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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Financial Responsibility

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Almost a year ago, Rylin stunned me when she started making her bed. I always try to foster independence with the kids, but sometimes I really underestimate them, and this was a perfect example.  After I praised her profusely and bragged about her newfound skill, Rylin became diligent about this new self-assigned chore.  Every. Single. Day.  On occasion, the other kids would follow suit and try their hand at bed making.  With this, I learned the kids could really be helpful with chores, I started asking them to do other things.

All four kids now proudly help me sort, fold, and put away their laundry.  This has been life changing, ya’ll!  Laundry for a family of six can easily consume lots of time, but with my laundry secret and the kids’ help it’s pretty simple now. Rylin asked if she could vacuum the kitchen after dinner then took it upon herself to banish crumbs, dust, and dander throughout the house.  Forget the Roomba, I have quadruplets!  Okay, maybe I might still covet a Roomba, but having the kids help is really a life saver.

 

I eventually decided it was time for the kids to earn an allowance for successful chore completion, particularly for those which are self-initiated or go above and beyond basic room maintenance.  For Christmas, each of the kids received a Coin-Counting Money Jar.  I chose these particular jars because they track the money, coins are visible, and they are easy to open.  We personalized them and put them on a shelf they can access in the playroom.  They’ve been very respectful of each other’s jars and only access them to add coins or check to see what they’ve earned.  They also do really well about telling their friends the coin jars are not toys or to be touched.

“Though small was your allowance
You saved a little store
And those who save a little
Shall get a plenty more.”
– William Makepeace Thackeray

Over time, they really enjoyed watching the coins accumulate.  When they finally had enough cash to make small purchases, we took a trip to Walmart.  Each child was given a budget based upon their savings, and was encouraged to buy something they truly loved, while leaving a little money for later.  They did surprisingly well with this task and made sensible purchases given the parameters.  Because they purchased these particular toys with their own money, they treat them with a little more respect than other toys they own.  When we later read Betty Bunny Wants Everything, they understood the importance of making decisions when shopping.

All four kids are eagerly completing chores in an effort to earn and save money for the next shopping excursion.

hugs!

Amber


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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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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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The Circus

Shortly after the quads were born, we sent letters to companies who have multiple birth programs.  Within a few months, we received a handful of coupons and product samples.  With our multiple birth offers, we also heard about the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Baby’s First Circus program.  Since Ringling believes that all children should experience the joy of the circus, every child under 12 months old and living in the United States is entitled to receive his or her first ticket for FREE.  After receiving our vouchers, I cached them away to use when the kids could appreciate them.  This summer proved opportune for the kids first circus.  Shortly after celebrating the quads fourth birthday carnival style, Ringling’s Circus Extreme was in our area.

Despite seeing books and pictures about the circus, they really had no idea what to expect.  After arriving at the venue, we saw the animal encounter exhibit where you can see all of the animals that will appear in the show (a lot like the zoo).  Then, we headed to the area for the pre-show where we could see the performers and some of the props.  None of the kids wanted to be too close to a clown, but Sydney tried on a cape from wardrobe.

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As soon as we settled into our seats, the kids started complaining of hunger so I set off to grab the best concession for the price: popcorn and water.  Harper made sure we got our money’s worth and didn’t miss a single kernel.

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Once the show began, it was a tad dark and loud for the kids so I passed out ear plugs and glow sticks, which eased anxiety tremendously.  In hindsight, I wish I’d brought flashier glow items too…the kids begged for the many light up souvenir items, but the price tags were ridiculous.  The would’ve loved our dollar store wands just as much.  Next time..

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We were all thoroughly impressed and entertained by the eclectic performance which included everything from the traditional circus clowns to magical mermaids, trampoline gymnasts, and poodles.


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What’s your favorite circus act?  I was a bit partial to the poodles.

 

Hugs!

 

Amber


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Step Right Up {Carnival Party}

As the quad’s fourth birthday approached, I decided it was prudent to host at a party venue rather than at home.  Last year we rented a playscape and it was fabulous not having to clean the house before or after having a slew of preschoolers at the party.  I was ecstatic to find a similar venue that included fresh popcorn and cotton candy with their party package.   Since we’d be serving carnival fare, I decided to run with that theme.  Once again, I commissioned my friend, Amber , to design custom invitations that I had printed at Costco.

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The week of the party, I had the kids create carnival themed crafts to hang as banners.  As center pieces, I used Dollar Tree Mylar balloons arranged in popcorn containers.  Since our party overlapped with the dinner hour, we served hot dogs from a crock pot along with fresh fruit.  It was a super easy way to feed a crowd and keep with the theme.   Since George is a cupcake connoisseur, we never order bakery cakes.  This year, we used a rainbow cupcake recipe from Just a Taste and it was ahhhh-mazing!  Whether or not we actually make rainbow cupcakes again (the rainbow part was slightly tedious), it will be our go-to recipe for from scratch cupcakes and frosting.  The cake was dense and sweet, but not overly so and the frosting complimented it perfectly.  For this particular party, the rainbow color in the cake was a fun touch.

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To cook hotdogs in a slow cooker, spray your slow cooker with cooking spray then fill it with hot dogs (mine held about 50).  Cook on low for 4 hours.

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For party favors, I filled cello bags with animal crackers and fruit snacks then embellished them with a printable gift tag from We Heart Parties.

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Before our guests arrived, we snapped a family photo, and I was glad we did since there was never another opportunity.  The kids filled their time bouncing in the bounce houses, playing in the kid town, exploring the train, and playing games as the adults mingled.

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It probably  feels redundant for guests, but to make each of the kids feel special, we sing happy birthday to them individually, in birth order.  It doesn’t take a lot of time, but I know it means the world to them.

I’m quickly noticing the challenges of this new season with four year olds, but am appreciating the end of the threenagers reign.

hugs!

 

Amber

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