Monday, November 28, 2011

The Camping Party


Our oldest daughter wished for a “Playmobile camping” party for her 7 year old birthday. It was really just a camping themed party, no overnighting this time. Playmobile showed up just for the cake {and a few gifts}!

Miah's Invite 001

I looked at invitations on Etsy and Pinterest and decided to make my own with my Silhouette program—I didn’t have to use the cutting machine for this one.  The color on the invitation above is a bit off since I had to scan it {Silhouette doesn’t seem to want to share it with other programs}. I purchased the 2 graphics and pink wood grain background from their online store and found the log font for free. I was able to use these items to make some of the party d├ęcor.


Pinterest was a great place to find ideas for the party! I copied others’ ideas for food:

  • Catch of the Day: Swedish Fish
  • Snakes: gummy strings
  • Twigs: Twix bars and pirouettes
  • Ants on a log: celery with peanut butter and raisins
  • Trail mix: nuts, raisins, and M&M’s
  • Smores {of course!}: we don’t have graham crackers here in Portugal but a cookie that is similar


Portuguese often have pudding and mousse at parties, so I made a little for some kiddy looking camping coffee.


I decorated with some vintage camping thermoses I found, lanterns, some of the girls’ toy binoculars and compasses, a small evergreen tree, some stars I hung over our dining room table, and a pennant banner I made.



We didn’t know anyone with a tent to borrow, so we had a very makeshift one for the party {and who knew if the November rains would hold off that day!}.


My husband got his new outdoor fire pit made just in time for the party. The American children were more keen on making smores than our Portuguese friends, but everyone enjoyed the roasted hot dogs.



Another hit for all the kids was making laminated nametags—kind of like a luggage tag. We had camping stickers and markers, they decorated them, then I laminated them and added twine through a punched hole.


The kids then got to choose a “camping satchel” to put their nametag on. I had collected pockets from my husband’s worn out pants for years, and I finally had a chance to use them! I hope to write a post soon about how I made them {I would have like some instructions!}.


Here’s our birthday girl sporting her nametagged bag post party! I think she was pleased with how things went. Many thanks to the moms and dads who helped it be special!!!


Friday, November 4, 2011

Month of Meals

In an attempt to simplify life with my seeming “full time job” of homeschooling, I decided to give monthly meal planning a go. Years back I was amazed that my friend Joy could plan that much and repeat the same meals. I’ve resisted for quite some time! Now, I wanted to share that it’s not that difficult, you can take baby steps {like planning a week at a time first}, and you don’t have to stay in a rut if you don’t like it.

1. LIST THE MEALS YOU NORMALLY MAKE: I chose to make a chart a few years ago with all the meals I liked to make/my family would eat under different headings like beef,  ground meat, chicken, pork, breakfast for dinner, fast/premade, fish, soups, and so on. Add to it as you find new recipes that pass the family test.

2. PLUG IN MEALS: When it came time to make a monthly plan, I plugged in meals from my chart making sure to not repeat chicken too much in the same week, etc. and making decisions on what kind of meals I’d need to make on certain days of the week {ie: fast meals on nights we have the girls in sports}.

Nov meal plan

3. EVALUATE AND MAKE CHANGES: My first month felt like such a success knowing every week what I’d need to get at the store right away. In review the second month, I saw how often I didn’t get to follow my menu to a T, so I started noting what changed, pushing the rotation down to the next week if we hadn’t gotten to eat those meals, etc. All that to say is I’ve now got menus for 3 months that are a little different. Maybe next year when those months roll around I’ll be able to use those again? Who knows what I’ll feel like then, but I know I’m going to stick with this monthly planning thing for a while. I think it’s working!

I’ve seen so many helpful blog posts on meal planning, freezer meals for a month {YES, really—and not a bunch of casseroles}, and even weekly and  monthly menus! The issue {or mine at least} is doing it! If I can, you can—really!


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