I used to go BIG for birthdays. That is actually one of the things Box Social Event Planning did when I started the business. We planned parties for parents that wanted that “Pinterest” party but didn’t have time. We would do such elaborate parties that one time we brought 8 foot trees into a play place to create a perfect Woodland Theme.
But then I stopped. Because I didn’t understand why I was throwing all this time and energy into one day for a little human that wouldn’t even remember it. I still love scrolling through Pinterest and Instagram and seeing beautiful, well curated parties but it just doesn’t work for our family anymore.
I wanted my kids to still have memorable birthdays though. Not something that just blipped by. And then we got the Birthday Banner.
I am not sure when it started but it has become a tradition in our house to hang the Birthday Banner. I remember picking it up at Target (sigh I miss Target even though the Canadian one wasn’t as good as the American one) and hanging it up for one of my kids’ birthdays. It was a September birthday and it was a very busy time for our family between school starting (being married to a teacher in September is not fun) and a busy event schedule for myself. So we threw up the banner and sang Happy Birthday to my youngest around Eggo Waffles topped with whipped cream from a can. Then I brought it out for the next one. Now a few years later it is something my kids love waking up to. It is made out of felt and gets hung in the same spot every time. Sometimes it gets fancy 3M hooks, other times it is held up by green painters tape.
But it is always there.
It took me a while but I have realized that the kids do not care about all the decorations, the cake, the late night party planning. They don’t care whether they have Pinterest worthy handmade cupcakes or a cake bought on the way home from work with a generic “Happy Birthday” on it. They want you to be there. To be present. To sing “Happy Birthday” and watch them blow the candles out not be worried about all the other stuff.
So from now on that is my goal. To be present. And hang the banner every birthday.
Deanne Ferguson is the owner of Box Social Event Planning. When she is not planning fun, family, friendly events she is finding the yummiest food for the Edmonton Home and Garden Show Food Stage. She loves her #cocktailsMonday dates with her husband and chasing around her two boys. You can find her at @DeanneFerguson on Instagram and @BoxSocialYEG on Twitter.
How young is too young for a child’s first sleepover? As a mom of a 5 year old I haven’t really had to ask myself this question yet…. We’ve only had sleepovers with family or friends who are so close they might as well be. This Fall my son has started his first year in Scouting. I thought there would be no way that sleepover camp would be a thing in the youngest level, Beavers. Wrong! We are preparing for camp at the end of the month.
My initial thought was NO WAY, my 5 year old will not be going to a weekend long camp one and a half hours away from home. I mean, that’s so far away if he needs me and how will he manage to fall asleep in a cabin full of other kids and, god forbid, what if there is an unsafe person there??? On the other hand, maybe he will have fun and gain some valuable skills and make new friends… But, again, he is so young!
Ah Facebook, I have a love/hate relationship with you. As a Social Media Manager you make me crazy BUT as a person who’s made funny pages priority in my feed, I enjoy you. Why not add some Ha, Ha to your feed between the advertisements and Aunt Jo’s status update on her foot wart.
The next Five to Follow focuses on Twitter. Some people say they don’t get Twitter or that’s it’s “going away”. I still love Twitter for all the things – weather, traffic, news, drama and even humor!
I’m no stranger of not wanting summer to end. Every year I feel this certain kind of dread right around the end of August and refuse to embrace the PSL and cozy plaid until October. Summer is so fleeting in this part of the world (why would I ever want it to be cold?!) and the end of it always signifies the beginning of school. For the past 5 years this has been no huge deal, because I’ve been a mama casually working (mainly) from home. The extension of summer has been easy and blissful. Some years the weather has been nice enough that I could extend the summer vibes until October!
Photo: Tessa MW
When my sister and I were young it was always a pleasure to drive with my dad. He worked shift work, and wasn’t able to be with us 24/7- so when we were together it was always enjoyable. He was silly and kind, but most importantly, he played the AM radio loudly. Whatever song was playing, he was always game to “crank it up.” We sang along to Fleetwood Mac and Blondie. We wore our sunglasses at night and walked like an Egyptian. The three of us would ride squished together in “Beulah,” his beige Ford Ranger belting out Broken Wings and wondering what Bette Davies Eyes’ really looked like. It wasn’t just in the truck that the music flowed. When we accompanied him to his building he’d use our portable Fisher Price radio and microphone to play the crackling local station. Anytime I hear any 80’s song on the radio, pieces of my childhood come flowing back.
Risky Play has been one of those terms parenting experts have been throwing around a lot lately. I think we have all seen the video of the playground in New York where it looks like the kids are playing in a junkyard and no parents are around. The fun that the kids are having is apparent in their faces but we have yet to find a park like that in Alberta and realistically no one wants all that junk in the backyard.
A few weeks ago we posted on Instagram (If you aren’t already following us on Instagram you can do that here) a few videos of Deanne’s kids playing in the backyard with tree stumps and boards. We had so many questions about it that we decided to write a “how to” for you to bring more risky play into your backyard without it looking like a junkyard.
Simple Ways to Curate Lasting Memories
At the centre of my childhood were simple experiences rich with texture and wrought with meaning. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I was able to appreciate the beauty in the simple togetherness my mom wove into the fabric of our family. Our family didn’t have a lot of money so my mom got creative. I find myself using many of her ideas with my own children and I enjoy coming up with my own. Time is the precious gift our children want above all. Here are some of my favorite memory makers! I would love to hear about yours.
I spend a LOT of time in my car. Driving to work, then from one place to the next and so, I have the opportunity to listen to things like podcasts. Specifically parenting-esque podcasts because who doesn’t like a little learning when it comes to this “job”. There’s no manual and you can take the advice or leave it. For me, I feel that I’m getting a free injection of optimism, point of view and some general tips. Often it’s even just knowing that other people have gone through a similar situation.
Here are the 5 podcasts I’m following right now, including a few with my favourite episodes.
By Amanda Cook, C.H.N.
Taking time to focus on your needs is neither selfish nor selfless, it’s simply necessary for your mental, emotional and physical health. When mother’s take the time to care for themselves, they’re better able to meet the needs of their family. Have you ever had a bad day and just watch your intimate world fall apart? I have! A mother is typically the centre of the home and when her needs are met, life just flows easier.