Looking for a fun activity or an adorably delicious dessert for Thanksgiving?
Looking for a fun activity or an adorably delicious dessert for Thanksgiving?
Friday we got another foot of snow. Yeah, I thought spring was on its way too, but HAHAHHAHAHAHHHH!! We live in Maine. So yesterday (Saturday) we decided to put all this white stuff to good use. Via SNOW TUBING. We drove to Seacoast Snow Park in Windham. Only 25 minutes yet a world of fun away!
Here we are at the bottom of the hill. When we first started we were feeling perky and WAY EXCITED! So we hoofed it up the hill. I overheard a family walking alongside us saying it was GOOD to walk, that we were all doing it the old fashioned way. (Old fashioned = code language for WORK OUT)
Here we are at the top. I cannot tell you how much FUN!! it was cascading down. Snow spraying hitting your face, the wind in your hair. I felt positively giddy. As you can see, there’s not a huge wait for a lane. This is b/c there are 12 lanes to choose from. And snow tubing sessions are divided into 2-hour blocks. Only *so many* tubes are sold per session, so things keep moving. Single riders can go in any of the 12 lanes, but if you want to link your tube up with other riders, you have to choose the proper lane: 2 riders, up to 6 riders, or more.
The four of us hoofed it up the hill once and rode down. Then we hoofed it up again and went down again. After this we were TIRED. The hill’s not that high but it ain’t that short either. So we decided it was time to be carried. That’s right; CARRIED! Not on the backs of sherpas but via conveyor belt or rope tow! The conveyor belt works just like you’d imagine. You step onto it and stand with your tube as it whisks you up the hill.
We didn’t use the conveyor belt method. Mostly b/c all the double tubes had to be carried that way and the wait was much longer. As we were all using single tubes, we opted for the rope tow. The rope tow line was fairly short and the method more appealing. You sit in your tube and relax. A handle connected to your tube is looped onto a metal claw attached to the rope. You and your tube are yanked up the hill to the top, where at a specified location you toss yourself off your tube and proceed a few steps to collect your ride.
Here we are waiting at the bottom of the hill in the rope tow line. You can see the mechanism to the left, pulling the happy tubers up to the top. The wait was short and while waiting we listened to music over the loudspeakers. They were playing “The Q” – the Top 40 radio station here in Portland. Very toe tapping / booty shaking music, sure to put you in a good tubing mood. My younger daughter is a BIG Q fan – but that’s for another post altogether..
Me & “Greenie”
Here we are back at the top, waiting in line for Lane 1. Lane 1 is the best lane – single riders only – it’s curvy and has a mogul in one spot. Worth the short wait.
After this I couldn’t take anymore pics b/c my iPhone camera stopped working. Personally, I think it got jealous of the fun we were having and decided to stick it to me. So I didn’t get any shots on the rope tow, or while tubing down any of the lanes. But that’s probably for the best. We went a total of 9 times in our 2 hour session, mostly linked together in a big mass of four tubes. The added weight only served to increase our speed, velocity & fun — so together we FLEWWWW down the hill, Whoopping & hollering and having a BLAST!! I’m glad I couldn’t take photos — for once I simply sat back and enjoyed the ride. 🙂
Welcome, Parents! You have found your way here because you’re looking for assistance with your child’s upcoming birthday party. If you’re asking yourself, “HELP! My kid’s party is coming up, WHAT DO I DO?!” I am here to help.
First, let me reassure you. Unless you have groomed your child to believe the sky’s the limit, most kids are very satisfied with a modest party. I’m not talking NADA, but there’s no need to break the bank financing a party for a bunch of 7 years olds. As we just celebrated another successful birthday at home, I thought I’d share some helpful hints with others. After all, it takes a village to raise a child, and two heads are better than one, and.. well. You get the picture.
Party Invitations. Ideas & The All-Important Wording. We all know the invitation says far more than what’s simply stated. It’s all about READING BETWEEN THE LINES. Right? Right! To save on stress and hassle, I offer these suggestions.
The invitations themselves can be anything – so get creative! We’ve done hand-drawn party invites, computer print-outs on festive paper, store-bought packaged jobs; it’s all good. The important thing is allowing your child to help in the decision making, if not the actual making of the invitations. Unless they’re too young to care, or completely disinterested, most kids like being in charge of their party to a certain degree. Let their individuality shine though the invites.
FOOD. I am all for healthfulness, but bear in mind – this is a child’s birthday party. It’s supposed to be fun. All things in moderation, remember? You don’t want these kids so sugared up they’re flowing from both ends (sorry) but neither do you want them eyeballing the food with mistrust. This is not really the place for Uncle Iggie’s homemade tofu-garlic dip, unless your kid and their friends think that’s everyday fare. Stick to normal, kid-friendly foods. Like the perennial favorite: PIZZA! To keep costs down, buy it frozen from the grocery store, or better yet, a big box discounter like BJs. I spent $7.49 (with a coupon) for a 12 pack of Red Baron mini pizzas – both cheese & pepperoni – and the kids couldn’t have been happier. BONUS: because of the small size, there was less waste, the kids found them incredibly easy to eat, and Oh yeah, I cut them into quarters to speed cooling. No burned mouths at this party!
FAVORS. I bought candy, party favors and prizes inexpensively at Target and the Dollar Store. Oh! And BJs too. Check the ends of aisles for clearance items. For instance, I found a bunch of plastic slinkies on sale for 48 cents a piece. That’s HALF PRICE or less. And I bought a big 100-piece bag of mini chocolate bars for half the cost at BJs (versus Target). But remember, there’s a difference between being economical, cutting corners in a way no one will notice, and just being CHEAP. People notice CHEAPNESS. They admire you when you are creatively thrifty. Think about it. The latter will earn you respect and imitation, the former costs more than it saves.
Party Bags, Plates & Cups. You can buy these everywhere, and unless your child is wedded to an overarching “theme” – Elmo, Dora, etc. – save money by mixing & matching and looking for sales. I know some people swear by party stores, but I’ve yet to find one with better pricing than a big box discounter, unless you’re shopping for a massive group. And remember, these items are going to be consumed, recycled or thrown away. Don’t waste your money going overboard. Another hint: Get Creative. For both of my daughters parties this year, instead of purchasing commercial party bags, I used brown paper lunch sacks. Total Cost: $1 for 40. To fancy them up, I used a vintage stamp kit I found at a yard sale for $3 bucks. For my older daughter’s party – where I had all the children’s names beforehand, I made a personalized bag for each guest.
For my younger daughter’s recent party, which had a Halloween / harvest theme, I made them a little different.
I offer these purely to spark your own creativity. Use your imagination & go wild!
Piñatas, Treasure Hunts, & Party Crafts. OH MY! Let’s talk party extras. Things that cost a little more, but truly make for an extra special occasion. We’ve done one or more of these at our parties and they’re always a big hit.
Piñatas. This year we found a fabulous piñata at Target on (you guessed it) CLEARANCE. It cost dollars less simply b/c one of the streamers was missing. Umm. Who cares? The thing’s going to get torn apart anyway. But just for show, I carefully trimmed an extra off another end of the piñata and shazam. Perfect-o. To fill it, DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY BUYING THE PRE-BAGGED STASH. It’s expensive, the candy is stale, and it’s boringly standard. Instead buy candy in bulk (it’s cheaper and it’s fresh) – either from a place like BJs or the dollar store. To this add some dollar store trinkets, bead necklaces, erasers, etc. A WORD OF CAUTION: remember this stuff is going to come flying out at a group of children. Don’t buy things that could poke or cause harm, such as lollipops or pencils, and stay away from things that could otherwise break or get damaged in the process.
Treasure Hunts. In a similar vein to the annual Easter egg hunt, try a Treasure Hunt at your next party. It can be as simple or elaborate as you wish, from opening the backdoor and saying Okay Kids, go find the treats, to creating fancy pirate type maps with clues, to..?? Let your mind wander. Just remember weather conditions. DUH? Yes, I know, but it’s less appealing to hunt in the cold and rain. Think ahead and you’ll always be prepared (and look great in the process – *wink*).
Party Crafts. This is a great way to “break” up the time, especially if you’ve opted for a lengthier party. The craft could be anything really – we’ve done “Paint Your Own T-Shirts” and recently “Paint Your Own Mini Pumpkins” –
neither was a huge investment, but provided something very fun and memorable for the kids to do at the party AND take home. You could do a craft that incorporates several things – like food and fun. Make your own sundaes are always popular. You can have them draw pictures, or paint, or make something with dough. Even if it’s just decorating blown up balloons with markers, the kids will have fun. And you will too. There is nothing better than spending quality time with your child, especially on their birthday. And you do not need to spend a lot of money; just be creative.
Games with PRIZES. I don’t care what mamby-pamby parents have to say – Kids like Prizes. I am not steel-jawing these kids into believing YOU MUST PERFORM!!!! to earn a prize. No way. But I’m also not depriving them of the good feeling a win can inspire, either. Keep the games simple and fun, make sure you have enough prizes so that every child has a chance to win, and afterward, give the kids who didn’t win anything a prize for trying. Everyone leaves happy. Sure, some kids might have won more than their peers, but frankly, that’s life. And no one goes home empty handed. Keep the games age appropriate, or you risk dismay (huhhh??) – or worse, boredom. Here is a BIG FAT LIST of suggestions (you are welcome). Good news? The party will be over before you can try them all. And there’s no need to buy much if anything to play these. Make your own Pin the Tail on the (Whatever). Use a pair of rolled up socks or a stuffed animal if you don’t have a bean bag. Any questions about game rules, leave a comment below and I’ll be happy to elaborate. Or have I missed one? Comment & leave your own suggestions as well.
A Friendly Reminder. Your kid’s birthday comes but once a year, don’t waste it stressing over the party. A bunch of kids couldn’t care less that you haven’t finished installing (insert whatever mindless item that’s bothering you). Neither do they care if your silver is spotless. Run the vacuum over Foofie’s furry mess on the carpet, wipe down the counters they’ll be eating on, and relax. If you feel overwhelmed being on your own with all the kids, ask other parents to help. A parenting pro? Invite kids only and 1) your fellow parents get a break, 2) you only need to shell out for children, and 3) you can spend time focusing on making your child happy – rather than entertaining a bunch of adults and worrying what they’re thinking. YOUR CHILD’S BIRTHDAY COMES BUT ONCE A YEAR. This party is for your kid, NOT YOU. Don’t forget that. And don’t sweat the small stuff, b/c really – it’s all small stuff.