The Knife Free Jack-O-Lantern

We wanted something fun for our Play Group to celebrate Halloween that would be interesting for us, fun for the kids, and easy to do so we could pass along the idea to our friends. Inspired by a Matthew Mead idea from his amazing book of Halloween ideas called Halloween Tricks and Treats, we created the Knife-Free Jack-O-Lantern Party.

The Prep: 3 days prior to event.
(1) Find small-medium sized pumpkins that don’t have super deep grooves and still have some stem.
(2) Prop them up on rocks or wood on a newspaper-covered area and paint them with spray-on chalkboard paint in black (from Home Depot or other paint store). We used one spray paint can to cover our five pumpkins. Let dry for 36 hours.
(3) We made cookies (Banana-Chocolate Chip from Martha Stewart) and bought Halloween candy to create a happy, sugared frenzy for our craft. You can make the cookie dough ahead of time, freeze it, then thaw day-of and bake.

The Party:
(1) Cover the table with a drop cloth or machine washable tablecloth.
(2) We created a station of pumpkin, treats, and tools for each child and had them some to the Play Group already in their costumes (which they readily wore before Halloween!).
(3) Introduce them to the spooky black pumpkins and have one for yourself, &/or each mom and dad, and put chalk to pumpkin to create your own design. Note: you can erase and start over, but the black paint does chip off a bit, so you might want to have a chalkboard eraser handy. This can also be fun, letting the kids do more than one design if they don’t like the first.

Success! We had a great time with kids ranging from age 2-8. And every neighbor has already stopped by to see if the black pumpkins on my front porch are real. Great fun.

Send us pictures of yours and we’ll post some of them: Halloween@BebeAuLait.com

The opinions expressed by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Bebe au Lait or any employee thereof. Bébé au Lait is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers.

Hiding Your Bump at Work?


When to tell the boss that you are pregnant. I read this today and wanted to share it with everyone since this is a tough decision. Here’s some great advice. Follow the link for the full article.

Be up front and professional to avoid being placed on the ‘mommy track’
By Tara Weiss
Forbes
Thurs., Aug. 7, 2008

Laura Stager couldn’t wait to share with her co-workers the news that she was pregnant. But once she did, a strange thing started happening: People who barely talked to her before the announcement started rubbing her belly; even more uncomfortable, colleagues ask her weekly how much she weighs.

Stager learned the best way to deal with these new realities is to be honest. For the weight question, she replies with something like, “I don’t think you’re supposed to ask that.” As for the touching, she tolerates it from her closest colleagues, but for others, she simply says, “hands off.”

These are the small issues that come with telling the office you’re expecting. But there are larger ones, too. Most co-workers will be thrilled, but some bosses won’t share the excitement, a possibility that causes some pregnant women to conceal their growing stomachs for as long as possible.

Women who worked hard to climb the corporate ladder worry the boss will put them on the “mommy track,” giving them less-challenging projects. This is of particular concern to women who are on a partnership track and need to demonstrate certain skills to advance. Others fear their manager will work them extra hard so they can do as much as possible before taking maternity leave.

But you can’t keep your pregnancy a secret forever, and it’s best to start planning early how you’ll transition to maternity leave. Most experts suggest telling the boss your news after the first trimester, a time when the risk for a miscarriage greatly decreases. The only time to tell the boss sooner would be if you’re experiencing a difficult pregnancy or severe morning sickness, and need to take time off from work. No matter what, tell the boss before other colleagues — it’s a sign of respect.

The opinions expressed by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Bebe au Lait or any employee thereof. Bébé au Lait is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers.

My Secrets for a Successful 3-Year Old’s Birthday Party

My bebes Lilia and Grayson turned 3 years old this weekend and there were a few moments of genius regarding the planning (and the usual crazy stuff that wasn’t as genius) that I wanted to share.
(1) The game plan: Lots of things to do. Good food to meet every allergy, age and appetite requirement. Games and Snacks 10-11. Pizza assortment delivered and eaten 11-11:30. Cupcakes 11:30-11:45. More play time 11:45-12-ish. Then…naps!
(2) Because I actually wanted to talk to some of the parents we set up the following in the backyard so the kids, ages ranging from 4 months to 4 years, could play at their own pace: kiddie pool; jumpy castle; bubble machine; crayons and markers set out on a huge piece of paper; face painting (which I did–whiskers and a nose, nothing fancy); jungle gym; a dress-up assortment; fruit salad; juice boxes; mini muffins; and cheerios mix.
(3) We did the party from 10-12 to beat the heat and get kids at their best hours of the day + give the families the rest of the day to do whatever needed to be done.
(4) Cupcakes. I make great ones, but I don’t make great frosting. So, I made all 30 cupcakes from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook (One Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes) and ordered the frosting in bulk from a local baker. Divine. Then I topped them with every character you can imagine so each kid got something they liked. Plus cupcakes are great–no cutting, waiting or plates.
(5) Presents. Tough when kids are three and not fully sharing or understanding the idea of presents and manners. So we opened them later that evening (post-nap) and photographed each one to send along with the thank you cards to the respective parent/kids. The parents didn’t mind skipping the insane, “no, that’s a gift, honey.” and it taught my kids to have a bit of patience.

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The opinions expressed by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Bebe au Lait or any employee thereof. Bébé au Lait is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers.

Two Hour Vacations, aka the Staycation

It’s a fun new word, the “staycation”. Meaning, gas is ridiculously expensive and so is everything else right now because of it, so what can I do locally for a much-needed break?! The typical vacation can be brutal anyway, the angst and panic that can set it when you plan to take a few days or a week’s vacation. The planning, the packing, the fun-making; it can overwhelm the best of us before you even leave the house. Suddenly the staycation goes from an interesting idea to something you are actually going to do.

Here are some ideas on how to freshen up your routine enough to feel like you’ve had a break without spending too much $$ or time.

(1) Treat yourself to a real manicure, pedicure. Schedule it at a day spa and read a magazine cover-to-cover. It’s okay to tell the nail technician you are there to “zone out” and don’t want to talk. Pick a bright, cheery color and bring your own polish so you can do touch-ups yourself and lengthen the amount of time it lasts.
(2) Consider a vocation-vacation. Ever wonder what it’s like to be a ______? Find one near you and ask them if they would mentor you for a day, a weekend even, and give your dream or curiosity a chance to bubble up to the surface.
(3) Go to a movie by yourself. I do this because a good movie gives my mind a great break from MY life and lets me focus on someone else’s for a few hours, plus I like to see the wardrobe choices on my favorite stars.
(4) Plan a themed dinner party for the friends in your life you want to re-connect with. Do something exotic like a Moroccan themed dinner party—you can learn to cook something new, have fun with festive décor, and remember how nice it is to do something different and laugh a bit. InStyle magazine always has great ideas and so does this site: HostessWithTheMostess
(5) Go to your Farmer’s Market and create a meal around the items you find there. Get the kids involved smelling the herbs, sampling the produce, picking the produce and really relish is the food choices that are abundant right now. Talk to the farmers there about the crops and how to pick the perfect XYZ. They are usually happy to indulge you.

Enjoy.

The opinions expressed by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Bebe au Lait or any employee thereof. Bébé au Lait is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Bébé au Lait Bloggers.

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