Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Behind the Scenes of My Little Rock Star's 5th Birthday Party

The birthday boy going around while
serenading guests with his guitar.
It has been a very hectic month planning for my eldest son's 5th birthday celebration while working on finishing my latest book. And to make it extra challenging, my husband was out of the country while I was doing all these.
I wasn't really planning for a big party. I'm actually not a big fan of big parties. I like intimate parties because I have more time to mingle and talk to guests. Even then, I felt that I hardly had time to bond with our guests last Saturday at my eldest son's 5th birthday celebration.   
Anyway, let me share how I planned for his 5th birthday celebration.
Gian on stage with his tarpaulin behind him.
Let's start with the theme. Choosing a theme for his party was rather easy. Our eldest son has always been fond of music since he was a baby. He has memorized the nursery songs we played to him daily when he was just over a year old. He has been singing songs by two years old... most of these songs are songs for the Mass, worship songs we sing during prayer meetings and a few secular songs that my husband likes. He also memorized a number of Christmas songs and some other songs we exposed him to when he was just a toddler. The funny thing about our little singer is that most of the songs he sings become fast and like rock songs when he sings them. :) Thus, when it was time for me to plan his 5th birthday party, I felt it was just high time that we choose the rock star theme.

Jamming with younger brother at the
front door while waiting for guests to arrive.

I then searched for inspiration from the web and noted them down for future reference. It was very helpful that there are a lot of posts about rock star-themed parties. Some are grand while others were simple. I made a mental note of the things I liked about the posts I've seen and started looking for potential suppliers.

I did not have invitations printed anymore since most of our guests are online. I simply created an event page in Facebook and posted a digital invitation. Then, I texted them.

Our invitation
Rock star chicken nuggets.
As for the food, my initial plan was to get a caterer to make my life easier. I searched and contacted a number and asked for quotations. Unfortunately, either they have a minimum number of 50 guests or their quotation is way too high for my budget. I found one that fit my budget but they were already booked on the date I have chosen. Days and weeks passed and my eldest son's party was drawing near. I still didn't have a caterer. I opted for my back up plan which was to order food from one of my time-tested food suppliers - Amber's. I ordered spaghetti and pork barbeque from them. My husband suggested that I cook the chicken dish like what I did in the past for his 40th birthday celebration and Yanthy's 3rd birthday. I cooked chicken Salpicao and fried chicken respectively then. But I felt that I didn't have enough time to do all these now since I only have one helper and my husband is out of the country. So I decided to order the chicken dish from a caterer who lives within our village. I chose to order chicken pastel. For the kids, I eventually decided to cook star-shaped chicken nuggets since chicken nuggets  is among my son's favorite foods. I also thought that it's perfect for his party theme. So we bought some from the nearby grocery and cooked them on the afternoon of the party. These were served side by side with the kids' all-time favorite spaghetti. For dessert, I thought of using donuts instead of cupcakes because they look like cds. I searched for white frosted donuts and found some from Dunkin Donuts. The flavor I chose was vanilla frosted. For the adults, I prepared fruit salad.

Party food jam
On top of that, I had a last minute inspiration to add ice cream cones for the kids. I was very happy to find Cornetto black drumsticks that looked like microphones. I ordered from the nearby mini mart and made arrangements with them that we'll just pick up the ice cream cones on the afternoon of the party so that they wouldn't melt right away. One big blessing for us was that my younger brother was available to cook Beef Kaldereta for us. It's one of his specialties. Asking him to cook that for us proved to be a very good decision for our guests loved it! For the drinks, I just bought ice tea in packets so it's easy to prepare them in 1-liter bottles since we had several. Then, I bought a few bottles of soda for those who like soda. I also bought Minute Maid juice drinks for the kids which was also one of Yanthy's favorite drinks. On the day of the party, we simply poured them into red plastic cups.
To make our lives easier, we just used paper plates and disposable spoons and forks and cups. We used silver colored paper plates for adults and red paper plates for kids.

Our little rock star's rocking cake! I so love the details!
Our baker was able to execute our ideas very well.
 The next important thing that I made sure was confirmed early was the cake. I have seen a rock star-designed cake at Goldilocks but they were not willing to customize the colors according to our theme. This prompted me to look for alternative cake suppliers. I was very fortunate to be referred to a baker with the help of a connection in one of my Facebook Groups. I emailed her the rock star-designed cakes that I found in the web and liked as well as my ideas for the things that I and my child wanted to see on his cake. I told her that we wanted a guitar, a star, notes and a microphone on my son's cake. I told her that the main color should be red and the accent is black and silver. I told her also that we prefer marshmallow icing over fondant. We closed our deal and she was even kindly enough to help me look for a cake and cupcake tower. I chose to invest in a cake and cup cake tower because I plan to hold future birthday parties at home.
This was our cake and goodies table while we were getting ready for the party.
Didn't have time to take a picture after we fixed it because I had to rush
to fetch the priest for the blessing.
On the day of the party, she even helped me arrange the cake and donuts.  She helped me "fix" the donuts with ruined frostings. Actually, I gave instructions to the Supervisor/Manager and staff of Dunkin Donuts not to put donuts on top of each other. I even told them that I'm willing to pay extra if they need to use a lot of boxes just to make sure the frosting would remain intact. But when the donuts were picked up by my brother and opened at home, I saw that the donuts I ordered were crowded inside boxes. :( They even placed plastic sheets on top of the donuts so the frosting stuck on them. It was very disappointing. Heidi (my cake supplier) and I tried our best to "fix" them so that they would still look good especially in the pictures somehow.

Balloons and tables and chairs at our garage.
For the tables and chairs and balloons, I called up a supplier from our village. I also had a tarpaulin printed for my little rock star at a nearby printing shop. I asked the help of their in-house artist to execute my ideas since I don't know how to use Photoshop. Having a tarpaulin printed was a great idea. My little rock star loved it so much! In fact, his tarpaulin is still up on our curtain rod until now. :)
For the loot bags, I included the food items that Yanthy also like - jelly ace, lollipops, and chocolate-covered marshmallows. Since it's a rock star party, I included Voice biscuits. :) I was also fortunate to find tambourines that were on sale. I used these as additional giveaways aside from the loot bags. Then, I printed some labels to personalize the giveaways. By the way, since I could not find the perfect loot bag for my son's party and I wanted to make some without spending too much time working on them, I made my own loot bags using a wrapper I bought from a local bookstore and some yarn from Mateo's party last year.

Tambourines for our little jammers
and a small guitar for Gian's little brother.

Gian's work of art.
We also made use of simple décor. Aside from the red and black balloons I ordered, I cut a Styrofoam board into the shape of a number 5. Then, I asked my eldest son to spread glue on it and scatter red glitters on it. I also printed a couple of food labels and some signs to further highlight our party theme. I loved the silver glitter glue I bought. It made it easier for me to jazz up our signs. We tied some red curling ribbons on the flying red balloons at our stage area and let them float on both sides of the tarpaulin.
The name tags and the sign hanged
at the bottom of the stairs going to the bedrooms.
We didn't have party hats anymore but I made some name tags inspired by the party theme.
Food label for the donuts.

Sign at the gate.
I didn't plan any games or program. I planned it to be a relaxed gathering with family and close friends. I simply want to celebrate with them 5 years of God's faithfulness to my son and to our family as a whole. Aside from the traditional singing of the birthday song before the blowing of candles on the cake, the only thing I planned to do during the party was to encourage guests to sing or play instruments and to have a short time of prayer and worship. We were blessed to have two guitarists who helped me and Yanthy lead the worship. One is my husband's cousin who is a pastor and the other one is one of the elders in the community I was a part of when I was still in college. Of course, our little rock star was ever-ready with his guitar to play music during the worship. As usual, our little rock star was singing his heart out to God. I gave a short exhortation and we sang 4 worship songs that Yanthy loved to sing (Lord, I Lift Your Name on High, Give Thanks, Shout to the Lord, God Will Make a Way).

Our little guitarist during the impromptu worship.
 I also scheduled a house blessing at the start of our party. It was a good thing that our house is just behind the church so I only had to walk to fetch the priest.

My friend Marilyn from Focolare was the first to buy copies
of my latest book which was hot off the press last Saturday.
Then, while we were having the party, my printer arrived to deliver my latest book. So, it was an instant book launch! :) The guests in our party were the firsts to see and hold my latest book. This actually made me more emotional during my exhortation before the worship because that night we were celebrating 3 miracles from God - my eldest son, our new house and my latest book. All would have not been possible if God did not make a way for them to become part of my life story.
Gian's Aunt and cousin doing
a mother-daughter jam.
Overall, it was a simple but awesome celebration where we all had fun sharing about God's goodness and faithfulness and catching up with each other. Most importantly, our little rock star had a blast enjoying things that he loved and the company of the people who are dear to his heart.
Our little guitarists -- our birthday boy having fun with his younger brother.

Here's the video made by my husband for our little rock star.

Note: Special thanks to my husband's relatives (Yap family) for helping us set up the place and for taking pictures and videos during the party. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Sweden Pretend Play as Homeschool Activity

My husband is still in Sweden because of his work. My little boys decided to play pretend while waiting for their Dad to be ready for our Skype call. First, they got some sweaters from their closet. Then, my youngest son wore a backpack while he and his older brother walked around our bedroom. They pretended that one of the beds in the bedroom is Sweden and the other bed, the Philippines.
"Mommy, we will visit Daddy in Sweden," my eldest son told me as he held his younger brother's hand.
My boys waving to me as they prepare to go to Sweden.
"Okay! I'll see you later!" I answered.

Showing their backpack for their trip.
"No, Mommy! We will sleep with Daddy in Sweden tonight," my eldest son replied.
So I said, "Okay, see you tomorrow!" 
My eldest son later changed his mind about the setting in the bedroom. After a few minutes, he declared that the entire room is Sweden because it's already cold inside our room due to the air conditioner. 
They played for a few more minutes before their pretend play gave me an idea. I got my laptop and searched for images of the world map. I wanted to show my kids where Sweden and the Philippines are in the map. It took me a while before I found a clear image that has labels per country. It only showed Europe and Asia.

We talked a little about geography and climates in the different parts of the world. We also talked about travelling by ship or airplanes and how these modes of transportation differ. Since they were playing with boats in the past days, my eldest son got one of his paper boats and used it to play with the image (map) in my laptop. He said that he will travel by boat to Sweden.

Yanthy travelling by boat to Sweden.

Later, he said that he wants to travel by plane so he'd arrive faster. So, he asked me to transform one of his paper boats into an airplane.
I guess that this pretend play is my eldest son's way of coping while his Dad is away. Earlier this evening, he said that he misses his Dad and he's been asking if we can call his Dad through Skype.
Now, they are still up and playing pretend while waiting for their Dad to call. My eldest son said that he and his younger brother are now in their Dad's hotel room in Sweden waiting for their Dad to arrive from the office. But my youngest said that he will swim first in the hotel's pool while waiting for his Dad. hehe
I really love pretend plays! They not only help my kids develop their imagination. They also make it easy for me to integrate learning opportunities into their play. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Looking Forward to a WAHMderful Weekend

Do you already have plans for the coming weekend? My next weekend is full of activities. On Saturday, we will have our eldest son's 5th birthday celebration. It will also be our house blessing. I'm preparing a simple get-together with family and friends to celebrate these blessings. But that is not what I want to talk about mainly in this post. ;) (I'll write a different post regarding that event.)
I want to share with you the WAHMderful Weekend event that I'm looking forward to attend on Sunday, October 27 at SMX Aura's Convention Center. I was privileged to be part of the team of WAHMs who will provide advice or suggest solutions to those who would like to consult practicing WAHMs. I was asked to lead the Huddle Up on Time Management, one of my favorite topics even in the workshops I conduct for my clients. I'm excited to share what I have learned through the years on this topic especially in practicing it as a WAHM. So, if you are a WAHM (work-at-home mom or you want to be one), I strongly recommend that you join us next Sunday. I would be happy to meet you and share stories with you.
Another reason why I'm excited to go the WAHMderful Weekend is because I want to meet other WAHMs face to face. I have "met" most of them only through our Facebook group. It's been a little over than a year since I first discovered this WAHMderful group of women. I'm inspired and encouraged by their stories. I learn from them as well. I'm really glad that I found my WAHM tribe. These ladies are very supportive and helpful and I want to thank them personally next Sunday.
If you want to learn from this dynamic group of moms, you still have time to register for our WAHMderful Weekend event. Below is the program for Sunday.

You can connect with us, too, through Facebook. You may click here and here to get more details about this event and our Facebook group. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Perfect Timing for My Radio Guesting

It has been months since George and I's radio guesting for Ang Kristiyanong Pamilya (DZME 1530 kHz, live streaming at www.dzme1530.com) has been scheduled and was postponed a couple of times. Finally, it will push through tonight at 9:15 PM but without George. He was sent abroad by their office for a special project so I will be the only one going there later.
Deep inside, I had been thinking that probably God will reschedule our guesting at a much better time. I thought that maybe one reason would be so that we/I can share how God delivered us from our house-related concerns. Because the last time we guested, we haven't moved to our new house yet. Now, we already live there.
Also, I realized that God rescheduled my radio guesting at a time when my upcoming book on breastfeeding is almost out. I had this insight when I read the readings for today especially the Gospel and the reflection in KerygmaFamily.com. The featured Bible verse in today's reflection is from Luke 11:27 which says, “Blessed is the womb that carried you and the breasts at which you nursed.” I'm excited to share some of the things I learned while writing my book on BREASTFEEDING: A Journey Worth Taking about how privileged we mothers are to have kids and to breastfeed them.
I'm also excited to share once more how God's grace has been instrumental in helping me carry out God's call to me to write and publish my upcoming book.
God's timing is indeed perfect! I was reminded of this truth when I read the readings and reflections today. I pray that God would give me grace to always trust in His perfect timing and not to rush when I feel that things are unfolding slowly based on my perception. I pray that God would always enlighten me so that I would not subject myself to unnecessary worries.
There's a storm that landed in Philippine territory last night and the weather reports are a bit gloomy. But I am positive and excited because I know that the Son is shining His light on me today/tonight. I pray that His angels would protect us and provide for us as we go to the radio station later. I pray for His humble wisdom to speak His message that He wants me to proclaim tonight.  I pray that through this opportunity, the anchors and I would be able to inspire and touch hearts and souls tonight. May God be glorified!
So, don't forget, friends! If you are free later around 9:15 PM, do tune in to Ang Kristiyanong Pamilya (DZME 1530 kHz live streaming at www.dzme1530.com). Have a safe and blessed weekend!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Kerygma Magazine October 2013 Feature

If you have been following my blog for around a year now, you probably know our new home's story. We have been blessed to occupy our new house since July. This month, we have been given the opportunity to share about this miracle from God through Kerygma Magazine of Shepherd's Voice Publications, Inc. I'm so thankful for this opportunity! I know that this miracle that we received from God is meant to be shared to many. God paved the way for this to happen by opening this door to me. The last time I shared by story in Kerygma was when I got pregnant with my eldest son, another miracle from God. :)
It has been one great and awesome adventure with God just to be able to move to our new house. Our adventure continues as we live here. You may read about it here in one of my previous posts.
I encourage you to buy a copy of Kerygma Magazine this October to read our story and be inspired by it and the other stories in the magazine.