Yaya's Cafe

The Mix of Stuff Blog

City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri July 14, 2013

Filed under: Family,Holiday,Opinion,Review,Updates — Yaya @ 10:21 AM
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City Museum was great. We went a few days ago and had a blast. There is so much to do and plenty to see. The fun ranges from slides to caves to a Ferris wheel on the roof. Here are some of the photos we took during our mini staycation.

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The Party! August 16, 2012

Filed under: Birthday,Cake,Candy,Drinks,Food,Music,Party,Updates — Yaya @ 8:07 AM
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Hello All!
The party itself was fun. We had food, music, Kinect and good friends. It was a very goofy party with plenty going on.

Decorations:
We used blue, red, green and yellow streamers. We also had a triangle flag banner with the same colors and balloons. The food, especially the cupcakes were an added perk that made decorating simpler. As far as the tables througout the party, I covered them with white linen tablecloths. I definetely kept it simple. I guess, you can think of it as a throwback.

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I know it is hard to see in this picture but all the hallways were decorated with these “drum stripe” patterns. The ceiling had a mix of single color and dual color streamers zig-zagging back and forth. There were also a lot of twisted streamers accenting different areas.

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They look kind of like this. Sorry about the pictures. I was exhausted after a long day of baking and getting things started (like maranating the chicken and pork for the party). This area had better lighting during the party but not so much for the decorating part the night before. Hence, the photos are a tad dark.

Anyway, the balloons were blown up the day of using some good old lung power. The linens were placed on the tables just before guests arrived along with the cupcakes and other snacks.

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Activities:
Everyone had plenty to do during the party. For the kids we had pin the tail (a classic), Frog Hunt (a game I put together myself), chalk drawing on the driveway, bubble blowing in the yard and fishing for prizes.

NOTE:For the fishing game we used a water table my son received as an early birthday gift and filled it with fake fish they could catch with mini fishing poles. Anyone who caught a fish got a big prize like card games and slinkies. Everyone got cookies for participating.

Pin the tail on the donkey is self explanatory and requires no work to put together. All you need to do is tape it where you want it and voila.

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For Frog Hunt you need a sandbox, a pail and shovel and some toy frogs. I used some simple plastic jumping frogs. They are the kind you push down with one finger to make them jump.

The game is called Frog Hunt because you don’t tell the kids where you hid the frogs right away. What you do tell them is that they have have to go around to each activity and ask about the frogs. They need to ask if you have seen them or if your activity involves frogs. Seems a little hard but it helps get kids to talk and interact. The person helping with each activity replies that completing the activities will get you a clue.

What I told each person was that they needed to spell S-A-N-D by giving each group a clue. I also told them the kids had to go through the activities as a group the first time around to get the clues in order. Placing them in groups helped tremendously. That way each group gets the clue at the same time and no one gets “lost.”

By the end of the four activities they will know that they need to find sand. We don’t have a sandbox in our yard so I got a small plastic kids pool and filled it with sand. Then I buried the frogs. When it was time to look for the sandbox and frogs, I gave each one a plastic pail and shovel. Then I let them loose in my backyard. They dug up some frogs and other treasures.

NOTE: To keep the location of the frogs secret we held all the activities in the front yard and indoors the first time. Afterward we shifted everything to the backyard.

Once the kids got tired we had them come in for lunch and dessert. We also turned on the Kinect and let them play while we pulled out the snacks and extra drinks (juice boxes and water bottles). Once all that was done we let them play whatever they liked and handed out more prizes.

Favors:
The favors were S’mores, the pail and shovels, whatever they dug up, the prizes they won and a trip to the candy and toy table.

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Here are some of the things that went to the candy and toy table. As you can see there are some jars of candy and little toys. We also had popcorn. As soon as they got their stuff we sent them inside to sing happy birthday and eat some cupcakes. Afterward they got to check out their swag.

Overall, I think everyone enjoyed themselves. This was the kids part of the party so it definitely focused ony son and his friends. Later that night we had a more adult oriented party. The kids who were still around with their parents played on the Kinect or watched a movie in my son’s room. Most of the adults ate, drank and danced. It was lots of fun and we got some great pictures with our nice camera.
After reading about all the craziness I hope you are inspired to throw your own Summer party. Enjoy the rest of the Summer!

Thanks for reading!

 

Trick or Treat? October 25, 2011

Lately, I have been reading all about doing something different for Halloween and the rest of the upcoming holidays. Everyone seems to agree that different is usually better.The thing they didn’t provide was ideas on how to be different and possibly better. The suggestions I read about range from hosting a party on a small tight budget to volunteering. Now, these ideas are all fine and good but not what I expected.

What about healthy treats and fun or inspiring ideas for Halloween?

Lots of healthy treats…  to make at home. Not what I need. What can I give kids when they come to my door on Halloween that won’t break the bank and cause diabetes? I know it sounds harsh. At the same time, I know it is absolutely necessary. This is especially true if you want your child to eat well and enjoy a variety of things. The challenge began a few days ago (with only a few days until Halloween).

First thing I did was come up with a list of Do’s and Don’t’s. Here is my list:

  • Do give out treats and tricks you would glad receive for you or your child.
  • Don’t force people to take them.
  • Do make it fun and exciting by turning a treat into a surprise.
  • Don’t over do it! Time and effort is always good but if you over do it, the whole thing becomes a burden.
  • Do buy any edible and healthy treats.
  • Don’t make your own treats!

*The reason I am adding this is because as a parent I am more likely to let my child eat store bought and sealed candy than I am to let him eat homemade candy. Not that I don’t like homemade treats, I’m just lesslikely to allow my child to just eat them. There is sometimes the awkward moment when the person handing out homemade treats stands at the door waiting for you to pick up an unsealed or packaged treat and eat it. Unless, I have known them for a long time I have a difficult time just eating whatever they offer me.

Trick or treating involves going door to door and getting candy from people in your neighborhood. Sometimes you know most of the people who live around you really well. Other times, you barely know their name. I choose what kinds of things my child can have based on my personal knowledge of where things come from or came from.

The best way to avoid awkward moments is to go to a community “Safe Night” event where only volunteers are allowed to make food and drinks. Usually these will be people everyone in the neighborhood knows.

After you make a list of Do’s and Don’t’s, Come up with a specific list of things that would be fun and acceptable for you to do.

My List Looks something like this:

Fun and Tasty Treats:

  • Granola Bars
  • Low Fat or Sugar Free Candy
  • Single serving packs of light butter popcorn
  • Low sodium and whole grain pretzels

Fun Tricks:

  • Give trick or treaters scary books
  • Small toys
  • Educational Toys
  • Mini Treat Bags (like birthday party favors)
  • Small scrolls with their fortunes and a small piece of candy

These are my ideas for Halloween. For Thanksgiving and Christmas some of these would work as stocking stuffers and fun things to do during get togethers.

The Final Plan:

Hand out granola bars and whole grain pretzels, educational card games, and books. To do this, I am gathering several materials.

Materials:

  1. Granola Bars  and Pretzels (Store Bought)
  2. Small books that I am donating and asking neighbors to donate (twice as nice if they are Halloween stories)
  3. Educational card games like Memory from the Dollar Store (Dollar Tree in my case)
  4. Halloween treat bags or wrapping paper (Opaque colors like black, orange, and purple work best).

To prepare the items decide what you want to do. In other words, what’s your gimmick?

Mine- Ring the doorbell and pick a mystery prize.

Do this I just put a granola bar or a bag of pretzels in each bag.Then I added a small book or an educational card game to each bag. Once this was done, I closed the bags and put them in a large box so that trick or treaters can pick a prize and hopefully have a memorable Halloween. This is also a good idea for a community event or a small Halloween Party.

I’ll add an update after Halloween to let you how it turned out. Good Luck!!

Thanks for Reading!!

Update: I had several Trick or Treaters comment on how fun it was to have a more involved interaction rather than a quick handout and a closed door. I had fun and made it fun for the kids. It was great. Only downside- it requires a little more than opening a bag of candy and pouring it in a bowl. That wasn’t a problem for me. What made it better was that my son decided to help. He made a small mess (he’s only 15 months) but he did it with good intentions and a loving heart!

Thanks again for reading!!