Party Planning 101

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

| This post was published in cooperation with Paperless Post |
It's no secret I love planning themed birthday parties for my kids. It's not something I ever thought I'd do, and much to my husbands dismay, it's something I seriously enjoy doing! It takes a lot of hands on work, and frugal penny pinching, but the creativity behind planning a party to fit each child's current fave fad, and doing it with them is a lot of fun. 

Whether your throwing an indoor or backyard bash, with a few balloons and streamers, or bringing in the circus tent, today I have for you some tricks of the trade to make it all come together! Hopefully these tips will help keep you on budget, remind you why your throwing this party, and minimize the stress that can come when creating an amazing celebration. 

1. To Theme or Not To Theme? If your first reaction is that a themed party is going to rob you of every penny you own, stop, this is a myth. If you can't afford the marching band, blow up castles, and real life puppy party favors, then like me the dollarstores will be your best friend! You can be as elaborate as you want by doing things yourself, or just picking a theme that the dollarstore carries (princess, sports, Hawaiian, a specific color scheme...). Key point to remember is: know your limit, play within it! 

2. Remember Who Your Celebrating! This party is not about you, put your party planning dreams as aspirations aside for a moment and ask your child what they want. You may be surprised with the idea they come up with and getting them involved adds a whole new level of excitement for their special day. Rylee has picked her last two parties, a princess theme and a royal tea party, and Zach went with Paw Patrol on his third birthday. If your kids aren't old enough to verbalize an idea, go with what they are currently loving or something that you see in them that you want to showcase.

3. It's NEVER Too Early To Plan. Birthdays sneak up on you, if you can plan ahead of time this will be your saving grace! Especially if your a DIY'er! This doesn't mean you have to pick a date, but simply pick your theme, get your pinterest idea board going, and get a head start on some of those time consuming crafts (like a homemade pinata, princess crowns, or party games). Having your idea in your head may save you money too, you never know when you might come across some amazing clearance sale that fits your theme perfectly... and it gives you time to comparison shop while your just going about your regular day to day shopping.

4. Timing is Everything. Choosing what time of day is crucial for a fun filled celebration. Think about your child's nap times, schedule around it, the worst thing you can do is not take their needs into consideration... this correlates with remembering who your celebrating! Birthday Party's are overwhelming to begin with for little people, they are the center of attention, and the last thing you want is them to be throwing the worst kind of temper tantrum because grandma so and so got them the wrong color thingamajig! These episodes can theoretically be avoided with keeping their regular feeding and sleeping schedules in place! 

5. Picking a Date. This is my least favourite thing to do, its hard to find a day that works for everyone. But before making your invitations set in stone be sure to check with those essential guests (whether its that favourite aunt, grandparent, or best friend), you want to do your best to pick a day and time that those important people can be there.

6. Invitations! This is one of my favorite things to do. I have made them myself, I've ordered cards online, and most recently I've teamed up with Paperless Post to create a more eco-friendly alternative to party invitations by going digital for Adelyne's upcoming second birthday! Going digital is definitely more cost effective and in this technology run day and age your going to get a quicker response from people whether they can make it or not. Paperless Post has so many options to choose from and are super easy to customize, it literally took me less than an hour to completely make their "Tropicale" invite fit our "Twotti Fruitti" theme. And bonus, if your not ready to jump full on into the digital world of invites, you still have the option of ordering them to hand out or stick in the mail. And I just have to say my inner party planning nerd LOVES the matching envelope liners... these little pineapples + palms kill me!

| I received free product as compensation for this review. In no way are my words altered, all opinions are 100% my own|

Smile Project : Month Five

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

I'm a bit late with this month shots from the Smile Project. We've had a lot going on, lots of new things a brewing, and blogging for me had to take a back seat. I did, however, take the pictures on time... editing and posting just took until this very moment.

This project is supposed to encapsulate how each kid defines and expresses their joy through smiling. Each month is different just as these tiny humans are different, they change so fast and learn new things almost daily and as the months go on we will see how they change physically and more importantly mentally and emotionally as they develop more understanding of this world.

This month in particular has been short in the joy department, at least for this momma. We have been going through some hard development stages, with each kid trying to assert their independence in different ways, and usually in very patience trying ways. I've yelled and I've cried more than I want to admit! I have not demonstrated love, or patience well to my kids and it has rocked me as a Mother. It encourages me though, looking at these pictures, of my babies, each smiling in their own goofy ways. I haven't broken them, they still love me, I still love them, and we will come out of this with smiles on our faces, together.

Anyways that's just a glimpse of our journey... it's rough and bumpy! Its a time of being challenged, to learn and grow in my own attitudes and behaviour, and for my kids too. Its a season and it shall pass, and when it does we will all be better for it! There is joy in that alone!




Smile Project : Month Four

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Another month has flown by, here we are in month four of our "smile project"! These cuties are getting more and more character (more than I can handle!) and are really  getting the hang of listening to their one instruction of "smile" while I snap one picture. 

My favourite this month is miss Adelyne, she gave her classic smile that I've yet to capture, and I'm so happy this month we got it... forever... we have this girls crazy goofy joy captured!




6 Tips to Make Errands Easier With Kids

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

I have had on occasion (quite often actually) people come up to me in sheer amazement that I'm out and about with my three young kids (5+under). Heck, looking back from where I came from sometimes I amaze myself... not that I have it all figured out or am the perfect mom (I'm SO not), but at least in this area of parenthood I have come a long way.

Truly you wouldn't believe I went through a phase in my early parenting days that I actually could not go to the store with my kid (pre multiple children days). I had to leave Rylee home with Sevio, even the thought of taking her with me threw me over the edge. Running errands turned into such a stressful, unpleasant, and not to mention unproductive event that I just opted for not doing it at all, or waiting till late when she was in bed. Can you say not healthy. Say it... NOT HEALTHY!

We are not meant to holed up in our homes, going slightly loopy because we have a kid(s). Kids are not a burden. Kids have needs that need to be met, and they have seasons of volatility, but they should not debilitate you from living life. You can do things you did prekid days. You can take them with you. You can have an enjoyable experience. And you can... pardon my French... get shit done!

So I've been there, I know how you can feel trapped in your own home, like staying in is a whole lot easier than facing the public eye of your volatile toddler. I've learned some tricks of the trade and hopefully sharing them will help some other mom out there that is feeling like I once did. I can promise your kids won't always behave while your out but if you incorporate some or all of these tips in regular day to day life your outings with your kid(s) can be productive + fun... yes, FUN!

Tip #1 Pretrip Assembly. This means all kids have recently had a snack or meal, all bums are freshly changed, and older children have sat on a toilet. Then your checklist: shoes, jackets, diaper bag, soothers, stroller/carrier... oh and don't forget your luke warm cup of coffee.

Tip #2 Be Prepared. This is crucial for your survival and the enjoyment level of everyone involved! Pack easy snacks (fruit, cut up veggies, granola bars, my homemade kiddie munchie mix, seaweed snack packs... anything your kids will surely eat), water/milk bottles. Kids turn into wild animals when left unfed for too long... hangry mini humans = bad news bears.

Tip #3 Know your limit, play within it. Kids have limits, there's only so much boring adult stuff they can handle. Create opportunities for fun, for us we make a pit stop at the grocery store bakery for a yummy cookie or cheese stick, for recycling day the kids take turns who gets to get out and help (they love it, and their learning to be little helpers... Bonus!), or make a pit stop for 10 or so minutes at the park to run off some of their exuberance. Also trust your mommy senses, you know when things are about to get hairy, it's ok to call it quits before it's too late. (bonus tip: have fun things that live in the car but don't forget to change them up once in a while... ex: books, coloring, small interactive toys)

tip#4 Prioritize. If your a list person, make a list of the most important things you need to get done. Do them first. That way if things turn sideways, and we all know they can and surely will, you will have gotten the most pressing "to do's" handled and can rest at ease that the important stuff has been taken care of. Everything else can wait for another day, no biggie!

Tip #5 Reward Good Behaviour. This doesn't have to mean giving them treats or tangible rewards but I do think its important to recognize and encourage your child when they have behaved well. Fill up their little love tanks with positive affirmation. Be purposeful in recognizing their good qualities and behaviour to build their character up. But treating them to a trip to the local coffee shop for a shared hot chocolate or smoothie once in awhile is great too!

Tip #6 Take it slow.  Doing errands with small kids can get infuriating if we're trying to do too much or trying to rush their small little legs and curiosity along. Enjoy the moments of doing life together, make the time to let them explore and answer their questions. Also take the time to parent them, don't give in to their tantrums... they're smart, it just takes one time of giving in for them to know what to do to get what they want! 

For example, lately Adelyne has been refusing to stay in the grocery cart, she wants me to carry her. Have you ever tried to carry a child while trying to maneuver a cart around a store... no... just no. She's too young to be running free, and isn't to be trusted in the big part of the cart, she is extremely stubborn and is the queen of tantrums (no joke... inconsolable till you give in), so what do I do?! I give her a timeout, we find a spot out of the way and she sits for a 1 or 2 minute timeout right then and there, some may think that's harsh, but holy smokes IT WORKS! She doesn't even cry, she knows she's pushed it too far and does her time, and then she sits in her seat and we move on (*this will not work for every kid... just an example of taking the time to parent your kids in the heat of a moment without running for the hills or giving into their screaming fits)

There you have it, happier less stressful excursions are possible! Now go, get your kids and get out there! ... Good Luck!

10 Must Haves For Baby's First Library

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

What better way to roll through March, the National Reading Month, by collecting some great titles for a new baby! I've made it easy for you by compiling, in my opinion, the top 10 list of must have books for any new little peanut in your life!

Don't think you have to be a expectant/new Mom or Dad for this list to be relevant for you... I tell you some of our favourite baby shower/birthday gifts for the kids have been books! Maybe we're just book nerds, but heck, books are something that I cherish for the snugly bonding memories they create.

All of these books are great in their own way, some are classics, and some are newbies in the book realm but still very much goodies! Check them out!

Top 10 Must Have Book For Babies First Library
| fyi this post contains affliate links |

1. Goodnight Moon
by Margaret Wise Brown

The quintessential bedtime book! Bold yet simple illustrations hold your little one's attention while you subtly lull them to sleep with the sweet rhythms of this book.

by Sam McBrainey

Oh how great it is when your child starts grasping how far and wide your love can go, all the way to the moon... and back.

by Eric Carle

Take a stroll down memory lane as this is very likely a favourite from your own childhood. Who doesn't love the hungry caterpillar, he eats his way through the pages right to your heart!

by Kate Merritt

The perfect book for any baby! The artwork is so colorful and let me just rave about how they are 100% Waterproof, chew proof, rip proof, non toxic and washable!

By Robert Munsch 

This classic captures a mothers everlasting love for her son and it will undoubtedly pull on your heart strings every single time you read it. 

by Christie Matheson 

An interactive book for you and your toddler. Watch the pages come alive as your child taps, shakes, and jiggles the seasons to change. 

by Robert Munsch

A classic but not so typical fairy tale. It's a tale of courageous princess set to conquer a dragon to save her uh.... not so charming prince.

by Dr. Seuss

It's not your standard "ABC's", how could it be, it's Dr. Suess after all! Go against the traditional "A is for Apple" with this rhythmic complex tongue twister!

by Sandra Boynton

Who knew hippos rockin' crop tops and bare bellies could be so cute. You and your little will forever be calling your belly button "Bee bo" from here on out.

10. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld

Not only do you get to learn the name of those big tractors and trucks your kiddo is so enthralled with, but its also the perfect book to unwind with right before bed.
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