Delegate your way to Fun!

One of the three themes that MOPs (Mothers of Preschoolers) International has for the 2015/16 year is to “Embrace Rest”. I love this! My first thought was that it meant we should all go rest and relax in a hammock on a beach in the Caribbean. Wonderful vision, not always possible. What I believe “Embracing Rest” means more practically is delegating what exhausts you and enjoying the activities that energize you.

I love parties, it’s what I do, and I want you to celebrate. I truly believe that a festive gathering is one of the best, most joyful experiences to have. But if celebrating is only an exhausting stressful experience for you, then you are not going to do it. I have met many people who tell me that they would love to have a party for their kids, but it’s just too much work. Or their house isn’t clean, or they can’t bake a cake, or managing fifteen seven year olds is too overwhelming. These complaints can be very real. So what if you could get rid of the things that hold you back so you could get to the fun part. What if you could let someone else who is really good at that thing that drains you take care of it?
If you could delegate the things that exhaust you and keep the things that bring you joy, fulfill you, and energize you, wouldn’t that be perfect? Would you say YES to celebrating if it was fun, brought joy to your family and friends, and was filled with things you love? I gift
you a plan for getting rid of the exhaustion so you can embrace the best!

First, figure out what’s sucking the life out of you:

  1. Determine the things you hate to do.
  2. Figure out what is stopping you from moving forward.
  3. Ask if these things are essential.

Next ask, “Can these things be delegated, given away, or hired out?” If yes, then get rid of them and do the things you want to do! Find a baby sitter, Mother, friend, house keeper, or a professional. If cooking makes you stressed, then bring it in. If planning crafts makes you cringe, then bring someone in. Don’t do what you don’t want to do, do the stuff you love.

Finally, and most importantly, focus on the fun:

  1. What brings you joy?
  2. What do you find fun to do?
  3. What leaves you happy, proud?
  4. When you picture the after party time, are you glad you did it?

If you love making a pretty table, then do that. If being the party photographer brings you pleasure, then be it. Find the joy in your celebration. This is what Embracing Rest means to me – doing the fun stuff, having the celebration, and getting rid of the things that drain you.

Moms can have fun too!Need help with your party? We bring the games and crafts and run the party. Just ask if you need help to enjoy your child’s special day. I think this is an essential idea when preparing for your child’s next birthday. Do what you love, delegate the rest!

Birthdays at the Holidays – The challenge of sharing your special day

 My friend Nicole has her birthday on Thanksgiving. Why must she share  her birthday with a turkey? How can we make our kids’ birthdays special,  or even remembered, when the rest of the world enjoys a different special  moment. Jonathan has it even worse with a December 25th birthday. He  only gets one present a year while his big sister has two days of receiving  gifts. Jonathan and Nicole can’t even have a friend filled birthday party  because their friends have to travel or have family obligations during the  holidays. It’s not fair!

Not only is it hard on the birthday boy or girl, it’s hard on the family. As a  busy parent who knows the importance of celebrating my wonderful child  on his or her special day, I know it can be hard to focus and give the  attention to the planning needed during this crazy busy season. Nicole  claims she didn’t have an actual birthday party until she was 10!

Sure, when the kids are young, it might not be such a big deal to share a birthday when there is so much joy, family, and celebration. They might actually get multiple parties! My Grandfather who shared his birthday with the 4th of July had us all convinced the fireworks were just for him. The notoriety of being a New Year Baby or having a spooky Halloween birthday can actually be fun…. but only for a while.

Here are three things you can do for those people you love, big and small, who share birthdays with major holidays.

  1. Make sure to create a special birthday tradition that is just for them. Make chocolate chip happy face pancakes on the morning of her birthday, special even when there is Christmas dinner that night. How about a special shopping trip for a birthday gift, or a visit to the aquarium. In my family every person gets to pick their dinner restaurant on the night (or close to the night) of their birthday, even when it’s holiday vacation and we are traveling out of town.
  2. Keep the birthday distinct and allow time and space for other themes. Halloween themed birthday parties every year will get stale. Make room for Super Heroes, and Harry Potter, Cooking, and American Doll themed parties.
  3.  Move the party to a new date to avoid direct conflicts and vacations so that friends can attend and celebrate. Missing friends is the biggest hardship I hear from Holiday Birthday kids. The party doesn’t have to be on the actual birthday, so move it for maximum celebration! Mom and Dad birthday planners will appreciate this too.

Let me know how you handle the holiday birthdays in your life. What are your frustrations and solutions? Reply here or on Facebook!

Everything You Need to Know About Electronic Party Invitations

By Frances Archer, guest blogger

Remember back when people used to question whether online party invitations were socially acceptable substitutions for paper invitations?

It’s no longer a question. Now nearly everyone is using online invitations for all types of events and the only question is which one you works best for your needs.Here’s a quick look at some of the options.

Evite http://www.evite.com/Easy to follow steps to creating a personalized party invitation.Many designs and themes available.If you just want to invite guests and track their responses, this may be the best choice for you.

My Punch Bowl http://www.mypunchbowl.com/ More of a start to finish party planning site, electronic invitations included, all at one site.

Socializr http://www.socializr.com/ Invites plus social networking. It used to be edgier than evite but that’s not necessarily true anymore. If you want to chat about your party planning with others, you’ll enjoy this site.

Zoji http://www.zoji.com/Fun site for organizing events for a group that meets regularly. Think girls night out, skating parties, poker nights. Lots of social networking features including photos.Your entire group would have to join zoji to use the site effectively.

Crush3r http://crush3r.com/ Greatfeatures for getting together groups. Good for users who are very comfortable with social networking and don’t need a lot of prompting on how to use interactive websites.

Facebook www.facebook.com You can also create an event on Facebook and send invitations out to your Facebook Friends. They’ll have the option of replying “Yes,” ‘No,” or “Maybe.”How well Facebook works for events depends on the type of event and the size.You also should know whether your guest regularly use Facebook to be sure they’ll see your invitation.

Paperless Post http://www.paperlesspost.com/session/newIf you are a traditionalist, you don’t have to give up the elegant looks and creative flair of custom paper stationery if you go the Paperless Post route. This site offer gorgeous choices. It’s free to join and you get 25 stamps free for joining, but you’ll need to buy additional stamps if you have a larger guest list. Paperless Post stamps cost less than regular U.S.P.S. stamps.You also be able to track your guests’ responses via Paperless Post.

Here is a handy list with the basic do’s and don’ts for using electronic party invitations: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/dec/06/image/la-ig-digital6-2009dec06

How about you?Have you used email invitations? What’s your favorite site?

 

Guest blogger Frances Archer helps small business and organizations use social media. Find out more about her work at www.content1st.wordpress.com.

Best Themes for 2010

We are a week into 2010! Here is my theme forecast for this year:
  • Tie Dye – Always Strong, never fades.
  • Hunts of all kinds – I offer a Mystery Party, an Amazing Race Party, scavenger hunts, web hunts, hunts of all kinds, and a new Mall Hunt!
  • Fluff-N-Stuff – Who doesn’t LOVE making and cuddly new friend?
  • Around the World – Stay-cation? Travel without leaving your home.
  • Spa Retreat – A little pampering never hurts!

What is your prediction for 2010? Let us know your favorites –

My best Entertaining tips of 2009

With around 100 children’s parties and events under my belt in 2009, here are some of the best tips I’ve learned this year:
  • Don’t make your party too long – bored kids are dangerous!
  • Keep all nuts (the tree kind!) out of your party – You never know.
  • Don’t trust the weather, always have a back-up location planned.
  • Splurge on staff, its always best to have enough hands.
  • Have enough food – kids eat more as they get older, adjust!
  • Cupcakes are easy to serve and loved by all.
  • Remove or don’t use expensive furniture – they are kids, after all.
  • RSVP! What’s with not RSVPing?
  • Leave pets off the invite list.
  • If a child does not want to participate, don’t force it.
  • Defrost your ice cream cake ahead of cutting time!
  • Always stay calm and keep a smile on your face.
  • Make sure the birthday child has the BEST time.

 

Are we there yet?

What is the appropriate duration for your child’s party? Easy, there are only a few options to choose from and these are mostly dictated by age:

1) If the party kid is 5 and under, always go with an hour and a half. These kids are very young and their attention span is short. If you want to leave it open that your good friends stay around after the party and the kids can watch a show or play independently in the basement after most people have gone home, fine. But do not put cake – the standard final event at a party – outside of the hour and a half.
2) If the party kid is between 6 and 8, the party can either be an hour and a half or two hours. The kids can handle either time span, it really depends on what you are doing, what you have paid for, and what food you are serving. If you have only one small art project, not serving a meal, and have 30 7 year olds in your home, go with the shorter option. If the seven year olds have a full schedule of crafts and games, you are serving lunch too, and there are 15 ofthem, if will be more fun and less rushed to use the full two hours.
3) if the party kid is 9 or above, then a two, or even three hour party is appropriate. Crafts, games, and activities can be longer and more focused. The kids will also just need some time to hang out. Most organized activities will be two hours with food time, then, if you want, put on a movie, let the kids listen to music, or just talk. The older they are, the less likely they are to be getting into trouble or running crazily all over your house.
The length of the party is dependant on mostly the age of the kids, but also, take into consideration the amount and type of structured activities, whether you are serving food, what is included in what you paid for, and number of kids to space. In the end, do what feels best for you – parties are supposed to be fun!

Timing is Everything

Time of year, day of the week, time of day – all part of the very important first decisions of planning your party. Just like the challenge of the “where” and “how”, “when” looms bright on the radar.

Consider your guests – a kids party works best on a weekend day, or weekend evening, or on a holiday day off school. That’s when the kids are available, and “that’s when I can drive!” says Amy, a very busy mother of three.
What time of day? Many Moms who plan parties with Have A Bashery want to know. Age of the children can be a factor – avoid nap times if they are very little. Consider their age with how late in the evening you can go.
My most frequent question back to the Mom who asks about timing is: Do you want to serve food? If lunch or dinner is used in the theme of the party, or the host wants to serve a meal, then the best times are 11:00 – 1:00 or 4:00 – 6:00. If the host wants to avoid serving anything more than cake and/or snacks, then 10:00 – 11:30, 1:00 – 3:00, or 2:00 – 4:00 work fine. If you want to avoid serving any significant food, avoid crossing over the traditional meal hours of 12 noon – 1:00pm or 5:00 – 6:00pm. Also, anything scheduled before 10:00am should include some sort of breakfast treat.
Rule of thumb: When timing is at all close to mealtime, specify in your invitation your intentions. “Desert will be served” implies that no meal is included in the festivities, just like “lunch will be served” is also obvious. Guests appreciate your letting them know what to expect.
Another Rule of thumb: Do what works best for you and the very most important people invited to the party (the people without whom the party can’t happen, like very very best friends). For your invited guests, the party will either fit in their schedule or not, just let them know what to expect.
How long should the party be? Check in next week….

Location, Location, Location.


Is this the Most important element of the party? Maybe not as much as in real estate, but still a significant decision on the part of the party host.

Popular options:

  • Home
  • Park district/community rooms
  • Private clubs
  • Party places that host all of the elements of the party like a gym or game place.

Elements to consider:

  1. Finances – If you would rather put the money into the party instead of the space, then have it at home (or someone else’s home, Grandma?). Kids love their parties at home, and if you can accommodate the numbers and the activities, it is the best priced option, even if you have to rent tables and chairs.
  2. Does the space accommodate the party – home might be great but will it fit the thirty kids you want to invite? Do you have tables or the kitchen space or the other things the party activities require? Is the floor safe/comfortable/appropriate to the party? There are some spaces I recommend for tea parties, and some I recommend for tie dye – these are not the same.
  3. What does the space provide – All inclusive spaces, ones that take care of the games or crafts and then the food, all in a nice package, could be your perfect fit. But, if you like to bake your own cake, or you want more games than what the ceramic painting party allows, then bringing it home or to an independent space may be best. A slumber party requires all of the elements of home but a party that needs a pool and food is best done at the country club.

In my opinion, its best to first pick your party, then decide on the space. And keep a positive, “half full” perspective – don’t let fear drive your decision, pick a space because of the value it brings to your event.

Check with us next week to learn about the importance of time.

Do’in Some Fundraising


last weekend, Have A Bashery was at the Kohl Children’s Museum Turkey Trot, the museum’s big fall fundraiser. Kids and their families were able to race, bounce, and play through the museum for the morning. We had a station for our Fluff-N-Stuff animals where participants could pick an animal, stuff and name it. We were so pleased to be able to then donate a portion of the proceeds to the fundraising effort. We also donated the goodie bag bags which included this sweet teddy bear key chain.

About a hundred happy families came out to support this great local resource. If you have a fundraising event in your community, Have A Bashery can help you make it a super fun experience for families.

Holiday Birthdays – To Theme or Not To Theme


Halloween is now over – and wasn’t it fun! Did you get to many Halloween parties? How about those Halloween themed birthday parties? I helped one 9 year old celebrate just such an event, because this year, that’s what she wanted. How does it work for those kids that have birthdays that fall just before, just after, or even on the date of a holiday?

Well, as you know, kids go through fazes. Some years they want their birthday to embrace the holiday, and other years, they are jealous and annoyed to have to share their special day with a holiday. In those years the holiday becomes something everyone pays attention to instead of them! One adult I spoke with bitter-sweetly remembers how, being born on Thanksgiving always meant having turkey and extended family for her birthday dinner. It doesn’t matter if its a cool holiday like Halloween… it could be New Years or Christmas, or the 4th of July, Children usually have a firm view or whether they want to recognize the holiday in their celebration or not.

When your child is in the holiday spirit for their birthday, enjoy. Its a once in a decade event. Have the “spring theme” or the 4th of July paper goods, or the Easter Tea. Next year, your son or daughter will hate it, and be looking for something completely different. That 9 year old I mentioned who had the Halloween Birthday, we already know, next year is a Spa Party!