Monday, November 17, 2014

Tiny Party = Big Fun

There's nothing small about turning 8 (Noah said, "It's life-changing.")...

unless you are throwing a tiny party.

When I asked Natalie what kind of party she wanted, she said, "tiny."


I love this girl who knows just how to put my creativity into overdrive.

Since Party City doesn't offer a "tiny" collection, I had my work cut out for me. And, I must admit I felt a little pressure to perform.  Every year I feel her moving just a tiny bit further away from me and I know my mom-made party days are numbered.

Natalie was pretty insistent about making her own invites.  But, I enjoyed watching her work and create special cards for her friends.  Using trading card-size paper, she dipped found objects into paint to create funky textures and designs.  I used Avery address labels to type up the party business info using a tiny 8pt font.  We sealed the invites in several layers of envelopes  -- each one a little bigger than the last.

 Party-goers entered via a tiny door we constructed from a cardboard box. Thank you, Lemke's TV & Appliance!

The party sign came from a prize she won for selling Girl Scout cookies.
Steve fashioned the handle using a piece of ribbon.

As the girls trickled in, we played mini Jenga (from Dollar Tree) and Finger Twister (thanks to Later Gator Crafts templates)

Natalie and I made a tiny party banner by decorating Avery address labels with colored markers.  Next, we folded them in half over a piece of twine and I cut each one into a triangle shape. 
The party hats were actually cake toppers I found in the 75% off section of Michael’s $1 for 12 hats.

We  played "what's in the box". 
Each girl was tasked with guessing what 15 tiny items were in the box. 
Such a simple idea but they loved it!
For crafts we made elf donuts and mini vial necklaces. The donuts were made from Cheerios.  We  rolled them in powdered sugar and frosted them with a bit of Nutella and rainbow sprinkles.  Each girl received an elf-sized Dunkin Donuts box to tote their tiny treat home. Thank you, Pinterest!

For the necklaces, I ordered mini glass vials with cork tops through eBay for about 50 cents a piece.  I brought lots of odds n' ends from my caboodle of craft supplies including sequins, glitter, grass, sea shells and beans painted blue to look like a robin's egg and beach sand (thanks to my FL transplant friend, Michelle).  The craft was simple, fill the container with a bit of stuff then add clear Elmer's glue and voila!

Steve took pictures of each girl sitting on a small chair.  We used a black, plastic tablecloth as a backdrop.  My brother's father-in-law worked his Photoshop magic to make them appear tiny and regal. 
Each girl will receive their tiny photo as a thank you gift.
Thank you, Art!

For dessert, the girls enjoyed mini layered cakes with yellow cake and vanilla buttercream.  I baked the cake in a jelly roll pan and cut out circles using a 1.5" cookie cutter.  To add to the tiny fun, I served the cakes with mini appetizer forks.

To run off some of their sugar rush energy, we played a game I called "seek n'find" relay.  I divided the girls into two teams.  At the opposite end of the room, sat two buckets filled with uncooked rice and half a dozen hidden objects.  Each girl received a slip of paper -- on it was written the name of the object she was to find before running back to tag the next person on her team.  They enjoyed this game so much -- we played it twice!

For being good sports, Natalie handed out little medals. 
I overhead a couple of girls shout, "I'm a winner!"
$1 for a pack of 8 - thanks again, Dollar Tree!
Lastly, I read Thumblelina by Amy Ehrlich. 
For many of the girls, it was the first time they had heard the tale and they were mesmerized by the story.

While the party was tiny, I didn't have to break the bank.  It's turns out BIG fun only requires a little imagination.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Eight is Great!

Eight years ago today our family's life became infused with more pink...more fairy dust and more belly laughs than we could have ever dreamed possible.

Happy 8th Birthday to Natalie the girl who...
* loves female pop or as she calls them "smokin' girl songs" 
* loves to eat spinach and pumpkin flax granola and once told me "please don't put potato chips in my lunch box anymore as they distract me from eating my vegetables"
* loves to spend her free time making up jokes, drawing and writing stories.  She tells me her dream is to become a famous author.
* never met a stuffed animal she didn't like. Her love for all things fuzzy and fluffy is seriously testing our occupancy limit.
* often understands her big brother better than her Dad and I.
* brings joy, laughter and fun everywhere she goes.

Natalie, 7 months
Here is a clip of her singing with her Dad at the age of 2. She had only heard the song once before but as you can see from the clip -- made it all her own.

Whether happy or sleepy - she could be found twirling her hair. 
Natalie, 2 1/2 years
The girl LOVES olives.
Natalie, 4 years

The Butterfly Whisperer
Natalie, 4 1/2 years

She LOVES bugs. She often carries them in her pockets.
Natalie, 5 1/2 years

She's a collector...from fairies and Littlest Pet Shop to buttons and candy wrappers.
Natalie, 6 1/2 years
She's a Brownie...with a passion for sales. 
"Ok, so you like Thin Mints?...Would you like 1 box, 2 boxes or 13?"
Natalie 7 1/2 years
Today I want to freeze her...this age...this time, but I also love watching her grow and mature.  Happy Birthday Natalie!

This morning we sent her on a scavenger hunt.  She found a treasure chest with a stack of $1s. 
We're off to the mall! 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Roses and Thorns

Every Rose Has Its Thorn...and on Monday morning we discovered our little flower had a few -- in the form of unwelcome guests.

Just as I finished braiding Natalie's hair, my trained eyes zeroed in on a light-brown sesame seed sitting on the crown of her head.

Only it wasn't a seed.

As I held the little bugger between my thumb and index finger, a four letter word escaped my lips...


"No!" Natalie cried.

I wanted to cry, too.

Three years ago, Noah brought it home...twice.  Since that time I have religiously doused their heads daily with products like Lice Shield and Fairy Tales which contain rosemary, citronella and tea tree oil that are supposed to repel head lice.

Perhaps these new visitors have faulty sniffers.

As a seasoned warrior, I knew what had to be done.  I immediately began stripping the beds and stuffing dozens of stuffed animals into garbage bags.  I had no idea how deep the little pests had penetrated our home.  Next, I grabbed a flashlight to scrutinize Noah's head.  Upon finding nothing, we all jumped into the car to get Noah to school.

My next stop was Walgreens.  I knew from experience that they regularly carry an array of products.  After consulting with the pharmacist, we settled on Walgreen's brand of Nix.  However, on the way home, Natalie took it upon herself to read the label and by the time...

"Mom, this stuff seems really toxic," said Natalie

"Yeah, it's a pesticide.  It'll be okay," I replied.

"I don't think we should use it," warned Natalie.

SIGH... "Alright, I'll call the doctor and see what other options are available," I said.

Unfortunately, while there are a couple of prescription medications available...due to a rise in cases -- we couldn't get our hands on them.  Pharmacies can't seem to keep up with the demand. The two brands we tried to get are called Ulesfia and Sklice. We ended up using the "toxic stuff" and after nearly two hours of combing, removed a second adult louse and about 20 eggs.  (The doctor called 8 hours later to say they'd located a box of Ulesfia, however, when I went to pick it up, I experienced sticker shock.  It cost $100, and though the pharmacy tech was quick to point out that my insurance was saving us $600. I chose to leave it and take my chances with the OTC brand. Apparently, lice aren't the only blood-suckers.) While I was relieved that we caught it early, my consolation was short-lived as I gazed at the mountain of laundry.

By Friday I was almost caught up with the loads and happy to have a distraction.  Noah had his follow up visit with the ENT to find out if his ear surgery was successful.  As the doctor peered into Noah's ear, I held my breath.

"Looks good.  He can get it wet." said Dr. Pete.

"It does?! He can? You mean..." I stuttered.

"Yep.  No restrictions," replied Dr. Pete.

"Noah! You can play again! Back to OT! Back to the playground!" I cheered

"Mom! Hive five!" said Noah.

By the time Noah and I had returned to the car, the good news was still sinking in. Noah actually began crying -- he was so happy. For the last three years he has been plagued with monthly ear infections and wore a custom-fitted ear plug to prevent water from entering his ear during showering or at the pool.  We still have to revisit the doctor in two months to have his hearing re-tested, but things are definitely looking rosy again.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Deep Thoughts From Noah #54

Noah: "Can we get some of those Pop Tarts?"

Me: "I don't know...I think they are just all sugar."

Noah: "No, they aren't.  It's just frosting."

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Musings From Natalie #105

Car ride convo...

"Mom, can you believe there was a time when I wasn't even born...I can't even imagine that -- I just can't!"

Me, either.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Deep Thoughts From Noah #53

Noah on BBQ potato chips...

"Mom!  You've got to try these! They'll change your life."

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Musings From Natalie #104

Morning convo before school while fixing Natalie's hair...

Natalie: "Um, Mom...(boy in her class) tells me he likes it when I wear my hair down better than when it's in braids.

Me: "Ok, what would you like braid or two?