Thursday, September 30

More about Birthdays at our House

Birthdays in our house start a few months before actual birthdays. That is because the girls and I make the invitations and the decorations, and I want to give enough time so that it does not become too overwhelming. (This part of the birthdays is the part that is all me…it is my personality to want to hand-make them…if this stresses you out…don’t do it…I know plenty of people that would be totally overwhelmed by this and that is not the reason I am sharing this. It is to inspire and motivate you to celebrate your family in the ways God has gifted you).

We spend a lot of time talking about what the theme should be for each party. Some years it is really easy and others we struggle a little more. I usually do not try to sway them one way or another…other than trying to help them choose something that is really them at that moment and to make sure it is something that is doable. For Maddie’s 4th birthday we decided on a “dem bones” theme (a favorite song…long story…another days post) and Abigail decided on a mermaid theme from a book she was reading with her best friend. Both themes captured who they were at that moment and were doable…with some creativity.

When Abigail chose a Mermaid party, we decided to combine mermaids with an underwater theme so we would have a few more choices for decorations. I used new sand toy buckets to serve the food and beverages in…they worked great. I just hand washed them and set the food in each one…very cute!

I also found these adorable plastic fish plates on sale at TJMaxx. This is a little tip I will share…if you check out clearance racks and discount stores you can often find reusable dishware that is cheaper or the same price as disposable plates and decorations. I have collected a variety of plastic plates in various colors to use at my parties. I end up saving money in the long run because I can reuse the dishes as opposed to throwing them in the trash. I try to find generic plates that can be used for various themes. I have cute pink flower plates that I used for a flower party for Abigail and them reused them at a pink party I had for Maddie. I am also fortunate enough to have storage space so take that into account when deciding what to buy as well.

Although I absolutely love making the invitations, I think the reason I take the time is to be able to do it with my girls. They love helping me and I love the time we spend together. We usually make the thank you notes at the same time as the invitations to save time on the back end. The thank-yous are often very similar to the invites…we just leave a space for each girl to write out their thank-yous.

Here are a few more pictures from the past years’ birthdays…let me know if you have any questions…Have fun celebrating with your family!

Monday, September 27

Birthdays at our House

This week I am going to share a little about birthday celebrations in our home...

We love celebrations and birthdays are no exception. I absolutely love the planning, making and executing of these parties. My favorite part has to be working with each of my daughters to make their party a celebration of who they are at that moment. They help me create the invitations and decorations, help bake and frost the cake and set up on the day of the party. It is a whole process that we do together. That is why I love these parties. I am able to use my strengths to help them have a day that really celebrates them. I will share more about what we do for their parties in the next few days, but today I am going to share a few traditions/ideas we have for our girls’ actual birthdays.

The first being we do not have their party on their actual day. That day is a day to celebrate just as a family. I decorate their door the night before so they wake up to streamers and balloons as they open their door. I also decorate the table for breakfast...breakfast just happens to be my girls’ favorite meal. While the decorations/theme may change from year to year, there are a few constants at each birthday morning celebration.

A few years back I came across this adorable glass cupcake called "The Hidden Cupcake." It can be found here:

(I found mine at TJMaxx or Marshall's for a fraction of the cost, but it is fun to read the stories and ideas on their website).

At this time we do not hide the cupcake we use it to write what we love about the birthday girl. I set it out for each of my family's birthdays. A few days prior to a birthday, the rest of the family writes a few things that they love about the birthday boy/girl on small pieces of paper. I set the cupcake on the table and it is the first thing that gets opened on their birthday. I love the idea of telling each other what we love about each other, and I love that it has become one of my girls’ favorite part of their day.

One other tradition we have is we let our girls choose what is for dinner. They may choose something at home, but more often than not it is Chuck E. Cheese. Whatever it is...we do it just as a family. I love that part as well. It makes for a relaxed day for all of us...

We also have our girls open their presents from us on their actual day. We usually give 1 larger gift and maybe 1-2 smaller gifts. We are trying very hard to be aware of the number of gifts we give. Our girls are so very blessed and need very little, but we also still want them to receive gifts…we just don’t want the celebration to be all about the gifts. That is basically my whole philosophy on birthdays…to celebrate the person and their special day.

Thursday, September 23

Lauren's birthday party

Lauren turned one this month! Here are a few pictures from her special day. We had so much fun celebrating her birthday and one year of Loving Lauren!

Wednesday, September 1

They grow so fast...

How often have you heard that? Well, I am going to say it one more time. Today I took my 9 year old to her open house for 3rd grade. We met her teacher and she put all her school supplies in her desk. She is so excited! So is her sister, who is still only 4 and will be at home with me one more year, but she so wants to be just like her big sister. She carried her own backpack so she could be just like her big sister. As I took pictures and watched this day unfold, I am reminded of just how fast time goes. It seems like only yesterday we were bringing home a 6 lb. Abigail from the hospital that barely fit in her car seat. I guess I am writing to encourage all those of you in the throws of sleepless nights, dirty diapers, and all that having young children entails. Even though I am keenly aware that your days at times seem to be never-ending...they will come to an end. Life will pass by before your eyes and all that stress will be gone. Please take time today to appreciate where you are at and to fully be engaged. As I look at my now 9-year old, I am sad because she is growing so fast, but I am so grateful that I have been present for it all. I have enjoyed her and loved her as best I know how. I am so thankful that God gives us just what we need to handle today...He does not promise us tomorrow, so take time today to enjoy your little one(s)...because before you know it he/she will be off to to college...and off on their own. Invest in them now so that when they grow up you can look back on the memories with no regret.