Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Special Person Lunch

Every year the elementary school holds a "Special Person" lunch.  The students are allowed to invite one to two guests to have lunch with them in the cafeteria.  Last year was our first year in the school, and I scurried from lunch to lunch.  Three different lunches, two on one day and one on another day.

I was thrilled to see my kids interacting with classmates and to meet a few friends I hadn't met before.  The "Special Person" lunch was a great insight into the lives of my kids at school.

This year the paper came home and I had concerns.  I'm working now. I wondered how I would get to each lunch when I only get a half hour for lunch every day. As I was asking my kindergartner about the lunch, my "too cool" third grader chimed in that I didn't need to go to his lunch.  While my sixth grader told me the same, her comment was more to ease my pain of getting out of work than to push me away.  But my little guy?  Lately he's just been very wrapped up in being independent and a "big" kid.

I spend many days trying to get him to snuggle in just a little bit.  Most days he doesn't budge.  After some thought I decided to arrange to get to my kindergartener's lunch and abide by the wishes of my third grader.  He was very clear he was good without anyone coming into school.  Truthfully I was convinced and I didn't give it too much thought after our discussion that evening.

This week is "Special Person Lunch" at the school.  Monday Hubby was working local and was willing to get to our little girl's lunch.  I was relieved he was able to join her and that I wouldn't have to rush to the school.  They had a wonderful time, sending me selfies and sharing food.  I was able to stay at work and I was overjoyed Hubby was able to experience something special at the school.

Last night, my third grader was unpacking his lunch pack and he nonchalantly mentioned that I needed to remember that tomorrow is his "Special Person" lunch.  I was shocked.  I responded with a "Hey!  You told me not to come!"

He smiled.

I asked him if he wanted me to go and he told me I couldn't because I'm working.  I told him I would do anything for him.  He smiled again.  Then he told me it didn't matter I could do what I wanted.

I knew right then and there I was hitting up that lunch.  I realized that he is still just nine.  It's easy to forget because he's my third and life gets very chaotic.  But he's not even double digits. He needs mommy hugs and for me to be there at events. 

This morning I got an email from his teacher.  She told me that my little guy was extremely concerned that I didn't know what time lunch was...and that he was worried I'd be standing out by the front desk and no one would help me.

This email made my week.  Mama still mattered after all.

I signed into the school and waited in the hall for my son's class to bring us into the cafeteria.  Out of nowhere my little guy was right with me, smiling ear to ear.  He saw me first and there was no hesitation or annoyance, just happiness radiating from his little body.  My "too cool" kid wasn't too cool at all.  I couldn't believe I almost let him tell me he didn't need me there.

Kids don't know what is best, and I almost let my nine year old tell me he doesn't need anyone to show up.  Every kid needs someone to show up.  Whether it's for games, assemblies, concerts or special person lunches.

Don't let them tell you otherwise.

And always, always make them stop hugging first.  You never know how long they'll need a good squeeze.  It's a scary world out there.

Have a great week! 

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Easy Halloween Party Ideas (great for all ages!)

My kids LOVE Halloween.  Costumes, candy, scary movies, decorations...they can't get enough.  I love all holidays, and I've always felt creating traditions and memories for my kids was important.  One of my favorite ways to celebrate any holiday is small and simple "parties" with close friends.

This post is going to focus on Halloween.

Start with a few good friends.  You can go a few routes.  Have one child host and invite a few nearest and dearest (stick to five or less) or have each child invite one and incorporate the whole family.

We went with option A.

This "party" is perfect for Halloween night, or the weekend before or right after.  Keep the party to two hours and have it after lunch or dinner so guests come fed. 

Choose two to three activities.  If you play games have Halloween prizes like slime, candy or a cheap Halloween DVD (you can find these at Target in the Halloween aisles). You can make Haunted Houses (think Gingerbread houses but use gummy worms and Halloween candies and frostings), decorate your own cookies, make masks, play Witches Brew (my favorite Halloween Party game) or bob for apples.

Before the party, make a playlist with Halloween classics like Thriller, Monster Mash and Ghostbusters.

For our party we made Halloween cupcakes and Eyeball Cake Pops. 

For our party you'll need:

PATIENCE.  And now the other important stuff...

Cupcake supplies (liners, mix, two containers of frosting, Halloween candies/sprinkles for decorating)
Plastic knives and black plastic forks.
Napkins and wipes for sticky hands
Halloween Plates
Small paper craft cups (I found mine at Walmart in cake baking aisle)
Bright Halloween stickers
Halloween Cellophane Baggies
Cake Pop supplies (either a kit or cake mix, frosting)
White Candy Melts or white chocolate (2 bags)
Container white frosting
Red food coloring
Festive decorations and tablecloth
Plastic bowls
Candy eye balls (small sugar candies can be found at craft stores)

I set a Halloween table with a tablecloth. I baked cupcakes and had them cool and ready for icing when the guests arrived.  Make cake balls and stick a black plastic fork in each one.  I bought a kit but you can use any cake pop recipe.  Chill in freezer. 

Set a place for every guest at the table with what they will need for cupcake decorating.  Place a plastic bowl with candies and another plastic bowl with frosting and a plastic knife at every station.  This makes all finger licking a non-issue.  Set a small paper cup at every chair and markers and stickers in the middle of the table.

Each guest should decorate 2 cupcakes.

When the guests arrive explain that one cupcake will go home in the paper cup and one can be eaten at the end of the party.  Have them decorate the paper cup and them start on their cupcakes.

After the cupcake decorating, melt white candy melts or white chocolate (candy melts work best) and have each guest dip 2-3 pops, covering cake ball completely. Set on tinfoil lined platter and press candy eyeball on.  After the chocolate sets, heat a cup of white frosting in the microwave for about twenty seconds, and stir in red food coloring.  Drizzle the icing over the "eyeballs"  to make them look bloody.  These are pre-bloody eyeballs.

Individually package goodies in Halloween cellophane baggies to take home.

My best tips are:

BE PREPARED.  Set the stations for each guest if doing crafts, have games ready.
Play great music.
Keep guests to less than 6.
Keep the timeline to 2 hours.

This is just a general guideline of how we do our parties.  I like to leave everything general because there are so many possibilities.  The trick is to keep it simple!  No need for huge costume parties that cause stress and require days on Pinterest to plan.  

Happy Halloween Week!  Get festive! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thirty Five

I wrote this Birthday Song in honor of me a few years ago.  I also created my own birthday picture of myself.
Don't I look happy?  I'm happy because my hat is glowing.  And because it's my birthday.

A Birthday Song

Happy Birthday to me
I love fountain drinks and sweets.
Today I'm going to Target
And playing the lottery.

Happy Birthday to me
Today I'm 35.
Wrinkles and laugh lines
I can't see at night when I drive.

Happy Birthday to me
I have tons and tons of laundry.
All day I work and deal with chaos,
At night I watch TV.

Happy Birthday to me
I love gambling and Disney.
Magic Kingdom and Small World
And black seventeen.

Happy Birthday to me
I'm frugal as can be.
My munchkins are expensive
They spend all our money.

Happy Birthday to me
Thank heavens for friends and family.
I love my parents and siblings
My munchkins and my Hubby.

Happy Birthday to me
I'm cold even when it's ninety degrees.
But tonight I'll be cozy
Because my mom gave me a heated "blankie."

I hope you enjoyed my Birthday Song.

The End.