Friday, May 26, 2017

Party Planning: Make a List and Check It Twice

You are cordially see the madness that goes into planning Grace's birthday parties. 

I will be the first to admit, I take party planning seriously.  The creativity involved in throwing a themed party feeds my soul.  I thrive on creating details that will make the party truly one of a kind.

After Grace picks a theme, I scour Pinterest for inspiration and start writing out lists.   

My list includes the following:

1. The guest list.  We generally include all the girls from Grace's class, a small selection of friends not in her class and anyone that invited her to their birthday party.  This year, including Grace, we invited 14 girls. 
2. Games/Activities.  I try and make sure all games/activities echo the theme of the party.  Pinterest is a great place to find inspiration.  Some themes are easier to find games to go along with where others may stretch your creativity. 
3. Prizes. When considering games, decide if you'll have prizes for winners. Some of our games resulted in prizes where others did not.  If you opt to give prizes, you may want to bring along additional prizes to take into account if there is a tie for first place. Though prizes are not necessary, if you do give out prizes, kids take the competition seriously, you don't want to find yourself with a shortage of prizes and a disappointed guest.
4. Time Frame. With 2 hours to fill, I like to  A.) Conservatively estimate how long things will take, i.e. how long will each game last, how long for snacks/dessert. This helps me determine if I have planned enough things to do for 2 hours. and B.) Consider the order of events.  What game works best when the girls arrive.  When shifting from game to game, will the girls need to go from sitting at a table to a different location?  Does the order of events flow and make sense? 
5. Time Fillers. Hopefully your party goes off without a hitch...and if it does, you are a better party planner than I am! I always build in time fillers in case a game/activity doesn't go as planned, I have more time than I expected OR guests look like they need to be entertained. My time fillers will include: extra games, maybe games that ended up on the b-list, a coloring sheet or opening presents. 
6. Food. Personally, I prefer to arrange Grace's parties so they do not include a meal.  Last year, I broke this rule and quickly realized in additional to considering allergies, kids can be selective in what they will eat.  I've vowed, now, to only serve desserts and snacks.  Food is an excellent way to continue reinforcing the theme of your party.
7. Party Favors. Party favors generally are loved by kids and hated by parents.  This year, in consideration of the parents, we gave out consumable {delicious} party favors.  Though, one of my favorite party favors Grace has taken home from a party was rock candy and a geode from a rock climbing party. Consider the theme when deciding on your party favors they can be such a fun way to send your guests home.

Then, the best part of writing out your list, marking off each task you've accomplished. Is there anything more gratifying?

Feel free to RSVP to see more details of Grace's party unfold over the next few days.

Can you guess what theme Grace chose?

Thursday, May 25, 2017

In the Blink of an Eye

In the blink of an eye.

Sometimes in life you take a moment, look around, and realize so much has changed, literally, in the blink of an eye.

While Wearing Heels, a blog I started when my sweet little girl was 4, fell to the way side as I tried to embrace the moments of motherhood.  Though I desperately miss the creativity While Wearing Heels brought me and the friendships it led me to making, I have enjoyed watching this little girl grow up, in what feels like the blink of an eye.

I swear, it was just yesterday, this sweet girl was four years old, twirling around in princess dresses.  Now, this little girl is nine years old.  9!  She's still twirling around but I'm aware, in what will feel like the blink of an eye, she'll be before me twirling around in her graduation gown or her wedding dress.

For now, though, I'll enjoy this 9 year old twirling around in this very moment.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fairy Garden Birthday Party

I blinked and this sweet girl turned 7.  SEVEN!

And, the tradition of taking birthday pictures on our front steps continues (to learn more about this tradition, click here).

This year, Grace wanted to have a fairy garden themed birthday party hence the 'have a Fairy happy birthday' front stairs.  Another year, another memorable picture.

This year, instead of obsessing about the weather, worrying that if it rained, I'd be hosting 13 little girls in my house...we decided to have the party at a local nursery.  Rain or shine, 13 little girls would celebrate Grace's birthday...not in my house!

You can take the party out of the girl's house but you can't take the planning out of the girl's heart. SO...even though the party wasn't at our house, I could not forget about all the little details that make a party special.

Centerpieces were all DIY and included some of our newly planted flowers. My husband teased me that I'm one of the only people that would bring my own flowers to a nursery.

Each plant had a bit of fairy whimsy (borrowed from Grace's own fairy gardens).

The tables were covered in vintage linens.


 Pink stained glass butterflies (made by my father in law) completed each table setting.

Grace loves being the center of attention but is generally too quiet to actually command attention.  Being that it was her birthday, it seemed only fitting that all attention should be on her.  As a result, I decided to have all the girls play a 'how well do you know Grace' game.

The game included 20 questions like; What color is Grace's room? (yellow)  What animal is on Grace's backpack?  (peacock)  What is Grace's favorite color? (mint green) What does Grace want to be when she grows up?  (be a vet) What is Grace's favorite animal? (pig)  What is the name of Grace's dog? (Riley)

The competitive nature came out in the girls, each one seriously contemplating their answers, wanting to prove they knew Grace the best.

Where I typically DIY all aspects of Grace's party, I couldn't resist ordering these edible butterflies.

These realistic butterflies were placed on top of each homemade cupcake.

The butterflies were almost too beautiful to eat.   


Other snacks included flower shaped watermelon.  A nice balance to those sugary cupcakes.

When snacks were finished, the fairies stood in a row...

and they began to create their own fairy gardens.

The fairy gardens included a fairy, birdhouse, chair, 3 plants and a pebble road.

When the gardens were complete, I sprinkled fairy dust (aka glitter) into each little girls' palm.  They each thought of a wish and then blew the fairy dust over their fairy gardens.

By the look on this little fairy's face, I'd say her wish came true.

My wish.  Well, my wish is that this sweet little girl stay little for as long as possible.  I don't want to blink and find that she's headed off to college.

In the end, I'm just happy because I do think she had a 'fairy' happy birthday.

Now to start planning next year's party :)

To see details from Grace's 6th birthday, click here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Christmas Cards

Christmas cards.  Each year I look forward to checking the mail to see what Christmas cards are waiting to be opened.  I love seeing pictures of friends and family and reading the occasional newsletter describing the events of the past year. 

My favorite cards, though, are the ones that make me smile. 

I want my card to be one of those that make you smile.

Each year, I try and come up with an unexpected way to bring a smile to friends and families' faces.

This year my inspiration came from a North Pole or Bust picture by Cindy Emerson Photography I saw on Pinterest.

Finding an inspirational theme or idea is easy enough but putting your own spin on it can be a bit more challenging. 

We like to include Riley, our mischievous but adorable dog in our Christmas card.  Years past, when Riley has been omitted from the picture, friends and family expressed their disappointed SO in attempts to not disappoint, Riley is generally included...whether she likes it or not.

In order to cohesively include Riley in the picture, with fever induced clarity, I decided she should be wearing antlers and tote a sign that said, 'will work for food'. 

I'd like to think Grace and Riley would both make it to the North Pole.  Grace would see Santa's workshop while Riley would take the place of a weary reindeer and help fly Santa's sleigh.

No matter how much we begged and bribed Riley did her best to avoid making eye contact with the camera, pouting angrily over being made to sit on the railway stones.

Once she finally did cooperate, we had what I think turned out to be the perfect picture.  Happy little girl, serious stoic and serious little dog.

Of course, had that not worked out, it's always good to have a back up plan.

Fortunately, it worked out.  I can always save this picture for next year.

SO...from my family to yours, have the happiest of holidays. 

Looking forward to seeing you all in 2015.

If you liked our 2014 Christmas card, make sure to check out our 2013 Christmas card and Our Christmas cards of the past.

*No Puggles were harmed during (or after) this photo shoot. All models were fully compensated :).  And, we don't endorse hitchhiking, even if it is to the North Pole.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Gift Baskets On a Budget

'Tis the season to go broke. Falalala la la la. 

Well, hopefully that won't happen which is why I try and think of thoughtful yet frugal things to give as gifts.  This was the case when we discovered we were getting new neighbors!  They closed a week before Christmas when my gift giving budget is at its lowest.  I wanted to give the new neighbors something to make them feel welcome to the neighborhood all while on a budget.

So, I made a trip to Goodwill.  Not necessarily my go to when shopping for gifts but I hoped for some inspiration.

Goodwill generally has a large selection of baskets.  Though I initially worried Goodwill would let me down, I spotted this basket for .99 cents!  It was the perfect size, big enough to fit a few thoughtful things inside but not too big that I'd go broke trying to fill it up.

Having lucked out with the basket, I decided to see what else they might have. It just so happened, the day I went to Goodwill was the same day they marked down all Christmas items 50% off.  Our new neighbors just so happened to be closing the week before Christmas so why not fill their gift basket with some festive finds.

If you're keeping track, the basket was .99 cents, the bough of holly was .99 cents marked down to .50 cents, the believe vase was .99 cents marked down to .50 cents, the gold sleigh was .99 cents marked down to .50 cents, the red ornament was .50 cents marked down to .25 cents and the package of chalkboard tags were .25 cents. I also bought myself a shirt (I couldn't resist browsing for something for me as well!) but that doesn't factor into the $2.99 I invested in the welcome to the neighborhood gift basket I was making.

I also bought a package of cocoa for a few dollars, wrapped some ribbon around a few packets and tucked them into the gold sleigh.

I had some plaid fabric in my 'never seems to dwindle fabric stash' so I quickly sewed up a basket liner and then filled the basket with all my frugal finds.


I might be wrong but I'd like to believe my new neighbors will enjoy their welcome to the neighborhood basket.

With the basket loaded...

*We proudly delivered our gift basket.

All for less than $5.

During this gift giving season, even frugal gifts can have a big impact and be heartfelt.

*In my mind, I had imagined passing the basket along to our new neighbors instantly bonding. In reality, the new neighbors must have decided not to move in prior to Christmas.  Grace got sick and I sat by her bedside tending to her every need.  This pretty basket sat on my counter being admired by me.  I began to worry my festive gift wouldn't get delivered until after Christmas. SO with strict instructions, I told my husband if he had any neighbor spotting to bring them the basket.  Such a spotting was made, while my husband was in tattered working in the garage clothes, wearing what he describes as his 'thug' hat.  The basket was brought over, while in those same tattered clothes and thug hat and the neighbors ignored his knocking.  I suspect they worried he was a random homeless person :)  The basket was left just outside their door and eventually retrieved after the "homeless man" left their front porch...but I'm sure we'll be best of friends as soon as they realize the "homeless man" is harmless.  Then, as soon as Riley starts incessantly barking at them, I'm sure they'll start to avoid us again :)

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Craft Mash-Up

Sometimes, when crafting, you come across the Brangelina of crafts; two crafts from different blogs that seem destined to be made and used together.

Last year, we were obsessed with Inspired by Charm's Colorful DIY Forest.

This year, we couldn't wait to make Parents' Clothespin Skiers.  As soon as they were done, those little skiers couldn't wait to hit the slopes.

Their destination, a mountain covered with whimsical, colorful trees.


I'm not sure what the blogger equivalent to Brangelina would be for this craft mash-up.  Maybe something like 'Inspired by Parents' or 'Parent Inspired Charm'.  Not quite as catchy as Brangelina but I think a much better mash-up.

The best part of this Brangelina craft?  Kids can easily decorate both of them.

Who am I kidding?  The best part of this craft mash-up, how beautifully both Inspired by Charm's Colorful Trees go with Parents' Clothespin Skiers.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Wizard of Oz Elf on the Shelf

Love it or hate it, the Elf on the Shelf is a common fixture in American homes around the holidays AND, yes, our house is one of them. 

Our Elf found himself under our recently made gingerbread house ala Wizard of Oz style.  Clever little Elf. 

As soon as we discovered him, the following ran through my head...

The house began to twitch. 

The kitchen took a slitch.


 It landed on the Wicked Elf on a Shelf in the middle of a ditch.

Which was not a healthy situation for the Wicked Elf on a Shelf.

The house began to pitch.


The kitchen took a slitch.

It landed on the Wicked Elf on a Shelf in the middle of the ditch.

I hope when the Elf returns tomorrow, he does so without a catchy ditty getting stuck in my head. 
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