Sunday, June 19, 2011

Always have a party on your dining room table

Next lesson learned - You can have holiday fun with your kids, or sometimes at their expense!

I have a friend who is an interior decorator and always has an immaculately decorated dining room table, even if no one is planning on eating at that table.

So, I had the bright idea that I should too. The only problem . . . when I tried to decorate my table, it looked like an experiment at Party City had gone terribly wrong. I'm quite sure my decorator friend doesn't shop at Party City to make her decorating choices, but I went to law school and had a career in non-profit fundraising . . . I don't know any better.

In my blissful decorating ignorance I have embraced my inner Truvy Jones (you know, Dolly Parton's character in Steel Magnolias), and beginning with Easter, for as long as my husband will put up with it, I'm decorating my dining room table to look as though there is a party coming any minute. Even my kids keep asking, mommy, are we eating there today?! Currently it looks like a beach party will arrive momentarily - all we need are some BBQ ribs and Margaritas. Enjoy the photo of my own private Margaritaville. Oh, and those black dots are ants on the picnic table! I got a little carried away at Oriental Trading.

Part II of this party atmosphere - Lawn Ornaments! Right now there is a Flamingo. There used to be two flamingos, but one of them has mysteriously disappeared.

By the way, any of you who know my husband, please do not tell him about my need for a "crazy creativity" budget. We'll wait to see if he notices that the Michaels and Oriental Trading charges are mysteriously increasing even though the children's birthdays are months away.

Following are "recipes" for holiday fun with your kids (or at their expense, as you'll see with St. Patrick's Day and April Fools). I've also added websites and resources that have made my creative insanity possible (no, none of them have paid me or asked me to mention them here - and after seeing the title of my blog, they may asked to be removed). :) I'm always open to new sites and suggestions, so please post what you've learned as well.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Recipe
1) Take 5 kids under the age of 8
2) Bake sugar cookies and give them Black and White icing to decorate with (sometimes the cookies, sometimes each other)
3) Give them an art project where they create designs with both black and white paper (and wait for the art project to be complete within 14 seconds)
4) Read Martin's Big Words by Doreen Rappaport (and allow for the reading to take 4 times as long because throughout the book each child wants to tell you what they learned at school about Martin Luther King Jr.)
5) Sprinkle in a hula hoop contest and 60's music (and prepare to be sore for 3 days when your abs have more of a workout than they've seen in years).

Sit back and enjoy the memory you've just created. If all this activity only takes you two hours total, it's ok. You now have a free pass to allow the children to watch TV while you and your best friend enjoy some margaritas. I'm sure the the History channel will have something good on.

Resources for MLK Jr. Day
Martin's Big Words, by Doreen Rappaport

Hollywood Theme Birthday Party recipe

1) Take five 7 year-old girls
2) Pimp out your minivan with blue rope lights, sparkling cider and your husband as the chauffeur
3) Arrange for a papparazzi swarm when the girls exit the vehicle (make sure the papparazzi have earplugs)
4) Cut from cardboard an actual replica of the Hollywood sign (see photo) and place it in your lawn (remember, lawn ornaments)
5) Make a TV commercial for girl scout cookies
6) Give the girls "credit cards" and provide a boutique where they can "purchase" items
7) Save the concession stand for last, but be sure that it is well stocked with lots of sugar!
8) Select a movie they will all fall asleep to and cross your fingers they actually do.

Hollywood birthday party resources - search "birthday party themes"

We did not get to take full advantage of Valentine's Day and President's Day because we were on a fantastic vacation with friends. Catch me in 2012 for those holidays. BUT, we made up for it on

St. Patrick's Day Recipe
1) Use lots of green food coloring
2) Add it to your toilet bowl
3) Send the children to school with the breakfast of champions - rainbow colored pancakes made by the leprechauns
4) Add some more food coloring to the milk in the fridge (pesky leprechauns
5) Laugh to yourself at the end of the day while the children try to figure out how the leprechauns pee'd in the toilet at home AND at school!

St. Patrick's Day resources

And saved the best for last . . .

April Fools Day Recipe
1) Take one mommy with waaaaaaaay too much time on her hands;
2) Add three children who mommy just can't resist torturing;
3) Wait for the children to be asleep and then put food color dots on their arms and faces (pink and purple work best and they do not remove easily);
4) Convince the children that the dots are chicken pox!
5) Have the children make their lunches (the usual routine);
6) While they are asleep, switch out their regular sandwiches for your "secret grilled cheese" - toasted pound cake with orange frosting in the middle;

7) For dinner, tell the children they will be having peas and cupcakes. The "peas" are hard candy chocolate beads, and the "cupcakes" are meatloaf and food colored mashed potatoes.

Resources for April Fool's Day Fun

Seriously, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much time on my hands.
Speaking of, this post has gone on way too long. In tomorrow's issue . . . children really do say the darndest things - in public, at meetings, in front of your professional colleagues . . .