The pulse of the party is its' theme.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Pug Party 2010

It's Not My Party, But I Can Pug If I Want To!

I love a good theme party and what better theme for party than PUGS! Every year there are one or two pug parties hosted by Pug lovers come from all over. I never thought I would be a crazy dog person until I had Poochie. Pugs have a unique personality that only a pug owner understands. Wanting to be around other pug lovers.... pug parties and pug crawls were born. Here are some pics I took at this years party.

So this past weekend was the 2010 Pug Party.....We have gone a few times over the past few years. It is a fun outing for us and after spending most of his time home sleeping, Little Poo gets the fun of being around all of his little pug buddies for a day. You can see from the picture above, he does not yet know the excitement that awaits him at the end of his ride in the car.

The Party is usually at the same place every year. Joe's on Weed St.

Proof that we are not the only crazy pug lovers. This is the crowd around the Pug Pen. We were there early, so I am sure the crowds only grew as the day went on.

For anyone who thinks our little Poochie has a weight problem..... he is looking pretty slim next to this big boy!

The best part of the Pug Party is the Pug Pen. You just drop your pug in and let them have their fun. Here Poochie is getting acquainted with the pups in the pen

Just like a scared kid on the first day of school. You have to push him out there and tell him to go make some friends!

The excitement was too much for him. Pooch needed to take a break at the bar with Mommy.

After taking a break, Pooch was ready to get back in there and socialize.

We did not stay long enough for the costume contest, but if you look hard enough you can see a pug in a lobster suit. Another pup looked like zorro, but he was actually in a White Sox uniform. See, we are not that crazy!

Here is Poochie waiting in line with Jeff for a professional pug photo shoot. We should get copies of the pics next week. As most pug owners know, it is super hard to get a good picture of a pug. The dark face and eyes make it hard to get a good shot. This lady had a good thing going with her set up at the party.

The dangers of an overweight old pug. You see a lot of pugs in strollers at these parties. People may think the owners are spoiling the dogs, but a lot of these dogs are rescues with health problems. Also, as pugs age, they have major hip problems and trouble walking. I have even thought of getting one for Poochie so that he can go on long walks with me. During the summer, I end up carrying home from our walks down the hill!

They have a bunch of vendors at these parties. We received a lovely gift bag with a collapsable dog bowl and some pug magnets. They also, have a bbq outside for owners and bowls of water placed all over for the pups.

Once that tongue comes out, we know Poochie has had enough. It was time to head home.

I am sure he can't wait until next year!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Spring Music Concert

So, this is not really a party post. It is a post about my recent Spring Concert with the Moraine Valley Percussion Ensemble. Seeing as so many people, myself included have had to sit through one of these concerts supporting a child or loved one. I thought I would post my pics and toss out ideas for marking such an occasion.

The Program. Be sure to take a program. This is the little piece of fame that the performer gets. Their name in print for all to see. I still have all of my old programs in an old photo album along with pictures from whichever recital it was. I wish I did a better job of keeping the ones from my children's shows. I tend to think scrapbooking is super time consuming and everything is digital these days, so is there really a big need for all of that printing and gluing and cutting?.......but how nice it is to have that album full of memories. Something to think about before you toss that program in the trash!

Here I am on stage with some of the ensemble. Important pic to get. The stage shot. Most of these kids are right out of high school. It was hard not to feel intimidated when I walked into that first class. It just goes to show, you are never too old to try something you have always wanted to do. They were all so nice and made me feel like I was a part of something.

You don't perform in the big spring concert without expecting there to be parents in the audience. I thought it was pretty funny that all of the kids in my class had parents my age there and there I was with my old man. The two percussionist! My husband came as well. My kids could not make it :( but maybe next time. Another important picture to get.....the performer with family near the stage.

What do you bring for someone after a big show......the recital bouquet of course!

So, my mind gets to thinking, what if you wanted to make the day special for your performer. How easy would it be to cut out some music notes to stick around the house the day of the show. Maybe a little "break a leg" sign?

OK, music note balloons might be taking things a bit too far for a little spring concert. But, hey they make them for a reason. You can take the whole music theme and run with it for any music lover in your life.

Time for me to start practicing for the Summer Concert Series.

Click Below to see footage from the concert!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Asian Inspired Birthday Party

It was my sons 22ND Birthday last week. I cannot believe how old he is. Where did the time go?
One of the hardest things about having your children grow up and move out is that you no longer see them everyday. Well, a sure way to get the family together is to have a party. I figured that I would throw a dinner party for my son. I used to throw the best theme parties for the kids when they were little. No reason I could not tweak a theme into something that was not childish but still fun for someone that age.
I have been wanting to throw an Asian dinner party for the longest time. First thing I did was go around my house and gather everything that would go with the theme and pile it up in my dining room. Looks like I had everything I needed right here at home which was an added bonus!

My first project was the Birthday Banner.

I went online and downloaded a free Asian font. I was originally hoping to be able to just print out the letters. The free fonts did not come that big, so I ended up drawing the letters out myself. Not too bad if I do say so myself. I used red card stock for the backing and just drew the letters on white card stock, then attached. I used gold ribbon(in the xmas wrapping box) and a hole punch to string the letters together......whola......a wonderful homemade birthday banner!

Another easy touch was the paper lanterns. I have a bunch that I use in the back yard and on the deck for summer parties. I just brought those inside and hung near my can lights so that they would glow.

Another quick and easy use for that card stock.....a quick wrap around a cylinder vase and a couple of pieces of ribbon and you instantly create a look made just for your event. The little Buddhas were favors from a friends wedding and the inspirational candles were a gift. Good thing they came with one for every month. The whole neighborhood experienced a power outage right after we ate dinner. All of those candles really came in handy!

Here is just a pic of the birthday boy as a kid. I had some bamboo and a bamboo frame, so I just put that out for added decor.

I was super excited about these homemade fortune cookies. They were really easy to make and added a personal touch to the table. I used black and white card stock that I had left over from my dads party. You cut into circles, fold, then bend. I found instructions on line. You do have to use a pretty strong adhesive, as mine all opened up after being left out. I ended up taping the backs of them. You can go online and find free printable fortunes, but I wanted mine to all have a birthday theme, so I made them up myself and just printed them out. I had things like"the heat of many candles will warm you" and "you will sing a song tonight". I placed one on each place setting.
I used a takeout box to hold the forks and we ordered up a bunch of PF Changs for our dinner. Good option for my son as he is a vegetarian. To keep the cost down, we bought a big thing of Veggie Spring rolls at Costco and heated those up as appetizers. Good thing we all got to eat before the power went out!

This was originally going to be the kids table. Here I just have a lantern from out on my deck along with some birds left over from the bird theme baby shower.
The paper signs around the room are a family tradition I started when the kids were little and I was a single working mom. I always felt bad getting up and going to work on their birthdays. Not having a lot of money back then, I would take a piece of paper and write a silly little birthday poem then stick it on their bedroom door so they would see it when they woke up. Over the years they came to expect them and it made me happy knowing they would find them while I was at work. I have since expanded it to all over the house and make them for everyone in the family.

I made a Chinese zodiac to hang on the wall. Gives people something fun to do while standing around.

I thought it would be fun to include our pug Poochie in the festivities as he is a Chinese pug. This was my attempt at making him a costume. He looks more like the tin man. The idea did not last long as he got the hat off and started eating it!

My favorite project for this party......the Candy Sushi!! Here are all of the supplies. This idea really took off after Rachel Ray made them on her show. They are basically rice krispy treats wrapped with fruit roll ups. I made two variations for mine. I liked the ones covered with white chocolate better. If I had known, I would have tried to make the rolls like that as well. The middle of the rolls are gummy worms and the chopsticks are biscuits called Pocky. You can get in the asian aisle at the grocery store.

Look how cute!! People thought they were real sushi. The white chocolate ones really looked like piles of rice!

Out on display at the party. YUM

Candy Sushi was not the only dessert. We had a delish birthday cake. I had Good Fortune written on the top.
I have come to accept that my son is 22 and that he now drinks beer. My husband went along with my theme and brought home some asian beer. I love that he appreciates the theme as much as I do!
As I mentioned, there was a huge power outage smack dab in the middle of our party. What is a hostess to do? Well, my guests did not even skip a beat.....everyone got the candles together and started off a game of charades. We were lucky that we started early, so we had some time before the sun went down.....but it was a good reminder to always have a back up plan for your party.

Just a pic of me and the kids. While I miss having those little kid parties, it is nice knowing that even as adults, they let mommy have her fun and enjoy her party planning.

Mother's Day 2010, Breast Cancer Walk

So, this year for Mother's Day, the family and I did the Beverly Breast Cancer walk. It was our first walk and it was a really great experience for all of us. It meant the world to me...doing something together to fight this disease that has invaded our lives. We were just regular walkers this year, but I hope to become more involved with a team and some of the bigger walks next year when my treatment is over.

People had all kinds of banners and entertainment along the walk route. My dad was even playing with his band as the walk started. Nice of them to donate their time like that!

Mother's Day Gifts.....The kids gave me some lovely gifts this year including, not one, but two Martha Stewart paper cutters. I really wanted those for my projects. Now my banners and signs will be straight and my circles will no longer be all jagged. Hurray!

Here are some of the cards I made for Mothers Day. I have been trying to use the card and stampers my sons girlfriend gave me for Christmas. I really think I need to go out and buy some alphabet stamps as my writing is not the neatest, but what a fun and easy way to make a card.

I saw these cute little pink polka dot plants and thought they were just perfect for mothers day. The pink kind of goes with the whole breast cancer thing and unlike just getting some flowers that will be thrown away, these can be planted in the garden. I made little stakes for each pot using coffee stirring sticks and some sticky notes.

I hope everyone had a wonderful mothers day......I can't wait for my next project so I can use my new Martha Stewart crafting skills!