Saturday, December 25, 2010

Feliz Navidad!

Merry Christmas from our family to yours. Have a safe and blessed holiday focusing on what matters most. We'll see you back in 2011 for a year filled with new adventures.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Minor in "Party Styling"

For weeks, I've been talking about my little boy's Super Why! themed birthday party and it is finally upon us. We are thrilled to be celebrating another year of his life with our friends and family.

My Pastor often warns about our human tendency to "major on the minor and minor on the major," so lately I've been reflecting on how that applies to the way we celebrate.

When all is said and done, this party is about giving thanks for the wonderful gift that is my son. Through the mealtime and planned activities we will be sharing sweet fellowship and lots of laughs. - THAT is major.

The fun and pretty details are truly the minor. They are my simple way of using my talents (and having a lot of fun) to show my son that he is worth making a big fuss about.

Here is a sneak peak of what is to come...
This party has turned out to be surprisingly "green." Not only because the color scheme revolves around kelly green, but because most things are being recycled from other parties I've styled this year. Talk about saving money!

I'll have pictures and all the details sometime next week.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

{New Collection} Christmas 2010 Collection

I'm so proud to unveil my Christmas 2010 Collection that I gave it its own page! Go to the Christmas 2010 Collection tab to read the story and see all the beautiful photos by mikifoto.

I'll be blogging the details over the next few days, so be sure to stay tuned. Also, keep an eye out for an upcoming giveaway in Facebook.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, October 22, 2010

{Feature Friday} Community Fun

What an excitement-filled morning!

My little business partners and I delivered The Royal TuTu Set to the Sebastian Ferrero Noche de Gala office. From the excitement in the office, I can tell tomorrow night's event is going to be an unforgettable affair with a phenomenal auction.
After that, I took my munchkins to hang out at The Little Shop, where preparations are underway for the Haile Village Oktoberfest going on this evening from 5-11pm. Face painting, bounce house, games, and lots of treats!!! Bring the family out tonight and look for TiTi's TuTu's for sale all over the shop.
I love being part of the Gainesville Community. There is always something to do and plenty of familiar faces with whom to share the good times. See you around!

Thank you for reading,

Thursday, October 21, 2010

{NEW} Party Printables

One of the things I've always enjoyed doing for myself and for friends, is designing party printables. At the suggestion of my husband, I've decided to share some of my work with you.

I'm not sure yet where I want to go with this so, I welcome your comments!

Here are some invitations I've designed this year. With an invitation my goal is to give give the recipient a sneak peak to the feel of the party.

Sunshine Birthday: For my daughter's first birthday this summer, the theme was Sunshine with the song "My Girl" by the Temptations as the theme song. After removing the label with the lyrics to the first verse of the song, guests uncovered a stash of lemonheads underneath their invitation. The invitation by itself was a party!

Butterfly Birthday: I designed this invitation for a courageous friend whose beautiful daughter miraculously fought for her life against all odds. To her parents, she is a butterfly: delicate, gentle and transformed. I tried to capture their feelings in the verse.
Big Boy Birthday: My son is turning 3 and although I am not a fan of cartoon themed birthdays, he is, and it's his party. His two requests were: Super Why! and cupcakes. Here is what I came up with for my little Super Boy.

I will post more details from this Super Why! Birthday in a couple of days.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, October 15, 2010

Gator Homecoming 2010

Checking in here after an adventure-filled day at the UF Gator Homecoming Parade.
Last night, I whipped up these two tutus for my baby girl and her adorable friend. Today, the two stole the show! Everywhere we went, people stopped watching the parade to check them out in their little Gator TuTus.
The news station even asked if they could video record them for the 6 o'clock news. So if you're from Gainesville and you'll be home for the news, be on the look out for these cuties on TV20!

Happy Homecoming to all Gator students, alumni and fans.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Right Attachment

I took the day off work today to spend time with my two little loves after a week of intense preparation for my Christmas shoot.

We baked muffins together, had a dance party, went out to the park, snuggled up for a nap together, and met daddy after work for some shopping! After dinner, we turned the table into congas as we banged our way through a song where each member sang a line.

Uncontrollable laughter filled the air. Work was far from my thoughts.

If you've been keeping up with me, you've probably already learned that I do nothing better than reflect. So, of course, tonight I spent some time replaying the events of the day.

It took me back to my childhood and something I learned very well from my parents. They taught me to be "desprendida." The dictionary defines it as being unselfish, detached, and open-handed.

My parents did that well. There was nothing they couldn't live without; not their money, not their status, not their possessions.

As they day went on today, I realized that I often allow myself to get too attached to things that lack true worth. In light of eternity, what will determine how successful I am is the type of children I raise.

Today, I choose to hold on to only two things:

1. For my heart to be right with God

2. To be the loving wife and mother my family needs me to be

Won't you make the choice with me too?

"Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." Matthew 6:33 (NLV)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Costume TuTus

I was going to wait until October 1st to share these with you but, I can't help myself. We're close enough. To see the full set of pictures visit my Costume TuTus Photo Album on Facebook.

This enchanting TuTu is one of the pieces from my "Pretty.BIG.Dreams." collection. There is so much you can do with these tutus besides dance and play dress-up! How cute would this creation be as a costume?

"I want to be enchanting"
My inspiration for this TuTu, besides the fabulous color combination being a staple this Fall, is the effect young girls have on their surroundings. Little girls have a magical way of bringing light into any room. Their smiles are contagious and their spirit like a ray of sunshine.
I love that about little girls!
My prayer is that even as women, we never lose that sparkle of joy that distinguishes us.


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Beware of Rotten Milk!

A month ago, we took our first family vacation to Disney World. When we arrived at the hotel, I gathered the kids and headed upstairs while my husband parked the car and brought up the luggage.

I had a horrible migraine, so I went straight to bed and left my husband to man the fort. He took care of dinner, showers, and bedtime on his own.

The next morning, I went to fix breakfast and realized my daughter's milk cup was left in the car overnight. To give my deserving husband a little break, I took the kids down to the car to retrieve the cup.

When I got to the car, my daughter saw me grab her cup and began to ask for it. I told her she couldn't have it because it was dirty and I had to wash it first. But at 12 months old all she saw was a familiar cup, which normally has something yummy in it, within her reach.

Being the milk-lover that she is, she started to pout. Her pout soon became full out wailing when she realized I wasn't budging.

The moment became a lesson for me. I thought, how often do I do this very thing to God? I get angry at Him for withholding things from me. I throw a fit and pout because, from where I stand, it seems as if he is keeping something good from me when in fact He is just trying to protect me.

There is a Higher Power who sees a picture much bigger than what we see. He knows details that we don't know or we cant't understand. As His children, let's learn to trust Him.

Friday, September 24, 2010

{Press} Martha Stewart Dreamers into Doers Feature

So, I just got home from a full day of Playdates and Mommy dates to find an email from the Martha Stewart's Dreamers into Doers site informing me that I have been featured on the site.

#1 As a member:

I can't believe my eyes!!! Thrilled doesn't even begin to describe how I feel. I am so honored and humbled to be mentioned among some of the most talented women in the country.

Here is another photo {because without seeing it for myself I would not have believed it either...}

#2 A featured photo:

#3 On the homepage:

I couldn't get a full screen shot, but you can see my little model with the layered tutu on the left hand column. Whoa!!!!

To think I was coming home excited to talk about the wife of University Florida Football's Head Coach, Shelley Meyer, teaching my daughter about sparkly jewelry at the mall today as the highlight of my day. Ha!

Keep Dreaming y'all!


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fall Specials

****Fall Sale****
Here is the first of the specials for this season:
Free shipping with your order of 2 or more TuTus.
Must be shipped to same address.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Thankful for the Simple Things

"Thank You!"
Those two little words are so sweet to my ears.

My son recently began to thank me for everything I do. I barely finish handing him his cup when the words "thank you, Mommy" come out of his mouth. I have to admit, I become a total sucker after that. It makes me want to give him anything he wants!

There is something about using good manners, being polite, and showing gratitude that makes me eager to give him more.

Of course, I immediately think my relationship with my Father. How often do I say "Thank You" for the simple things in life. It's so important to stop and thank God for our blessings.

This week, let's stir the heart of our Father by making it a point to express gratitude over our blessings.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Pretty.Big.Dreams. - Part 2

Last week I introduced the first two pieces of my new line {Pretty. Big. Dreams.} Today, as we get ready for the start of football season, I'm excited to share another creation:

The Cheerleader
Your little cheerleader is sure to make people cheer in this Poofy TuTu made with over 50 yards of soft tulle and wrapped with satin ribbon. Choose your favorite team's colors to create a look you can be a fan of.
The cheerleader was inspired by little girls who know how to use their words to build up and encourage; girls who inspire others to be their best. In a culture that constantly bombards girls with the message that "it's all about me," as parents and teachers we must teach our girls to look outside of themselves.

The cheerleader is that girl who rejoices over the success of others, even it she's not directly benefited. The cheerleader brightens your day as she speaks words sprinkled with joy and kindness.

Over the past year of starting my business, I've met a few Cheerleaders. I treasure their company and thank God for their presence in my life.

Happy Football season to you! GO TEAM!!!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Pretty. BIG. Dreams. - Part 1

What do little girls dream of?

Welcome to the Year 2010, where little girls aspire to be much more than just pretty; they dream BIG!

The days of being consumed with thoughts of Prince Charming are, thankfully, long gone. I look around me and see a generation of girls who see themselves the way their Creator sees them: talented, strong, and full of purpose.

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD,
"plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
Jeremiah 29:11

I see confident girls obliterating insecurity by knowing their true worth.

These girls in my life, along with their amazing parents, are the inspiration behind my latest line: {Pretty. BIG. Dreams.}
I hope you are just as inspired as you read about each creation.

#1 The Explorer.
This girl is a searcher. She loves to freely experiment within the parameters established for her. Forget boys! The Explorer is too busy having fun to worry about them.

The Explorer is outfitted in a multi-layered tutu to add depth, just like her personality! This creation is made with about 75 yards of soft tulle (your choice of colors), and wrapped in a soft satin ribbon.

#2 The Hero.
This girl has the heart of a servant. She chooses her role models wisely and looks up to people worthy of her admiration. At the top of her list? Firefighters, Police, Military Service personnel, Nurses, Doctors, Teachers, Pastors, Missionaries, and all those who selflessly give up their lives to help others.

The Hero is outfitted in a full monochromatic TuTu. 50+ yards of the same color tulle (your choice) and satin ribbon demonstrate her simplicity and solidity. (Shown with a red bow & white stars add-on)

I've previously shared my past fear of raising children in a society that seems to be on a moral decline. Reflecting on these attributes stirs my hope for little girls everywhere...

Are you hopeful yet?

Wait til you see the others....

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Preparing your Children for School

As a former Kindergarten teacher, school is close to my heart. I pray parents and teachers have an exciting new academic year filled with opportunities.

New uniforms? Check.
New backpack? Check.
New lunchbox? Check.

But, have you spent time preparing your child emotionally for school?

5 Conversations you should have with your children at the beginning of the school year:
1. Instill the love of learning:
"You're already such a smart kid, but in Mrs. Brown's class you're going to get even smarter! You already count to 10, but she's going to teach you how to count to 100. I can't wait to see all you're going to learn this year!"

Make it clear that school is a place to learn and that learning is COOL! Constantly point out things they have learned and things they have yet to learn to give them something to look forward to. Feel free to talk about your own learning experiences with them.

2. Encourage meaningful relationships:
"Today you're going to meet lots of new friends. If you see someone you don't know, smile at them and invite them to play with you." At the end of the day say, "Who did you play with today? Who shared with you today? Were you happy to see Sam today?"

An integral part of school success is how well your child gets along with others. Encourage your child to learn his or her classmates' names quickly. Get a list of those names and learn them yourself.

3. Establish expectations:
"Your teacher is going to love having you in her class because you are such a smart and obedient student. You listen, follow directions the first time, and you always do your best. I can't wait to hear from Ms. West what a great day you had!"

Talk to your children about completing their work and doing their best. Constantly remind your children about the importance of being respectful to all adults. When you get home, encourage them to be responsible with their homework as well. Model how to stay on top of things by being one step ahead yourself.

4. Describe your code of conduct:
"The school has rules to remind you of good behavior but, you already know good behavior because it's what we teach you at home."

A personal code of conduct goes above and beyond school rules and it will vary from home to home, depending on your family's values. School rules, don't encompass every single behavior. In most instances it will be up to your children's personal moral code to decide on how to act. Drive home a sense of self-discipline in your children.

5. Foster a team-work attitude:
"I've made you a healthy breakfast so your brain can be ready to work hard today. Grab your backpack and I'll get your lunchbox."

Make the beginning of school a "WE" event. When children feel like the whole family cares about what they're involved in, they're more likely to work hard and do their best. Display the school calendar in your home and be aware of what is happening at the school. Volunteer as often as you can!

When you prepare your children in advance, you set them up for success. By having these conversations ahead of time, you empower your children to make good decisions.

Every morning, you can have some of these conversations on your way to school in a light and positive way as a reminder to your children of what their roles are. Try not to sound preachy or threatening, but encouraging.

Wishing you a terrific year!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

{Photos} Family Arts Festival

A few pictures from last night's event. A BIG Thank You to all my friends who stopped by and showed me some love. It was truly a memorable night!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Photo Shoot Update

Just got done with the photos shoot today. What fun we had!! Everything went even better than I'd hoped. I had more than enough help, between amazing sitters and friends with hearts to serve, we had all our needs covered.

It was scorching HOT, but the girls were all sweet troopers. Even with big tutus, denim jackets, boots, and all the other accessories, the girls handled themselves like pros.

I enjoyed spending time with my friends and their beautiful baby dolls this afternoon.

Pictures are coming the meantime, here is the logo for my new line for the Fall:

Sunday, August 1, 2010

{Sneak Peak} Pumpkin TuTu

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I've been working on a collection for the Trinity Family Arts Festival on August 11th.

It's my first time taking my work on the road, so I'm pretty psyched about it!

I have 7 TuTus finished and 3 additional ones in the works. A few of you have been asking for sneak peaks and you know with my level of excitement, you need not beg!......

I introduce you to the Fall 2010 Pumpkin TuTu:
Stay tuned for details on the entire line-up of
Pretty. Big. Dreams. by TiTi's TuTu's.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Becoming a Mommy

For my son's birthday last fall, I wrote the following note regarding my transformation fromWife to Mother.

To say that I did not want to have children is an understatement.
I NEVER pictured my life with them. Sitting at a wedding a few weeks before my own, I leaned over during the vows and told Eric, “Don’t you mention anything about kids at our wedding, ‘cause we ain’t having any!” I even researched the surgery procedure, but it was too expensive and impossible to find a Doctor to perform it on a 21-year-old virgin.

When the Pastors showed resistance to marrying us if I was serious, I said that I would eventually have to have children if Eric wanted them, but in my heart, I had no intention of fulfilling that promise.

Why not?

Mostly selfish and partly valid, I had a long list of reasons:

  • I was a Kindergarten teacher and had been involved with children all my life. I believed dealing with children was my calling, not my life. I loved children; I just didn’t want to bring any of them home.

  • Why would anyone in their right mind complicate their lives with children?
  • They take all your money and your freedom.
  • You have to hire a sitter every time you want to do something.
  • They are a life-long responsibility.

  • You have to do everything for them.

  • How could I bring more children into this world when there are so many here already that are not being cared for?

  • What if I bring children to this world and they walk away from faith and values only to lose their souls? I would never forgive myself.
I’ll never forget the drive up to St. Augustine for our 2nd anniversary. Eric briefly brought it up and I told him to try again in three years. “When we’ve been married for five years, we can talk about possibly having children in the next ten years,” I said sarcastically. I intended to keep stalling until it went away. My wise husband just bit his tongue as I berated the idea. Yet, that very weekend, God took over my 5-year plan.

When I found out I was pregnant a few weeks later, my world collapsed. I thought God was playing a sick joke on me. I was angry with God and livid with my husband. Horrible shameful thoughts tormented me every single day. At the same time, I knew I was stuck and I needed to figure out how to make the best out of it.

We refrained from telling people because I felt bad that others were excited for us. “Didn’t they know my life just got ruine
d?” I was a wreck! Our finances were a mess and I did not want to give up my career, which was going pretty good.

Then one morning, I woke up spotting. All of a sudden something within me was awakened and I wanted that baby more than anything in the world. I cried out to God, “I was just kidding! Please don’t take my baby!” Of course, His plan was not to take him.

The next few months were the most life-changing of all. Eric and I worked hard to get our finances in order and to prepare as best we could. I bid farewell to my career and embraced my new ‘normal.’

On November 22, 2007, Joakim was born. The doctor sat me up, had me pull him out and placed him in my arms. What an incredible bond we had! The sweetest, most amazing baby ever. When I saw his face, I was filled with peace. I knew we were going to be ok.

It’s been quite the journey since then. Every day is not perfect; but every day I am equipped to handle whatever comes my way. I love my life as a mommy and can’t imagine it any other way. I realize now that I was afraid and insecure because I did not trust God. Once God called me out of the boat, I had no choice but to trust Him and walk on the water or I would have surely drowned.

Today, nothing makes me more excited than the thought of
my children yet to be born. I get giddy just thinking of the gifts God is preparing to give to the world through me. I look at my family and know without a doubt that being a mommy to many was one of God’s callings for my life.

I am certain of it when I see my Dad snuggled up with little Zia during worship Sunday mornings.
I am certain of it when I hear Joa scream “Daddy’s home!” every afternoon.
I am certain of it when I laugh until I cry during family tickle fights.

So, on his 2nd birthday I’d like to thank my Joakim for making me a Mommy. You truly have been my greatest teacher. You have taught me mo
re about God in these last two years than I knew my entire life. I am so thankful that God interrupted my 5-year plan and surprised me with you.
I love you!
Today, as I celebrate my daughter's first birthday, I am equally grateful for her role in my life. My life is complete in Christ Jesus, but these little gifts he's given me are what causes me to overflow with joy.

I'd love to hear about your transformation into motherhood. Please share!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Party Exploration

I love that as a mom I get to wear so many different hats, which I prefer to call to 'heels.'

We have so many shoes to fill: teacher, nurse, maid, chef, chauffeur, etc...

One of my favorites is the party planner role. We can't escape it! Whether you love to host big, elaborate parties or you just have the family over for a meal to celebrate, there is some planning involved.

I am absolutely passionate about parties. I love getting together with friends and family in a beautiful setting.

I thought it would be fun to bring you along as I plan my son's 3rd Birthday coming up in November. Follow my daily tweets so you can stay up to date on the idea brainstorming, crafting, designing, menu planning, and budgeting.

I think we could all get some insight from watching the process unfold.

To bring you up to speed:
I originally wanted to do a Rock Star theme (which I had already fully developed in my brain), because my son LOVES music, but when I asked him, he actually said no. I started to ignore him since he is only 2 and will probably change his mind as many times as I ask him, but the little guy has stuck to a theme request like glue.

His wish: A blue and green Super Why! Birthday with cupcakes.

Easy enough. Now, let's make it happen.

I've already come up with a few ideas and drawings, which I will share in the next few posts, but I'd love to hear from YOU!

If you have ideas, or if you find any sales, please share!!!!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Observant Child

Sometimes, it really bothers me that my son acts different outside of the home than he does when it's just us.

At the store, he smiles and greets every stranger we meet, but when I take him on play dates, he often acts serious and reserved.

I smile sheepishly and make up some excuse for why he's currently in a funky mood (nap time, woke up late, hungry, tired, etc...)

Most recently, I noticed at church he would simply look around. He wouldn't sing or dance like he does at home. He just watched.

I began to get concerned. Was I doing something wrong as a mommy? Was I not teaching him enough about worship? Is he too easily distracted?

Later in the week, I noticed that whenever I turned on music, immediately he would say "wanna worship?" and run, jump, dance, lift his hands, clap, and sing at the top of his lungs.

I was starting to get annoyed, then I GOT it!

How often do adults perfect the art of looking good on the outside. We are proficient at acting the right way when others are watching. In reality, what matters most is what we do when no one is watching.

My little guy is getting this. Like his daddy, he studies things and takes them in. He learns by observing and isn't concerned about pleasing an audience.

If you have a child who is an observer, give them the freedom to absorb their surroundings without putting pressure on them to perform. You'll be amazed at how much they're learning!

Instead of trying to change them, perhaps we should be more like them.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunshine Party First photos

Here are some of my first photos. Surely, I am a beginner, but I'm still proud of my work. The party was amazing! In the end, it's the people that make the party special...although it never hurts to surround those special people with lots of pretty treats.

More will be coming soon along with the break down of cost, materials, and DIY instructions. I worked long and hard to find sweet deals and keep the cost down. Lucky for you, you'll get all my ideas, plus the lessons I learned for next time.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sunshine Party Day

Sorry I have been MIA for a while. My baby girl's party is today and I've been working very hard. I'm excited about sharing this day with all our friends and family. I can hardly wait!!!

Of course, photos will be up as soon as we clean up and have the house back to ourselves. We are delighted to host out of town family whom we have not seen in a long time so, first things first. Family time, THEN blogging.

To give you a sneak peek is the adorable tutu I created for my little princess. PARTY ON!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Happy 4th!

To all my readers, family and friends:
Happy 4th of July!!!
Here is a little inspiration from the boutique...
My baby girl is the perfect little model for my Patriotic TuTu Dress in red and white stripes, with a touch of cobalt blue puffs outlining the top. An adorable blue ribbon with white embellishments secures the dress with a bow around her neck.

Two very lucky little girls will be the center of attention this holiday with my flag patterned mini-tutus complete with rhinestone stars.

The baggies with the circle tags were just something I did for fun for the kids in my son's swimming class. Each bag was filled with candy, a noisemaker, a star beaded necklace, a patriotic tattoo, and of course, an American Flag. Thanks to the early 4th of July sale at Michael's, I made these for all the kids for a grand total of $7!!!! I love bargains!

Please be safe this holiday. Keep an eye on little ones around fireworks, even sparklers can cause severe burns. Teach them to STOP, DROP, & ROLL, if their clothes catch on fire and NEVER to run.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Choosing a Guest List

Before I had children, I thought the perfect first birthday involved parents, sibling, grandparents and baby. I envisioned an intimate affair of the closest family gathered around our dinning room table.

Roll tape 10 years later and cue the laughter. My children's first birthdays cannot be any further from that vision. Our "Event" (as I've been told I'm no longer allowed to refer to it as merely a party) will feature friends, family flying in from all over and even some of our neighbors gathered, not in my dinning room, but at our community clubhouse (I'm praying we will fit).

I'm beyond excited to have so many people love our little girl enough to want to share this day with us. I would never ever want to exclude anyone who wants to be there.

That is my style as a Latina: the more the merrier. Anyone who wants to come is welcome. We'll sit people in the pool if we need the space and we'll break out the sandwiches if we start running out of food.

As passionate as I feel about my position, I know it doesn't work for everyone.

I've also had wonderful times at intimate parties where the child gets all the attention and doesn't have to fight kids off their presents.

What size is right for you?
It's all a matter of choice.

Ask yourself these questions:
What type of family are we? Quiet and reserved or loud and crazy?
Will my child feel comfortable around a large group of people?
Who are our closest friends?
Am I inviting people out of obligation or because I want them to be there?
Where do I draw the line? Co-workers? Neighbors? Relatives?
How many people can I afford to feed?
Is it more important to me to have a nice meal or to include everyone?

These questions should get you started in the right direction.

Whatever you decide, make sure you are making the choice and not allowing money to make the choice for you.


Friday, June 25, 2010

Party Style

Yesterday, I had a conversation with two of my closest friends about their babies' birthday parties coming up this weekend. Each of them is so unique with their own personal style, which is also different than my own as I too prepare for my daughter's birthday in the next few weeks.

One is planning something simple with fun colors and no theme. The other has been hard at work all week on the most stunning details for her Farm themed affair (which I can't wait to blog about...)

There is so much to think about when planning a party: size, budget, guests, theme, colors, cake, food, decorations, venue, music, photographer, favors, etc... It can be pretty overwhelming!

The more I thought about it, the clearer it became that whether you welcome them or dread them, parties are an inevitable part of Parenting.

Here are some guidelines for throwing fabulous parties with little or no pain to you (and your wallet):

1. Parties are fun!!!
Have a positive attitude about the celebration. After all, you are celebrating another year of your child's life with your loved ones, what's not to like about that?

2. Do YOUR best.
I have a personal philosophy that if it's worth doing, it's worth doing well. This doesn't mean I have to out-do Martha. It just means, I need to do the best I can to honor my kids. The idea of "throwing something together" makes my heart hurt. Even if you are pressed for time or have a tiny budget, you can put together something your kids will enjoy.

3. Be creative.
Your child is into animals but you can't afford to bring in a petting zoo (don't worry, it's out of most people's budget). How about asking a friend to bring their furry pet? Think outside the box and you can save a lot of money.

4. It's in the details.
Truth be told, kids will have a blast running through a sprinkler on a hose while eating popsicles in the front yard because THEY make life fun. They don't need much. But they also understand when you put effort into doing something for them and they feel special when you do. Small details like including a favorite color, favorite food, handmade crafts and their favorite character add a special touch.

5. Start a Tradition.
One of the most fun parts of FAMILY is tradition. Create a tradition with your kids that you do on every birthday. Some of my friends have the tradition of baking the cake together as a family. Those are the details children will remember and treasure for years to come.

6. Plan as far ahead as you can.
The earlier you start to plan, the easier it will be. Spreading out purchases little by little instead of all at once, will make it more affordable. Also, if you are finished planning ahead of time, you have more freedom to actually enjoy your child on their day rather than running around worrying about last minute details.

7. Relax and Enjoy!
As far as I know, no one is giving out awards for the best party. There is no party police that will take you to jail if your party fails to meet a certain criteria. Your child will not resent you for not hiring a clown, neither will they love you more if you rent out the circus. Do the best you can within your budget and without stressing yourself.

Happy Planning to You!!


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Jennifer,
winner of the 4th of July TuTu Giveaway
from my friends at SwagGrabber!!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Empowering Daddies

This month, my adoring husband was featured as a "Hottie Dad" in the Gainesville Giggle Magazine, a charming little local family magazine in our community. The article (seen here on p.19), honored a few deserving men for their hands on involvement with their families as well as their good looks.

I'm really glad my husband was chosen. He is truly the most amazing Daddy!
As I reread the nominating email I sent the staff, I relived the moments and thanked God for my husband's heart.

Last week, after reading the article a precious expectant mother approached me and said her husband told her he hopes she feels the same way about him once their baby is born.

You see, I believe every man wants to be an amazing Daddy and while it's up to them to become one, there is a lot we can do to encourage them or stifle them.

Here is a list of 10 things we can do to empower our men to be better Daddies:
  1. Ask him what kind of role he wants to have as a Daddy. Listen to his answer! My husband WANTED to feed our newborns, which meant I had to pump milk. Did I prefer to just nurse? Of course! But I wanted to honor his wishes, so I pumped daily. He did the 11pm feeding, which allowed me a little extra z's too.
  2. Communicate and compromise about everything. New parents both have a heavy load. There is caring for the kids and caring for the home, but there are also other responsibilities men normally tend to internalize such as finances, safety, and the future. Invite him to share his heart with you and figure out how you can share those responsibilities.
  3. Expect him to help. I'm not sure why, but somewhere along the way we were taught that men sit on a recliner with the remote in one hand and a beer in the other while we do all the work. Not so. Even guys who start out that way end up feeling a lot more pride in themselves when they are asked to help. Don't expect parenting to be "mothering" until the child is old enough to throw a ball. Expect him to change diapers, swaddle, get up in the middle of the night, and feed the baby.
  4. HIS way may not be YOUR way. He's definitely not going to do things exactly like you - and that's ok. Let him do it his way.
  5. Withhold criticism. Nothing kills a desire to help more than constant criticism. Criticism also includes going behind him and re-doing what he has just done. Be an encourager!
  6. Get out of the way! Allow him space to develop as a Daddy. He will never change a diaper if you never let him try. Don't look over his shoulder inspecting everything he does. Have confidence in him. He may be able to teach you a thing or two.
  7. Don't be afraid to ask for help even if he's watching a sporting event. Tell him what your needs are and ask him for help. You'll be surprised at how easily he comes to the rescue. Things have changed for both of you. You may need him to stay home from that fishing trip or wait until the kids are down to go on a run. Whatever you need, ASK! He won't know what you need unless you tell him.
  8. Speak positively. Give him genuine compliments every chance you get. Focus on the positive and on what he is doing well.
  9. Appreciate him. The more you thank him, the more he will WANT to help.
  10. Respect and honor him as a man. A huge mistake women tend to make is to think of their husbands as 'one of the kids.' Your man is not one of the kids! He is your spouse and life partner. Your nurturer, provider, and the love of your life! Speak to him and OF him with honor and respect; especially in front of the children, no matter what their age.
I just love everything about families! While many families are being destroyed today, my prayer for you is that you enjoy a healthy and happy family by loving and honoring one another.

Happy Father's Day!!!!!