Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Tye Dye Party

The tye dye party this weekend was a HUGE hit! Here are the kids VERY happily wearing a few of the finished products:

I want to share with everyone how we did it, because it went off really well, and was fun for everyone. It's a great summer party idea. I will say that most of my parties end up being super fun because I've got a great group of friends nearby with children in the same age group.

No matter what the party, I usually tell everyone that I am providing x (for this party it was Mai Tais for the grownups) and to please bring a snack/side dish to share. Since this party was also a tye-dye party, I asked for people to kick in to pay for the dye, and I offered to do a group buy for shirts and have people reimburse me. I found an awesome place to get tie dye here. They have group kits, so I used that as a starter and got a few more colors to add to the mix.

We had 19 kids, and everything went totally smoothly. Here are my tips:
  • Mix the dye (and with kids this little, we only had the grown ups touch the dye.) and soak the shirts in the soda ash ahead of time.
  • I had a table where the kids could do the tying (we used elastic bands) and only showed them 4 easy ways to tie (great tutorial here. I showed the spiral, the bulls eye, the fan and the little circles.). I didn't get all complicated.
  • Aaron sat right next the table with the dyes - the kids would direct him which colors and where on the shirt to put it.
  • The rest of the night, the kids ran around and just had a blast. We ended up ordering pizza and playing until we got rained out.
  • I let the shirts sit for 24 hours and then had a friend help me rinse all the dye out (omg this took forever). Then we used the detergent that they included in the kit, and the shirts were done.
  • I delivered them right away so the kids would still be excited about them, and I've been getting the cutest pictures all morning of everyone wearing the shirts!
For next time, I may change a few things:
  • Have this party earlier in the summer, so the kids have longer to actually wear the shirts!
  • Get more detergent, and send each family home with their own shirts to rinse. That was a bit too much work after also hosting the party.
  • I would mix up about 50% less dye in the beginning. I ended up throwing a lot of mixed dye away because it loses it's potency after time.
  • And I will buy orange instead of trying to mix it myself. It's my son's favorite color and I didn't really get a true orange myself.
Now to have an 'after-dye' party so we can get a picture of everyone wearing the shirts!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Friday Night Leftovers

  • The week of camp is over.
  • I would say full success for Maggie, not so much for Cam.
  • The fact that Maggie's camp was all about ponies (her favorite thing) and was only 3 hours a day - that is what made it a success.
  • Here she is after the camp Horse show. She came in First place in Command Class, Third in Obstacle Course (her horse kind of walked away with her, lol) and second in Equitation (doing the different positions she was taught this week). The cuteness factor was INSANE.
  • Cam, on the other hand, was kind of thrown into the middle of a camp where many of the kids had been together few at least a few weeks, and I often forget how shy he is. So camp was a bit of a challenge. He does report back everyday that he is having fun, but I think it's rough for him.
  • I'm SUPER happy that we have a week of 'normal' next week. We'll get everyone rested and back in the swing of things (including me!)
  • A while back, I decided I wanted to make tie dye shirts with the kids. I looked into it, and the high quality dye was pricey - but if I invited a few friends and we shared the cost.... that would work.
  • In the end, I think we have about 16 kids coming over to tye dye shirts. So, along with parents, we are up to about 30 people. So it's obviously a party. I turned it into a Tye Dye Mai Tai party. Lets pray for no rain.
  • And now? I'm off to start my weekend!
  • Thursday, July 25, 2013

    Camp Stress

    So camp. I thought this week was going to be AWESOME. The kids would be SO excited for camp that everything would be super easy, make some great memories, and we'd be sad that camp was over by Friday.

    Well. While camp IS great and the kids are making wonderful memories, I think I'm getting a little preview into the stress of the morning that comes when kids start school. Our current routine is very easy and free right now - the kids wake up when they wake up, eat what they want (or nothing if they don't), and we go to school when we go to school. And that is what we did the first day. Both kids woke up all excited for camp, got dressed right away, and eat a small breakfast. When I picked up Maggie at camp, she was face down crying in the barn because she wanted a wand (aka a crop) and they wouldn't let her have it (obviously). So I got her calmed down, and asked if she ate her snack? Turns out they didn't stop for snack.


    And of course the 15 year old girls running Pony Camp didn't think about snack for the youngest kid there. But that was her only problem, she has been wonderful and excited all week.

    Cam though - Cam is in camp every day from 9 - 4. No stopping, no naps, and lot of activity. He is 100% having a blast, but when he gets home, he is totally overtired, and eats the equivalent of 2 dinners. And as I'm a summer camp novice, I didn't think before signing both kids up for different camps during the same week, with the same drop off times would be an issue. And it really wasn't. I dropped Maggie off on my way to work, and Aaron dropped off Cam. And here is the trouble. Aaron is a novice drop off guy. Yesterday, when he went to drop off Cam, Cam starting getting upset and asking him to stay. This happens maybe once a month at daycare - and what I do is get down at Cam's level, give him a big hug and a kiss, tell him I'll be back at the end of the day, love him lots and to have fun. I then turn and walk away (and the daycare people usually divert his attention). Well, apparently Aaron couldn't take Cam getting upset as he left, so he try to talk him down, and Cam just would cry harder and harder as he tried to leave. It was a disaster. Aaron called me after 45 minutes of crying from Cam asking me wht he should do?

    I eventually had to go to Cam's camp, tell Aaron to go, walk Cam to the camp director (who runs a preschool during the school year) and just leave. What a nightmare! And of course, Cam had a blast all day. But poor Aaron - he was a wreck all day worrying about Cam and how sad he was.

    All in all - great week. Maggie is having SO much fun at Pony Camp (I hope to get a video of her Horse Show tomorrow) and Cam is off on a field trip today! Next week though, I can go back to letting the kids wake up whenever, not stressing about them eating enough breakfast to not be cranky, and have them back in the care of the daycare we love so much. I'm looking forward 100% to a normal week of daycare next week!

    Tuesday, July 23, 2013

    Summer done right

    I haven't been updating here too much, but it's not because we aren't doing anything. It's because we are doing too much!

    But it's mostly too much of a GOOD thing. Last week we were at a lake for 3 full days. One with a good friend we haven't hung out with for a while, who lives on a lake, 2 children (5 and 7 years old) and has boats. Oh my god, did the kids have fun. We also had two birthday parties, and then prepping for camp this week.

    Both kids were super excited for camp. Maggie is going to a local barn from 9-12 each day for Pony Camp. I signed her up in March. The summer has flown by so quickly that I had yet to go to the tack shop and get her the supplies she needed (riding boots and special riding pants). My mom was here helping Thursday/Friday - so I sent her with Maggie to a horse consignment shop. She came home totally outfitted and ready to go!

    Too cute, right?

    Cam is off to our local town recreation department camp. It's a very nice, low key camp. They seem to spend most of their time at the town beach, which is perfect, I think.

    After Aaron and I had both kids deposited at camp, I realized how nervous I was. This was the first time that either child has been with people who weren't our daycare or very trusted family/friends. Of course, I was sure that both places are great places for my kids to be at (or I wouldn't have signed them up) but it was a little unnerving!

    In the end, both kids had a great day. And tired! And very excited for day 2 of camp.

    Tuesday, July 16, 2013


    We had an AMAZING long weekend in Maine. This is becoming an annual trip (we've been in  2010 twice, and 2012) that we all look forward to. The village her house in in, Bayside, is quiet possibly the most beautiful place. The weather this year was perfect, and we had a great visit. I must have said to my friend 50 times on Saturday 'This is great'. Maggie's favorite part was 'sticking her toes in the deep, deep ocean' and Cam - well Cam managed to get onto all the boats in the harbor (he went for multiple rides in Lucas's launch, charmed his way onto a friend's Boston Whaler - and they let him drive that one - and we all went on the family's sailboat.)

    This the beach - not your normal beach, but a pretty rocky one. Cam's legs have scrapes everywhere from all his exploring:

    Walter, my friend's husband, is a big sailor and he took us out on their sailboat. Cam's face was plastered with that smile the entire time. Walter let him 'drive' most of the trip.
    The water there is VERY cold (like 62 degrees). Every day I would put on my bathing suit, and go with the kids to the beach, but they would never venture in. On Sunday, I was planning on heading home at noon. We went down to the dock to say good-bye to the ocean, and for the the first time, I didn't put on my suit. Wouldn't it figure that both kids wanted to get in! Luckily, Lucas, the older son, was with us, and got in with the kids. And a really nice guy dove down to the bottom and got a sand dollar to show Maggie. She loved it.
    But in normal Maggie-style, got very concerned that the sand dollar missed it's family, so she gently put him back in the water. She is so gentle with animals.

    And this was the last picture I took - saying goodbye to the park as we walked up to the house to get ready to leave.

    I can't say it enough how much I love this stage. Both kids are really wonderful right now. Brave enough to try new things, excited to make new friends, and just all around a joy to hang out with. Even just 6 months ago I would be totally wiped out from spending a long weekend alone with them - but now? I had a wonderful time watching them do their own thing, and I got to reconnect with a friend I rarely hang out with. It was re-energizing.

    Perfect weekend. 

    Of course, we are now suffering from over-tired kids! They did sleep amazingly well at night there, but being out in the sun running around all day with no naps? We are in catch-up mode now (and me too!).

    Wednesday, July 10, 2013

    Road Trippin'

    We (Aaron is staying home) are heading out tomorrow to Maine for our annual trip to visit friends. This is the family with my kids very best BIG KID friends and my girlfriend has her own business and is super busy - so much so that I rarely get her to reply to a text message, forget a real phone conversation. So we are all super excited to spend some time with our favorite people. We always have a great time when we are there - it's a great location - right near the water with great rocky beaches to explore. This year they have finally finished refurbishing a sailboat - so we may even get to go on cruise.

    But right now, I'm running around making sure I've got the right movies loaded in the USB sticks, proper clothing packed and the right snacks so we can (hopefully) sail right up to Maine in the morning. We are planning on only one stop to pick up my girlfriend's CSA, and then I'm hoping the novelty of a new dual screen DVD player keeps them occupied for 3.5 hours.

    Pray for me.

    Monday, July 8, 2013


    I just got back from the most wonderful long weekend. It’s the first of many this summer, as we have changed from the very easy for us 5 day a week daycare to a bit of a cobbled together child care plan. Our usual week has the kids in daycare 9 hours a day, and we will spend about 4 awake hours with the kids during the week, and the weekends are busy.

    The past 5 days were certainly busy, but a different kind of busy. We visited the zoo, we celebrated the 4th, went to parties. But I also had blocks of time where I just sat and watched my kids. And honestly, it was a gift. Because I’m not with them 24X7, I don’t get to see just how great they really are. We spent the entire day at the lake on Friday while Aaron was at work. It was awesome for many reasons, but I pretty much got to watch Cam figure out how to swim. All day he tried different things, got braver and braver, and by the end of the day? Swimming without a bubble. Insane.

    Maggie spent the entire day on the edge of the lake making little imaginary worlds. It was a camp day, so we would stay constant, but new batches of kids would appear every few hours, and Maggie would rope new groups of girls into playing with her… so great to watch.

    Midway through the day, the ice cream truck came. I handed the kids money and they ran up the hill to get their treats, no worries about being away from me and SO excited that they paid themselves. I love it. I just think this is such an amazing age to experience. Things are clicking in their brains and they are learning. The work that Aaron and I have put in over the years of consistent parenting and messages – I think it’s finally paying off. They know what is OK to do (most of the time) they know what they are capable of, and now they just DO it.

    It was only five days off, but it was awesome.

    Monday, July 1, 2013


    It was supposed to rain all weekend, so I made indoor plans for both Saturday and Sunday. But when Saturday ended up being rain-free, I decided to just wake up and take the kids to the town beach after breakfast and stay outside until the rain came. As I was packing up the swim bags, one of my friends (whose son is Cam's very best friend) called and asked if we wanted to go hang out at the very exclusive pool she belongs to.

    Um. YES.

    We thought we'd only get a few hours in, but the rain never came. We spent 6+ hours swimming, using their splash pad, jumping off the diving board - they even had staff organizing dodge ball games and crafts! It was an amazingly fun day. The thing that really made it extra special is that Cam's friend can swim. Cam watched him stick his head under water and jump off the diving board and he was all in. By the end of the day, Cam was swimming under water, diving for those dive ring things and just having a BLAST.

    My dad used to always say to me 'Give success a chance to happen'. I love raspberries. And Maggie loves raspberries. Going to a pick your own patch is wicked expensive, and so is buying them (even in season). But I know someone at my church that is often talking about her raspberry patch and offering up 'volunteers' to those interested in starting their own patches. Her house was right on the way home from the fancy pool, so I called to see if we could pop over and pick some berries. She was more than happy to let us over.

    Cam was so funny. He said to me - I don't like eating these - but I LOVE picking them!

    Maggie ate more than got in the container.
    But, the raspberry patch was outside the fence. So we didn't know about all the exciting things INSIDE. They happen to have the most awesome dog, Max, who loves raspberries. In this picture, he is 'begging nice' for Maggie to give him one. She was enchanted with this dog!
    Then, the kids turned their head and saw the trampoline. OMG. So happy.
    Needless to say, they kids were wiped out last night. Cam was asking if it was past his bedtime at 6:30. They both passed out in seconds when they laid down. And Aaron is willing to put in a raspberry patch in our yard! To say I'm excited is an understatement.

    Happy weekend - and excited for my short week at work this week!