Monthly Archives: January 2015

Magdalen’s 6th Birthday // Sewing + Craft Party

As I’m sure my friends will remember (how could you not), Magdalen’s FIFTH birthday party was not held until 6.5 months after her real birthday. So in reality, she just had 2 birthday parties in less than 6 months on this end. Ridiculous, I am aware. Ugh.

Her fifth party was something I had been planning for a long time and it just kept getting delayed and moved and the weather never cooperated, etc. I was over it, so finally in July I just picked a date and we did it. The weather ended up being sunny, but stickily warm, but it was a magical day for our sweet girl.

This year, I am trying to keep up with things like this and do them in a more timely fashion. Ahem. Hold me to it, friends. For real.

Maggie turned 6 on December 31 and since that is a holiday already and the week before is a huge holiday, we just wait until after to throw her any kind of celebration. Also, because we had just hosted a massive 65-guest party for Chad’s 40th birthday in early December, I was a little bit partied out on huge crowds. Specifically a children’s party. You know what I mean.

I knew it might end up being tricky this year with her having an entire class of kids and then add in the other friends from other classes and friends that don’t even go to their school….and on and on. I told Chad that I didn’t know what to do and it was about a week and a half before the possible birthday party date. He said, just invite the couple of families that she is closest to and be done. It was almost like I had to have permission to not invite everyone and their mother. Literally.

So Maggie and I talked about it and she was fine with it because all she cared about was that we could do some sewing and crafts with some friends. We had her and Maddox, four family friends that go to multiple other schools and her closest two friends (boys) from her class. I still felt guilty not inviting any of the little girls in her class, but I made myself get over it. We needed “simple” desperately. I didn’t even break out my real camera, guys. I just took some photos with my iPhone and called it a night. That’s what these are. Not the best, but it’s documented and done. Boom.

I moved far away from the type of kid parties that I normally attend or host where you feed them a meal and many, many desserts and a few different types of drink and you give them detailed party favors and it’s just a madhouse.

Instead, I honestly put myself in Maggie’s shoes for a second and tried to imagine what would make her the happiest. And I saw the light! Hallelujah! 😉

She just wanted to have a few friends over, eat some sweets, and do an activity and open presents. Novel idea, huh? Haha!

I forced myself to plan this party and buy any supplies needed on the day just before the party so that I wouldn’t get too wrapped up in the details and spending more.

(I found the above paper lanterns at Target on clearance last week before the party. And let’s just be real here and realize that I bought most everything from Target. I can’t help myself. Everything on the table below is from Target. Except for the actual crafts and blue baskets. Mostly clearance. You would crack up if you knew how much each thing cost me. I am a clearance magnet, I tell you.)

Her party was on a Saturday night, so on Friday the kids and I drove down to Nashville Sweets Shop and just randomly picked up whatever dozen cupcakes they had made. I also purchased an assortment of their cake pops. (We ate these on New Year’s Eve and I already knew they were delicious!)

We bought frozen canned juice and mixed it up with water and Sprite and had that in a dispenser and one with plain water. For a few extra snacks for parents that stayed, I brought out all of the leftover Christmas party and Chad’s party snacks from the pantry and the freezer and put those out. If I ran out, oh well. I wasn’t there to serve a feast and fill up any adults anyway. I scheduled this party from 4-6pm so they could go home and eat dinner. I am not messing around this year when I say I’m going simple, people. I just used what I had.

Remember parties when we were kids? Your parent dropped you off and said ‘I’ll be back in two hours!’ and then you played whatever pre-arranged games the parent or kid had planned, then they served you cake & ice cream after singing happy birthday and then you watched your friend open their presents. Done and done. Parents picked you up and it was over. You probably had a soda, had a plastic bag filled with a lollipop and a pencil and you were excited. Am I right? Yeah, I thought so. (I’ll write more on this phenomenon in the near future, because I’ve got a lot to say on it. Not to say I don’t love a great event. But just for kids….it’s getting a little out of control. More later.)

Decorations were minimal, food was minimal, and the crafts were simple but fun. (Again, thinking like a 6 year old.) I took Maggie and Maddox shopping for the extra craft supplies and helped them decide what would be the most fun to do. Here is what they decided:

  1.  Burlap pencil pouch and a plastic “needle” to sew their initial on OR decorate with markers. I didn’t care what they did with it. (I found the burlap pouches in my office from two years ago.)
  2. Wooden trees from Michael’s to use markers on. The youngest kids ate this up! I had no idea. 
  3. Wooden spool of jute to do whatever you want with. (From the dollar section at Michael’s.)
  4. Paper mask. We picked butterflies for girls and people faces for the boys. They LOVED it. 
  5. Beads. I bought a couple small bags of letter beads and football beads and colored wooden beads and those kids went to town. I purchased pre made plastic bracelets to thread the beads onto so they could do it themselves. Maddox made a blue and white I <3 Titans bracelet and most kids did their name. 

Maggie and my mom put each person’s craft basket together and laid them out for me and Maggie gathered all of the supplies I asked for, so it was almost as if she set up her own party with my supervision. I laid all of the art supplies in metal trays on two sides of the table. Other than the little basket of craft supplies for each of them to use, I wanted it pretty much to be a free-for-all in the crafting department. That’s where kids’ creativity shows up anyway. I told them they could do whatever they want, even use their little paper placemat to cut and draw on. They were so excited! I think they are so used to being told specific instructions for activities that at first they just sort of looked at everything, but when they got started on whatever they wanted to do first, they were into it, ha!

Maggie gets really intense when she’s crafting. Hardcore Crafter.

We had to actually tear them away from the craft table to come to the living area and sing to Maggie and blow out candles. Trick candles, my bad. And I don’t have even one photo of that, just a little phone video, and I’m not going to let it bother me. New Amanda. NEW AMANDA.

She opened her few little adorable gifts with her friends and it wasn’t overwhelming! Yay!

This party was genius, I tell you, and I’m okay with tootin’my own horn about it. I did it! I went simple. It was a success. The kids had fun and we celebrated Maggie and focused on just her. Eight kids at a party was THE BEST. I’m not saying I won’t do a big party again. I know I will. But I wasn’t ready at this point and that’s okay. 

The above picture just weirded me out for some reason. Haha! The next day, Magdalen and I were driving in the car together and out of nowhere she just said, “Mommy? Thank you for letting me have a sewing & craft party. It was so so so much fun with my friends.” My heart melted, just like any parent’s would, and I realized just how special it was for her. And that was my whole intent to begin with.

Now, off to mentally plan Maddox’s February birthday party….

xoxo, Amanda

Good Morning, 2015.

Good morning, new year.

I have a lot on my mind today. Some things are small, some things are larger. But that’s nothing new. I usually have a ton of different things going on inside my head on any given day.

2014 was an interesting year in many ways. Some unexpected things happened for us and also some expected things happened that still threw my mom-heart around in unexpected ways. Imagine that. 😉 But we made it through. (A sincere “Thank you, Lord!”)

Chad and I celebrated 15 years of marriage and we celebrated our 18th Christmas season together. In recent months, we have learned a new way to be married. We realized that we had been doing it all wrong for quite some time due to our weird schedules and we have upped our “marriage game”, so to speak. Because of this, being married feels new again. And I’m ready to take my new realization of being a wife into this new year and beyond. Somehow, getting married so young mixed with being a parent had dulled my thoughts on anyone but myself and taking care of our children on survival mode and now I feel like I’m waking up for the first time. I’m still wrapping my mind around it and it is exciting for our future together!

In all honesty, I’m thankful it’s a new year. The changing of the year on the calendar doesn’t really mean that much in the grand scheme of things, but to someone like me – someone who needs a very clear beginning and an end of something in her vision – it does mean something.

I’m a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of person, while at the same time I like to loosely have a plan so I can anticipate upcoming happenings. I’m forcing myself to make tiny goals coming up and see where it takes me.

That’s what this coming weekend and next week will be about for me. Loosely planning ahead. Please send up prayers of wisdom for me as I make future career moves and decisions. I abhor failure and it stops me from using my full potential almost every single day. It also halts me from making decisions about life in general. I’m ready to change that even if it means to possibly fail, even if everyone I know is aware of it. That’s okay. I’m learning that.

My full-time child-rearing days are over. It’s time for the next chapter for me. For real this time, friends. Our baby turned 6 years old last night and I kind of wanted to cry. Instead of crying, we celebrated small at home with just the four of us. It was a party, I tell ya. 😉

So, here’s to the old friends that we take into the new, old times past that we’ll remember fondly and the new times ahead that can prove to make us better people this year.

For auld lang syne…it was all worth it.

xoxo, Amanda