Friday, 11 April 2014

The Stolen Birthday

The year the girls were born we spent the night of Devo's birthday in a horribly stuffy hospital room. It was a 'practice night' before we took our premature babies home. In hindsight it was a disaster. I mean, it was a lovely gesture from the hospital - giving us a night with our teeny tiny babies who were still attached to wires and things - with the support of the special care unit right outside the door. But the room was grim. They wouldn't let us open the window and it was HOT in there. Neither of us slept a wink and it left us exhausted and completely TERRIFIED of actually bringing our babies home. As if somehow that experience was what parenting twins would really be like, which it's not. At all. For one thing, there's not a special care unit outside our front door.

Anyway, ever since the girls have come along, Devo's birthday has been somewhat overshadowed. His birthday is just over a week after Lile and Sábha's and, because I have usually used up all of my energy making the girls' birthday special I have tended to flake a bit on making their Daddy's day special too. He still gets gifts, but they've usually been grabbed last minute without a lot of thought. I'm pretty sure I've even forgotten a card at least one year. But even if I remember, there's never even anywhere left for him to put it because every surface is already covered with the girls' huge collection.

Now, he's a big boy and can take a little neglect. In fact, I'm sure he's more than happy to play second fiddle to his darling girls, but still, birthday's are special and everybody deserves to be made a fuss of at least once a year.

So, this year I'm trying to give him back his birthday.... the gifts were still pretty last minute, but they were things I knew he'd love. He got this DVD which he's wanted since he saw the movie in the cinema and this, because I thought he would like it and a Breaking Bad Notebook for writing songs in.

I had an overnight work thing this week so I've managed to wrangle a day off today and there are plenty of plans for birthday adventures. The girls gave him his gifts (very) early this morning. There will be lunch out after we collect them from preschool and maybe a spot of shopping. Then birthday cake. Of course. 

There will also be a night out. With drinks. Something that is extremely rare for us, so that will be fun.

As an extra treat, I also got him a selection of 'Bars in Jars' from the amazing Cheesecake shop in town. They make the best cheesecake I've ever tasted. Ever. And they put some of their flavours in pretty jars which makes them a really nice gift. I got Snickers, After Eight and Crunchie for Devo. It will be tough for him to choose which to eat first, I imagine!

AND, as if all that wasn't enough, the day began on a massive high for him because a member of the band he's been obsessed with loved since he was a child has 'liked' some of his photo's on Instagram. Now, how can I compete with that?!

Happy Birthday King Dada!

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Cat and Fox Birthday Party

For their 4th birthday party Lile and Sábha were very clear on what they wanted. They each have a favourite animal - Lile loves cats and Sábha loves Foxes - and really, nothing else would do for a theme. I knew it wasn't going to be the easiest one to pull together. Well, a cat party is easy enough I suppose - but Foxes? That's a bit tougher let me tell you!

Last year they wanted a bunny rabbit party and at this time of year it is so, so easy to make that happen. With Easter just around the corner there is an abundance of bunny related treats and decorations available and, while I was working on this year's theme, all I kept seeing was things that would have worked really well last year. That didn't really help when I was trying to put together this years plan.

Then, one day, Sábha happened to do a really cute drawing of a fox and Lile also happened to draw a really sweet picture of a cat - and all at once the inspiration for the party came together.

I printed out their drawings onto cream card stock, cut them out, punched holes in the top and strung them on cream coloured yarn to make bunting. 
I also used some of their Cat and Fox toys on the treat table. Although, Lile would only donate her least-loved cats to the cause - the ugliest cats in the house!

We also filled the living room floor with balloons - because you can't have a party without balloons!

I decided this year not to bother with catering for both adult and children's tastes. When I was a child, children's parties meant sweets, rice crispy cakes and a slice of birthday cake and so I went back to basics and provided just that!

I did, however, try to choose treats that cats and foxes might approve of - such as Chocolate Frogs, White Chocolate Mice, Jelly Worms and 'Cat Food', which were actually mini cheese crackers in assorted shapes.

I baked the birthday cakes (see above) to the girls' specifications. Lemon Sponge with lemon curd filling for Sábha and chocolate sponge with a toffee filling for Lile. Both were smothered in butter cream icing and decorated with the girls' designs and some small toys they got as a birthday gift from my sister.

This was the first year that the girls were excited for proper birthday activities. They were really, really looking forward to pass the parcel and musical statues the most, but I also wanted to play some games that fitted with the cat and fox theme.

When the children arrived I sat them in a circle and got them each in turn to do their best miaows. Then Sábha demonstrated how a fox yelps and they all had a try of that too. Next they decided which animal they would like to be - a cat or a fox. Each child made a pair of very simple card ears, which I had cut out the night before, and I helped attach them to cheap hairbands (€1.50 for three!) for them to wear. 

Once they had their ears on, my talented sister Saorla painted each child's face to correspond with their chosen animals. She did a wonderful job and the children looked adorable all dressed up as lovely little critters.

When they were all ready the cats and foxes were all rounded up and told that they were going on a 'Fox Hunt'. I had hidden little chocolate Easter chicks around the garden. I told the children that I was a farmer and had lots of chickens outside and that the cunning little foxes (and cats) had to go and catch them. They were very good at catching them - as you can imagine!

We also played pass the parcel (the prizes were sticker sheets of cats which cost €1 each) and at the very end of the party we had a hilarious round of Musical Statues.

I also had a little table set up with cat and fox colouring-in sheets, for anyone that wanted a little quiet time.

I was really struggling to come up with favour ideas for this party. I had sort of exhausted the themed treats idea at the actual party and I hadn't really found any bits and bobs that were suitable except for a plastic wind-up mouse that was only ok-not-great. Then, I happened upon some really cute stuffed cats and foxes, in Penney's (Primark) for an incredibly reasonable €2.00 each and I had to get them! 

I would have spent almost that anyway filling a party bag with junk-food and crappy plastic, but at least these little guys might get a chance to be loved! My girls' ones have been added to their gangs of sleeping buddies, so they were a hit here anyway!

All in all, it was a really fun party. The children really got into the spirit of the theme and kept their ears on the whole time - which really surprised me!

Party Outfits:
I found Lile's leotard in H&M recently and knew she would adore it. I knew I would never be able to find something similar for Sábha with a fox on it, but I remembered an Irish company called Tee & Toast had a fox t-shirt in their range and decided to get one for her. Paired with a cute tutu from Claire's it really worked well. They both loved their outfits and I know I'm biased, but think they looked really gorgeous.

They had the best day ever. Surrounded by their nearest and dearest and showered with gifts, they are a lucky pair. Four is the best age yet!
Picture by Mamó

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

I Need Help - No Joke!

Today is the first of April and therefore April Fool's Day. I should probably be running around full of tricks and japery, but today I am smiling for a completely different reason.

I found out yesterday afternoon that I have been shortlisted for the 'Blog and Online Publishing Awards' - the BOPS and  I'm completely in shock because the shortlist is really, really short and I can't quite believe my little bit of the internet has actually made the cut.

The whole thing comes down to a vote now and so I'm sheepishly asking you to vote for me to give this little blog a chance at the prize... if, indeed, there is one...

I'm up against some extremely popular blogs so every vote would be really, really, really appreciated. Really.

All you need to do is click on the image above, or HERE to get to the voting page. You can hit 'Skip this category' and 'Next' to skip past any categories you don't want to vote in, until you get to the 'Best Family and Lifestyle Read' category. When you get to that page please select 'Where Wishes Come From' (because that's me) and then all you'll have to do is add your name and email address and click 'Submit'.

If you have more than one email address, please feel free to vote multiple times too!

Thanks so much for your time and I apologise in advance for spamming you with this thing over the next few days. Voting closes April 11th, so after that I promise I'll leave you alone!

As always, thanks for reading,
Sadhbh x

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