Summer Update- Where have you been?

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Howdy Y’all,

It feels a lifetime ago that I wrote to y’all and in many ways it is, not simply in time but also in what has been going on in Casa Lifestyle. So where to start.  I am now typing this in my new home, moving is not a phenomenon to me, but this is different because we have bought a home, our first American home. I don’t remember how much I told you about our purchase and I think the level of information is different depending on what social media channels you follow me on! (If the answer is not on all forms, I ask you why the hell not?!) So we bought a house back in March/April and spent two or so months remodeling. A project which I managed, back in my working days this would have been a piece of cake but now I found daunted me a little (will share more in a future post.) I am happy to say that we finished the projects on time, I wont say on budget (because if you know me speculation = accumulation is my moto -lol) In all seriousness the budget increased because the scope increased and honestly we were so fortunate not to be living in the home at the time so it made sense to get works done! Now I love interiors and design but I will say this was a large project and by the end making decisions got frustrating. I am thrilled with the end result and hope to share the transformation with y’all in the coming months. We are settled, there are no boxes and I certainly think it looks as if we have been living here longer than we have. I still have finishing touches to add, which honestly I don’t want to rush, I want to take a breather from all things house for a while. I want to live and love it before I decide what sort of art or chotskies to add for dust collection. If you have time to flick through the slideshow above I share a few sneakpeaks into the transformation.

The rest of the summer has been busy and hot, Little L is growing up at a rate of knots. I’m officially stopping her, she has remained in school for three days a week which has been a lifesaver because we are still making friends and it’s hot here, school has been a blessing. She has taken to the new house super well. She has had a lot of change for a three year old and it blows my mind how resilient kids are. I do think it helped that she had been able to visit the house during works and had a say in her bedroom etc. I think the arrival of Gertie has helped, who has been a total trooper, she is now five months and although we have had one or two more difficult days (she loves to eat underpants.) I can honestly say good outweighs bad and she has adjusted to the new home and garden like the golden gal she is. Gertie will have her own post coming very soon.

My mother came for a visit soon after we moved in, we loved having her. I will try not to hammer on in my champagne life about how challenging it can be with family so far away but it really makes the visits special. Little L and Gertie especially enjoyed Granny time. Just wish she could have stayed longer.

Last week I was down with a ear infection it was a nasty one, I had not had one this bad since my honeymoon. (Yes what a love dampener.) I had a face like a Bo Selecta character and if you have no idea of what I speak, google it. I still cant hear out of my left ear and am hoping it will come back. I mentioned earlier that it is hot here in Texas and I am using that to my advantage, planning and organizing content for TLL over the coming months. I really appreciate you taking the time to read, watch and participate in my things. I am a one woman band and like many of you time is a precious commododity. I love and need The Lifestyle Lady and thoughts for content and replying to comments is never far from my mind. Now life is calming a little I hope I will be able to dedicate some more efforts to her. So please don’t be a stranger are there things you would like to see, get in touch! Above I have a slideshow of some summer pics, please enjoy and I will be back soon!

 

Ta Ta for now.

Kx

 

 

Birthday Party – Daniel Tiger Neighborhood

Howdy Y’all,

Happy Monday. I hope your weekend was great, mine was interesting as Mr L is away on business and I have been flying solo with Little L for the last week, she has been pretty good except for night waking. I have to tell you this mama does not do well on little sleep. I did try my first hip-hop class this weekend, yes you read this right and Beyoncé I am not although I had great fun. On Sunday evening my friend and I took our daughters to see Daniel Tigers Neighborhood which was performing in Houston and that inspired me for todays post. It was wonderful to see so many parents appreciating the value in taking their preschoolers to the theatre. I secretly hope Little L shares my passion for theatre, it is one of the things I miss most about my British life, I was spoilt with the West End on my doorstep. I was blessed with the variety of theatre I saw in my formative years, so whenever their is anything suitable for Little L I pounce. I was touched to see her actively participating in the audience, she was so upset when we left as she wanted more “Dan Dan.”

I have been meaning to share this post for a long while, but better late than never -right? Now Little L has started pre-school I find myself nostalgic about where the last (almost 3 years have gone -wth?)  A wise person said “the days are long but the years short.” They definitely had toddlers. She turned two in the latter part of last year and Mr L and I decided to celebrate this milestone with a party at Gymboree. If you are not familiar with this establishment it is a program of classes for children from 0-5 available across the world. Little L had been attending our local classes since she was 8 weeks old and I have never underestimated how much she has benefited from attending. Like so many of the children’s facilities they offer parties, after all who wants to entertain a group of toddlers?

Gymboree do offer an excellent range of themes for their parties, at that time she had one great love and he came in the form of an animated tiger called Daniel or as she calls him Dan Dan. This is based on Mister Rogers Neighborhood. I appreciate my European readers will not be familiar with this cartoon but if you see it on Netflix or Amazon Prime and you have a toddler, download. If you need further convincing I was reading over the summer of some research by Texas Tech on preschoolers who watch Daniel Tiger and its affect on social skills development. (I link article here.) Little did I know when I purchased some very cute electronic invites of Daniel Tiger on Etsy, how little party merchandise there was. Disney and Nick Jnr seem to have all their characters covered but the PBS characters have a less commercial presence.(Although I think this is improving.) So this means that TLL had to spring into Pintrestmom and make and create things that would fit the theme. Below I wanted to share with you some of the photos of things that I made to give it the Daniel Tiger party it’s feel and make it a party for Little L to remember.

The majority of the party was a class of fun games and activities on the equipment and I knew that it was during snack time and home time is where I could create the theme feel.

 

cakestand
I opted for cupcakes this year, since the focus was on the toddlers, these are much easier to portion and don’t require a sharp knife. Little L also loves pink and insisted on pink frosting (didn’t she get the yellow and red Dan Dan theme – kids!) The cupcake topers I purchased from Etsy, I printed cutout, stuck to card both sides and attached to cocktail sticks. Each little one could choose which character they wanted to be.
RosePartyTable
This was the toddler tea, pre-toddlers, I made sure I took a photo. It is difficult to see but I bought small red paper plates and then stuck a Daniel Tiger images on each, I followed suit on the plastic cups. I even went more mad by making water labels with Daniel Tiger, I am insane. I made sure all food was finger related so it did not require silverware. (Less washing up.) I kept the table decorations simple with little Daniel Tiger figurines which you might be able to see. You will see at the back I made larger trollies for extra decoration.
FoodRoom
I am really pleased I ordered the yellow and red ballon arrangement, they were relatively inexpensive and I think they added impact. I also seperated them and gave each friend a ballon with their favor/party bag at the end of the party. If you have super eyes you may also notice another large trolly I made on the gift table.
RoseGiftTable
In this picture you can see the garlands I made to help decorate, I printed out, punched holes and thread string through. They looked great. You can see the larger trolley again. I keep mentioning these because they were the most difficult to make. I love these red table cloths that I bought from Dollar Tree. They hide a multitude of sins, under the table was boxes and bags which carried all these things from home to the venue.
Gift Table
I also printed these posters which I scattered around the venue.
DTGoodieBags
These are the favor boxes. I made them individual trollies. You may see that better on the photo below. I used red favor boxes I found at Dollar Tree but all party places carry something similar.
closeupgoodybags
You can see closer up in this photo, the face masks which the children loved I attached to straws, and they match the character on the trolley. Think I might be a little obsessive.
Goodiebag
Here is a final photo of the favor boxes with the balloons attached. I was thrilled with how it all turned out.

Food Ideas

As I was serving a simple tea, I wanted the food to be light, relatively healthy and easy to transport. I made these pizza bites which I found through Pinterest. The kids loved them. I kept them veggie as I had vegetarian, they all went. I also made fruit salad and portioned them into small pots, similar to this, they were perfect to transport and the right size for toddler tummies whose eyes were on cupcakes. I also served raisins and veggie sticks. I was pleased as I was left with very little food and all the kids seemed to eat and enjoy. They sat for 20 mins eating and chatting which was super.

Favor Boxes/ Party Bags 

You can see the favor boxes above, they did take a while to make but once you have made a few you can speed up. I think they look pretty effective and the kids loved them. Inside was a face mask as you can see. I also included a Daniel tiger crayon pack which I made, I bought sets of crayons placed them in a clear gift bag very similar to this. I added some coloring pages, a ball and a free pass to try a Gymboree class (thanks Gymboree.) Honestly it is a while since I packed them and I had none spare after delivering to some guests who couldn’t make it. I think there might have been one or two extra items.

Decorations

I will be honest and say I would have been “up a creek without a paddle” if I did not have access to this PBS site, they helped with printouts and inspiration. I did adapt and change some of the ideas but generally a super resource. Little L’s party invites came from NineLivesNotEnough via Etsy. They were perfect and set the tone. I also bought her thank you cards at the same time which matched. Looked super. The same shop provided many of the printouts I used to decorate everything. I urge you to take a look.  Little L’s T-shirt came from littlemacboutique via Etsy, again this was great for the party gal.

We really had a super time and it created many happy memories. I was very impressed with Gymboree and how professional and fun they made the whole event (I am fussy.) In  conclusion I want to thank my brother who helped me prepare some of the decorations when he was over visiting (who knew you needed to be an Engineer to make trolleys?!) TLL knows how to treat her guests well. I would urge you to check out dollar/pound shops for party supplies (I never thought I would write that!!) I was impressed with what was available and you don’t mind trashing after the event. The party also reinforced to me that the party is for the kids and not the adults who attend. Little L’s first birthday we had lots of adults and we catered more for them, this time we made the right decision with a Gymboree style option. We had a great time, lets hope we can make some new friends in this new location before November so I can plan another party, but Little L if you are reading this lets have a more commercial theme next time? Princess’ Frozen, Sophia the First, Thomas, any of those would be great!

Hope this was useful, I had fun.

Ta Ta for now.

TLL x