Category Archives: Ideas and Inspiration

Three Unique First Communion Gifts

clay rosaries

You have received your first communion invitation and now need to find an appropriate gift for your young friend. What to get? You are not limited to the same-old rosaries, prayer books and frames of the past! Take a look at these unique takes on First Communion gifts.

When you give a gift to a child, you want them to like it now and when they are older. You want to give something unique AND worth saving. These unique variations on rosaries make the grade.  Our favorite, a beautiful, hand-crafted clay rosary will capture the child’s interest now, and remain a keepsake for later.

 

Olive Wood Roasry

A Lego Rosary!

Other interesting rosary options include a smooth olive-wood rosary is a gift the child will want to use his whole life. This beautiful version includes a keepsake box that is just a beautiful as the rosary. The Lego Rosary from Etsy is an interesting way to keep a child focused on the Rosary prayer.

 

Personalized ceramic cross
Ceramic wall decor
personalized cross
A more masculine style personalized cross

For a wall ornament that bridges parent and child preferences, consider a personalized ceramic cross to hang in the child’s room. Adorable and age-appropriate design combine with a lasting reminder of the day and the sacrament.

Illustrated BibleAn illustrated Bible, or Bible stories, that will hold the attention of young readers is a gift the family can enjoy together. The Children’s Illustrated Bible by Selina Hastings is a colorful compilation of Bible stories with enough related information to hold their interest as they grow.

If you are looking for more interesting first communion ideas, be sure to see this Catholic Icing article! Enjoy!

Last-Minute Valentine Party for School

Quick! You need a last-minute solution for your classroom valentine’s day party. Here is a super-easy game and activity that kids of all ages will love!

Supplies:

  • Printer and paper
  • 2 large bags of small conversation hearts
  • 1 1.55 oz. Hershey chocolate bar for each student
  • A Valentine treat for the class, maybe juice boxes, and napkins
  • 10 small prizes for the game

easy valentine party game

Game 1:

  • Give each child a small pile of conversation hearts (at least 25).
  • Tell the children to stack their conversation hearts as tall as possible in a single column.
  • Then watch the clock, call start and let them try for 60 seconds. Call time. See who has the highest stack and award a prize. Play game 10 times through or to last through your prizes. The children will get better and better.
Candy Bar Wrapper
Class Activity for Valentine’s Day

Activity: Decorate a candy wrapper to take home.

Give each child a printout of this PDF Valentine-Wrapper. Let them use their crayons or markers to decorate the wrapper for someone special. When they are finished cut out and wrap the paper around a Hershey’s bar for each child to take home. They may want to take the jokes on the paper home to read to their parents.

When a child is finished, he can browse his collection of valentines and enjoy the treats brought in.

Game 2:

Play a classroom game like duck-duck-goose with the younger set, or heads-up 7-up, hangman, or even pictionary with the older elementary students. Valentine phrases for black-board hangman or pictionary:

  • Cupid
  • Cupcake
  • Broken Heart
  • Best Friend
  • Chocolate
  • Candy Heart
  • Sweetheart
  • Be Mine
  • True Love

Enjoy!

Turn an Ordinary Dinner into A Family Celebration with Four Simple Additions.

Do your children get excited about holiday dinners? The table is arranged so beautifully. The good dishes are out. They may have helped to make table decorations or place cards. The meal feels like a special event.

Turn an ordinary dinner into a kid-friendly celebration by adding just a few special touches. Your children will notice and appreciate the occasion.

1. Add candles to the table for ambiance. Let the children light them and blow them out.

2. Add notes under the plates for the children to find during the meal. The notes under each plate may be “fortunes” or questions to discuss. Here are some fortunes you can print and cut apart.

3. Make the occasion feel out-of-the-ordinary by using special glasses and sparkling juice. (The white does not stain as much!) Offer a toast to the honoree.

4. When you are seated and served, have each person answer a question in turn. Choose something generic such as, “Tell me two good things and one bad thing about your day,” or choose a question which is appropriate for celebration. If you are celebrating an A+ in geography, for example, ask “What place would you most like to visit?” Our children love this process, and ask for it at regular dinners.

As opposed to the usual rushed family dinner, you will find this one to be extra special with only a little extra effort invested. Enjoy!

New Grandparents Rule!


Princess birth announcement
Along with all of the pride and excitement of a new grandchild, comes the realization of the responsibility and care these precious new lives may require from their doting new grandparents.

Whether it’s your first or third little blessing, there are things you can do to help the new parents make the adjustment. Your own personal experiences with anything from walking with a fussy baby to knowing just the right trick to getting out a nasty formula stain can help relieve what can be a stressful, tiring time. And your patience and understanding will not only help create a new kind of bond with your own adult children, but will begin a lifetime of caring and sharing with that new little someone.

Working with the style and preferences of the new babies parents, select a few ideas to help and support the parents of the new baby.
1. Take lots of pictures and deliver prints in an album.
2. Bring over pre-made meals to leave in the refrigerator.
3. Take the older siblings out on a play date.
4. Ask to help with dishes or laundry.
5. Be a good listener, or shoulder to cry on.
6. Help the new mom find that elusive nap!

 

Planning a Surprise Party

surprise party invitationsAny party can be a surprise, from birthday or anniversary, to a new baby… from a small reception or dinner to a big bash with a band.

If you want to throw a party for someone who likes surprises, but won’t miss the prep and planning for a big party, a surprise is the way to go! They are fun to plan, and create absolutely no work for the guest of honor (until party clean-up!) Surprise parties also work well for someone who would say no to any party for himself… if they knew about it in advance.

So how do you make your surprise a success? Communication and planning.

1. Be sure that everyone invited is very clear that this is a surprise party. They need to understand when to arrive, and when the “surprise” will happen, so they don’t ruin it. Be sure to give a cushion of time between when the guests arrive and when the honoree arrives. Choosing a party date before or after the actual event, such as two weeks before the birthday, makes it easier to conceal the surprise.

2. Use a routine event or a poker-faced friend to get the honoree to the planned location. For example, if you hold it where he goes every Friday, you won’t need to drag him there blindfolded. Or, have a close friend “invent” an event to attend with him, like another friend’s party. If this “cover event” is set-up in advance, he can’t drop out or plan something else. Plan to have the honoree wearing something he will feel comfortable wearing at the party. If he shows up in workout clothes, and everyone else is in semi-formal wear, he is going to feel out of place.

photo centerpiece3. If you want to play up the drama, start with a bang!

  • Use huge party poppers to shoot confetti 15 feet.
  • Fill the room with helium balloons with colorful strings hanging down
  • Use music and lights for dramatic effects
  • Decorate with bold colors. Disco ball? Strobes!
  • Perhaps when he pulls open the door to the party, a wall of balloons falls onto him.
  • Have him greeted at the surprise party with a crowd of people holding up masks or his face. Or all wearing his favorite team colors.
  • Before he arrives, hand out “Jake’s Fan Club” badges for everyone to wear.
  • Create a memory wall or have framed pictures from throughout the years scattered around the room. Photo centerpieces are great conversation starters.

4. Incorporate his favorites! Favorite dinner, dessert, colors, music, friends and family.

5. Go with the flow, and have fun. If the surprise is given away before he arrives, he can still have fun at the party. The important part is that your guest-of-honor sees all his favorite people gathered to celebrate with him, and knows you cared enough to create this wonderful event!

If you also need gift ideas for a special birthday, check out this article on 70th birthday gift ideas for inspiration.

Sock Monkeys – Timeless Fun

The sock monkey as we know it first came into being around the turn of the century when folks would take old scraps of cloth and, yes, old socks, and turn them into a lovable toy monkey – thrifty and innovative! I remember the classic Red-Heel brand sock monkey in the late seventies, when they seemed to be a Christmas tradition. But you don’t have to be 100 years old, or even a baby boomer, to see what is so special about these happy little critters. And with a sock monkey themed baby shower or birthday party, you can share your love of the foot-covering primate – the sock monkey – and set your guests a-swinging!



You can make your own sock monkey from classic Red-Heel brand socks, the how to sew a sock monkey instructions have been included on every pack since 1955. Finished sock monkeys range from colorful to classic, boy to girl, big to teeny tiny. You can throw a sock monkey baby shower, or a sock monkey birthday party. All you need are two or three of the following: a sock monkey baby shower invitation or a sock monkey birthday invitation, sock monkey cake, sock monkey fabric (for table cloths, or runners), sock monkey favors, and sock monkey stickers. You can decorate a Sock Monkey Nursery. Sock monkeys appear on art for the walls or wall stickers, crib bedding, books and clothing for your little monkey. You can even let the world know when your baby arrives with a sock monkey birth announcement.

Sock Monkey Baby Shower Invitation

Western Styles for Kids

One of my favorite trends is western for kids. While toy guns make the mom in me cringe, these finds make her coo:



western theme birthday invitations



western theme shower invitations



party invitation card



Cowboy stuff was very popular when my dad was growing up. Today, it’s not just for the boys. You can find cowgirl gear for your little palomino princess if you just look online. Cowgirl birth announcements, cowboy birthday invitations, even cowbaby baby shower invitations, itty bitty boots and hats are all out there waiting to be rounded up.

The best part? When a kid’s room is decorated buckaroo style, a little dirt blends right in.

Some Lil’ Buckaroo Blogs
Baby products, Texas style
Cowboys, Kids, and Sunsets
Kole and Kate’s Blog
Ben, Andrea and Cash!!
The Littlest Cowboy
Cute Baby Clothes: Western Wear

Red Egg and Ginger Parties: A Delightful Tradition!


Red Egg Invitation
The Red Egg and Ginger Party tradition began in ancient China to celebrate the birth of a boy, and introduce him to family and friends. Over the years, this has evolved to a special event for baby boys and girls. The baby’s name was announced at the ancient parties by the grandparents and the child was formally accepted into the family. The selection of a name was very important since the name not only served to identify, but also expressed the family’s aspirations and intentions for the child.

The party was traditionally held when the baby turned one month old. The new mother, considered to be in a weakened state, spent the month after giving birth confined at home to protect herself and the baby. Mortality rates were very high for infants prior to the introduction of western medicine, but a baby reaching one month was considered likely to survive. Currently, Red Egg and Ginger parties are thrown anytime between one and three months old. In Korea, a similar 100 day party is observed, and also includes red eggs.

Favors of hard-boiled eggs, dyed red, are given to each guest: red for happiness, eggs for new life and pickled ginger root to represent a family’s long, deep roots. Red pickled ginger doubles the luck. Guest are given an even number of eggs for a baby boy, or an odd number of eggs for a baby girl. Alternate traditional favors include pork biscuits and rice cakes. Ginger is also used in the new mother’s diet during her “sitting” month to “warm” her after being weak from child birth, making it even more fitting for the one month occasion.


Red Envelope
Guests normally bring gifts to a Red Egg and Ginger party, mostly “lysee” (lucky money). Lysee is money folded neatly into small red envelopes like the ones shown here, and is also used for weddings and other gifting occasions.) Close family will often give
Tiger shoes
expensive jewelry to baby girls, but lysee is also appropriate for girls. The lysee is often tucked into baby’s clothing or pinned on. Since tigers are the king of beasts and have special powers for protecting children, some babies are given tiger hats, shoes and bibs.

infant tiger hat
A tiger to guard baby!

Red Egg and Ginger parties can be hosted at home, in a large or small fashion. Today, they are commonly held at Chinese restaurants complete with entertainers (acrobats or musicians) and meals fit for a princess or prince.

Much more information, including recipes, and other traditions are included in the wonderful book by Rosemary Gong, The Essential Guide to Chinese American Celebrations and Culture. For another online summary read this Chinese traditions article.

Baby Hats
Baby hats, infant headbands, newborn flower hats, toddler beanie hats and everything in between! Cute stylish headwear for little ones at www.Babyiloveu.com online baby product shop.

Planning a Meaningful Baptism Reception


Baptism Invitations
A baptism is a significant day for the family, signifying the introduction of the baby into the church and community. In the Catholic and Protestant faiths, newborns are anointed with holy water and blessed by the church clergy. In the catholic religion, the baptism serves to wash away original sin. In some protestant faiths, the baby is dedicated to the church rather than baptized. Sometimes, a baby is baptized in the name of a patron saint. Since baptisms almost always involve large family gatherings, it’s important to commemorate the occasion by planning a baby baptism party that will be a joyous and memorable event.


Christening Invitations
Before beginning your baptism party planning, it’s important to keep in mind that baptism is a formal religious ceremony. With this knowledge, you should attempt to achieve a balance between solemnity and celebration.


When sending out baptism invitations, remember that if the party is scheduled to take place following the baptism, proximity to the church is key. The number of guests will affect your location choice. You can hold your baptism reception in your home, a neighborhood park, the church hall, a restaurant or an event hall. This charming personalized baptism plate can be used in lieu of a guest book for your baptism reception guests to sign.

If other children will be invited, be sure to consider high chairs and entertainment options for them. You can set up a children’s show like Veggie Tales for them to watch, a coloring or craft table with a baptism craft or plan some games to hold their attention — at least for a little while!


Now… what about food? Depending on the time of the baptism and the weather, you can arrange a buffet lunch, afternoon tea, low-maintenance spread or backyard barbecue. Many large crowd recipes are available online. Consider having drinks on hand to toast the baby’s health and a cake with white frosting that includes the baby’s initials, name and christening date.


rosary party favor

You should also consider having party favors for the guests as part of your baptism party planning. Some appropriate themes you could choose include crosses, the color white, doves, angels, candles and Bibles.

Dove Cookie Favors – beautiful organic cookies are perfect for your baptism party.

 

Cute As A Ladybug Baby Shower

ladybugPopular and colorful, ladybugs are a fun theme for a baby’s room and for your baby shower. It is easy to create dramatic impact with red table covering, round black plates and grass green table ware! If you prefer the pastel approach, a few ladybugs look great on pink and green, as shown in this lovely nursery ensemble from Kids Line.
ladybugTake a look at these wonderful finds for ladybug shower invitations, decorations, gifts for the little baby bug, and ladybug favors! Perhaps you can even get a toddler in a ladybug dress or costume to wander the shower just for smiles.

Little Ladybug baby shower invitationKate Ashley favorsLadybug scrap box
We found a lot of wonderful ladybug cake and cookie ideas that would dress up your dessert table. If you are baking, unless you want a pink ladybug, be sure to use the red coloring paste or gel to get a true red.ladybug cake