One of the fruits of my fits and starts was a daily monster drawing over on the Insta. It was a fun little daily thing. These days, I seem to be into smallish creative daily things.
All my silly drawings are here in one happy monstrosity.
Resourcefulness is a skill my family has always prided ourselves on. Now that I am sheparding my own family, and choosing our own values, resourcefulness comes up a lot.
Much like the plastic bag kite, this puzzle project is so easy it’s nearly embarassing.
You’ll need Avery Business Cards and markers.
Draw a picture of your favorite food, person or feeling on that business card paper.
Got it all in one piece? Good.
Now separate the pieces. Until all our small people are good at puzzles, we write numbers on them to help with the process.
Then put them back together
And grin with pride.
James and I wanted a visual representation of the things we value as a family. But most weren’t right for us. Too kitchy, too Jesusy, too trite — they seemed to be filled with jokes and winks and not enough action.
So our family collaborated and distilled. We shrunk our family values into one short active word each. We shared some of the thinking behind each word below.
At least once, maybe twice but preferably three times, we try things new to us.
Failing is a virtue. It’s learning. And since childhood is chock full of failures, we might as well celebrate the fail.
We take pride in having people over into our space. We offer drinks, food and healing love. We comfort.
Entertaining, engaging and enlightening. Our family values the act of amusement.
Why? Where? How?
We value the act of questioning, even when it gets us in trouble (especially when it gets us in trouble).
Going out into the world means we open ourselves up to risk. That risk is always worth it.
We reject popular media’s biggest lie. Our best work is not done alone, it’s done with other people. We welcome collaboration, it makes us stronger.
We make connections, we make art, we make progress, we make hope.
We have enough. We have more than enough. Even when we don’t think we have enough, we can share.
Grateful hearts are a shortcut to a happy life. We thank the people, places, animals and things that contribute to the fullness of our lives.
Our bodies are happiest when they’re moving. We move by dancing, running, skipping, galloping, hiking, swimming, paddling, waving, pushing, pulling and hugging. We value movement.
Just like every other human in the world, we toot. And it’s pretty dang funny.
When we see something that requires action, we act. Even when it’s uncomfortable (especially when it’s uncomfortable).
When developing our family values image, we asked ourselves three questions:
1. What activities do we want to do as a family?
2. What are the attributes that make our family different from other families?
3. If we made poor choices — choices that didn’t reflect what’s important to us — what would those choices look like?
Have at it! You can do it too!
I’m turning forty this year.
I turn forty this year.
I’m not forty yet, but
I turn forty this year.
I’m fully middle-aged. Much to polite conversation’s dismay, I do not want to live past eighty. That means that this year counts as my actual tipping point. From here on out, I’m really headed toward the end.
(And in a weird way, I’m thrilled about it.)
The frank way the experts spoke about the practical [Read: We are ALL going to die and there’s a big industry looking to make it even stranger] was nothing less than a revelation.
I’m unprepared for it and yet totally welcoming of it.
You’re probably unprepared for it as well.
Unless you are, and then I want to hear all about it.
Dorothy has never been much for big parties, so when she told me she wanted a Villains Party for her fifth birthday, I was eager to help. So was her Auntie.
Dorothy dressed as Maleficent for Halloween this year. We’re learning that she is the kind of person interested in our dark sides. She is interested in every side.
I tried to work off of a Pinterest board of Villains party ideas but we just couldn’t seem to find all the elements that would make our Villains party right for us.
It is a testimony to the adaptability of our species that this lack of a complete and total party template annoyed me.
For crying out loud, I didn’t even USE Pinterest two years ago! Now I can’t make dinner without it!
All this just meant was that we just had to come up with some simple ideas that worked for us.
On the menu:
Poisoned Apple Slices with Antidote Dip
Have you ever whipped together 1 package cream cheese with 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 cup brown sugar? It’s the perfect antidote for poisoned apple slices. The kids and grown-ups couldn’t get enough.
The kids also were grossed out by the green and brown goo (guacamole and hummus). Tortilla chips and veggies rounded out the menu.
Dorothy’s cake was made by our friends from Model Bakery — the flavors were mint and chocolate and even us cake-haters couldn’t get enough.
For the decor:
Balloons, and lots of them.
We busted our budget on balloons this year, and it was a great investment. Kids really don’t care about activities as long as there are balloons to push to the breaking point.
We hung the bunting I made for Halloween a few years ago. Three cheers for reusable decor!
I also cut some mirror mirror frames out of foam core — the kids played with those on their own and there we had an impromptu photo booth!
We rented a room from our city’s rec department. At $50, it was a great investment. The kids had lots of space to run around and I wasn’t chasing kids away from holiday decorations. I’d encourage you to find out if your city’s rec department has spaces available to rent.
(Since our annual holiday cocktail party was right before Dorothy’s birthday party, let’s also say our house wasn’t yet in good condition for a five year old’s birthday party. Grin.)
For the activities:
On my to-do list for the three weeks running up to the party I had written, “Invent Villains Games.” I just never seemed to be able to think of anything — Duck, Duck THIEF?! Capture the jewel? We’d invited them to dress up as villains, but I was stuck on an activity.
Then I talked to mom. She told me that if I threw the kids in a room with some balloons and room to run around, they’d be fine.
(Mom was right. She always is.)
Bad Guy Coloring Pages
When the kids showed up, we had a table covered with some bad guy coloring pages and crayons.That kept the monkeys focused as well as provided a space to get some quiet time when running around got a little too hectic.
In the bag we put these sticky, slappy hands (perfect for snatching), an evil plan notebook with erasable evil plan pen, some Pirate’s Booty and Monsters Inc gummies. The slappy hands became the party’s most fun activity.
Three cheers for not coming up with an elaborate game!
Happy fifth birthday Dorothy. You continue to surprise us.