Slumber Parties Rock

Some of the greatest memories I have of my childhood is our birthday slumber parties.  I don’t remember exactly when I had my first slumber party, but I’m going to guess it was my 7th birthday.  I only remember that one at our house in Grand Ledge…that was the year I sneaked a peak at my birthday present before hand and had to try to act surprised when I opened my new Chatty Cathy doll.  I had been dreaming of that doll and had asked for it for my birthday…I will never forget the guilt I fell for those few days before the party.  I promised myself I would never sneak to look at presents again.

When we moved to Flushing, we had a nice big farm house to live in.  Slumber parties were the best there.  Cyndi and I occupied the entire upstairs.  A bedroom on each side and a really long room in between the bedrooms with a big dormer window which was mainly storage for the hundreds of books my mom and dad had and a huge playroom for us.  Another thing I loved about our house was the room in the center of the downstairs.  Basically what a hall would be, but it was a square room, with 7 doors leading to 2 bedrooms, our bathroom, the upstairs, a closet, the living room and the dining room.  I remember at one slumber party we all went in separate rooms and we would have a mailperson deliver notes to us under the door.  It was silly, but we had so much fun.

At one party, early on, my mom got out a bunch of fancy clothes and hats and scarves she had and we dressed up and did fashion shows down the stairs.  Our stairway had a landing and at the top there was a little balcony over the stairs.  The judges sat up there with cards 0-10 and we would parade down the stairs in our outfits.  It was so fun that all our friends would come to our parties (Cyndi’s too) and always want to do the fashion show.  It became a tradition that we even would do up into high school! My mom even let us dress up in her wedding dress.  It was awesome!

Oh and I remember pillow fights too!  Those were great.  Someone always got hurt, but it was fun.

Slumber parties now are quite different I am finding out. We’ve only had 2 birthday slumber parties.  One when Savannah turned 7 and the one this weekend for her 11th birthday.  Her first party was a puppy party. Perfect for 7 year old girls.  The girls adopted a puppy from the pet store I set up in the basement playroom.  They got toys for their pets, made dog beds and collars for their puppies, I made adoption certificates for them and we had scooby snacks and peanut butter crunch in dog bowls for a little snack.  I think we watched Hotel for Dogs or something…can’t remember exactly the movie.  They all had fun.  But for a couple of them it was the first time they had ever spent the night at a friends and one friend wouldn’t stay the night.

Savannah and I planned this party, but I got lazy with the invites. I wanted to make them, but didn’t have an idea and then I made them last weekend.  But…Monday there was no school and Tuesday was a snow day, so they didn’t get passed out until Wednesday.  That’s usually not a great thing…most parents like to plan ahead for birthday parties, I know.  So Wednesday, Savannah took her invitations to school…but then found out before she passed them out that a friend of hers was having a birthday party the same night.  She was one of the girls Savannah wanted to invite, and most of the girls were already going to her party.  Savannah was so upset that she decided to not even pass them out.  So we debated about changing the party to the following weekend (which I was really tempted to do because it meant I didn’t have to get my house cleaned up till next week).  But in the end, we decided to just keep it the same day.  She passed out her invitations on Thursday and 2 of her friends from school and her cousin, Caroline were able to come.  So…she wanted a sock monkey birthday party but it’s really hard to find sock monkey stuff and birthday decorations…forget about it.  Oh you can order them, people make sock monkey birthday party decorations…for babies, and you have to order them weeks in advance.  Not happening.  Savannah and I decided to have banana splits (after all monkeys like bananas, right?) and to make sock monkeys.  I’ve made sock monkeys before.  Not the traditional ones, just some with cute old socks we had around our house.  They aren’t too hard.  My idea was to find some socks at walmart or something and let the kids design their monkeys how they wanted.  When I got home from work, Sam decided he was going to go shopping for the party (this is at 4:30 on Friday, mind you) and I told him to get some socks.  He thought they had to be the traditional red heel socks…which we couldn’t find in stock, and they were 15.00 a pair.  So I just told him to get any kind of fun socks and it would be fine.  He came back with these awesome sock monkey kits he found at JoAnn’s.  I was really excited! The girls were too! The kits came with a pair of socks, and everything except the stuffing that you need to make the sock monkey that is pictured on the front.  3 of the girls were experienced at sewing and we taught the one who wasn’t.  They really enjoyed making them.  I told Savannah today, that I think it worked out great that only 3 girls could come.  We would not have been so successful at this project with 8! So needless, to say, the sock monkey project occupied a lot of time.  We never got to the clothes or the stuffed bunny, and one friend had to leave before we had the ears and eyes sewed on.  But maybe we’ll get back together again and finish them up.

Besides the sock monkeys, the girls played Wii.  Mostly they danced to Just Dance and Zumba.  They had a lot of fun with that.  Jasmin even joined in on that excitement before she got tucked in for the night.  We had pizza at about 8:00.  The girls decided they wanted their banana splits at midnight.

Seriously, they wanted to take the first bites at midnight.  They set a timer on Savannah’s ipod and everything! Too funny.  After the sundaes they wanted to watch Despicable Me.  We started that a little after midnight.  Maddie fell asleep right away, Savannah lasted maybe 25 minutes…but Emma and Caroline giggled and commented throughout the entire movie.  I think it was a little after 2 before the were sleeping!

This morning we got up and worked on finishing up the sock monkeys and I made the girls sock monkey pancakes!  I  love how they turned out.

It was really funny to observe the girls and what they spent their time doing at the party.  They really wanted me to find the Bean Directory, because apparently prank calls are the thing to do at slumber parties? Who knew?

Slumber parties are definitely different now than they were when I was growing up.  At the slumber parties I went to I remember watching MTV (which I wasn’t supposed to do), listening to music, playing games like spin the bottle, spoons (during which we all received some serious claw marks), hide and seek and “playing” light as a feather, stiff as a board.  I loved my own slumber parties the best.  Many times I felt uncomfortable at my friends’ parties.  I chose not to participate in some of the more questionable activities, but you know, I wanted to be accepted too, so sometimes slumber parties would bring on a little anxiety.

I hope that Savannah has good memories of her slumber parties and that maybe we can have them a little more often.  Even for the boys, though I think I might not enjoy those quite as much.


Caricature Artist…I am now.

So this past weekend, Sam and I spent our time at the Amway Grand Plaza at the MAFE (Michigan Association of Festivals and Events) convention promoting our Pirate Island show.  We had a booth where we had a video playing, promotional materials to hand out, etc. to let people know what we do.  We’ve been doing this for four years, so we decided to change it up a little and offer free caricatures done by me.  I did the caricatures of people as pirates, complete with a pirate name! They went over big and we were busy all the time.  We figured out (by the amount of paper I had left) that I had drawn 77 caricatures over the 3 days we were there.  That’s a lot, especially considering that I had never even done this kind of thing before.  We really just decided to do this  a week ago, so I watched some youtube videos and read a book I have, and practiced a lot to prepare.  It turns out my caricatures are a little more detailed than the typical caricature artists, and I am not as fast as them either (I had it down to about 6-8 minutes, though).  But everyone loved them and I truly believe it helped us with what we were there to do.  So, if you get to any of the fairs we go to this summer,  you may just have to come and get your caricature done by me.

We didn’t actually take any pictures, but Sam caught a couple on his phone.  I’ll see if I can get them posted on here later.

New Arrival!

It’s finally here.  I understand you are probably not even half as excited as I am, but we are now the proud owners of a brand new Kenmore bottom freezer refrigerator.  We have been wanting, maybe needing this for years.  And we are so excited.  This is the best (& most expensive) appliance we have ever purchased.  It was partly a gift from Sam’s dad for Christmas, partly a purchase from our tax return for this year.  Look at all the space in this thing.  Loading it up was slightly reminiscent of moving into my kitchen (in this house) for the first time.  SO MUCH space…where do you put everything.  In our old fridge all this stuff pretty much filled it up.  The new one has completely empty shelves! And its so bright! One of the things I really love is that our fridge opens into the doorway that leads to the dining room.  Before, you couldn’t even get past the door if it was open.  Now you can open it up and still walk through the doorway.  That is just awesome, I tell you.  Lovin’ it!  Also, with the bottom freezer, the items in the fridge that are so desirable to a three year old are just not quite as accessible.  That’s a good thing!

We did have to sacrifice a cabinet in order to fit it in.  Here you see our new fridge, open, but can you see the molding on the doorway that is missing? The cabinet we had to remove was above our old fridge.  We soon found out that no fridge is made that small anymore, and since the cabinet was basically resting on the old fridge, it had to come out.  We considered rebuilding it and just chopping off the bottom, but after the work it took to get it out, we decided it wasn’t going back up.  Hopefully within 3 years we will be redoing our cabinets anyway, so it’s just temporary.

My kitchen is currently a disaster area. I did take a picture of the mess…but I am not posting that! Our counters are completely filled with boxes of food that used to be in that old cabinet we tore out.  So tonight, after the fridge was loaded I cleaned out completely two of our cupboards to rearrange a bit.  Our old “spice cupboard” next to the stove is now the cereal cupboard.  The old cookbook/baking, sprinkles, food coloring, colored sugar, etc. cupboard is now home to all our lovely spices (- four which I couldn’t fit in).  Now I have about 20 cookbooks and all that baking crap that I basically only use at Christmas and Easter to find a place for.  I’m thinking of eliminating some of it.  And the rest may go in the cupboards that are above our “peninsula counter” which are kind of hard to get into. I’m thinking there because we rarely used them.  But my kitchen is still a mess.  This is going to take days to clean up…I think.  Of which, this week, I have very few.  So I may be living with the mess for a week, maybe.  That doesn’t make me very happy.  There is a snow advisory tonight and many are hoping for a snow day.  Wow, that would be SO nice right now to have a bit of extra time to get this place back in order!

Turn a Negative into a Positive

Well…I’m feeling like I should be able to come up with something great for this challenge from MeYou Health but I’m not feeling it. But I was thinking…(or not)…last night I was supposed to prepare a Powerpoint and print pictures for a lesson today on Pop Art with my 5th graders and I totally didn’t even remember about it until I got in bed at 1:00.  So this morning when I got up, in just enough time to do the regular routine things I have to do each morning, I thought…well, I can just pull an old lesson out and do that instead, on the fly. Dang! though…I really wanted to do this lesson.  I thought the kids would love it.  So when I got to work at 8:30, I got on my computer – (maybe I should mention that my room was at least 90 degrees this morning, because my district insists that leaving the blowers on the heaters will make them last longer???!!! – so Positive spin on that? I got to have my windows in my room open all morning just to cool it down…and downloaded the images I needed for the pictures I needed to print and made up a Powerpoint and saved it to my flash drive and hooked my laptop to the projector and ran down to the computer lab (twice) to pick up my pictures, cut the pages in half and had it ready to go in 30 minutes!  It was a little stressful trying to get it finished – especially when I was saving the power point at 8:57! But the kids enjoyed the lesson.  I think they learned something.  By the end, they could tell the difference between Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol’s artwork, too.  And one girl, whose class I was working in today, made it a point to tell me she really liked the project we were starting in Art.  And that made it all worth it.  That, and I am really glad I have the ability to make something good at the last minute!

What Negative thing can you turn into a positive?

Unresolved feelings of bitterness and resentment have been linked to a host of medical problems, including insomnia, depression, and emotional instability. Stepping back from a negative event or situation and reframing it, or looking at it in another, more positive light, helps us let go of stress and resentment.


Here are some examples of the project we are working on, just in case you are curious. From

New Year’s Resolutions & My Bucket List

New Year’s Resolutions…I usually keep them for about a month! This year one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to keep my resolutions! How about that?  Actually…I did make some serious resolutions this year.

1.  To get healthy & lose weight

2. To do more art

And honestly, I have never made a bucket list…but here are 5 things I’d put on my bucket list:

1. Travel to Italy with Sam

2. Take the family to Disney World

3. Get caught up on my Scrapbooking

4. Open a private art studio & teach classes there

5. See the Grand Canyon

These are things I’ve wanted to do for a long time.  I’ve thought about them all for years.  Getting caught up with Scrapbooking probably will never happen…but I can only improve from where I am now.  The rest of them…I don’t really have a lot of control over.  They are just dreams.  No idea if they will ever happen, but they are fun to dream about.  However, I should say, Sam and I are working on learning Italian! It’s fun!

Something else Sam and I are working on together is getting healthy.  I was reluctant to commit to it. I really enjoy sweets and carbs and didn’t want to give them up. But we decided we need to get healthy in order to do (& enjoy) some of the other things we want to do, like going to Disney World with the kids.  So we started on New Year’s Eve.  Sam & I have both lost weight already.  We are keeping each other accountable.  We even are doing Biggest Loser for the Wii together…it’s been a fun challenge so far.  Mainly we are using the Lose It! app on our iPhones to keep track of calories consumed and burned.  I also signed up for the Daily Health Challenge which is why I am actually even writing this post.

What Resolutions have you made for 2011 and what are you doing now to accomplish your goals?