The Tormented Life Of A Mother Suffering With Endometriosis

I recently came across a post from Coins & Babble about a day in the life of a chronically ill mom.  Like myself, T suffers from endometriosis.  Reading about her daily struggles made me realize that my case was not a unique one.  It’s one that too many mothers experience.

Without hesitation, I asked T to write a guest post for Running in Triangles about being a mother with endometriosis.

The Tormented Life of a Mother Suffering with Endometriosis* This post may contain affiliate links *
* This is a guest post and all opinions are those of the author and not necessarily those of www.runningintriangles.com.  Due to the nature of the topic, this post may contain graphic details that some may find disturbing.


The Tormented Life Of A Mother Suffering With Endometriosis

A guest post by Tifanee from Coins & Babble

Endometriosis. It may not be a word you’ve heard before. But I know you’ve heard the word mother. Take a walk in my shoes.
The Tormented Life of a Mother with Endometriosis
CoinsandBabble.com

Endometriosis Reality

Endometriosis is a chronic condition where endometrial-like tissue is found outside of the uterus.

What happens to a woman with Endometriosis is SO much more than that though. It feels like you have hundreds, sometimes thousands of blisters on your insides. Imagine that. Think for a minute of the pain you have when you have an open blister while wearing your heels but you still have to walk in them. Now, imagine walking with those blisters covering your insides. It’s excruciating pain every minute of every day. Endometriosis causes extreme fatigue and usually a low immune system. Most of the time in the bodies of women with Endometriosis, their organs are eventually completely stuck to each other.

When you get your period, plan to take the next two weeks of life off. For the most part, you’re bed-ridden. I would like to take this opportunity to say, I have a high pain tolerance. I went through 27.5 hours of labor drug-free. The pain I experience with Endometriosis still causes me to be bed-ridden. Don’t think the women diagnosed with this horrendous illness are wimps, they’re probably some of the toughest ladies you’ll ever know. The pain is so bad, your willing to burn your skin with a rice bag just to distract from the pain inside.

Among the many symptoms of Endometriosis, one of the most talked about is infertility. I truly feel pain in my heart for those women who aren’t and haven’t been able to have children because of Endometriosis.

But today, we’re going to talk about the women who WERE able to have children…

Being A Mom With Endometriosis

Two-thirds of the women who are diagnosed with Endometriosis will be able to have children at some point in their lives. For me, that was early in my life. If I’d have waited to have children I wouldn’t have been able to grow them myself.

While I would never change my three beautiful babies, being a mom to them while struggling with Endometriosis is the hardest part of my life. I feel a ridiculous amount of mom guilt to start. In one of my previous articles on Endometriosis, I talked about the fact that I have less energy than someone going through treatment for cancer. One of the hardest parts of my life has been not being able to get out of bed to be with my kids.

As a mom, especially when your kids are little, your sole purpose in life is them. Not because it HAS to be, because you want it to be. But for me, Endometriosis has made that impossible. It has ripped away moments and delights with them that I can never get back. That I will never have a chance at again. This breaks my heart inside. It makes me sick to my stomach and furious.

My youngest daughter is almost five and most of our days together are spent in bed. When we play games, they are usually from my bed. She brings connect four to my bed and we set it up on the box for a steadier surface and play. It’s wrong and unfair, not only for her, for me as well.

My children go through the stress of this unimaginable illness with me. They’ve had to watch me deteriorate and suffer knowing that nothing can be done. It’s almost enough to completely break me when I think of that. But, of course, I’m a mom and I won’t let anything break me. I will struggle and suffer through torment with a beaming smile on my face to participate in field trips. I will hide the bags and tear stained face with my professional makeup so I can watch them in swimming lessons. I will build a snowman outside while I’m in agony inside.

9 Reasons Why Mothers Don't Speak Up about Chronic Pain
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Is This It?

For a mom with Endometriosis, there is no staying in bed all week during a bad week. There is no catching up on the housework later or skipping dinner. You get up and show up no matter what. Until you face the unimaginable reality, that you just can’t. You don’t know what you’ll do, but you know you can’t do this anymore. If you have to live through this anguish for one more minute you will plunge into your despair and let it take over.

You go for tests and you try hormone treatments. You finally decide your body will never again be the remarkable body it used to be. It will no longer be a body that can support the life of another. To be able to keep any type of life you have now, you need to get rid of the organs that held and grew your precious children for the first part of their life.

At first, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. Plenty of women get hysterectomies. It’s not talked about a lot, but it’s absolute misery for me. Knowing that soon, my body won’t be the body I have had my whole life. I will never be able to have a precious sweet baby inside my womb. My pelvis will be dark and empty and filled with the monster Endometriosis.

This is my tormented life of a mother suffering with endometriosis.
T…

[Read more from Tifanee at Coins & Babble and follow her on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook]


Battling Endometriosis While Suffering from Postpartum Depression
Read about my own struggle with endometriosis

Endometriosis Resources

Endometriosis.org – the official website

Endomarch.org – The 2018 Worldwide Endometriosis March is scheduled for March 24.  Get more information and donate to Endo research.

Nancy’s Nook Endometriosis Education Facebook Group – a great resource for endometriosis support and medical information

Endometriosis Support Group – a Facebook group with over 12k members offering support and advice for women with endometriosis

Hystersisters.com – Hysterectomy support and information

A Treat For Mom

7 Holiday Gifts to Buy in Bulk

This is the perfect time of the year for giving and being thankful.  We focus on the most important people in our lives – our families and friends, and as parents, try our best to make the holiday season as magical as possible for our kids.

But what about all the extra people in our lives who do so much for us and our children throughout the year?  I’m talking about the teachers, neighbors, child care workers, soccer coaches, co-workers, and all the other people who make a difference in our daily lives…

Having to buy an individual gift for each of these people (and those ones we’ve forgotten about until the last minute) would just add to the Christmas shopping stress.

Instead, here are 7 gifts you can buy in bulk from www.beau-coup.com that would make the perfect holiday thank you to all the extra people in our lives who make a difference.

7 Holiday Gifts to Buy in Bulk

7 Holiday Gifts to Buy in Bulk

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.


1. Card and Ornament

beau-coup.com

Up your Christmas card game this year with these snowflake ornaments and personalized cards.  They come in a minimum order of 24 and you can add two lines of text to the card so you can personalize your greeting.  These would be perfect to mail out to long distance friends or family, drop in your neighbor’s mailbox, or send to school in your kid’s backpack.


2. Apple Cider

beau-coup.com

These little personalized bags of apple cider and caramels are the cutest holiday treat!  How adorable would it be to have the customizable bags printed with a greeting from your child to give out to all of their teachers or friends?


3. Salt & Pepper Shakers

beau-coup.com

I love the modern minimal look of these pine tree shaped salt & pepper shakers.  They would look perfect on anyone’s holiday table and would be appropriate to use all winter long!


4. Monogrammed Shawl

beau-coup.com

While not exactly an item that comes with a bulk price tag, it’s an affordable gift nonetheless.  The monogram option makes it perfect to give to female co-workers, teachers or child care workers.


5. Mini Mason Jars

Personalized Holiday Metallic Foil Mason Jars
beau-coup.com

Fill them with candies, cookies, pretzels or peppermints – or choose non-food options like little collectible toys, nail polish or bath bombs.  The possibilities are endless!  They come with a personalized label so they will still coordinate no matter what you fill them with!  (I recommend baking up a batch of my tried and tested chocolate chip cookies to fill them with!)


6. Snowflake Bookmark

beau-coup.com

If you’re planning on giving someone a book for Christmas, this would make a great add-on.  But even by itself, it would make a great gift for your kids’ teachers, librarian, book club members or any other reading fans on your list.  The affordable price tag means you can even give one to everyone in your kid’s class or sports team.


7. Hot Cocoa Mix

beau-coup.com

Everyone loves a cup of hot cocoa during the holidays – go the extra mile and hand out these personalized bags of hot chocolate mix so they know who to thank for the delicious hot drink.  There are SO many different customization options, that it’s sure to stand out!  Give one out to everyone at your holiday party, stuff stockings with them or leave them on your co-workers desks. Or you can pair it with one of these festive holiday mugs or this mason jar mug and add on a hot chocolate stick to make the complete package!


Check out more holiday ideas from www.Beau-Coup.com

christmas gifts and favors

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10 Personalized Gifts for Kids with Unique Names

Do you know any kids with unique names?  I gave my three kids unique names, and I absolutely love them.  It means, however, that they don’t often find ready-made things with their names printed on them or hear their names in books or movies.

This makes giving them personalized gifts so much more special.  Since they rarely see their names printed anywhere – they get extremely excited when they do!

Christmas is one of the best times to give personalized gifts, not just to kids with unique names, but to all kids.  At a time of the year when everyone is exchanging gifts, getting something personalized means someone put a little extra thought and effort into that gift to make sure it was right for you.

Etsy.com has some of the best options for personalized gifts.  Here’s my top ten!

10 Personalized Gifts for Kids with Unique Names

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.


1. Name Puzzle

JandPWoodProducts on Etsy

This name puzzle from JandPWoodProducts on Etsy would make a great gift for a toddler or preschooler!  It’s not only a great find for kids with unique names, but for anyone, as it helps kids identify the letters in their own name.  As they get older, this would be a beautiful bedroom decoration and keepsake.


2. Fidget Necklace

QuinnandLane on Etsy

I LOVE these personalized fidget necklaces from QuinnandLane on Etsy!  Kids have a nasty habit of putting things in their mouths and these silicone necklaces are designed for just that.  My daughter loves to chew on her hair, and my son, his nails, but with one of these they’ll be able to fidget safely and not develop any bad habits.


3. Light Up Name

SimplySpecialBoutiq on Etsy

How much would your kids love to see their name in lights?!  These adorable light up letters from SimplySpecialBoutiq on Etsy would make the cutest night light that kids could cherish forever!  It could double as a decoration feature for their birthday parties and with so many sophisticated color options, it would still look great enough to take to college!  A great gift for kids of any age!


4. Monogrammed Winter Hat & Gloves

BrunchMom on Etsy

With winter comes hoards of gear that often gets lost in the shuffle.  My kids are currently wearing generic hats and gloves with a sticker label on the inside in the hopes that I can find them again in the lost and found box.  This set from BrunchMom on Etsy is a much nicer option.  The delicate embroidery is so classy and luxurious, any kid would be happy to sport these all winter long…


5. Personalized Tumbler

PreppyPinkPineapples on Etsy

With three kids in my house, everyone is always fighting over their favorite color cup.  Personalized cups might be the solution!  These tumblers are so modern and classy that they make the perfect little gift for kids with unique names.  PreppyPinkPineapples on Etsy offers so many different color and font options that each child will be able to get exactly what they want while still coordinating.  They would make a great gift for the entire family, or an entire set of grandkids or cousins!


6. Embroidered Towel

ItsSewDanielle on Etsy

Another item my kids often fight over is which color towel they get after bath time.  Imagine how much more special bath time becomes when they have a towel with their name on it!  They’ll use them at swimming lessons, on beach days or pool parties and always know which towel is theirs!  I love these ones from ItsSewDanielle on Etsy because there are so many different options for customization (it’s even offered as a towel and washcloth set).


7. Library Bag

zoeysattic on Etsy

This book bag is adorable for little readers!  Our kids recently got their first library cards and my son loads up on his maximum limit of chapter books (because he can blow through one in just a few nights).  He definitely needs one of these bags to carry his stash in!  If your kid isn’t particularly into books, then ZoeysAttic on Etsy offers all kinds of personalized tote bags for just about everyone, no matter what you’re into.  There’s one for dance class, football practice, or the beach!


8. Santa Sack

SewWhatFun on Etsy

We invested in personalized Santa sacks for the kids several Christmases ago and it’s been such an awesome addition to our Christmas tradition!  The kids LOVE seeing their special sacks under the tree on Christmas morning and it makes the magic so real.  When they’re older and have outgrown the Santa tradition, it will be a wonderful keepsake for them!


9. Story Book

MyMagicNameBook on Etsy

I bet a book that has your kid’s unique name in it will easily become one of their favorites!  I remember my sister and cousins and I getting personalized books from our favorite aunt when we were kids and I still remember every word of the story because of how often we read it!  There are so many options out there but these ones from MyMagicNameBook on Etsy come with a unique story for each child, so no two will ever be alike!


10. Rubber Name Stamp

RemarkableMarks on Etsy

And lastly, why not just get their name on an awesome rubber stamp set!?!?  Now they can put their name on anything and everything they choose!


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9 Reasons why Mothers Don’t Speak Up about Chronic Pain

You wouldn’t know by looking at me, but I have suffered from chronic pain for over 5 years.

I was recently diagnosed with a medical condition called endometriosis It took over a year, five different doctors, several ER visits, countless tests and a long list of medications to finally get an answer.  In the end, it was too late anyway and I lost the majority of my reproductive organs.

[You can read more about my battle with endometriosis here]

And while I want to blame the medical system for failing me, I can’t deny the fact that I ignored the pain for FOUR YEARS before deciding to do something about it.

As a mother, there are so many reasons why I didn’t feel my pain was a priority.  Prior to having children to take care of, I’m sure it would have been a major concern and perhaps I would have gotten a diagnosis sooner rather than later.   Here are some reasons why mothers don’t speak up about chronic pain.

9 Reasons Why Mothers Don't Speak Up about Chronic Pain

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.**Furthermore, I am not a medical professional and nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am simply a mother who has been there and lived to tell the tale.


1. We put others first

One of the most distinguishable characteristics of a mother is that they put others before themselves.  The more people we have to take care of, the more our own needs get bumped to the bottom of the list.  And some most days that list never gets completed.  So while we might have every intention of taking care of ourselves, there just aren’t enough hours left over at the end of the day after taking care of everyone else.

The Tormented Life of a Mother Living with Endometriosis
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2. We don’t want to scare our children

I will never forget the fear in my daughter’s eyes when she came to visit me in the hospital, hooked up to machines and IV’s and unable to move.  In an attempt to protect my children from seeing their mother in such a vulnerable state, I kept quiet about my pain around them.  When they think back on their childhood, I wouldn’t want them to remember me in constant pain and not able to do anything fun with them.


3. We hate to let people down

We want to be supermom, as unattainable as it might be.  We want to be there for our kids and our spouses, our families and friends.  We want to bake the perfect cupcakes for the bake sale and volunteer at every charitable event.  We want to cheer our kids on from the sidelines and chase after them at the playground.  Dealing with chronic pains means we probably won’t get to do all of those things and so we push through it just to avoid disappointing anyone.


4. Nothing compares to childbirth

Sure, you’re in pain, but it’s not as bad as childbirth.  It’s worse if you’ve given birth without any drugs because then you’re expected to be able to handle anything.  But chronic pain and labor pain are two entirely different things.

Labor pain is a right of passage with an amazing reward at the end.  All mothers have had a chance to experience it in some way or another, it’s just part of life.

Chronic pain means something is wrong.  It is not a welcome pain, and there is no end in sight.  Add in the psychological trauma that comes along with wondering WHY you’re in pain and it’s a whole different monster.

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5. It’s hard to ask for help

This rings true for most people, not just mothers suffering from chronic pain.  To ask for help means putting aside our pride, which is something most mothers have a very difficult time doing.  We are proud of the home we’ve kept and the children we’ve raised.  We’ve got a system and routine and we can’t expect just anyone to come in and take over.  If we admit that we need help, then we’re no longer in the running for supermom.


6. No one knows how to to do what we do

I’m not even sure what I do all day.  All I know is that no one else knows how to do it.   So if my husband asks me what needs to be done, I couldn’t tell him.  I just get up in the morning and do what I do.  I see something that needs to be done and I do it.  There is no master list.  There is no “how-to guide” to being a stay at home mom.  And even if I wrote out a to-do list, it would probably need to be changed at least 12 times because… toddlers.


we keep quiet about a lot of things…

7. We’re afraid to miss out

These kids grow up so fast.  We’re afraid to blink for fear of missing out on something and so taking time off to deal with our chronic pain is out of the question.  As much as we want alone time, we also want to be there to experience it all.  We want to see that excited expression on their faces when experiencing something new.  We want to hear their hysterical laughs while playing at the park or watching a funny movie.  We don’t want to miss out on our children’s childhood because of chronic pain.


8. We’ve tried all the home remedies

We are lucky to live in a world where we have so many choices when it comes to our health.  If you want to know what all of those options are, then all you need to do is mention to someone that you suffer from chronic pain.  Product recommendations, home remedies, naturopathic solutions, essential oils, vitamins, etc., are all wonderful and often welcome suggestions… at first.  And we get that people want to help but, after a while, we’re tired of being targeted by those selling some type of miracle product that promises to cure all that ails us.

Chronic Pain: Cost Effective and Quick Fix Methods to End Your Pain: Innovative Solutions to a Pain Free Life by [Longstaff, Nicole]
Amazon.ca

9. We hate being labeled

Complainers.  Hypochondriacs.  Unhealthy.  Drug addicts.  There are many people who use pain as an excuse.  Those people make things much harder for the rest of us who are in actual pain.  We don’t speak up about chronic pain because there are so many people who don’t understand it.  It’s not just about what others think of us, it’s about how we are treated.  For five years I suffered from chronic pain but was still able to do anything and everything and I often wonder if things would have been different if I was more vocal about my pain.

Battling Endometriosis While Suffering from Postpartum Depression
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The cause of chronic pain is less important than how it affects your life.  Many people have no choice but to speak up about their chronic pain and ask for help.  But for some mothers, myself included, we are afraid to show weakness.  We don’t want to be a burden.  And so we keep it inside and go it alone. 

It doesn’t have to be this way. If you’re reading this and felt like I was talking to you, maybe it’s time to let your guard down.  Seek help and let those in your life know that you are suffering.  If they truly love you, they won’t think any less of you and will want to do whatever they can to ease your pain.


click here to learn more about

Chronic pain and endometriosis

4 Tips for Surviving Three Car Seats

Families with three kids are often put in a difficult position when it comes to choosing a vehicle.   The struggle that is three car seats.

If you weren’t driving a minivan before baby #3 came along, you may be strongly considering one now.  But a minivan isn’t the only option.  It is entirely possible to accommodate three car seats comfortably in many different vehicles.  Here are my best tips to help you get through this phase.

*Sponsored Post*  I received compensation for this blog post, however all opinions are my own.


1. The right vehicle

Whether you’re looking to upgrade or wondering if your existing vehicle will be able to accommodate three car seats, it’s best to do your research ahead of time.  You can use Cars.com’s car seat check to find out the rating on your vehicle or one you’re considering buying.

16HondaPilot_SO_ES_CSC_Lead.jpg
cars.com

The busy lifestyle that this stage of parenthood is infamous for means spending a lot of time on the road. If I factor in our regular 2 hour road trips back to our hometown on the weekends, it’s safe to say that we spend nearly as much time in the vehicle as we do anywhere else. Purchasing our family vehicle was as big of a decision as was purchasing our home, so research was essential.


2. The right car seat

The type of car seats you’re using will also have an impact.  In a perfect world, you may have one child in a high back booster, one in a convertible forward facing seat and one in a rear facing bucket seat.  But if your children are closer in age or if you have multiples, you may have two in bucket seats and/or rear facing.  The combination possibilities are endless.

The other thing you’ll want to consider is the brand of car seat you are using.  Some are created bulkier than others and this can affect how well they fit side by side by side.

Cars.com has done a lot of this research for you.  Here is a list of vehicles that can fit three car seats side by side.  

17-honda-pilot-fits-three-es.jpg
cars.com

3. The right position

Which car seat goes where?  There’s no right or wrong answer.  As long as the car seats are installed correctly and don’t hinder the position of the driver and passenger seats in front of them, it doesn’t really matter which child sits where.  You can watch this car seat safety video from Cars.com for more information.

Consider keeping easy access to the child who needs the most attention.

If the baby tends to sleep during car rides, then you may want to keep the rambunctious toddler within arms reach instead.

OR, you may want to keep the oldest child closest to you in order to pass things to them to distribute among their siblings.

Another thing you need to think about is the convenience of getting into and out of the vehicle:  

If the oldest child can buckle themselves in, put them the farthest away from the door. 

Bucket seats on a base are simple enough to move but can be heavy and bulky and usually best suited close to a door. 

Give yourself enough space and leverage to buckle in that squirmy toddler.

Factor in the weather.  Dealing with car seats is one of the reasons why moms hate winter.


4. The third row shuffle

Having a vehicle with a third row isn’t always a necessity with three kids.  But it IS a bonus.  I, like many other parents, avoided getting a minivan and opted for an SUV with a third row instead.  Here’s a list of the best three row SUV’s for car seats.  And while that third row isn’t regularly used, it’s a nice feature to have, both for additional seating and for when the kids get older and will want their own space in the backseat.

17_GMC_Acadia_CSC_ES_02.jpg
cars.com
Because as much as I don’t want to admit it – the day will come when they will no longer be in car seats and the struggle of the daily buckle will be another memory for the baby book.

 

Tips for Your Child’s First School Year

I can honestly say that I feel much more prepared for the back to school season this year, with my oldest child going into the second grade.

But a few years ago, when he started kindergarten, I was completely lost and had no idea what to expect.  Actually, that’s not true.  I expected it to be like daycare.  But I soon realized that it’s not AT ALL like daycare.  Kids are expected to be much more independent and parents are expected to be much more involved.

This year my second child will start kindergarten and while I’m feeling all sorts of emotions about her growing up, I’m also more confident knowing what to expect.

Here are my best tips for your child’s first school year

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.


Research the enrollment options

Usually for kindergarten there are several different options depending on the school.  At our school, for example, we only had the option of half days, 5 days a week.  Some schools offer full days, 3 days a week or even full days, 5 days a week.  But we did get the choice of morning or afternoon classes.

If you are faced with this decision, think carefully about your schedule and your child’s habits.

For my son, we chose morning kindergarten which worked best for him because he’s a morning person, loves to eat breakfast, and my husband was able to drop him off at school on his way to work.

For my daughter, we chose afternoon kindergarten because she is NOT a morning person (neither am I), hates breakfast, and takes forever to pick out what she wants to wear and get her hair done.  I did not want to have to struggle with her every morning, so afternoon kindergarten gives us an entire morning to prepare.

Preschool can be a great opportunity for you to discover what type of routine and habits work for your child.

50 Things Kids Learn at Preschool
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Make time to volunteer

Schools will usually send home letters asking for parent volunteers during field trips, fundraising events, concerts, etc. Keep in mind that these are normally held during school hours, so you may need to make work or babysitting arrangements if you plan to volunteer.  A criminal record check and/or other background checks may be required.


Forever fundraising

Schools rely heavily on fundraising both for charitable events and various school projects.  Expect to see at least 4 different fundraisers throughout the school year.  Schools have gotten pretty creative in their fundraising methods so there will be a variety of different ways to help raise money, many of which are useful and affordable (like these personalized labels).

Try to get your kids involved in the fundraising projects themselves, instead of doing all the dirty work yourself.  Have them phone friends and family or take a video of them talking about their fundraising event and e-mail it to anyone on your list who might be interested (but don’t spam people).  Some schools might even have a Facebook event for bigger fundraising events that you can share on your social media.

Click here to see if your school does fundraising through Mabel’s Labels!

Keep in mind that if you have more than one kid enrolled in school, you will need to buy/sell twice as much!


Don’t skimp on the supplies

School supply shopping for the first time can be either super exciting or super intimidating.

Click to read full post

If you need a specific notebook in a specific size and have no idea what you’re looking for – ask for help.  The back to school staff at most stores have probably helped other parents find the same notebook a dozen times already.  (Or shop online instead!)

Take a picture of the school supply list on your phone so that you will always have it when you’re out shopping.  You’d be amazed how many deals you can find at the grocery store.

Get the name brand crayons and glue sticks – some teachers will put their preference on the list and they’re the experts.  Your kids will be doing A LOT of creative stuff in their first school year and they need the right tools or it can end in frustration for everyone.

Buy an extra box of tissue or donate extra school supplies to your child’s class if you find a really great deal – teachers will be forever grateful for your generosity!


Prepare for the weather

If you live somewhere with temperamental weather like I do, then it’s easy to worry about kids at recess time if you didn’t send them to school in the right gear (one of the many reasons why moms hate winter.)

In between seasons, dress them in layers so they can add one or take one off as needed.

Mitten clips are a good option for kids who keep losing theirs.

amazon.ca

Splash pants & rubber boots will be your kids best friend in the springtime.

Opt for a neck warmer or a balaclava instead of scarf because it’s easier for kids to put on and offers more coverage in the winter.

Label every single piece of your child’s outerwear because it’s guaranteed to end up in the lost and found box at some point.

Try Mabel’s Labels – dishwasher & laundry proof!
Back To School _DSeries 300x250
mabelslabels.com

Zippers and Laces

It’s tempting to keep your child out of their brand new shoes and jackets until school starts in order to keep everything in good condition, but it might be a better idea to let them get used to them instead.

Zippers can be tricky especially with the added stress of the recess bell ringing and the bustle of other kids in the hallways.  Same goes for running shoes and winter boots.  Kids should get as much practice putting these on and taking them off as possible before their first school year starts.

Let kids get dressed for school completely by themselves (this includes snowsuits) so that you know they will be able to duplicate it at recess time.

If your kids have a hard time with laces, try these Hickies no-tie elastic laces instead.


Homework time

While there isn’t much actual “homework” in your child’s first school year, there will be more than you expect and it will require your participation.

Whatever it is, now is the time to start establishing a homework routine because this will be an important part of life for the next several years.

indigo.ca

Choose a place and a time to sit down without any distractions and make it a habit.  Even if there was no homework sent home that day, read a book together, practice writing skills or do an age appropriate learning activity.

You may also want to invest in an organization center in your home to keep track of all the notes, forms, calendars, library books & homework that your child will bring home each day.


No matter how many children you have, sending your first child to school makes you a first time parent all over again.

It’s incredibly hard and emotional.  Your baby is being sent out into the world to learn and do for themselves.  It’s unlike daycare in that someone is not being paid to take care of them the entire day.  They are supervised of course but if they have a problem, they need to speak up and ask for help, and all you can do is hope that they will.

Your child’s first year of school will be a true test of how independent they are.  Even if it all seems overwhelming at first, they learn quickly by watching the other children and they will be a pro by the end of the year!

Hope you have a great first school year!

10 Websites for Back to School Shopping in Canada

I used to love shopping… until I had three kids.  Now it’s more of a marathon run than an enjoyable activity.  Enter online shopping!

While the odd trip to the malls is unavoidable, I try to do as much shopping online as possible – especially when I’m looking for something specific.  I can research and price check and read reviews – all from the comfort of my own home and without being begged to go to the toy section.

In Canada, the selection and shipping options seem to be much more limited (vs. the US) but there are still plenty of deals to be found if you look in the right places.  Here are a few of my favorite stores for Back to School Shopping in Canada.

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.


1. Indigo Books & Music

WEBSITE: www.chapters.indigo.ca
WHAT TO BUY: Backpacks & Lunchboxes
indigo.ca

I love their unique designs like this Scented Emoji Backpack.  There are lots of great name brands and the prices are also super affordable!

They also have a big selection of cute lunchboxes and accessories like reusable snack bags in a bunch of different patterns and bento box lunch kits.

SHIPPING: FREE shipping on orders over $25 + FREE to ship to any Chapters Indigo location in Canada.


Free Shipping on Orders Over $25!


2. Staples Office Supplies

WEBSITE: www.staples.ca
WHAT TO BUY: UHU glue sticks, Crayola products, binders, notebooks, pens, pencils, etc.
UHU® Glue Stick, 40 g
staples.ca

You can pretty much find anything you need on your school supply list at Staples, with the same prices you would find in store!

UHU glue sticks are by far one of the best and preferred by teachers but they’re pricey and harder to find.  Staples carries them by the caseload so you can stock up (this is great if you have multiple kids with glue sticks on their supply lists)

SHIPPING:  FREE shipping on orders over $45 + some items are available for FREE pickup at your local Staples store in as little as 2 hours!

3. Zulily

WEBSITE: www.zulily.com
WHAT TO BUY: Kids Clothes & Shoes

This is a great site to get deals on dress clothes for picture day!  There is a huge selection from different brands but it changes nearly every day and offers don’t last long so if you see something you like – buy it!

You need to sign up for a free account before you can start shopping, but beware – it can get very addicting!

If what you’re looking for is time sensitive – then order well in advance as Zulily does not ship out their products until the entire promotion ends.

When shopping from Canada, make sure that you change your country flag and currency in the top right corner!

SHIPPING:  The price of shipping varies however, when you pay for shipping with your first item then you get free shipping on all your other purchases for that day.



4. Mabel’s Labels

WEBSITE: www.mabelslabels.com
WHAT TO BUY: Personalized Labels for Clothing and School Supplies
Ultimate Back-to-School Combo
mabelslabels.com

The Starter Pack offers a good selection of different sized labels, but they also offer an Ultimate Back to School Combo if you need more.

I love the variety of different customization options and also that the labels are waterproof, dishwasher & microwave safe – so you can apply them once and never have to worry about them coming off (even in the washing machine!)

Whether your kid is just starting preschool, or ready to graduate – they’re going to need their things labelled.  Get the labels that are sure to last.

Click here to check if your school does fundraising through Mabel’s labels before placing your order!

SHIPPING: FREE shipping for all orders in Canada!


5. Sportchek

WEBSITE: www.sportchek.ca
WHAT TO BUY: Kids Athletic Shoes
Reebok SoQuick Kids' Grade-School Running Shoes
sportchek.ca

Starting at $40, you can get a pair of Under Armour or Reebok runners for your kids for gym class or to use as indoor shoes.

I normally cheap out on shoes because my kid’s feet grow 2 sizes/school year, but considering that they will be wearing these shoes for the majority of the school day, I’ve learned it’s better to splurge on good quality ones.

SHIPPING: Free shipping on orders over $50

6. Hickies

WEBSITE: www.hickies.com
WHAT TO BUY: Adjustable elastic shoelaces
Rainbow
hickies.com

Kids and shoelaces…  I don’t know about your kids but mine still don’t know how to properly tie their laces.  And I’m certain that when the recess bell rings they’d rather run off with loose laces than spend time trying to figure it out.  I’ve avoided buying them shoes with laces for this very reason, however velcro runners aren’t always the most stylish or comfortable, either.

I discovered these Hickies elastic shoelaces last year to save my son some time at recess and they’ve been a lifesaver.  I love how many different ways you can customize the fit and they look so sleek and low profile.

Click here to learn more about how they work and to see all the different customization options.

SHIPPING: Starts at $10 (Sign up for their email list and get 20% off)

7. Old Navy

WEBSITE: www.oldnavy.gapcanada.ca
WHAT TO BUY: Jeans, Leggings, Sweaters, Graphic T-shirts

Two words… Super Cash.  Spend money, get money back to spend again.  It’s brilliant.

Old navy clothes are a staple in my kid’s closet because they’re affordable, stylish and durable.  And for school clothes, I need them to be all of those things…

SHIPPING: Free shipping on orders over $50

8. The Children’s Place

WEBSITE: www.childrensplace.com
WHAT TO BUY: Jeans, Dresses, Outdoor Shoes, Accessories

Like Old Navy, The Children’s Place is my go-to for kids clothes.  You can buy clothes in extended sizes like husky or slim (only available online) and their pants all have the adjustable elastic waistbands.

They also have a ton of accessories like headbands, purses, wallets, hats and sunglasses which are usually quite hard to find in kid sizes!

Sign up for their email list so you can be notified of sales.  I find their stock is strictly seasonal so get your back to school items now and don’t wait too long to shop for winter gear.

Shipping: FREE!

9. Amazon

WEBSITE: www.amazon.ca
WHAT TO BUY: Obviously you can find just about anything on Amazon, but my favorite picks for back to school are…

this chalkboard calendar wall sticker

amazon.ca

this pocket organizer for the millions of notes that get sent home in backpacks

amazon.ca

and this kids alarm clock to help get kids out of bed in the morning

amazon.ca
SHIPPING: Varies.  Click here to sign up for Amazon Family (free for Prime members) and get free 2 day shipping, 20% off diapers and other discounts and benefits designed for families with young children.

And lastly, if you plan to do ANY online shopping at all, I suggest you join…

10. Swagbucks

WEBSITE: www.swagbucks.com
HOW IT WORKS: You can earn cash back on your online purchases, plus earn points that you can use for gift cards and other merchandise.  There are several other ways to earn points as well. (Click here for more detailed info)

I know there are plenty of sites like this out there, but the reason why I like Swagbucks is that it’s a no-brainer.  You can download the browser add-on and a big blue bar will appear at the top of your screen if a website you are on is eligible for cash back (and also if there’s a coupon code available for that site).  There’s no additional steps or website you have to go to first in order to get your cash back.  Simple.

Click here to sign up for Swagbucks now and then start shopping!

50 Things Kids Learn at Preschool

As a parent of one child who attended two years of preschool and one who didn’t attend at all, I do believe that preschool provides children with an advantage prior to beginning kindergarten.

However, that being said, I don’t think that children who do not attend preschool are at a disadvantage.

It sounds like I’m contradicting myself but I’m not trying to…


When my first child started kindergarten, I expected it to be rocky because neither he nor I knew what we were doing.  But you know what?  He got the hang of it really quickly, and sure there were some bumps in the road, but we learned along the way and that’s just the way I thought it was supposed to be.

At the same time that my son started kindergarten, my second child started preschool (something I never even considered for my first, by the way).  The only reason we decided to enroll her was so she wouldn’t feel left out, but in the past two years I am surprised at how much she has learned and what a great routine she’s gotten into.  I know will make it that much easier on her (and I) when she starts school in the fall. 


Here is a list of things that my daughter has learned in her two years of preschool that I believe will result in a smooth transition to kindergarten.

50 Things Kids Learn at Preschool

50 Things Kids Learn at Preschool

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.


1. How to stand in a lineup 

This is a big one because at school there are a lot of lineups.  And if you’re like me, all your kids probably know about lineups is that they’re something worth complaining about…

2. How to socialize with other kids 

Obviously friends, relatives, play dates, childcare, etc.,  all offer this same opportunity.  The difference is that school socialization is more “unsupervised” (to a certain degree).  Which means that children get the chance to socialize without an adult hovering over them making sure they “play nice” and “share.” So it’s up to them to do this on their own.

3. How to take turns 

Preschool aged kids are naturally self-centered and having to let someone else do something that they want to do can be extremely tough.  The more practice they can get at it, the better.

4. How to wait patiently

In a class with a lot of children it can take a while for everyone to get their turn.

5. How to raise your hand to speak

Where else does anyone do this except in school?  It’s iconic school aged behavior and it has to start somewhere.

6. How to ask for help

Asking someone you don’t know very well for help can be frightening to some kids.  Especially if it’s something embarrassing.

7. How to identify the spelling of their name

They may not be able to fully write their own name, but they need to be able to pick it out of a lineup.

8. How to make the letter sounds

Singing the alphabet only helps kids identify the names of the letters but learning what sounds they make is an essential first step to reading.

indigo.ca
indigo.ca
Jolly Phonics – indigo.ca

9. How to count and identify numbers up to 10

Specifically when those numbers are out of order.

preschool number flash cards
indigo.ca

10. How to recognize the date  

Learning the days of the week, months of the year and the seasons is a crucial part of daily life at school.

Amazon.ca

11. How to tell the time  

Actual lessons in telling time are reserved for later but kids learn pretty quickly what time school starts and ends.

Learn to tell the time with this clock from amazon.ca

12. How to listen quietly when the teacher is speaking

This is another big one that kids will need to do their entire school life.

13. How to sit in one spot for a designated amount of time

Whether it’s a story time rug, in a circle or at a desk, kids will need to learn to sit still during school hours.

The WOBBLE Chair – amazon.ca

14. How to follow instructions

Especially two, three or four step instructions.

15. How to maintain a school routine

A school routine is different from a home routine and can change often.  Kids need to be flexible and learn what to do and when.

16. How to stop one activity and move onto another activity

Maybe they’re not done coloring yet, or they want to finish building that tower – too bad… time to move on.

17. How to wait for classmates to be done a task before moving on 

Kids need to learn that everyone works at different paces and just because they are done something, doesn’t mean everyone else is.

18. How to cooperate with others  

Working together is an essential life skill but it can also be very hard to learn for little ones with their own agendas.

19. How to sing along with others

My daughter loves to “shush” me while she sings because she wants the spotlight to herself – in preschool there are a lot of group songs and chances are, she won’t be able to hear the sound of her own voice…

Preschool Circle Time Songs, The Kiboomers
The Kiboomers – purchase on iTunes!
Top 30 Award Winning Preschool Songs
The Kiboomers – purchase on iTunes!

20. How to participate in group activities

School is littered with group activities, not just in the younger grades, so the earlier they can master this skill, the better.

21. How to clean up in a timely manner

There are only so many minutes in a school day.

22.  How to deal with separation anxiety.

Saying goodbye can be one of the toughest parts of starting the school day.  The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn is a sweet little story to help kids who have trouble parting from their parents.

indigo.ca

23. How to socialize with other adults

Whether it’s the teachers, special guests, helpers or volunteers, kids are going to need to interact with other adults all the time at school.

24. How to greet people with respect  

Everyday when I drop my daughter off at preschool her teachers greet her and for the longest time she stared off into oblivion, too busy watching all the hustle and bustle around her.  I pointed out that the polite and respectful thing to do when her teachers greet her is to greet them back and now it’s the part of drop off that she looks forward to the most.

25. How to introduce themselves to new people

Sure, they’re great at making new friends but do they know their friend’s name?  Does their friend know their name?

A sweet book about friendship – indigo.ca

26. How to wait for attention  

Kids are so demanding.  In school they will have to learn that if they need attention, they may not get it immediately.

27. How to take care of their neighborhood  

Learning about the community is so important to help kids become responsible neighbors.

28. How to care for the earth and environment

Sorting recyclables, reusing containers and picking up litter are just a few ways that my kids show me how much they care about the world we live in.

29. How to help raise funds for their school and/or charity

Fundraising is a huge part of the preschool and school age years.  Usually preschools offer fundraisers that encourage kids to get involved and offer opportunities for them to learn about money, priorities and doing good for others. [Click HERE to find out if your preschool uses Mabel’s Labels as a fundraiser]

30. How to identify their own belongings 

Kids seem to like a lot of the same things.  You’re going to have to label everything and they’re going to have to know how to look for the label with their name on it.  I recommend the Mabel’s Labels Starter Pack – they’re durable and waterproof and they come with so many different design options! [Click HERE for free shipping from Mabel’s Labels]

Back-to-school supplies with Mabel's Labels.
Mabel’s Labels

31. How to open snack packages  

Ziploc bags, re-usable containers, yogurt, wrappers, etc., can all be a challenge for a kid and having to wait for help from someone else means they get less time to eat.

32. How to change to indoor shoes/outdoor shoes and where to put them

At home my kids throw their dirty runners all over the mudroom, but at school there is a place to keep them and they need to be kept neat and tidy.

33. How to do up their own zipper/buttons on their jacket  

In preschool they get a lot more help than they do in kindergarten but the last thing you’ll want is your child running outside for recess on a cold day with an unzipped jacket.

amazon.ca

34. How to put on their own snowsuit

Like the last one, consider the ratio of teachers to students and realize that there won’t be enough people to help your child get dressed every recess.  This will take some practice but, from experience, your child will miss a lot of recess time in winter if they spend half the time putting on and taking off a snowsuit.

4-Piece Fleece-Lined Snowsuit Set
Carters OshKosh

35. How to locate something that is lost 

Knowing where to look for something they’ve lost will help kids remain independent and responsible.

36. How to pack/unpack a backpack

In preschool, there isn’t much in their backpack but the important routine of packing it before school and unpacking it after school will help them in the school days to come.

37. How to take care of toys that belong to the school

All toys should be taken care of, but especially ones that don’t belong to you.

38. How to do special jobs

Kids often rotate as “special helpers” and they need to learn how to be responsible enough to do them.

39. How to be safe in an emergency

Fire safety is a big deal at school and kids need to know what to do in the event of an emergency.

Free Fire Safety Booklet
TeachingMama.org

40. How to speak in front of the entire class

Having to get up in front of everyone and say something (ex. show and tell) can be terrifying for even the most outgoing child.

41. How to perform in a group for special events 

Holidays and other events are exciting times when the kids get to do a performance on stage and having to practice songs and dance moves beforehand can be a fun challenge.

42. How to accept compliments

Kids get praised by their teachers all the time – how does your child react when they get a compliment?

43. How to decide who to be friends with

Some adults are still learning this life skill.  Kids often tend to be drawn to other kids who are similar to them or who have similar interests.  But what if your child made friends who someone you thought might be a “bad influence”?

44. How to observe right and wrong behaviors in others  

Knowing the difference between right and wrong is another lifelong battle.  Kids need to be able to identify when someone is doing something wrong so that they can know NOT to mimic that behavior.

45. How to use appropriate words

Don’t know about your kids but mine think bathroom words are hilarious.  They’ll need to learn how to use appropriate words at school.

A book that covers the basics of school behavioral expectations – indigo.ca

46. How to speak up when observing something wrong (without tattling)

Tattling on someone for no good reason is different than speaking up when they some type of injustice or something dangerous.

47. How to handle being interrupted

It’s bound to happen when they are one child in a class full of children.

48.  How to handle jealousy

I am constantly working on this one with my daughter.  For some reason she thinks she should have whatever anyone else has too…

49. How to include everyone

Cliques do start earlier than we’d like to admit.  Preschool is a great opportunity for kids to learn how to play with everyone and not just with their favorite people.

A cute story about inclusion – indigo.ca

50. How to interact with kids of different cultural backgrounds

This one is especially important.  Kids need to be exposed to others who are different than they are.  They will probably have questions about why those kids are different and the earlier they can learn about diversity, the better off they will be in life.  I love that my kids go to school with children of different races, religions, abilities and family structures and I want them to feel comfortable asking questions, learning, reaching out and trying everything they can to relate to others who might seem different than them.


Check out these awesome mom blogs for FREE printable preschool worksheets that you can do at home!  
Wow, look at all these fun preschool and kindergarten printables. I can't believe they are all free printables, can't wait to use for my homeschool preschool!:
Mommy is My Teacher
More than 20 FREE Learning Packs for Preschool and Kindergarten - This Reading Mama
This Reading Mama
Have some fun with your preschooler and learn at the same time with these education free preschool printables in various seasonal themes.
Living Life and Learning

The Pros and Cons of a Combined Sibling Birthday Party

If you’re like me then you’re lucky (?) enough to have three kids whose birthdays are less than a month apart.

The pros and cons of combined sibling birthday parties

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.


When baby #2 was born only three weeks after my first child’s 2nd birthday, I had mixed feelings about them sharing a birthday party.  And then my third child turned up only two days after my first child’s 5th birthday so there was almost no avoiding celebrating their birthdays together… at least for a little while.

For the past 4 years we’ve had one big combined sibling birthday party and this year was no exception!
Dreamworks Trolls Inspired Birthday Party
Click here to read about our most recent sibling birthday party!

Our first combined sibling birthday party was shortly after we moved almost 900 kilometers away from home and all of our family.  We decided to host the party back in our hometown so it made sense to combine the celebration and save us having to make two trips in.

sibling birthday party
Mickey & Minnie Mouse themed 1st & 3rd Birthdays – 2013

While this is still one of the main reasons we choose to do a combined sibling birthday party (despite now only living 200 kilometers away), there are several pros and cons that we take into consideration each year. 


P R O S

The date is flexible.

Since it’s not a celebration of one specific day, it becomes more of a “birthday season.”  We’ve had our parties anywhere from a few days before or after, to a month away from their actual birth dates!

Bigger is better!

One big party can be easier than trying to throw several small ones.  I tend to go overboard on the party planning and wouldn’t even know how to throw a “small” party.


MY FAVORITE PARTY PLANNING SITES:

www.partycity.ca is my go-to website for party related decor items and game props.  They have a huge selection of themes and color schemes and I’ve always been able to count on them to have something specific that I need for a great price! 

www.etsy.com is my favorite place to shop for custom invitations and downloadable printables!  I’ve purchased everything from party decor to costumes on Etsy and absolutely LOVE the personalized service!

www.amazon.ca is a lifesaver for situations when I need something that I can’t find in a store! (like pink and blue light bulbs for a gender reveal!)  And even if I can find it, I always price check on amazon first!

www.beau-coup.com not only has adorable little party favors for every occasion but they also sell a ton of things in little miniatures that are perfect for dressing up a cake table or candy bar or to use as cake toppers. 


It’s a one time effort.

Party planning is exciting (at least for me it is).  When I know there’s a party coming up, I go all in and put in as much effort as my budget will allow.  But if I had to do it several times in a year, I’m sure that either my effort or my budget would run out by the time the last one rolled around.

Theme parties FTW!

Finding a theme for a combined sibling birthday party can be a challenge but with so many options – it’s actually a lot of fun!  Our most recent theme was based on the Dreamworks Trolls movie but we’ve also done one inspired by The Minions Movie (for our three little minions) and Mickey & Minnie (our first one for our son and daughter).

sibling birthday party
Minions themed 1st, 4th & 6th Birthdays – 2016
No one gets jealous.

Since all the kids get to be part of the celebration, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of one child being jealous seeing their sibling get presents and cake and attention.

Everyone gets a gift!

When we were young, my grandmother always bought presents for each grandchild, no matter who’s birthday it was.  It was one thing we could always count on – and we knew that no matter how jealous we felt about not getting to be the center of attention – we would at least get something from grandma.  So I’m glad my three kids each have gifts to open together.

There’s room for new traditions.

Having a separate party means being able to do something special on each child’s actual birthday.  There are so many creative ways to start a new birthday tradition in your family!


these awesome mom blogs have some great ideas for birthday traditions!

The House of Hendrix
Looking for fun and unique ways to make your child's birthday really special? You will love these 30 ways to make birthdays special (that aren't gifts)!
My Life and Kids
25 ways to make your childs birthday special
Honeybear Lane

It’s easier on the guests.

While your children are young, all of their guest lists will likely be the same – family and close friends.  Having one party means those guests won’t feel obligated to attend several different parties throughout the year.

Group gifts become an option.

A combined sibling birthday party provides an opportunity for guests to go in on larger group gifts together that your children wouldn’t normally receive.


C O N S

There’s no individual attention.

Each child won’t get individual attention at their birthday party and may harbor resentment towards their siblings for always having to share the spotlight.  This may bother some kids more than others, but know that combined sibling birthday parties won’t last forever.

Finding the right theme can be tricky.

The kids may have a hard time agreeing on one theme, especially when they’re into different things.  Finding a common color scheme can be difficult and the older the kids get, the more opinionated they become.  The age gap between them can also have affect which themes are appropriate.

sibling birthday party
Dreamworks Trolls 2nd, 5th & 7th Birthdays – 2017
It’s just one and done.

Once the sibling birthday party is over, there isn’t anything new to look forward to for the rest of the year.  It can be depressing when “birthday season” is over, similar to post-Christmas depression.

In some families, or large circles of extended family and close friends, birthday parties become one of the few reasons to get together throughout the year.  Having only one party means there aren’t as many opportunities for celebrations.

Parties don’t grow on trees.

It can be financially straining to pull off one really BIG party once a year instead of several smaller ones scattered throughout the year.  Considering what time of the year the birthdays fall can also impact the budget.  Anything close to Christmas is almost always doomed…

The “happy birthday” song plays on repeat.

No matter what options you choose for a cake (individual cakes, group cake, cupcakes) you will always have to sing “Happy Birthday” more than once.

Trolls Cake
6 Layer Rainbow Cake Recipe
The gifting situation…

It can be a burden on your guests to have to bring gifts for several children as opposed to just one.

The children may come to expect that they will ALWAYS get presents when their siblings do (or other children) and it will take away an opportunity to help them work through their jealousy.

Kids may receive “one gift for all of you to share.”


I know the day will come when my children will beg me for their own birthday party and I will graciously oblige…
… but until that day…

we will party like it’s Christmas in April!


Do you have any ideas for next year’s theme?  Leave me a comment!


Dreamworks Trolls themed birthday party for three kids
Minion Themed sibling birthday party for three kids
Mickey and Minnie Mouse themed brother and sister birthday party

Dreamworks Trolls Inspired Birthday Party

For my three children’s annual birthday bash, the theme we decided on was a Dreamworks Trolls birthday party which meant a lot of rainbows and bright, bold colors.

Dreamworks Trolls Inspired Birthday Party

Dreamworks Trolls Inspired Party

*This post contains affiliate links which means that if you click on one of these links and buy a product, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend products that I love from companies that I trust.

I will admit that this year was quite tame in comparison to past parties we’ve done.  And by “we” I don’t mean my husband and I, although he always graciously goes along with whatever crazy overboard plans I get in my head and knows better than to tell me to “take it easy.”  No, I’m talking about my two sister-in-laws who share my passion and extravagance when it comes to party planning.  

But in an effort to keep things small this year, I took on the party planning by myself.

And while I didn’t have the luxury of their help this time, I can’t exactly say that I flew solo because my 4 year old had a lot of input and devoted her afternoons to helping me make decorations out of tissue paper.


My quest for the perfect theme party started as it always does – Pinterest.  There I found inspiration and tutorials for decorations, food, cakes and games and filled my board with anything that fit the theme.  [Click here to follow my Trolls Birthday Party Pinterest Board]

And what actually came together was this…

D E C O R A T I O N S

A Trolls birthday party meant rainbows and bright colors so while this rainbow tissue paper tassel garland was tedious and time consuming to make but it had a huge impact and added tons of color throughout the house! 

tissuepapertassel

I made the tassels little by little over the span of a few days and was surprised at how many they added up to when they were all hung.  In total I did two dozen of each color and was able to create a garland that was roughly 16 feet long and wrapped around my entire dining room!

For a great tutorial on how to make these tissue paper tassels check out The Creative Bag Blog

The Creative Bag Blog

Of if you’d rather purchase them ready made, check out this Etsy listing by PaperFlowersStore

Tissue Paper Tassel Garland - Rainbow Party theme - Party set - Birthday decorations - Pool Party - Fairys Party - 1st Birthday
PaperFlowersStore on Etsy

Of course what’s a rainbow without a few white puffy clouds to dot the ends?  I made white tissue paper poms in three different sizes and grouped them in the corners where I hung the garland.  Command hooks worked the best to hang both the poms and the garland on the wall and thumbtacks for the ones that were attached to the ceiling.


The other large scale rainbow decoration I worked on for the Trolls birthday party was this rainbow ceiling canopy made from plastic dollar store tablecloths.

tableclothceilingswag

I attached one end of the tablecloths to the ceiling light fixture using a rubber band and some string.  Then I spread out and ruffled the other end and stuck it to the wall using double sided tape.  There was quite a bit of overhang which I debated leaving in place but ultimately trimmed for a nice, even look.  I loved the way it looked so much that it hung in my living room for months after the party!

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I stumbled upon these happy birthday letter balloons at the dollar store for $4 for the entire set (which was pricey for the dollar store but a steal regardless)!  It fit perfectly with the Trolls birthday party theme!  I was skeptical about the quality because, well, it’s the dollar store but they were as good as any other foil Mylar balloons I’ve used in the past.  Turns out they were the perfect size to fit in this little gap at the top of the wall between my living room and kitchen.  They were easy to inflate and deflate with a straw and I will definitely use them again!

Trolls Inspired Birthday Party

I found something similar on Amazon

trolls inspired birthday party
amazon.ca

I wanted to make sure that the Trolls birthday party theme was evident, and not just a generic rainbow party so I searched for a way to make the Trolls come alive! There is a section of our living room (i.e. playroom) wall where I’ve hung two rows of twine and normally hang my children’s artwork up with clothespins.  I had initially wanted my children to draw pictures of the trolls and rainbows and other things theme-appropriate to hang up there but they were not thrilled about that idea.

So instead I bought this downloadable clipart package from CariStudio on Etsy.

Trolls Clipart - Digital 300 DPI PNG Images, Photos, Scrapbook, Digital, Cliparts - Instant Download
CariStudio on Etsy

I inserted different pictures of each Trolls character into a Word document and printed them on card stock at our local Staples Copy & Print Center. They turned out amazing!

Trolls Printables


G A M E S

The one thing my children asked for this year was a pinata.
amazon.com

And the only one I could find was this small Poppy one.  It was a pull string pinata so it was safer to use indoors but we weren’t too familiar with the process.  At first we tried to let each child have a turn and pull one string but that didn’t pan out so great so eventually we just made everyone grab one string and pull at once.

That worked much better and the kids excitedly rushed all over collecting candy just as I imagined, but it was over much too soon and seemed like a lot of effort for a few minutes of fun.  Next year, we’ll have to try this again and I’ll attempt to DIY one!

Side note – do not put pixie sticks in your pinata!  Because if they burst open during the process you will have white dust come flying out everywhere and guests will wonder where you imported that pinata from…


I downloaded this free printable Trolls bingo game from Best Toys for Kids and it was a huge hit!
Trolls Free Printable Bingo Cards And Calling Cards
besttoysforkids.com

We used M&M’s as bingo markers and anyone who got a Bingo got to eat their line! I again trusted my friends at Staples Copy & Print Center to print and laminate it and they did not disappoint!  I even forgot to specify that it needed to be cut into pieces but they took care of all of that for me and the end result was a very professional looking bingo game that I’m sure we will play over and over again.


C A K E

You can read all the details and get the recipe for this six layer Rainbow Cake in this post!
Here’s our cake recipe!

get the soundtrack on amazon.ca

Ultimately, the Trolls birthday party was a huge success and the kids and guests all had a great time!  We played the Dreamworks Trolls Soundtrack in the background and turned it up for a dance party afterwards!

After the party, we donated the decorations to my daughter’s preschool.

 


Check out this post to see past parties we’ve done and for more party planning tips!
The pros and cons of combined sibling birthday parties
Click here for more party planning tips!

Dreamworks Trolls Inspired Party
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