I’ve been voraciously reading everything over at designskool recently. I especially love her posts about things she does with her kids, like this birthday party. As the mother of an almost-two-year old girl, I’ve thought about birthday parties and how to do something fun and memorable while avoiding trashing the planet with balloons and bags full of plastic junk.
Her idea of a flower arranging party was so cute, and gives the kids something to do and something to go home with. I also liked the paper decorations she had up which are way cuter than balloons. If you wanted to do a no-gifts party (is this too mean?) you could ask the guests to bring a few flowers instead of a gift.
Here’s a few other ideas I had along these same lines- a craft that kids can take home.
1) A fairy garden. Each kid gets a plant in a clay pot or so, and there are supplies for creating the garden- some fairies, little flowers, recycled bits and bobs like buttons, etc.
2) Cake decorating, possibly with fondant. Each kid gets two cupcakes with basic white frosting (one to eat and one to take home), and there is a supply of different colored fondants, and possibly some instructions for different characters. Or just let them use their imaginations.
3) Fimo jewelry. Each kid gets a necklace made of leather or string (like embroidery thread braided together or so), and there is a supply of different colors of Fimo clay and various stamps and jewels for embedding on their creation. You could also do Fimo dollhouse creations, like food etc., but since not everyone would have a dollhouse this might not be ideal for a party.
4) Bead necklaces.
There are so many different fun little crafts that you could turn into a party for little girls.
I found the most adorable bookplates on Etsy recently. I had been wanting to write in Alice’s books, who the book was from, and when it was given. So I got these bookplates with her first and middle names, and with two blank lines underneath so I can write the name of the giver and date or occasion given. I love that she (and possibly even her kids) will be able to look at these books years later and know who got it for her.
The shop is called PreppyProdigy and they have so much cute stuff. I especially love the personalized valentines and think it would be so fun to send these to relatives. They also have lots of fun greeting cards.
Oh how I adore vintage Tupperware. I realized recently when looking through an Ebay search on “Vintage Tupperware” just how much of this stuff we had in our kitchen when I was a kid, so I thought I’d do a couple posts on my favorite pieces of Tupperware. I’ll start with the things I still have and use today.
First up is the Shelf Saver, item #1243. These containers seem to fit perfectly in kitchen cabinets, are stackable, and the rectangular shape means they waste less space than round containers. I use these for salt, baking soda, cocoa, brown sugar, and powdered sugar, and I have yet to find anything for these items that works as well as the Shelf Saver. I had a few leftover from the old homestead where I grew up, and recently bought a couple more off of Ebay.
Next up is the Serving Center, item #1665. I come from a big family, and most of our holidays are done potluck style. There is always a vegetable tray and the Serving Center is perfect for cut up vegetables, with a container for dip in the center. You could also use this for cut up cheese, chips, etc.
Next up: Tupperware for children! I loved my Tupperware when I was a kid.
In the past, I always seemed to be running around at the last minute trying to get birthday cards out. This year, my husband and I developed a system that made everything much easier. We buy, address, and stamp all of the birthday cards for the year at once. When the birthday is coming up we just take the card out, write a little note to the recipient, and put it in the mail.
Here’s how we did it. First, we created an Excel spreadsheet with two sheets. The first sheet is for addresses and it has four columns. The first column is simply the last name, which we use to alphabetize the list. The second column includes the names of everyone in the family. The third column is the address, written exactly as it should appear on an envelope. And the fourth column is for notes, such as the name of a boyfriend or girlfriend. This sheet is our master list of addresses, which we also use for Christmas cards.
The second sheet is for birthdays and has three columns. The first column shows the month and date of the birthday, which are listed in chronological order. The second column shows the birth year, and the third column is the name. We highlighted the names of all of the people we wanted to send cards to.
We also keep a perpetual birthday calendar hanging in the kitchen. It has a line for each day of the month, and we filled in the birthdays for family and friends so we can see at a glance when birthdays are coming up.
My husband and I took a printed copy of our birthday list to a card store to buy birthday cards for the upcoming year. We did this the week after Christmas when we both had time off of work, but it really could be done any time. We had about 15 cards to buy and together it took us about an hour to pick them all out. When we got home, we stamped and addressed all of the envelopes, and sorted them chronologically. Since my husband is German, some of our cards go to Europe, so we keep stamps on hand for both Europe and the US. You can buy forever stamps online from the USPS for both Europe and the US, and I highly recommend keeping an inventory of the stamps you use regularly at home.
I can’t tell you how wonderful this system has been. Now, when I see that someone’s birthday is coming up, I just go to the drawer where I have all of the birthday cards and find the card for that person, write a little note, seal the card, and put it in the mail. No rushing to the store to find a card, no searching for an address, no stopping by the post office for stamps. And, if I get unexpected cards for my birthday, I can make sure to reciprocate by adding that person to my birthday list.
I recently hosted a baby shower for my dear cousin Ann. Ann and I are second cousins, and our grandmothers were sisters.
At the shower, another cousin gave Ann a gift and announced, “it’s wrapped in the Pink Paper.” Apparently, this wasn’t just any pink paper, this was THE Pink Paper- the paper that their grandmother Ellen used to wrap anything and everything. Ellen passed away a few years ago, but the Pink Paper lives on.
The Pink Paper is a lovely light, opaque, matte pink, and it came in a gigantic roll. I don’t know where it originally came from, but I can guess. Our grandmothers grew up very poor and were impressionable young girls during the depression, so resources and opportunities were not wasted. I imagine this roll may have come from a store that was closing, possibly one that a friend or relative had worked in, and that Ellen saw in this roll the opportunity to never buy wrapping paper again. And so one woman’s thrifty ways brought about a cherished family tradition of getting gifts from Grandma wrapped in the Pink Paper. I love this idea of seeing a gift and knowing who it’s from just by how it is wrapped.
After hearing this story I was eager to create my own version of the Pink Paper. I decided to buy a giant roll of wrapping paper that I would use to wrap anything and everything. I eventually settled on a light blue glossy paper from Paper Mart (papermart.com). It was under $20 for a 100 foot roll, which should last me a good long time. I plan to use it for everything I need to wrap, along with this cream-colored ribbon.
Do you have a signature wrapping paper? If so, I would love to know what you chose.
I’ve been coming to Lake Chelan for summer vacations since I was little. My brothers and I would swim in the pools at Campbell’s all day long and on the last day of vacation we would go to Slidewaters, where I would dream that someday, I would be a lifeguard– a teenager– with a blue swimsuit, a golden tan, and the power to wave people onto the slides when their turn came. At the end of the day we were each allowed to get a Slidewaters t-shirt, then we piled into the car and slept for hours while my dad drove us home.
I still love this trip and I try to go every year.
Last year, on our way to Lake Chelan, my husband and I made a pit-stop in the town of Cashmere and serendipitously discovered the barbeque of the Gods, Country Boys BBQ. Thus a new tradition was born.
We stopped there again this year for dinner Friday night on our way into town. We also picked up a pound of brisket, which we had as a main course for brunch (for which we used our picnic basket) on our patio at the hotel on Saturday and Sunday.
We stayed at Campbell’s Inn*, which for me, IS Lake Chelan. I’ve stayed other places, and although this place has its faults, it’s my favorite resort in Washington State. Everywhere here, there are happy families enjoying the fleeting northwest summer together. It is right on the lake, and yet also in the middle of town. There is a Safeway and a Starbucks right across the street, as well as a variety store that has been there forever. It also has a restaurant, and after sampling a few other places in town, this is still my favorite place to have dinner in Lake Chelan.
We spent Saturday floating on inner tubes on the lake, and had dinner at the Pub and Veranda at Campbells, where we got these parmesan truffle fries.
On Sunday we did a little wine tasting. Lake Chelan does not have the best wines in Washington State- for that, you have to go to Walla Walla. But it does have some great wineries with some stunning views. The first winery we went to was Benson, where we got a case of Pinot Noir.
The last thing we did that day? Slidewaters**, of course!
On our way out of town we made sure to stop at a roadside stand to get fresh cherries, peaches, corn, and zucchini, so we will still be enjoying the fruits of our vacation all week.
*Here are some tips on making reservations at Campbells. The best rooms are the ground floor rooms, where you can easily go in an out of your room from the resort. This is especially nice if you are traveling with kids. Rooms fill up fast, so it’s best to make your reservations by at least December, and if you reserve your room for the following year when you check out, they will give you your same room for the same weekend again. All this being said, last year we decided to go to Lake Chelan at the last minute, and were able to book a room for the weekend just 4 or 5 days ahead due to cancellations. I also think Lake Chelan is slightly nicer outside of the peak season that is roughly 4th of July to Labor Day. In June and September it is still warm, but the crowds are thinner and it’s not quite as hot.
**One of the things I love about Slidewaters is that they still have many of the original slides, including the Thunder Rapids tube ride (which will always be the “River Ride” to me) and the four original slides with their original names- the Blue Blaster, the Sidewinder, the Corkscrew, and the Bonzai Pipeline. Even many of the signs are what I remember from when I was a kid.
It’s always nice to be able to bring home some wonderful smells from places you’ve visited in the form of soaps, lotions, and other personal care products. I always keep my eyes (and nose!) attuned to these things when I am on vacation so that I can bring some great local things home with me. A little for me, and a little for my friends and family, as these kinds of things make great gifts.
I found the Filthy Farmgirl Soaps at an ABC Store next to the Ritz-Carlton Kapulua (the ABC Stores in Hawaii are gold mines for local treasures) and I bought a bunch of them to take home. They are all-natural, they have super-cool packaging, they smell amazing, and they are unique and fun, making them great gifts (a great gift to me, as well). The cabinet that I’ve been storing them in smells so good every time I open the door.
I’ve given out several to family members for birthday presents so far. Some of the soaps have names that are a little bit naughty, so I bought a couple of the more tame ones for gifts for family (the Uber Super-Duper Aloha, and the Filthy Surfer Soap). Filthy Farmgirl has free shipping to anywhere in the US with no minimum order, so I’ll definitely be ordering more of these for future gifts.
Another thing I like to take home to remember the smells of Hawaii is the Honey Mango lotion, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner from the Grand Wailea Hotel on Maui. This was another hotel that we stayed at on our honeymoon, and this is probably our favorite hotel anywhere because of it’s incredible pool. The hotel is also famous for its spa. I love the tropical smell of the products at this hotel and I find myself squirreling them away to take home with me since it’s such a fun reminder of the vacation. You can also buy them online.
I would love to hear about some of your favorite personal care products that you have found on vacation!