Sunday, June 30, 2013

Planning a Lalaloopsy Birthday Party

My sweet baby girl is turning 7 in a few weeks, and for months, every time we go to the grocery store she asks to look at "her cake."  About 6 months ago, she picked out a Lalaloopsy cake from the binder at the grocery store with pictures of all of the cake options.  So, Lalaloopsy theme party, here we come!  I took this week off to be home with the girls, and was mildly panic-stricken yesterday when I realized that her party is only 3 weeks away and I had yet to FIND, much less MAIL invitations...!  One productive evening on Google and Pinterest later, and I'm feeling like a plan is coming together! 

I searched on Google for "Lalaloopsy dresses for girls" and found a really cute pink and yellow-orange polka dot "pillowcase" dress from jazzygirlboutique on Etsy.  I had seen some really cute Lalaloopsy dresses with the licensed characters on them, but I loved this little dress -- it has a Lalaloopsy feel to it, but it's something that she can wear as a pretty (non-character) dress.  And, since it's a pillowcase dress, as she grows she can wear it with tights or leggings and eventually, even as a cute summer shirt.  I like keeping with a theme, but I also like to be practical -- no one-hit-wonders over here!

I am trying something new with the invitations this year -- a friend of mine from work did this for her son's first birthday party (a sock monkey theme - very cute!).  I found Lalaloopsy invitations on a website called "Cupcakes & Dragonflies."  They have all sorts of favors, invitations, thank you's -- tons of things for party planning -- and everything is done digitally.  I ordered the invitation that I wanted, told them what I would like it to say, and in 24 - 48 hours they will send me a proof and then a digital file that I can use to print my own invitations from my printer, or have them printed by my local photo lab.  All for $6!  Not bad -- I'll be printing them at home!

That's where I am for now -- lots of ideas for decorating -- I will certainly get balloons, because to me it's not a birthday party without balloons!  And as I usually do, I will get a couple of "character" items (tablecloth and napkins or plates) and then fill in the rest of the paper products with complimentary solid color -- less expensive that way, but still cute!  I will also gather up all of the Lalaloopsy toys that we have around here to use in decorating the table.  And I have some ideas for favor bags.

Lots of fun -- I love party planning!    

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Advice for a New Big Sister

My sister-in-law is expecting her second child - a girl - and her 7-year-old daughter is a little nervous about being a big sister, so my sister-in-law asked my eldest daughter (12) if she would send a note to her cousin.  Here's what my sweet girl wrote:

"Welcome to the Siblings Club! I'm so excited to have a new cousin, and I know you're excited to have a baby sister. I was even younger than you when my little sister was born; you will be seven, but I was only 5 1/2! I know what it is like to have a little sister, so I want to give you some advice!

Don't be nervous. Right now, you're probably feeling really nervous. You've never been a big sister before! You're probably wondering if you'll be a good big sister. Don't worry! I know you'll be a great big sister because you're such a great little girl. Before my sister was born, I was nervous too, because I didn't know what it was like, and no one had any advice to give me! My mom was an only child, and Daddy was a big brother to three other siblings! I also thought the new baby would take away all of Mommy and Daddy's attention, and they wouldn't love me as much anymore. But that's not true because every parent has enough love in their hearts to go around. 
Being a sister is so much fun! Having a sister is so much fun because she's a playmate\friend that you have around all the time! When my sister and I are in the car all day driving on long trips, we share toys and watch movies together. On trips when we share an air mattress to sleep on, we annoy my mom and dad because we giggle all night long! Life is never lonely when you have a sister.

Babies are a lot of work and your mom will need some help. You won't remember when my sister and our other cousin were babies, because you were a baby too. I got to help Mommy out a lot with with my sister. I helped entertain her, and once I even changed her diaper. I also remember helping to give the babies baths.
Babies are also so much fun, though, and they're cute, too! Our family has had a lot of very cute babies, so your sister is going to be so cute, too! Babies are like real live baby-dolls. My mom LOVED dressing up my sister, and her outfits were so adorable. Babies are also so small, and it's so cool to watch them grow up.

You can teach your sister a lot of things! You love so many things: dinosaurs, superheroes, horse-back riding. You can share these interests with your baby sister! This way you'll have something in common. You can teach your sister how to do SO many things. I taught my sister how to use the computer, and I teach her a lot of things in the Art Studio. Just don't teach your little sister bad things.

You are such a sweet little girl. I hope you know you can call me or e-Mail me OR write me a letter anytime you want, and if you have ANY questions you can ask me. Do you know what? You and I are very similar. We're both older sisters to little sisters! Anyway, you and your little sister will have to learn how to be sisters together, just like my sister and I did. Along the way, there will be times when she is just downright annoying (I know the feeling), but at the end of the day, just know that you both love each other very much and your parents love you too! You'll be a great big sister and a wonderful role model."

Did I mention my girl's 12?  Pretty proud of her!  She even added the picture above to the e-mail she sent her cousin -- it's a picture of my two girls on the day my youngest was born.  And yes, I may refer back to this when they are, as my girl put it "downright annoying" to each other!  ;)

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Girl Scout Daisy to Brownie Bridging Ceremony

Tonight was the last meeting for my Daisy Girl Scout troop!  Tonight the girls (and myself and my co-leader) all bridged from Daisy Scouts to Brownie Scouts!  It's been a great year and it was wonderful to celebrate with the girls and their families.  I told my co-leader the other day that all year I find that I stress and worry getting ready for every meeting, trying to get loose ends tied up, make sure everyone knows about the meeting, what they need to bring, what I need to bring...  And then I get there and the girls are so much fun and things happen the way the happen -- either smoothly or not, but we always have fun and enjoy ourselves, and I always leave feeling so thankful that I have had this opportunity to share Girl Scouting with my daughters and their friends.  I highly recommend it, if you have the chance -- go for it!  Even if you aren't up for being a leader, leaders always love to have parent helpers and your daughter will love to have you help out her troop!  I've been particularly blessed this year with a wonderful co-leader, some really helpful parents, a great troop of girls, and also my 12-year-old daughter who helps at my troop meetings.  What a truly lovely thing for my two girls and I to get to do together!

For our bridging ceremony, I typed up the "inside" of an invitation on the computer and then printed copies out for the girls to decorate the outside covers.  They took these home to invite their families to our big ceremony.  We worked on learning two songs to sing to the parents -- "Amazing Daisies" an adorable little song we found on iTunes -- and "Make New Friends" a Girl Scout classic that I remember from when I was a Girl Scout (about 100 years ago...).  My little one made up a few hand movements to go along with "Make New Friends" so she taught them to the rest of the troop and they performed this little dance while singing.

We were able to borrow an actual little bridge for the girls to walk over to symbolize their journey from Daisies to Brownies.  We read a story -- another Girl Scout classic -- "The Brownie Story" and we had the girls cross the bridge and peek over to see their reflection in the "pond" (full-length mirror on the floor).  We handed them each a bag with an adorable certificate that we found on, the badges they earned this year, and a sweet dvd that my 12-year-old made on Windows Movie Maker.  It starts with a video clip of the girls singing "Amazing Daisies" (so cute!!) then there are still pictures from throughout the year and video clips of the girls individually telling what Girl Scouts means to them, all set to the Selena Gomez song, "Fly to Your Heart" from the first Tinker Bell movie.  At the end of the dvd she listed all of the girls names, the troop # and the year -- it's about 4-1/2 minutes long, but something I know I would (and will) definitely cherish as a parent!  I briefly thought about borrowing my dad's screen, projector and laptop to be able to show the dvd at the ceremony, but I decided simpler was better for a one hour meeting!  Aside from that we had certificates to thank our volunteer parents and everyone brought a snack to share. 

All in all, a really nice end to a really nice year of Scouting!  Now we can rest up and gear up our energy for next year!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Busy Bees!

I'm sure any of you that have children can relate to this being one of the busiest times of the year!  School is winding down and so are some of the kids activities, while some others are just gearing up! 

We are done with religion classes for the school year, there was an end-of-the-year bike drive that my eldest participated in with her class -- in one hour they received over 35 bikes for a wonderful local organization that collects bikes, fixes them up and gives them to people in need in the community.  She had a great time with that project! 

Early morning runs to drive my eldest to school in the morning for band is also done for the year - yay!  Her school band season ended with a concert for a week ago last Weds for the 5th and 6th grade bands and then this past Weds we were back for the 4th grade band and jazz band concert (my girl plays clarinet in the 6th grade band and the jazz band).  Oh!  And I almost forgot about our trip to the ball park to watch our girl play "The Star Spangled Banner" with her school's bands!  And thus we come to the end of band for this year.  While we were at her concerts, I was struck by the thought that this is it for her at this school -- next year she'll be in junior high at another school -- my how time flies!!

Girl Scouts is wrapping up for the year and as a leader of my little one's Daisy Girl Scout troop, I feel like I've been running a lot to wrap up the year for the girls.  Literally running last week when I had a GS troop meeting from 6:15 - 7:15 and then my other daughter's last jazz concert that started at 7:00 at a different school -- my little one and I ran in during their first song, a couple of minutes late, but thrilled that I had made it and that my daughter saw me and knew I was there.  It's hard to make it to everything all the time, but we do our best not to disappoint our girls!

This week I have a chicken bbq for over 300 people at work and we're getting my eldest ready for her 6th grade camp-out -- I still remember mine -- doesn't seem THAT long ago...  Next week is my last GS meeting for the year -- we're planning a bridging ceremony for the girls to bridge from Daisies to Brownies.  Lots of little details to plan! 

Looking forward to the week of 4th of July -- I'll be home with the girls, hopefully relaxing in the pool a little!  Whew...