4th of July

Our family usually travels to Fire Island to celebrate the 4th of July, but due to the damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy we will be staying in LA this year. I’m a little sad about it because there are great traditions in Fire Island like the annual kid parade, followed by hot dogs on the ball field, and when it finally gets dark we all strain to see the fireworks across the bay. Mostly I just love seeing the cousins running around in a little pack from dawn ’til dark.

In an effort to bring a little of the festive nature to our home this summer, I’ve pulled some of my favorite 4th of July images.

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I LOVE sparklers and how cute are these matchboxes?! {www.babble.com}

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I also LOVE s’mores. I’m sure the colored marshmallows aren’t really that much worse for you than the plain ones! {www.momdot.com}

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These look yummy- and healthy too! {www.thewinthropchronicles.com}

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I am only going to drink through star straws on the 4th! {www.shopsweetlulu.com}

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Cute decoration {www.marthastewart.com}

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My most favorite thing of all- FIREWORKS! Maybe this year I can see them up close and not as tiny specks across a large body of water. Keeping my thoughts positive! {www.500px.com}

I Love Candy!

Specifically, cotton candy. I know it’s childish, but it’s making a serious reappearance in a myriad of grown-up settings. Apparently I’m not the only one who still loves to nibble on a fluffy, sugary puff ball.

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I have to limit my cotton candy exposure to sporting events for fear of tooth rot and diabetic comas, but I take pleasure in knowing that I could own this darling machine if I wanted to make it a daily habit.

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{www.webrestaurantstore.com $404}

Or if you wanted to add a little something special to your next party, most good party rental companies have cotton candy machines to rent for around $75.

Here is a link to a DIY cotton candy without any special equipment http://www.thedailymeal.com/cotton-candy-0

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I really may need to decapitate a whisk and give that a try!

{Photo credit: pinterest, thebridesofoklahoma.com}

Goodie Bags

I am a crazy person on the topic of the goodie bag. For the last 8 years I have waxed on and on about how ridiculous I think it is that people give elaborate “gifts” for coming to a child’s birthday party. Isn’t it enough that we are entertaining and feeding the guests for hours? Shouldn’t children learn to give and not always receive?

I found myself in the company of one on this issue and have spent years cringing when my children get goodies that are fancier than the gift they’ve brought. I’ve also felt bad about not giving some cute trinkets over the years, but I worked around that by incorporating a take-home element from the party, such as an apron from an art party or a straw cowboy hat from a carousel party.

Now if you saw my post about my son’s Olympics party, you are probably thinking I am a total hypocrite. I know, I know… I finally broke down and despite the fact that the children were already taking home t-shirts and medals, I actually provided a pack of golden gumballs as they were all leaving.

I guess I just couldn’t resist golden gumballs, but I still hold firm with my belief that kids don’t need more candy and stuff after a lovely celebration of their friends. In my humble opinion, spending time and energy creating something magical is enough.

Of course, sometimes it is fun to have a reminder of the day. Here are some ideas that feel thoughtful and reminiscent of the event.

ART PARTY {spray-painted frames with child’s artwork; photo credit Ramona Trent}

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MONSTER PARTY {hand-made felt monster via onecharmingparty.com}

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GARDEN PARTY {DIY bird feeders via tipjunkie.com}

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{succulents via pinterest.com}

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SUMMER FUN PARTY {waxed paper wrapped chalk via mightygirl.com}

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Olympic Games 2013

I think there were a few moms giving me the stink-eye when they arrived at this party. Rest assured, fellow parents, this party took the better part of a month to plan, organize, and execute. It involved driving to multiple Targets looking for the right sizes of white t-shirts, carefully planning the movement of the teams around the activities only to throw the plan to the wind once it started and soccer took 5x as long as all the other sports, figuring out how to structure the awards so everyone got medals, but the individual winners also got acknowledged, building things, crafting galore, and of course watching the weather predictions for 10 days straight!

It was a little like child birth. Totally scary, super exciting, and slightly exhausting. My son is already asking for Olympics 2014, so hopefully in 11 months all that I will remember are these sweet moments.

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Parade of Nations (complete with downloaded National Anthems of all the countries as well as the Olympic theme song.)

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Events: Long Jump, Gymnastics (seat jumps/min), Basketball Around the World and Knock-out, Soccer Around the World

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Good Sportsmanship and Team Spirit were acknowledged with trophies

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Weddings and Anniversaries

The first real party that I ever threw was my wedding. We got married in Hollywood at a lovely little restaurant called Les Deux Cafe. The wedding was held in the garden, a gorgeous family style dinner was held in the courtyard, and then the garden became the sight of a massive dance party. “We are family…” you know the type.

We had all of our closest friends and family there and I worked for months on making sure every little detail was exactly how I wanted it. I splurged on the letterpress invitations, but I saved on the flowers. I splurged on the good food, but saved on the wedding cake. I splurged on the photographer and hair and make-up (because I seriously cannot do those things on my own!), but I saved on the handmade the votive place settings.

It really was a perfect night.

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I had the opportunity to recreate a little taste of our wedding last month in honor of our 10 year anniversary. We went to Mexico with a group of our closest friends- none of whom were at our wedding strangely enough.

I couldn’t do everything I wanted since all details needed to fit into a suitcase and make it through border control. But here are a few of my favorites: mint julep cups engraved with the saying inside our wedding bands “you are loved“, the same style votives from our wedding, pictures of our wedding to put on the table, and last but not least, I made up a questionnaire that got everything thinking about the early days of their relationship and their own weddings. It was a huge hit.

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