Park Playdate

digging in the sand

Friday afternoon playdates are the best. It’s the last weekday hurrah for the kids before the daddy’s are home to play with them all weekend. Plus, we’ve been smart mamas and serving dinner to the kids so it’s a two-fer: they get to eat and wear themselves out at the same time!

I’ve been getting together with some girlfriends and their kids – all mixed ages – for a several weeks now. It’s great because I’m getting some quality time with real friends and the kids are having a blast, too. Most of the kids are close in age, but there’s a definite spread although none of them seem to care.

This particular Friday we went to the park behind Town Hall. With the summer-like temps on Wednesday & Thursday we thought for certain it would be really nice, too. Um, yea, it started to actually snow at one point. The kid’s didn’t care though. In fact, they loved it – even when their hands were starting to turn purple! It’s funny though what some kettle corn snacks and juice boxes can do to divert their attention and provide a little more energy for 30 more minutes on the playground.

B and his bestie were all over the slides. J & C took a calmer approach (which made it easier for me to keep tabs on my crew) and played for quite some time in the sand box.

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Crafts: Oh So Eggciting!

So I *think* I’m crafty but I’m not one of those really crafty moms. No disrespect to those who are. I love the idea of craft projects but I detest the mess that typically comes with it. And let’s be honest, kids this young with paint would probably make even the craftiest of parents shudder. Thanks to Pinterest I’ve collected a good amount of adorable ideas for various holidays and general Super Mom type projects, but it’s hard for me to pull the trigger and actually do something. Instead I prefer to share my finds with Mary Poppins, who is much craftier than me (and yet another reason why I love her so much) to help me execute activities for the boys that won’t make me question my good intentions once we’re underway.

With Easter coming up and the cold, dreary weather outside, we painted giant Easter eggs. The boys were better than I would normally give them credit for. And by that I mean they didn’t start painting the walls or each other. B was disappointed there was no blue paint and requested we fix that for next time. Wow! Mommy for the win! I’m so happy he had enough fun this time to request a next time! Look at what we made…

Do you find inspiration on Pinterest, too? What kind of crafty activities do you do with your kids? Are you like me and usually leave these type projects for sitters and school? {Yep, I’m not embarrassed to admit my motherly shortcomings.}

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Wordless Wednesday: My Baby Is 4

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Deluxe Summer Plans

a view of the boys checking out the view of the ocean

Although we live near the water, we aren’t really beach people. Personally, I don’t love the feeling of sand between my toes. I know, it’s weird. Plus the beaches in New England are mostly rocks anyway so I’ve never understood the allure of the Cape and Islands.  That said, I do love the water and my kids do, too, so this year we purchased a Duxbury beach permit. I have several girlfriends who buy one every summer and spend day after day at this beach. The water is cold (natch) but the set up is great because it’s essentially a giant tailgate party. I loooove a good tailgate! The weather last week was practically summer with mid 80 degree temps. So with Mary Poppins by my side, we made the 20-minute trek to Deluxebury and spent our afternoon playing at the beach. Yea, it was rocky, but we really had so much fun. We met a friend down there with her kids and the giggles from them that day (not to mention the silence at bedtime that night) was golden. The benefits of a beach day seriously outweighed my personal quirks. Honestly, I can’t wait to get back down there!

What are your summer plans? Are you a beach person or a pool person?

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It’s A Creepy, Crawly 4th Birthday!

the party hats matched the invite perfect

Slither On Over! It’s B’s 4th birthday and I can’t believe my first baby is now a little boy! Like any boy, he’s all about bugs and frogs and snakes and dirt. When he’s not outside playing make-believe with his animal toys you’ll find him on our iPad or iPhone checking out his favorite show Monster Bug Wars. His love for all things icky screamed reptile theme so we decided to host it at the South Shore Natural Science Center.

No Girls Allowed! B only invited his boy classmates and a few close playgroup friends to enjoy a Saturday morning all about reptiles. And learn they did! I was impressed with the program and learned a thing or two myself. The Naturalist was wonderful and I was amazed at her ability to capture the typically short attention spans, but she did. For nearly an hour she had 10 little boys between the ages of 3 and 5 fully enthralled about snakes, turtles, frogs, and salamanders. She really engaged with them, too. Oh, how I wish I’d recorded some of the funny comments made by the boys. They were a hoot!

Reptile Rundown! The birthday room was a little small, but we made it work. I purposely chose food and decoration items that wouldn’t take a long time to set up and used the beautiful mural to my advantage. I originally planned on balloons – a must for birthdays in my opinion – but latex balloons are not allowed for allergy reasons. The mylar balloons I ordered spelled out B’s name but were too big and would have overpowered the space. Before the reptile lesson and while we waited for the boys to arrive, we played an old game with a modern twist: pin the tongue on the snake. I used the snake drawing on the invite and had it printed on a giant, laminated poster. The boys loved being blindfolded and spun around. After the boys ate their Python Pizza we played another modified old favorite: BENGO! I found a free BINGO website that you can customize with your own words. Because the boys are still too young to read, I found pictures online to symbolize each word.

Although I expected this to be an easy party to plan, surprisingly I couldn’t find any birthday planning sites with reptiles as a theme.  There are some wonderful sites like Spaceships & Laser Beams and Hostess with the Mostess that inspired me, but most party planning sites only offer ideas or products for bugs or insects so I had to get creative. I’m very happy with how it turned out. Overall the party was well-received by the guests (lots of compliments from the other parents) but especially the guest of honor. Sweet B said he loved it and thanked me for the best birthday party ever in the whole wide world! 

The pressure is on for next year!

quick and easy items to display and enjoy were on the menu

snake juice and fizzy frog water to quench everyone's thirst

the photo toppers for the cupcake stole the show (again!)

lizard dip was served in baby canning jars

an easy, healthy snack that fit perfect with the theme

a classic game with a modern, reptile twist

touching the python skin {oooh!}

the naturalist at the SSNSC talks to the boys

ready to party!

the mural at the SSNSC is the coolest part of the birthday room

plain burlap helped to dress up the table and the boys all enjoyed their custom placemat party favors - that matched the party hats, natch!

each boy took home a personalized placemat and a SSNSC cup

thank you lollipops decorated the centerpieces and added a pop of orange

the birthday boy and his bestie

the party is in full swing

a new take on the classic game of BINGO for the boys

smile and say 'creepy crawly!'

Invitation: Olliegraphic via Sarah + Abraham
Venue: South Shore Natural Science Center
Cupcakes
White’s Cafe & Pastry Shop
Cupcake Toppers: Bug & Boo Designs
Party Hats: Bayou Moon
Activities:
 Pin the Tongue on the Snake & BENGO
Created by me via Swift Publisher & printed by Staples
Favors: Personalized Placemats
Created by me via Swift Publisher & printed by Staples
Decor: Houseplants by Lowe’s & Burlap tablecloth from Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft
Lollipops & Stickers: The Fresh Market & Olliegraphic via Sarah + Abraham
Menu: Python Pizza, Turtle Treats (chicken nuggets), Snake Cakes (cupcakes), Alligator Eggs (green grapes), Lizard Dip (carrots & green pepper w/ranch dressing)


iTunes Playlist: Birthday (Kings of Leon), Pumped Up Kicks (Foster the People) Syprtle the Turtle (SteveSongs) Crocodile Rock (Elton John), Jeremiah Was A Bullfrog (Three Dog Night), Reptile (Eric Clapton), Salamander (Jethro Tull), It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green (Rex Hobart & The Misery Boys), Alligator (Grateful Dead), Union of the Snake (Duran Duran)

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