Sunday, 25 October 2015

7 Things I Learned Hosting Emma's Halloween/Birthday Party

This weekend we threw a party for Emma.  It was a birthday-Halloween party.  We had 11 kids total, ages 4 to 8.  We had lots of food (and lots of sweets), presents, cake, and games.  We also had very little spills, and only one kid had tears (she stumbled on the stairs) so I'd say it was successful!

That being said, here are a few things I learned throwing a (fairly) large party in our (fairly) small house:

  1. No matter how organized you feel, you are never adequately prepared for a kids party!  We had all the food ready, the loot bags done, and the crafty area prepared well before kids started to arrive.  As the kids were arriving I was thinking "Ya, this is totally do-able."  Then more kids came, and then more, and more, until there was no floor space left for anyone else to squeeze in and colour.  At that point I started thinking "Man, we're doomed!"  Plus they all had costumes on which flowed out beautifully and were ridiculous tripping hazards!
  2. If you have watched all these lovely children eat hot dogs in the past, it does not mean they will eat hot dogs at your house/party.  Of course no one went home hungry, but we did have a few bits of resistance to the hot dogs we served (both Pillsbury wrapped "mummy dogs" and regular hot dogs with or without buns)  Luckily most kids like carrots, and there were cookies, crackers and cheese.
  3. 7 and 8 year olds have more energy than 4 year olds when collected together at parties.  I always thought as kids get older they mellow out a bit.  Toddler energy is boundless (unless they miss the recharge of nap times) but these kids were wild and crazy in a way toddlers and younger kids can't be.  Maybe my 7 year old is abnormal, but when these kids get together they must feed off each other's energy and it's somewhat disturbing.  I had to play "teacher" and clap my hands and holler for quiet more than once.  I was glad to see them go outside!
  4. If you were hoping the kids could play outside, it will rain.  The weather was not great, but that actually did not really stop the kids from going outside.  We have a play structure with swings (only 2) and most of the kids ran outside in the spitty rain to play for a bit.  I think hubby was concerned all those kids may collapse our second hand wooden structure, but it's still standing this morning!  There was easily 30 minutes of outside play (for most of the kids) so it did work out this time.
  5. If there's a toy collection you were hoping to keep out of your house, every child will buy that as a gift for your kid.  We are desperately trying to keep Shopkins to a minimum.  Emma wants them desperately.  What are they even?  Tiny choking hazards that we will lose, that's what.  So now we have 3 "collections" from different "seasons" whatever that means.
  6. I will refrain from drinking alcohol when hosting a children's party - no matter how much I need that glass of wine!  It was only 3 hours, and they weren't that uncontrollable.
  7. Kids are cute.  I mean they were all dressed up in costumes, most were using their best manners, and they were actually policing each other without anyone getting too upset. ("Can you please be quiet so so-and-so can finish telling their story?  We were all quiet for you!")  I love watching the interactions and the different personalities of all these kids and how similar or different they are from my kids.  Parties can be such a social experiment!

I'd say it was successful and I've had a few moms message me that their kid had a great time.  It's nice to get that feedback.

Next year we will have fewer kids.  And maybe not do a Halloween theme, although the kids were quiet entertained with each other and their costumes.  I'm already planning and scheming ideas for the 8th birthday next year!

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Making Time To Blog Is Hard - I Need Help!

When do you blog?  I was going great gangbusters when I started this blog (in the spring and early summer) but now that we're back to school and other life is happening I don't feel like I have time!

Currently I've spent a lot of time increasing my Twitter followers (and following) and trying to share my FB page with more folks.  I've been checking my affiliate sites, reading other blogs, and also trying to have a home life.  All that seems to have eaten into my blogging time.

Also we just had Thanksgiving, so that ate up an entire (long) weekend.  Don't get me wrong, it was a delicious, beautiful, family-type weekend, but it didn't leave me much quiet time.

I know scheduling is key when trying to build up a blog.  The problem I'm having is one part writers block and one part hoping to have time to me - and just to me, not blogging, gardening, cooking, laundry doing, working etc.  Those moments are hard to find.

My schedule currently involves working 4 eight-hour days, with one day off for me to get stuff done.  This week I have appointments on my day off, and I need to get stuff together for my daughter's Halloween party next weekend, as well as my foray into a live Rocky Horror Picture Show performance - think costumes, hair, props, the works!  And I'd like to get groceries and do laundry - regular mom stuff.

So then there's evenings after work.  I get home (at 5:30 or 6:30 depending on the shift) and either make, or just eat, dinner.  Try to get Emma to do homework before Rose has to go to bed (at 7:00) and then get Emma to bed by 8.  All that is often accomplished by 8:30 and then it's "my time."  So I clean up dinner, do dishwasher stuff, start or switch laundry, and sweep the dinner mess off the floor, if I didn't get that done before bedtime starts.  Some nights I also clean up toys and then, if I'm lucky, I sit down.  Hubby will have the tv on but I'm only good for maybe an hour before I fall asleep on the couch.

I try, often, to blog while the tv is on.  Some nights it works, some nights it really does not.  Depends on what's on, or how tired I am.  I'm one of those people that needs 8 hours of sleep almost every night to be functional the next day.  Yes, the newborn and baby years were hell-on-earth for me.  Luckily my sleeps are much less disturbed these days, so I can pull a few later nights if I have to.  But when I'm tired I can't form coherent thoughts, let alone interesting blog posts!

Tonight I've been crafting this post while the girls eat dinner - I've had an upset tummy all day, so no loss to me if I'm not eating with them - and now they're watching some tv and looking through the costume bin and Halloween decorations.  By the time I'm done here I figure I will have been "writing" for 45 minutes.  And really, what have I written about?  Mostly nothing.  No deep thoughts or well-researched articles.  Just fluff about how I don't have time to post anything!

So share with me your schedules, or routines.  How do you blog (and promote!), as well as do affiliate stuff and keep up with other blogs - and be moms or dads, husbands or wives, or any other functioning members of society?  Maybe with the cooler weather creeping in I may have less desire to be outside, or be doing anything else, frankly.

Really I'm just desperately curious to hear how fellow bloggers manage it all.  I really thought I'd just be writing stuff, I did not realize so much came with blogging (if you want people to actually read your stuff!)