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Moana Birthday Party

Miss Cordelia turned 6. I’m still not sure how that happened. I swear she was just a little, sweet smelling, squiggle, but here she’s 6 already! And what a 6 she is! It’s utterly amazing to see her vibrant personality shine through in everything she does. It’s no wonder she wanted a Moana themed party this year! This girl LOVES adventure!

I had so much fun creating this party! I listened to the soundtrack a dozen times a day while we planned and created prior to party day. Of course we also listened to it during the party. Because ‘it’s so SHINY!’ Yes, I’m singing while I type :p

I kept the party very low key because between renos, Ryan’s work schedule, and my finishing a few sculptures I didn’t have a ton of time to make a pile of decorations.  Instead I hung a cluster of blue balloons (ocean wave) with one green balloon in the centre (Heart of Te Fiti). I also used coconuts and pineapples for decorations on the counters. Otherwise the only decorations were the grass skirts and leis we handed out to our guests. I was sure I snapped a picture, but now I can’t find it. Inside the favour bags we had a green balloon (heart of Te Fiti), Surf Sweets candies, and a Moana Activity page. All the children also received leis and ‘grass’ skirts as well as their crafts to take home with them.

We had a ton of coconut snacks, fruit, Polynesian style Tofu, and Polynesian Style Pork.

Games were pretty simple. Prior to the party, we made paper mâché coconuts. At the party each guest was able to paint one to look like a kakamora. I kept it simple with only 2 paint colours (red and White). I also had a table with popsicle sticks and glue so the guests could all make their own boat. And last, but not least, I turned on a Disney Sing Along that has a basic Hula Dance for children. It briefly explained what the hula is and why it’s danced, then they do a slow walk through of the motions, followed by a faster version. The video was from the 80s, it was pretty hokey, but I can’t help myself, I love it! 😀

We can’t forget the cake! I’m really happy with how this turned out. It’s taken me forever, but I’ve finally created a white cake recipe I like that isn’t super dense the way other white gluten-free cakes are. I also managed a pretty decent job decorating it too! I know it’s not perfect, but I try really hard to give my children the birthday cakes they want when it’s impossible to order a safe cake around here.

For the cupcakes, we peeled a pineapple, then thinly sliced the fruit (core intact). I dehydrated the fruit until it was no longer juicy. I then placed the fruit slices into mini cupcake pan holes so they’d get a nice flower shape. I sliced from the edge toward the centre anyplace that needed it so the ‘flower’ would lay open nicely. Then I continued to dehydrate until they were firm and held their shape. I placed them on the cupcakes the day of the party, but if they’re sufficiently dried you can put hem on the cupcakes the day before. But they will soak up some moisture from the frosting, so if they aren’t sufficiently dehydrated they’d lose their shape.

The cake decorations were made with white and milk chocolate modelling clay. I used the white to make the boat’s sail around a wooden skewer. I used the milk chocolate to make the base of the boat, and the smaller side of the boat as well as the weave between the two. I combined the white and milk chocolate to create a wood like effect, and pressed the blend clay into a silicone mold I have that looks like a wood floor. Once everything hardened I  added the flag to the boat.

Both the cake and the cupcakes were topped with boiled frosting (AKA 7 minute frosting).

I made a few shells and a couple coconut trees with the left over chocolate clay. The shells were lovely, the trees looked funny, but Cordelia liked them. So really, that’s all that matters.

I was so happy with how everything turned out, and Cordelia is still talking about ‘the best birthday EVER!’ So I’m happy.


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Big Hero 6 Activities

Big Hero 6 is a huge favourite in our house! Not only is it a great movie, but it also holds special meaning to our family. When I went into the hospital to have my surgery, and stayed overnight, the first time I was away from my babies overnight since they’d been born, we watched this movie ‘together’. I watched it on my iPad in the hospital, they watched it at home. We cried together while we watched. We loved it!

Even without the unique significance for our family, it’s a great movie! It’s one of the only movies our children have actually watched over, and over, and over again!

This time we made donuts to eat while we watched – and for the next three days every time the kiddos went to eat anything they’d loudly proclaim, “I’m stress eating! These are so good!” (Aunt Cass in the movie).

For our other themed activities we talked about the kind of super hero we’d be if we used science. Turns out our children’s idea of Science more closely resembles Fred’s idea of science in the movie. hahahah but they still had some pretty fun ideas. 🙂

Brom’s is the blue squiggly design. He refused to share his superhero’s secrets. He didn’t want me to know too much! lol Cordelia’s picture focused more on the outfit vs what the super hero actually did. But she did share with me that her super hero had a supercharged marshmallow shooter, that shot hot marshmallows at the bad guys, and then the marshmallow froze as soon as it hit the bad guy so they couldn’t eat their way out hahaha (I love it!)

Ella’s creation is pretty epic. There’s a button in the centre of the hero’s chest that allows the hero to open a dimension that allows ghosts to fly freely into our world. There’s mind control, electricity, and a dead head. Watch out for the dead head, it’s still bleeding. 😮

Agatha decided her cat would be super rather than her. By the end her cat could counter every single attack anyone else could think of. We tried tot ell her we were on the same team, but she was having none of it. She won. 😉

Of course, who can watch Big Hero 6 without having bot fights? We had fun building and designing bots with our MOSS robotics set, Then we put it against Sphero and BB-8. Really we knew who’d be the only one to come out in one piece; the robot that only has one piece.  😉 But it was still lots of fun. Check it out:


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Admit When You Make a Mistake

Agatha’s been having such a tough time lately. It’s been so difficult figuring out what’s been going on and how to fix it. Over the past few days Ryan and I’ve both spent more time with her, talking to her and playing with her. It looked like things were going great, then bedtime hit. We’d already finished reading their bedtime story. It was late. I wanted to get on with tidying so I could get some work done on a sculpture. I was done.

She wanted another chapter of our book.

I said no. She was disappointed.

I didn’t see her disappointment. What I saw was a child who wouldn’t think of others (Cordelia was asleep and would miss the story). I saw a child who just wouldn’t let up. Always demanding more time, more attention. I snapped. I lectured her.

I forgot our number one parenting tool. Always assume your child has positive intent.

I forgot that number one parenting ‘rule’ and I hurt Agatha deeply when I assumed she was being selfish. I was the one being selfish, I projected that onto her.

Luckily, mid lecture I realized what I was doing. Got down on my knees. Apologized to her. And asked if I could start over more respectfully. She was hurt, but she agreed. Again she asked if I could read another chapter of the book. Again I said no. Again she was sad. This time instead of lecturing. I hugged her and said, “I know it’s an exciting book and I really want to know what happens next also. I know it’s difficult to wait, but Cordelia’s asleep and she’d be sad to miss the next part of the story. We’ll wait until tomorrow to read more.” We hugged and kissed, then I asked her if she’d forgive me for the way I treated her. I let her know she didn’t have to. But she did forgive me. And it was the greatest gift in the whole wide world!

The next day I needed to make it right with everyone else also. I called everyone to come to the table. I explained what happened, and pointed out that (both Ryan and I) I’ve been doing this in small ways for a few weeks now. I apologized to all of them because they were all impacted by my treatment of Agatha. I promised to do better. I explained our parenting ‘rule’ to them. And asked if they’d forgive me. They agreed.

This rule is simple, and the most effective parenting tool in my toolbox. Just believe your child is a good person and always has good intentions.

It doesn’t mean they won’t make mistakes. It doesn’t mean we’ll always be happy with things. It doesn’t mean everything is sunshine and roses. It just means they aren’t trying to be mean or spiteful. It means that the root behind their behaviour is goodness. Even if one child hits another, there is some positive desire at the root. Find that goodness and most problems can be solved and fixed without any stress or fighting. It’s both that simple, and that hard.

It isn’t always easy to see the goodness. Sometimes it takes a lot of work on our part to sit there and talk to our children and actually understand them. But the pay off in the end is so worth it!

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Time and Attention

Right now our family is so busy with classes, crafting, and renos, I have few moments left over for anything extra. But my children often find themselves with nothing to do except notice all the moments I don’t spend with them. Agatha’s really felt forgotten a lot lately. Eight going on nine is such a difficult age at the best of times, but it’s particularly difficult for her because her older sister has grown and matured out of the things Agatha’s interested in, but her younger sister hasn’t quite matured into them yet. For a child who loves people so much and wants to be with someone all the time, this is so difficult for her!  She wants so much time and attention, but with so many people in the family with such widely different wants and needs, sometimes that attention has to be given while cooking, cleaning, or helping someone else. Often it means she’s left on her own.

It can be so difficult to meet the needs of everyone in the family, especially when life shifts as children get older. All she wants is me to spend time with her helping her with her projects, but the most I can give is 15 minutes at a time before Brom needs me. I feel so badly for her. All I want to do is say ‘yes’ to her requests, but reality has me saying, ‘I can’t’ way more often.

But, I’ve cleared the next two days, and Ryan’s home, so I can spend extra time and attention helping her with her latest clay project. Helping her with a sewing project, helping her play WOW, and generally just spending extra time with her.

I know two days doesn’t make up for the months of run, run, run we’ve had lately, but I know it’ll go a long way to filling her love cup because we have a pretty solid foundation to begin with.

I’ll post pictures of our activities on instagram, and post back here and let you know how it goes. 🙂

And keep your eyes open for our next movie theme post – Brom chose Big Hero 6 and Ella chose Peter Pan – activities for both of those will be coming soon!