Bakery, Barbells and Bargains I own a bakery, and I like to lift weights and shop

November 16, 2017

Unexpected Education

Filed under: Mommy Life,Vacations — shuss @ 10:29 am

When we planned to visit California, we planned it for the fall season to avoid peak crowds and to see the fall colors. This did mean taking our first grader out of school for the week, so I started with a call to the school social worker to let her know about our plans. She told me to write a letter to the principal with details of what we were doing each day and she could excuse days depending on the educational experiences.

While writing my letter, I was pretty confidant that the days in the national parks were education but I thought Disneyland and Hollywood would be hard to justify. During the trip, I found some learning opportunities I had never thought of that reminded me that all travel is educational. Here is what I learned.

Flying! Airports and airplanes have a lot of rules and little ones are full of questions. Learning opportunities here included time management, reading directional signs, listening to the flight crew and going through security. We had two bags that required searching, due to me forgetting to put my sunscreen in the checked luggage and we had a bottle of water. We explained this part as best as possible without scaring our child with stories of terrorist, she’s a bit young for that. On one of the plane rides, Sammie was thrilled to get to assist the airline attendant in giving the safety talk and she got a free drink out of it. You’re never too young to learn how to get some airline perks. 😉

At Disneyland we had some other opportunities come up that I had not thought of. The first was time management. Sammie had previously looked at the rides online and knew which ones she wanted to ride the most. We would be near one ride, and she would be excited to go ride another instead….way across the park. We talked to her about making the best use of our time by riding things in order as we arrived to them.  This was also a good lesson in patience and self control.

Another thing Sammie was curious about were the signs instructing you how to properly sit in the rides, with a simple illustration of one person sitting correctly and another falling out of the seat. We explained how you have to sit down to stay safe and best enjoy the ride, and we also told her how the person falling out of the ride was making very poor decisions and how you do not want to be that person.  We actually discussed good decision making a lot on this trip….staying on marked trails, not approaching wildlife, staying with mommy and daddy and following directions.

Disneyland is also a great place to talk about budgeting because there are many things kids (and adults too) want to purchase. I did not do the best job at this because I did splurge and let her get a few more souvenirs than promised, but we did agree to forgo a cotton candy treat to get a stuffed bear.  The bear was a few more dollars but at least the bear wouldn’t cause more cavities.  So we did not do the best job at this, but it can be a good learning opportunity if you want it to be. But if not, no big deal, its not every day you visit Disneyland.  Just remember to remind your kids that Disney is a special place and that is why they get treats.

The final thing I noticed was reading. Sammie read all over the place at Disney. Signs describing rides, signs with rules, menus, maps, and even the signs telling you where you could read a copy of a ride’s inspection report at town hall.  Out and about in Hollywood she read store signs, street signs and more.  She read everything she saw and asked questions about all of it.

The final day of our trip spent in Hollywood was a bit harder to find learning opportunities so I had to dig deep on this one. The first thing that comes to mind is just seeing another area of the country and a different lifestyle. We live in a small mountain town and our nearby city is still small for city standards.  Driving through LA, GPS took us through all sorts of different neighborhoods and I found it great to see what other residential areas look like. On Hollywood Blvd, there were many people “hustling” to make a living by dressing as Batman, Wonder Woman, Mickey Mouse, ect. This is not something she has ever seen before and does not see on a regular basis. On a sad note, she saw homeless people sleeping on the streets for the first time and asked about them later.  She has seen people with homeless signs during the day before, but not the actual reality of someone having to sleep on a sidewalk bench.  It was an opportunity to explain how our world has lots of need and ways we can help.

So these were just a few little unexpected learning opportunities.  I am thinking we could make Hawaii or Italy an educational trip next 😉

November 7, 2017

A 2017 Guide to Birthday Parties

Filed under: Just for Fun,Mommy Life — shuss @ 4:51 pm

Your daughter’s birthday is in 6 months and she will be anywhere between 1 – 18 years old, this is a huge deal people!  Start asking them what kind of party she would like to have.  Silently cringe inside as she suggest tacky themes and gently work to change their mind to the classy ballerina theme you saw on Pinterest.  Start a Pinterest board to organize your ideas  Next, pick a party date that accommodates the schedules of all grandparents, aunts, uncles and your childless friends from college.  You do not want anyone to miss this event. Go to a photo site and design a custom photo invitation.  Agonize over which photos to pick and wording.  You want this to look good but you do not want to look like you are trying too hard, spend $35 on invites.  This reminds you, you need to research photographers and book a yearly photo shoot.  If your child is turning one, it is an absolute requirement that you book a cake smash session…..oh, better find a baker…..

Research cakes on Pinterest and send your favorite photos to bakers to get prices.  Your favorite cake photo is a four tier cake made from four different flavors of cake and filled with organic white chocolate gnache with real vanilla beans and the tears of teddy bears.  The tiers are completely coated in gold and pink edible glitter and the bottom tier needs to be wearing an edible tutu made from spun sugar.  The top tier has a sparkly edible tiara and a monogram on the side.  You need for this cake to feed 16 people. Have a slight heart attack when the bakery sends you a quote of $5,000.   Reduce the cake to 2 layers and add 2 dozen half gluten free, half vegan cupcakes to the order.  Spend $800

Order child a custom tutu and shirt, this is important.  The shirt will need to have an applique to match the party theme, their age and a monogram.  Do not forget to order a hair bow like McKinsLee-Kate’s mom did last week, that poor child’s hair was a mess for her entire party.

In the months leading up to the party, scroll through your 10,000 birthday pins on your Pinterest “party decorations” board and pick your favorites.  Spend the next weeks going to craft stores and making rustic-chic ballet decorations.  You will need a photo booth background with props, tulle for tutu table cloths, a gold cake stand, glass cookie jars, gold table sparkles, glass drink dispensers, supplies for a custom pin the tail on the donkey game, and lots of pink tissue paper for paper flowers.  Head over to Target for paper goods and candles; stay in the store for 3 hours.  While there pick up yourself a sassy t-shirt, yoga pants, a t-shirt dress, eyeliner, shampoo, laundry detergent, photo frames, new toothbrushes and a new rug.  Swipe your RedCard quickly and don’t look at the total, grab a coconut milk cold brew from Starbucks on the way out.  Drive back 30 mins later to get forgotten candles.

The week of the party head to Whole Foods and pick food to accommodate all guests’ favorites and dietary restrictions.  Present the food as themed as possible.  Read labels to make sure the meatballs are sourced from local grass-fed beef and only get organic cheese cubes. After gum was found stuck to your couch last year, decide against the candy buffet this year.  Instead, you will offer a cookie buffet complete with ballet shoe shaped cookies, email bakery to add cookies to your cake order.  On the way out of the store, pick up a yogurt protein smoothie to drink on the way home and some riced cauliflower for dinner.  Spend $190 at the grocery store and add $250 to your cake bill for custom cookies.

Day Before the Party.  Clean your house from top to bottom and make sure everyone will be able to notice the new ship lap and farmhouse decor in your living room.  Hang decorations and set up perfectly decorated tables for gifts, food and drinks.  Try to decide if you want to put a pink table cloth over your new rustic farmhouse table or leave it exposed to be admired by the other moms.  Fill white paper treat bags with sensible small wooden toys made by Amish grandmothers, seal bags with custom monogrammed stickers.  Arrange food platters to perfection and store in the fridge.

The day of the party, set-up cookie buffet with a dispenser of organic milk and pink to-go boxes.  You do not need these kids eating all that sugar in your house, they can take those cookies home.   Set out food with cute labels and line the driveway and sidewalk with balloons.  Place the photo booth in the foyer so guest can take photos as they come in.  Take photos of all your work and post to Instagram.

Children will arrive along with their parents who will stay.  You are so not comfortable watching all these kids yourself, especially after Ainsley-Jude had an allergic reaction to rice cakes at a party last year.  The parents want to stay anyways, you can never be too careful with who you drop your children off with, EVER.  Take tons of photos and selfies with your fellow mom friends to post to Instagram later.  Turn on some kid friendly tunes that adults can tolerate and announce the party is starting.

It is time to eat, kids want everything on their plate except the veggies and take about three bites total. Half the parents partake in the finger foods while the other half sip on the vegan organic paleo protein shakes they brought from home.  Finally, the kids retreat to watch the birthday girl open presents then head back to the kitchen for birthday cake.  Exactly one child will eat all of their cake and the rest will just eat the frosting before returning to play.  Two adults will have a slice of cake and the rest will ask for just a “tiny slice.”  While kids play, chat with other moms about Zumba and how much you all adore Joanna Gaines.  Once everyone leaves, you have 2 large tiers of cake leftover and enough food to feed the Duggars.  Clean the kitchen with organic cleaner for granite and start thinking of new ideas for next year’s party.

Realize you forgot to hand out the treat bags.



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