Monday, June 30, 2014

Vacation Is a Time For...

Late Saturday evening we turned onto our familiar street, pressed the garage door opener, and pulled our van -- a van crammed with bags, beach toys, mostly-finished water bottles, crinkled wrappers from snacks, and five tired passengers -- into our garage. 

Another vacation is in the books.

The van has been emptied and vacuumed and all bags are unpacked, but somehow my thoughts still are roving and rambling, making it hard to buckle down into regular home life.

Vacation, it seems, is a time for many things. It's a time to read everything you can get your hands on.  It's when pages blow in the salty air and crinkle at the edges as you prop the book against your swimsuit and recline in a chair. 

I became lost in the pages of Edenbrooke, a romance so gloriously delicious that I wanted to douse it with syrup.  (The love letter alone!  Heavens me!)  I was encouraged from the pages of Mary Demuth's Everything, and creatively inspired by the DIY home magazines that my mother-in-law passed along to me, a colorful page-by-page reminder that I had an end table sitting in my garage waiting to be refinished when I returned home. 


Vacation is a time to eat.  So much eating.  (So, so, so much eating!)  It's a time to eat food that you normally don't eat because it's bad for you, like donut holes, Swedish fish, Pop Tarts, and nightly ice cream.  It's also a time to savor food that you normally don't eat because location doesn't allow, like fresh crab cakes.

Vacation is a time to explore.  To walk on a nature trail with kids, listening to nothing but bird calls and the low hum of dragonflies.  To wait patiently at the water's edge until you spot the faint outline of a jellyfish.  To get so caught up outdoors that you forget that inboxes, blog dashboards, and smart phones exist.




Vacation is a time for crabbing, feet dangling over the edge of the pier, as you wait for the gentle yank that tells you something's nibbling the chicken on your line.  It's a time to rejoice when a crab gets pulled from the water, a time for shouting, "Back up!  Give 'em room!" as the crab scuttles out of the net, dances across the boards, and plunks back down into the water again.



Vacation is a time to ponder how armies mobilize efficiently and strategically, considering that it's nearly impossible to get seven children (our three kids, plus four nieces and nephews) in flip flops, with sunscreen, and out the door.

Vacation is a time to be silent and remember that starkness and broken pieces can be beautiful.  It's a time to consider the might and power of a God who poured the water into the ocean.




Vacation is a time to swim and get flip-flop shaped tan lines on your feet.  It's a time to take a few nighttime jogs when you think you're running much faster than you actually are.  It's a time to play a game of Yahtzee on the screened-in back porch after all the kids finally have gone to sleep. 

It's a time to dig in the sand.


And a time to sit on the pier with your cousins.


Vacation is a time to play a round of mini-golf without keeping score, and to say, "Sure, why not," when your daughter asks for popcorn on the boardwalk even though there's no way she could still be hungry after eating funnel cake and licking powdered sugar off her fingertips.

It's certainly a time to appreciate how your husband's eyes crinkle at the corners when he smiles at you. (And to admire how your six-year-old tries to photo-bomb every picture, even if she's pinned down by a metal harness.)


Vacation is a time to point out the colored beach homes each time you drive past them, smiling as your children call out their favorite colors ("I like the aqua." "Pink!" "The one with the orange roof!"


And, inevitably, at the end of the week, it's a time to wave goodbye to those houses from the passenger seat of your over-packed van, and then to start the drive back home.

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Friday, June 27, 2014

Focus on Fashion: Looking Good at the Beach

If I were on the show Survivor, I would not be the girl with the good hair.  This realization stemmed from an honest analysis of my tresses, which are neither straight nor entirely curly, and, when air-dried without any product, achieve an impressive contradictory state of puffiness (on the sides) and flatness (on the top).  It's special.

This week we've been blessed with the opportunity to vacation with my husband's family at the beach, which has put me in a Survivor-like environment (minus the challenges and food deprivation and ruthless strategy).  Actually, it's nothing like being on Survivor, except that a week at the beach lets me experience being dry, then wet, and then dry again about a half-dozen times each day.

So, how can a girl focus on fashion while at the beach?  To wrap up my summer Focus on Fashion series that's been running each Friday during June, let me share how I've been rolling.

1) Wear many hats (literally).  For lack of a better word, there's something so remarkably beach-y about a wide-brimmed sunhat.  This particular hat is massive, which has made it aerodynamic on more than one windy occasion, but it's slouchy nature is charming.  Plus, it keeps the sun out of my eyes and tames wild hair in the process.


When I don't want to wear such a large hat, I choose this fedora, which meets the same objective (sun out of my ultra-sensitive eyes) without the bulk.


Plus, when I wear these hats with sunglasses, I feel covert and incognito like I've enrolled in the Witness Protection Program, except that my kids always still manage to recognize and find me.

2) Don't skimp on sunscreen.  Seriously, slather repeatedly.  We came to the beach armed with a hearty stock of eclectic sprays, lotions, and sticks. Given our level of pigmentation (goodness, we are white folks), we've nearly used it all, breathing the scent of coconut euphorically.


3) Cover up.  I marvel at how normal it is to see women wearing cover-ups in a beach town even when they're not at the beach.  They're cute, purposeful, and can function like a sundress.  No matter how bedraggled I might feel after swimming, a cover-up pulls me together, even if the slightest bit.  How bedraggled can I really be when I'm essentially wearing a dress?


4) Don't fight your hair.  My favorite beach-week hair solution is a cocktail of leave-in conditioner, Moroccan oil, and a small dollop of gel that I scrunch into my hair to reduce snarls, increase shine, and tame frizz, but otherwise this week is the time to Let. It. Go.  Hairdryers and round brushes and flat irons and curling irons can wait.  Beach week is not the week to tame the chaos: just embrace it.



5) Pack (at least) one cute outfit.  This outfit isn't for the pool, or driving, or the moments when you're combing sand our of your kids' hair or picking up wet towels.  No, this outfit is for the evening that you go out to dinner or the night you walk on the boardwalk (where, by all means, I hope you will indulge in a funnel cake.)

Tonight is our family boardwalk outing, and I'm going with a turquoise tank, white skinny capris, and this fun bracelet.


More than anything, vacation provides the time to enjoy the sights and people around you.  And in the midst of caring for kids and mobilizing family activities, there are sweet moments to drop the guard and relax -- something that always is fashionable.

Enjoy other summer Focus on Fashion posts:

Focus on Fashion: Stopping the Boring Shorts and Tee Shirt Slide
Focus on Fashion: Summer Dresses and Belts
Focus on Fashion: The Story of the Lavender Shoes

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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

It Had Been a Long Day (Guest Post from Bunkers Down)

I don't recall how I first stumbled upon the blog Bunkers Down, but I'm delighted that I did.  There's something exceptionally inviting about Ami's beautifully-crafted words: they draw you, making you feel like you're sitting and talking with a friend.  A friend who's smart and deliciously funny.  A friend who would share tomatoes from her garden.  A friend who recommends great books for you to read.  A friend who's wise and understanding and encouraging.

Although I've never met her, Ami's stories and nuanced observations about daily life make me feel like I'm a part of her life, and for that, I count myself remarkably fortunate.

Without further ado, please let me introduce today's guest post from Ami at Bunkers Down
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It had been a long day.

My seven year old daughter, Eden, had asked questions nonstop, mostly concerning her favorite topic: Harry Potter.  Why did Harry want to go to Hogwarts?  Did you go to Hogwarts?  Can I go to Hogwarts?  Does it cost money to go to Hogwarts?  Why?

My daughter Trinity, who is eleven going on seventeen these days, spent the greater part of the day following me around, suffering from a somewhat rare, but potentially terminal case of ennui.  I’m bored.  I’m so bored I’m going to DIE.  Are we going somewhere fun today?  Why not?  Why are we the only family in Indiana who never does anything fun?  Throughout the day, Trinity shot down every suggestion of something to do with a dismissive sniff or a decidedly teenage-worthy roll of her eye.  For a brief moment I thought that if this boredom doesn’t kill her, I just might.

My oldest child, Will, appeared to be in good spirits and was able to keep himself occupied, but this apparently rendered him incapable of finishing his chores.  After the sixth time of telling him to get to work on cleaning the toilets and sinks, my son looked at me in surprise and asked, “Wait!  You want me to clean the bathrooms?”

I practiced deep breathing.

I counted to ten, dozens of times.

I visualized my happy place.

And I’m happy to say that by the end of the day, Eden’s curiosity was not squashed, Trinity did not die from boredom (or an irate mother), and Will, eventually, managed to make the bathrooms somewhat sanitary.

At nine o’clock I put everyone to bed (including the husband.) Not everyone was happy about this development (the husband was ecstatic) and there were a few trips made downstairs for a glass of water or a last minute hug or to search for a cat to snuggle with.

Eventually all was quiet upstairs and I was left to myself for a while. 

But, as I had mentioned before, it had been a long day and I soon felt my bed calling me.  So I trudged my way upstairs and saw this:

 
There is a feeling that comes, no matter how long your day was or how tired you might be, when you see the four people you love most in the world all coexisting peacefully (albeit unconsciously) in one place. 

It is a feeling of miraculous disbelief that these are your people, your family.  A feeling that this is exactly where you belong, even if you don’t quite fit on the bed at the moment. 

With this feeling washing through me, the frustrations of the day finally melted away and I was again able to be grateful for this calling of being a mother that I have been blessed with.

Then, with a smile on my face, I made myself a nice little bed on the couch and got some sleep.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

How to Enjoy Summer (Tips from The Deliberate Mom)

Today, I'm so pleased to introduce you to Jennifer from The Deliberate Mom, a woman who possesses a truly lovely and gracious spirit.  We joke that we're across-the-border sisters: her from Canada, me from Pennsylvania.  We share many things in common: our faith, parenting daughters, the habit of taking photos of the small moments in life, and a penchant for Jillian Michaels' DVDs.

Best yet, we've forged a friendship that might have started with a few blogging questions, but has since deepened to explore those nitty-gritty life questions where we pray for and encourage one another regularly, something for which I'm deeply grateful.

Without further ado, let me share Jennifer's thoughts about how she plans to enjoy her summer.
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Thanks so much to Robin for sharing her beautiful corner of the internet with me today. It's an honour to be here.

Well, summer is almost upon us. Can you feel it?! I'm so excited for summer this year! Perhaps it's because I haven't had a summer for the past three years. Last summer I was in trauma therapy, the summer before that I was returning to work after a year-long maternity leave, and the summer before that... well, I had a baby!

So are you ready for this? Here's how I plan on enjoying my summer....


1) Eat watermelon. You heard me, summer is the season of watermelon. I plan on eating lots of it (even some with a dash of salt on it... trust me, it's delightful).

2) Go for picnics. Summer is all about the picnics. Sandwiches, granola bars, and juice boxes. It's simple, easy, and kids love picnics!

3) Play some classic summer games. I want this summer to be about hopscotch, marbles, skipping, kick the can, and capture the flag. Seriously, I want my kids to learn these games and the only way they'll learn them is if I teach them.

4) Blow bubbles. One can never have enough bubble blowing in their life. This year, I want to blow lots of bubbles. I'm even thinking I want to get one of those gigantic bubble wands and blow some colossal (big enough to capture a toddler) bubbles!

5) Do some cloud watching. Summer is the perfect time to lay on the grass and to enjoy the sweet simplicity of looking for shapes in the clouds overhead.

6) Eat simple meals. Cooking in the summer is the WORST. This year, I'm planning a menu of simple, oven-free foods. Salad anyone?!

7) Get a close shave (or wax) on my legs. Yup, that's on my list of how to do summer right. This prickly pear has got to do something about these legs that grow dark, course hairs. Tips anyone?!

8) Read a good piece of fiction. I read a lot... a lot of non-fiction. This year I want to crack open a great new novel. Any recommendations? I don't want trashy but I do want an easy read.

9) Go berry picking. I haven't gone berry picking since I was a little girl. My grandma used to arrange annual berry picking trips for the family. I would like to bring that tradition to life once again.

10) Go on a playground "crawl." You've probably heard of a pub crawl... well this summer I want to do a park crawl. I want to see how many parks I can take my girls to over the summer months. I plan on charting them on a map and getting my girls to rank them.

So that's it! Throw in a bit of homemade sangria and it should be pretty close to perfection! What would you recommend to make the best of summer?  

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Friday, June 20, 2014

Focus on Fashion: The Story of the Lavender Shoes

I have a colleague who owns the cutest pair of flats in the most unexpected color: a vibrant shade of lavender.  Whether she's wearing a gray sweater and skinny jeans or a flowing tunic and dress pants with them, I've simply cannot get over those shoes.

At the risk of overly-romanticizing a pair of flats, I must admit that they are the most delightfully colored shoes I've ever seen.

The problem is that I've never seen a pair of lavender shoes for sale.  Oh, I've seen plenty of colored shoes, but nothing quite this color, nothing quite as fresh and luscious as this lavender.

The other week when I was in my closet, my eyes settled on this pair of shoes that I picked up, unworn, at a thrift store for two dollars.  They're really quite comfortable.  I looked at them for a while.  While there's nothing remarkably wrong with the color teal (minus the exception that it might be too reminiscent of the 80's), it just isn't lavender.


So, I decided to take matters into my own hands.  Or, more directly, I decided to take wads of tissue paper into my own hands and stuff them into those teal flats. 


Just to pre-emptively warn you, it's precisely at this point in the blog post when you should say, "Oh, no you didn't."  And it's precisely at this point when I would say, "Oh, yes, I did."

Yes, I spray painted the shoes that I bought for two dollars at a thrift store.


Typing that last sentence made me wince a little, I'll admit.  Don't judge. 

On second thought, go ahead and judge.  Here's a picture of the final product: my very own pair of lavender flats that, with enough ingenuity, can be surprisingly versatile in my wardrobe.


Quirky, but versatile.  Unorthodox, but versatile.  Perhaps downright redneck, but versatile.

And most importantly: lavender.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Seeking Perfection

On my summer to-do list was one entry that seemed direct and simple: paint the door that leads into the house from the garage. 

During the eight years that we've lived in our house, we've dinged and scratched and dirtied that door like it was our job.  Little (and big) hands have smudged it, feet have kicked it when rushing in or out, book bags and grocery bags have scraped against it, and at least one unidentified liquid substance has splattered its lower regions, Jackson Pollock-style.

Last week, I washed and dried the door with old rags and painted both sides.  Check that chore off the list.


But then I noticed that the trim around the door was as battered and marked as the door itself had been.  I poured more paint into my tray, dipped my one-and-a-half inch angled brush, and got to work.  When I finished the trim around the door, I studied the trim in the hallway.  A Pandora's Box of dings and scuffs glared at me.

In fact, each time I finished touching-up one imperfection, I spotted more problems -- chips on the door where the girls once had taped a poster, dark skid marks where I collided the vacuum against a section of trim in the hallway.

Seemingly endless imperfections!  It was all I could see -- not carpeting or furniture, not decor or furnishings, not inviting colors or even the people that I love who live in the house alongside me.

No, I just saw the imperfections.

I painted until the tray was empty, hammered the paint can closed with a rubber mallet, and carefully washed my brush, aware that I must have made some progress, but mostly disappointed with all the crud that I was convinced still was out there, those blemishes and dings I certainly had missed, that dirt that had escaped my notice, and especially that dirt that hadn't escaped my notice but I didn't have the time or energy to deal with.

You can get myopic when you're only focused on problems.  At least I can.  I see the one yard that needs to be mowed or the hair that won't fall into place.  We focus on the bad grade on the report card, or the negative review, or the cellulite.

We see what's imperfect, and we want it to be made right, to be corrected.  Because, we think, won't that fix everything?  Won't that slake my discontent?

Later that night while scrubbing paint from underneath my fingernails at the sink, I accepted that my desire for perfection is relatively normal.  It's a natural longing to bring order to disorder, to replace chaos with peace and unsightliness with beauty.

I also felt God remind me that my quest for perfection, if it's without Him, will always, always fall short and turn up empty.

That longing for everything to be right -- for the sundry details of life to perpetually be orderly, settled, and secure -- is beyond grasp.  We make bad choices, or others make bad choices on our behalf.  Curve balls are thrown.  Life knocks us hard sometimes.

And yet, as I scratched at the white specks of paint on my hands, I took comfort that God guides my steps and makes straight my path.  He is perfection.  Time and again over the years, I've experienced that he is hope when there's not much to hope for, and peace when my heart gives way with fear, and comfort when I'm broken, and forgiveness when I rebel and go my own way.

His perfection is enough, even if everything else -- myself included -- is a mess.  I don't need to get bogged down in the dings and scuffs and hurts that life issues.  I don't need to crumble under daily wear and tear, battered and marked, like an overused door.

Jesus covers messes.  He makes them white and new and whole.

Minutes after I dried off my hands, no longer paint-splattered, I purposed yet again to look toward God.  There's plenty of imperfections out there that rally for my attention -- hardships and flaws and failures that clamor to distract or aggravate or distress me.  I won't have it.

I choose to trust the One who is perfect.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Traveling With Kids? This Tip Saved Our Sanity.

A few months ago over Spring Break, our family undertook an epic adventure by surprising the girls with a trip to Florida.  It was a phenomenal week, starting with the contagious excitement when we picked our daughters up from school with our minivan already packed to the brim.

Of course, any trip involves the actual travel portion -- the getting there and back again. I haven't studied the etymology of the word travel, but on the surface it seems uncannily similar to travail.  Sometimes there's a degree of pain and suffering involved, especially if you're traveling with kids.

At the very least, impatience tends to be involved -- both theirs and yours.  Not to mention a tendency for children to be hungry (a ravenously I've-never-eaten-before-in-my-entire-life type of hungry) for lunch by 9:45 in the morning even if they just ate breakfast at 7:30.

What saved our journey was a tip that a student shared with me when I explained my Spring Break plans to my classes.  "When we used to take long road trips," she said, "my parents would pay my brother and me one dollar for every hour that we behaved.  If we fought or complained, we didn't earn our dollar that hour."

Honestly, I doubted the strategy.  First, it seemed like it was merely bribing kids to do the good behavior that they already ought to be doing.  Second, would it really work?  Would one dollar per hour be enough incentive to motivate a child, equal parts tiredness and eagerness, not to whine or complain while stuck in a car seat for hours?

But we tried it.  And here's the kicker: it worked.

It worked beautifully, magically, miraculously.  It prompted our eight-year-old to gently warn our three-year-old: "Hang in there.  Don't yell or fuss.  Don't lose your dollar.  You can buy yourself a treat or a prize if you earn your dollars!"  It kept our five-year-old coloring and humming to herself.  It saved my husband and me headaches and excessive consumption of Tylenol.

We only did this during the drive from Pennsylvania to Orlando (not back home), which amounted to 16 hours.  The sum payoff was $47 between our three kids.  (For those of you quick with math, you'll calculate that only one kid lost one dollar the entire time.  Not bad.)

Moreover, we would have bought the girls a souvenir during the trip anyway, but this way, the girls "earned" their own spending money for the week and rationed it carefully when considering what to purchase.  It was truly ninja parenting: they earned what we naturally would have given, and we watched them demonstrate self-control both when obtaining and then spending the money.

That's a travel victory, indeed.

Road trip, anyone?

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Enjoy a great summer read full of humor, hope and encouragement: Then I Became a Mother.  Available in both Kindle and paperback editions.

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Monday, June 16, 2014

When I wouldn't want to be anywhere besides my backyard.

On the other side of my backyard fence, there's twenty-four acres of farmland.  Beyond the farmland, there's an expanse of rolling mountainside which some, depending where they hail from, would merely consider a sizable hill.

Whether hill or mountain, it's a view that I've come to love.  Moreover, our location lets me imagine that I live deep in the country even though I can drive to both the grocery store and Wal-Mart in under five minutes.

The backyard is pleasant in the morning when it's lit with early sunshine.  It's functional and happy in the afternoon when it teems with my daughters and their neighborhood friends who holler and laugh and shoot each other with Nerf guns and track grass through my kitchen on their way to my refrigerator where, much to my chagrin, they always change the setting from cubed to crushed ice.

But the best time in my backyard happens after dinner -- that elusive hour when the temperature and the lighting is just right, when the grass is lush and the flowers are vibrant, when I swear that heaven itself touches down.

Those moments, I wouldn't want to be anywhere else in this world besides my backyard.

After we tuck the girls into bed, my husband and I walk through the yard together.  Strolling the grounds, I reckon.  We deadhead flowers and pluck any noticeable weeds, but mostly I absorb the surroundings.  We also talk, conversation ebbing and flowing, sometimes simple -- Here, smell this flower -- and sometimes from the depths as we hash out concerns and disappointments, hopes and dreams.


There's something healing and whole about these late evening walks, something that makes me feel grounded and tethered in the best possible ways, something that helps to quell the crazy and the striving that's known to happen in my head and heart, something that silences me in gratitude yet makes me want to shout praise to God for his unfailing goodness, for the simple pleasures on this green earth, for my backyard.

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Friday, June 13, 2014

Focus on Fashion: Summer Dresses and Belts

Nothing quite says the start of summer vacation like two straight days of rain.  Even so, I'm clinging to the promise of sunshine and consistent warmth and the opportunity to wear something other than sweats, which is the wardrobe reality to which two straight days of rain inevitable reduces me. 

No, this summer I want to dress for success and step out in style, starting with, you guessed it: dresses.

This mint sundress from Target is flouncy and fresh, and its refreshing color takes center stage when paired with nude wedges.  The fabric, a lightweight knit, keeps the dress casual enough to be worn with flip flops for a picnic or transitioned into cooler summer evenings (or air conditioned spaces) with a light cardigan.


If, like me, you'll be attending a wedding this summer, then you'll also likely want to own a dress that dazzles.  I went out on a limb when I bought this dress a few summers back.  It's bold and busy, but something -- perhaps its audacious stripes -- drew me in.  (Besides, if you're going to a wedding, you might was well go big.  Rock the heels.  You'll eventually kick them off to dance, anyway.)

I bought this dress for just $12 at Ross, a store that I've found to be a goldmine for inexpensive dresses if you pan through the racks carefully. 


When I'm searching for a more polished look, I like this dress that I snagged from a clearance rack at LOFT (my favorite clothing store).  The attractive collar adds professionalism while the skirt's golden sheen adds a pop of fun.  My metallic heels that I've mentioned before (scored for $1 at a thrift store!) are a perfect compliment.


Now although I told you that this post was about dresses, the unsung heroes in all these outfits aren't the dresses themselves, but rather the belts.  Granted, the LOFT dress boasts a built-in band that cinches the waist on its own, which is precisely a belt's key function: to define your waist.

For many years, I rarely wore belts.  If I wore them, it was only with pants, and (naturally) through the provided belt loops.  Wearing a belt at my natural waist -- the narrowest portion of my midsection -- felt odd.  It was like vacationing abroad, something other, more cultured people did, just not me.

Plus, all the belts I owned fit my hips, and consequently, were too long to wear around the narrowest part of my waist.  I worked around this in three ways:

1) I sought out belts at resale shops -- often sold for just $2 or $3 -- which allowed me to add a few new options to my wardrobe without breaking the bank.

2) I looked in the kids' clothing section at Wal-Mart for the largest sized belts.  No joke.  These belts sometimes come in colorful packs of three, they're a fraction of the price of adult belts, and, depending on your size, they could fit at your natural waist, even if they don't span around your hips.

3) I mastered the loop.  Even if your belt is slightly long, twisting the remaining portion and securing it underneath adds a decorative touch and prevents the excess belt from flapping.


And there you have it: dresses and belts, two of my go-to summer fashion staples.  Go forth today and be beautiful, you utterly beautiful readers, you!
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Want to read more practical and realistic Focus on Fashion tips?  Simply click on the "Focus on Fashion" link in the footer below!

Humor, hope, and encouragement for moms: Then I Became a Mother.  Available in both Kindle and paperback editions for your summer reading pleasure.  Enjoy!

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Looking for a Birthday Party Game for Girls?

Hypothetically speaking, I'm not against parties with themes.  It just so happens that in my nine years of parenting, I've never once pulled off a themed birthday party for my kids.  Not once.  Not even close. 

I've baked boxed cakes.  I've ordered pizzas.  I've supervised as kids have made their own mini-pizzas.  I've blown up balloons.  I've ushered kids who were hyped up on sugar outside to burn off some energy.  I've remembered to assemble the obligatory thanks-for-coming bags that you hand to each guest during parent pick-up.

But I have not ever systematically developed a party around a theme.

For those of you who love themes, I sense that your inner dialogue already has started.  You're thinking that I'm an anti-themite, just like that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer accuses Jerry of being a rabid anti-dentite.

If so, I can handle the label, especially because despite my un-thematic tendencies, I recently introduced a party game that my daughter and her fellow nine-year-old friends loved.  We can call it Revolving Manicures, or perhaps even Spin the (Nail Polish) Bottle.

The procedure is simple:

1) Collect all the nail polishes you own and arrange them in a circle.
2) Use one nail polish (tightly closed) as the spinner.
3) Let each player take a turn spinning the bottle.
4) Paint each subsequent finger with the polish that the spinner points toward.
5) Continue around the circle until all manicures are complete.


The girls enjoyed the pampering.  I enjoyed the built-in dry time as I worked my manicuring magic from girl to girl.  (If you're wondering, yes, I did paint my own nails.)


See?  I'm not entirely an anti-themite.  My theme is just randomized color.   That's adaptable parenting right there -- adhering to a theme so loose it can be applied to anything.


Enjoy humor, hope, and encouragement for moms: Then I Became a Mother. Available in both Kindle and paperback editions!

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