Monday, November 27, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Holiday Get Togethers

Can we be honest? Holiday get togethers can be problematic. Yes we've all seen the gorgeous photos on pinterest and instagram. We all try it ourselves. I remember the time I put out gorgeous place cards and they were completely disregarded. Yup. That would be my extended family. We have a vision in our heads and if we are honest things rarely go that way. 

There are ways to mitigate the things that may come up. We were having dinner at our oldest daughters place and with her being a new vegan and her boyfriend a vegetarian we decided to bring our own food just to take the pressure off. (Thank you Whole Foods for making things easy on us!)

And still there may have been pressure on Kate that I didn't know about. I can tend to be bossy and loud. And this is NIck's first holiday with us. I hope they had a good time. Her and Nick worked hard on the dishes and presentation. And you know, family is family. It comes with it's own issues and baggage. 

We talked a lot about this in the week leading up to Thanksgiving at work and everyone had their own worries about gatherings. Sadness about people that wouldn't be there, triggers that could come up. And we all realized that we all go thru the same things. 

The gorgeous settings are part of the stories. And so are the arguments, the dealing with hard to deal with relatives. So, we jokingly came up with a bingo game. We decided that whoever filled out the card with the most squares first of course won! 

And we had TWO bingo's! Not to reveal to much but one friend was called a communist and one had a dog attacked and may have been exposed to pink eye. There was more but you get the idea! I'll be giving out some small prizes on Monday just for fun. But hopefully the idea of bingo helped inject a bit of humor into the whole thing. Because really we are all in this together. 

So in that spirit and with the help of my friend Elizabeth we came up with a printable bingo card in case you would like to play along with your group of friends to make things feel a bit more light during your next gathering. Here it is! Bingo card

And hopefully your stories are on the fun side rather than upsetting. Care to share? And here is a link to some outrageous but I believe true stories from Buzzfeed that should make your family and mine look normal during the continuing holiday season! 

Monday, November 20, 2017

Set the Scene: Sam's Dance Party

This past Saturday we held an 18th birthday party for Sam. When the girls were young we decided that every other year they could have a big party and thankfully it worked out to have the parties on the big years...and this one feels really big. This feels like the last time we will be throwing a party for our youngest and we wanted to make it count. 

When we started talking about it we talked about her likes and one of them is 80's music and dancing. So we reached out to a DJ at her school, Marcus Poulos who has thrown some great dances of his own. Once we had him it was a matter of setting the scene. My friend and boss Elizabeth was kind enough to lend us the use of our workplace which helped immensely! 

Eighties music was the that lent itself to the minimum decor that we set up. My smart husband set up a backdrop for us made of astroturf on a frame with a gorgeous and fun sign that was custom made for the party! This became our photoshoot area with guest getting together with the birthday girl for fun photos! 

Once you walked thru a tinsel fringe curtain doorway you were in the dance area! Thankfully once Marcus set up his lights and we set up a couple of disco balls and lined the walls with foil fringe the stage seemed to be set. The enthusiasm of the group was enough to get the party started! 

We went streamlined on food and drink for the party. Sam is a lover of La Croix so we had a mix of them available along with water to keep our dancers hydrated. 

For food we decided to go for salty and sweet, starting with sweet! Sam isn't big on cake but can go for doughnuts. And since they are portable and easy thats what we went with. Of course with pink icing and sprinkles! 

Then at 10 we surprised our party goers a delivery of McDonalds french fries just to keep the party going! This was something we had heard of from another party and thought it was perfect for our party. Both the treats seemed to go over well with everyone taking part in the snacks. 

The conclusion? We loved throwing the party. Sam's friends are fun, inclusive and wonderful to be around! They were up for dancing and laughing and having a good time. It was cool to see that there were kids of all ages and from different high schools there. And the best part? That our daughter is part of this cool group. Though we were tired from the set up and tear down we were happy to do it. Her appreciation and enjoying the group made it all worth it! 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Deep Thoughts: Letting Go

Are you feeling the press of the upcoming holidays? We are too, though ours is feeling even more bittersweet with the season we are in with our youngest daughter. She is in the midst of applying for college and that means we are in on the ride. 

This is a journey that you might consider when you kids are young as you look into the future. And then when you get there there, no matter how much you prepare it still catches you off guard. The campus visits, the applications, the questions of where they may end up. 

When your kids are small this all feels so far away. I can't even describe how it feels to be in the middle of the process. I still picture this little monkey and now we are talking about moving her away! It makes me want to hold her tighter, but I know it's the thing to do to let her go! 

Kate has taken a different route and lives nearby with her boyfriend. I have been teasing her that we are going to drive them crazy hanging out with them! She has grown into an awesome adult that we love hanging out with. Smart, warm with the best sense of humor. 

So it's a ride we go on willingly...watching our kids grow up and leave. We know that they don't leave forever. It's just the end of another phase in our life with them. And it takes some mourning of the past. Of the part of our lives that is gone forever. But there is good stuff waiting for us on the other side. So, I give myself moments to be sad. Then we go on with the search for where our monkey will end up next year. And we wait to see what the future will bring! 

Monday, November 6, 2017

On My Radar: Surviving Flu Season

I thought I would celebrate Halloween by coming down with the flu! Apparently I needed a whole week of rest, because that's just what it took. And though the cough is still with me at least I'm back to the land of the living. Here are some survival tips! 

Drink a lot of fluids. I mean enough to drown you! I found myself craving cold pressed juices which my husband was nice enough to treat me with. They taste great and you know you are giving yourself a great dose of vitamin C! Whatever you feel a craving for I would advise you get. 

If I'm not drinking juice I'm nursing a hot cup of tea. We found some loose tea called Cold Remedy that tastes great and is supposed to help. And I'll try anything! And hot tea feels great on the throat. I pretty much have a cup with me at all times these days. 

And let's just call Netflix what it is...a lifesaver if you are stuck home resting. I found myself watching a bunch of documentaries, including one on Franca Sozzani. It's a great time for watching the shows no one else in the house is into. 

Another soothing item...soup. I found soup tastes great and makes you feel better. Of course chicken soup is magical. I made one called superfood chicken soup with ginger, turmeric and kale. Talk about getting all the good things in one bowl! 

Another important way to fight the flu? Find someone to snuggle with! Our dog was happy for the heat my elevated temperature provided! Let's just say it's like having a living hot water bottle. He helped make the enforced rest tolerable. 

The one thing I had to steer clear of was social media. It reminded me of all the things I was missing it out. I found if I just hung out in my quiet bubble of tea, soup and Netflix and just focus on resting the time goes faster. And that's the hardest part, giving yourself permission to rest and just get well!