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Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

April 14th, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Celebrating Library Week

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Did you know that April 13 through 19 is National Library Week? Books are so important to a  child’s development. Besides teaching them how to read, they also foster bonding, creativity, and imagination. Libraries have a lot to offer their communities, and they are a great learning resource for families. Check out your local library this week and see what kind of events and classes they offer for your little ones. In honor of National Library Week, here are some of the most popular kids books of all time that you can check out at your local library or bookstore!

  • Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
  • The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein
  • Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise Brown
  • Green Eggs and Ham – Dr. Seuss
  • Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs – Judy and Ron Barrett
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – Judith Viorst
  • Guess How Much I Love You – Sam McBratney
  • Pat the Bunny – Dorothy Kunhardt
  • Love You Forever – Robert Munsch
  • The Lorax – Dr. Seuss
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? – Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon – Crockett Johnson
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom – Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
  • Corduroy – Don Freeman
  • Stellaluna – Janell Cannon
  • Oh, The Places You’ll Go – Dr. Seuss
  • Strega Nona – Tomie dePaola
  • Curious George – H.A. Rey
  • Jumanji – Chris Van Allsburg
  • The Little Engine That Could – Loren Long and Watty Piper
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter
  • If You Give A Mouse A Cookie – Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond
  • The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales – Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
  • The Runaway Bunny – Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd
  • The Rainbow Fish – Marcus Pfister and J. Alison James
  • The Snowy Day – Ezra Jack Keats
  • Madeline – Ludwig Bemelmans
  • The Napping House – Audrey Wood and Don Wood
  • The Cat and the Hat – Dr. Seuss
  • The Polar Express – Chris Van Allsburg
  • Hop on Pop - Dr. Seuss

There are so many other great books, both classics and new, that kids around the world enjoy every day. Which is YOUR favorite?

Photo Credit: American Library Association, www.ala.org

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April 11th, 2014 at 8:38 am

Planning an Easter Brunch

brunch

One of my favorite things about Easter is the meal. It’s the one time a year where we eat my favorite meal, breakfast, with lunch as well! There are so many different things you can do with brunch. Here are some things to consider when planning your meal.

Buffet or Served Plate?
Personally, I like to offer my brunches as a buffet. This way, everyone can choose what the foods they like best, and they can control how much they take of each. Seconds are much easier to handle as well.

Planning Your Dishes
When choosing food types, you want to consider the time it will take to make them…simpler recipes will allow you to enjoy your party more. Some things that are easy to make ahead of time are breakfast casseroles, pancakes, quiches, scrambled eggs, waffles, french toast, and fruit and vegetable platters. Also think about things like taco bars or waffle bars, where your guests or family can personalize them and put them together. I also like to include a deli meat selection, pulled pork, or shredded chicken or beef for build-your-own sandwiches. Ham, lamb, and chicken are typical Easter meats, so you can offer one of these as well…especially if brunch is the main meal you’re planning for the day. Here are some categories you can incorporate into your brunch:

  • Egg dish
  • Pancakes, French Toast, Waffles, Crepes
  • Meat Dish
  • Potato Dish
  • Bread Dish (Easter bread with dyed hard boiled eggs is a nice idea!)
  • Light Pasta Dish
  • Salad or Fruit
  • Dessert

Drinks to Serve
Have fun with the drinks – think about coffee, juices, water, and milk. You can also make fun punches or alcoholic drinks like mimosas, bellinis, and sangrias for the adults.

Brunches can be lots of fun, but portions are difficult to control, so make sure you have enough food on hand. My guests always get excited when they hear i’ll be serving brunch – the BEST of breakfast and lunch!!

 

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December 26th, 2013 at 8:37 am

Winter Birthday Party Ideas

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I consider myself a winter baby because my birthday is in December. I was always jealous of my friends with summer birthdays because they were able to have fun warm weather birthday parties at the beach, pool or water parks. Now that I’m older and wiser, I’ve realized that winter birthday parties can be just as fun! Here are some ideas you can try for your winter babies:

Theme Ideas:

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You can do a general “winter” theme or you can focus on certain ideas. Some options are snowmen, snowflakes, penguins, mittens and hot cocoa, Jack Frost, etc. There are endless possibilities for these themes when it comes to decorations, activities, food, etc. This snowman theme from Setting The Mood brings everything together!

Invitations:

snowflake-invitation

Get creative and save money with DIY invitations. Use a mix of media (glitter, cotton balls, etc.)…whatever you can find that works with the theme. For inspiration, check out these popsicle stick snowflake invitations from Parenting.com.

Food and Treats:

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The main food element is up to you…it really depends on what you think all the little picky eaters will eat, but winter parties are never short of yummy treats! You can do s’mores (with parental supervision), a hot cocoa bar (like the one above from Heidi’s Recipes), candy canes, marshmallow snowmen, decorated sugar cookies, etc.

Activities:

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This is where it get’s fun! Some great activities for winter parties are:

  • Snowman building contest (above photo from TravelMuse)
  • Snowflake/snowmen crafts
  • Sugar Cookie Decorating
  • Movie time (Jack Frost, Frosty the Snowman, and so many others!)
  • Snowball toss
  • Winter scavenger hunt
  • Pin the nose on the snowman
  • “Freeze” dance

Is your little one a winter baby? Share YOUR party ideas with us on our Facebook Page!

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September 16th, 2013 at 9:46 am

Celebrating your Child’s First Birthday

Every birthday is special, but the First is a great celebration! A whole year this child has been in your life and what a year of growth and change for both you and them! This birthday needs special attention, so I wanted to share some great ideas to help you to plan it.

The first step is getting organized. Print a Birthday Party Planning sheet. Step 2 is picking a theme. This is the hardest part – there is anything from Book titles, Superheros, rainbows, princesses and more! Once you have this picked out you can adapt anything to work!

Next is adding some photos. First you need the First Birthday photo session. Set up a scene, eat some cake or just use some birthday props because at this age the photos are cute no matter what! Using these photos along with ones from birth on, you can make a special photo collage to use as a decoration for the party. Whether it is a number 1 or a string of photos, your guests will love to see how your baby has grown through the first year of their life!

The First Birthday is all about setting traditions for your child. It may mean you ask them questions on their birthday every year, go somewhere special, use a special plate or chair, or even eat cupcakes for breakfast. Whatever it is, it shows your child they are special on this day!

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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September 13th, 2013 at 5:00 am

Celebrating Your Own Birthday

As moms, our birthdays often get forgotten or passed over. With our busy lives it is great to slow down and take some time to acknowledge our own birthdays. How about some of these ideas?

  • Random Acts of Kindness – There are some great ideas on this blog post or here.
  • Write Thank You letters to those that have changed your life
  • Spend the day volunteering
  • Write a bucket list, or if you already have one then do something on that list
  • Take a mini vacation or road trip to somewhere you’ve always dreamed of
  • Celebrate yourself – Spend your birthday month taking time to do something special for yourself each day. Check out this blog post for some great ideas.
  • Throw a party for yourself. Have a dinner party, brunch, wine tasting, or a simple girls night.
  • Make others celebrate your birthday by doing something to pay it forward. Ask them to share what they did by telling you about it or sharing a picture.

I celebrated my birthday this past week and plan on doing a mix of these ideas. I’ll pick a couple of things to celebrate myself while doing some random acts of kindness. What is better than sharing Birthday Month joy with others?

How do you celebrate yourself when your birthday comes?

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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June 26th, 2013 at 3:09 pm

Princess Party on a Budget

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Most little girls dream of being a Princess. Nothing is more glamorous than beautiful ball gowns, jeweled tiaras and everything else that comes with being “royalty.” Disney is famous for it’s variety of princess films and products…there’s a princess for every personality!

While it seems like all the trimmings can add up to a lot, a princess party can be done on a budget! Follow these tips and tricks for an unforgettable fairy tale she’ll remember forever.

Decorations

We used two backdrops, one of the Disney princesses and one of Cinderella’s castle. We also took pink and purple tissue paper and made pomanders that we hung from the ceiling…here’s a great tutorial for making them. Crepe paper streamers, flowers and additional ceiling decorations put on the finishing touches!

Food

We went simple and ordered pizza, but there are tons of foods you can make yourself for the kids…chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, hot dogs and finger sandwiches are all quick and easy. For dessert, we used tiered cupcake stand and filled it with pink and purple frosted cupcakes with crown decorations.

Games/Activities

We had all the little girls come dressed up as their favorite princess, and the first thing we did was give princess makeovers with face paint! Other games we played were freeze dance and pin the lips on the frog prince.

Extras

When it comes to the princess party, it’s all about the extras! The kids’ favorite part was the candy buffet, where we gave out empty goodie bags they could fill! Each child received their own personalized teacup drink container and pink chair to take home! Tiara rings were used as napkin holders and acted as favors as well. They also went home with a goody bag full of stickers and novelty items. We kept everything within the pink and purple color scheme so that it all came together. We even had a friend dress up as Belle and take pictures and play games with the kids!

When in doubt, use your imagination!

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April 24th, 2013 at 11:53 am

Baby Shower Ideas

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Pregnancy is filled with ups and downs. There’s the excitement, the preparation, the happiness and anticipation…and then there’s the morning sickness, the weight gain, the swollen ankles, the mood swings etc.

That’s why baby showers are so great…it makes moms-to-be feel loved and supported during a time of many emotions, and helps her prepare for her bundle of joy! In my opinion, every party should have at least a basic theme, whether it be a color scheme or a full blown, top-to-bottom concept. Here are a few theme ideas that are sure to impress.

Do you have any other great ideas for baby shower themes?

Photo credit: babyshowerstation.com

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January 30th, 2013 at 5:00 am

Super Bowl: Game Day Recipes

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Every year around this time, the men in my life get excited and plan the ultimate Super Bowl party. To them, it’s all about the football, but to me it’s all about the food! Game day is the one day I let them off the hook to enjoy some “man” time and treat them to a spread they’ll dream about ‘til next year’s game! Here are some Super Bowl recipes that will drive everyone to the end zone!

Party Nachos

7-Layer Dip

Baked Buffalo Wings

Cheesy Jalapeno Poppers

Cranberry Chili Meatballs

Tailgate Chili

Pulled Pork Sliders

Pull-Apart Touchdown Cupcakes

 

What’s your favorite game day recipe?

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December 21st, 2012 at 7:04 am

Take Time to Enjoy the Holidays

As this weekend starts the holiday celebrations, think about taking time to enjoy the time. You can get lost in the preparations and craziness and it can all pass you by without a moment of enjoyment. Trust me, this has happened to me in the past, but I am determined to enjoy the time this year. As my boys get older I never know when Christmas will become gift cards and less magical, so I need to make sure to savor the moments.

My first step was getting as much done ahead of time. That means not saving wrapping till the last minute, making food preparation easier, and having laundry done and clothes for the holiday gatherings picked out. A little preparation goes a long way, right?

The next part is to not getting worked up. That means remembering to not stress about simple things like misbehaving kids or family drama. This is obviously easier said that done. This means remembering that everyone has only the best intentions, although they may not be the same as yours. Also, the other thing is don’t set yourself up with unrealistic exceptions. This rule works with both children and family.

A little bit of preparation and limited stress will only help you to be able to enjoy the holidays.

Kim Ross also writes at  A Little Bit of This and That ~ The Adventures of a Stay at Home Mom.

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August 1st, 2012 at 7:26 am

Animals and the Olympics

The best athletes in the world have gathered in London for the Olympics and many of us are gathered around our televisions cheering them on. Nearly 11,000 athletes paraded into Olympic Stadium during the opening ceremonies, along with 70 sheep, 12 horses, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, nine geese, three cows, two goats and three sheepdogs. No, these animals are not competitors; they were just part of the “Isles of Wonder” theme of the ceremonies.

But several events at this year’s summer games will feature animal athletes working in conjunction with human athletes. More than 200 horses from 40 countries are scheduled to compete.

Equestrian Events

In the ancient Olympics, chariot racing and horseback riding were key events. Equestrian competitions have been part of the modern Olympics since 1900 and this year will include six events:

  • Eventing, Team Competition
  • Eventing, Individual Competition
  • Dressage, Team Competition
  • Dressage, Individual Competition
  • Olympic Show Jumping, Team Competition
  • Olympic Show Jumping, Individual Competition

In Eventing, (sometimes called horse trials), horses and riders are tested over four days in cross country jumping, dressage, and stadium jumping.

Dressage (sometimes called “horse dancing” or “horse ballet”) is essentially a test of how well a horse and rider have trained to work together. They are judged by a panel of seven international judges on a number of predetermined movements defined by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the governing body for equestrian events. In a little celebrity news, Mitt Romney’s wife, Ann, has a horse named Rafalca that is competing as part of the US men’s dressage team.

Olympic Show Jumping takes place in a riding ring laid out with 10 to 16 jumps. The courses are elaborate and colorful, and the horse/rider team is judged on the fewest jumps knocked down, fewest penalties called, and fastest times.

Pentathlon

The only other Olympic event that features animals is the modern pentathlon, which includes show jumping on horseback (as well as epee fencing, pistol shooting, cross-country running and freestyle swimming).

I hope you and your family are having as much fun watching the athletes compete—human and equine—as we are. For more information on all things Olympic, visit teamusa.org, olympic.org or nbcolympics.com.

Related picture books
G is for Gold Medal: An Olympics Alphabet by Brad Herzog
Horse: The Essential Guide for Young Equestrians by Libby Hamilton

Susan Bearman also writes at Two Kinds of PeopleMike&Ollie: 24-weekers Who Beat the Odds and The Animal Store Blogas well as being a regular contributor to The Chicago Moms and Technorati.

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