When you look back on your childhood, your birthdays are sure to be some of your fondest memories. As a kid, there’s nothing better than your own special day: presents, friends, games and plenty of sweet treats! When you become a parent or grandparent, you get to enjoy the magic of birthdays all over again with the little ones in your life, and naturally, you’ll want to make these days as special as possible for them. So if you’re looking to throw an incredible birthday party, here are some ideas to consider!
Invite Their Friends
Having lots of friends to play with and enjoy the day with them will make the day extra memorable. As well as the children in your family, you could send invites to the children in their class at school or preschool. If it’s the first birthday party you’ve thrown, you might want to consider limiting the number of children to make it a little less stressful. So this is something to work out in the planning stages.
Set a Theme
Themed parties are so much fun. It could be based on the child’s favourite book, superhero, tv show or something else. From there your little guests have the option of dressing up, and you can match the decor and even the food to the theme! There are lots of ideas online for different themes if you’re stuck for ideas, or you could have a chat with the child ahead of time and discuss the things they’re currently loving.
Hire Some Inflatables
There are few things that are more fun to a child than giant inflatables! There are companies online that make hiring a jumping castle easy, you can also get interactive inflatable games, slides and inflatable carnival games! It’s certainly a way to make the party memorable- there will be no hint of boredom with something like this to occupy them.
Hire an Entertainer
Depending on the age of the child it could be a character meet (perfect for tying in with the theme of the party!) a magician, balloon modeling or just someone offering face painting throughout the day. Have a think about what the children would most enjoy based on their age and interests.
Play Party Games
Pass the parcel, musical chairs and pin the tail on the donkey are all favourites we remember from our own childhood. You could dedicate an hour of the party to fun party games, where exciting prizes can be won.
Think About Food
It’s no secret that kids are fussy eaters, so catering for a child’s birthday party can be stressful. Buffet style lunches are an easy option, as you can put out lots of different things and they can choose what they want. Go with firm favourites- sandwiches, chips, sausage rolls, mini pizzas and cupcakes. You could even consider hiring an ice cream machine or a chocolate fountain! You may also want to consider some healthier options too, pots of hummus with cut up veggies and fruit skewers work well. Pinterest has tons of great ideas on how you can display different food items so you can make the buffet table look really impressive.
One of the most fun things to do with children during school holidays is a picnic.
If the weather is good, not only can you put together a basket with the perfect fluffy blanket, but you can get the kids involved in all the preparations. This will then elevate your standard picnic to a Teddy Bears’ Picnic, and that is simple fun that gets everyone together.
You don’t have to lay on a whole party, though, even though the Teddy Bears’ picnic is a popular birthday party theme. Inviting a few neighbourhood friends or school friends over the holidays can be so much fun!
Lazy summer days full of sunshine and dandelion clocks are the perfect time to have your first Teddy Bears’ picnic, and here’s how you can make the most of it.
Finding things to do over the school breaks can be easy if you are inventive about it. Children love to be outdoors in the sunshine, having a picnic is a pure novelty so incorporating both things together make for an exciting and happy afternoon all round. Be excited about the upcoming school summer break and everyone else will be, too!
Christmas has definitely become commercial and so many people get caught up in trying to find that perfect gift. Buying Christmas gifts can be stressful, especially when you are uncertain of what gifts to buy.
Just going shopping at your local shopping centre provides you with countless gift ideas, the problem is, which to choose. Although there are so many gift ideas that could potentially be the ‘perfect gift’, it is still difficult to make that decision. Of course, it is important to buy a wonderful gift for everyone on your Christmas shopping list. But if you are faced with countless options, you do have an alternative solution.
Christmas gift baskets have become very popular and they are an excellent way of giving someone a variety of gifts. You can even give a gift basket to an entire family, with something for everyone inside.
I like to include fresh flowers in my gift baskets. They add a fresh, soft touch to the designed basket. If you don't like the idea of flowers for someone, you might like to consider including a potted plant or some herbs.
Pre-made Christmas gift baskets are a quick solution, but if you have some time on your hands go one step further. Make your own personalized gift basket. This shows thought and caring on your part and your recipient will just love that you went to all that extra effort.
You can put all types of gifts into your basket from foods, to bath products to hobby and craft supplies. If the person loves cooking why not include some bread, along with recipes, different spices and some kitchen gadgets.
A gardener would enjoy a basket of gardening supplies, possibly a subscription to a garden magazine with seeds and gardening gloves.
Any small spaces in your customized gift basket can be filled with small items. This is where your stocking-stuffer ideas come in. Add pens, socks, chocolates and even a gift card inside. A personalized Christmas decoration is another great idea. They can hang it on their tree for years to come.
If you decide to purchase a Christmas gift basket this year, it can be done at many online specialty stores or even locally in your hometown. Once you start looking for gift basket ideas you will be amazed at how much selection there is. You might just possibly decide to go with Christmas gift baskets every year.
So.... how do you do it? How do you make your own? It's more than just filling a basket with small gifts.
Here's what you'll need:
You’ll need supplies to both make the floral arrangement and fill the basket.
The following slideshow will walk you through the process for creating an amazing gift basket for Chirstmas or anytime you need a special gift or presentation.
The Kitchens food precinct (a new urban marketplace close to my home) has just opened with all the bustle and fanfare that a major shopping centre manages to produce.
So, I found myself a quiet corner, ordered a gingerbread latte and a plate of veggie chips, and settled back to proof-read the latest issue of At My Place magazine.
So, what's all this about the latest magazine issue?
The food was delicious- all plant sourced and gluten free. My single serve of hot chips was enough for 2 or 3 people and arrived on a lovely wooden platter. Yes, it was a lovely spot to relax, watch the excited activity below, and read the magazine.
It's been quite a while since the last magazine issue. I've had to rethink the preparation and presentation of the magazine. And then I found myself in the midst of exciting family upheaval- births, relocation, new jobs and helping to care for grandkids in the process.
So... here's the run-down about the magazine.
What's included in this issue?
This issue is a little longer than the previous issue which, I think, was a little light on content. I've tried to include just enough to keep the reader busy while.... well, enjoying a gingerbread latte, perhaps, and a plate of chips. (You'll have to join me next time.)
This issue also has a touch of the holiday season since everyone has become very aware of the weeks flitting past. So, you'll find recipes, ideas to welcome and delight friends and visitors throughout the holiday season, healthy desserts (yes, chocolate is included), book reviews and more.
If you're looking for even more ideas for the holiday season, you'll find some helpful articles posted here on the At Grandma's Place website soon. And... there will be other ideas At Grandma's Place FB page and Instagram, too.
If you haven't checked out and 'liked' these pages, take a moment to do that now so you don't miss anything.
So... how can you get your FREE copy of the latest issue of At My Place?
Well, if you're a part of At Grandma's Place newsletter, you'll receive your copy in your Inbox soon. (Sign up here if you'd like a copy sent to you.) You can also download a copy HERE.
Or, you can read an online version here.
Mexico is a stunning country and makes a great place for a family vacation. Beautiful beaches, breathtaking scenery, fantastic food, and plenty of culture. There are also a ton of fun resorts, attractions for kids and things to do as a family that will keep you busy for your entire trip. Here’s some information if you plan on taking a family vacation to Mexico.
How to Get Around Mexico
While Mexico is now considered as a safe part of the world to visit, if you’re dubious about using public transport then there are other options too. You could hop on a tour bus, hire a car or use a carpooling service such as www.carrot.mx. Taxis are also a quick and convenient way to get around, and much more affordable than cabs elsewhere in the world. Most drivers will not speak much English, and so being able to speak some Spanish is helpful. Alternatively, you can probably get by with showing them on a map where you want to go.
Family Friendly Resorts and Hotels
A good family resort will have activities to keep kids entertained, as well as have plenty of amenities for the adults. All inclusive packages are good options when you’re traveling with kids. Everything you need will be on site making your life much easier. It’s cheaper than dining out every night (especially if you have a large family) and you don’t have to venture out anywhere unless you want to. Some of the most family friendly hotels in Mexico include Beach Palace in Cancun, the Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Nayarit and Cozumel Palace in Cozumel. If you want to stay in the capital The St Regis, Four Seasons and Hampton Inn all offer services for families and children. Doing your research before booking is important so you know exactly what you’re going to be getting when you arrive.
If you are staying at an all-inclusive resort, you don’t have to think too much about where to dine with the family, which makes life easier. But if you want to venture out and try some of the restaurants Mexico has to offer there are plenty which are suitable for families. Try Perico or La Parilla in Cancun for a traditionally festive Mexican meal. Mercado Roma, Yuban, and Lalo are located more centrally and again are perfect for children and family dining.
Attractions for Kids
You could visit Kidzania in Santa Fe, an indoor mega-playground. Papalote Museo del Niño which is home to dozens of fascinating educational exhibits suitable for all ages. This includes things like a walk inside a giant rainforest tree, and Lego workshop where they can build their eco-friendly city. There’s an epic zoo in Chapultepec’s huge forest, which is home to many native species of animal. Plus you have Six Flags theme park too which is always going to go down well with kids! There are a variety of exciting things for little ones to do.
Have you ever traveled to Mexico as a family? Do you have any tips, advice or recommendations for others looking to visit?
You don't have to be a master chef to produce an impressive dinner party menu. A few tricks can help you do it with ease.
Hosting a dinner party can be a stressful affair. It shouldn't cause you stress, though. It's meant to be a fun thing to do that you can share with friends or family. One of the reasons some people get flustered is the pressure to cook something amazing. They think they need to do something complicated that their guests have never tried. While it's nice to surprise them with something interesting, you don't need to put so much pressure on yourself. You can cook something that looks and tastes great without spending too much time in the kitchen.
Choose a Simple But Impressive Menu
The first thing you need to do if you want to impress without the stress is to choose the right menu. It can be tempting to pick something complicated, but you don't want to be preparing for days in advance. Plus, you don't want to leave your guests alone while you're busy in the kitchen the whole time. A simple but tasty menu is best, and that's just what you'll find in many fine dining restaurants. Your meal can have simple ingredients but look great. For example, a whole fish can look impressive but is easy to cook. If you choose a Branzino fish recipe, you could grill it or cook it en papillote (in paper) with some vegetables.
Dress It Up
Another great way to make your menu impressive is to dress it up. A bit of presentation can make all the difference. For example, if you take that whole fish, it could look boring just placed in the middle of a plate. But add some colorful vegetables or salad and some garnish and it can come to life. If you want to be creative, watch some cooking shows to see how chefs prepare their food. Drizzle a little bit of jus here and garnish with some sea vegetables there and you can transform your dish.
Add Some Tasty Sides
If you feel that your simple main dish is a bit too simple, you can add to it with some sides. It's usually quick and easy to knock up some extras such as seasoned vegetables and salads of all types. Don't just stick to the usual sides like mashed potatoes or a boring green salad. There are so many ingredients to experiment with, and you can easily find something fun to try.
Boost the Flavor
You can turn any ordinary dish into something special if you add some extra flavor to it. If you love exploring new flavors, why not experiment with adding spices and seasoning to ordinary dishes. Sprinkle some paprika over your sweet potatoes or spread some harissa paste on your chicken. Just make sure you don't try something for the first time on the night of your dinner party. If you're not sure if it will work out, test it out in advance.
You don't have to be a master chef to produce an impressive dinner party menu. A few tricks can help you do it with ease.
Life as a grandma.. it's no 'quiet, restful days in the rocking-chair'. It's filled with activity, excitement and lots of family fun. Please share it with me.