Planning Playtime

Planning Playtime: February 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Having Sick Kids Would Be Fun If...

To give this post some context, I've spent a good part of this past week sitting on the couch with two babies on my lap, closely snuggled (aka sandwiched) by an additional three kids.  Of the five, four are sick with an influenza bug.  Over the course of each day my shirt has functioned a giant, glorified Kleenex, and every few minutes, when one of them coughs, I am showered with a warm, aerosol like spray of germs.  Sound Familiar?

That being said, none of them are in any real danger, and after a recent, terrifying health scare, that is a huge relief.  As I sat there today, surrounded by these lovable disease carriers of mine, I couldn't help but think there had to be a better way to be sick.  The following are some of the ideas I came up with.

Having Sick Kids Would Be Fun If...

  1. ... McDonald's had a Well Child and a Sick Child play place.  Hey, if my pediatrician's office can separate the two, why can't the second largest food chain in America.  I mean come on, that would be big business.  We can't take them to school, church or daycare.  Just add Children's Motrin and Tylenol to the menu and you're good to go!  
  2. ... Our Doctor's Office had an Escalator.  My son can not get enough of the moving stairs.  All that going up and back down again is super magical apparently.  Between that and the free lollipop at the end of the visit, I'd be turning down teary eyed petitions to go to the doctor every day.
  3. ... I was just starting the Hunger Games Trilogy for the first time.  There should be a disclaimer on the front of that first book warning the readers that starting those books late in the day can lead to a severe lack of sleep, loss of focus and a marked indifference to the outside work until you've reached the end.  Hey, if you have to sit on the couch and watch Jake and the Neverland Pirates all day, you may as well be reading a great book.
  4. ... We owned a Japanese style Air Hockey Table.  Prepare your brackets!  I feel a tournament coming on.  The low height of the Japanese style table will allow sick children to comfortably recline on their pillows during play, and the required movement of only one arm is great for the low energy child.
  5. ... The First Four Seasons of Downtown Abbey came to Netflix.  If there were ever a time for binge watching, this is it.  Sure my sink is overflowing with dirty dishes and we can't open the door to the laundry room, but my baby won't let me set her down anyway.  I may as well be enjoying myself while I snuggle her soft cuteness.
  6. ... I didn't get sick of UNO and Candyland after the first 2 hours.  You know you can relate.  Where did this sudden attention span come from?  They can stare at the Peppermint Forrest for hours, but they can't listen to me finish a sentence?  I'm just not buying it.
  7. ... I was back in my College days when all-nighters were cool.  I grew up in a fairly strict home with an early curfew.  We considered ourselves lucky if we saw the clock strike 11:00pm on New Year's Eve.  Then I left home for college.  I remember the first time a guy tried to get me to stay up all night just for the fun of it.  He offered to cook me breakfast if I could make it.  Now I pull all-nighters on a semi-regular basis - not by choice - and then I'm the one who has to cook breakfast.  Life is so unfair.
  8. ... We Played a Drinking Game.  No, I'm not really going to get them drunk.  In fact, there is no alcohol involved.  I mean a child friendly game of, "Whenever someone coughs, we all have to down a shot of Apple Juice."  Hey, we have to keep all those feverish kids hydrated somehow.
  9. ... We all had Water Guns filled with Disinfectant Spray (Tear Free of course.)  Is there ever a bad time for a water fight, really?  You know it sounds fun.
  10. ... We Played "Snotty Tissue Basketball."  Now there is a sport that could catch on.  You'll need to start with the right equipment, a high quality tissue with the right thickness and absorbency.  Then, get the perfect blow of the nose to fill that puppy up.  Carefully wad, and then shoot for the trash can.  We'll keep score on daddy's white board.  The winner claims ownership of the remote control for the next hour. 
Okay, having sick kids is anything but fun, but they say, "Laughter is the best medicine," so hopefully you got some and are enjoying a happy, flu free day.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Harry Potter Birthday Party

 My oldest daughter would rather read than do just about anything else, and for several years we wouldn't catch her with anything other than Harry Potter.  She is our resident expert on the series and can tell us at any given time what happened where and in which book.  It became an obsession with her, and for the last several years she would rotate which Harry Potter character she wanted to be for Halloween.  We moved to a new house about a year ago, and as I finished packing up their room I found, "Harry Potter + Kylie" written on the wall in her closet.  So the theme for her birthday party was pretty much a given, and we had a lot of fun with it.

First off was the invitations.  She invited all of the members of the Harry Potter fan club she created, and a few others as well.  Then I had to think about decorations.  With a brand new baby, and 4 other kids to take care of, I don't get out to shop much so I tried to mostly use things we had around the house.

My husband had recently purchase this beautiful old chest for me from the classifieds.  It is an antique, and I absolutely love the old leather bindings and papered insides.  I decided to pair that with a stuffed owl that I had purchased for the nursery and our favorite books with magic titles.  I had another smaller chest that looked like it could hold a quiditch set so we set that out too with a fun ball on top.

We wanted cupcakes that fit with the theme so we made witch hat cupcakes.  The witch hat cupcakes were made by placing and unwrapped Hershey's kiss on the bottom side of a chocolate cookie.  We then placed those on top of the frosted, chocolate cupcakes.  We called them Sorting Hats, and the kids all raved about them.

The candy selection was picked out by my daughter, and she included Bertie and Bott's Every Flavored Beans and Lemon drops in honor of Albus Dumbledore.  The chocolate frogs almost happened, but the time I did brave the store they were out:(  We did manage to get Butter Beer - which we served with whip cream on top - and chocolate cookie wands.

One of the biggest hits at the party was the Broom Party Favors made from paper bags and branches from our back yard.  They were filled with treats and a Quiditch cup, and each child got to fly one home.

The last piece came together when my mother-in-law surprised the birthday girl with a brown chocolate cake, decorated in green icing that said Happy Birthday Kylie.  I hadn't realized the significance until Kylie started jumping up and down, telling us that it was Harry's cake.  Sure enough, we checked, and the cake Hagrid brought Harry on his 11th birthday was chocolate, decorated in green icing, with the words, "Happy Birthday Harry."  Who knew?

The children had a great time play quiditch in the back yard and Harry Potter Trivia afterwards.  They all ate way to much candy, and laughed uncontrollably while drinking butter beer on the back deck.  Then the crowning moment occurred when Kylie opened one of her gifts, a picture from the Harry Potter trailer, and just stared at it for a minute or two.  Then her eyes lit up in disbelief and excitement as she realized that she was in the photo.  A sweet friend had worked some photo shop magic to create a one-of-a-kind keepsake for my little girl.  Amazing!!

It was a great party, and my cute little 10-year-old couldn't be happier (unless we took her to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter of course, but that will have to wait until next least!!)

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