Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Incomplete Word Count Blog-a-Thon

I have realized, after three failed attempts, that I am not meant to be a daily blogger. I get so excited prior to the beginning of the blog-a-thon, take notes in my journal, prepare posts for different days of the month and, this year, I even had a blog journal to help me organize my writing objectives. All for naught. My life is just not one that allows for daily blogging. I am always running too many different directions (aren't most of us) and I don't have the discipline, I suppose, to sit down and write a daily entry in my blog.

I would love too. I write in my journal. I have many different ideas and entries to share but it seems easier to write them in my journal than it is to get them onto the blog.

After my minimal success this month, I have decided to forgive myself for not accomplishing the full thirty days; heck, I think I got less than three or four days posted this month. Rather, I am going to continue to write my blog as I can fit it into my schedule. Hoping that practice will make perfect, next year, when I will once again attempt to write and enter my daily blog for a full thirty days.

Thank you for understanding.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My Son Hit One Out of the Park

If there was ever a more festive moment this spring, I cannot imagine what it might be. Watching my eleven year old son struggle with his batting this whole baseball season has broken my heart. We have spent countless hours in the batting cages, just me and him, practicing. His dedication & determination have been inspirational to me; yet, time after time, he would walk away from home plate with just a hint of sorrow and the echo of "strike three".

My heart broke every time this happened. There wasn't anything I could do to help him. He knew the mechanics of his swing, he understood the timing of the pitcher and he was sending them "over the fence" in the batting cages. His fear or insecurities up at the plate were something he had to conquer on his own.

I have often told him that once he found the "sweet spot" and connected the ball to the bat, he would know the secret ingredient that no one else could teach him and was something he would have to find on his own. I assured him that once he found the spot, it would come together.

Monday night, he hit a nice ground ball, straight down the pitchers line into center field. I noticed how differently he carried himself when he walked up to bat tonight. His confidence was very evident as he swung ~ once, twice, three times. He had struck out, but he was swinging and the power was there. It was all beginning to come together.

Second time to bat was another line drive to center field. His smile was so bright.

The third time up to base, he was more confident and held himself a bit taller. As the ball sailed through the air, he swung and the ball cracked against the bat. As it flew out of the ball park, my son held up his arms and ran around the bases. His smile was so bright, even through my tears of pride and joy, I could see how important this moment was for him. He had worked hard and his hard work had paid off.

An ice cream party at home seemed a nice celebration for the accomplishment of such an important goal. His success reminded me that I should always be swinging for the fence. I may strike out, not once but many times, but as long as I am swinging, I am working toward a goal; A goal that I am going to hit if I keep trying.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Party Planning Success is in the Details - A Running To-Do List will help you Focus

Organization is the key to success when planning a party. In an effort to maintain organization and success with each party that I plan, I now keep a Party Journal. The party journal is a great way to keep track of your overall party plans, your To-Do list, menu, recipes and any pictures or decorations. A party journal is a collection of notes, pictures, drawing and recipes that you want to have for future reference or for evaluation before, during and after your event. I keep one large journal that holds all my important notes from each party.  Each party also has a "Running To-Do" List. A key component to my party planning success.

A Running To-Do list is a working list of things that need to be done over the course of time while I am planning a party. I never completely cross out any item on my list. In fact, I only draw a simple line through each item. As I plan the party, I add new items that need to be done or have my attention, this list grows as the party date gets closer; however, as the party gets closer, more items get marked off the list. The key to using only a single line to tick off the items, as I complete them, is to provide a road map to future party planning lists. I use each list as a reference guide to help me plan the next parties.

My "Running To-Do" list is often broken down into a variety of different subgroups. By breaking down the overall party planning into different subgroups, I am able to focus my planning and preparations. I generally use the following basic party planning subgroups on my list:

guest list
paper products

As any well organized party planner will tell you, experience planning parties also builds experience improving the planning of those parties. Building To-Do lists from experience planning other parties will help improve organization and reduce the overall stress you experience as you continue to plan more and more parties in the future. At the end of each party, after all the clean-up is done and all equipment and service-ware is put away, I review my Running To-Do lists to evaluate where I could have saved money, used my time more wisely or shorted up a few steps to make the overall planning easier. This time spent in review is very beneficial when I begin to plan the next party.

Often times, I will begin my next party "To-Do" list by "borrowing" entries from previous lists. This is a great way to make sure that I don't miss an important item and maximize my planning and preparation time. 

Tomorrow I will share with you my special party planning envelope that I use to hold all of my physical items that I refer to when planning a party.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Due to Unforeseen Circumstances ~ We interrupt this message...

Today was filled with many things, some positive and some negative. However, the one thing it did not have was time for me to write my blog on the value of a "running to-do list".

So, for today, I will leave you with a beautiful quote by Jean Webster, Daddy-long-legs, that I found in a national magazine a few years ago:

"It isn't the big pleasures that count the most; it's making a great deal out of the little one."

I believe that Jean Webster has a beautiful philosophy for life, so it is a pleasure to use that thought for my third day of blogging.

See you tomorrow.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Party Planning Success ~ One Step at a Time

The most important step in successful party planning is TIME. Allow plenty of time to plan your party, a minimum of six to eight weeks is ideal. Allowing yourself plenty of time to plan the party will increase your overall satisfaction and enjoyment with the party planning experience and will make sure that your party turns out exactly as you had hoped.

Time is a precious commodity, that cannot be built into a schedule once it is lost. If you don't have eight weeks, or even six, then you need to make the most of the time you do have. Tomorrow we will discuss the importance of the "to-do" list and an innovative party planning envelope that I use for each of my parties.

May you enjoy a Blessed Sunday and I look forward to sharing more party planning ideas tomorrow.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Throwing a Party

I admit it! I am a Party Girl!!

Well, okay, not exactly a "Party Girl", more like, a Party Planning Girl! I love to plan parties. give me a paper, pencil and an event and I can happily sit for hours planning and organizing the big day.

I have been planning parties for over fifteen years. I have hosted/planned kids events, adult events, weddings and showers for brides and babies. I even plan classroom parties with gusto. It is who I am.

I love it all, deciding upon a theme, creating a budget, shopping for sales, menu creating and even clean-up. I mean what better way to evaluate your success than to clean up a well celebrated event.

This month, I will be offering a multitude of different things I have learned along the way, to help you or somone you know plan a party.

I am big on budget friendly shopping and have learned many ways to host a great party while staying on or below budget.

While my blog will not focus entirely on party planning, it is the theme for the month of June. Summer is ahead and many people will be hosting birthday parties, summer bar-b-ques, weddings and baby/bridal showers.

I will offer tips, resources, money saving shortcuts and menus to help make any event a success.

So please join me and celebrate your life ~ one party at a time!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Budget Friendly Summer Fun with the Kids

Enjoying an activity filled summer with the kids does not have to break the family budget. Here are five easy activities that offer both fun and educational opportunities that you can enjoy with your children:

  1. Weekly Themed Dinner Parties: As a family, choose an international country that you would like to learn more about. Visit the library to check our books about your country, be sure one of the books offers menu items that you can research and cook in your home. For an arts & crafts activity, have your children create a placemats and table decorations that represent the different symbols of your country. Together prepare a menu, shop for groceries and prepare a traditional meal or menu item for dinner. If everyone enjoys the activity, pick a new country each week for the remainder of your summer vacation.
  2. Go on a Nature Walk: Find a national park, local park or other outdoor area to visit as a family. Have your children gather different items that they find along their walk; glue the items to construction paper to create a collage. Nature walks offer a great opportunity for children to safely explore the world around them and learn more about nature.
  3. Bird Watching: Bird watching is a simple and enjoyable way to learn about the different birds that live in your neighborhood or surrounding area. Children are fascinated by birds, and learning the different breeds that live in your area is a great way to inspire a love of nature. Before you set out on your first bird watching expedition, be sure to visit your local library or book store to  gather bird identification books to help your child learn to recognize as many different birds as possible.
  4. Ice Cream Sundae Party: Purchase a variety of ice creams, sprinkles, flavored toppings, whip cream and maraschino cherries; allow your children to create their very own "dream sundae". Expect that this will be a very messy activity, so allow the children to build their creations outside where it is safe for things to get messy. Don't limit sugar intake, creative recipe construction or suggest any rules at all. On this day, just let the kids be kids. They will remember this for a long time and you just might have a "what I did last summer" classroom essay topic for one of the kids.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Well, I missed a day...could not be helped. Life got in the way and I went with the natural flow of the day rather than stress out about where I should be and what I should b doing. That is one of the lessons I am learning as I begin blogging, life happens and I cannot always get to my keyboard to write. So, today, to make up for it,  I will write two blog posts, if only to make myself feel better.

Today's quote is:

"We are always the same age inside."

I believe that each of us has an age in our lives where we felt really good about who we are, where we are in our lives and our overall appearance; it becomes our internal age. Mine was 40. I loved how I looked and how I felt at 40. I wasn't perfect, rather far from it.  I was raising two teenagers, ages 14 and 16, while simultaneously chasing a four and two year old around the house. They were rugged days of sleep deprivation, cooking ALL the time and too much laundry. I read only children's books, could never seem to use the bathroom alone and more often than not, I had one kid that needed something at every single hour of the day. Yet, that is somehow the time of my internal age. I am always surprised when I see myself in a window or mirror and realize I am still that age.

At 45, my appearance hasn't changed that much but I can see the accumulated years better these days. The crows feet around my eye, the laugh lines around my mouth, the thickening waste (no matter how much I diet and exercise, those two c-sections did long-term damage on my abdominals) but it is my neck that I dislike the most.

I have always taken great care with moisturizers to make sure that my face and neck would not wrinkle and yet, it has. All those cosmetic promises could hold back time but not erase it forever. I love that I am aging, because when you consider the alternative, frankly it is a little bleak. I never saw myself as a woman that would want plastic surgery or "a little bit of tucking" here and there; but times are changing. I don't think I will ever take any steps to "tight things up" but I have to admit, that I often find myself daydreaming about the skin in my youth and my "old neck" rather than the one I have now.

Yes. we are always the same age on the, if I could just convince the outside to believe the same way, then everything would be just grand.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Today I am going to ask for comments, impressions and shared thoughts; I am posting a quote and I would love to have feedback on what this quote means to you:

"What is life's heaviest burden? asked the child. "To have nothing to carry." answered the old man."  ~ anonymous

What are your feelings when you read this? Your impression? Your thoughts? Please share with me and anyone else that stops by...

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Posting a daily blog is going to be challenging; it is day 2 and I am already scrambling at the end of the evening to gather a post idea together. To say that my day began in the car at 7:40am and ended at 8:20pm is the truth. There is work, my volunteer responsibilities, boy scouts, children's sports, church youth group and then, finally, home at 8:20 to do homework. I do not have a fancy smart phone, so writing a blog post on the go isn't an option...YET. Which brings me to my thought for the day. My writing has to hold equal importance in my daily life, just like all the other responsibilities I am accountable for each day. That is why I have chosen a quote from Charles Buxton for today's post.:

"You will never "find" time for anything. If you want time you must make it."

This seems especially true, not only for myself but for all the other mothers and fathers that I know that try to "fit" writing into their daily schedule. As passionate as we feel about writing, there are so many other things that demand our attention. This month, join me as I make the commitment to find ... no, MAKE time to blog each day. This is the first step to insuring that writing becomes a daily commitment, just like exercise...okay. Perhaps that was a bad example, since I am still trying to figure out how to fit a daily run into my morning.

 No time like the present to "make" positive things happen in my daily life. See you at the keyboard, as I intend to make my writing a daily task ~