Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Confessions of a grown-up...

I love being 40. LOVE IT. I think it's wonderful and I've never had an issue with turning another year older. Just lately though, I've noticed a real shift in my thinking. In my attitude. In my perspective and I realised... I'm not a kid anymore.

Here are twenty things that firmly plant me in the middle aged garden. Can you relate to any of these??

1. I can't be bothered. I really can't be bothered with anything that is inane. This includes people, children, conversations, television programmes and food.

2. Comfort trumps fashion. Ditto warmth.

3. Random sunny, winter days = washing. If another, non-middle-aged friend invites me out on one of these days, I will only meet them AFTER I have done at least two loads... or else it would be a waste of a perfect washing opportunity.

4. Dinner time is 6pm. If I am invited out for a dinner booking anytime from 7pm on - I eat first.

5. I get annoyed if the phone rings after 9pm at night for any other reason than an emergency.

6. I hate the music that teenagers are listening to today... and like to remind them that I am from the era that INVENTED dance music.

7. I ask my 7 year old how to record something on the hard drive.

8. I like spending time with my Mum.

9. I don't understand why young girls want to dress like tarts... and I think they look like tarts... and I use the word 'tarts'

10. I call anyone under the age of 30, 'twelve'.

11. I like going to bed early. I relish it. I particularly like it when there are fresh sheets on that bed and I'm alone with a book. If the book is good enough, that could be a perfect Saturday night for me.

12. I'm happy to say no. To anything. Particularly if it falls into the category of point number 1.

13. I am no longer recruiting for friends, so I have no need to impress anyone that's unimportant to me.

14. My make-up routine involves more than lipgloss and mascara... and I have bought a foundation that makes my skin look younger.

15. My social calendar is full of 40ths, 50ths and funerals.

16. If I still haven't achieved anything by 10am I feel as though I've wasted half the day.

17. I usually achieve a lot by 10am!

18. I buy scented candles and burn them whenever I want... not just when I'm expecting visitors.

19. I listen to Mix 102.3 and I know all the songs.

20. I like me. I no longer want to change me or wish I was someone else. I like the way I look and I like the way I feel. I'm particularly happy with the knowledge that I would be a deadset hornbag if I went to the gym and the only reason I'm not a deadset hornbag is because the gym is inane and well.. refer to point number 1 again.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

How to host a Grubby Garden Party

Last year my 4 year old son wanted a Garden Party. The only guidance he gave me was that it had to be 'awesome'.

This was what I came up with.

I made the invitations using craft paper fashioned into a caterpillar, loosely based on "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" book.

I set up two trestle tables outside. One was the planting table which was to be the main activity of the party. On this I put together individual gardening sets for each guest which consisted of a green tin bucket [which would become their take home party 'bag'], terracotta plant pot, spade and gardening gloves. In the centre of the table I put tubs of garden soil [not potting mix because of the dangers] and some planting stakes with their names on them.

The other table was set in green and yellow with a strip of fake lawn down the middle. I used disposable bamboo bowls to put in a selection of treats inspired by "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" book. I also found a whole lot of bug lollies and plastic toy bugs to decorate the table with.

I bought two gorgeous watering cans and washed them and filled one with water and one with cordial. The kids LOVED these [so did the parents!]

I had a whole lot of gorgeous garden type stickers that the kids decorated their pots with. Then each guest was asked to choose a plant from the selection of flowers and trees I had bought on sale at Bunnings. With the help of their parents, they potted their own plants into their decorated pots and topped them with some little pebbles I picked up from Cheap as Chips.

Then we played "Pin the Bee on the Flower". Each contestant had to wear the bee hat to play!

Making these bugcakes was the most time consuming part of the party for me! I scoured books to find ideas for ladybugs, bumble bees, spiders, butterflies, snails and worms with wings. They had serious WOW factor enjoyed by kids and grown ups alike.

I matched the birthday cake to the invitation and it was a dozen oversized cupcakes with the tops cut off and iced in two shades of green. I covered a plastic platter with fake grass and used black jelly beans as the feet.
The kids had such a great time and it was a good party for girls and boys. They each took home their plants, spade, gloves and I filled their green tin buckets with lollies at the end too.

The best part? I got the 'tick of awesome' from BOTH my boys at the end.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

How to Host a Superhero Party

My youngest turned 5 last week and asked for a superhero party. It was his first party that he invited his own friends to and we ended up with about 15 kids on a sunny Sunday afternoon at home. I purposely made it from 2-4pm so I didn't have to serve lunch or dinner and started planning.

I don't like to spend a lot of money on kids shows so I look for things I can do/make myself to save some cash. I always turn to the internet when planning something to flesh out ideas or get some tips. I find fantastic images on google and blogs and party sites and wanted to repay the favour.

This whole party cost me under $20 per kid.

I chose classic superhero colours red, blue and yellow to theme the day. This party table was easy and relatively inexpensive to put together. I went to Officeworks to print out the comic 'bams', 'pows' etc, cut them out and then pasted them on co-ordinating poster board.

For party bags I used plain, white kraft bags with simple themed thank-you tags tied on with a co-ordinating ribbon. I put simple treats in these including a Spiderman Pez dispenser, Freddo Frogs and bubbles. Guests then used these to put the spoils of the pinata game and 'find the bad guys in the garden' game. I also poured a selection of each of the coloured lollies into each bag at the end of the party. The kids loved it. The parents not so much.

I bought a couple of slabs of water bottles and exchanged their labels for my own, superhero ones [plain A4 paper cut to size with an image pasted on] and then popped gorgeous retro striped straws in each of them. I've never seen kids so excited about drinking water before. I also SORTED THROUGH tubs of peanut and plain m&ms to get the right colour combo. We're STILL eating all the remaining orange, green and brown ones! There's a platter of chocolate brownies too [for just a bit more sugar] which I decorated with little star topped toothpicks.

Masked and caped Chupa Chups. I found this idea online and LOVED it. So did the kids. They went into the party bags at the end of the day too.


I like to serve cupcakes as the main birthday cake for kids. Saves cutting, plates, decorating bla bla. I DID have a mishap with these ones and underfilled the cases but decided to go with it anyway. The kids were far more interested in the frosting than the cake.

Individual superhero jelly cups made a couple of days before, jars of red/yellow/blue jelly beans in the background and individual hommus and vegetable cups. I also served popcorn, bowls of chips and honey/soy chicken drumettes. The grown ups shared a cheese platter and some super wine.

1st game for superheroes *Protect Hero Headquarters*. I hid toy army soldiers in the garden [some with lollies strapped to them] and told the heroes to 'find the bad guys'

The kids loved searching for bad guys in the garden and the superhero who found the least amount won the prize [superhero colouring book]

2nd game for superheroes *Super Target Practice*. I set up two spiderman plaques [$1 from Cheap as Chips] on the cubby house and filled a basket with water balloons. I got all the kids to line up and try to knock down the plaques with the balloons. This was the FAVOURITE game of the day. The first girl to knock the plaque down won the prize for this game

3rd game for superheroes *Save our City*. I HANDMADE a papier mache, TNT bomb pinata and am sooooo annoyed that I didn't get a photo! My one tip if you're making your own? Do THREE layers. I did two and that bomb exploded half way through the game! The pinata cost me about $2.50 to make.

The party was a huge success. The kids loved it. The parents loved it. The birthday boy was rapt.

SuperMum SAVES THE DAY!!!!!!