Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy 10th Birthday!

Today's is my girl's 10th birthday! In some ways it feels like time is going quickly and I can't believe that it's already been 10 years since she was born. But, it is also hard to remember life without her! She is a wonderful, beautiful, intelligent, funny girl and her dad and I are so proud of her.

Happy birthday, Lulu!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

American Girl Doll Birthday Party

This year, for my eldest daughter’s 10th birthday, she chose to celebrate by having her two best friends come over for an “American Girl Doll Sleepover.” (She got the theme gene from me – I’m so proud!) Santa brought her first American Girl doll for Christmas – Elizabeth (Felicity’s best friend). My daughter and her two friends have been best buddies since they met in the 3’s class in preschool. They have a great friendship that they have maintained even though they do not all go to school together. And it’s wonderful that they get along so well – even in a group of 3, which is not always the easiest number!

This would have been a very low-key birthday party on my part, if I were the type of person that could HAVE a low-key birthday party. My girl decided on the theme, we decided on the date, and a couple of hours later she handed me two very sweet, hand-drawn invitations that she had made with an American Girl doll drawn on the front cover and all of the details inside. I simply addressed two envelopes, stuck the stamps on and voila - popped them in the mail! At some point I should really think back and right some posts about some of the birthday parties I had for my girl for her first three years. Talk about taking themes over the edge! I would make the most over-the-top invitations that were very time-consuming (but cute), and by age 4, I decided that no one cared about them as much as I did – and I took it down a notch! So, addressing and stamping was a breeze!

In keeping with the theme, she invited the girls to bring one of their American Girl dolls and a change of clothes for the doll. I went online to the American Girl website and I ordered two kits – “Doll Parties” and “Doll Purses.” These were super cute, but I would recommend that you first check your local Barnes & Noble – I paid for “expedited shipping” to get them here in time, and then found them the day before the party at Barnes & Noble! Each kit was $19.99 and they both come with cute books with info for throwing AG doll parties or making these cute little paper purses for your dolls. The purse kit was well worth the money – the girls and I sat for a good hour putting purses together, and they were quite cute! The party kit was cute, and comes with supplies for 4 different seasonal parties, but I think I could make doll-sized paper plates and streamers, etc. for less in the future.

Instead of making a large cake or ordering a cake, I baked cupcakes and had the idea of turning them upside down and frosting them so they looked like little doll-sized cakes. Very cute idea, but a little tricky to frost! I got through 7 and gave up – but that filled the platter I was using, so that was fine with me. I could have continued the “doll-sized food” for dinner to keep with the theme, and made sliders, but my girl is a Pizza Hut fanatic! We ordered Pizza Hut pizza and I set up a salad bar on the kitchen counter with lots of salad fixings for the girls to create their own salads.

With the party approaching, I realized last Thursday that we did not have a “goody bag” for the girls. In keeping with the theme, I thought about sewing little pillows for the girls’ dolls. I have a sewing machine, I can easily sew a straight line, and pillows are my specialty! Well, then I thought, ‘A pillow by itself is not that comfortable for the poor dolls! They should have a blanket, too!’ Uh huh. Fortunately, I mentioned this crazy line of thinking to my friend Karen, and she reined me in a little by suggesting that I buy fleece, so I could just cut the blankets out with pinking shears and skip the sewing. Great idea! While I was at the store buying fabric, I found some 18” doll clothes, and they had the cutest little bunny slippers – 3 pairs left – perfect! I snatched those right up! If I had thought of the goody idea a little earlier in the week, I would have saved myself a lot of last minute stress. But, I got everything done in time (finished the pillows while the girls were playing Barbie’s downstairs) and I left the little piles (blanket, pillow, slippers) in a row on my girl’s bed. That made a nice surprise for the girls when they went up to bed. (To chat and giggle – not to sleep!)

It was a nice little party and the girls all enjoyed themselves. My daughter’s actual birthday is this next weekend, so we will have Grandpa and Gramby over for dinner and cake. And not to start too early, she’s already planning a bowling party for next year! (She gets that planning gene from me too!)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Coming Out of the Holiday Vacation Fog...

I am slowly coming out of the delirious fog of having had 17 days at home with my girls (and sometimes even my husband!) for the holidays! The human service agency that I work for offers a wonderful amount of vacation, which I find goes quickly with time off for school events, sick children, miscellaneous small vacations... And every year I look forward to taking one large chunk of time off to be home with my family for the holidays. As I approach my year-end vacation, it seems so luxurious to have more than two weeks off in a row. It seems as though I will have enough time to get ready for the holidays, enjoy the company of my girls, do all of the projects that are piling up (I have sewing and painting projects galore over here!), and still have plenty of time to lounge around eating bon-bons! Of course, that is never really the case -- the time flies by much too quickly! The first part of my vacation was a mad dash of Christmas prep, travel prep, and Mom's car pool. The middle part, when we went to Long Island and got snowed in, was by far the "loungiest" (is that a word? Spell check says no...) and it was wonderful to have my little family in one place with no where to go, no one having to work, we even had an all-day jammie fest at Grammy's one day!

I went back to work last Monday (I am blessed to only work Mon - Thurs) and on Wednesday my nearly 10-year-old (what did she say the countdown was -- 12 days to her birthday?) was sent home sick from school with a stomach bug. Wednesday night into Thursday morning was delightful (sarcasm) and Thursday I stayed home with her to take care of her. She was home again on Friday and finally by Sunday we were able to venture out into the world! She was back at school today and I was back at work.

My husband was off today, and bless his heart he took both of our Christmas trees down -- finally! (I said that "finally" to my brother-in-law, who I was speaking to earlier, and he said "it's not so late" and I said, "they've been up since Thanksgiving weekend" oh, yeah, that's a long time!) So we are finally starting to get out of the holiday season over here and we're moving into birthday mode...

How do you shake off the vacation fog and get back into the swing of things?