How to plan a theme-based party for your kids.

Planning a birthday party is a big thing in itself. But when you have to plan a theme based party, the work gets doubled and the rewards too! Seriously, there is nothing and I mean nothing more fun than having a theme based birthday party.

First of all decide whether you want the party stuff and decor to be DIY or store bought. Store bought makes things a whole lot easier, but burns a hole in your pocket, and doesn’t give you the feeling of accomplishment. It is much much better to have everything designed by yourself. It adds to that personal touch.

But a theme based party requires that a lot of thought be put behind it. You have to plan two to three months in advance. Especially if you are a full time, two kids, job and crazy-kinda-tired mommy like the most of us.

Here’s a little checklist to plan one of your own for your tiny tots.

Do your research

Once you have the theme finalized do a little research. If it is based on a movie, watch the movie and pay attention to details. If it is based on a book, then read the book carefully. If it is an outdoor party like a pool party or a barbecue party then do a little research online.

Invitations

You will find amazing theme based free printable invitations all over the web. (Useful resources at the end of the post). If you don’t want to use these printables you could make a few of your own. You can find my pic monkey tutorial for the invitations here.

Alternatively, you could make your invitations from card stock. It takes more time and precision.

Some ideas:

stillstampingwithsue.com
stillstampingwithsue.com

Birthday Outfit

Getting a themed birthday outfit is not a good idea. It will be worn just this once, or maybe to a fancy dress party. But other than that it is pretty much useless. You can however buy a dress which somewhat fits into the theme. For example, if you are planning a RIO based birthday party, you could have the birthday kids’ clothes in cerulean blue color. You could also get matching headbands.

The decor

It’s all about the look of the house for a birthday party isn’t it? Kids love to see balloons, confetti, banners and the works. Get all of these in the color scheme you have in mind for your particular theme. Or you can make simple items of decor on your own. (Links at the bottom of the post)

The Menu

This is the best part. The menu is what makes any party successful. You could design your menu depending upon the age of your child and the age group of his friends.

  • Noodles for Doraemon party
  • Crown shaped sandwiches for Princess themed birthday party
  • Personalized cupcakes
  • Cupcakes with cute theme based toppers
  • A themed cake
  • Colorful fruit juices
  • Finger foods of different shapes
  • Theme based lollipops with themed labels on them

You could also have food tags based on your theme to label each type of food on the menu table.

The Activities

Plan for games which would fit into your theme. If you don’t know a lot of games, you can customize the existing games based on the theme.

  • Guess the candies in the jar (with candies of the color of your theme)
  • Lotto Housie with specially designed number cards
  • Pin the tail on the donkey customized to Pin the ______ on the ______ based on the characters in your theme.

The Party Favors

Think of some unique party favors that the guests will remember you for.

  • Personalized theme based mugs
  • Personalized theme based T-shirts
  • Books or CDs of your theme

Pack them in custom made gift bags. They are so easy to make and you can design them according to the theme you have in mind. Attach thank you notes written by the birthday boy/girl onto the bags.

Links to some awesome theme based birthday parties planned by my friends

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A few more useful links for all you fantastic parents out there 🙂

1.KARA’S PARTY IDEAS

Lots and lots of useful party ideas here for kids.

CATCH MY PARTY

Free printables for invitations, gift tags and even cupcake toppers based on lots of different and exciting themes.

 

 

 

20 Supercute Baby Memes

 

I had the best time compiling these. Someone should have seen me while I was looking up baby memes, they would have thought I must have gone cuckoo!

Some if these are so true and hilarious, and all of them are just too cute 🙂

Read on.

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I hope you had fun reading as much as I did.

Happy Monday folks!

 

How to teach your kids to eat healthy

Most of us are at some point or the other worried about our kids’ eating habits. They don’t have to be told to eat junk, but when it comes to healthy eating, it all boils down to a battle of wills between you and your tiny tot.

©WellPathClinic via Flickr
©WellPathClinic via Flickr

Believe it or not, eating is a learned habit. Your kid has to be “taught” to eat healthy or the repercussions are going to last a long long time. Forceful eating, is a definite no-no. It brings to mind a video I had once seen on Nat Geo. People from Mauritania believe that for women to be considered beautiful, they have to be fat. And by fat, I don’t mean plump cherubic fat, I mean FAT fat. If they are not fat, they do not get any marriage proposals. Mothers therefore force feed camel’s milk to their girls. And not just a glass of milk, this is a large bowl full of milk. They have a contraption made with two bamboo sticks tied together at one end. If the girl refuses to drink, they put her foot in this contraption and press it till the girl cries out in pain. If the girl throws up (and understandably, that happens often) the child is given another bowlful of milk!

Even though this is an extremist tradition, we are in some way knowingly or unknowingly forcing our kids to finish their food with statements like, “Think about the starving kids!” Making statements like this, and,”Finish your vegetables, because I said so!” create an aversion in the minds of little children. They begin to associate negative feelings with food. This kills their appetite even before they have begun.

It is like this story I once heard as a kid. A King once orders his kingdom to find him a cat which runs at the sight of milk. In a few days, a man comes forth with a cat. The King orders that a bowl of milk be placed in front of the cat. On seeing the milk, the cat runs away.

Flabbergasted, the King asks the man the secret of his achievement. The man says, Sire, for the last few days I have been giving him boiling milk to drink. The cat burnt his tongue in the boiling milk so many times, that now it is afraid of the milk. That is why even when you put cold milk in front of him, he ran away!

If forcing or yelling at your kids were to help with their eating habits, how come you still have to yell everyday. There must definitely be some other way of doing it.

So how do you teach your kids to eat healthy?

1. Make a vow to yourself that you won’t tell your child to eat another morsel. 

You have to first remind yourself every time, that you have to trust your child. If she says she is not hungry, respect her wishes. If she is hungry, she will ask for food. LET them ASK for food.

2. Do not get into the habit of making separate food for the kids.

It is counterproductive, and it puts tremendous strain on you to cook double or triple meals everyday. Make only one meal that the whole family partakes from.

3. Serve small portions.

Serve small portions of only those things the child wants to eat from the prepared meal. Yes, in the beginning the child will not eat vegetables. That is because the child has already associated negative feelings with the vegetables. If she doesn’t try in the beginning, ask her matter-of-factly if she wants a bite. If she doesn’t want it, do not press. Leave it. Try again the next day. Serving large portions right in the beginning makes it look like a daunting task for the kids and creates aversions. Seeing only teeny tiny portions gives them confidence of being able to finish it.

©Kids Empowered via Flickr
©Kids Empowered via Flickr

4. Do not promise a treat if they finish their meal.

It reinforces in their mind that veggies are a punishment. That they have to go through it to get to the best part.

5. Enlist their help in making meals.

It can be something as simple as peeling the potatoes, or shelling peas. Tell everyone how your kid helped you in making the meal. It may pique their interest in the vegetable and bring a sense of pride in them.

©NewsUsaContent via Flickr
©NewsUsaContent via Flickr

6. Set a fixed routine.

Set a fixed routine for mealtimes. Have everyone sit around the table and eat together. Turn off all your gadgets and focus on talking to each other while eating. Make meal times fun times. Let there be positive association with meals.

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©Kids Table via Flickr

7. Never leave unfinished meals on your plate.

First commit to yourself to eat small portions at a time. Finish the existing portion then add another. This teaches the kid to not leave food in their plate. Remember, kids emulate their parents.

8. Let them snack on their favorite fruit.

Whenever hunger strikes between meals, let them snack on their favorite foods. Instead of reaching out for the cookie jar, why not have some dips made ready in your spare time. Cut up veggie sticks, bread sticks (whole wheat) and let them dip them and eat them. Make healthy snacks for snacking between meals such as cutlets, poha upma, idli or any other snack your kid likes.

9. Make food interesting

While I am not saying that you should make separate food for your kids, it is still a good idea to keep it interesting. How about making a flower shaped chapati? How about delhi chaat instead of regular veggies? How about a veggie pasta or sandwich? How about a whole-wheat pizza with vegetables they have helped pick? How about having a pizza with veggies arranged to look like a smiley? Think up some fun stuff with food, so kids find it interesting.

©creativekidsnacks via Flickr
©creativekidsnacks via Flickr

10. Don’t give up.

Parenting is a tough job. And though you may feel compelled to give up, do not give up trying. Trying without yelling or forcing. It takes at least five attempts before a kid accepts a new food. If they refuse the first time, don’t lose heart. They may try it some other time. Try again in a few days.

Last but not the least, stay positive. Create a healthy, fun environment for your kid to flourish. Be playful.

And most importantly, be patient. 🙂

Valentine’s day cute printable tags for kids

Valentine’s day is approaching, and I am sure most of you want to make it special for the little people you love most. Or your kids may want to celebrate by gifting chocolates to their special friends. 

I have designed these cute little printable tags that you can simply print on a good quality paper and use them as gift tags for your gifts to your kids, or use them as tags on the gifts your kids give to their friends.

I have left the tags blank in the center for you to fill out your own cute messages 🙂

Valentine’s Day Printables for Kids

Parent Avenue
Parent Avenue

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Please feel free to download it as many times as you want, but do not share. If you want to share with your friends, be kind and share a link to my blog. Do not use these for commercial purposes.

Lots of love to you and your kids 🙂

8 ways to develop self control in children

How much self-control a child possesses determines the self-discipline needed later on in life. Self-discipline is all about how to manage ourselves in order to reach our goals. The encouraging thing is that almost 30% of four year olds have the capability to manage themselves well enough to resist temptation.

Kids’ toys play a big role in developing self control as well. Pitch has changed considerably over the years and ‘learning and creativity’ plays a bigger role than the fun element. One just has to look for the right toy that will boost self control.

via www.more4kids.info
via http://www.more4kids.info

 

Here are 8 steps to help your child develop that much needed self control.

  1. 1.    Trust

Trust is the very foundation of self-control. A hungry child learns to trust that food is on the way when the parent soothes and feeds him. The most important aspect of trust is that the child has to eventually understand that he/she will get the thing craved for eventually, but not necessarily at that very moment.

  1. 2.    Modeling

Children grasp emotional regulation through adult modeling. When parents take a child’s challenging behavior personally or fail to manage their own emotions and react in anger, the child gets the wrong message. This leads to the child not being able to soothe his own problems and finds it tougher to control his/her own emotions and behavior.

  1. 3.    Proper Guidance

Guidance is essential. Children take their cues about anxiety from adults. You are teaching your child self control if you can soothe him/her in a stressful situation in a calm and relaxed manner. If you are rattled by the child’s anxiety, the battle to teach rational decision making is lost instantly.

  1. 1.    Develop the brain

Developing a child’s brain by any manner possible is a must. The prefrontal cortex needs to be strengthened. It is barely developed in a two year old and reaches maturity by age 25. This is why adults have more self control.

  1. 2.    Practice

Practice makes both a man and a child perfect. But when a child is forced to give up something he craves for, that isn’t exactly practicing self-discipline. It is important to set a goal for the child and practice self-discipline in order to achieve it.

  1. 3.    Emphatic Limits

Set a limit that is acceptable to your child. That is practicing self-control by itself. Love is the connection needed more than anything else.

  1. 4.    Waiting

Waiting is a good practice but only to a certain point. It backfires otherwise. Crankiness develops easily in a child if the waiting period is elongated. The parent needs to be available while the child is waiting and needs to overcome the anxiety of waiting too.

  1. 5.    Motivation

Children need to be motivated by something which is important to them in order to master self-discipline. This can range from cooking to soccer. Patience is needed when the soccer ball has to be kicked repeatedly and one has to master the art of waiting while the cookies are being baked.

Following the Eightfold Path mentioned above develops self control in a big way both in children as well as adults.

About the author:

Charu Swaroop
Charu Swaroop

Charu Swaroop contributes to Yellow Giraffe – a store for kids’ toys online in India. When time permits, Charu loves dreaming up and trying new dishes. She has been promising herself to get over her sweet tooth (since 2003), and to trek in Nepal (since 2009).

Baby Food – Rice and Moong Dal (split green gram)

Rice is known as an ideal first food for babies. It is easier to digest and gentle on your baby’s digestive system. Moong dal is a great source of protein. The best part of this recipe is that you can make the powder in bulk in advance, store it in an airtight container and use as needed. Ideal for babies from 6 months to 10 months old.

Ingredients (to make the powder)

1 cup rice

1 cup split green gram (preferably skinless)

Wash the green gram and rice separately and dry them completely. Once they are dry, dry roast them till they are golden brown and fragrant. Grind them together in a food processor without adding water. Store this powder in a clean airtight container and use as needed.

 

Healthy rice and green gram porridge

1 tbsp of the above powder

Πth cup water

œ tsp ghee

œ tbsp jaggery

a pinch of cardamom powder /cinnamon powder

 

Heat the ghee in a kadhai, and add 1 tbsp of the powder to it. Roast it for a few seconds and add the water, jaggery and cardamom/cinnamon powder. Cook till it attains a paste-like consistency. Add a little formula/ breastmilk for  more creamy texture.

 

Baby food Khichdi

1 tbsp of the above powder

œ tsp ghee

a pinch of cumin powder

a pinch of hing

a pinch of rock salt

water as needed

 

Heat the ghee in a kadhai and add the above powder. Roast for a couple of seconds. Add the cumin powder and hing powder and rock salt if you wish (rock salt helps to ease gases). Add enough water to make it into a paste-like consistency and cool it to warm temperature and then serve.

Variation of the above

Add a little yoghurt to the above khichdi for an interesting and healthy variation

Add a few pureed vegetables like boiled carrots or sweet potatoes to make it even more nutritious

 

(Include any new food only after seven days of trying with an old food. This pinpoints any allergies the baby may have.)

 

Murphy’s 10 Laws of Mommyhood

Remember Murphy’s laws? I am pretty darn sure you do. Especially if you are a mommy dealing with one or more kids, Murphy’s laws of Mommyhood are especially applicable to you.

 

murphy's minions

 

 

1.) The bell ALWAYS rings only when you have just managed to put your baby to sleep after fifteen long minutes of hard labor.

via giphy.com
via giphy.com

2.)When you tell your friend that your kid doesn’t eat this particular food, THAT’s when she eats it with gusto.

kid eating gif
via giphy.com

3.)You see every kid around you sneezing, sniffling and coughing. You thank God, your baby hasn’t got it. THAT’s when she gets it.

via imgur.com
via imgur.com

4.)When the kids are out to play and you are all alone, you want to go to the loo but keep postponing thinking that the kids will come back any minute. Finally you can’t hold it anymore and decide to go. Just when you have begun your business, THAT’s when the kids are back.

the-sherlocked-avatar.tumblr.com
the-sherlocked-avatar.tumblr.com

5.) Your kid hasn’t played with a particular toy in months. But just when you give it away to your household help’s daughter
 she wants it.

©Gomillis via Flickr
©Gomillis via Flickr

6.) You are late for a party and have bathed and dressed up the baby in her best. That’s when she gets hold of the Kaajal and smears it all over her lovely dress. (Yup, has happened!)

via babyblues.com
via babyblues.com

7.) Your kid hasn’t been carsick in months. So you don’t carry any extra clothes. That’s the day she will be carsick again.

via Tumblr
via Tumblr

8.) When you have finished your tasks, and are just about to lie down to ease your aching back, THAT’s when the baby wakes up screaming.

via Tumblr
via Tumblr

9.) Just when you have reached a play park after twenty minutes of walking with the baby in your arms, that’s when the older kid wants to pee badly and there is no loo in sight.

wanna-joke.com
wanna-joke.com

10.) Your baby has been an angel through the day. But the minute you get an all important business call, is the time the baby cries at the top of her lungs.

businessgiftcardscanada.com
businessgiftcardscanada.com

 

I know you are shaking your head right now.

 

And that by the time you read the last you will have your own set of laws to add to this.  Please share with me your Murphy’s Laws of Mommyhood.

 

Philips Aventℱ Sipper – Product Review

I had had a tough time choosing the right bottle. But having used the Philips Aventℱ sterilizer and bottles before, I was fairly confident of their products. And once again I wasn’t let down.

©Baby_France via Flickr
©Baby_France via Flickr

When I went into the baby products shop though, I was confused. I had posted the question on fora, I had searched for reviews on the web, but after a while of not getting the correct answers, I just thought of jumping straight to it. What I was looking for was a sipper which would be an easy transition for my baby from the bottle. My baby had a tough time moving on to the bottle in the early stages. She would suck too hard and the milk would just flow right out the corners of her mouth. She also suffered from colic. Which is why I switched to Philips Aventℱ bottles and I wasn’t let down. It was the best decision ever.

So when I went to the shop and I was offered the Philips Aventℱ sipper as an option, I was intrigued. However, I never buy anything without giving it the full thought. It looked okay, but I wasn’t sure that the milk would not spill out when the sipper was overturned. The owner of the shop was kind enough to open the pack and show me.

avent 1
1. Valve 2. Vent 3. Soft spout

He showed me the valve and said that this valve ensures that there will be no milk flow unless the child actively sucks on it. Moreover, if the child sucks lightly, less milk will flow and vice versa. Still seeing that the valve was entirely covering the spout hole, I wasn’t entirely convinced. I thought that this feature was to prevent spillage on the go only, and that with the valve in place there will be no milk flow even when the baby sucks on it.

I was wrong. This was the best thing I bought for my daughter.

The Valve ensures milk flow only when the baby actively sucks on it

I don’t know how it works, but take it first hand from me, that the valve really works. I turned the bottle upside down and gave it quite a few hard thumps, and yet there was no spillage. It was therefore a good transition from the bottle, because my baby was so used to sucking.

The Vent prevents air from entering the baby’s tummy

Just like in the bottle, the vent, a tiny hole in the side of the spout prevents colic by preventing aerophagia. Good news for my colicky baby.

Soft Spout is easy on the baby’s erupting teeth

It seems hard, but it is so soft that my baby has managed to bite into it a couple of times. Her teeth are developing and erupting absolutely normally.

Handle grip enables the child to drink independently

Even though it is not advisable in the first few tries, but once the baby gets confident, s/he can hold the sipper confidently. This was such a boon for my child who is prematurely independence seeking. So much so, she hates it when I feed her. She absolutely wants to feed herself, at each and every meal. It is a blessing of course, and thankfully the sipper works for us that way.

Easy to clean and sterilize

Although you need not sterilize it every time, yet it is easy to sterilize. The cup is easy to wash and dishwasher safe. The spout interior is a little difficult to clean and may need a thin pipe cleaner for that purpose.

BPA free plastic

BPA free plastic ensures that it is food grade and perfectly safe for your baby.

Tough and resilient

Although this is not something everyone writes in a baby product review, I felt like giving a special mention because this cup has been thrown to the ground so many times. Baby’s got style! She loves to throw the sipper like a discus after every feed. It has withstood my baby’s temperament. Big plus point!

Easy on the wallet

It is not expensive at all. Costs just Rs. 250/-

Overall it has been nothing but a pleasure using this product and I recommend it wholeheartedly to anyone who is thinking of buying a sipper.

Disclaimer:  This is not a paid review and I have written it based on my own experiences with the product.

 

10 Free Ebooks for Kids (4 – 6yrs) on Kindle

 

I loved reading books as a kid. I spent hours in my room, devouring one book after another. There was something magical about them. You picked a book and entered an entirely different fantasy world full of fairies, and elves. They sparked my imagination. I believe that is where I developed my love for writing too. All through my growing up years, I had a big library all of my own. There are some books which have gone dog-eared from reading.

Reading is good for kids too. It is essential you introduce reading to them at an early age. It helps not only in language development, but also in giving wings to tiny little minds. It is hard to believe how much a child’s mind can imagine. We have done it too, but in the grind of daily lives, we have forgotten all the tales we dreamed up.

To get your kid started, here are some free ebooks for kids on Kindle. There’s no denying the role of gadgets in our little ones’ lives. Better to have them read good stuff. Most of these books are for kids below 6 years. Some of them are illustrated and some of them are not. Kids may find it hard to read the non-illustrated books. In that case it would help for you to read to them.

The Ugly Duckling

ugly duckling

 

This was by far the best ebook. All the illustrations are cute and in lovely colors, all the written matter is simple and easy to read. It is just like turning the pages of a real children’s book.

Little Bad Wolf and Red Riding Hood

wolf

 

The classic tale with a new twist. Read on to find out.

Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know

fairytales

 

Although unillustrated, this ebook contains some of the finest works we have read or heard as kids. Alladin, The Magic Mirror, Alibaba and Forty Thieves, Hansel and Gretel, The Golden Goose, Goldilocks, Puss in Boots, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Beauty and the Beast. Read it out to the kids, or read it to relive your childhood. 🙂

Grimm’s Fairy Tales

grimms

 

These classic fairy tales are a must for every kid. However the stories being unillustrated, you may have to read it out loud to them.

I Love to eat Fruits and Vegetables

fnv

 

The illustrated ebook is about three bunnies who are brothers. One of them loves only candies and chocolates. The other two advise him about eating fruits and vegetables and how they are the best. Good way to teach kids to eat their veggies, no?

199 quick jokes for kids

quick jokes

Not illustrated. You may have to read these jokes out to your kids.

Children’s Book: Where is my home?

Where is my home

 

This ebook is another from the Terry series. Illustrated, short sentences, and easy to read words makes it ideal reading matter for your kid.

Norbert

norbert

 

This is an unillustrated book about a cute little horse called Norbert.His teeth are green, but to win the beautiful horse on the next farm called Delilah over, he must correct this problem. He enlists the help of his best friend Colin who is a cuckoo. But is he able to win Delilah’s heart?

Since it is not an illustrated ebook, you may need to read it to your kid.

Here, Kitty! Kitty!

kitty

 

Inside this ebook are illustrations of small cute kittens and 25 stories of kittens. Fun for kids.

Learn to Read – Elephants

elephant

 

There are illustrated images of elephants with captions. It teaches the kids all about elephants and what they can do, and how smart they are. As it is elephants are loved by almost all kids. This ebook will help your kid to know more about them.

 

I hope you found this list useful. Please leave your feedback with me in the comments section. I would love to hear your suggestions 🙂