Mom and Son Date In The City

The entire summer there has been no overlap in daycare for Kat and Reece.  As a result, Mondays and Fridays, Reece has been getting 100% mom time while Kat’s in daycare, and Tuesday through Thursday the mornings are all about Kat, while Reece is at camp.  Once school starts in September, Reece’s mom only days will be few and far between.  This will be great for my productivity, but will be a little sad.  We will still have plenty of time together, but the dynamic is just a little different with little sister or dad around.  Since our Reece and Mom only days are numbered once school starts, I took advantage and planned a special day for both of us.  A Mommy/Reece date!!

I got an invitation to go to the Trunk Club Boston’s Clubhouse and decided it was the perfect excuse to make the drive into Boston.  I don’t venture into Boston often because I don’t like risking a car nap happening at the wrong time.  But, caution to the wind, it’s our special day!  My Trunk Club appointment motivated me to follow through.  I kept the plan flexible, with just an itinerary of my Trunk Club appointment, swan boats, ice cream, and explore the Back Bay and Beacon Hill neighborhoods.

Mom and son sitting by fountain
Reece and I sitting by the fountain, taking in the city.

We arrived a little early and sat by the fountain outside Trinity Church.  I pointed out the John Hancock Building, Boston Public Library, and Copley Place Mall to him.  I also pointed out a Wendy’s that used to be Poppy’s pizza shop.  Reece was only interested in the Hancock Building.  Now I have some homework to do finding toddler facts about Boston’s tallest building.  Our Trunk club appointment took about an  hour, I got two cute shirts.  The focus for the rest of the day was whatever Reece wanted to do!  We drove down to the Boston Public Garden and only had to circle once for a spot.  I was so relieved, there are parking lots nearby but street parking is so much cheaper!  We would have walked, but I forgot the stroller and the parking meter time was a factor.

 

Reece really wanted to explore and inspect every acorn.  He’s a dawdler, I rushed a little bit to make our way to the swan boats.  I didn’t want to risk lots of aimless wandering, then scratching the main event to haul it home ASAP for a nap.  Don’t worry, I didn’t rush too much.  It still took us about 20 minutes from the car to the docks – it’s about a 3 minute walk for a normal person.

Reece exploring Boston Public Garden
Reece exploring The Boston Public Garden

We spent about 10 minutes on the footbridge talking about how we were going to go on the swan boats.  I have to mention, Reece dressed himself, which explains the backwards shirt.  I asked him several times if he wanted to fix his shirt to no avail.  Nope, very proud, he did it himself, doesn’t need help.  At least his shorts were on right.  I think it’s 50/50 that any article of clothing is on the right way.

Reece on Boston Garden footbridge
Reece on the footbridge checking out the Swan Boats

Once we had soaked up the idea of what the swan boats were, we made our way into the line, applied more sunscreen, and hopped onboard.  If you don’t know the history of the swan boats, you should read about it here.  It’s not a long read, and the sweetest story.

 

Back at the dock we decided it was ice cream time, so off Reece and I ventured to some of the pushcarts nearby.  I did not have any cash so that was a fail.  We explored the Commons and Gardens a little more and headed down to Charles Street to find lunch.  A few of the places I wanted to check out had crazy, long lines and weren’t the most toddler friendly, and most importantly, NO ice cream.  After three or four restaurant fails we decided on Caffe Bella Vita.  I told my father later, and his response was, “That place is still open?”  Apparently, he used to go as a kid for gelato.  We ordered gelati for lunch with a PBJ dessert.

Reece eating strawberry ice cream
Reece nomming on some strawberry ice cream. Yum Yum!

We still had time left in the meter for one more thing.  It would be tight, but just enough time to go to the Boston Common Carousel.  I found $3 after rummaging through my diaper bag, hurrah!  Reece picked a bench instead of a horse and was in toddler heaven.  I even let him have a slush on the walk back to the car.  Which was sort of a bad idea because at this point we were pushing the limit of our parking meter time.  I tried to carry the slush to pick up the pace but no dice.  We got to the car and while I was buckling him in our time expired.  Whew!

Mom and Reece on carousel
Best picture we could get on the carousel. Just too exciting for selfies!

Boston Common Carousel

When we saw Dada that night, he asked Reece, “What did you do today?”  Reece told him, “I went shopping with Mama.”  Glad the swan boats, ice cream, carousel, and exploring the city and BPG made an impression!  When pressed he did also mention he had ice cream for lunch, haha.

Reece’s Dr. Seuss Birthday

First I had to say goodbye officially to the infant phase of my life when Kat turned two, and now Reece is four?  His last birthday before he is ‘school aged.’  Stop growing babies!!  Pity party aside… This year Reece could, somewhat, help pick out what he wanted to do for his birthday party.  I gave him a couple options he picked a backyard Dr. Seuss party.  The past few months he’s fallen back in love with his Dr. Seuss books and his birthday party countdown commenced.

We invited our family and Reece’s preschool class, which is pretty wild for us.  I took the gamble that most people wouldn’t be able to make it since it would be summer vacation.  As I had thought, only a handful of classmates RSVPed yes, a couple no, but the majority we didn’t hear from.  We planned food for more than we expected, since we weren’t 100% sure how many to expect.  Best to have too much food than not enough.

I later found out during our play group, pretty close to the party, several people didn’t even get the invitation and just assumed we only invited close friends when other play group moms mentioned it.  The problem with distributing cards to the class AT school I suppose.  Oops.  Hopefully we didn’t offend our classmates.  I learned, three and four year olds aren’t the best messengers.  Who knew?

As with Kat’s party I whipped up a Pinterest board for ideas on what little touches of Dr. Seuss I could bring to the party.

Decor

We only bought a couple things, a Dr. Seuss party banner from my favorite store, Target, of course, and a few red and blue plates and cups.  The only other decor were signs I drew myself.  Since it was a backyard party, we didn’t need to go crazy on decorations.

 

Food

To go with the Dr. Seuss theme that was preschool friendly we did pasta salad (noodle eating poodle), gold fish (the fish from The Cat In The Hat) and of course (Truffula) fruit salad.  Not theme related, but other food included: hotdogs, popcorn, chocolate chip cookies, and mini Oreo. The kids spent about half the party crowded around the food table helping themselves to Oreo and popcorn so good thing we didn’t stick to only theme food.

 

Activity

We were going to do water activities, but nixed it since not all the kiddos had suits.  Didn’t matter, the kids played on the swing set, a crawling tunnel, balls, and all the other outdoor toys we have and had a blast.  By candle time pretty much all the kids were ready for naps.  Not very Pinteresty, but at this age running around outside is much more fun than adults trying to tell them what to do and when to do it.

Dessert

Reece requested cupcakes.  The most important part of these cupcakes (for me) were the Dr. Seuss colors.  So I picked up a food coloring kit.

 

I picked a couple different story books: The Lorax, One Fish Two fish Red Fish Blue Fish, and Oh, The Places You’ll Go!  For the truffula trees I used this super easy tutorial to make yarn flowers which actually make a cool truffula trees, then stuck the pipe cleaner into straws that I cut down a little to fit the cupcakes.

Truffula trees
Truffula tree tops

For the One Fish Two Fish cupcakes I piped yellow frosting, then put gummy sharks or Swedish fish on top.  Oh, The Places You’ll Go cupcakes, simply piped a layer in few different colors with the round frosting tip.

Dr Seuss Cupcakes

Since I made more than enough, my husband brought the leftovers to his office and he reported back that his coworkers knew it was Dr. Seuss cupcakes!  I was pretty jazzed. For any allergy kiddos we made some Cat In The Hat parfait.

If you are thinking of a birthday party that isn’t a typical character theme that you can find at Party City, don’t feel overwhelmed!  There are ways to get creative and not spend all your budget on Etsy.  And, don’t forget the most important goal, a fun party for the birthday boy/girl.  All that’s needed for a successful birthday party, really, is playing and toddler friendly food.

Kat Turns Two! – Art Birthday Theme

Another year, another year older for Kat.  Wahhh!!  I officially no longer have a 1 and 3 year old.  After lots of self pity wondering where the time went, I got to planning on how to celebrate my despair… Umm.. Happiness…  Time to get cracking on the birthday party planning.

I’m not one to go all out with huge, fancy blowout birthday parties, but I do like to do a couple special touches.  We typically have smallish backyard parties since we have April and June babies.  We invited our family and a couple friends who have toddlers the same age as Reece and Kat, keeps it somewhat manageable for us.

Since Reece and Kat are still pretty little, I have a good amount of control on all birthday party aspects.  At this age, let’s be real, it’s basically the parents party.  Regardless, I wanted to make it Kat’s party as much as I could.  She’s a pretty sunny baby and loves her unicorn costume, trains, gymnastics, baby dolls, legos…  So many interests and cool things, what to pick?!  After some brainstorming, and a lot of flip flopping, I settled on an art theme.  We do art class every week along with big brother and this was a chance to show off her artistic chops!  

I created a pinterest board to help inspire me.  Then I tried to figure out what could be done with minimal work and on the cheap.  

Decor

I hung up Kat and Reece’s art work around the house to showcase their beautiful work (read: scribbles).  Then I bought a unicorn table cloth and a couple little strings that had colorful mini poms on them and strung them up on a window and the front door. Kats Art themed birthday party decor 

Food

I tried to keep things colorful since it was an art theme.  I did a veggie rainbow platter and a bowl with all different colored fruit.  I stumbled upon some Chewies that had rainbow sprinkles on them.   Then we got lazy and bought some chicken bites, plus mac and cheese bites and baked them up. Hey, it’s a toddler party, right?

Kat nomming on strawberries
Kat nomming on strawberries

rainbow of fruit, birthday art food

Activity

Of course we have to have some painting at our Art Birthday party! So I bought a pack of board canvas, one for each toddler friend and restocked our paint.  Then I moved the craft table into the main room so the kids weren’t squished in the playroom. They spent about 5 minutes painting and crafting, the rest of the time they were either eating (80% of Kat’s time at least) or going to town with whatever toys they could find in the playroom.  Somehow, the house wasn’t a huge mess after the party, woohoo!Kat drawing in a coloring bookKat and friends painting

Cake

This is typically the ‘big’ thing I do for my children’s birthdays.  To create this cool looking cake, I baked SIX layers of cake then frosted it with vanilla frosting.  I melted white chocolate in several bowls and mixed each one with a different food coloring color.  Using a spoon, I dribbled the chocolate over the cake edge.  I let Reece help by letting him go to town with some dot rainbow sprinkles, covering the entire top.  To top it all off, I got a pack of paper poms.  A pretty big show stopper.  I thought with all the white chocolate it would be disgusting since I’m not really a fan, but paired with the cake it was yummy.Kat's rainbow art birthday cake

If you are planning an Art themed birthday party, I hope this gave you some ideas of what you could do.  Stay tuned in the upcoming weeks if you are interested in a Dr. Seuss theme, I’ll be posting Reece’s Dr. Seuss party!