How To Have A Happy Birthday

You know the best way to have a birthday party for your kid? Let them be a kid.

My girl just turned 7 and she had a FANTASTIC birthday. It wasn’t at a giant venue with bounce houses, trampolines, magician’s, a petting zoo, or any other organized type of event. Those are fun, and we’ve been to many.

But it’s not her thing.

I asked her what she wanted- if she wanted to go to a place with a bounce house or trampolines, or a petting zoo.

She wanted to have her friends come to her house and have different craft activities. AND a pinata….can’t forget the pinata!

So that’s what we did, and the kids had SUCH. A. BLAST. that I actually had to call the parents and tell them to come pick their kids up an hour LATER it that was okay. My husband said, “do you think they’ll be able to change with such short notice?” Through my hysterical laughter I could hear my phone start immediately buzzing with incoming texts, all saying, “FINE BY ME!”

I am all about simple, because most of the time my life feels anything but. So here are my tips for throwing a super fun, low key, simple birthday party where the kids will have a blast and you will keep your sanity

  1. Limit the numbers. You don’t need to invite your child’s entire class in order for her to have a great time. Our rule of thumb is she can invite the same number of friends as her age. This year, it was 7. But she ended up just asking that her 4 best friends be there. And they had a GREAT. TIME. A small group ensures everyone gets to hang out.
decked out

Colorful hair chalk (washes right out!), leis from the dollar store and they were decked out.

2.  Don’t over schedule. Kids are great at entertaining themselves. When the girls arrived, they head off to my daughters room where they were fully engaged in some game that involved many items to be strewn all over the floor. But they were laughing and no one came out saying they were bored. My daughter is a big arts and crafts girls and all she wanted was “a couple of craft activities set up, like in centers.” What, is she a teacher?? So I had 2 planned activities and they had such a great time and got so into them that i had to call the parents and have them come an hour later because they hadn’t finished their project. Believe me, not a single parent bawlked at having to delay picking up their child. One parent, when they arrived; “Oh my god that was the best text I ever got! I took a nap!”

tie dye

A tie dye party was my daughters idea. Make sure you warn parents not to send them in their party best! It’s MESSY!

3. Keep it simple. Kids are easy to please. Usually when things get too complicated its because we are trying to make ourselves feel good about everything we’ve planned. But for realz, they don’t care. As long as there is cake, they are good. We tie dyed some shirts, decorated some hats, had a pinata and boom, party success.

hats

Hats, fabric markers, BOOM. Simple activity.

5. You can’t go wrong with a pinata. Seriously- kids go crazy over candy and cheap plastic toys. It’s like they have won the lottery. These days they have those pinata’s that you just pull a string and the right one will open it up and the candy will spill out. I thought that idea was great, and last year we had one, but this year I went with the old school hit it with a stick while you are blindfolded method. And I kid you not, when I brought out the stick and told them what they were going to do, a few started saying, “uh-uh, that is NOT safe!” Like they’ve never had broom sword fights in their living room and busted up a lamp.

pinata

Give a kid a big stick and they are bound to bust something…..

4. Smile, and have a drink. ENJOY YOURSELF! This is your celebration, too. Sit back and look at how wonderful your kid is and then cheers to you, for doing such a kick ass job.

hair did

The smile on her face let me know the party was a success!

Do you have any tips for surviving planning your kids birthday? Would love to hear them!

 

Have a great crazy day!

Summer Days

Ahhhh. Summer. Relaxing days at the pool. Evenings spent on the patio with a cool fruity adult beverage. Husband grilling up dinner. This is summer living.

Everyone has their “summer activity list”. You know the ones, they pop up at the beginning of each summer, listing all the fun things to do in summer with your kids.

I have found, though, that these lists are not really reflective of my summer. Even my own list that I created is not an accurate picture of what goes on in my family during the summer. I thought I would update portions of my list to show what the summer for a family of young kids truly looks like.  This is a more realistic list of how those “fun” summer activities get checked off my list.

  1. Spend the day by the pool. I will take my book, fully understanding it will remain in my bag because I will be too busy adjusting goggles and “watching this” to read more than a sentence. Also, no matter how many times we reapply sunscreen, some random bright red spot where we clearly missed will pop up.
  2. Have a picnic in the park. I will have grand plans of chicken salad sandwiches, and a fresh fruit salad . In the morning, I will realize I have run out of mayo for the sandwiches and will need to make a “quick” trip out to the store. When I get home, I actually read the entire recipe and realize I skipped over the whole “boil chicken” part. Once the boiling of chicken is complete it is now noon and the kids are whining for their lunch. I give them fruit snacks and leftover pizza and have them eat in the backyard. Picnic, CHECK!
  3. Go for a hike. Before going for the hike, make sure to study which trail is for “beginners” so that the 3yo can complete it without being on someone’s shoulders for 3/4 of the hike. Even with intense studying of map, I will end up taking a wrong turn, resulting in the last 3/4 of the hike being for “experts” and the 3yo will be on our shoulders. Oh, and I will forget the bug spray or the sunscreen, or both, leading to miserable scratching of massive bug bites or sunburn that will keep the kids up all night. We will stay indoors the rest of the summer watching “Dora the Explorer.”
  4. Go to an amusement park. Spend the day filling my children with sugar, taking them on rides that will make them throw up, and spend a lot of money on carnival games resulting in a buttload of very cheap stuffed animals.
  5. Visit cultural exhibits on a rainy day. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! Once you realize you are never finding a parking space remotely near a museum, you head home, make a huge vat of Sangria and part the kids in front of the TV.
  6. Make homemade lemonade. Watch as your kids make puckered faces and spit it out. Buy a case of extremely sweet lemonade that doesn’t seem to have any traces of actual lemons in it. Sit back and experience your kids bouncing off the walls after drinking this “less than 10% real fruit juice”.
  7. Pitch a tent in the backyard for a camp out. Spend 4 hours setting up the tent for 10 minutes of kids being in it before claiming it is “too scary”, “too dark”, “too outsides-y” and they come back inside.
  8. Have a water balloon fight. Spend hours tying together balloons because in true parenting fail you forgot that even though velcro shoes are a nice alternative, there are other reasons to teach your children how to tie something in a knot. Then listen to your kids as they cry because the other one threw something at them and got them all wet.
  9. Go to the liquor store. Your summer budget of going to the liquor store only one time a week is blown out the window. Spend evenings sending recipes of tasty drink recipes to your Pinterest page and learn 10 ways to make a pitcher of sangria.
  10. Hire a babysitter. Because you are ALL DONE with summer.

Have a great crazy day!

Silly, Sweet, Sassy, and…..SEVEN!

Well, well, well. Look who’s seven today.

bday girl

This of course calls for a super special 6am celebration of birthday ice cream. Song and all.

My girl with the bright blue eyes and sweet smile.

Mahlie

 

bedhead

Who also happens to be super sassy.

sassy

She is known on occasion to be super silly.

silly

She is an adored sister.

sis

She is my sweets who loves her sweets.

sweet

She’s grown to be strong and self confident.

sweets

But still super serious about her books.

read

She’s my super girl.

 

Have a great crazy day!

That’s What She Said

You know how when your kid says something that isn’t funny, but the WAY they say it, MAKES it funny? And you know how that thing they are saying isn’t really all that appropriate to be yelling out in public, so the less attention you give it the better?

Right. So I’m failing at that.

This isn’t the first time I’ve failed at parenting. Failing at parenting is actually something I am quite good at.

If you remember, way back when, my older daughter took to whispering to me, “I HAVE A PENIS!” and I would burst out laughing and could not stop. I give it all caps because that indicates a child whisper, which is not a whisper at all but more like a scream that can be heard by the neighbors.

Fortunately, over time, she stopped. It had nothing to do with me stopping laughing every time she said it, I think she just thought to herself, “too easy, and now this is boring, so I am going to start running through the yard naked and see how that goes.”

I digress.

I now find myself in a similar situation with my youngest. It started innocently enough. I had a routine when tucking my daughter in to bed. It went something like this:

I would cover her up and say, “Now your feet are going to bed” and I would squeeze her feet; “Now your legs are going to bed” and I would squeeze her legs; “Now your shoulders are going to bed” and I would squeeze her shoulders. I would end by saying, “now your head is going to bed” and I would kiss her on her head.

One night, she turned over, looked at me, smiled and said, “Is my bagina going to bed?”

I tried, oh I tried SO. HARD. not to laugh. But my cheeks started twitching and my eyes started tearing and I just couldn’t stop it.

Now, in the same vein as her sister, she comes up to me and says, “Hey mommy, BAGINA!” and I am helpless. HELPLESS.

I have created a monster. It is now her favorite word. She replaces words in songs with it. Example:

“Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-BAGINA!”

Or makes it into a joke:

“Knock Knock”

“Who’s there?”

“BAGINA!”

This is my own fault, I realize this. I try walking away, she just runs after me, repeating it louder and louder. I hide in my room, she lays down and yells it from under the door.

Anyways, that is my most recent colossal parenting fail; failing to get my child to not say bagina.

Have a great crazy day!

 

Celebrate Good Times

Well, that went by fast! I had every intention of posting about our great 4th weekend, but summer got in the way and I was busy having a glass of wine on the patio instead of inside on my computer. Alas…here we go. A wee bit late, but perhaps everyone else is on summer time along with me.

We celebrated the 4th by….staying home. We barely left the house! In years past we’ve spent it at the beach, or gone to a big BBQ or gone to the pool for the majority of the weekend. This year- we parked it at our house. No grand plans to prepare for, no packing up the kids. It was a welcome change from the constant plans we’ve had so far this summer.

Yet, it was just as busy. I do have 2 kids and staying home and kicking up your feet and relaxing doesn’t compute to them. So I broke out Pinterest and did my best at creating a fun weekend for them, while maintaining my sanity and getting some sort of relaxing in for myself.

My girls are a crafty couple, so I hit up Michael’s to stock up on enough supplies to keep the house good and messy for a another 2 weeks. I will be finding pom-pom’s and glitter in all corners of the house until Christmas. A friend asked me where I get all my craft ideas and I laughed and said, “I just throw out a couple art supplies and say, MAKE A MESS!” and consider the end result “art”. In all seriousness, I have included links to craft activities my kids did over the weekend here, here, and here.

paint

Firework Art, otherwise known as “water fight with paint”. Don’t wear your 4th of July best for this one.

art

The result of all that paint flinging. Not pictures, the clothes that immediately needed to go in the laundry.

Flag

Gluing pom-poms onto things are way harder than you would imagine. Except to your fingers. They will absolutely stick to your finders. And your hair. But on the things you WANT to stick them too? A lot harder.

tyedye

Be warned: Tye Dye does NOT come off your fingers for a good week. And it will not come out of your most comfortable pair of shorts in forever.

dog

We decided to have a 4th of July Parade, and Oscar, who we were dog-sitting, was our mascot. He may not have exactly volunteered and he may have jumped out of the wagon 5 seconds after this photo and shredded his outfit.

parade

Our parade consisted of one decorated wagon and 3 participants. But they were DECKED.OUT.

Fourth of July was Evan’s favorite holiday, so we always get fireworks and sparklers for him and like to think he’s watching our fun from heaven.

fireworks

Sarah doesn’t like loud noises, so fireworks are not her thing. So i asked the guy at the fireworks stand for fountains that were “quiet”. The one labled “TNT” should have tipped me off they were not going to be quiet. Even the one that says “quiet” didn’t quite live up to its name. Safe to say Sarah bolted out of there and remained hidden in her room for the duration.

sparks

It’s not a celebration until we give our kids something really hot that could likely result in them burning their fingers.

Holiday celebrations also wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t make enough food for 20 people when we are having exactly 0 people come over. I’d link the recipe for the pulled pork, but I leave the grilling/smoking to my husband.

butt

I made a huge batch of pasta that I thought would last all weekend for lunches for the girls. But all of a sudden Sarah “hates” pasta and Mahlie made us question her parentage when she declared she hates bacon. No worries, more for me. Link to recipe here.

pasta

We are also big on frozen treats. Stick some fruit in juice, freeze it, and our kids think it’s the best snack in the world! You don’t really need a recipe for that, I just used lemonade and put in raspberries and blueberries. But for some festive frozen treats for your kids see here and here. For a festive adult treat, see here.

SJ3M

I hope everyone had a great holiday!

Thank Goodness For Little Girls

I’ll give them this- my girls are cute. Blond hair, blue eyes….I can’t deny they are pretty girls. When they are all dressed up and put together, they are adorable.running

But there is “the other side” of little girls. They are not all pink dresses and pretty bows in their hair.

They are stinky.

575

And messy

.560

 

 

And dirty.

588And like to play in dirt.

571

And they most definitely like to talk about poop. They can keep up, and probably surpass, any boy in talking about gross things that come out of your body. The smells, the stenches, the poops, the pees. It is a favorite topic, most often discussed at dinner time. There are giggles and guffaws, because one cannot say “poop” or “toot” with out falling out in peals of laughter.

This weekend, they made me some clay “art”.

toiletsYes, those are toilets. Filled with poop. They were very proud of their creations and I was just glad they weren’t drawings because I am sure they would have asked for them to be displayed on the refrigerator. In their defense, my mom’s favorite drawing of mine from when I was their age is of a dog, taking a poop. So clearly, runs in the family.

Thank goodness for little girls, right? #likeagirl #myspecialkindofcrazy

A video posted by My Special Kind of Crazy (@specialcrazymom) on

Have a great crazy day!

So You Think You Can Dance

The other day my daughter burst through the door, flailing in excitement, kicking off her shoes, dropping all her belongings on the floor and yelling “MOOOOOMMMMYYYY! I have something to SHOOOOOWWWW YOU!”

I am thinking to myself, “Super, another art project/homework assignment she’s proud of that I get to figure out how to sneak into the recycling.” Oh no, it was MUCH more exciting than that.

She is trying out for the school talent show.

My child, the one that would go hide in the corner when it was her turn for “show and share”, the one that would hide behind my legs for the first hour when going to visit at friends’ house, the one who would shut down and bury her head in my stomach when strangers would greet her in the grocery store, she is trying out for the talent show. And she is EXCITED about it.

I was so proud of her and so happy that she is taking the initiative to do this on her own that I almost got teary.

Then I thought, “what is her talent going to be?”

“Well, my friend Amelia is going to play her violin and Ingrid and I are going to do ballet.”

My friends, have you SEEN my child do her “ballet”?

Let me remind you:

 

My girl, doing her own thing. #familyroadtrip #vacation #myspecialkindofcrazy

A video posted by My Special Kind of Crazy (@specialcrazymom) on

Don’t get me wrong- her dancing is WONDERFUL. It brings a huge smile to my face and brightens my day.

She just likes to do her own thing, regardless of what the music is or what everyone else is doing. She truly dances to her own beat, which should absolutely be celebrated.

#danceparty #myspecialkindofcrazy

A video posted by My Special Kind of Crazy (@specialcrazymom) on

I am not sure if she will make it past the audition stage of the talent show, but if she does, I will be there and I will cheer and I will be one proud momma. And if for one second it looks like things are going to hell in a hand-basket, I will pull a parenting move straight out of Little Miss Sunshine:

Have a great crazy day!