Fall sports for the kids

School has started once again. I am not one to insist my kids have extracurricular activities but if there is something that they want to do, I will let them tackle one new thing – be it a sport, club or whatever.

This year, Lexie has chosen to try soccer. She remembers going to games and practices when Jase tried soccer when he was five. I signed her up for the same program through the YMCA. She is on an all-girl team of five and six-year-olds. Her coaches are the parents of one of the other little girls. They coached their daughter’s team in the spring and have coached their son’s team before so they know what we are doing.

Before the first practice, we had to go get the necessary equipment – shin guards, cleats and black shorts. We already had a size 3 soccer ball. The YMCA provides the jersey and matching socks. In the case of Lexie’s team they have yellow as their color. They choose bumblebees as their team name.

The first practice was supposed to be on my birthday but we got to the field only to find out that they were cancelling practice due to a rainstorm that was approaching. Instead the coach met the girls, gave them their jerseys and went over a little bit of what their first game would be like. That first game was the next morning at 10 am!

CIMG3379Yes, they had their first game without ever having a practice. They did get to run through a few drills before the game. But they ended up losing 1-4 against the other team. Lexie had fun though she wasn’t use to being bumped or hit with a ball. She held up well until someone elbowed her in the nose. Luckily that happened in the fourth quarter.

As for Jase, he stuck with karate for the fall. He is currently a first degree purple belt and will be testing this November to become a second degree purple belt. He began karate almost three years ago. I think he does better at an individualized sport like karate than a team sport such as basketball or soccer.

IMG_2032Every season, he is required to participate in a karate tournament. He has yet to win a round during tournament and I know this doesn’t make him happy. He is good at techniques but really doesn’t have the killer instinct for tournament. He is not aggressive and typically falls back into the same few kicks which are his favorite.

But even without his success at tournament, Jase loves karate. He even performed some karate moves for last year’s school talent show. He included some karate weapons for his demonstration. In class, they do not learn about the weapons. They offer camps twice a year where the students learn to use long or short swords, tonfa (police batons), nun chucks, throwing stars and other weapons. At the end of the camp they sell some of the practice weapons.

I am glad the kids are liking their sports this Fall. I don’t know if Lexie will want to continue with soccer. She has tried gymnastics and dance before this and neither of those activities were ones she wanted to stick with. But I am sure Jase will stick with karate for at least a little while longer. He often says he wants to become a red belt which is the highest rank he can attain in the junior level.Until then we will just enjoy going to practices, games and tournaments with the kids.

Adding a Lego-twist to an army-themed birthday party

After Jase’s birthday party in 2013, I decided that we were done with throwing a party and inviting the whole class to some sort of party place. As Jase gets older, I want to scale back his parties. So we started talking about doing one at home or maybe something with just a few friends at another location.

When we first brought this up, Jase was really into army stuff, so we started talking about an army themed party. I did some research online, and we came up with an obstacle course and a shooting/target practice game.

(Disclaimer – we started thinking about this WAY early. As in months before the party which of course means the theme changed as his interests changed.)

Jase 9 invitationIn February, my son saw The Lego Movie and loved it. Suddenly, he wanted a Lego Movie invitation which of course meant the theme was shifting from army to Lego. But he didn’t want to change the activities so we just added Lego bricks and figures to our original activities.

Obstacle Course

CIMG2822This was quite easy to add a few Lego touches to. We started off with a balance beam (adding “Lego bricks” to hold it over the “lava”). After that was the climbing wall which of course resembled a Lego brick. The only other Lego touch was more “Lego bricks” as they leapt over the “lava” in another section. (We also had a tunnel, hurdles, a swing over a “river” and a rope area to jump through like tires.)

Shooting Practice

CIMG2854My husband built a shooting board which I printed out micromanagers from The Lego Movie. Using a laser, the kids would shoot at the micromanagers. Lights and a twirling devise would activate when they hit the target. (My husband had all sorts of plans to have this game outside and have it count the number of hits but because nothing is ever as easy as it seems, we had to go with this incarnation of the game. The kids were still impressed.)


CIMG2825I decided to make my own Lego piñata. After reading a few blogs, I choose one of the easier methods that did not require Paper Mache. We used an empty Moutain Dew box that I covered with tissue paper. The bumps on the Lego were just plastic cups covered with tissue paper and then hot glued on. It looked very good but only lasted for about six kids before it broke.


They simply don’t sell a Lego cake anywhere here in San Antonio. (Ok, some bakery might make me one, but I want an inexpensive cake – and one I don’t have to bake/decorate myself.) So after finding nothing, we decided just to order a cake from the grocery store and have Jase decorate it with some of his Lego figures. He and Lexie had a good time doing that and everyone thought it was cute.

Water Balloon Fight

CIMG2876The big finale of the party was a water balloon fight. Every kid got 10 water balloons to start. (There were 12 kids total at the party). After they used their balloons, they could come and snag a few more in our “reserves” pile. I think we originally filled around 150 of them. The fight lasted longer than I thought it would as the boys held onto their balloons until they had a good shot. Then they broke out the water guns that I had bought in lieu of goodie bags and had a blast chasing each other around the yard.

All in all, I think it was a great party. Several of the boys claimed it was the best party ever. The birthday boy was happy, so I guess that is what matters most!

Throwing a Christmas party for the kids

Two years ago, my friend threw a Christmas party for several of the kids in the neighborhood. She hoped to make it an annual event but the next year, no one could settle on a date for the party so it never happened. Rather than let that happen again I decided to take over and plan one for this year.

christmas invitation

Now, I have never thrown a kids’ party in my home. All birthday parties have been at a party location. But I am not a stranger to planning and throwing a party as I have done numerous ones at their schools. Of course there you have other parents helping and the teachers to keep the kids behaving.

This party next Monday will include 13 kids ranging from age 2 to age 8. So this will be an adventure. I am taking the main activity from my friend’s party and then adding a few games. This means we will start off with decorating gingerbread houses. For Jase’s kindergarten Christmas party, another friend, Stacey, and I had the kids decorate these cute little houses that Stacey built out of

DSCN2045graham crackers. She actually put the ones together for first neighborhood party too and has agreed to build them for this year’s party.

Now my original idea was to keep snacks simple – popcorn and brownies. And then I made the mistake of looking on Pinterest. There are too many cute ideas out there! But I don’t want to spend a lot of time making unique but time consuming snacks, so I am making donut snowmen and snowmen popcorn cups. I may still have brownies and Texas Gold bars (look for the recipe as my January Recipe of the Month). And of course, we will have hot chocolate,  juice boxes, and my daughter’s favorite – Sparkle Water (sugar-free sparkling flavored water).

Of course, decorating gingerbread houses and treats aren’t enough. We will be exchanging ornaments, which is another activity I have taken from the original party. My friend also did a second craft, but my kids have opted for games instead of an additional craft. Now as I said, I have run many preschool parties but my kids are just a bit older now. I felt the need to look for some better games. Again, I turned to Pinterest. And here is what the kids chose.

Game 1 involves dividing the kids into teams of two. One of them will be the decorator and make the other kid into a snowman using toilet paper, paper “buttons,” scarves and hats. The first team done wins. It should be hilarious.

Game 2 is to have an indoor snowball fight. Here in South Texas we don’t see snow too often. Most of these kids have only seen snow once or twice and then it was but a light dusting on the ground. The kids and I made these fake snowballs that are perfect for an indoor fight.

P1020986And that should wrap up the party. We bought little reindeers from Oriental Trading Company to hand out as well as made these cute reindeers that have Nestle Crunch mini candy bars inside. Overall, I think it should be a fun time, and if it goes well, I might be planning next year’s party too!