Pinterest: Or, Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

So I'm planning my daughter's birthday party....can you guess what theme she wants? That's right - Frozen!! My daughter jumped on the Frozen bandwagon a little late, as she was quite young when the movie was first released. I eventually took her to see it at a small theatre months later, and she loved it. We now hear "Let It Go" on repeat, and she's bouncing off the walls in anticipation of her birthday party on Sunday. It's hard to plan a birthday party for a 5 year-old. I never know if I'm doing too much, or too little. She started off asking to go to the movie theatre, but the helpful sales person at Cineplex suggested that 5 might be too young. I then checked out gymnastics centres, but given our strict budget, I can't afford $160-$175 for a party.

So, we took the easy (hard?) way out. We're hosting the party at our house! And what better way to plan a party than to look at ideas on Pinterest?

But Pinterest is dangerous. First I coo over the adorable glasses of frosted blue jello. Then I giggle at the Olaf party favour bags. Soon I'm yelling to my husband that we need giant blue drapes, fake snow for the walls, and twinkly lights. By the end of one hour on Pinterest, I'm frantically writing lists. Panic is making my heart beat louder than the sound of picks on ice.

But no. No, no, no. I'm not Martha Stewart. Martha Stewart is not even a distant cousin of mine. And so I calm down (thanks to my practical husband), and I decide on a few special things:

1) The twinkly lights we have in Christmas boxes are pretty accessible. And they'll make a lovely backdrop to our movie-themed party (the kids are watching Frozen, and will be served popcorn in their own individual buckets).

2) Pin the Nose on Olaf is a great game for a group of 5 year-olds. And bonus that a friend gave us an Olaf poster after throwing her own Frozen birthday party.

3) Frozen grapes and Olaf noses as snacks

4) If there's time, the party favour bags are pretty cute, no?

5) As much as I'd love to make my own pinata, I think I'll head to Bulk Barn and get something simple, filled with a few snacks, stickers and pencils.

Easy peasy, right? Hmmm, talk to me on Monday ;)


Birthday parties: Bowling Bash

by AmandaY A few weeks before his birthday J and I were discussing what kind of party he would like to have.  He started by saying he wanted his grandparents and aunt and uncle to come over for supper.  I told him we would do that too, but I was really asking what kind of kids party he would like to have.  His eyes nearly popped out of his head, such was his surprise.

"A kids party?  I can have my friends at a party?"  He was so happy about that simple fact that he really had no clue what kind of party he should have.  So I gave him a few choices (based on my cost analysis research) and he ended up picking a Bowling Party at Merivale Bowling Lanes.

First of all, bowling is a great activity for kids.  It is active, fun, and really not all that hard to do.  They put bumpers on the lanes for kids so there are no gutter balls to discourage them.  This way, they hit the pins a lot more making it more fun for everyone.

The bowling balls are smaller, not as heavy so the kids can handle them fairly easily.  I don't recommend it for kids under 3-4.  There is music blasting, lights are low and the shoes glow in the dark!  Such simple things to enhance the experience. (Young or very sensitive children may be a bit scared or overwhelmed by the music, lights and noise of the bowling alley.)

My son invited six of his friends, 3 boys from school and 3 kids he's known since he was very little through my friends and daycare.  The kids dove into bowling with lots of enthusiasm, they picked up quickly when it was their turn and how to keep track of their scores, and at one point we had a mini mosh pit of little boys rolling around on top of each other.  Birthday boy was at the bottom, of course.  His friends were all so excited that they just piled on top of him to wish him happy birthday!

Merivale Bowling lanes did a really great job with my son's birthday party.  They were well organized, had a hostess assigned specifically to our party to facilitate our experience there.  We had one hour to bowl and one hour in the restaurant for lunch and cake.  Our hostess organized all the kids with their shoes, programmed all the lanes with names and such and checked in with us regularly to make sure things were going smoothly.  When we were done with bowling we went to the restaurant and the table was set with all the gifts at one end, and the food was ready so the kids didn't have to wait for anything.  They could dive into their pizza, bash open their bags of chips (yes, there were chips everywhere!), and they were all thirsty and so there was apple juice for all sitting at their places.  Presents were opened and cake was served.  Overall, the food was really good and they did a great job on the cake.

We would definitely go back again, both for just family bowling and likely for another birthday.  The cost was really very reasonable, it saved me a whole lot of work, all we had to do was bring the loot bags for our guests.  We bought gift bags in bright colours and filled them with fun items from our local Dollarama.  At the end of the party everyone seemed happy and the birthday boy was thrilled with it, which was, above all, the whole point.

Have you taken your kids bowling?

Amanda was born and raised in Ottawa where she continues to live with her husband and son “J”. Amanda is bilingual and interests include reading, blogging, socializing, and advocacy on children and teen issues.

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Kids in the Capital Anniversary Party!

We were pretty excited when Kids in the Capital turned one. So excited that we decided to have a party! When: May 1st from 10-12pm Where: St.Luke's Park at Elgin and Frank Who: All of our readers and contributors are invited! That means you!

We hope that we will see you there. The plan is to play, visit and meet new friends.

Amanda from Little Lotus Yoga is going to be doing a 15 minute kids' yoga session with the kids at 11.

Shop Haven, Eko Bear, Jen and Jodi's Friendly Kitchen , Sara McConnell Photography and Spoiled Sugar have all donated prizes!

We can't wait to see you! (Let us know if you think you can make it so we can plan for appropriate numbers :))

Brie and Lara

Pampered like a princess

by Deanna My daughter’s birthday was around the corner and each year, I look for something out of the norm.  We were having a pretend sleep-over, (the girls came dressed in their PJ’s, but sleep at home), and I was looking for something to entertain the eight girls we had invited the month before and one that could keep the attention span of 6 year olds for hours.  That’s when I stumbled upon Official Princesses.   After all, I thought, “What little girl wouldn’t like to be pampered like a princess on her birthday?” I couldn’t have asked for a better team to entertain a group of girls, who weren’t quite ready to go it alone, but still wanted all the fun of a real sleepover.  The Official Princesses were in character from the moment their toe stepped into my doorway and they didn’t miss a beat all night.  I was first greeted by Sleeping Beauty, who - in her angelic voice said, “Hi there, I’m Aurora, Cinderella is just finishing tidying-up at the castle – but will be on her way shortly. Do you mind if I come in?”  A few minutes later, Cinderella arrived.  Needless to say, the girls were shrieking with excitement. While Sleeping Beauty read a story, Cinderella whipped up a spa in a matter of minutes, converting my dining room table into a fabulous mini-getaway.  The princesses split the girls in groups of two.  One half made a sparkly wand craft with Sleeping Beauty while the other half were whisked away by Cinderella to this enchanted corner I wouldn’t have recognized as my own dining room if I hadn’t seen it transform myself. They thought of everything.  From scented candles and princess music playing softly in the background, to polka-dot plastic wine glasses spilling over with jelly beans and gum drops.  The girls were doted on for over an hour.  While their sparkly make-up was being applied and their toes and finger nails were drying, I heard Cinderella ask, “Would you like something to read?” as she fanned out an assortment of magazines for their viewing pleasure.

After the crafts and the makeup were done, my living room was turned into a ball room, each of them grabbing a friend and dancing as if they were in a dream.  They played pass the poison apple, pretending to take a bite when they were caught holding it after the music stopped – and then falling into a sweet slumber trance before taking their turn out.  They played princess trivia – guessing the answers to princess questions and after getting it right, the princesses were kind enough to weave in magical stories about the answers.

Before the onslaught of pictures, they had time to answer the slew of questions of inquisitive little minds like… “Where is your prince?” “Is your castle near Ariel’s?” Are you all friends?”, “Does Cinderella really work all the time?”, “What did you wear to the ball?”  When it came time to leave- I went to shake Sleeping Beauty’s hand, but instinctively gave her a huge hug instead. The team at Official Princesses made my little girls dreams come true and my party organization a breeze.

I was planning to take my little one to Disney next year, but after this – I’m not sure that I have to.   If you want to get a glimpse of the princesses in action, they are having a “CHEO Royal Ball” on Nov 28, from 11am-2pm – looks like a magical afternoon with proceeds going to a good cause.   Phone: (613) 435-0802

Deanna is Chief Storyteller for StorylinePR and inspired by the creativity of her 6 year old, Madeline.  She blogs about PR tips and media trends at