Monday, July 28, 2008

My Secrets for a Successful 3-Year Old's Birthday Party

My bebes Lilia and Grayson turned 3 years old this weekend and there were a few moments of genius regarding the planning (and the usual crazy stuff that wasn't as genius) that I wanted to share.
(1) The game plan: Lots of things to do. Good food to meet every allergy, age and appetite requirement. Games and Snacks 10-11. Pizza assortment delivered and eaten 11-11:30. Cupcakes 11:30-11:45. More play time 11:45-12-ish. Then...naps!
(2) Because I actually wanted to talk to some of the parents we set up the following in the backyard so the kids, ages ranging from 4 months to 4 years, could play at their own pace: kiddie pool; jumpy castle; bubble machine; crayons and markers set out on a huge piece of paper; face painting (which I did--whiskers and a nose, nothing fancy); jungle gym; a dress-up assortment; fruit salad; juice boxes; mini muffins; and cheerios mix.

(3) We did the party from 10-12 to beat the heat and get kids at their best hours of the day + give the families the rest of the day to do whatever needed to be done.
(4) Cupcakes. I make great ones, but I don't make great frosting. So, I made all 30 cupcakes from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook (One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes) and ordered the frosting in bulk from a local baker. Divine. Then I topped them with every character you can imagine so each kid got something they liked. Plus cupcakes are great--no cutting, waiting or plates.

(5) Presents. Tough when kids are three and not fully sharing or understanding the idea of presents and manners. So we opened them later that evening (post-nap) and photographed each one to send along with the thank you cards to the respective parent/kids. The parents didn't mind skipping the insane, "no, that's a gift, honey." and it taught my kids to have a bit of patience.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness

I have clients who are survivors of breast cancer and one of them recently mentioned to me something I'd never heard of before, Inflammatory Breast Cancer. It is often mis-diagnosed and cannot be detected during a mammogram. So, mom-to-mom, here's a video (click on the dark red link above) from the newscast showing and explaining the symptoms since early detection and treatment is the best course of action.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Two Hour Vacations, aka the Staycation

It's a fun new word, the "staycation". Meaning, gas is ridiculously expensive and so is everything else right now because of it, so what can I do locally for a much-needed break?! The typical vacation can be brutal anyway, the angst and panic that can set it when you plan to take a few days or a week's vacation. The planning, the packing, the fun-making; it can overwhelm the best of us before you even leave the house. Suddenly the staycation goes from an interesting idea to something you are actually going to do.
Here are some ideas on how to freshen up your routine enough to feel like you've had a break without spending too much $$ or time.

(1) Treat yourself to a real manicure, pedicure. Schedule it at a day spa and read a magazine cover-to-cover. It’s okay to tell the nail technician you are there to “zone out” and don’t want to talk. Pick a bright, cheery color and bring your own polish so you can do touch-ups yourself and lengthen the amount of time it lasts.
(2) Consider a vocation-vacation. Ever wonder what it’s like to be a ______? Find one near you and ask them if they would mentor you for a day, a weekend even, and give your dream or curiosity a chance to bubble up to the surface.
(3) Go to a movie by yourself. I do this because a good movie gives my mind a great break from MY life and lets me focus on someone else’s for a few hours, plus I like to see the wardrobe choices on my favorite stars.
(4) Plan a themed dinner party for the friends in your life you want to re-connect with. Do something exotic like a Moroccan themed dinner party—you can learn to cook something new, have fun with festive d├ęcor, and remember how nice it is to do something different and laugh a bit. InStyle magazine always has great ideas and so does this site: HostessWithTheMostess
(5) Go to your Farmer's Market and create a meal around the items you find there. Get the kids involved smelling the herbs, sampling the produce, picking the produce and really relish is the food choices that are abundant right now. Talk to the farmers there about the crops and how to pick the perfect XYZ. They are usually happy to indulge you.