DIY Tips for Planning Parties for Multiples

It is hard to believe, but I am in the beginning stages of planning a FIFTH birthday for my babies.  It seems that I was just planning their first birthday, and here were are on #5. Guest author, Wendy Dessler, shared a few ideas for planning the big bash this year.


Each of our children is special and their birthday is a particularly important day. When you are the parent of multiple kids born on the same day, giving each of them their special experience can be a challenge. It’s unrealistic to host multiple parties and expect guests to attend each one.  But you can have a shared party for your multiples and still make each child feel special. It just takes a little planning and creativity.

 More bang for your buck

If your children were born on different days of the year, you would be hosting different parties, complete with unique sets of decorations, cakes, gifts, and of course the expenses are multiplied. As the parent of multiples, you can combine the funds and have one big celebration. For the same money you would have spent, you can have pony rides, rent a bouncer for the entire day, have costumed superheroes attend or have a talent show.

Instead of multiple cakes, have a candy buffet

Candy buffets are very popular right now, and as the parent of multiples, you can easily make that work to your advantage. Set up an 8’ table, or two 6’ tables. Zone the tables so that each child has his or her own section. Your table covering for each child should be a different color, using craft paint to write their name on the front of the cover in their zone is a nice touch. Each zone will have a theme based on the likes and style of each child. For example, one zone may be a Barbie theme, another section may be a baseball theme, the third may be all about bugs, and the fourth may be teddy bears. Allow each child to choose their theme. Buy your candy in bulk and have it sent directly to you. Each zone should feature two main colors. Create matching backdrops and you have a really great quad-candy buffet. If you need more information on how to set up a candy buffet, please click here.

 Set up the venue in four zones as well, allowing each child his special table.

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Shared Birthday = shared gifts?

It happens. People buy one gift for multiple children to share. Multiples are not unlike any other child. They want their own gift and sharing with siblings is a tough request. So how do you get around the shared gifter?

 Request a no gift party. Explain to the children that the party is a great celebration, and it may be difficult for some of our friends to afford multiple gifts. Here are some favored variations:

 Note on the invitation that no gifts are expected, but if they feel inclined to bring a gift, please bring one gift for the children to share. Then divide the gifts among the children, allowing each to open a few.

  • Limit the gifting to one gift per child per family.
  • If the children are inviting their own friends, you could note, “You are invited to Bobby’s 6th birthday party. You are not expected to bring a gift for child A, B, or C.

While some people feel uncomfortable, my favorite idea is to have a 5 & 5 party. You explain to the guests that you request $10.00 for the gift. $5.00 will be donated to the charity of the child’s choice and the other $5.00 is collected for the gift. The children can buy one item or the money can be divided equally between them.

 There is no right way or wrong way to host a party for multiples. So use your imagination and have some fun!


About Wendy 
Wendy is a super-connector with Outreachmama who helps businesses find their audience online through outreach, partnerships, and networking. She frequently writes about the latest advancements in digital marketing and focuses her efforts on developing customized blogger outreach plans depending on the industry and competition.


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Class Full

Having high order multiples, or even just a large family, poses certain challenges. One of those challenges is with extracurricular activities, especially for toddlers and preschoolers- think budgeting, class times, transportation, supplies, ect.  When the kids were babies, and then toddlers, swimming lessons were out of the question. It would’ve been impossible to attend “Mommy and Me” classes with one Mommy and four babies. By age three, the kids were eligible for group swimming lessons, but it seemed daunting, and I didn’t believe they’d generalize skills from one year to the next.

Now that the kids are nearly five years old, and headed to kindergarten in the fall, I decided it was time. I began researching local swim schools. I poured over pricing, class times, student teacher ratio, and location. Once I determined the swim school, I had to contend with the enrollment process. With swimming lessons, the maximum class size is typically four students, meaning our kids would comprise an ENTIRE class. On one hand, this was great news because our family basically got a private class, but it also meant securing such a class. I contacted the owner of our chosen swim school about our crew.  He was able to create a class for us, but we had two wait two months for it to open, and it was in the evening.  We didn’t mind the wait since there was a small multiple student discount, and our kids could be in one class.

In order to hype the kids up about their upcoming lessons, we went shopping for supplies, which included swim suits, swim caps, and goggles. The swim suits were an easy sell, but swim caps and goggles were a bit more challenging. Thankfully, we found adorable kitten and shark swim caps and goggles in the kids’ favorite colors.

When the big day arrived for the first lesson, the kids were stoked and got dressed nearly two hours early.  Before class, they watched other kids taking lessons and eagerly awaited their turn.

At the start of class, the instructors called each of our kids by name. Much to my surprise, they immediately reported for class and hopped right in the water. Despite a history of fearing water and screaming over being splashed, they quickly warmed up to the class and instructors.

Because the class is in the evening, we discovered it was best to shower the kids at the gym and dress them in pajamas. Then, they have a snack on the way home. This allows them to brush teeth and get to bed on time, which is a huge win!


Hugs!

Amber


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Let’s Play Ball!

Last spring the boys played tee ball for the first time with i9 Sports.  Overall it was a good experience, but I didn’t know if they’d want to play again and I wasn’t going to force it.  After all, their first attempt was primarily for exposure to team sports.  Sometime in the fall, both boys started asking when they could play again.   Technically there is a fall tee ball season, but in Texas it’s about 200 degrees outside until November and that’s too HOT.  I promised them spring tee ball.

Much to the boys’ delight, the spring tee ball season started a couple of weeks ago.  Expecting more dandelion picking and snack munching, I was floored by the boys’ growth.  So far, they’ve stayed with the team, followed the coach’s directions, and paid attention to the entire game.  Folks, these guys are actually playing baseball!!!

Don’t get me wrong, they still need plenty of parental support, but they are far more independent than the toddlers who tried tee ball last year.  They have cleats this year, which they believe help them “run fast!!!”.

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Mason won the medal for “Positive Attitude” last week.  After striking out numerous times he continued to persevere until he made contact with the ball and ran the bases independently.  This mama could not have been more proud of him.   Each week, I notice more progress and it makes my heart beam.

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There may be people that have more talent than you,

but there is no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.

-Derek Jeter

 

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Hugs!

 

Amber

 

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Road Tripping: Springfield, MO

When the quads were infants, George’s cousin and his wife came to visit from Missouri.  Unfortunately, we hadn’t seen them in person since.  Life with quads was busy, and they too found themselves busy with life.   A seven hour road trip with four babies never sounded like a good idea.

After our first successful road trip last summer, we decided to take the quads on a spring break road trip- to Missouri.  They were ecstatic!  For weeks they asked when we were going to Missouri, and what states they’d see en route (primarily Oklahoma, and a step into Kansas).  On our way through Oklahoma we decided to skip familiar fast food chains for lunch in favor of something local.  Siri didn’t steer us wrong when she suggested The Chicken Shack off Route 66 in Luther, Oklahoma.  Everything was made to order and delicious.  The kids thought it was fun driving along Route 66 like Lightening McQueen too.

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The kids traveled really well, but were thrilled when we reached our destination and they got to meet their cousins.

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Being the “Show Me State”, Missouri boasts numerous scenic, natural activities.  We planned on exploring the great outdoors and taking the kids on a hike through the Ozarks (their first time in the mountains).  The weather ended up being less than ideal for anything outdoors, especially for Texans who didn’t pack adequate winter attire.  The temperature was below freezing and it snowed enough to keep us inside, but not enough for snow play.   Besides enjoying the company of our cousins, we found plenty to do in Springfield.

The World’s Largest Fork

Okay, we didn’t get out of the car for this one because it was freezing and snowing, but the kids got a kick out of seeing the World’s Largest Fork.  It’s an impressive 35 feet tall and 11 tons!

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Bass Pro Shops

Admittedly, I was not excited about visiting the Bass Pro shops since we have them in Texas, and I’ve been.  I learned, however, that Springfield is home to the original Bass Pro Shop and is known as the “Granddaddy” of them.  It is notably larger than the others and includes numerous family-friendly wildlife attractions, shows, museums, and other activities.  Even if you’ve seen a Bass Pro Shop elsewhere, it’s worth stopping by the Springfield store.  Best of all- it’s FREE!


Discovery Center

The Discovery Center was the highlight of Missouri for the kids.  We were able to use our museum passes from home for free admission with to the ASTC travel passport program.  At the Discovery Center, the kids enjoyed exploring numerous hands-on activities and learning about the five senses with larger than life displays.

 

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Lambert’s Café 

Lambert’s isn’t just a restaurant, it’s an experience.  Due to it’s popularity, the wait time for a table is usually at least an hour, but it’s worthwhile!  Lambert’s serves up southern comfort food with family style sides.  They are best known for their scrumptious warm rolls, which aren’t handed to you.  They are thrown!  That’s right, if you want a roll with your dinner, you’ll have to catch it, or hope someone will share with you.  Harper attempted catching a roll with his t-ball skills, but discovered it was a tad hot for him.

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Fantastic Caverns 

The Missouri landscape conceals thousands of caverns, many of which are open for tourists.  Given the age of our kids, we decided to visit the Fantastic Caverns, which is America’s only ride through cavern.  We learned about the history of the cavern, conservation, and experienced complete darkness.  Following the tour, we were happy the kids found affordable souvenirs in the gift shop ($2-10 each).

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Hurts Donut Company

Though there are other locations, Hurts Donut Company opened it’s first shop in Springfield, and

there’s always something fun about visiting the original.  We enjoy donuts for breakfast on Saturday mornings, but these are better served as dessert.  At Hurts Donut Company, you’ll find a wide assortment of cake donuts slathered in delectible frosting and sprinkled with everything from familiar candies to cookies.

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We had a great time in Springfield, and look forward to returning when we can enjoy the great outdoors!  If you ever pass through Springfield, or stop for a while, maybe you can visit one of our destinations.

 

hugs!

 

Amber


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Mental Declutter

HELLO!!!

I know…. It’s been months since I last spent time here, and coming back was surprisingly hard.  After Christmas I was feeling “cluttered” by not only physical things, but mentally.  We tackled a few home organization projects, which helped ease my anxiety about stuff.  The mental clutter was far heavier for me, creating feelings of angst and discomfort.

In this season of life, my mind is constantly racing. At any given moment my brain whirs, I might be thinking about

homeschool activities

social commitments

keeping up with household chores

impending deadlines at work

the political climate

home maintenance

our budget

Each of these things is important, but the list is literally endless.  IT’S TOO MUCH!!! I’ve found that my mind needs time to rest, space to be silent. Knowing this, I finally returned to my yoga practice. Prior to having the kids, yoga was part of my life- I came to my mat several times weekly, nurturing my body and mind.  Unfortunately, life got in the way. I allowed barriers to keep me from yoga: my new body, childcare, to-dos, budget, and of course time.

I struggle with practicing yoga independently and need an instructor, but getting to a studio wasn’t in the cards (remember those barriers?!?!?)  I checked out a few DVDs from the library and wasn’t impressed.  Next, I started streaming videos from Amazon Prime and discovered Yoga Merge.  I’ve found a good variety of practice options with Yoga Merge that I chose based on my time and particular needs (e.g. stretching, relaxation, restoration, ect).  During my practice, I finally let go of my to-dos and worries.  After practice, my mind feels clear and I’m energized, ready to tackle what awaits.

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I know this mental clutter is not a struggle for me alone.  I see it on the weary faces of my friends, family, and co-workers.  In this society, we are constantly bombarded by stimuli and pressure to do.  If you don’t already have an outlet for mental clutter, I encourage you to try yoga at a gym, studio, or at home.  If you’ve never practiced yoga, it can feel awkward at first, but don’t give up too quickly.  A good place to start is Beginner Yoga | 10 Yoga Poses Every Beginner Should Know, or you can visit Yoga Merge where you’ll find basic information about yoga and a few free videos to stream. Please don’t let barriers keep you from trying yoga, or finding another outlet for letting go of mental clutter.  You deserve it.

Namaste!

Amber

 

Disclaimer: All thoughts and opinions are my own.  I was not compensated for sharing my experience.  If you choose to make a purchase through Amazon, I will earn a small commission through the Amazon Affiliates program. 


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O’ Christmas Trees

Before our wedding, my cousins hosted an ornament shower in my honor.  I received a gorgeous collection of ornaments reflecting the love of our friends and family.  George and I bought a lovely prelit tree for our apartment and it was bursting with gifted ornaments. The tree was the perfect size for our cozy apartment.  We moved that tree to our first house, and then to our next house. Our perfect little tree somehow seemed dwarfed in a house with a larger den and higher ceilings.  Nonetheless, our tree adorned with ribbon and ornaments and looked pretty.

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Last year the lights finally stopped working so we added strands of lights and pined for a taller prelit tree.  Before decorating this year, we snagged a nine foot slim tree on black Friday. The new tree has a very small footprint in the den so we have plenty of space and it draws the eye all the way up to the ceiling.  This tree is filled primarily with shatterproof ornaments since it’s in our main living area and the kids helped decorate it.  Despite being kid friendly, I think it’s gorgeous!

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Since our original tree was in decent condition, moved it to the front room so there’d be a tree in the window.  We had plenty of heirloom and handmade ornaments to fill this tree and it serves as a Christmas card display.  I really appreciate receiving Christmas cards and each year try to find a new way to display them.  I think this is my favorite so far.  The kids often slip into the study to admire the ornaments and to check out the cards.  They especially like seeing the ornaments with their tiny baby handprints on them and others they painted.

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In addition to our large trees, the kids have miniature trees in their rooms.  The girls chose a sparkling pink tree, while the boys inherited my old silver one with vintage ornaments from my childhood.  All four kids took great pride in filling their own trees and have not bothered them since we finished decorating.  A year ago, the boys’ tree would have been pulverized, but this year they enjoy looking at it and showing it to house guests.  It’s amazing the difference a year makes.

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How many Christmas trees do you have?

 

hugs!

 

Amber


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A Fancy Nancy Banquet

 

 

Before Thanksgiving, we borrowed Fancy Nancy: Our Thanksgiving Banquet from the library.  Fancy Nancy is among our favorite book characters.  She inspires the kids to use sophisticated vocabulary words and to behave with their best etiquette. In this particular book, Nancy has the opportunity to dine with the adults, away from the “kid” table.  Naturally, our kids wanted to do the same.  Just before packing away our fall decor, we decided to have a family dinner in our formal dining room with ceramic plates instead of our usual plastic fare.  The kids relished every second of it, and we were pleasantly surprised with their outstanding table manners.

When I set the table for Thanksgiving, I realized the table stayed pretty all season and didn’t collect junk.  I wanted to do the same with Christmas décor, so I set out to create an elegant Christmas tablescape.  George and I have twelve place settings of fine china, flatware, and crystal.  Over the course of our marriage, we’ve used it on special occasions such as anniversaries and holiday meals.  In twelve years we’ve probably used them no more than once a year.  Why?  Mostly because I don’t like hand washing dishes and our china isn’t dishwasher safe.  That’s ridiculous.  I decided that not only was our dining room table going to be set using our fine china, but we were also going to use it!

I gave the chandelier my usual dressing, garland adorned with my Old World Christmas Wedding Ornaments.  They are among my favorite ornaments, but are also quite delicate and are best away from little hands.  I then created a table runner with lime deco mesh, which I brightened with hurricane glass filled with candles and silver ornaments.  I thought our silver plated nativity was the perfect finishing touch and compliment to our china.

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We’ve already used the formal dining room twice this month and hand washing the dishes wasn’t such a hassle either time.  First, we celebrated my mom’s birthday with my parents, sister, and brother in law.  There was room for all ten of us at the table, and even the quads were allowed to use the china.   Then, my college room mates joined us for brunch.  On each occasion, our guests presumed the beautiful table was for show, and felt honored when they discovered it was for them.  If a milestone birthday and nearly two decades of friendship aren’t worthy of china dining, I don’t know what is.

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I’m not sure whether we’ll have more guests over before Christmas or not, but our table is gorgeous and awaiting another meal.  Even if we don’t have guests over, our family will enjoy it at least once more before I come up with a winter tablescape.

Do you have a formal dining area or fine china?  Do you use it?

hugs!

Amber


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In Celebration of Fall

I really love fall with it’s crisp weather, lingering pumpkin spice scent, and rich traditions.  This year Texas weather has been insanely warm hot so it’s been a little harder for me to get in the fall spirit.  Seriously, my kids were wearing shorts last week and the air conditioner has been running.  Nonetheless, I filled our home with warm fall décor in hopes fall would one day appear.  We aren’t hosting Thanksgiving this year, but I decided to set our new dining table anyways.  It was begging for a little splash of fall.  Since having the table fully decorated, I realized it stays looking pretty and never collects random items like usual.  From here on out, I think I’ll have to keep seasonal tablescapes out.

On the table, I pulled together an assortment of glass hurricanes and filled them with items I had including cranberries, wine corks, and coffee beans (the aroma is fabulous).  Deco mesh and heirloom monogrammed chargers completed my table scape.  To fully enjoy our fall table, we may have a family dinner there this week.  I’m certain the kids would enjoy a “fancy” meal. img_3457

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I kept the entry way simple with a collection of antique books, a fresh pumpkin, a framed fall printable (a gift from my friend, Amber), and a pumpkin spice candle.  Did I mention I adore pumpkin spice?!?!  Even with summer like heat, the scent feels like fall.

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This was the first year the kids each chose their own Halloween costume and weren’t part of a theme.  Long before Halloween arrived, they determined exactly what they would wear and proudly stood out as individuals- Rainbow Dash, a pirate, Rapunzel, and Spider-Man.  George and I pulled together coordinated costumes, however.   Complete with bowl cut wig and fitted red pants, George dressed as Howard Wolowitz while I was his wife, Bernadette from the Big Bang Theory.

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Though the kids celebrated their fourth birthday this summer, we still hadn’t taken four year photos.  We decided it was better late than never so we staged a fall DIY photo shoot.  One of the kiddos (I won’t name names…) may not have cooperated with my Pinterest-y clothing scheme, but we managed to get some great shots and had fun taking them.

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The individual photos capture each child’s personality perfectly…

 

Happy fall, ya’ll!

 

hugs,

 

Amber



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Making this Year’s Halloween Party a Standout   

 

Halloween is such a festive holiday and, if you’ve decided this is your year to take the party to your house, a few tips will help make it a ghoulishly good time. Sure, you can phone it in with some chips, a case of beer, and a few decorations, but you don’t want to throw just any party for your fellow ghosts and goblins. And that doesn’t mean you have to grow your own money tree either, as a successful soiree doesn’t have to break the bank. Read on for tips on making this year’s Halloween party a standout.

Go Big on Your Costume

If you’re hosting the party, you cannot—and I repeat, cannot—opt out on the costume. You also don’t want to do something lame (hello, ghosts made with sheets). You and your fellow host/hostess should go for hilarious Halloween costumes or, at the very least, something quite creative. Of course, there are costume stores on nearly every corner during the season but, if you’re more of a DIY type, simply check out Pinterest for plenty of inspiration. Impress people with your pop culture wit by going as Eleven and her waffle from the smash hit Netflix show, Stranger Things, or go with an impressive couple’s costume. Either way, you’ll get major props for going beyond last year’s “Salt & Pepper” costume.

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Haunt Your Halls in Style

There is no other holiday that calls for decorations at a party more than Halloween. It really makes the ambience that much more fun when guests enter a house filled with spooky spiders, malevolent monsters, and other gory goodness. Once again, when it comes to Halloween decorations, Pinterest will be your best friend. From the Wicked Witch’s legs coming out of your potted plants to spider light-up mason jars, it has everything you’ll need to make your event something spectacularly spooky. If you want to go all out, convert your entire pad into a haunted house. For added ambience, have a scary movie playing in the background. Of course, this is only if your guests are adults, as you don’t want to scare your wee witches and warlocks for life.

Serve Terrifying Yet Tasty Treats

When it comes to Halloween food, the grosser the better. And, wait; have I mentioned that Pinterest is your friend? Seriously—all you need to do is simply enter “Halloween food” in their search bar and your brain might explode from the plethora of ideas. For appetizers, try Frankenstein chips ‘n’ guacamole (Frankenguac!), and crescent mummy dogs (kids love these!). If you’re serving a main dish or dishes for your guests, consider slow cooker pumpkin soup, or the dead man meatloaf. For dessert, the possibilities could follow you into the afterlife. From severed ladyfinger cookies to dirt pudding pumpkin patch and pumpkin rice krispie treats, devilishly delicious desserts are the perfect way to cap off your freakishly fun fiesta.

When it comes to a Halloween party, you can’t forget the BOO-zy concoctions. Of course, beer and wine will please the pickiest of palates but remember, you want this party to stand out. Go with the theme and serve things like a caramel apple or vampire kiss martini. Talk about leaving an impression on your guests!

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Play Hauntingly Good Music

No party worth its salt goes off without music. You could hire a DJ so you don’t have to worry about a thing, or simply hook up your iPod to some Bluetooth speakers. Either way, guests will love doing the Monster Mash love into the evening. As we all know, it’s a dead man’s party. Check out the Bluetooth audio options from JBL to ensure your playlist bumps all night long.

Want your party to be special and spooky? Follow the tips mentioned for a ghost of a good time.

 

hugs,

 

Amber

[Post sponsored by Purple Camel Media]


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