Friday, August 31, 2012

4th Birthday Trash Bash!

At two, Max loved Elmo.  At three, his heart's desire was to be a construction worker.  For the last six months, though, he's declared he wants to be a trash man. So, for his fourth birthday party, we got "trashy."

The invitation:
I couldn't find any trash/recycling party invitations--go figure!--so I made my own. Max helped color my hand drawn trash trucks.  The actual invitation was a torn up flap from a cardboard box. Who needs an envelope when you can use a brown paper bag? We just stuffed the torn away paper that was not glued to the cardboard in the sack before sealing it.  It was a trash party, after all!

The decor:
Decorating doesn't get much cheaper than this. Everything was free.
Party brought to you by Maximus Enterprises
My husband and I kept wanting to pick up items that we'd left out on purpose.
How great that we can leave trash around and it's party decor?!

My parents and grandparents donated newspapers to have them "upcycled" into party decor.
I couldn't believe how much trash my family generated once I paid attention. So glad we recycle!
A trash party needs a flyswatter, right? These flowers were purchased at Dollar Tree--two for $1.
Beautiful tissue paper balls have been on the blogosphere for years now.  I decided to try them with newspaper and glam up our trash bash. I am not crafty, so I'm still impressed that I pulled these off. SO, SO easy! I'll post a tutorial later.***Update! Here's the how-to post!***

Those strings were attached to balloons.

Nothing says party like trash in crystal, don't ya think?

Those scraps of paper on the table are facts about recycling. For example, "Recycling one aluminum can saves enough energy to run a TV for three hours. In spite of this, Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild our entire commercial fleet of airplanes every three months!"

The food:
 What's a trash party without junk food?

Disposable casserole containers that had been taking up space in my cabinets were ideal serving dishes.
A new trash can served as an ice bucket and we served non-alcoholic "trash can punch." Check out the recipe.

This beautiful platter is made from a recycled aluminum can. No kidding!

I bought the rats and "take out" containers from Dollar Tree--both 3/$1

Check out my shirt! Our family each wore trash truck shirts with the image from the invitations.

The activities:

Dumpster Diving! Due to rain, our den became the dump.  I set out trashbags and boxes full of newspaper and recyclables. The kids chose a box--the dumpster--and dove in to retrieve candy and robot grabber arms.

The beauty of this game was that they made the mess and then used the arms to pick it up and put it in the trash can. 

 As any good trash man knows, if you want to do it need a truck!
The amazing Josh Hutchins, owner of Tahlequah Recycling, Inc. agreed to bring Kermit, the recycling truck, for a visit.  What a nice guy! 
party guests who braved the camera
 The kids loved it.

So did the adults.
Garrett getting trashy

Max was in awe.

 I was disappointed the rain made it an "inside" party, but Max was thrilled he got to wear his galoshes!
Max treated both the truck and Mr. Hutchins with reverence. He kept his distance from both. He was the only kid who didn't sit in the seat and honk the horn.
One of Max's birthday buddies. They were born just hours apart!
But he did dump some recycling in the back of the truck. 
Loading the recycling truck is a great trick to get all that trash out of the house!

 Look at those faces! Who thinks TRI could have a side gig with birthday parties?

 Seriously, how much longer can we convince children that cleaning up is a game?!

The amazing Mr. Hutchins and Kermit show the kids how to crunch and smash boxes.

Even the little guy enjoyed the mess.

The cake:
Our birthday boy loves strawberry cake...and cookies...and ice cream...and shakes....

Reasor's bakery did a great job, don't ya think?

Max was crying because his little friend had just told him she was going to take home the trash truck from his cake. He freaked out.  What kind of mother laughs so hard when her child is clearly traumatized? At his own birthday party, no less!

blowing out the candles
Baby J loving some cake

Oh, yeah. That was one happy baby boy.
Party favors:
The kids took home the robot arm trash grabbers, candy from the dumpster dive, and cookies!
Max just discovered Morgan's Bakery's curly q's, so we sent one home with everyone.

It was a fun time. Even the little ones approved!
Baby Alexandra and Dad 
 Party Inspiration:
Cakes Like a Party: Oh my goodness. When I saw this, I knew we had to try. I showed the pictures to Max and there was no going back! His excitement lasted for months.
BellaGrey Designs: These invitations inspired the wording on Max's. Aren't they adorable? Check out the party with all of the design elements. This party has a little more of the icky idea of trash.

Getting "trashy" and recycling was a lot of fun!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Magic Monday: SUP Yoga

Downward Dog on H2O

Nothing takes my breath away quite like that first day of the season on the water.  Green hills surround Lake Tenkiller. The fish jump and splash.  An occasional bald eagle soars overhead. All combine to promote a calm in me like nothing else can.

At least I thought so until yesterday.




Doesn't that just make you squeal with giddiness? I certainly did.
No one did this move in my class. Maybe next time!

The class did not disappoint. The 68 degree morning temp made me nervous, but the water was warm. We stood on surf board-ish boats and paddled around. Then we practiced yoga.  Sure, absolutely everyone in the class fell off the board--even the instructor--but that just means we were having the full experience.

Huffington Post says it's the latest trend.

What do you think?  Wanna try? 

**I lifted these pics from instructor Heather Ezell's Facebook page.  Contact her to schedule a class.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mommy Monday: Teaching empathy

Max: There's a bad cat at the door...will you cook it for me?
Me: No.
Max: Why?
Max's dad: We don't do that in our country.
Max: Why?
Me: Same reason we don't eat horses. We don't eat our pets.
Max: (pauses) It's somebody else's pet.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sweeping up the Heart

This summer has been a time of mourning.  I've physically attended five funerals, and my heart has been at others. Many of these deaths were out-of-sequence--a beloved baby, moms in their prime.....

Several just made no sense at all.

That's death, isn't it?

One of the ladies who passed away was famous for saying, "You never have to do anything but die."

She's right. (Which, of course, she knew!) But the knowledge doesn't make acceptance easier.

My mother told me that Emily Dickinson's poem had been going through her head lately.  I didn't remember it, so I looked it up.

Dickinson's faith has always impressed me as it resonates through her poetry--and through the years.

I'm not sure if the poem is a comfort. I don't know any of the losses where the family and friends are willing to "put(ting) love away" until later.  To the contrary, I'm witnessing it grow and connect with others.

But grief often appreciates someone else who understands the feeling. In this poem, there is certainly company in "sweeping up the heart" that has been shattered.

The bustle in a house
The morning after death
Is solemnest of industries
Enacted upon earth, --

The sweeping up the heart,
And putting love away
We shall not want to use again
Until eternity.
--Emily Dickinson 

My deepest condolences to all who mourn.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

When life kicks you in the gut... this video from TED.

Writers, when you get those rejection letters. Watch this. 

Guys, when you feel weak, watch this.

Gals, when you feel you can't measure up, watch this.

You're welcome.

"Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change."--Brene Brown

Monday, August 6, 2012

Magic Mommy Monday: Olympic Celebrations

I love the Olympics.

As a kid, my mom called us inside from playing to watch Mary Lou Retton and Greg Luganis go for the gold.

The Olympics introduced a magical idea:  Maybe I could achieve greatness, too.

I wanted to recreate this excitement and inspiration for my kids.

What better way to fulfill this fantasy than have an Olympic playdate?
Filled with patriotism and determination, I searched the internet for ideas.

My friend Jennifer Laws is a superstar party planner. (With three kids all under four, I'd say she deserves a medal.) Here's a clip of her party plans as shown on the local news: - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Here's her Pinterest page on the topic.

Yeah, well...there's the fantasy.

And then there's my reality.

Construction paper crafts helped fill days that were too hot to play outside.
We hung Olympic rings from the chandeliers.

Relay batons made from paper towel rolls and construction paper

found a way to incorporate water guns

We were ready to inspire those kids!

We kicked off our playgroup with a relay of passing the torch. I could show you the video, but it's just embarrassing. 

Apparently, my foil roll and tissue paper torch was unimpressive.

The day went pretty much downhill from there.

The children were too hot to run and jump the pool noodle hurtles painstakingly stuck in the drought-dry dirt with chopsticks. (Knocking them over was my son's favorite part. Seriously. He just told me.)

The signs stuck on the fence announcing the events blew off. A new Olympic event was created called Find the Push Pins with Your Hands Instead of Your Bare Feet.

One little boy decided it was too hot for this outside nonsense. Smart kid. He sat on the sofa and waited patiently for the rest of us to come to our senses.

Inside, the boys' eyes sparked with interest when I explained that the javelin toss was really like a warrior's spear. They threw pool noodles through hula hoops with great success.

The kids had a great day playing non-Olympic games and acted happy when they took home medals and toilet paper roll torches.

I couldn't find Olympic ring stickers, so we colored those circle tabs found in the office supply section.

 Later, I made a balance beam for my kids with painter's tape. 

Pretty good for not being able to walk

He's a contender!

Did we inspire the kids? Doubt it.  The Olympics really does that all by itself.

They find their own heroes.

Max is almost four.  He loves girls' gymnastics and girls' diving. As long as the temperatures don't plummet so that the girls wear more clothes than a bikini, he's a huge beach volleyball fan.

For now, the baby claps for everyone.

The swimmers impress the whole family. They're all incredible, but, I mean...Michael Phelps My kids can tell their kids they watched an Olympian earn more medals than anyone ever.

All the Olympians, win or lose, are champions because they do their best.

Even a mom in Oklahoma can identify with that.