Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sock Snowman Craft

We had lots of buzz around our sock snowman craft at yesterday's children's Christmas party, so I'm going to put the instructions here!

You will need:
white tube sock
fuzzy sock (dollar store has great selection)
ploy-fil filling
white string
brown, orange pipe cleaners
tiny and small black fuzzy balls
white glue

1) Cut the tube sock just above the heel.
2) Fill the sock with poly-fil
3) tie open end of sock (tight)
4) tie around where neck will be - down from tied end (not as tight)
5) tie around waist (even less tight)
6) cut toe part of fuzzy sock almost to heel
7) roll open part of fuzzy sock to make hat
8) put hat on snowman at tied end
9) cut and fold brown pipe cleaner to make branch arms and stick in body
10) cut 1/2" orange pipe cleaner and stick in head as nose
11) glue tiny black balls as eyes and smile
12) glue small black balls as buttons

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Le Meme

@CocktailDeeva made me do it!

1. Name someone with the same birthday as you. Uh...I know George Burns DIED on my birthday...

2. Where was your first kiss? By a creek. I ran home and boasted to my mom and her neighbour that I had my first French kiss. (cuz that was my first kiss)

3. Have you ever seriously vandalized someone else’s property? Nope

4. Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex? No

5. Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people? If by large, you mean a New Year's Eve party, then yes - they got to hear my rendition of Oh Holy Night

6. What’s the first thing you notice about your preferred sex? Shoulders. Leading to arms. Pride and strength are right there for the touching.

7. What really turns you off? Arrogance

8. What do you order at Starbucks? Chai latte

9. What is your biggest mistake? Acting impulsively

10. Have you ever hurt yourself on purpose? Every time I'm in a new relationship! I think I'll stick this one out.

11. Say something totally random about yourself. I sleep hugging my sham pillow.

12. Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity? Tom Cruise. Okay, no.

13. Do you still watch kiddie movies or TV shows? Saturday mornings in the kitchen when the kids are watching. I enjoy the humour - even Sponge Bob.

14. Did you have braces? No. My brother had the braces, acne, allergies, glasses, you name it.

15. Are you comfortable with your height? Sometimes I feel cute and elfin but it's easy to feel overweight when you're working with only so much spine.

16. What is the most romantic thing someone of the preferred sex has done for you? Climbed out of bed to go pick up my daughter after she lost her bus money.

17. When do you know it's love? When I'm talking to my mom about him and SHE gets all mushy.

18. Do you speak any other languages? I've lost most of the university French and German. I dabble in Italian.

19. Have you ever been to a tanning salon? Yes - it's the only place the kids can't access.

20. What magazines do you read? I have a lovely pile in my coffee table - does that count?

21. Have you ever ridden in a limo? No

22. Has anyone you were really close to passed away? My grandparents. So that makes my family now something like 13 people.

23. Do you watch MTV? No

24. What’s something that really annoys you? Red light left turners

25. What’s something you really like? A good meal with good people

26. Do you like Michael Jackson? I can't get past the face.

27. Can you dance? Of course! Everyone can dance!

28. What’s the latest you have ever stayed up? 5 AM

29. Have you ever been rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room? Yes. I fell out of a two storey window when I was 2.

30. Do you actually read these when other people fill them out? Yes

31. Tag 5 people!

Now stop your time wastin and get back to work....

(FYI: In case you’ve never done a MEME, just remember to link the person that tagged you, answer the same questions, and then tag five people to do the same. Have fun!)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

All They Want for Christmas

We asked our Hullabaloo fans on Facebook to tell us their children's #1 wish list item (or that of their niece, nephew, grandchild, or third cousin twice removed) and this is what they told us. Strangely, no Zhu Zhu pets!

"Kenzie wants a slide! I am hoping we get snow so she can use it!"

"Sydney would like Gator Golf, man I hate the commercials on Nickelodeon Jr Grrr"

"Brianne wants Super Mario for Wii (c'mon she IS my child LOL)"

"Megan wants a guitar and Hana wants a bike!"

"Miles wants a Barn for his animals!"

"My Zoe wants a Pink DS soo bad!!"

"Ryan would love a Transformer, and Erin wants dollies.... any kind of dolly stuff! Ryan would also like" a saw, with some wood, for buildin' stuff, ya know, me and Dad" (as stated at the breakfast table this morning!)"

"My child asked for a new 27" iMac - oh wait no that was me! Son wants iTunes card and a DS game, Daughter apparently everything in the Sears Catalogue. I think I'll buy her a new pen because after doing the catalogue she clearly must be out of ink!"

"Anything that says STAR WARS"

"A comfy crib for sleeping when the baby arrives!"

"Angel wants High School Musical 3"

"Syd's #1 item is the Strawberry Shortcake Berry Cafe"

"My little Princess also wants a sleigh for me to pull her around!!!"

"Kenzie (4) wants a sled, so we as a family can slide down big hills!"

"The only thing my daughter asked Santa for is a squeaky rainbow dinosaur!! (She also has the Playdoh ice cream shop on the list she made for us, though!)"

"A giant bone filled with bacon (I have a fur child) hahaha"

"My 6 yr old son would love to ask Santa for a firetruck from Playmobil"

"A hockey set (net with sticks) is what's on his Santa list!"

"Dinosaurs are a big deal around here. Son wants one that walks and growls ie the Imaginext ones. Babe is just turning one so I'm pretty sure her #1 thing is going to be the wrapping paper...but I'll jump in and say an activity table, lol."

"Michael (almost 4) wants a Tonka Bounce-Back Racer. And a snow globe :-) Santa's letter is on its way."

"Anything and everything Thomas the Train...or apparently a moo cow."

"Trucks, trucks & more trucks!"

"My four year old D really wants a Nitendo DS!! A PINK ONE!!!"

"Well daughter's #1 wish list item is a chemistry set...yes...a 6 year old wants a chemistry set. However, she is willing to settle for a Fur Real Friend since we can't get a dog anytime soon!!"

Thanks to everyone who contributed and congratulations to Sonya Jackson Marleau, winner of a $25 Toys 'R' Us gift card! (You can join our fan page and participate in contests by going here: Hullabaloo on Facebook)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Winter Parties

Surprisingly, our little neck of the woods has yet to see any significant snowfall. In the past, we have seen a blanket if white even before Halloween. So although it might feel too soon to start planning a Winter Party for your little one, the days will whip by and the snow in all its glory will soon be here.

I loved doing Winter Parties for my children because they helped to break up the monotony of winter. It was a great way to get a groupof kids together to frolick in the snow, play games, and enjoy great cold weather food. Here are some ideas for your own Winter Party:

Gather up as many plastic containers as your freezer will hold (that number is unlimited if it's really cold outside) and fill them with water. Add food colouring. Freeze the containers. On party day, tip the coloured ice onto the ground and make igloos.

This is a take on the Mummy game: with teams of two or three, have one person be the wrappee and ther other(s) the wrappers. They take toilet paper and wrap the teammate until all of the toilet paper is gone.

My kids and their friends LOVED this. Use a rice krispy square recipe and press the rice krispies into paper plates (one for each child). Have a buffet of ice cream, cream cheese, chocolate icing, and whipped cream for the spread. Have bowls of fruit like kiwi and strawberries to layer on top.

These are just some ideas to get you started. Do you have Winter Party ideas? Share them here!

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Shackles of Fear

It was a perfectly balmy summer night in July, half a lifetime ago, as I sat in a Canadian Tire parking lot in Etobicoke, waiting for my husband to finish work. I had the tunes blaring, the windows rolled down, and I was flipping through a Viceroy catalogue of house designs. In my rearview mirror, I saw two men approaching from the O'Toole's bar.

"Great" I thought. "A pick up." The men asked me for directions and then wandered over to another car where they spoke with the occupant for a while. The lights went out in the store, signalling its closure and the men reapproached my car. This time, as I pointed out my window to show them where they needed to go, one of the men somehow hauled me out of my car. I was a weightless object, flung onto the asphalt.

"Rape" was my thought. But no, they were climbing into my car. Too drunk to realize my keys were turned down in the ignition, the driver could not start the car immediately. I yanked on the door, senselessly thinking "James needs the car for work tomorrow!"

I was jumping up and down by the car, wanting my husband to see me from the store. He saw, but was fumbling with the store keys to unlock the door from the inside. By the time he made it out, I was somehow once again on the ground and the car was speeding away.

The car was recovered the following night, after two drive-by purse snatchings. The red hubcaps made the car easy to spot. The female policewoman who apprehended the men called me in, late at night, to identify them in an album of polaroid shots. They were younger than I was.

Weeks later, I received a victim impact statement but never filled it out. I didn't think I had been impacted. But now I know, as I lock my car doors, even now, 19 years later, in any parking lot, as I always look over my shoulder and as I never ever speak to a stranger through my car window.

That is one fear I carry. The other is that I will dislocate my knee yet again and feel the worst pain - the kind of pain that makes you vomit or pass out. I've done both, many times since I was 12. It got the point where I would angle my leg slightly the wrong way, and out would go my knee - eventually not wanting to go back in place. I finally had surgery fours years ago, but four years later I still lie in bed, flinching as I relive the moments of white lights and dizziness. Four years later I am too afraid to even run and gingerly watch each step I take, especially down stairs. Stairs don't like me.

I feel shackled by my fears. My experiences taught me to tread more carefully, figuratively and literally, but they also made me fear LIFE and LIVING. It affects my personal life and my professional life. Too many what-ifs. Too many reasons to just play it safe and hide.

I read "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway" - a great book without even cracking the spine - and I ask myself "what is the worst thing that can happen?" I need to also ask myself "what is the BEST thing that can happen?" And unlock the shackles. And live.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Politics of Presents

When I meet with parents to go over their child's party details, one of the questions I ask is "will there be gift unwrapping at the party?" For the most part, parents still accept gifts for their children at the birthday party (more on those who don't later), but are divided on whether or not the gifts should be opened in front of the party guests, especially if there are quite a few children invited.

The unwrapping of the gifts can become a laborious process that sees a few children getting restless and wandering away from the group. Eventually, it's difficult to keep everyone focused on the birthday child who is lost in a frenzy of paper, toy packaging etc. and no longer remembers what gift came from whom.

The other way of thinking about the gift unwrapping is that the guests have taken the time to find the perfect gift for your child and want to see his or her reaction. I would suggest letting the size of the party dictate whether or not gifts will be unwrapped during the party. To avoid chaos, I like to put a number on each guest's name tag and then let them know that will be the order of the unwrapping. The children totally buy into that method because it seems fair.

Let's face it: 20 gifts are not only 19 more than what your child even needs, will no doubt include at least one gift with teeny parts you will step on until the whole thing quietly disappears, but they can also appear to be your reason for having the party. On top of that, the other children shouldn't have to sit through an endless stream of gift after gift: that's not why they're there.

An ever-growing idea around gifts is to request that in lieu of gifts, a donation be made to the birthday child's favourite charity. If that is too extreme for your child whose understanding of a birthday party includes gifts, there are also options that allow your guests to give a donation and also go in on a group gift that you pick. At the most recent party I did, the Mom made sure all the guests knew about the charity selected and that they had also contributed to the gift that the child then unwrapped for them to see.

Finally, there are parents who ask for "gently used" books and toys from the guest's own home. I haven't seen this in practice yet, so I'm curious to know if this is well-received.

These last two options are also eco-friendly as there is little to no packaging or wrapping materials.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Screamingly Fun Hallowe'en Games for Kids

Hallowe'en is my second favourite holiday of the year - next to Christmas! It's a chance to be devilish, to dress up as anything or anybody you want, and best of all, the chance to pig out completely on candy! (wiping slight moisture from upper lip)

I also love Hallowe'en because my kids like to throw a party for their friends and they let me do it! (wait a minute, something sounds wrong with that)

Here are some ideas for Hallowe'en party games your kids and their friends will love:

I Want My Mummy!
In this game, the children are in teams of two (or three). One child is the "mummy" and the other child has a roll of toilet paper and, starting from the ankles, will wrap the "mummy" until all of the toilet paper is gone. I know it's tempting to buy a double roll and then go for a long car ride while they finish off the roll, but stick with a single. Try not to go too cheap on the roll either, or the kids will be breaking and re-starting the roll over and over again; and you know kids - if it's a teeny bit frustrating, they might flop to the ground and flail around until going home time. (Can going home time ever come soon enough?)

Haunted House
I could probably just send a group of kids into my son's room and that would be enough to have them screaming in fear (and their parents calling me later, all angry and self-righteous), but let's use some imagination here. I like to make the "haunted house" on the second level (if you have one), so the kids have to start their journey of fear by walking up the decorated staircase. They'll hear sounds from upstairs and their anticipation will build. Depending on the ages of the children, you can try and make the room as scary as possible, with masked people jumping out, etc. or you can opt for slightly scary challenges in the room. Which leads us to...

Blindfolded Icky Stuff Touching
I could all out with this one, but my kids said this year "no squid." Place some food items in bowls or on plates (or in shoeboxes - you get the idea) and cover with a cloth. The child reaches in and touches the item as you say what it is. If it's green olives (with pimento, of course), you say it's eyeballs. Spaghetti - intestines, cheesestrings - fingers. You get the idea. We even bought a brain jello mold this year! Can't wait!

Have a wonderfully creative and fun Hallowe'en!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Search for a Scary Mommy...Ends Here!

Pick me, pick me! This is a blog entry into the Scary Mommy contest ( Please read, and if you agree I'm scary, comment below. Your comments will help me win!

Let the willies begin! In my home, it's perfectly normal for my three children to see me walking around with a life-sized skeleton, Harry Potter cardboard cutout or fairy wings. These are some of the props I use when I do children's parties. Scarier for my children is when I approach them with a critical eye, sizing them up to wear a princess dress, pirate costume, knight chainmail...I believe our "family business" should include child labour! My kids are great at filling loot bags, helium balloons, stamping thank you bookmarks, and gluing treasure chest invitations! It's when I get a glint in my eye and say I have a new theme that their pupils dilate and they try to run from the room. But that's just the weekend.

Through the week, I'm your standard geeky programmer whose day in sprinkled with tweets and Facebook posts. My closest friends are online, or "virtual" as my other half, Rob says. Dinner table conversation revolves around who won a Tassimo coffee machine on Twitter or how my Farmville farm is doing on Facebook. Sometimes I let everyone else talk and we play the "high-low" game: what was your high today? What was your low?

As with every family, we take trips to the mall, but I always have my eyes open for new party ideas. I wouldn't say my kids resent my sporadic attention span per se, but when we arrive back home with bags and bags of party supplies and little Timmy (re-named to protect the innocent) still doesn't have back-to-school shoes...Mommy has lost focus.

One "fun" family activity I came up with was "family gym night" with Rob and my son. Three times a week dwindled to two (let's face it, this summer needed no bikini-ready body!) and then none. When the moment of truth arrived (a.k.a. time to strap on my gym shorts) there were more groans coming from my son and me than from a maternity ward.

Oh, did I mention my house? (If you need more scary.) See, I'm building an empire, as it were, so my house has fallen by the wayside. I think I had the ducts cleaned hoping that would also take care of the dusting for a while. Hey, we can't make little grey snowmen on the table quite yet, so how bad can it be?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Trying to Find the Good

I was already apprehensive about having lab work done today: what if I can't pee? What if I faint when they take my blood? (it's happened) And worse still: how do I survive the 12 hour fast?! No coffee?! (My fast was not going to include cigarettes because I reasoned the lack of them would only skew my "score.")

So when I arrived at the lab and stood behind the only person in line for the receptionist, let's face it, I was looking for a problem. A woman came through the door and was instructed to take a number. "I'm here too!" I said, leaning in. I was told to take a number too. Now wouldn't you think the woman who just took a number would have given me hers? She didn't. I sat there grumbling to myself and tried to find the good. Maybe the woman was there for a real sickness, not for standard tests, like I was.

When it was my turn to speak to the receptionist (10 minutes after the woman with my number had gone in), I was still not finding the good. Maybe the receptionist picked up on it and felt the need to do battle. Or maybe she was just spawned from the shadows of hell...Either way, she was down on me from the start. Everything from "'standing order every year' doesn't tell me the frequency" to "you'll have to come back tomorrow for this other test because it's for a different doctor." I was jamming paperwork back into my purse, trying REALLY HARD to find the good, but it just wasn't coming.

Then along came Ingrid. Sweet Ingrid with the blood-letting equipment. She had this soothing, horse-whisperer tone and she quickly and effortlessly smoothed things over. She even did the tests for the other doctor and listened consolingly to the story of the number-stealing-woman. Where did this woman come from and how was she able to turn the negative into the positive so easily?

I mused about this on the way home, as another woman drove into my lane and threatened to hit me head on. "Why, she must be late for something, God bless her little heart" I murmured, as I slammed on the brakes and honked my horn. Nope, it wasn't working. I'm no Ingrid. But I'll keep trying. The good news part of the day? I didn't have to pee into into a cup! (Maybe they just didn't want to have to take that on too.)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I'm the Kind of Mom...

I'm the kind of mom...who has taught my children by example that you make make horrible mistakes in life but still bounce back.

I'm the kind of mom...who is sometimes too tired to remember about homework, signing agendas or filling out trip forms.

I'm the kind of mom...who can spend hours organizing her children's things and feel at peace while doing it.

I'm the kind of mom...who is plagued by guilt in the middle of the night over things not done, promises not kept, or disappointments made.

I'm the kind of mom...who managed to raise children I can take anywhere and they behave, but I didn't have to go to any great lengths to achieve this.

I'm the kind of mom...who finds parenting magazines stressful, constant reminders of all the things I am not doing with and for my kids.

I'm the kind of mom...who can't understand why, if I was an English major, 2 out of 3 children are horrible spellers and one has illegible handwriting. Child #3 is showing high hope.

I'm the kind of mom...who dreads the end of the school day but then misses the children when they're gone.

I'm the kind of mom...who knows my son is overweight but doesn't want to scar him for life by telling him that. So it's trips to the gym and half-hearted talks about diet.

I'm the kind of mom...who physically dragged my 17yo daughter back into the house this past summer, after she threatened to leave. I'm glad I did.

I'm the kind of mom...who thought I was going to teach my daughter all about shaving, only to find she had been doing it on her own already.

I'm the kind of mom...who agreed to have my daughter go on the pill and was glad she asked me.

I'm the kind of mom...who finds the kids so draining that sometimes I withdraw. They always bring me back out though.

I'm the kind of mom...who fears my children will one day also be diagnosed as being bi-polar.

I'm the kind of mom...who tries to get my kids excited about karaoke but it's usually me who ends up singing.

I'm the kind of mom...who loves to have the kids' friends over. If only my house were bigger so I could have proper space for everyone. Island in the kitchen, with all the friends gathered round to eat the snacks I made...

I'm the kind of mom...I always wanted to be.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Yummy Mummies on Twitter!

Who's missing?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Magic of Other People's Children

Running parties for other people's children has forced me to, well like other people's children. Oh come on, I'm not alone here. How many of you really only tolerate your children's friends? You're saying "but you're a freaking children's party planner! You're supposed to like children!" Save your horror for the morning mirror. It's not that I don't like children, it's that up until I started this whole party business, I didn't quite appreciate the magic of other people's children.

Take little Magnum, for instance. (Yes, I Googled wacky children's names.) When it was time for the treasure hunt, I showed the party guests a shell with a picture of a stove taped inside. The idea was for them to go to the stove and find the next shell with the clue in it. Little Magnum yelled "toilet!" and ran in the opposite direction of the kitchen. Now how bizarre yet cute is that?

Or little Chutney (seriously, someone named their child Chutney) who looked at me with his sad little eyes and said "do I get a pwize?" (He also, bless his brilliant little heart" declared that "this is the best party ever!") These little guys make my head spin with comes out of their mouths. They make me re-adjust my thinking, lose the tunnel vision and really take a second look around me.

I can walk into a party on "Game Day", all control-freakish and organized but kids don't let you stay that way for long. Just when I think I have it all figured out, they remind me that's there's always the need to keep my mind receptive to what's really important to them. Some embrace wearing costumes, doing crafts, sitting still...others have their own plans. You just don't get that with adults. Too bad.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lose the Guilt and Still Plan a Great Party

It's time to plan your child's party and you may be feeling a bit stressed about it. The stress is coming from this niggling place in you that says you better get it right, or else. Or else what? Someone once said "show me a woman without guilt and I'll show you a man." I love that expression because isn't it so true? We feel guilt from the moment we wake up until the moment we lay down our head and sometimes even as we sleep. Well guess what, ladies?! You DO enough and you ARE enough. So shake off that mantle of guilt, look around you and see all that you have accomplished. Do you think any of what you see around you would be possible without you? You did all this! So congratulations. I don't even know most of you, but I'm proud of you and proud to be a woman because I know that day in and day out you give it your all. Are you feeling better about yourself? Then let's get started with this party planning because this one will be your best ever and it will be guilt-free!


~ determine how much you want to spend on your child's party. You can discuss the budget with children as young as eight. Explain why you can't invite everyone in your child's class (if you can't) and make decisions together, based on the budget.
~ break the budget down into invitations, decorations, partyware, accessories, food, cake, activities, prizes, loot bags and thank-you.

Date and Time

~ pick a date ~ decide on the time of the party - this is usually 1 to 3 or 2 to 4. The time of the party determines whether you need to provide a meal or just snacks.


~ decide on the number of guests. It has to work with your budget. You have more flexibility if you are just serving snacks, but remember that the cost of loot bags can really add up when there is a large number of children. Will this party include family members? Make sure to include anyone who might attend - even parents of the children who might decide to stick around. You don't want to be foraging at the last minute in your cobweb-infested basement for more paper plates.


~ ensure you have at least one person to help you at the party. This is your child’s special day and he or she will appreciate having a mama who has more than a few tufts of hair left in her head at the end of the party. You want to witness and enjoy this fabulous party you created. Friends, relatives, the babysitter, parents o the guests – ask any and all to help you out in any way that they can. No one will say no.


~ Pick a theme. If you have one, everything will nicely fall into place around it. Ask your child what he or she wants and really listen. You might want a princess party for your little girl but maybe she wants a puppy party. Before you agree to the theme, ask yourself if it’s feasible. How would you execute a Transformers party? The good news is, there is a plethora of information on the internet. Google your party theme and then copy and paste any ideas you find into a document. Then you can go through all of the information and keep the good stuff.


~ Decide where the party will be held. Assuming it will be at your home, will it be indoor or outdoor? (If outdoor, allow for the possibility of foul weather and have a back-up plan.


~ Make or buy the invitations. I personally love hand-made invitations. They make great keepsakes and you may be able to include your child in their creation. This will also save you the trouble of finding invitations for your theme and doesn’t limit your theme choice to what’s available in partyware. But if you would prefer to buy invitations, give yourself the time to find what you really want.
~ Include an RSVP with a date, your name and phone number. Including an e-mail address may increase responses since some people prefer that to picking up a phone and talking.
~ Distribute the invitations at least two weeks before the party. If it’s a summer party, deliver them before school ends.


~ Make and/or buy the decorations that go with your theme. Keep your budget in mind and include your child. If he or she has toys that complement the theme, haul them out. You don’t have to buy pricey partyware in your theme. Be creative a la Google and see what others have done. Use the colours in your theme for balloons and streamers. Here’s where the helpers come in. They can mass-produce balloons that can be attached to the ceiling with ribbon trailing down for a very festive effect. You can direct from your comfortable chair, cocktail in hand. Hand streamers in doorways – the kids love to walk through them. Again, leave yourself lots of time to find just what you need.
~ Decorate the day before the party so the day of the party is not chaotic.


~ Buy plates, cups, napkins, cutlery and a tablecloth. To be eco-friendly, buy ones you can use again (i.e. plastic instead of paper). If themed partyware is not in your budget, select the colours in your theme and use those instead.

~Set the table the night before the party if the crafts will not be done on that table.


~ Decide if you want your birthday child and guests to dress up or accessorize for the theme. Does your budget allow for this? Is it practical (i.e. can you re-use them).
~ Research online what other parents have done in your theme. There are great pictures out there.
~ Buy/make the costumes and/or accessories.


~ Make a list of the food you will need (you already decided on the time of day for the party, so now you know if you are doing a meal or just snacks).
~ Go shopping for the food.
~ Prepare the food the day before the party. If you are having food delivered, arrange and pay for it the day before the party so you don’t have to search around for money on the day of the party.
~ Decide what dishes will hold the food and have them ready the night before the party.
~ Decide where the food will be served: at the table or buffet-style.


~ Research the type of cake you want.
~ Meet with your local bakery well in advance of the party if you want an extra special cake. Bring a picture. The price of the cake must be within your budget. OR
~ Bake and decorate your cake at least a day before the party. Include your child – it will make for a great memory.
~ Consider cupcakes as an alternative to a cake. Homemade ones can be decorated by the party guests.


~ Decide on the activities that go with your theme: face painting is surprisingly simple; everyone loves tattoos; make up, hair accessories are appropriate for some themes; will there be a craft for the children to do?; will there be games? Do an online search on your theme to come up with great ideas. Include your child in the planning. What does he or she want to do?
~ Purchase supplies for the activities well in advance of the party so you have lots of selection and can brainstorm without feeling pressured. Stay within your budget.
~ The day before the party, set up the craft station and game area(s); if it’s an outdoor party, make sure most of the activities can be done indoors if the weather is bad.


~ make a schedule. This will ensure party day goes smoothly. Be flexible on party day but know what time is remaining for all the activities planned. Here is my favourite two-hour schedule:
first half hour: guests arrive - put on accessories/face painting/tattoos/hair and make up/craft (keep them busy until everyone arrives)
second half hour: games
third half hour: food, cake, open presents
final 15 to 30 minutes: games


~ Decide if there will be prizes; if the guests are very young, make sure every guest gets a prize so there are no tears.
~ Purchase the prizes and make good use of the dollar store but ask yourself if you would want your child to bring home these items. Stay within your budget.


~ Decide if you are accepting gifts; an alternative is to accept charitable donations.
~ If you are accepting gifts, decide if they will be opened during the party.

Loot Bags

~ Go shopping well in advance of the party to see what is available in quality items for your loot bags. You don’t have to spend a lots, but avoid buying junk that you wouldn’t want you own child to bring home. Do this buying before you buy the loot holder so you know what size of holder is needed.
~ Make or buy the loot holders. You can be really creative here and include your child. Make sure it goes with your theme, if only in the colours.
~ Assemble the loot bags before party day.
~ Place the loot bags near the door so they aren’t forgotten.

The Thank-You

~ Decide on what form the thank-you will take. It can be a hand-made bookmark signed by your child with “Thank You” on it – these can be handed out as the guests leave – or it can be a thank-you card delivered after the party. Including a picture of the guest/all the guests is a really nice touch and shows the parents what a great time your guests had. Try to incorporate the theme of the party into the thank-you as a nice keepsake.
~ Make/buy the thank-you at least a week before the party.
~ Distribute the thank-you at the party or within a week after the party

Party Tips - Part Une

  1. put name tags on all the guests. And write their names on them. Just sayin’.
  2. get the parents’ phone numbers as they drop off their children.
  3. put a number on each child’s name tag to determine the order for games, gift unwrapping, etc. The kids embrace the structure!
  4. check out for your birthday child for gift-giving - charitable and eco-friendly.
  5. have at least one activity for guests to do as they arrive such as a craft, tattoos, nail polish, etc.
  6. have your child’s party between meals to save money but still provide nutritious snacks.
  7. have a prize for each child if you are doing games with prizes. Nothing is sadder than little Bobby saying “do I get a pwize?”
  8. have cupcakes for the guests to decorate instead of a cake. Tell them it’s a Transformers cake.
  9. put your e-mail address as well on the invitation for the RSVP – some people prefer that to picking up the phone.
  10. if they work with your theme, use your child’s toys as part of the decorations. Their toys. Not yours.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Who Do You Invite?

Recently, we celebrated my youngest daughter's 10th birthday. I rubbed my hands together eagerly, picturing the explosion of decorations, games, etc. that - let's face it - are my raison d'ĂȘtre. Imagine my (mock) horror when she announced she wanted her party at The Art Studios (formerly Luci's Mudhouse). "But HONEY" I pleaded. "This is what I DO!" (She will not be appearing in any upcoming endorsements for Hullabaloo.)

She actually knew exactly what she wanted: the party would start at The Art Studios and then work its way back to our house where (joy oh joy) I would be able to plan and decorate to my heart's content.But here was the kicker: she was only inviting a few people from her class and excluding any friend, no matter how close, who was not in her class. "But HONEY" I pleaded. "What about little Matt? He'll be heartbroken!"

"He's not in my class. I'm only inviting people in my class" she reasoned."But what about that time when the two of you were at Lucy's Mudhouse and you said your friendiversary was coming up and you should pick a piece you could do together and little Matt said 'yup'?"She was unwavering and the party went on without little Matt. (Before you reach for your kleenex, apparently little Matt was unfazed and is using the same principle, as are her other friends.)

Long story short, there is an understanding in her "group" that you only invite friends in your class to your party. This was new to me. Is it commonplace now, in your experience, or perhaps an anomoly?