Tuesday, May 31, 2011

"Time of Day" Baby Shower

Since my earlier post about the Surprise Themed Baby Shower was such a hit, I decided to post a follow up about the Time of Day Baby Shower I threw for my dear friend Eri.

Time of Day Baby Shower is the same as any other baby shower but each guest is given a specific time of a baby's day as a gift theme.  Every couple of guests got a different invitation specifying the time of day they were responsible for. There was Bath-time, Play-time, Meal-time, Bed-time, Visit-time and each invitation had a different design to reflect that time of day.

Baby Shower Invites

Guests would bring gifts in their category thus ensuring that there would not be any gift overlaps.  Here is a list just to give you an idea of how it worked.  This is especially great when there is no registry.

time of day gift suggestions

To decorate there were balloons and other baby themed wall decorations. The center piece was the nappy cake which contained loads of new born nappies, baby powder and baby bottle. 

Nappy Cake

I also created a bouquet of baby sock roses which was a great hit and mommy to be got lots of new baby socks.  

baby sock roses bouquet

I will post a tutorial for both of these very soon.

nappy cake and baby sock roses

There were also many Baby Shower Games we played:

1. Measure the Mama.  This is where each guest is asked to cut a ribbon or toilet paper in the length they think is the circumference of mommy-to-be's belly.  The guest with a ribbon closest to the actual size wins a prize.

2. Baby Shower Pass the Parcel was another hit.  This is when a gift for the guests is passed around to the directions read from a poem. The first verse, for example, says "The news is out, quick send a cable, the gift goes to the lady across the table". This shower was done a while ago, so for the life of me I cannot remember where I found the rhyme, because I certainly didn't write it myself.  But there are many different versions of it circulating online.  You can download the verses of the rhyme I used by clicking on the below image. The last lady holding the parcel wins the prize.

Baby Shower Pass the Parcel Rhyme

3. Act That! Pass the Parcel.  This is another twist on the traditional game which I used for a different shower. The parcel is passed as music plays, when music stops who ever holds the parcel gets to unwrap one layer of the wrapping paper.  Add a twist by gluing instructions to each new layer of wrapping paper.  Some suggestions: 
  • Walk across the room as though you're walking a tight rope, 
  • Pretend you're putting on a really tight pair of jeans, 
  • Pretend you're directing an orchestra, do a break dance, 
  • Pretend you have an itchy rash.
  • Describe a painting as though you are a famous art critic  
Pretty much anything goes here and its a really fun game where you really involve the guests.

4. How Many Nappies? is another game we played where the guests were to guess the number of nappies in the nappy cake. Who guesses the closest wins the gift.

5. Advice to Mommy is a really funny game.  The host comes up with a list of questions which would be useful for the new mommy to know - usually there should be as many questions as there are guests.  For example, What's the best way to calm the baby before bed time?  or  What to do with a really smelly nappy? etc.  Give a question to each guest and have them answer it on a flash card. The flash card should have a different question written on the back of it. Have the mother to be read out the mixed up questions & answers and you will get some really funny combinations.  Imagine if the answer to "What's the best way to calm a baby before bed time?" is "Take the smelly offender, put it in a plastic bag and immediately remove it from the premises."

6. Guess the baby picture.  I love this game because you get to involve the gifts as part of the game and not just kinda stop the party to open some gifts.  Each guest is asked to bring a baby picture of themselves, and glue it to the gift they brought. Before opening each gift the guest of honor is to guess who is in the picture.  If she gets it right she can open the gift, if she gets it wrong she gets to eat melted chocolate out of a nappy!

7. List the Items is another simple game where participants are asked to list as many baby items as they can think of within a 2 minute period.

8. And finally, What did she say?  Have someone write down everything the mommy to be says when opening the gifts. At the end of the shower tell everyone that this is what was said the night the baby was made.  Its a really funny game that everyone loves.  Just imagine: "Ohhh its so cute and tiny!" or "How do I use that, again?"  or "I see a lot of pumping in my near future"
During the games, everyone helped themselves to snacks and cakes using shower themed plates & napkins.

baby shower plates and napkins

And in the end everyone was to take home a picture/note holder favor as a memento.

baby shower favors

We had a really great time, lots of laughs and most importantly mommy-to-be got to spend time with her friends and family, and receive much needed baby gifts :)  She also received Baby Sitting coupons, Help with Ironing coupons, Dinner coupons which she could redeem from the people who gave them to her.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Birthday Party Planning

Birthday Parties! Or parties in general.... I love everything about them.  The preparation, the planning, the end result.  And most of all, having a fab time with friends & family.

Although we all know how crazy it can get when planning a birthday party.  Especially if you are a working parent.  There are too many things to consider and take into account.  Where to do it? How many kids?  Entertainment, food, cakes!  Decisions, decisions.  It is especially challenging if you are planning to do it all by yourself at home.

So to help with that I've decided to create some useful printable materials which will help keep you focused on the most important thing: Your child's birthday! Not swamped with planning and details.

Below you can download two Birthday Party Check Lists (one pink one blue) when planning your child's next birthday party.

birthday party checklist             birthday party checklist

In addition to these, I will soon be posting themed Birthday Party Invitations and Birthday Party Thank You Notes, which you'll be able to access easily for your child's next birthday :)

I hope you find these printables useful.  And please let me know your thoughts about these, any suggestions for improvement are welcomed!

I have created a post about Princess Birthday Party Invites & Ideas, check it out for first set of invitation printables.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Surprise Themed Baby Shower

Baby showers are just the most amazing thing out there! The emotional pregnant lady being surrounded by her closest friends and family showered by wonderful, much needed gifts.  Its even better when its a surprise! :)

And that's just what my two great friends did for me last weekend.  I was lured to my friend's house under the false pretenses of going to play cards.

It was the most amazing, wonderfully organized & planned baby shower.  A total and utter surprise.  We had a blast!

We started out with delicious snacks and gorgeous deserts.  A cake which exactly matched the invitation! A delicious Duchess (Doukissa) cake shaped into a pink baby grow.  I'll see if I can get a recipe for that and post it here.

There was a whole bunch of very "strict" rules we had to follow.

Soon it was time for introductions, and you'd think that would be easy!  But as part of a game, you had to call people by their new names, like Changing Table, Pacifier or Crib and "introduce" yourself by saying a few lines of a nursery rhyme.  Everyone was given a gorgeous themed name tag to wear through out the shower as well as a string of safety pins.  If you happened to call someone by the wrong name you had to give up a pin.  The lucky lady with most pins at the end gets a gift.

We played many games, like the hilarious Pin the Sperm on the Egg, at one point someone almost fertilized the TV!  Then it was time for "Making Babies", where we had to be the fastest at making a good looking baby out of newspaper cut outs. There was "Exotic Cocktail Tasting" where you had to guess the baby juice flavor, which I won thanks to my super human pregnancy taste buds! And finally there was Fridge Magnet Poetry where guests got into groups to create poems for baby & mommy to be.

It was absolutely lovely.

Another one of my favorite things was the amazingly decorated Nappy Cake which I wouldn't call a cake at all but a Nappy Stroller! It is amazing and it includes a basket, lots of nappies, blanket, bibs, pacifier, spoon & fork and lots and lots of love :D

When it was time to go, each guest received an amazing parting gift together with a themed thank you note.  It was a pink daisy purse hook.  Such a beautiful and useful gift.

So much love and planning went into this shower. I feel so blessed to have such amazing friends and I can't thank them enough for this wonderful party :)

For other Baby Shower games & ideas you can check out my post about "Time of Day" Baby Shower.
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Smiley Burgers Meal

Emma loves cheeseburgers! I love cheeseburgers, and if for no other reason but because they are so easy to prepare! The only burgers I let her eat though are either the ones I make, or the extremely delicious ones made by my husband's uncle - the butcher.

As I said Emma loves them, although she will never eat them the conventional way. As in burger in bun with all the trimmings.  She has to have each separately.  Which of course is totally fine with me since in the end, all goes down the same way. :)

So this is what I made of her burger yesterday.

smiley cheeseburger

She loved it and laughed so much, and then she said "Where's the rest of the meat?"  the rest of the cubed burger patty I offered in a separate small bowl from which she picked with one of her favorite animal picks.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Lunch in a Muffin Tin (not just for snacks)

I love muffin tins! Its such a great way to serve food to kids.  I've been slacking a little on my Muffin Tin meals lately, but when one day I had prepared a whole meal of roasted chicken with potatoes and Emma insisted on pasta with cheese, I knew it was time to bring out the trusty tin again! 

These tins are so great that you don't just have to serve fun looking snacks in them.  You could easily serve up a healthy lunch, without fuss or too much work and it will still be different from your usual presentation.

muffin tin meal

So what's in the tin? 
Top row: yogurt, roasted potatoes, cucumber wedgies
Bottom row: roasted chicken, roasted potatoes, and roasted chicken again.

I've learned to say no to Emma and really mean it when it comes to food. I do not prepare something else for her if she refuses to eat what is served.  She has learned that "if I don't eat I'll be hungry until the next meal".

Its working great so far, she's been really eating everything we offer and if she doesn't I don't give her something else.  Now this is either due to my new found strength to see her go hungry if necessary, or maybe she's just going through a growth spurt and it has nothing to do with me!

Muffin Tin Monday at Muffintinmom.com

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Language Printables

(This post has been edited to include a link to all the learning printables in both Serbian and English)

I’ve been MIA for a bit, and you may be wondering what I’ve been working on.  Well, in one word….
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting many homeschooling blogs, and while Emma will be going to Greek junior school, I will be doing a lot of work with her at home in Serbian.  So I’ll be taking advice from those homeschooling mommies!
We’ll be doing a lot of word recognition on many different subjects.  From the basics of the alphabet to being able to recognize words for numbers, animals, days, months, shapes, colours etc.    All this combined with a lot of sensory work.  And I will, of course, be conducting these activities in Serbian.  Since she is trilingual and currently speaks all three languages Serbian, Greek and English this is how I'm planning to tackle literacy in Serbian.
I’m hoping that these will not only help her further develop Serbian language (since her exposure to the language comes from only her mother and grandmother) but other skills which are, of course, language neutral.
I’m currently working on these educational printables in Serbian and in English so that any parent can use them to promote at-home use of one of the languages.   Not through language teaching, but through use of language to conduct fun educational activities. So if you like you can click on the Learning label to the left of the screen or just click here to see what we create.
If your child goes to a junior school taught in a specific language (whether that’s Greek or Italian or Swahili) and you want her to continue using the English language for other activities these printables will be great to use. 
So I'm very excited about this new step in Emma's Lunch.  I hope you find it useful.

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Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I love Mother's Day... it is such an exclusive club :)  And even though I've been a member for 3 years already, I still can't believe it.

I love spending this day with my family.


I got this bouquet of beautiful flowers. Inlcuding tulips, my absolute favorite!

We sat in our backyard, enjoying the gorgeous weather and had a lovely brunch of french toast, honey, maple syrup, some home made jam, fruits and coffee.  I'll post the great French toast recipe soon.

Happy Mother's Day everybody!
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Monday, May 2, 2011

Double Deck Bento

Emma currently goes to kindergarten where they provide food (breakfast, snack and lunch). In a little over a year, however, she will be going to preschool.  The big kid school where there are no catered lunches served to all the kids at the same time in a designated friendly dining room.

This has got me thinking and wondering what will I be packing for her.  I know we've already been doing the lunch box thing at home and for picnics, but this is very different from school. I will have to be quick and efficient in preparation and nutrition!   I've decided this will be my practice year.

So yesterday I tested a double deck bento box for Emma's snack.

double deck bento box

double deck bento box top leveldouble deck bento box bottom level

In the top layer I put sliced bananas, carrot balls, yogurt and white seedless grapes. Bottom layer had two jam sandwich pockets created with my trusty Krustbuster.  You just have to be sure that the bread is very fresh in order for it to seal well.  A silicone compartment with cheesy bunny shapes, a home made fruit muffin and another silicone container with cherry tomatoes.

Emma loved it.  The presentation, the tiny lunch box, everything.... I'm just thinking, would this be enough to fill her up for breakfast, snack and lunch at school???  I'll be doing a lot more experimenting with all the lunch boxes at my disposal :)

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