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BoyChild Turns FOUR!!

My little baby boy is getting bigger. He’s not really a little baby boy anymore, is he? Sigh.

Saturday was Valentines Day. What romantic plans did Mr T and I have on this such romantic evening? We were putting together a Lego railway station. I know, right? Slow down there. Get a room! But seriously, I said to dear hubby, this is probably our Valentines Days for the next 14ish years. That’ll learn us for having a baby the day after! And then, one day, I’ll be all prepped to help get ready for BoyChild’s birthday and he will turn to me and say, “Mum. I don’t want anything this year”. And I will cry. True story.

As mentioned in my last post, BoyChild was particularly excited about his birthday this year, because he had chosen and invited his own friends to his party. So, I planned the ideal party for him – a picnic at the local park, including a nice swim in the paddling pool, then a play in the playground. Great plan, Mrs T. Great plan.

Except for one minor issue.

February is the thick of summer here. So why, on that particular day, it decided to be freezing cold and raining, I have no idea. But COME ON.

We went down to the park anyway, hoping and praying that the rain would suddenly disappear. And, as soon as we arrived, BoyChild stripped off his clothes and ran to the playground, happily giggling about his party. And that was that. I said to Mr T, there is no way we can go home now, even if we wanted to!

BoyChild wasn’t interested in wearing his clothes (despite the chilly temperature) but he relented and let me put his togs on him.

And, you know what? The party was perfect. I was worried beforehand about not having anything planned for this kids – I needn’t have worried. Because of the weather, no one else was there so we had the entire playground to ourselves. And, unbeknownst to me, they had put in a new playground just that week. We barely saw BoyChild the entire time, he loved it that much.

For food, I ordered five scoops of hot chips. They went so quickly, my darling mother went back to the chip shop for another 5 scoops! Which also went equally as fast. We had lemonade, juice and cake.

Such a simple party, and one very, very happy big dude.

And, believe it or not, the rain held off, only really raining literally as we were loading the cars to come home. BoyChild and his sisters and cousins even managed an (albeit brief) swim in the pool before coming home.

Happy Birthday to my special monkey man xx love you, dude!

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Princess’s Princess Extravaganza

My little Princess, my first baby, my little cutie pa-tootie, is now a big, grown-up five year old!

It’s been a long week, with lots of sad endings and happy beginnings. Lots of tears (mostly from me, I won’t lie) and lots (read: TONS) of cake!

We said goodbye to Kindy on Monday, which wasn’t too sad an event, since Princess is the youngest of her friends and therefore the last to “jump” into school, as they say. It amazed me the difference in her appearance between the first day at kindy (when she was not-quite-three) and the last day. She is taller, obviously, but her face has changed. I now see what she might look like as a teenager and grown up, and it’s a bit overwhelming!

On Saturday, we had her birthday party – her Princess Extravaganza!

Princess loves the Disney Princesses (and, of course, the movie Frozen) so we planned her party around that general theme.

It’s an amazingly easy theme to use, because there is so much available that fits well within the theme, without breaking the bank!

Decorations

The decorations for the party were very easy and not at all expensive. We had a central table with a cheap table cover on it. Behind the table I stuck to the wall a poster of the Princesses, and printed images of both Anna and Elsa from Frozen. Then we put balloons up to support the decorations. My intention was to make a “skirt” for the table out of crepe paper, but for some completely unknown reason, the crepe paper did NOT smell very nice at all when I opened the packaging, so I binned it!

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The tables were set with more cheap table covers, and then I placed paper Princess place mats at each setting (that I got from a local dollar store). The cups were plain pink plastic cups that I added stickers to! They just ate off plain white disposable plates, I figured there was already enough colour in there. For the food display, I got cardboard disposable Princess bowls from the same dollar store as the place mats, and served food in them. The drink was in a great drink dispenser that I found really cheap at KMart. I was pretty excited to get it for $25, even more so when I saw it for sale in a homewares store for $89.99! An identical one! I ♥ bargains!!!!

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Food

For the food, we let Princess choose her menu. She wanted: Pink Popcorn, Jelly, Cheezels, Peanut Butter Sandwiches, Fairy Bread and Sausage Rolls.

For those unfamiliar with Fairy Bread, it is a New Zealand Kid’s Party institution! Basically, it’s white bread with margarine and sprinkles. A winner every time! I cut the fairy bread into star shapes and put it onto platters with “5” shaped peanut butter sandwiches.

The jelly I made in four colours, and served in small plastic containers with little spoons.

The sausage rolls were a hit, as usual – I cut them pretty small so the little kids could easily handle them.

Pink Popcorn

Princess really wanted Pink Popcorn so I searched and searched for food colouring spray but had little luck. So, I decided to attempt to make Pink Candy corn myself, and was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was.

2 Cups popcorn (remove all unpopped kernels)

1 Cup sugar

3/4 Cup Water

Food colouring

3 Tbsp Icing Sugar

Boil the sugar and water together over a high heat until it reaches 238F (or, forms a medium ball in cold water). Grease the bowl that the popcorn is in (so the mixture doesn’t stick when added). Have the icing sugar ready, so you can move quickly once the sugar/water reaches it’s desired heat. Add the food colouring just before the syrup is heated properly. Quickly pour the syrup into the popcorn, stirring immediately (right to the bottom on the bowl) and add the icing sugar straight away. The aim is the syrup and the icing sugar stick to the popcorn together and harden, forming the nice candy coating. This is much easier done if you have someone to help you (ideally another grown up because it can get very hot). One can stir while the other adds the icing sugar etc!  Leave it once coated and it will cool and harden and be just like the bought stuff!

Cake

Of course, the cake. The Pièce de résistance of the party. Princess loves her Princess Magiclip dolls, so we had the idea to make Elsa’s staircase (from Frozen, of course!) and put all of her Magiclip dolls on the cake. She had no idea that we had the two Frozen Magiclip dolls, that was my special surprise for her on party day (and boy, was she surprised! “How did you know, MUM!! I love THEM!!!”).

For the cake, it’s simply two chocolate cakes (round) stacked on top of each other, and (relatively painstakingly) we carved steps into the top cake. The top few steps are pieces of cake we took out of the lower steps! We iced it with simple blue-coloured buttercream, trying to keep the cake as dairy free as we could (so BabyGirl could eat some).

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Blue Ice Shards

To make the cake look more like an ice staircase, I made shards of blue “ice” – candy shattered to look like ice! Like the candy popcorn, this was much easier than I thought it would be!

3 3/4 Cups sugar

1 1/2 Cups Corn Syrup (I used Queen Glucose Syrup)

1 Cup Water

1 Tbsp (clear coloured) flavouring/extract – I used strawberry essence because that’s what I had in my cupboard!

Food Colouring

In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, corn syrup and water. Cook (while stirring) over a medium heat until the sugar dissolves, then bring to a boil. Without stirring, heat to 149-154C (300-310F), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into a cold glass of water forms hard, brittle threads.

Remove from the heat and stir in the extract and the colouring, then pour into a greased, shallow pan or cookie sheet. Let it cool completely (resist the urge to poke it!) and then shatter it once it is completely cooled and solid, to resemble shattered ice. Note: don’t try to shatter it over the back of a plastic kids chair. The chair came out second best!

 

Party Activites

No party is a party without some activities! Princess was adamant she didn’t want games with clear winners and losers, so we went for activities rather than games.

We had a makeup table with some cheap eye shadow, blushers, foundation etc, and a mirror. We also had some nail polish. The kids loved it. They just went crazy, making themselves up, then making each other up! This was a real hit, the kids kept coming back to it throughout the party.

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We also had a table where kids could make their own “Princess Sofia Amulet” – a table with silver and purple stickers, purple card that I had pre-cut, and silver elastic that I also pre-cut. The kids designed, coloured and proudly wore their own amulets, I saw some kids wearing more than one!

And, the best part of the party – the Princess!

My amazing friend came all dressed up like Belle from Beauty and the Beast, and she was AMAZING. Fantastic! I can’t say enough how spectacular her performance was! We hired the dress in the end, and she read to the kids, played, sang, told them stories about her friends, the other Princesses, and held court with the kids for over 45 minutes. She made the party what it was!

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All in all, this was an awesome party that I know my Princess enjoyed. Adored, even! “Mum! Belle knows my NAME” she whispered to me partway through the party!

Ah, to be five again!

 

 

 

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Should Cinderella Be A Sex Bomb?

My daughter thinks she is a princess. Or, at least, she plans on becoming one. She really believes it to be an achievable goal in her life. And good on her, I say.

We are fast approaching her 5th birthday and she is having a Princess Extravaganza party. You know, for a change from other years – last year she had a Princess and Pirates party, the year before it was a Pink Princess Tea Party. I’m making the most of it this year because I feel it might be the last Princess party for her.

Her party is going to be pretty big, by my standards – don’t let the “extravaganza” in the title fool you though, I pride myself on low-budget, low-cost parties – watch this blog for more about this party in the coming weeks!

Which leads me to today’s conundrum – why is Cinderella a sex bomb??

I thought a nice surprise for Princess’s party would be an actual Princess coming along. She has said to me a few times how great it would be if Cinderella, or Rapunzel, or *gasp followed by audible whisper* Elsa! came to the party. I don’t actually know any of those Princesses (“Yes, you DO know them, MUM! You saw them in the MOVIE, MUM! You DO know them!”), I searched around for an alternative. And came across an amazing friend who is dressing up and coming along to surprise Princess and her friends at her Princess Extravaganza, as an actual real Princess.

Simple, right? I’ll just hire or buy a costume. Done. Easy.

No.

Because, apparently, you can’t hire a Cinderella costume. Or a Snow White costume. Or a Rapunzel costume. I mean, you can hire one of these:

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or one of these

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or, oh look! how about this one?

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Now, I’m no prude. I’m all for fun, sexy dress ups for parties and events that call for it. I even think these outfits are cute – for the right occassion.

But, what message are we sending our girls, our little Princess-obsessed 4-and-5-year-olds, when this is the only adult option out there?

That, if you want to dress up, sexy is the only way to go? Our girls admire these Princesses, they look up to them, they want to be them. Do I want my daughter to aspire to the above images? I’m just not sure that I do. I mean, sure – when she is in her 20s and invited to a “Fairy Tale” party or something, then by all means, don the short busty dress. But there are other reasons for Princess outfits, aren’t there? Like, kids parties?

I was shocked at my own response to this situation as well – I’ve always considered myself to be liberal. Yet this really tugged at my feminist heart strings. I found myself disappointed in women. Why can’t an adult live in the same fantasy world that a 4 or 5 year old girl does? If not just for one afternoon.

Thankfully, after yelling at the computer for hours and spouting off to anyone who would listen, about “the youth of today” and “blah blah sex bomb, blah blah COME ON WOMEN!”, I was able to find a hire company who, at the back of the store, behind all the racks of short dresses and knee high boots, had a beautiful yellow Belle dress. Set aside for occasions just like this.

And, all is good in the world again.

Belle will be at the party! Shhhhh, don’t tell Princess 😉

 

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Day #28 – Corn and Bacon Fritters

Yesterday marked the end of Daylight Savings here in New Zealand so we had to put our clocks back an hour. So, the kids went to bed at their usual time of 7:30 pm and woke up at their usual time of 7:30am. Except, one didn’t – Princess was up earlier than usual, so, in conjunction with Daylight Savings, she was up at five thirty. Which wouldn’t be too horrific had BabyGirl (and I) not gone to bed at 2am. Yes, you are reading correctly. Needless to say, we have had some pretty tired and cranky kids today.

And, then we went to a friend’s birthday party, Master turned one! It was a fun and relaxing party during which we ate too much delicious food and the kids ate so much sugar that it was as though their entire souls had been replaced by a mash up of Road Runner, Damien from The Omen and … well .. someone really loud.

What do you feed your kids dinner on a day like today? Desperate to fill Princess’s tummy with something other than sugar before bed, she had a bowl of WeetBix for her dinner. She thought it was a hoot, having breakfast for tea, and she wolfed it down. For the rest of us, Corn and Bacon Fritters. I asked Mr T if he wanted anything with it and he said no, that was fine. Side bar: I think he is really missing fish and chips. Think? I know he is. Because he tells me. Regularly. But, we are on the home stretch now, only seven days to go!

Corn and Bacon Fritters

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1 440g Can Creamed Corn

3/4 C Self Raising Flour

3 Eggs

Bacon, diced

Cook the bacon and then set aside. Mix in a bowl the flour and eggs, and then add the corn. Add in the bacon and fry in oil until brown and cooked. The key to these coming out nice, is to keep the element on a medium heat – too hot and they burn, too cool and they don’t cook properly. Serve with tomato sauce (Mr T) or sweet chilli sauce (me).

Verdict

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Good enough for a Sunday evening, when we are too tired to care. All we are concerned about now is getting these “children” to bed. And by children, I mean Little Horrors. Whom I love. Dearly.

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