Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Emma´s At-Home Birthday Party

All my birthdays as a kid were celebrated at home with balloons, confetti, party favors, a table full of home made snacks and treats and of course a cake .  I have pictures from age one to ten that look almost exactly the same, me blowing out the candles while an assortment of cousins and friends stand around me trying to get to the cake.  Sometimes my eyes are open, sometimes halfway and sometimes not at all...but my mom is not picky about those things and they are in the family album for all eternity and for all to see!  While I sometimes cringe at some of those shots, looking at them always bring back great feelings of many happy birthdays.  Hopefully I can help build the same memories for my kids.

When it came time to prepare Emma´s 5th birthday party over the summer, she had a few simple requests: everything had to be pink (not surprisingly) and we had to have cupcakes (easy enough).  Since we don´t have a Party City in these parts of the world we went to a little shop downtown called Hascot Kids.  They have a great selection of party decors, DIY crafts, and various knicks and knacks you can´t find anywhere else.

Emma picked out the pom pom decorations hanging from the ceiling.  I have saved them for future use, although it took awhile to fold back to it´s original shape and will be curious to see their state when they come out again.  Regardless, I loved the look of them and how lively it made the room.

The cake part was tricky.  Back home I probably would have gone to the nearest ice cream shop and ordered your regular ice cream cake with Frozen characters on the top (we are still obsessed with Anna and Elsa).  That idea doesn´t work here though, mostly because I have no idea where to get one.   Not sure it´s even done around here...I certainly don´t know where to find one (if anyone local does please let me know for future reference!).  I tried a few places that had decorative cakes which were ok, but nothing I felt was worth the price tag.  In the end I went to a local bakery downtown and got the tastiest strawberries and cream layer cake with fresh strawberries on top.  Kids were licking their fingers and adults asked for seconds, success in my book.

The birthday girl generously allows little sis and bff to take turns blowing out the candles.  (Not shown are a couple of pictures of each trying to hog the cake screaming ¨me first!¨ until somehow they agreed to take turns).

Opening gifts so fast I had no idea who gave what.  Thank you notes were therefore not possible, must come up with new approach next year.  

Frozen purse gift...major hit!  

And last but not least, the classic family picture which includes a pair of closed eyes and a little sis that did not want to cooperate...not perfect, but a real moment we will always remember fondly.  



Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rainy afternoon...IKEA?

Not sure if this is a european thing, or if it happens in the states too.  Imagine it does, although I wonder because one of my bff´s back home has never been...not once!  I´m a little bit obsessed, I must admit.  IKEA doesn´t just have amazing home furnishings, with simple, beautiful nordic designs.  It also has a play center (Ikea Smaland) where you can drop your kids off while you shop.  There´s also a huge restaurant with a child play area that actually allows you to take a few consecutive bites before having to attend to your kids. 

Having an IKEA 15 minutes away has made us regular visitors on those rainy days when there´s absolutely nothing else to do.  The fact that Emma loves to go and can spend an hour of hard core kid action in the play center, leaving her thoroughly relaxed and ready for bedtime, is a bonus.

Although our youngest is not yet old enough to get checked in, she still enjoys running around the place and stopping at the many play stations they have set up throughout the store.  And because I can never stop decorating (or redecorating) our home, I will never decline a chance to go.  When we woke up one morning recently, and saw the dreadful gloomy day ahead, I immediately thought it would be a perfect day to go, get lunch and spend some time browsing thru their bedding section (I wanted a new duvet cover).  But since I know how much my husband dreads the place (because it´s always beyond crowded, everyone brings their kids and it´s basically a circus) I held back from suggesting it.  However, after 15 minutes of seeing the kids running like tornadoes throughout the house, bored out of their minds,  he asked if maybe it was a good idea.  Casually I responded that I ¨might¨ have some things I needed to get (yes!).  He doesn´t know that I have decided Ikea´s 2014 collection contains items that absolutely belong in our home.

As per usual, once there we immediately realized 90% of our state population had had the same bright idea.  But we went in anyways knowing it would only get worse from there. People with kids, people with screaming babies AND kids, older folks out for a stroll with no intention of buying a single thing being completely oblivious to the flow of traffic, just ¨browsing¨, not moving as you try to maneuver your stroller around them.  But it´s ok, because when I´m here I act as if I don´t have kids and very discretely slip away into their many room areas...leaving the chasing duties to my husband.

In the end, after Emma has played and Kate is covered in ice cream from head to toe, after we´ve waited an obscene amount of time at the checkout line, yes, we come out a little bit stressed... but the kids are exhausted, I´m happy with my new acquisitions and my husband is thrilled we´re finally headed put the kids to bed!  An afternoon well spent.  If you´re like me and visit IKEA regularly you´ll know what I´m talking about, if not...go and have a visit.  Let me know what you think!



Sunday, July 6, 2014

Why blog?

Some time ago I heard or read something, somewhere, about blogging.  Nothing that interested me, in the least.  Strangely enough, through my two pregnancies I avidly followed other pregnant women´s journeys on youtube (something I also heard or read somewhere) and yet that had managed to catch my attention.  I think because I saw them live, heard the concern in their voices, the excitement and anticipation of their upcoming motherhood that was so much like my own, I connected to them.  

I admit I never really read a blog, anyone´s blog until very recently and so I really had no basis to write them off entirely.  But just like when you hear a new word or expression, you suddenly see it it was with blogs for me.  A few months ago a friend of mine told me of her new project, she was starting a blog.  Very enthusiastically she told me about her search for finding a personal space, in which to pour her creativity, share her thoughts and perhaps even create something new for herself. She had been following blogs for some time and had seen working moms like herself, dedicating time to blogs that were an outlet for creativity and inspiration.  Some had even created businesses out of them.  Not intentionally,  they had found a niche in which to share ideas, advice, just about anything they wanted and people were paying attention.  

Interestingly enough, I was just starting a ¨project¨ myself,  a children´s clothing store online. I was curious and began to investigate, reading a few here and there, suddenly realizing it was a whole other world I had not been privy to. The more I read the more out of touch I felt.  I suddenly felt like I needed to write as well...(warning, cliche ahead) a need to be heard?  I imagine this comes from raising two kids under the age of 5, you crave creativity - the adult kind!  I realized I needed time to share my thoughts, express ideas, if even just for myself, at the very least it might be therapeutic. So here it is, welcome to my blog...stay tuned, more to come!