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Sunday, January 25, 2015

Lego Party

There is no rest for the weary when Thanksgiving is late in the month of November.  I had just gotten done hosting that holiday when I had to gear up to get my oldest's party planned out and then plan for Christmas the following week. He finally committed to a Lego themed party and I happily obliged. This was his first "school" friends party where the adults left their kids and not just our family friends and it was a lot smoother than I thought it would be.

Pinterest again gave me tons of ideas, so head there after here if you're planning a Lego party yourself.

You'll have to excuse my amateur photography below, but that job was assigned to my husband that day and he did the best he could.

Decor: 
Super simple and cheap!  I cut up vinyl table cloths in rectangle shapes and taped on coordinating colored paper plates for my backdrop wall.  They ended up looking like giant Legos and took barely any time.  Other than that, I stuck with primary colors.  I found that I'm able to reuse lots of items over and over again for parties that are primary colors which is great when I have extras of things left over.

 

Food:
I just had chips, veggies, and pizza for the boys along with cake and marshmallow pops.  I can't do a successful crumb coating to save my life, probably because I'm not patient enough to let it set, but the cake turned out pretty cute I think.  I used THIS video as a tutorial and guide.

The marshmallow pops were another easy task.  I just used candy melts and m&m's as the top knob of their heads.  I had edible markers to draw the faces on.  They didn't work that great, but they'd been in the cupboard awhile so that might be a reason.  No worries though because the boys loved the expressions on them and gobbled them up.

I specifically bought yellow cups and allowed the boys to draw their own Lego faces on them.  They loved this idea too.The punch was just frozen limeade and cranberry Sierra Mist with some sherbert added.  It did the job of wiring up the kids perfectly. 

*Disclaimer - You can see the details here, but I implore you to make the host of the party aware if your child has a food allergy.

Activities:
Besides the faces on cups, I had 3 other games.  Yes, 3, however they were super simple and not time consuming at all.

1) Guess how many Legos- Alex loved prepping for this by counting out 176 Legos by himself to put into a vase.  As guests came arrived they just wrote their guess on a slip of paper.  The prize was a small Lego set.

2) Lego Memory Board- Alex also helped prepare this by gathering some distinct Lego items and putting them on a large green Lego plate.  I let the kids look at the board for about 30 sec.-1 min. before covering it back up and they then had to recall what the objects were.  The adults helped them write, but the game seemed perfectly aligned with 1st grade skills.  I was surprised at how clever the winner of this game was, he actually drew a small picture of each object versus writing down the word and he got them all!  Again the prize was a small Lego set.

3) Lego Punch Box- The punch box seems to be a popular party pin idea and I used it to fit my theme to make it look like a Lego.  I had 8 holes, 1 for each guest.  I used an old diaper box, cut 8 holes, and wrapped it up with a vinyl table cloth that matched tissue paper I had.  Then I configured the inside with shelves made of more reused cardboard lying around in my recycling bin.  I then applied tissue paper over each hole.  Behind each hole was a small Lego set they got as their favor.  They punched out a hole and claimed their prize as they left the party.  As you can imagine this was a huge hit with the kids.  And as a bonus, we kept the box as a Nerf target for the boys.

I know Alex really enjoyed himself and it was so cute how he kept showing off all the stuff that we had planned out.  I could tell he was really proud and pleased, which of course makes all the chaos worth it for me.

The only tip I'll leave you all with is that if you know in advance you're doing a Lego Party, scope out deals on Lego party favors.  I got some that were on clearance and on sale and made it worth the investment to get every guest a small set vs. junk in a goodie bag.


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Saturday, January 10, 2015

2015 Goals - Where's My Head At?


Well 2015 is now a full week upon us and so far, so good.  Like many of you out there I like to try and give myself a list of resolutions and accomplishments I hope to achieve the next 365 days, give or take a few.

I welcome 2015 with open arms.  2014 was awesome with the birth of Cora and everything with family coming up roses.  Hell, even work was pretty darn good for 2014 which was a drastically needed change from 2013. Yet, as the months ticked on after March, I could feel myself slipping away. By the time September hit, I was finding myself having to admit some hard truths to myself and I eventually did by the time the year ended.  I didn't like the conversations I was having with myself and that is what needed to change.  Perhaps it has something to do with postpartum and all the mixed up hormones running through my body, but I'm taking my body and my mind back.

So, taking a cue from my bestie, I have decided that only there is one thing I need to work on this year.  (Ok, she has 3, you can read about them here).


Mindful of what my negative mind is saying.

            You’re not OK

Yes, I actually am OK.  None of the petty things that I bother my mind with are making me a bad person. I’ve got all the BIG things I need in this world. I am mindful of the big picture and the whole perspective of what could be happening in my life that isn’t and I’m grateful for that.  I am enjoying the person I am and am growing to be every day.  I don’t need validation from anyone for my thoughts and beliefs.

You should be doing ________ instead

I am living in the present moment instead of beating myself up constantly thinking I should be doing more or something else.  If I am playing with my kids I am not going to think about how mess the house is.  If I skip the gym, I am still a good person.  If I take forever finishing a project, it’s OK because it gave me peace while I was doing it and I’ll get back to it eventually. The self-inflicted guilt trip I have with myself is exhausting.  I know I am doing the best I can.  I am making my own choices and I am responsible for them. I have no regrets on choices I have made, so why do I beat myself up about things.  I am not doing that anymore.  

I’m worried about them

Why? They are adults and can handle themselves. They are responsible for their own decisions and choices just as you are.  I don’t need to absorb their drama as my own.  I can still be good and loyal to them. I can still care for someone without judging them or their decisions. I need to set up boundaries from the situation and the person.  Their actions are nothing personal to do with me. I can voice my opinion and it is OK and healthy for our relationship if we disagree.  It is not my job to fix someone else.

Mindful of what my body is saying.

am I hungry or is it just boredom or stress? 

Most likely it is stress. So I'll address that vs. consuming calories.

am I thirsty for water or a Coke? 

Most likely it is really water I need, but I don't have a daily habit of Coke so I am not going to beat up myself when I have one.

I am stiff and sore

I need to move more, hit the gym or stretch, get that blood moving

I am exhausted

Stop cheating myself out of sleep.  Not rest, but actual sleep that my body is begging for. 

Taking care of myself and my body is an ongoing process.  I know that I could physically be in better shape and health, however until I stop the evil conversations I have towards myself, no amount of working out or cutting calories will help.  I am starting with working on my mind first and I have a feeling the other things physically will fall in line after that.

Mindful of when my heart is full

            I feel great!

There are lots of times that I feel great and I need to not let them be outweighed by the negative times or thoughts.  My heart is full and I am blessed beyond belief.  That is my reality and I need to enjoy it as it happens. I am happy for others and that fills me up.  When my heart speaks to me in this way all is right in my world and I can go forth projecting that towards others.  I really enjoy so much in my life so eat it up!

So that’s it.  I am going to be more mindful this year. I know that by making this my focus, that I will gain a better relationship with myself and that I just might even be comfortable in my own skin someday. 

This post might have read a little quirky, but it makes sense to me and well, that's all that matters.  Good luck with your 2015!




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Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014 Goals - Where I ended up

While reviewing my goals from the past year, I managed to successfully fat-finger my keyboard and erased my entire 2014 Goals post. Crap.

I got a quick peek of them before the slipped away from me.

Here's what I did accomplish:
  1. I had a baby - a beautiful baby girl, Cora
  2. I ran one 5K in the spring, not too bad for about 8 weeks post partum
  3. I had a girls weekend scrapbooking
  4. We booked our summer rental
  5. I met my BFF's adorable little girl
  6. Cameron was potty trained (a week after Cora was born, just in time)
 Here's what I didn't accomplish:
  1. I didn't read 3 books, not even fun ones - I blame my netflix binging
  2. We didn't scale back Christmas as much as I'd hoped, but it was slightly scaled down
  3. I didn't obtain my pre-pregnancy weight by our anniversary.  I did achieve this for the first 6 weeks of Cora's life, but then I managed to put on a cool 15 pounds.  Nursing takes off the pounds my ass.  Depressing.
  4. I didn't get as far as I'd like to scrapbooking, however I am loving the new project life system and I finished 2011's book.
  5. I am still working on Cameron's blanket. It is a hobby that lends itself more to winter anyways, I've still got lots of skeins to go on it though.
All in all, 2014 was amazing for me.  My family became complete, my family stayed healthy, the job has been 1000x better, loved ones around me shared many joys, and I have my dream kitchen now too.  That said, 2014 seemed to be stirring up things with me the past 8 weeks of the year.  We'll see where those things all end up, but I can tell it won't be an easy fix.  Maybe I'll share more about that later. It definitely made up for 2012.

Stay tuned for my 2015 Goals list.

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Pro-Tip: They Aren't Twins


In light of the gift-giving season...

Don't buy 2 of the same item for gifts

by this I mean, if you have two kids close in age and the same gender, don't treat them like twins and buy them the same gifts to be "fair".  They don't need 2 cars in the different color, 2 of the same action figure, 2 of the same lego sets, 2 of the same gift if it is easily something they can both enjoy together. Save a parent a little sanity here please.  Any gift is appreciated, but this is really best for all of those involved.




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Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Gift Reviews

Let's recap from my Easy Gift post and see how things ended up this year. I did ok.  Budget wise I blew it, but stuff wise, actually wasn't too bad. I don't have Santa's remorse yet.

Even though I still struggle with spoiling my kids, I realized by reading this article, that I do indeed spoil my children mostly for myself.  This year my niece and nephew are 14 and 11 and only request gift cards or money.  No more waking up and them running into my brother's room yelling "Santa came!". No more mystery as many relatives already have disclosed to them what they are getting. No toys. So knowing that the future holds that course, I am ok with spoiling them for now and donating all of their unused toys.  Christmas morning now is more for me than it is for them, as I think it begins to be for any parent.

Any who...back to the gifts...

Read:
a chapter book, a sticker book and a board book
Want:
These were the “Santa” gifts a Lego set for each boy and a crawling playset for Cora, a diary was also requested by my oldest
Need:
Pajamas were on this list for all of them, can’t ever seem to have enough of those
Create:
Magnaformers, a Cash register, Dress up police uniform, Spirograph kit, and a doctor kit are keeping their imaginations going
Eat:
Some candy goodies, a box of Frozen cereal and a box of hot chocolate muffins
Play:
I’ll put the WiiU in this spot.  This was dad’s idea
Watch / Listen:
Frozen and Sleeping Beauty DVD

There were a couple of other goodies in there too such as

the Itty-Bitty's princesses from Hallmark 

the KidKraft Fire/Police Station

the Perplexus puzzle which I highly recommend
Add these goodies to your Amazon wish list and hopefully you'll thank me in the future.  Hope you and yours had a wonderful holiday!

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