Thursday, March 31, 2011

The 30 Days Project

A good friend of mine had recently blogged about starting this 30 Day Project. It is not normally something that I would do. However, I am quite intrigued by it. So, I decided to follow her awesome footsteps and attempt the project myself.

The 30 Days Project

Day 01- A recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself
Day 02- The meaning behind your Blog name
Day 03- A picture of you and your friends
Day 04- A habit that you wish you didn’t have
Day 05- A picture of somewhere you’ve been to
Day 06- Favorite super hero and why
Day 07- A picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you
Day 08- Short term goals for this month and why
Day 09- Something you’re proud of in the past few days
Day 10- Songs you listen to when you are Happy, Sad, Bored, Hyped, Mad
Day 11- Another picture of you and your friends
Day 12- How you found out about Blogger and why you made one
Day 13- A letter to someone who has hurt you recently
Day 14- A picture of you and your family
Day 15- Put your iPod on shuffle: First 10 songs that play
Day 16- Another picture of yourself
Day 17- Someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why
Day 18- Plans/dreams/goals you have
Day 19- Nicknames you have; why do you have them
Day 20- Someone you see yourself marrying/being with in the future
Day 21- A picture of something that makes you happy
Day 22- What makes you different from everyone else
Day 23- Something you crave for a lot
Day 24- A letter to your parents
Day 25- What I would find in your bag
Day 26- What you think about your friends
Day 27- Why are you doing this 30 day challenge
Day 28- A picture of you last year and now, how have you changed since then?
Day 29- In this past month, what have you learned
Day 30- Your favorite song.

The house is still standing...

Our Little One officially turned 3 years old this week. Her birthday party was held last Saturday. I like to think it was a hit with my daughter and her friends. And our house is still standing!!!

I tried to keep the party on the level of a 3 year old on all aspects... activities, decorations, background music, and food. I've heard various compliments about the party so I thought I would share with you on what I did.

The Hubby was the person in charge for establishing the background music. We did not go with just jungle themed music. We wanted to make sure that the music was one... not really annoying to the adults of the party as well as provide a recognizable / danceable mix for the young ones. We mainly stuck to the Imagination Movers music as well as music from various Disney movies.

For the food, the two parties that the Little One went to had pizza for the main food. So, I definitely wanted to do something different. So, I kept the food to be finger food type: pretzels, cheese, grapes, strawberries, chips n' salsa, veggie tray with ranch dressing, sandwich cookies, and animal crackers. For drinks, I had juice boxes for the youngsters and lemonade & soda for the adults. Of course, we had an awesomely delicious jungle themed cake from Coccadott's. I made sure the cake was large enough for adults and kids alike! (Sorry for the lack of pictures... they are still on The Hubby's digital camera.)

We kept the decorations pretty simple. We were expecting close to 30 people (kids & adults) so we didn't want to waste too much room with decorations. Our dining room table is pretty high so it wasn't feasible for the kids to use that for eating and activities. So, I laid down a dark green blanket on the living room floor. "Cinnamon" and I (with slight help from the Little One) made pillows for the kids to sit on out of animal print material the weekend prior. This was a great idea for the kids. It didn't quite work out with the food for the some of the kids wanted to use Little One's Tinkerbell table. That table wasn't large enough for all the kids so some of the kids did sit on the floor like a picnic. I had helium-filled balloons in various points of the main two rooms of the party. We had jungle animal cutouts taped to the wall (SN: We have been lazy. The animals are still taped on our walls.) The lion pinata hung from the ceiling. For favors, I handed out a small 8" stuffed jungle animal to each kid at the end.

As for activities, some prep work was needed. I made some binoculars out of toilet paper rolls, construction paper, yarn, and green-colored cellophane. I made each set a different color so the kids can easily pick theirs out. I also cut out the pieces from construction paper so that the kids can make a lion face mask. The kids decorated their binoculars with a variety of stickers. After they were done, I sent them around the house for them to find various animals by looking through their binoculars. I also gave each kid an animal visor to wear as they were going around the rooms to find the animals. The kids then tackled the craft project of making the lion faces. This required a little more hands on with the adults than I realized. Luckily, each parent helped their child out. The Hubby even got on the floor to help our Little One so I could help out all the kids. The projects and "hunting" basically took up the majority of the time. After snacks, we did try to have the kids to break open a pinata. I would say that was the most disappointing part (on my behalf). The kids enjoyed hitting the "lion" with the stick. However, the stupid thing wouldn't break open! A couple of the adults took a swing at it too with no avail. We ended up having to break it open for the kids. The candy still fell and the kids still scrambled for the goodies. The kids were happy but it would have been nice though if the pinata "worked" properly. After the cake, we did have the Little One open gifts. There was only ten minutes left from the two hour window that the invitation stated. So, we had the Little One open the gifts from her little friends first for we figure if anyone left first, it would be them. That seemed to work out pretty well. And, they were the ones to leave early (for I'm sure it was time for the kids to get home for a nap).

Overall, we all had a wonderful time. Our house was filled with lots of people in all aspects of our  (and our daughter's) lives. It was filled with laughter (both adults & kids) and smiles! It was nice to actually see first hand those that care about her. I am extremely grateful that we have surrounded ourselves with such amazing individuals!

Thank you to everyone who came to the party ... and for those few that helped with the preparations beforehand. *hugs*

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

It is quite possible that I have lost my mind.

Little One’s birthday is coming up. I can’t believe that she is going to be 3!! I had wondered often (much to The Hubby’s dismay) on whether I should invite her friends from daycare. She talks about them all the time and each person is described as her “favorite” friend at one point another during any given week. I was a bit hesitant to take that next step in birthday party-dom. So, I had originally planned on keeping it with family & friends.

Recently, the Little One received a couple of birthday party invites from her daycare peeps. Woot! I’m actually looking forward to experiencing this with her. Crazy I know… and it’s quite obvious that I am a first time mom.

I decided that this was a sign that I can extend her party invites to her daycare friends too for her party! I’m pretty excited about this… I am also pretty nervous about it. After doing some research, I decided to hold the party at home rather going to some place such as Jeepers, Chuck E. Cheese, etc. Main reason? Money! Those places can be quite expensive and she is still quite young. It seems those places are better for kids that are older.

However, that leaves me the task of planning a birthday party to the nth degree so that my 3 year old and her friends do not get bored and start tearing down the house. I’m rather attached to my house. I hope that I’m up to the task!

So, if you have experienced this part of party planning and/or have some ideas, please leave me a comment! I would love to hear it.

I’m going with a Jungle animal theme for the party. The Little One has been really into the Lion King lately and I thought it would be a nice theme for boys and girls.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Dear reader(s),

I would like to offer my apologies for my absence. It has been quite a couple of weeks for me. I’m finding it a bit difficult in getting back into the swing of things.

The Hubby and I were on our way to our annual trek to Potsdam, NY when I received the dreaded phone call that my grandfather has passed away. It was strange at first. I really didn’t seem to have much of a reaction. I called my sister to make sure that she knew. I even called my brother to make sure that he knew and whether he had a place for us to crash. We continue to drive north on our way to "Cinnamon’s" house. The Little One was still singing and enthusiastically reminding us that she was on her way to a slumber part at "Cinnamon’s" house. I finally broke down into silent tears in the car. It seems silly now but I didn’t want to upset my daughter’s happy ecstatic mood. She was literally skipping through her daycare when we went to pick her up for her weekend excursion.

I knew that the days ahead were going to be hard. I guess in an effort to postpone it more I decided that we will continue on our trip and let the Little One stay the weekend with "Cinnamon". During the weekend activities, I tried to keep it to myself for I didn’t want a bunch of sympathy well wishes. I also didn’t want to dampen the weekend for anyone. As you can imagine, I wasn’t quite myself. I either kept quiet to myself or try to overcompensate with joking around/talking.

We picked up the Little One on Sunday, stopped at the house to repack our clothes and made the trek back to my hometown. It was good to see everyone. It is a real shame that I do not get to see a lot of people unless it is for a funeral, wedding, or Thanksgiving. (I really need to make an effort to make more trips back in hopes that my daughter gets to know my family and vice versa.) My cousins helped me out by filling in the names with the somewhat familiar visitors during viewing hours. It is amazing how much a person can change. The Little One actually helped some people to recognize me for she looks a lot like how I used to look at her age. In fact she noticed the similarities, for at one point, she pointed out that I looked like her but with brown glasses while looking at some of the old photos they had posted around the funeral home.

As I described in the post on February 4th, I really wanted to remember grandpa as the man he was. It was a bit hard for they did have an open casket. I couldn’t make myself to go up to it. The Hubby as well as some of my other relatives offered to go up with me… but I just couldn’t. Unfortunately, I still have an image in my head for I couldn’t avoid looking at him even at a distance.

Needless to say, we are back home. This is the first full week of “normalcy” around the household. Although, I miss my family dearly, I am glad to be back home.