Miscellaneous

Superman Party Ideas

Isaiah turned 4 last month. We waited to have the party until this month, but I wanted to share some of the things we did, in case anyone else is trying to plan a Superman party.

Food

Our food was pretty simple. My mom and I fixed everything for tacos and laid it out so everyone could build their own. Between the taco ingredients and some fruit, it makes it pretty easy, even for picky eaters, to find something everyone likes. I put little signs by the food that listed a super power that the kids would get if they ate it.

Superman Party Superman Party

Cake

Isaiah specifically requested cupcakes for his party, so that’s what he had, though I had great ideas for a cake, too. I bought Wilton’s food coloring (well worth it–the colors are so much more vibrant without thinning the batter or icing) and colored the cake batter bright blue. I baked the cupcakes in red paper and topped them with bright yellow icing. I printed off Superman logos and glued them to toothpicks to stick in the tops of the cupcakes and got a “4” candle for Isaiah’s cupcake.

Superman Party Superman Party

The Floor Game

I want to start this section by saying: I’ve seen similar games online in the last couple years, but this is the original. My mom came up with it on her own, long before blogs, when I was Isaiah’s age. We’ve done it at every kid’s party ever since because it’s such a huge hit. Many of my friends started using the game at parties, as well.

To make the floor game, you need to collect a few images that match your party’s theme. In this case, that was Superman pictures. You’ll also need a simple design, like a smiley face or basic outline (I used the Superman logo). Print a few of each kind of picture, making sure there are more of the basic one. For older kids, you’ll want more basic cards, while little kids will need lots of picture cards. The more kids you have, the more pieces you need, to give them room to spread out. These need to be big enough to stand on, so I use a full sheet of card stock when I make it. My mom’s original version was squares made of mat board with smiley faces; pictures were coloring pages that she’d carefully colored herself and taped to blank pieces.

You’ll also need a small prize of some sort to hand out. You’ll be giving out a bunch, so keep it simple. I usually use either tickets (made with theme-appropriate pictures) or M&Ms.

Set up the game by arranging the cards in a large circle on the floor. It’s quick to set up, so we usually set it up when we’re ready to play, rather than stepping around it for the rest of the party. Space the picture cards out randomly through the circle.

The rules are pretty simple. Have all the kids stand on a simple square, no pictures yet. Give the birthday child a large die to roll. When they roll, everyone moves according to the number rolled. If anyone is standing on a picture, give them a prize. Let the kids take turns rolling the die and play until the kids are done or you run out of prizes.

Superman Party Superman Party Superman Party

Find the Bad Guy

This is a simple treasure hunt game. I printed off a cute little characters in the classic black and white jail uniform and hid them around the room before the kids got there. Since we were renting my parents’ church, it was easy to hide them in a different room so no one saw them before it was time to play.

Superman Party Superman Party

Obstacle Course

I gave the kids some simple “flying lessons” and taught them how to leap tall buildings. I made a couple buildings by wrapping cardboard boxes in solid paper and attaching blue squares for windows. The kids jumped over those a few times, then I put them out with a very simple obstacle course. It had them jumping the buildings, walking along a piece of tape (balance beam) and doing a bean bag toss.

Superman Party Superman Party

Decorations

The kitchen has a big window into the fellowship hall where we were holding the party, so I hung red, blue and yellow streamers from it with balloons at the top. It was a nice way to add some color, while also serving the purpose of hiding the kitchen and the food stuff. I also got a Superman birthday banner that I hung along the counter.

Superman Party Superman Party

I made a cupcake display by wrapping boxes in blue paper and stacking them. This allowed me to put the cupcakes on different layers, instead of just putting them on the flat table. Between the stand and the logos on the cupcakes, it turned the special dessert into a decoration.

Superman Party

I put Superman decorations on the table and had Superman logos on the floor that doubled as targets for the bean bag toss. The buildings the kids jumped over in the obstacle course were arranged on the prize table when they weren’t being used in the game. I opted to keep the decorations pretty simple, since we were using the church and everything had to come down before we could go home.

Superman Party

The kids’ party favors had a few Superman themed toys in them, along with snacks. They also got super hero suckers–Tootsie Pops with capes attached to them. Each kid got a cape to wear during the party and take home with them. I was able to get them in a couple different colors at DollarTree.

Superman Party Superman Party Superman Party
Categories: Miscellaneous | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Dog, A Special Friend

When I was 15, our family dog, Zach, a funny looking mutt, died suddenly of cancer. I had trained him and showed him in 4-H. He was my best friend. We had been preparing to go to the state fair dog show when he got sick. I ended up going to the state fair alone. When we got Zach, my dad was less than enthusiastic. He doesn’t really like dogs. Well… He didn’t before Zach. He got Zach from some people at our church because my mom had seen him and fallen in love and it was about her birthday. Zach became a huge, important part of my family. Even my dad loved him and enjoyed time with him. When Zach died, my dad said we would never own another dog. Never. He couldn’t deal with the thought of getting attached and losing another.

Zach

Me and Zach

Well, after seven years as dog owners, DJ and I just couldn’t imagine living without a dog! We begged and pleaded. Promised we’d do alllll the work that comes with dog ownership. We kept getting the same answer, “never again”. One day, we decided to try a new approach. My dad is a pastor. We decided to use that to our advantage. What pastor would refuse to pray about anything? We made a deal with him. He was to pray about getting a dog, then, whatever the answer, we’d drop it. He agreed, promising the answer would still be “no”.

A couple weeks later, my dad gathered us in front of the computer (the desktop was the only one with internet ) and pulled up some puppy pictures. He told us we’d be meeting the breeder the next day and bringing home a puppy. As thrilled as we were to be getting a puppy, both DJ and I felt a little ripped off. I wanted a boxer and he wanted a Jack Russell terrier. My dad had chosen neither. In fact, he’d chosen a breed we knew nothing about! A corgi. The only thing we knew about them was that I’d seen them in the Thanksgiving dog show.

Baby Max

Little bundle of energy and fur

Turns out, after hearing our plea to pray, my dad did just that–and started dreaming about a corgi. My mom teases him that it’s because he has British roots and the queen has corgis. (He tends to be fascinated by anything involving British royalty. ) Beyond the dreams, none of us could figure out why he chose a corgi, but a dog is a dog. We met the breeder and came home with a bundle of energy. Within a couple days, he’d received the name Maxwell Edward. My dad wanted Edward because it’s a British royal name. My mom said that was way too big for such a little ball of fluff that would never grow beyond 30 pounds. She likes giving dogs middle names for when they’re in trouble, so Edward became a middle name. This bundle of energy is commonly known as Max.

Baby Max

It sleeps!

Jump forward four years from meeting Max. Isaiah is three and diagnosed with SPD. He is likely somewhere on the autism spectrum. Our lives are full of meltdowns and stimming. Max is still here. Old enough to behave like a mature dog for the first time in his life. He also has a canine sibling, the “furball” Dusty. Dusty is a fireball and always in trouble. We love him anyway. Max plays hard for short periods, then goes back to his adult “duties”. Max is proving to be the best thing in the world for Isaiah. He’s calm when Isaiah is absolutely losing it. He lets Isaiah pet him backwards, play with his ears, put toys on him, snuggle too close and give lots of kisses. When he’s tired of it, he moans and walks away.

Doggies

World's most patient dog

Today, I shared a picture of a very teary, post-meltdown Isaiah grinning at Max, who’s sitting just in front of him on an SPD page. A number of parents posted about their corgis and how amazing they are with their SPD kids. Looking back, maybe the choice of corgi wasn’t so random after all. God knew we’d have this quirky little SPD boy who needs a very special dog. He knew how great corgis are for SPD kids. He knew that Max has an amazing personality (the vote for Max over the other puppies was unanimous, something that never happens in my family). I am so insanely grateful that my dad listened to our pleading and God’s messages in his dreams and contacted Max’s breeder. Max has made all our lives happier, but he has completely changed Isaiah’s from what it would be without this furry rock in his life.

Corgi Magic

Isaiah and Max, after Isaiah's meltdown

Categories: Miscellaneous, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nominated for a Blog Award

I was nominated for a blog award! I’ve never been nominated for anything before, so this is pretty exciting.

Three things I love about motherhood… Hmm. It’s hard to pick! I love being a mama. I really love watching Isaiah learn new things and make discoveries. I think that’s my favorite part. I really love getting little glimpses into how his little mind works, too. I don’t think I’ll ever understand the mind of a child, but I find it completely fascinating. And I love seeing the world through a child’s eyes. Isaiah sees things from a fresh perspective. Things that I see as mundane are amazing to him and worth a great deal of exploration. There’s nothing quite like it. I get to discover the world all over again.

Ladies, to accept the award, please do the following things:

Click the above award image, save it and use it in your acceptance post.
List 3 things you love about motherhood.
Nominate other deserving mamas; you may choose as many as you like. (And let them know of the nomination)
Have a nice day!

Categories: Miscellaneous | Leave a comment

Allergies–Why They Matter

I’ve never done this before, but I really want to share a blog post I read tonight about allergies. It’s really hard to truly grasp how much allergies can really affect your life if you haven’t dealt with them and I think Organique Gal explains it all so clearly (and so much better than I could).

My 7.5 year old son has an anaphylactic-shock allergic reaction to peanuts, so I have first hand experience on the topic. He also has an anaphylactic-shock allergic reaction to dairy, but peanut particles are more easily air-borne, so while he can be in the same room as someone eating dairy, he cannot be in the same room with peanuts.

…A couple months after my son started school I was on the playground watching my son play, and a parent I had never met was making small talk with me and said “some kid in the class has stupid nut allergies and it really pisses me off that I can’t send peanut butter or granola bars in my son’s lunch anymore.” Another parent spoke up immediately to point out I was the parent of the child with the “stupid nut allergy.” I took the opportunity to educate that parent, and he had the grace to apologize, but I was really shocked that anyone would feel so negatively about being inconvenienced by something so simple that could potentially save my child’s life. We have no problem accommodating children with disabilities that are more visible, and no parent would complain about accommodating a child in a wheel chair, but not sending peanut butter in your child’s lunch is a problem. Really?! Quite frankly your inconvenience is a minor concern in contrast to preserving my child’s life.

My brother, DJ, had a ton of allergies when he was little. At 15 months, he was diagnosed with severe peanut and diary allergies along with soy, corn and a bunch of others. (Our mom was laughed at when she first suspected allergies, too. She found a different doctor!) By the time you cut peanut, dairy, soy and corn from your diet, there really isn’t much left. We’re talking, this kid thought rice cakes were “yummy” and sugar cubes were “candy.” That’s how limited things were for a while. We had to pack lunches for him any time we ate out or with family or friends. Over the years, thankfully, he’s outgrown most of them, making his life much easier.

I remember a few times when DJ accidentally came into contact with something he was allergic to. Usually, the problem food was peanut. He was most sensitive to it and it doesn’t have to be ingested to react. At Christmas time, our church gave the kids traditional treat bags: a popcorn ball, some chocolates and ribbon candy, an apple, an orange and peanuts. One year, the bags also had a Christmas pencil in it. Obviously, my poor brother couldn’t have any of the food in his bag and my parents promised him a special treat from home. What we didn’t realize at that point was that he couldn’t have the pencil, either. He clutched that pencil the entire ride home from church because he was so happy to have something from the treat bag. When we got home and turned on the lights, we discovered he was broken out in a rash on every bit of skin that touched the pencil or that he’d touched with his hands.

Through the years, we’ve had trouble with people not fully understanding allergies. Ice cream was “safe” because people tend to forget that a key ingredient is milk. Oops! As soon as I started reading, I learned how to check packages to find the fine print with the allergy warnings. Any time that my parents weren’t right with us, I was there to protect DJ. As he got older, he learned to recognize dangers himself. When he was just barely old enough to start Sunday school, he had a young teacher who really struggled to grasp the concept of allergies. Every week, my mom would tell her that DJ couldn’t have peanut. Every week, she’d say “ok.” Several times, he came out clutching a candy bar with peanut in it, thankfully, unopened. The week that really sticks in her mind, though, is when she once again reminded the teacher of DJ’s allergy, only to be told “that’s ok! We’re only having peanutbutter cookies. Those don’t have any peanut in them!” My mom almost died on the spot! She quickly explained that he could not have those cookies and why. The teacher agreed not to give them, but seemed completely confused.

All the crazy stories from when DJ was young are insanely funny looking back, but they weren’t at the time. DJ has been told many times that he worries too much and he needs to “grow up” and “get over it.” The people who said those things didn’t understand how deadly the allergies could be. If they had, they would have cut the poor kid some slack. At least one has truly eaten his words, as he now has a preschooler with the same allergy. Some days, it gets really old. I’ve even been told that allergies are all in people’s heads. (Yeah, tell that to the kids who’ve nearly died!) Other days, it gives me a good laugh. They don’t mean any harm. They just don’t know.

Categories: Miscellaneous | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

Where Is Kitty?

I took a children’s literacy class about a year ago. One of the assignments was to create a children’s book, illustrations and all. This mama can not draw! So, I had to get creative. Armed with candy for my toddler and treats for my cat, I managed to get them posed for a series of pictures to illustrate my story. I ordered a copy of it for Isaiah that he loves. The physical book isn’t cheap because the site charges per page, but they also allow “authors” to do e-books and set no price on it, so I made a free e-book. Feel free to download it and enjoy with your kiddos!

Here are links for anyone who’s interested (the e-book is free): Book, E-Book

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I’m Addicted!

…to buying stuff from eLeMeNO Pee! It all started with listening to my friend, Laura, raving about her adorable cloth diapers. Then, she started posting pictures of her toddler in them! They were so much cuter than the disposables Isaiah was wearing. I hadn’t really even considered cloth diapers because I didn’t know there was anything but the old fashioned ones my mom had used. I had so much to learn!

Pretty soon, I had decided that I was going to buy some cloth diapers for Isaiah. I got my first batch from CutiePoops because eLeMeNO Pee hadn’t started doing online sales yet. I was instantly in love! If I could afford it, I’d buy a ton more diapers and try out every style there is. Thankfully, thanks to interest of several people online, eLeMeNO Pee has started online sales with their reps. Laura was happy to help me find some new overnight diapers when Isaiah’s couldn’t quite handle twelve hours before being changed. I absolutely love his night diapers! He hasn’t had a single leak since they got here. Isaiah just loves being in cloth, too. If I try to put him in a ‘sposie for a while (usually so he can go in the church nursery) he gets upset with me and doesn’t want it put on. He’s happy to bring me a cloth one, though!

May 9, 2011

Sleeping in his DryBee's overnight diaper

There’s so much other stuff that I’ve gotten into ordering from eLeMeNO Pee now, too. I saw online that amber bracelets are good, not only for teething babies, but also for a million other aches and pains. I decided that I should give it a try for my carpal tunnel. I wasn’t sure if it would help or not, but it was a lot cheaper and less invasive than surgery! With no medical insurance, I can’t do surgery and then there’s the small problem of the surgery not always fixing it. I waited as patiently as I could for my bracelet as the pain continued getting worse. When the bracelet arrived, I put it on immediately and just left it on. I take it off for showers and to do dishes, but any other time, it’s on my wrist. The difference is incredible! No pain at all after a couple days wearing the bracelet. Now I can keep right on writing my blog, playing piano and speaking sign language. I’ve let Isaiah wear it on his ankle this week because he’s getting his one year molars and it seems to really help him, too. I even got my mom an amber necklace for Mother’s Day to see if it would help with some of her chronic pain. She says that it seems to be making a difference.

Bracelet

Me wearing my bracelet. I love that it's so pretty as well as helping with pain!

Isaiah says he’s also extremely grateful for the teething balm. It’s great for his teething pain and also seems to be generally soothing. I’ve been putting it on his cheeks at nap time and before bed. Today, I’ve put it on him several times because his mouth is hurting so much. Once I put it on, he seems to feel drastically better for quite a while.

My most recent purchase was a new mei tai for Isaiah. I had a wrap for wearing him, but I wanted something that would be easier to put on quickly and wouldn’t take as much space when I’m taking it places. I got the coolest, custom mei tai with horses on it. What could possibly be better? Isaiah likes it so much better than his wrap because it only takes a few seconds for me to put him in it. We’ve used it for some walks already and I’m looking forward to hiking trails at nearby state parks this summer with it. I figure Isaiah will get tired long before I’m ready to stop hiking and this will be the perfect way to keep going on trails that are too rough or narrow for a stroller.

New Mei Tai

Isaiah in the mei tai (I really need to get a better picture of him in it because it's gorgeous!)

Mei Tai

Added: A shot of the picture on the mei tai (with Isaiah in it)

I am going to go broke if I keep buying stuff, but I can always think of a reason I need to get something. All the cute diapers, accessories, teething stuff… The list just seems to go on and on! “Hi, my name is Elisabeth and I’m addicted to cloth diapers and amber jewelry…”

Check out eLeMeNO Pee for yourself! They have a website and they’re on Facebook. It’s easy to get hooked up with a rep who can answer all your questions. Laura would happily attest to the fact that I’ve asked a lot of questions! She always answers them for me, too.

Categories: Attachment Parenting, Cloth Diapers, Miscellaneous | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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