Monday, April 30, 2007

The Efforts and Costs of At Home Birthday Parties

Jannet- cannot make it (dance comp weekend)
Doris - haven't heard back

Party Accessories
Place Mats
Med Plates for girls
Sm Plates for girls
Plates for dolls
Napkins for girls
Doll size Napkins
Napkin rings (also hair accessories) for girls
Napkin rings (also hair accessories) for dolls
Cups for girls
Cups for dolls
Utensils for girls
Utensils for dolls
Favor Bags w/ tissue paper and name tags
Hanging decorations
Crepe paper rolls
Sleeping Bag Craft for dolls

Party Gifts
American Girl Short Stories
Sticker sheets
Beach chairs w/attached umbrella, back pocket & carrying strap
Puzzle Crazy books
Plus they will take home Bird houses, Sleeping Bag for doll and crowns

Girls put their names on Crowns
Make dolly crowns & sleep masks
Put Initials on Backs of Chairs (bad idea to have a child's Name on something they wear or use in public)
Birthday cake & make your own sundae
Make Dolly sleeping bags
Glamour Writing (make your own pen - glue flowers, rhinestones & whatnots on pens)
Paint Bird Houses (for Mother's Day gift or for their own)
Paint nails
American Girl Hair Dos (from the AG book)
Play Dress up from Dance & dress up closet
(open presents)
American Girl Theater Games
Birthday Girl Quiz
Scavenger Hunt
Midnight Madness Game
Each girl read their American Girl Short Story book

Game Prizes
Strawberry Shortcake Princess Bath Time set
Barbie Lunch box with candy
Claire's Club Nail Polish and Lip gloss set (clear with sparkles)
Claire's Club Lip gloss set of 7 sparkles
Crayola Kitty & Puppy sidewalk chalk
Bubble Up Strawberry scented bubbles (shaped like ice cream bars)
Princess Magic Wand
Claire's Mirrors and Scents lip gloss set
Lip Smakers Lip gloss and chap stick set
Creative Kids Mold and Paint Plaque set
Super Girl Doll with bath bubbles
Girls Inflatable chair

Things I still need to do...
Make a "curtain" out of streamers
Buy new set of Tide wipes for spills on girls and dolls
Buy pretend cakes for the dolls (buy dollhouse cakes from AC Moore)
Clear out EVERYTHING from the living room - one girl is allergic to cats so everything from furniture to drapes must be moved to the basement.
Put up new curtains in Snow White's room
Paint the white parts of Snow White's desk so I can move it back to her room
Clear out sunroom and move all snow stuff to the room under the sun room
Pink table cloth for snack table
Friday afternoon :
Cut up veggies and fruit for all nighter snacks
Pick up Cake
Purchase chips, pretzels, juice, cupcakes and sundae supplies
Order Pizzas! for 6:30 pm delivery We cannot have hungry girls on our hands when they arrive at dinner time
Buy foam sheets for dolly crowns & sleep masks
Put Initials on Backs of Chairs (buy fabric pens in Gold & Silver at JoAnns or AC Moore)
Find painter smocks
Pick up movies
Decorate Dinning Room and Living Room

American Girl Party package $105 + shipping
Beach Chairs $80
American Girl Short Stories $18
Cake $45
Other Party food (pizzas, snacks, etc) $45
Dolly crowns $4
Girls crowns $10
Fabric Pens (4) $16
Pink Table cloth $10
Total for just the above is $363 which does not include gift or other items.

Chuck E Cheese, Teddy Bear Tea Party or other organized birthday parties where I don't have to put on the Party at our house, really makes more sense. All I have to do is send out invitations and arrive with the Birthday girl. We only go to Chuck E Cheese for a birthday party but my goodness they set up, entertain and clean up. We also did a Teddy Bear Tea Party where I only had to find Tea pots (apparently no longer available in stores) at an antique shop, supply Tea Party hats and arrive with the birthday girl. I forgot, we did make fruit pyramids for center pieces and I purchased a beautiful cake. Still, it was a lot less work for me and it far less expensive.

Gone are the days of take your child to a birthday entertainment establishment. They do not exist in this little country town we now live in. On top of that, Snow White prefers sleep over parties. She wants to have one for every holiday, not just her birthday.

****UPDATED 28 JUNE 07 *****

Other Child, Princess, Boys Birthday Party Ideas



More SVMs Boys Birthday

Another Birthday Story

Gas Prices are Endangering Low-Income Workers...Are We Next?

What is up with the gas prices. If someone could explain in Laymen’s terms I would really like to know.

About two months ago it was $2.35 per gallon. Then I heard on the news they were going to put a tax on the gas to help with the casinos which were to be built over the next few years. Um, the casino businesses proved they were going to bring business near this area (4 cities away) but they are going to raise the price of gas before they are even built? Ok, planning for us to pay for the casinos after all the meetings held about how they were not going to affect us? The next day I made sure to purchase gas so I would at least escape the initial raise. No, sorry, cannot do that since they raised the price of gas to $2.49 the very next morning!

When we moved here in October of 2007 the price of regular-unleaded (non premium) gas was $2.19. Up until April 25, 2007, it has fluctuated between $2.19 and $2.79 for unknown reasons but usually went back down. Now it is April 28, 2007 and gas is $2.85. Why is this happening? What went on in the world that we cannot have the reasonably priced gas we had before Hurricane Katrina? Just a few months ago I could fill up my gas tank with $20 and today it cost me $50.

I remember people complaining about regular unleaded gas reaching the price of $1.95 per gallon. That was not a decade ago or yesteryear, that was only a few years ago. People were worried about the price of gas reaching the top of $2.00 per gallon. I remember my parents watching the news in the early 70s about the rationing and price of gas.

I also remember traveling the weekend after Katrina. Gas was anywhere from $2.85 to $3.85 from the East Coast to Nashville, TN. Most gas stations were out of gas or would only allow you to pump up to $20. We were at the point we had to stop at every gas station we saw off the highway. Some were open for a very short period of time or closed due to non-delivery issues. There were a few very clever but annoying large gas station signs advertising gas for $1.99 per gallon. These turned out to be the gas stations with no gas available but wanted to lure travelers into there Mini Mart to purchase food or souvenirs.

Why does this upset me? I want to know why gas has sky rocketed without another catastrophe such as Katrina? This does not only affect our purchases at the pump but it has a direct effect on deliveries of any kind such as:
Mail (stamps price increase as it was suppose to but now might need more $ due to the gas prices)
School transportation
Daycare transportation
I understand why the companies for the above products and services have increased their prices. They are passing on their increased expenses.

Apparently the cost of natural gas for heat and other uses which is supplied from the US and no other country also sees fit to raise their prices based on the price of gasoline which is based on the price of crude oil. That is just ridiculous!! These companies think that just because people hear the price of gas just went up they can raise their prices as well? They are not delivering the gas via trucks that run on gasoline, it comes via a pipe line. How dare they raise their prices based on a public thinking gas for vehicles is the same gas that goes into their heating and cooking.

The one thing not directly increased is the cost of living expenses for every day people. My goodness the cost of gas affects business but not the employees working at these businesses, their families or employees who just plain and simple work in America? Something has to be done to bring gas prices back affordable so the American people can afford to work and live in America. The alternative is to put out a blanket pay increase to all, government workers, private industry and make sure every person in America has an increase in pay equal to the increase in the gas prices. This will be a difficult task due to the daily or weekly in fluctuation of gas prices. Right after Katrina businesses said they would not increase pay for this increase in the cost of living due to their belief gas prices would settle back down to where they were previously. This is no longer the case, something needs to be done about the gas prices or increase wages across the board.

I searched on the web for the answer to why gas rationing happened in the 1970s. I was far too young to understand what was going on. All I remember from that time was what I saw on TV since my parents did not think it was a good idea to bring children to the gas station. There were long lines of cars and frustrated people all trying to get gas on “their day”. Even though my parents sent us to our rooms to play while they watched the news I would sneak out to see what was too scary for children. I recall watching a stand off between a man armed with a rifle and police. The man was angry that he sat in his car for most of the day only to be told the gas station ran out of gas. He did not want to leave until he had a full tank of gas. The sun must have been very hot that day and got to his head. If they have no gas at that station how were they going to fill up his tank?

Anyway, what I found out was on October 17, 1973 there was an embargo by OAPEC, Egypt and Syria against all countries (USA and allies) who assisted Israel in the Yom Kippur War also called the 1973 Arab - Israel War or The Fourth Arab - Israel War. This war went on for 10 days from October 6, - October 26, 1973. I did not see any mention of the United States but there was mention of the United Nations putting a cease-fire in place.

Here is what I found out about Natural Gas Prices from they are not my natural gas company but the first link that popped up in my search.
Factors That Drive Up Prices
Nationally, natural gas prices have more than doubled in the past three years, because the production of new gas supplies has not kept pace with increasing demand. Natural gas is increasingly popular for use in homes, businesses, factories and electric power-generation because it is efficient, clean and reliable. This demand/supply imbalance has sharply increased market prices over the past three years. Excuse me but my bill went from $126 per month to $600 in just 3 months!
Natural gas is one of the most volatile commodities traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange, or Nymex. National market prices fluctuate widely, up and down, depending on such factors as hotter-than-normal southern weather, and Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which disrupted the production and pipeline transportation of natural gas from the Gulf of Mexico. Also, the cost of competing fuels, such as oil, can impact natural gas prices. Does this mean when the price of oil goes up so will natural gas? Why?

I am thankful to have a job with decent pay. The rise in gas prices is only cutting into my spending money at the moment but imagine the impact it has on people who are already living pay check to pay check. I found an article where a woman is considering MOVING closer to her daughter’s daycare due to the cost of gas!
Can you imagine having to actually MOVE due to the price of gas?
If gas prices continue on the rise and workers pay remains relatively the same what is to happen to people like Ana Rosales who may have to move? Low income workers who are already at the brink of finial disaster? Some people may look down on those who are low income but I realize we need them at their jobs to function in our every day lives. Here is just a quick short list of low paying jobs which affect my normal week:
Cashier at the grocery store
Gas Station attendant
Office Cleaning Team
Utility Call Center employees
School Janitor
School Cafeteria workers
Daycare assistants
Hotel cleaning staff
Receptionist at the Dr./Dentist/ any company I deal with
The cashier and stock personnel at the local pet supply store
The clerks at the local clothing stores
The waiters and waitresses at the restaurants we frequent

When will the price of gas and its effect on other products and services reach beyond just my spending money? What will I have to cut back on? How much will it cut into the quality of life my family has become accustomed to? Sure, extra curricular activities will have to go first but then what? Will it eventually reach the point that I have to trust substandard daycare with my child? Yes, I am thinking about myself and my family. I am too afraid to consider all that will happen to people who are not as fortunate as we are. You may think I am being too dramatic about what could happen. I am a parent and it is up to me to figure out our budget and about the ‘what ifs’ that life throws at us. I want to keep our heads above water. It is frightening to hear what so many low income families are going through. If it can happen to them it can happen to us as well.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I Am Bruce!

Tuesday, after work I picked up Snow White at the daycare center. She was in a great hurry to get out of there. She rushed into the car and quickly said “Hurry Mom! Let’s go! Roll up all the windows! Let’s go!”

I have never seen her like this before. As I sat in the drivers seat all I could do was blankly stare at her sitting in the back. She gave me some crazy, scary look which brought me to the understanding that we really needed to get a move on.

As we are driving down the street her gaze is fixed on the daycare center as if a dragon was going to come right out the front door and fry us with his fiery breath.

As we turned the corner her insistence started again…”Hurry Mom! Hurry! We need to get out of range. We really do.” About a mile away from the daycare center she let out a sigh of relief and finally relaxed…for about 5 seconds.

“Mom! Mom! I have to tell you something! It’s something really, really important!” Hmm, maybe there really was a dragon about to jump out of the daycare center, do you think?

Me: “Alright honey, what is it that has you all frazzled?”
Snow White: “Are we far enough from the daycare where they cannot hear us?”
Me: “We are plenty far enough. Go ahead and tell me what ever it is.”
Snow White: “Are you sure? Are you really, really sure?”
Me: “We could drive to Mexico and you can tell me there.”
Snow White: “Ok…um this is what happened. Um, maybe I shouldn’t tell you.”

Now my dander is up! She really has me all worked up and my patience is going out the window. ‘shouldn’t tell you’ She better start spilling it out right now! But I have to be calm so I can find out what happened. ugh!

Me: “Honey, you can tell Mommy any thing. Don’t worry about, just tell me.”
Snow White: “Ok but if I say a bad word would you get mad?”
Me: “Can you replace the bad word with a not so bad word?”
Snow White: “No.”
Me: “Tell me without saying the bad word.”
Snow White: “That wont work.”

We sit in silence for a few minutes while I think. I do not feel comfortable giving her permission to say a bad word but I need to know what made her so afraid. I want to know what the heck happened?! Her scared little face is reflected in my rearview mirror. I need to let her say what ever it is so I can reassure her everything will be alright.

Me: “Ok, you can say the bad word this one time. Do you understand you can only say it this one time, never, ever again.”
Snow White: “Ok [big gulp] here goes.”
She closes her eyes and ….
“I. Am. Bruce! I. Am. Bruce! I. Am. Bruce!”
It sort of hit me like an annoying yappy puppy noise but I was waiting for her to tell me what happened.

Apparently a slightly older boy started yelling this at the daycare center, for no apparent reason. A staff member came over and firmly told the boy never to do that again! Snow White laughed because she thought the boy was funny. Then the staff member gave her a steel-eyed-gaze which shut her up right then and there. At that precise moment is when I walked in to pick her up.
She was not afraid of the staff member, she was afraid one of those words out of that boys mouth was a “bad word.”

I explained to Snow White the boy might have been annoying the staff with his little outburst of “I am Bruce” for a good while before they told him to stop.

In the end it was all just a big to do about nothing.

Update on the Daycare Bullies L&E. They, along with Snow White, have all agreed to Thumpers rule of “if you can’t say nothin’ nice, don’t say nothin’ at all.” and basically they are ignoring each other. Not the best solution but it makes for a more peaceful daycare.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Have Bees On Your Underwear?

While cleaning up and reorganizing Snow White’s room this past weekend we came across an unidentified dolly (UD). I like to keep things neat by having everything in its proper place. All Kelly, Barbie, Bratz, Polly Pockets, fairies on their shelves, play sets on closet shelves and all their tiny accessories in the appropriate dolly drawer in the closet. American Girl Kirsten and her belongings in her trunk. AG Bitty Baby in either her high chair, crib or cradle. All other miscellaneous toys go in the large princess toy box in the closet.

If everything is in its proper place I don’t have to hear “Mom where did you put my ____ doll?” As if I skipped work that day, ran home to play with her ___ doll and either hid it from her or did not put it back where it belongs. Sure, that's what happened.

Anyway, we came across this one dolly who did no seem to go with any of the groups. It looks like a Bratz doll but her feet do not come off (Bratz doll trait). We put UD aside and continue to put all the other toys in their proper places. Afterwards we still do not know what to do with UD. Suddenly it dawns on me! This is that new Barbie, My Scene Barbie, I saw on Project Runway’s last episode. I tell Snow White to put her on the shelf with the other Barbies but she protests. “No way is this a Barbie. She does not belong with the others.”

We go back and forth debating why she is or is not a Barbie. Then Snow White comes up with an idea…”Mom there is only one sure way to tell if it is a Barbie…we have to check her underwear for bees.” I burst into laughter to the point of crying. “Mom, you know what I meant. The letter “B”… on her underwear.”

Well, someone had to do it. Snow White was not going to do it. It had to be done to finish up my “everything in it’s proper place” clean up. So, I looked. Guess what? No Bs on her underwear. I did recall a similar, simulated underwear on another Barbie I was asked to dress earlier that day. I tried and tried to convince Snow White that UD was really a Barbie but she was insistent this was not the case. Did I ever mention that Snow White has over 50 Barbies?

Do you know what we had to do for the next half hour? Yes, we had to check the underwear of the Barbie multitude until we found at least three with the same matching underwear. We discovered the older Barbies from 1950s-1960s did not have underwear, simulated or otherwise. Some of the Barbies from the 1970-1980s had simulated underwear with the Barbie Bs. The newer Barbies have nude/skin tone underwear with tiny bumps all over but no Bs.

With that grueling chore accomplished I again told Snow White to put UD A.K.A My Scene Barbie on one of the Barbie Shelves. She looked at UD, then at her shelves of Barbies but still refused.

Snow White: “She just doesn’t belong. She cannot sit there with the rest of them and look so …off.”

Me: “Ok, fine, put her on the Bratz shelf then. She looks more like them anyway.”

Snow White: “Sorry, I cannot do that either. She doesn’t belong with them. She isn’t a Bratz doll. It wouldn’t be right to put her there.” She chucked UD/MSB in the toy box with all the other miscellaneous toys.

Wow Barbie jilted by her own kind and the other “popular girlz” to boot! I never thought I would see the day.

I actually felt a twinge in my heart when UD was flung in to the toy box. No, I don’t really care that deeply for Barbies and such. It bothered me to hear my own daughter say that due to UD being different from the other Barbies she could not sit with them. This gave me the opportunity to sit down and discuss why being different can be ok.

On a funny note, Grandpa called while we were attempting to find UD’s ID.

Grandpa: “What are up to today?”
Me: “Checking Barbie Butts for Bees.”
Grandpa: [while choking and laughing] “What was that you said?”

I explained and Grandpa is ok.

The Untold Story of Barbie? Click here

More Barbie/Bratz chatter Suburban Turmoil: Bratzism

Sunday, April 22, 2007


Road trips are so much fun with my children. We chatted, laughed, giggled and sang a few song on our four hour drive only pausing once in awhile for reading directions to the hotel. We stopped along the way to pick up a few items I had forgotten to pack...grown up tooth paste (Colgate princess toothpaste is like brushing your teeth with bubble-gum eew), chocolate, juice, and duct tape. No, not to restrain the children or to keep my mouth shut. Oldest daughter said she needed green duct tape for entertainment value.

We arrived a bit later than I expected (10 PM) and to my surprise this hotel had only one luggage cart...and it was being used at the time. We stopped by the registration table to let the director know we had arrived. She gave Snow White a coupon to pick a out an animal, a wish and stuff it (very similar to Build-A-Bear). Her coupon was for a large animal but she really wanted a small brown bear (bless her sweet little heart). She was very happy with her new little bear! There were matching clothes and things but it was late.

Snow White, Oldest Daughter and I made several trips from the car to the room unloading everything. I know I mentioned we had two large suit cases but we had other things such as a box of coloring books for the Shriners Hospital drive, Snow White's stuffed animal entourage, an Easter basket for the gift exchange, a few gifts to hand out and Oldest Daughter's bags of personal "stuff".

After everything was unloaded I tucked Snow White in to bed and Oldest Daughter turned on the TV to amuse herself while I went down to registration. Yes, they were still registering contestants at 11 PM due to late arrivals such as us. I paid the pageant entry fees, the stage photographer and dropped off the color books. I explained to the director I had just picked up the photos for the poster competition and would bring her the poster as soon as possible. I had no time to look at the photos we just had developed so when I opened the photo envelope I was surprised to see only a few good shots. Although the files were large and looked great when I downloaded the photos to my comp many of them came out grainy! I gave the clearest pictures to her and used some double prints for the poster.

Back at our room Snow White was fast asleep and Oldest Daughter was waiting up for me. Now that I had returned she crawled in to bed. Now on to the poster task. I cut it in the shape of an Easter egg and glued cute little things (flowers, butterflies, pretty shapes, etc.) used for scrap booking. Along the edges of the poster board I glued down light blue satin ruffled ribbon. The photos were framed by pages of pastel stationary I picked up at the local pharmacy earlier in the week. The final effect was actually prettier than I anticipated. Due to the very late hour I was convinced no one would be in the ballroom so I will waited until morning to hand it in. It was 2 AM when the noise from the Lobby disco finally faded and I was able to sleep. Lucky for me Snow White was not due in the ballroom until the afternoon. The 0-4 year olds compete from 9am - Noon, then a lunch break and the 5 and up compete 1 PM until all events are finished.


Morning seemed to come all to quickly and there was only a continental breakfast offered at this hotel. Ugh, not what I am use to but there was a family restaurant just down the driveway from the hotel. I picked up breakfast while the girls slept in a bit. I did tell groggy Oldest Daughter I was going but also wrote out a note just incase she thought she was dreaming during our conversation. When I returned they were both wide awake and too excited to eat. I did manage to get them to eat a bit before we started preparing for the pageant.

After eating there was a little bit of preparation needed for Snow White's hair. Snow White, her sister and I all have naturally curly hair. In order to tame it a bit we needed to put her hair up in hot rollers. I could have put sponge rollers in her hair and let her sleep in them but they would have pulled on her hair during the night and resulted in a very sleepy, cranky Snow White in the morning. It took about 10 minutes to put her hair in the rollers, then she had the rest of the morning to play. We had time to watch a few of the younger contestants on stage and had our lunch.

Although this is a natural pageant, I hired a very nice lady to do her hair which turned out lovely. She enjoyed talking with the lady and her children. Thank goodness this wonderful lady had an iron and ironing board or Snow White would have been wearing a very wrinkled cotton dress. Our room was missing these and no more were available in the hotel that weekend. I ironed Snow White's dress while she was having her hair done.

A little while later it was stage time! We watched the group before her go on and cheered loudly for each of them. Each little girl was asked a few questions and given time to answer. Most of them were a bit shy or did not know what to say, up to this point they were all under 6 years old so this is expected. I asked Snow White how she felt before she went on stage "I'm a little nervous but I can do this!" I told her remember this is all about her having fun. She smiled so big! I gave her a great big hug and kiss!

I staid with her until her age group started and the girl in front of her was half way through her time on stage. Snow White's "big moment" came, they called her name and it was time to answer a few questions. She was not shy at all! She was not afraid to speak up and say all she felt in her heart. Not only did she have the judges laughing but the audience as well! Then she did her Beauty and we ran up to each other at the other side of the stage! I scooped her up in my arms and told her what a super job she did!! She was grinning from ear to ear! I could tell she was very proud of herself.

Not knowing how much time it would take to get ready for her casualwear event or how much time we had before they were back to her group, we quickly skipped off to change (we literally skipped all the way back to the room). On our way to the room she was chattering "Mommy, did you hear them laugh? I was so good and they loved everything I had to say! All those judges smiled at me when I was walking the stage! Thank you for driving us all up here! Thank you!"

She changed outfits quickly and we did a little more hair rolling with a hot curls set. These are just like hot rollers but look like long rods. The thought was since we smoothed out her hair for beauty it would be nice to have the little curls she usually has. I will never, EVER use those THINGS again! They clung to her hair as if they were made of sticky tape! The hair and make up lady made sure Snow White's curls were uniform and pulled it away from her face. I know all of this sounds so simple and you are thinking I could not have done this myself. It is an added relief to have someone else do it. Snow White not only looked great she felt extra special! This was not Mommy doing her hair for school, this was pampering and a special time for her!

As we came closer to the ballroom we could hear the dance music. Snow White and Oldest Daughter bopped all the way down the hall to the ballroom. We arrived in time to watch the group before her and we clapped and cheered for them. At times I think we were a bit too loud but it was ok. When Snow White went to the stage entrance area with her sister I anxiously waited in the ballroom. Her turn came and I was just so amazed how she came out and did her own thing! She was really having fun and loving every second of being up there! When she came off the stage I again swooped her off her feet, hugging and kissing her all the while telling her what a great job she did! It made my heart happy to see her all excited and enjoying herself so much.

After the casualwear event we went back to the room to change her in to her Easter outfit, Little Bo Peep! She looked so darling in her outfit and her curls from casualwear looked great. When she was all dressed up and ready to go we went to show the hair and make up lady. She loved the outfit so much she took picture of Snow White and her son together.

Snow White was full of enthusiasm and couldn't wait to get back on that stage! Again we watched the group ahead of her and cheered them on. Everyone seemed to have very upbeat music and bounced around to the music. Snow White's music was "The Star of County Down" which is soft, slow and smooth (old Irish song). It was a change in pace and seemed to be well received by all. At one point she seemed to be having a little trouble maneuvering the very tall shepherds staff but she did not miss a beat! One very large egg was knocked off the display in the background but she did not falter, she kept on going as if nothing had happened. When she was done she skipped right to me just beaming with happiness! Oldest Daughter and I were clapping so hard our hands hurt!

After Snow White's group we staid in the ballroom for awhile cheering on the contestants and picked an outfit for her small bear. Now it was time to close the ballroom to tabulate the scores. The hotel restaurant wouldn't be open for another hour or so. Given this we went back to our room for her to change out of her Little Bo Peep outfit then went out for dinner.

When we returned it was time for the party! There was an Egg hunt which was three large areas covered in paper strips (Easter Bunny's Nests). Each area had toys, plastic eggs and candy hidden beneath which the children dug through! They were excited each time they emerged with a prize! There was a moon bounce, games, raffles and door prizes. Snow White and even Oldest Daughter had a GREAT time!!


The scores have been tabulated and everyone was gathered in the ballroom for the awards ceremony...Crowning! In the opening two Shriners came in to thank all the contestants for donating coloring books. They also talked about the wonderful benefits of the Shriners Children's Hospitals. Snow White was THRILLED to see Shriners at the pageant! After all her Uncles and Grandpa are Shriners! Grandpa was the Potentate in 1997. Good gracious has it really been that long ago? I had to pause here and call him to make sure I had the year right but I was thinking more along the lines of just a couple of years ago. My parents were actually at the Shriners Temple having dinner when I called. My Dad was also surprised thinking it has been 10 years now and shared my thinking in it seemed only a few years ago.

Ok on to the awards! There are awards in each age group for prettiest hair, smile, dress and eyes. There are awards for each event (Beauty, Casualwear, Easterwear, Photogenic) per age group for the winner and runners up. Each time your name is called by the MC you run up to the stage, have your picture taken, a crown placed on your head (for some awards), a banner (for some awards), trophy (for some awards) and given a ticket to pick out a prize on a row of tables with literally hundreds of toys to choose from!! The phrase "Let loose in a toy store" is appropriate!

There are higher awards for scoring the most points (Grand Supreme, Mini Supreme, Overalls). All contestants were eligible since all events, supremes and overalls (except poster) were included in the pageant price. These winners of the highest titles are given out first to allow first crack at the prize table. Do not misunderstand, the toys are all high level, brand names which the children actually want! After all of the awards there were many gifts still on the tables so it was not like the children called up later were only left with table scraps. A large variety was provided to insure all contestants left with prizes they liked. I don't recall a child called less than 2 or 3 times up to the stage so each was recognized on stage and given prizes.

Are you just dying to know if Snow White was the last one called to pick out a prize? Actually, her name was called several times for awards. Each time she heard her name she ran up on the stage with a HUGE smile on her face!
As to Snow White's list of awards.....drum roll....

5-10 Overall Photogenic (highest scoring photos in the 5-10 yr olds who competed)
7-8 yr Beauty Queen
7-8 yr Casualwear 1st Runner Up
7-8 yr Easter outfit 1st Runner Up
7-8 yr Best Smile
7-8 yr Best Hair
7-8 yr Prettiest Eyes
7-8 yr Best Personality
Director's Choice 5-10 Angel Face

The director came up with a few more awards after watching all the wonderful children that day. The new awards were created by the director in addition to all the awards she had planned to give out when she made up her paper work. No one knew about these extra awards when they signed up for the pageant. Everyone signed up and entered the events they wished and were still given more than they expected!

Snow White not only had a great time doing her own thing on stage...she was given more than half a dozen of toys in the awards plus all the prizes from the party and the Easter egg hunt! The whole day was exciting!

I chalk this up to a GREAT weekend! My daughters and I had yet another wonderful road trip to add to our memories! We also had a great time at the party, met new fun people who are around each of our ages (Oldest Daughter actually reacquainted herself with people she had not seen in a years!), the thrill of the awards ceremony and just a fantastic family time.

The pageant was over but I wanted to make sure we did not feel rushed out our room on pageant day. I booked the hotel room through Sunday since I did not want to worry about vacating the room by 11 am and Snow White not going on stage until the afternoon. This also gave me a little time to recoup the sleep I had lost the previous night.

There were two more pageants being held at the hotel the next day but we were exhausted from just the one. The ballroom had to be packed up and a bit of first phase cleaning. The director had to pack up all the toys, extra crowns and such while picking up the larger portion of debris (if you bring a soda, open a toy or snack please remember the area under your seat is not the same as putting it in the garbage). We went down to help clean up and pack up. We even did a little vacuuming. After clean up detail the director gave Snow White an extra crown for helping out, larger than any she had won. That was so sweet of her and so unnecessary. Someone mentioned she could give her older sister one of the smaller crowns she won at the pageant since she was given this larger crown.

Snow White and I went back to our hotel room and found Oldest Daughter trying to catch up on the shows she had missed. Snow White gave the big crown she was just given to Oldest Daughter. She later explained she gave the biggest crown to her sister because she helped her so much this weekend...and..."I won those other crowns so not matter how big or small I want to keep them. You get the biggest one because you did a super job all in one! She wouldn't appreciate getting a crown I won but she would like a crown for helping. That way she won't think she took something from me but was given something for being HER best!" I love my children! Hearing them say things like this and watching how they interact with each other and others just makes my heart swell!

Those who say pageants are not for children or think they have a negative impact on children need to realize there are positives in pageantry. If it were not for the positives they would not be so populated. They would have also gone by the way side years ago.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Big Bad "P" Word....Pageant

As mentioned in a previous entry, I had signed Snow White up for ....dun, dun, dun, dunnnn...a Easter pageant. You would be surprised to find out there were many things that need to be taken care of in preparation. Yes, you heard me correctly, I said the big bad "P" word. This is what was required just to get ready in advance.

You need an outfit for each stage event - Beauty, Casualwear and Easter wear. Her beauty dress was a cotton dress from Lord & Taylor and a beautiful shade of blue. She looked adorable in it! Her casual outfit was a blue and tan paisley swing top she loves, khaki peddle pushers and a cute pair of blue sandals. That was the easy part.

Next I searched the Internet for a Little Bo Peep costume and you would not believe how many sexy adult costumes came up! Ewww so not what I was looking for. I thought "Oh come on!" Why would searching for a child's fairytail outfit bring out all the sexy adult costumes links?

All I need is a little girls costume! Little girl Bo Peep costumes seem to be very rare! Eventually...I did find the perfect little girl outfit!

When I receiving the outfit in the mail it was beautiful! You know how it goes sometimes when you purchase an item through the mail. There are times it really does not look as well as it did in the advertizement. I was thrilled with the outfit when I unwrapped it! Well, except for the hat. The hat was not what the bonnet style I had envisioned from past story books and paintings. The hat was more Little Miss Muffit style so I searched costume shops and on line but could not find a Little Bo Peep bonnet. I was very surprised that this "country town" we moved to did not even have the cute little girly Easter hats in any of the stores. Macey's of all stores in this town, did not carry them this Easter season! Instead I found many pastel colored cowgirl hats. Some even had tiaras attached. My non-make-up-wearing-no-frills-but-breathtaking-sister was also surprised at the sheer lack of Easter bonnets.

Everyone knows Little Bo Peep needs a shepherds staff. I looked all over for this as well and almost decided on a regular cane. I typed in searches for Bo Peep walking stick, and staff but nothing came up until a week before the pageant. In one of my searches I found a shop on eBay that makes walking staffs, just what we needed! I thought it was a bit too tall for Snow White but I planned on cutting at least a foot off the bottom. ManSon convinced me it was the perfect height from the photos he had seen. We did a google search and sure enough each of the photos showed Bo Peeps Staff was about a foot or so taller than herself. Snow White and I painted the shepherds staff white.

Little Bo Peep also needed sheep and since spring had arrived (by the calendar) and Easter almost here you would think it would be easy to find at least one sheep. We searched every local toy store, department store and even pharmacy and grocery stores but could not find one single sheep. I gave up looking about 4 days before the pageant. I found only a few on eBay and purchased two lawn sheep and paid extra for overnight delivery. The auction did not end until two days before we were leaving for the pageant and the seller needed to wait until the next day before the post office would open.


Just days before the pageant I gave up finding the perfect hat and thought of making one myself. I searched to no avail for a pattern to make the bonnet. I also searched for a form but did not find anything similar enough. Thursday evening, the night before we were to leave, I found a broad brim ladies hat that was flexible enough to bend to the shape needed. I rolled up the back of the brim and sewed it down. I also sewed some flowers and eyelet lace at the front and back of the hat as well as added the blue ribbon for the front bow. I used the same blue ribbon for a bow on the shepherds staff.

The night before we left for the pageant I thought we were ready. I looked over the paper work and saw there was one more thing I needed to take care of... photos for the Photogenic category.

I dressed her up in different outfits and took pictures of her in the back yard and front yard. She loved trying on the clothes and being a little model. Unfortunately our photo session was cut short by Pup escaping out the front door when we went inside for an outfit change. We chased Pup for a block before he encountered a few big dogs behind a fence. That was enough to stop Pup in his tracks and cry for Mommy! By the time we were back at the house it was dark but Snow White wanted to try one more outfit on so I took those pictures in the dark. Don't forget we moved out to the "country" so there are no street lights. Anyway, the photos were sent to be printed and picked up the next day when we were on our way to the pageant.

The night before I went to Walmart (nothing else open at this time) for a few odds and ends. What do you think I found! I actaully came across a display of very cute, cuddly, giant stuffed sheep! I bought one thinking it would be "just in case" the other sheep did not arrive in the mail by tomorrow afternoon.

I packed up as much as I could Thursday night but I was still working on the hat. Due to normal Mommy duties, making sure we had everything and the hat issue, I was up until about midnight. I went to work the next day and came home at lunch time to pack up the car. The mailman had come and gone without the ordered sheep. Ok, we will arrive Friday night, the pageant is Saturday all day and we check out Sunday morning. Why on earth does it take two large suit cases to bring everything we need? After work there is still no sign of the ordered sheep. I picked up the girls and we were on our way. ManSon decided he did not want to go and would rather spend his time with his friends. Since he decided to stay home we left Pup in his care.

To be continued....

Cutting Up My 7 Year Old Daughter's Credit Cards

My children and I often travel on the weekends. I always request late checkout which means my bill is processed and a copy is then slid under my door between 1:00 AM - 11:00 AM. With this process I can skip the step of going to the front desk to check out. I can also keep the room a few hours past the normal checkout time. I hate to be rushed when I am trying to have a nice time with my family.

Since this is my standard practice each time we stay at a hotel I do not go to the front desk when I am leaving. I never remember to give the key card back. Later on Snow White finds the cards in my purse. She has been putting them in her little purse pretending they are credit cards. I thought this as a way of recycling and not adding more plastic to the landfills.

Poor Snow White. I might have to cut up her credit cards. You don’t really think this will cause trauma having to go through a credit card cutting at such an early age? (Joking)

Many of you may have seen the email below before but just incase here it is…

Subject: Alert Travel Note - Key Cards at Hotels

This note was brought to my attention again. Please take note.

Ever wonder what is on your hotel magnetic key card?


a. Customer's name
b. Customer's partial home address
c. Hotel room number
d. Check-in date and out dates
e. Customer's credit card number and expiration date!

When you turn them in to the front desk your personal information is there for any employee to access by simply scanning the card in the hotel scanner. An employee can take a hand full of cards home and using a scanning device , access the information onto a laptop computer and go shopping at your expense.

Simply put, hotels do not erase the information on these cards until an employee re-issues the card to the next hotel guest. At that time, the new guest's information is electronically "overwritten" on the card and the previous guest's information is erased in the overwriting process. But until the card is rewritten for the next guest, it usually is kept in a drawer at the front desk with YOUR INFORMATION ON IT!

The bottom line is:

Keep the cards, take them home with you, or destroy them. NEVER leave them behind in the room or room wastebasket, and NEVER turn them in to the front desk when you check out of a room. They will not charge you for the card (it's illegal) and you'll be sure you are not leaving a lot of valuable personal information on it that could be easily lifted off with any simple scanning device card reader.

For the same reason, if you arrive at the airport and discover you still have the card key in your pocket, do not toss it in an airport trash basket. Take it home and destroy it by cutting it up, especially through the electronic information strip!

Information courtesy of: Pasadena Police Department

** I personally have a small magnet and pass it across the magnetic strip several times. Then try it in the door, it will not work. It erases everything on the card

I suppose I wont have to cut up Snow White’s credit cards after all!

Snow White went to a pageant... Yes, I said the horrid "P" word. I will fill you in on the details later.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

World Peace? No, Just Peaceful Daycare

Every day, some where in the world, there is a child who comes home from school upset or crying due to someone else's bad behavior. It is really sad but true. I think of it as a rite of passage thing. Children have these experiences in their young life to see how they handle it. If you don't handle it right not to will happen again...until it is handled correctly.

Today was my daughter's turn to handle it.

When I arrived at the daycare to pick her up she was happily building a log cabin with three boys. As we left she darted back inside to show the lead caregiver the tiny bears she had in her pocket. She skipped out the door and into the car. While she told me about her day Lauren and Elizabeth came up. When their names are mentioned it is usually followed by some horrible thing they did to her or said to her. Snow White was so upset this time she burst in to tears and her words caught in her throat as she tried to speak. The frequency has become more than Snow White can bare.

She has tried to keep her distance from them but that is not always possible. They all ride the same bus both in the morning and afternoon. Thank goodness Snow White is not in the same classroom or on the same lunch time as these two. Elizabeth is in 3rd grade but Lauren is in 2nd grade just like Snow White. Lauren has recess the same time as Snow White but they do not have to be near each other. All three of them do have to stand in the same line after school while waiting for the bus to arrive for about 15 minutes. There is a teacher watching over them while they wait so the girls have no opportunity to misbehave at that time. They are all at the daycare center from 3:30 to 5:00 in the evening. There are activity rooms for the children to play in but they all seem to enjoy the same activities so they end up in the same room from time to time. Snow White thought it was very unfair that she should always have to give up the arts and crafts room because L & E were in also in the room.

On our way home tonight I thought about turning the car around and heading back to the daycare center. I wanted to tell those girls a thing or two! "Are you so low class you have to talk trash to everyone around you? What, your Momma don't love you?! She didn't teach you any manners? Are you an animal? You do not belong in this nice place so scat you rat!" or maybe "When you see my daughter come around you better be nice or I will sick Guido on your tiny pathetic arse! Capuche?! "

Ok, so I would never say anything like that but come know it would feel good to put a bully/brat in their place. You see them at the stores, in restaurants and other places. Tell me there hasn't been a time when you wanted to verbally scare the poop out of them!

Mean thoughts were racing through my brain like telling Snow White several mean and nasty things to say right back at those awful girls! What would that accomplish? With the repetitiveness required to make an impact on these girls my sweet little girl would turn out just like them!! Hell NO I don't want my daughter to be like THEM!

Instead I comforted my little Snow White and tried my best to explain nasty/mean people are everywhere. To change they need God's help and they have to want to change. I told her maybe they have a miserable life and everyone knows misery loves company. They think if they are miserable why shouldn't everyone around them be miserable? At this point my brain stopped racing and I felt sorry for these girls. They do not know how to deal with their peers other than bullying. I tried to get Snow White to see that they must have some family or other issues going on in their very young lives. She protested saying no one is miserable, people are happy in their hearts and everyone is good. Oh the sweetness of innocent youth.

When we arrived home I called the daycare center and spoke with daycare director. I explained nicely what we have done to this point and Snow White had reached the end of her rope with these girls. The director informed me that Snow White had approached the her and other staff with her concerns regarding L & E. She also said they sat all three girls down and had a chat with them. After that she thought everything was working out. Snow White joined our conversation while passing by my room. She explained how she has left an activity she enjoys due to the girls coming in the room. Also the girls whisper their threats and derogatory comments when they pass by her on the bus and within the center.

I was actually very surprised to hear my 7 year old Snow White handled the situation so maturely. She had the mind set to actually speak up and inform the director and other staff about the situation. She is growing up, not being a shy little girl who allows people to just walk all over her. Trying to make a positive impact on things around her.

It is sad this sort of thing happens but then again it is a growing experience which she handled correctly. Tomorrow the staff will again sit down with all the girls. Snow White assured me she will not be afraid to speak up for herself. I hope it is also a well received growing experience for the other two girls. After all, they are all in the same generation and will likely have some effect (large or small) on each other later on in life.

I know Snow White is not the first to go through this. I recently found these blog entries Cheeky Lotus and Silicon Valley Moms

Sunday, April 08, 2007

For Stage Mom

Confessions of a stage Mom needs a really good Disco Song. She requested that we leave her a song on her blog but I couldn't think of one song that really says "Disco" because, like her, I was just a little girl when the Disco thing was going on.

Here are some songs we came up with. Mind you most of them I do not know myself but there are a few I remember hearing from time to time on the car radio or when the baby sitter came over. Feel free to correct any names on the list that are not from the 70s. If you have a favorite please let me or Stage Mom know. I think this will be fun!

1. Disco Duck - Rick Dees
(I remember hearing this played in the car, stores, elevators, everywhere)

2. Dancing Queen - ABBA
3. Cher Chez La Femme - Dr. Buzzard's Original
5. Le Freak - Chic
6. Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now - McFadden & Whitehead
7. Dance, Dance, Dance - Chic
8. You Should Be Dancing - Bee Gees
9. Car Wash - Rose Royce
(We had to do arobics to this in our middle school gym class. My guess is it was one of the gym teacher's favorite songs in her hay day.)

10. Saturday Night (S.A.T.U.R.- D.A.Y Night)
Not sure who sang this but our babysitter really liked playing it

11. Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel - Tavares
12. That's Where the Happy People Go - The Trammps
13. I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor
14. Jungle DJ - Kikrokos
15. Boogie Oogie Oogie - Taste of Honey
16. We Are Family - Sister Sledge
17. Turn the Beat Around 0- Vicki Sue Robinson
18. Everybody (Get Dancin') - The Bombers
19. Dance, Disco Heat - Sylvester
20. Turn The Music Up - Players Association
21. Dancin' And Prancin - Candido (sounds like a good title)
22. Baby Baba Boogie - GAP Band
23. The Hustle - Van McCoy
(I think this would be really good if you could get a techno remix of it!)

24. We Got The Funk - Positive Force
25. Chick Cheer - Chic
26. Boogie Wonderland - Earth, Wind and Fire with the Emotions
27. Inside Out - Odyssey
28. Angel Eyes (Disco Version) - Roxy Music
29. Night Fever - Bee Gees
30. Dance The Night Away - Carol Williams
31. Disco Inferno - Players Association
32. Dance Fever - Triple S Connection
33. Space Warrior - Munich Machine
34. Fernando - ABBA
35. Take A Chance On Me - ABBA

34. Shake Your Booty - KC & The Sunshine Band. Me being such a little girl at the time I thought they were saying shake your Koolaid!! I was only 6 years old. I didn't know there was such a word as booty he he he. To this day that still cracks up my Sister-in-law!

35. Rappers Delight - Sugarhill Gang. This was HILLARIOUS! I use to watch my two brothers stand in front of the stereo console mouthing the words to this!! I wouldn't recommend it for your daughter but oh my goodness did that song bring back funny memories!

I remember watching a movie recently called Muriel's Wedding and her favorite group was ABBA. She even walked down the isle at her "Green Card" wedding to an ABBA song. I thought the part where she and her friend entered a contest and performed an ABBA song was really funny. Muriel's Wedding sound track CD Click here to listen.

">UTube Dancing Queen

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Here I am!

Oh my, it has been awhile since I wrote in my blog. I have been traveling a bit, working too much and too many projects going on at once in this house.

I watched most of the History Channel Modern Marvels shows that aired March 8th. I just couldn't stay up late enough to watch all of them. The next morning I was told the show will air on March 28 th, they gave us the wrong date when they first told us. Anyway, Snow White and I said up until 11:00 PM watching the show. She actually found it very interesting. I thought for sure after 15 minutes of the show she would fall asleep in my lap but that was not the case.

We watched to the very end and she said "But Mommy they forgot your part." After thinking it over I realize a lady in a red dress was not so much what they were looking for. The people who actually made the cut looked more appropriate for this piece. I looked professional but a blue pant suit would have been more appropriate for this show. Snow White went through phases of giggling at some parts, squealed in delight when she saw portions from where I work and actual fascination while watching. She has a better understanding of what Mommy does at work and why. That makes me very proud!

My sister on the other hand would like to contact the History Channel for any out-takes with me in them. She is certain there must have been some oops shots or me saying something silly and she wants to see them. Gotta love little sisters don't ya? Yes, I love my little sister. She helps keep the fun rolling along in our lives.

Work has been very busy since we are short staffed two people so I do the best I can to cover my work and the work load of two others...make that one and half others. I am a woman but come on, I need a break sometimes too. While keeping up at work really isn't that difficult I find myself looking off in other directions for distractions. The constant need and constant work is wearing on my poor overloaded brain. Do you want to know how bad it is? Every Monday morning my last dream before I wake is about work. The project I need to finish on Monday, the meetings I will attend on Monday and my boss asking me if my foot hurts. Why would my boss ask if my foot hurts? That will require a post all by it's self which I will post later.

Snow White had a few school projects which required going through our craft supply shelves at home and some glue and scissor supervision. We also decided to do a pageant...I will fill you in on all the be continued...

For now here are a few photos of our Pup! I know it is April but my goodness the weather is crazy. We have an 80 degree day and then bam! Snow...again. I cannot wait until we really have Spring.