Category Archives: Pinterest

Release

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Auriel-0045 As I scroll through Pinterest I see images of balloon releases almost daily. I see them pinned to wedding and party boards, but most frequently I see them pinned to miscarriage and loss boards. I can understand the comfort and healing that can come from a release. I understand that people want to send their angels something on their special days. But, and please don’t think I’m heartless and stop reading, I don’t think these people understand the effect a balloon release will have on our world. If they did, would they really want that to be their child’s legacy? There are alternatives.

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First a little information about the damage a balloon or paper lantern release can have on the environment. A beach litter survey organized by the Marine Conservation Society has shown the amount of balloons and balloon pieces found on the beach have tripled in the past 10 years.  As balloons pop or deflate they return to earth as litter. Both marine and terrestrial animals, such as dolphins, cows, dogs, birds, and many other species have been hurt or killed by balloons. The animal is usually killed from the balloon blocking its digestive tract, leaving them unable to take in any more nutrients. It slowly starves death. The animals can also become entangled in the balloon and its ribbon making the animal unable to move or eat. Sea Turtles are especially at risk because they mistake balloons for jellyfish, their natural food source.  Even “bio-degradable” balloons are hazardous. Said to break down in the same time as an oak leaf–which takes about four years–these latex balloons can lay around for years.

I was surprise to learn that paper lanterns are not any better. Beside the fact that they are not as biodegradable as you might think, these lanterns are very dangerous as they return to earth. Lanterns can cause serious burns to any animals or people who are hit by them on their descent. Wildfires and house fires have both been caused by lantern releases.

So what to do?  If you search the web you will find many alternatives to a balloon or lantern release.  Some suggestions include dove or butterfly releases (which have their own impact on the environment and can be very costly), but here are a few of my favorites:

Bubble Rain by Steve Jurvetson

A Bubble Release

There is so much I love about a bubble release.  The shiny little orbs of magic floating up into the sky can contain so much.  They literally contain your breath, but also your kisses, your love, your hopes, and your dreams.  It’s like blowing kisses to heaven.  The process of breathing in and breathing out to create the bubbles can also be very therapeutic.   The image of hundreds of bubbles for each person gathered is breathtaking.

Beside that I love that it is so inexpensive, and supplies are everywhere.  You can pick up a big bottle of bubbles from the grocery store for a few dollars or head over to your local craft or party story for fancy little bottle which can be purchased in bulk from the wedding department.  Or even go in for a little more eco-friendly kick and make your own solution with this recipe from Green & Clean Mom

Цветы на воде by Lilizaripo

A Water Release

Float flowers or flower petals out on a pond, lake, or ocean.  Just be sure they are not poisonous to indigenous wildlife first, and not an excessive amount.

Another possibility for a water release could be orange peel candles.  I’ll admit, I just thought of this one and can’t find information on the potential environmental impact.  I’ve seen orange peel candles all over pinterest, made by taking the fruit out of the peel and using the pith (the white flaky part of the peel) as a wick.  There is a good instruction guide at Home Naturale. Now, you would be releasing fire into the environment, so be aware of your surrounding. I think I’ll try this one out in August around Auriel’s due date and let everyone know how it goes then.

Just a few credits before we go: 

Thank you Balloons Blow for information on the environmental impact of balloon and lantern releases and the image of balloons on the beach.

Bubble Rain by Steve Jurvetson, Used  under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Цветы на воде by Lilizaripo, Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Muppet Mania Party

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Ok, this is the last party post for a while–I promise.  As I mentioned in the train party post Kae’s theme last year was the Muppets.  He had seen the new movie the previous fall and love it.  I thought that since the movie had just come out in theaters a few months previously supplies would be easy to find.  I was wrong.

I had a standard formula for party decorations: themed dessert plated and drink napkins, one themed table cloth for the cake table, themed banner, one themed mylar balloon, themed goodie bags with mixed themed/generic filler. Then I fill in with solid color table wear and more balloons as needed.  Well, the Muppet party was the first time I couldn’t find my themed stuff.  There were some plates and napkins I found available in the UK, and one large Kermit head balloon on Amazon.  Mostly when I searched “Muppets Party Supplies” I got Sesame Street.  But I pulled together some ideas (mostly from–you guessed it–Pinterest) and We all ended up very happy with the results.

We used mostly solid color tableware. Kae chose green and orange for his colors.  We did find some great bright “Happy Birthday” plates for the cake at Walmart. Most of the theme was carried out in the food.

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I saw some great pictures of Elmo and Oscar veggie trays so we tried out character fruit and veggie trays too:

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Fozzie was made from orange cauliflower (which I had never seen until one day before the party) and red and yellow bell pepper with a tomato nose.

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Gonzo was made from blue berries with a banana nose and eyebrows.  The banana did turn kinda brown, and no one wanted to eat the face anyway, so next time I probably would not peel it.  You can also see in the back ground a Kermit apple head.  I wish I could take credit for him, but he is from the blog Party Frosting.

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My AWESOME mom made an Animal cake and Muppet cupcakes.  The awesome part is she used an Elmo cake pan and frosted it to look like Animal.  The fancy star candles are from Dollar Tree.  We very nearly missed this shot of Kae blowing the candles out because he got them all in one huff the instant the song was over.

I couldn’t find invites, a banner, or goodie bags.  But I did find some great clip art at Muppets in Sermons.  Which I used to create this  invitation and a sticker for the goodie bags:

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I also printed out a clip of Kermit which I glued to a generic birthday banner from Target.

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DSC09870We just sort of stuck to bright colors for our generic decorations and added little Muppet details (including a Muppet Show CD playing in the background) where we could and it turned out great!  This was a really fun theme, I might consider doing it for an adult party again sometime in the future.

 

Happy Birthday to Choo, Choo, Choo!

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This past weekend we celebrated Kaelen’s 5th birthday with a train party.  This kid has a habit of picking interesting, but hard to shop for party themes.  Last year it was the Muppets (I found a balloon online–that’s it).  This year it was a train party, which I thought would be easy, but it was NOT a Thomas the Train party, which made things here in Ohio much more difficult.  But, thanks to Pinterest, I came up with a lot of easy ideas for decorating.

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We set the mood with an outside railroad crossing sign:

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The sign was just two big circles cut out of yellow poster board glued to a wooden post.  I used electrical tape to make the X and my Cricut for the R’s, but you could just as easily hand draw on the detail with a black marker. In fact if I didn’t already have the Cricut out for the banner that is probably what I would have done.

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We made the banner with pre-shaped chip board pendants and scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby. I was torn between the denim look paper and a ticking stripe paper.  Ultimately I thought the stripes that were available were dizzily narrow and choose the denim.  Once the banner was complete I thought the denim was too dark and wished I had gone with the stripes.  Oh well!  We used two 15 ft spools of ribbon to hang it because we could pick a color, one would have worked fine, and we had plenty of length left over to hang the banner anywhere we wanted.

We added lots of little train details inside including a wooden track on the snack table:

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and tracks on the floor:

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The floor tracks were a big hit.  We got lots of complements on it and the cost was $1 for a pack of electrical tape from the Dollar Tree.  The wooden track came from our pre-existing toy collection, but if you don’t have tracks already you could make them part of the birthday kid’s present.  Ikea has a few nice sets.

Even the cake had a train track on it!

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I know fondant cakes are all the rage, and I saw a lot of cute ones online, but I hate the frosting.  My mom makes this REALLY awesome frosting (I think it is an old Wilton recipe) and makes all the boys’ cakes.  This one was super simple.  We found the train candle holder at Amazon.  My mom even added a little bit of frosting steam coming off the top of the engine (which the birthday boy enjoyed licking off after blowing out the candles)

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My niece also came up with the very cute and cleaver idea of adding “choo, choo, choo” to the birthday song instead of “cha, cha, cha”.

The kids all received a conductor hat and red bandana.  My brother also brought stick on mustaches which were a big hit.

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The hats were from Oriental Trading Company and were an excellent buy.  I paid $13 for a dozen cloth adjustable hats (I think the price went up since my purchase).  The hats fit the two-year-olds and adjusted up to fit the adults who scavenged the extras.  The bandanas were purchased from amazon for $8/dozen.  They were so stiff when I received them that I washed them.  They were much softer after being washed, but also VERY worn looking. If we do it again, I will probably just pick up the $1 cotton bandanas from Hobby Lobby.  A lot of train party blogs also included a wooden train whistle for their guests, but I know how loud one child with a train whistle is, and I am not (completely) insane.  Also, I like the parents of our young guests, and I want them to like me, so I very rarely include any toy that makes noise in goodie bags.

Speaking of goodie bags:

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Because the kids were receiving a hat and bandana we kept it simple.  A bottle of bubbles, a piece of sidewalk chalk, and a sheet Thomas stickers (we couldn’t find any plain train sticker).  They also all add a balloon added at the last-minute.  Our local party story has been out of helium for months so I purchased balloon sticks with the intention of creating a bouquet for the table.  I even made extra smaller crossing signs to include in the bouquet. Well I couldn’t figure out how to arrange the bouquet so the vase wouldn’t tip over anytime someone looked at it, so I just stuck them in the goodie bags.  The kids loved it, so I think I will plan on balloons in the goodie bags from now on.

One thing Kae insisted on was a piñata, so we made a super simple paper bag piñata.

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These are so simple to make I will probably never do it any other way.  You take a paper bag and decorate it with streamers and a party themed image printed on cardstock.  This time we used a bag with handles, but you can also use a plain bag folded over a hanger.

I found these instructions at Infarrantly Creative last summer.  She adds ruffles, which I felt were too much extra work and too feminine, but do look very pretty.  Also she uses a hot glue gun, which I do not have, so I used double sided tape.  I think I might even just use plain tape next time.

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A few tips for breaking a piñata. Bring an extra rope and set it up as a barrier for waiting children to stand behind.  In the past we have told the kids constantly to back up, but adding the visual cue has worked best for us.  Because we have a wide array of ages at our party, we put everyone in order the birthday boy then youngest to oldest, to help make sure everyone gets a turn. Each child gets to hit the piñata 3 time per turn.  We have always gotten through the order at least twice before the piñata was broken, at which point we usually ask if one of the “big kids” (the uncles) wants a turn.  This year to make sure everyone got some candy I also divided it up evenly into little plastic bags before stuffing the piñata. Each child just sort of naturally knew to get one bag.  I will definitely to doing this again in the future.

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Over all everyone had a really good time, which is all that matter.

Busy Winter Weeks

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Busy Winter Weeks

Wow, It was already been over a week since I posted–so much for trying for one a day. It has been a busy week. We had Tiger Cubs on Tuesday. I’ve starting party planning for my mom’s party. We went to the Detroit Zoo on Friday. We also celebrated with my grandma Land, Aunt Sue, and Uncle Kent & Aunt Barb Friday evening. Yesterday I drove up to Great Lakes Crossing to hit the children’s outlets. All this while everyone seems to be (mostly successfully) fighting off a cold/flu bug. We have been lucky that no one is curled-up-in-bed, I-can’t-move miserable, but everyone is a little run down and cranky.
I have not been completely remiss in my picture-taking though so here is a little catch up on our week:

Jan 13: Circle

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Sunday we went to Spaghetti Warehouse with Grandma & Grandpa, Ted made HUGE circles of spaghetti noodles on his fork. Watching him, we were reminded why we use bow tie noodles. Jensen had his first spaghetti noodles.  The first one he had he grabbed the two ends and took a bite out of the middle, but he quickly figured out how to slurp them up!

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Jan 14

I don’t have something yellow for Monday–but I do have another circle.  Kaelen and I played Wii Sports.  This is his golf swing:

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Yes, that is my four-year-old doing an airborne 360 for golf.  I may not know much about sports–but I’m pretty sure this is not usually seen on golf courses around the world.  But hey, he is off the couch and being active and that is all that really matters!

Jan 15: An Ordinary Moment

Just chillin’  waiting for Ted to get out of school.  Here is one of Kae’s many self portraits.

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Jan 16: Two Things

Take two peanut butter hearts add one baby and what do you get?

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A chocolate goatee

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Jan 17: Ready

Someone is ready for a nap! Ok, it’s Mommy.

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Jan 18: Shadow

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A shadow of a seal swimming overhead in the Arctic Ring of Life at the Detroit Zoo.  More on our adventures there to come–but the real camera is in the diaper bag, in the car, and it is -15 wind chill out.  I’m not making any extra trips outside today.

Jan 19: Delicious

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Ok, not my picture, but we did try out this new recipe for Chicken, Ranch, and Rice soup and it was very delicious. It was also pretty easy to make, which is a requirement in our home!  Check out the Picky Plate recipe here: http://picky-palate.com/2010/06/07/homemade-chicken-ranch-and-rice-soup/

Jan 20: Something you Saw

Sunday is Downton Abbey day here in the states.  Even though I finished watching the season 3 DVD set (contributor gift to PBS) Sunday during the day I still loyally tuned in at 9:00 to watch it on PBS.  It is hard to believe there are only a few weeks left and then we have to wait a whole year for season 4.

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Jan 21: What You Do

I am Mommy, I do many things.  Something I really enjoy doing, which I worked on this week, is party planning.  I love picking a theme and coordinating everything.  I think I use to drive my husband crazy with the collection of scraps of paper with supply notes on them all over the computer desk and internet images saved all over the desktop.  Then I found Pinterest…

I working on planning a birthday party for my mom.  I’m thinking a sort of peacock/game foul theme to coordinate with the regency era tavern which will be set up in our space.

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What does everyone think?  This is a collection of some of my pins for the party to check them out with the original sources visit my board: http://pinterest.com/cross321/mom-s-birthday-party/

Earaches: Pinned There, Done That

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Earache

So I tried this pin out last night and it worked so I thought I would pass it along: Cinnamon Oil for earaches (The link below has lots of other remedies along with this one including using onions or garlic)

It is really simple: Sprinkle a little cinnamon into some olive oil (or another vegetable oil if you don’t have any olive oil, but olive oil is best). Heat the oil over the stove at a low temperature. When the oil is hot, remove it from the stove and let it cool to body temperature. Strain it through a fine cloth (I used paper towel) and use the oil as ear drops.

I originally made some of this for Jensen a few weeks ago and stored the rest in a bottle.  Last night my ear started to hurt so I warmed the oil for 30 seconds in the microwave and put a little in my ear.  Although it felt like I had water in my ear the rest of the evening the pain was gone within half an hour and still is not bothering me.

My Original Pin:

How to Rapidly Relieve an Earache (from Organic Authority)