life.

Like how I carry it with me through the whole day when you wake me up at 6:45 with a kiss on the face and a sweet "good morning, mommy."

Like how I caught a glimpse of you flexing your muscles last Tuesday and my heart melted into a million pieces.

Like how you use phrases like "Give me a little privacy" while pooping or "Leave me alone, I'm not playing right now," when you need a minute to yourself.

Like how when you ask me to play with you it's a magnetic reaction to drop what I'm doing and PLAY WITH YOU.

Like how I swear you make the world a little sweeter, you make people a little softer, you make people smile in the midst of what appears to be a stressful day.

Like how you recently jumped into your Grandparents pool without swim wings on and instead of being afraid when you went under the water you came up and said, "That was amazing."

Like how the collection of people around you called family light up the minute they are in your presence.

Like how it's just better with you. It's just better with you, my sweet amazing incredible Jack. It's better.

I'm going to resist the urge to get mushy gushy...

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I See You

Mom, I see you walking into work 15 minutes late. What color is your coat? Is it white or black? I can't tell because it's covered in dog hair because you lost your lint roller since it has recently become a favorite toy for your toddler. The options were freeze or dog hair and dog hair won. I know your kid cried harder than normal when you dropped him off this morning. I see the mascara lines in the corners of your eyes.

Dad, I see you leave 10 minutes early looking over your shoulder because you're torn. Should you stay and finish that project or should you beat the traffic and arrive early to your daughter's first recital? You choose the recital. I see you.

Mom, I see you close your eyes and inhale some vitamin D since you have a vitamin D deficiency due to the fact the sun hasn't come out in two solid months. I hear your child crying because they fell off the slide face first into pea gravel. You don't react for 10 solid seconds because nothing can ruin this moment of zen. I see you.

Dad, I see you racing through the aisles at Target screaming "No" or "Don't touch that" or "slow down". I see your blood pressure rise as you pull up with two boys in a shopping cart and vow to NEVER EVER EVER take a trip to Target again. By the time you finally pay, you are fuming and exhausted and defeated, but you still manage to tickle your 4-year-old. His giggle still make you giggle.

Mom, I know. I know you didn't sleep last night. I know you fell asleep next to your 15-month-old while watching Daniel Tiger on repeat because even if it is television, at least it has a good message. The world needs more good messages. And that manual about no television before got burned with the stack of "What to Expect When You're Expecting." I see you.

Dad, I see you trade your beloved 1955 Ford collector car for the mini van. I know it's like you exchanged your man card for the keys. You just turned in your former self. You look a little deflated, but when your daughter runs up and hugs you and says she loves it, you get yourself back. She holds your heart in her hands.

Mom, I see you look longingly at that couple drinking margaritas outside on a sunny day. You long to be them for just that checking the watch and calculating the babysitter total in addition to the date night check. No checking your cell phone obsessively just in case the babysitter accidentally burned the house down because she forgot to remove the cardboard from the frozen pizza.

Dad, I know. I know your spouse and your children are your priority. I see your extra hours put at the office because you're stressed about making the mortgage and still working in a promised trip to Disney. I see the pressure you put on yourself daily to provide for your family and still spend time with them.

Mom, I know. I know you are constantly questioning, am I enough? Am I making the right choice? Am I teaching enough? Am I setting a good example? Is my house clean enough or my car clean enough? Am I working too hard or helicopter parenting or feeding my child the wrong foods? Am I enough?

I hear you.

I see you.

I am you.    

Sunday, March 15, 2015

It's Still Not Done...

This crazy weekend got started early.

Thursday night I carried 7 loads of laundry to the basement.

Friday I went to the grocery store, sorted the laundry, put the dishes away, cleaned a week's worth of dirty dishes, vacuumed, dusted and managed to get to bed by 11 pm.

Saturday I raked wet leaves from the patio and backyard in preparation for your 3-year-old birthday party (just in case the weather is nice). I washed 3 loads of laundry.

Sunday I picked up a winter's worth of dog poop (times 2 dogs) from the backyard. A few times I accidentally touched the poop. I carried heavy furniture from the garage to the patio. I pumped up your stroller tires and bike tires so we could enjoy the first few weeks of Spring the way any soon-to-be 3-year-old should. I threw some frozen chicken in sauce in the crock pot. The crock pot is my best friend these days. I cleaned out a dirty car laughing at each french fry and cheerio I found along the way.

Here's the crazy part.

As I sit here writing this at 9:24 on Sunday night, I'm only on the 5th load of laundry. There is dog hair stuck to all the toys on the floor downstairs even though I vacuumed two days ago. It's still not done. After all that, work, there is still more to be done.

I open my work calendar and it's full of meetings. I can't help but wonder if I will get it all done...

And just as I start to bury my head under a pillow, I remember.

I am blessed to have a washer and dryer and clothes to put in them. Much of the world relies on a river to wash their few articles of clothing.

I am fortunate to have dishes to eat from and a floor to vacuum. Over 100 million people are homeless.

Our backyard has provided room for a garden to eat from and a patio to spend time with friends.

We are so lucky to have a car...two at that.

I am blessed to have a job that is busy and fulfilling and rewarding. 102 million working-age people in the US alone are jobless.

Just as I start to feel a little exhausted, I is good.

Life is good.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

This is the Life

You are two.

She is 85.

"Why am I always just the 85-year-old?" she always asks.

"Because that's really old," I reply. And we laugh.

We are on a road trip, the three of us. You. Me. Gram. We're staying at the beach for 3 uninterrupted days. It is foggy so we hop in the car and drive to find the nearest diner for breakfast. Nothing excites me like driving in a new town without a destination. It's better than pushing "accept" on We drive along the beautiful mediterranean style beachfront mansions.

"Superman lives there," you scream.

We decide to go to Venice. I notice several booths lining the main strip. It's an arts far.  We spend the next couple hours browsing the art, stopping at small shops, waiting for the fog to lift. I watch the connection grow between the two of you. You don't see her age, you see her kind spirit and wit. You treat her exactly as you treat me...tugging her arm, squeezing her cheeks, smiling at her with your big cheeks and squinty eyes. I watch her light up with complete joy which makes me light up with complete joy...watching this bond that bridges 83 years of life experience.

We return to the beach for more wasted hours in the sun. That night we take a long walk and find a party at the beach during sunset. A collection of people beating on drums.

"This is the life," I tell Jack. It's a phrase we are using constantly these days.

He smiles and dances on the beach and the sun drops into the ocean.

This is the life.