Monthly Archives: September 2013

Birthday Menu & Quantities

Birthday Menu & Quantities

Yummy Yummy Yummy…. Let’s get cookin!

The million dollar questions are without a doubt “what should I serve?” & “Is it enough?”

First off decide what you’re going to serve. The best is always finger foods. A variety of easy to eat no fuss no mess so you can enjoy the party too…

I basically have a standard menu:
BuffetFresh Veggie Platter: Carrots, cucumber, baby tomato, Celery, Green Pepper, Paprika, Broccoli, Cauliflower
2 kinds of Salads for adults
Mini Pizza
Hot Dog Rolls (Always the first to disappear)
Mini Burgers
Mini Chicken burgers
Variety of mini sandwiches & pastries (also known as Fatayer) Fillings include Spinach, cheese, vegetables, Feta, Minced Meat, Turkey…etc
Pasta Bake

Drinks is usually:
Fresh Lemonade

Next is how much to serve. This is essential. You don’t want to have too much leftover but still want to make sure there’s enough.

The biggest hit are generally the Mini Pizzas and hot Dogs. So I usually Have about 6 for each per child.

As for the Mini Burgers (Beef&Chicken) I make 2 dozen of each for approximately 30 children.

Pastries & Mini Sandwiches I usually do a total 4 pieces per guest.

1 large casserole of Pasta that’s prebaked so that I don’t have to worry about it during the party.

The drinks are easier to calculate 2 1/2 Cups for every guest. But make sure to provide loads of water. Having excess won’t hurt!

I also provide a Thermos with hot water and selection of teas and coffees for the parents to help themselves.

Now if you choose a different menu here’s a good guideline for quantities:

Bar-PicMonkey Collage In the past two birthdays I went a little overboard in the “Sweet” department and had a little area with something of a toned down version of a Candy Bar. A selection of Marshmallows, chocolate coated cookies, Carmel popcorn, Lollipops…etc. Bit I had to make sure it was theme related or at least color coordinated.

There’s really no limitations as to what you can serve and how! If you have it in you go for it, if not keep it simple for less stress.

I love to cook and entertain and I hope this simple guide helps you in your next Birthday planning process for “Making Life Memorable” in your way!

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

It’s getting closer and closer to finalizing your child’s birthday party. Now its time to look at the actual Day of the party.

Hospitality and food is a big thing in the Middle East…. So serving just cake won’t cut it in this part of the world! If you can get away with it then good on you 🙂

Since a major highlight of the Birthday is the cake, other than the birthday child off course!I’m dedicating this whole post to be about THE CAKE!

While I see so many bakeries in town (Kuwait) and between every cupcake business is another cupcake business I’ve yet to really find one that are tasty and not horrendously expensive.

Cake for KD70+ (about$250) SERIOUSLY! and something seems to always go wrong. The color, the taste, the flavor, the cake is to dry, the frosting’s too hard and the worst is the filling or frosting that tastes like stale butter. To all you bakeries I’m sorry, I apologies but this is my opinion.

Being big on baking and cake/cupcake decorating I make my own cakes and cupcakes. They might not look that professional but I take pride in them and the girls and guests never complained.

Cake from scratch, buttercream frosting, fondant and all. Now you don’t have to go to my extreme but I really think investing a little time doing the cake and pocketing the money or spending it on something else for the birthday is well worth it.

After having done several birthdays I’ve come to a huge realization….. kids prefer cupcakes!!! So even though I’ve made fancy 3 tiered fondant covered cakes at the end it’s pretty to look at but they reach for the little stuff.

The big cake I make for me….I enjoy it! So I’ve downsized from the past.

As a result the big cake is used for the candles, singing and the adults to eat. While the cupcakes are for kids.

To figure out how much to serve use this general guideline:
12″ round cake serves 28
1.5 cupcake per child

This means for every 28 adults you can add a Tier and for 10 kids make 15 cupcakes. Fairly simple don’t you think?!

As for flavors stick to the basics. Chocolate and vanilla, but make MORE chocolate than vanilla!

The best frosting ever is the basic buttercream frosting. Easy to make and spread or pipe.

As for fondant I make a marshmallow fondant which is easy to mold and roll.

Now if you don’t want to spend all that time in the Kitchen a boxed cake and jar of frosting will do the trick just as much. All you need to do is just add some food coloring here and there, sprinkles, ornaments/décor or my personal favorite cupcake picks!!
(Cupcake picks DIY also coming soon!)

So spend a little time in the kitchen, get your kids to mix and measure with you. It’s not just about the end result it’s how much fun you can have on the way!! That for sure falls under “Making Life Memorable!”



You’ve decided on a theme and figured out your Guest list…

Next comes the invitations. This is where the fun begins and I bring out all my creativity to work.

I absolutely love making my own invitations. Cardstock, printing, designing, tape and all! I try my best to also create a fun wording to the invite too that’s theme related.

In this post I’m going to show what I’ve done in the past, I’ll also recommend alternatives if you’re not the DIY or creative type.

First there are essentials to what goes ON the invitation. I’ll divide it into MUST have and FUN to have.

You must include:
Child’s name. It’s a good idea to use the full name if you’re sending the invite to school that way if there are several Sarahs in the class the parents now which one it is.
Child’s Age. Make the parents’ life easier for choosing gifts especially if the friends are from different age groups.
Date & Time When putting the date it’s also nice to include the day. As for the time you should include a start & end time that way parents can also gauge when the cake will be served.
Address Be specific, if you have a green roof or a special landmark include it
Telephone number I usually put an RSVP, but in Kuwait I think they consider that “optional” but a number is always important. The worst thing is for a parent to be lost and can’t get a hold of you while the child is nagging “Are we there yet?”

You May want to include
A Map especially if the street address isn’t clear.
Theme based Poem you’ll see later in my past invites.
Special instructions. Is it a pool party? in the garden, costume….etc

So you’re all set with the invitation?? Here’s a sample of an invitation I’ve made?

For Zeenah’s 3rd birthday I had REEEEEELAY wanted to do a caterpillar theme. Off course her choice was a monkey theme. When I asked why she said “because I’m a Monkey!” fair enough. Her birthday her choice and its fairly easy to work with!

So I researched ideas and I came up with this…

Color scheme Brown, Lime green, pink and touches of yellow.

Pink envelopes with yellow labels

Pink printing paper for the card and a framing of green lime paper and heavy Brown cardstock.

Finally you need to distribute the invitations. I advise to send in between 10 days to a week in advance. I think this is probably applicable only in Kuwait. Reasons….. If you do it any time before that people are most likely to forget.

You can always send a “Save the Date” in advance via text message in case you’re worried people will get booked.

Some people choose to send a reminder Text message a day before the birthday. I don’t particularly favor that, if the person didn’t mark it down and forgot then they’re probably not that close and too flaky. Who needs that as a friend? Not you nor your child deserves that.

Yes I’m funny like that. “You didn’t remember my daughter’s birthday what horror how dare you!!” 🙂

If you choose not to make your own invitation the “old fashioned way” You can always use websites that actually do it for you and you can either print it at home or have it shipped to you (if you have enough time).

Here’s a list of websites that may be useful to look at:
Personalized Party invites
Tiny Prints
Paper Style

Don’t forget to have fun with it. The whole process is about “Making life Memorable” for you, your kids and everyone attending.

The Guest List

The Guest List

So you’re having a party and decided on your Theme!! Woohoo step one check.

guestlist Next step is your guest list….sounds simple right? Nope! This I think is one of the hardest decisions, after all it is what makes the party really work.

Some guests are a no brainer…Family comes first! Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles & Cousins. I know that sounds like a party on its own but you do have to invite kids!

This is where it gets tricky… How many and who (or is it whom?) to invite?

It’s a standard that you should invite the kids age plus one. So if your child is turning 4 then you invite 5 kids. The first time I read that I almost fell out of my chair laughing. There was no way I am able to limit myself to just that, my girls and myself are too social for that.

The easiest way to help in deciding how many people/children to invite is according to the space you’re having the party in.

Almost all the parties I’ve had for the girls were in the garden so I’m pretty generous when it comes to numbers.

A good rule of thumb is to figure out seating. You should have 2.5 seats per child (the child + parent) this off course doesn’t include adults that come without kids (Grandparents, aunts, Mom’s best friend ….etc).

Next you may want to consider siblings. I have a rule not to invite Jennah’s friends to Zeenah’s birthday and vice versa. With that said I do have specific friends (you know who you are!) that have both age groups that I do invite.

Now how do you prepare the list…. I usually divide a nice white crisp A4 paper into 3 columns, yes as old fashioned as that sounds I like to have it on paper and in my purse so I can add and cross as I please.

The 3 columns are Family, Friends, Children.

Each column is then divided into Adult & Child. You can download my word document and fill it out.GUEST LIST

Here’s how it works…. First column for each Family member you’re inviting you have a column for their child/children. So my sister column one and her 2 kids in the next column.

The Friends column is actually the parent’s friends, but your child actually has to know their child and enjoys playing with them too…. so for example my friend “ABC” and her child “abc”.

Now that Jennah has been in school for a while some parents have become my friends but their children are no longer in the same class or school.

Here is where you as a parent need to make the hard decision of cutting people out. Sure you love “Mommy H” but your daughter doesn’t play with her “Son Y”. Off the list they go. No guilt, if you want set a date with the mom over coffee or dinner and enjoy the company of an adult!

Finally the kids column….this is where I use the child’s age plus one. These are usually children that are new friends, in her class and basically I have no knowledge of. I’ve let Jennah (almost 7) decide on those. That way your child can feel involved too.

After all it is THEIR birthday and “Making Life Memorable” for THEM!

It’s Birthday Season

It’s Birthday Season

Now that the girls are back in school and we’re getting back into the routine we also have the joys of attending birthdays.

This year we’ve started early and strong!!! Two birthdays back to back the first weekend since school started.

I’m the kind of gal that enjoys hosting birthdays and parties at home. Many choose to go with the outside venues like fast food chains or “kid places” like Baroue, Infunity and the likes. It does make everything easier but I find it a little impersonal.

Just like I had the “back to school” week on my blog I’m making this week “Birthday Week”

I’ll talk about themes, birthday menus, gifts and lots of DIY things you can do to make your child’s birthday a special and memorable one.

First thing I’m going to talk about is deciding on a theme.

Have your kids involved but not too involved or else you might end up bending over backwards for them. Here’s the trick. Give them choices of themes you actually want or are willing to spend time preparing for.

Choose things they already like but guide them through the decision, they’ll end up thinking it was their idea to begin with.

The latest movie, cartoon character or action figure might appeal to your child but if it’s tooooo complicated to create you’re only setting yourself up to go bonkers!

When choosing a themes it HAS to be something workable not only in decoration but also in entertainment and games. Yes there’s more to a birthday than just cake!

At the same time try not to over think it, sometimes space to just run around is all the kids want. So if you had planned on 5 games and only did 2 don’t fuss and force them to all stand in line to play “pin the tail on the donkey”, enjoy the company of the other mommies instead (says the mom that doesn’t sit!)

Do your research before hand and the trick is to pre-plan everything. In Kuwait it’s hard to just go out to the “dollar store” and find it all. I wish it was that easy.

So if you have a theme in advance every time you visit a “bu miya” or any where else you might find one or two things that you can just stock up on in advance.

Off course there’s always online ordering, the cure of all. But be careful because you might go way over your budget because of shipping costs.

I’ll leave you now with a list (in no particular order) of things you to consider for your child’s next birthday. And stay tuned for details on almost ALL of them!

1. Guest list
2. Invitations
3. Decoration (includes plates, cups & utensils)
4. Menu &/or Food bars and beverages
5. Games & Stations
6. Party favors
7. Set-up (Tables, chairs, sofas…etc)
8. Music & Entertainment
9. Adult supervision and help
10. Photography & Videography
11. Cake & Cupcakes
12. Always remember it’s about the KIDS!!

Themes I’ve done or the girls:
First Birthday
Minie Mouse
Strawberry Shortcake
Tiana (Princess & the Frog)
Fancy Nancy

Photo Gallery of My Girls’ Birthdays.
PicMonkey Collage

Labels & Tags

Labels & Tags

I’ve had many requests asking about the labels and tags that I’ve made for the girls.

I’m posting here the popcorn tags I made for the girls’ first day of school. I’ll add more eventually but I thought I’d try out this way and get your feedback on printing quality as I’m adding them as images….

I left the “from” part blank so you can make it your own.

Let me know if it works!! If not I’ll keep investigating for better “downloading” options.

Vegetable Soup

Vegetable Soup

Since school started i noticed the girls have been coming home real hungry and want a big meal, this resulted in a 3pm meal.

In order to keep on schedule of 5pm dinner and 6 bedtime I had to make alterations to eating schedule.

After eating at 3 I knew there was no way they would be hungry enough at 5. I experimented a few times by giving them breakfast foods like cereal and porridge.

I didn’t feel it was nutritious enough so we’ve switched to more side dish-like meals, soups and salads.

One of our favorites is a vegetable soup that I hope you and your family would enjoy…

It’s quick and hearty soup that’s simple to make.

1 can diced tomato with liquid or 5 fresh tomatoes diced and 1/2 cup water
2 carrots peeled and cubed
4 Squash peeled and cubed
1 onion chopped.
1 juiced lemon
2 tsp Cumin
3 1/2 cups water
Salt & pepper to taste.

Place all the ingredients in a pot and boil for 20 minutes or until the carrots are soft.
Remove from heat and blend all the vegetables and liquid until smooth.
Return to pot and boil for another 10 minutes.

Another favorite is curried pumpkin soup soon to be posted!

Jennah Lost her Tooth!!!!

Jennah Lost her Tooth!!!!

What a milestone in one week!! Jennah survived the first week of school AND she lost her first tooth!!

It’s official my first born is a big girl now.

I’m so glad my motherly instincts kicked in this morning and I got her what she wanted.

She’s been talking about her wiggly tooth almost everyday. “When is it going to fall?” “why is it taking long?” “Is the tooth fairy real?”

Off course as a mother you take full advantage of the Tooth Fairy’s existence. “If the tooth fairy finds out she’ll be upset” “You better clean up or else the tooth fairy won’t come”

It’s not all questions and threats… there’s always the FUN stuff.

We spoke about pixie dust and how the fairy might leave some behind. The land of tooth fairies. The existence of Boy tooth fairies. We also spoke of the things that good teeth get in return like gifts, money, toys….

Almost every time we shopped she would ask if the fairy was going to buy this or that for her. Never did I see that Sparkle in her eye of wanting something specific…..

UNTIL a few days ago we went into Claire’s and she saw purple furry “eye muffies” as she called them and I knew by her giddy voice and question THAT was the perfect gift to go under her pillow.
Now for the Pixie dust…. I thought of getting a small vial and putting some glitter in it. Then I started to think maybe that’s taking TOO much imagination into reality.

So Next thought was glittery nail polish……but that should be a gift on it’s own we still have a full mouthful of teeth!

Then I found it!!! I almost was jumping for joy…. The cutest Necklace ever. A vial pendant with tiny beads. I can’t wait to see her reaction in the morning!

I had to document the loss of her first tooth with a certificate. I looked up a few different fairy names and meanings. I chose fairy Feeorin Austrian she appropriately loves music and dancing… Perrrrrrfect for Jennah! I designed the certificate and put a few nice words and I can’t say I’m not pleased with the outcome:)

While I was at it I also made two little notes to add under her pillow. The tooth fairy description and another one explaining the necklace.

Meanwhile Jennah worked on decorating a jewelry box for the tooth fairy and writing the cutest “Tooth Fairy Request”. She tucked the note in the drawer of the jewelry box and then we put the tooth in the top part.

We neatly put the box with the tooth fairy door we made in the corner of her bed and Jennah said “I can’t wait for tomorrow!”
Now all I need to do is sneak in there at some point and put her goodies under the pillow.

Hope this “Makes Life Memorable” for her.

First Day of School

First Day of School

If you’re anything like me the you want to celebrate the kids going back to school. So we kicked off this week with exactly that!

We have a tradition as many do to take “first day of school” photographs. Nothing professional just a little treasure for the future. I was so overwhelmed with what I’m going to do this year.

I Finally decided on First Day printable from Sweet C’s Designs. After downloading them I inserted the images into powerpoint and added what the girls want to be when they grow up.



Jennah said she wanted to be an Archaeologist… My eyes nearly popped out and asked her if she knew what it meant. She looked at me as though I insulted her and said “Yes!! It’s a person who looks for dinosaur bones”

Really put me in my place!!



Zeenah said she wanted to be a Computer officer

I was skeptical at first because I figured it’s because We were sitting around my laptop discussing it. For the next 3 days I asked her the same question at random time and the answer was always the same. So Computer officer it is!

We took several pictures around the house but my favorites are the ones we took outdoors, there’s nothing like natural light.



I slipped a little Note for Jennah in her pencil case and was so touched when she actually slipped a reply back to me….. That really is “Making life Memorable”


Didn’t get a chance to take a first day of school picture?? You can always do “I survived the first week of school”.

Teacher’s Survival Kit

Teacher’s Survival Kit

The first day of school is a challenge for EVERYONE! Parents, Students and Teachers all have to get back into the routine and face whatever curve balls that crosses their path.


Just like I want the kids to enjoy their first day back I like to make sure the Teacher’s also happy….

You may call it whatever you want brown-nosing, kisses up or any other term but I want to make sure the person that’s going to spend most of their day with my child is “HAPPY”!

This year I started my gift giving a lot earlier than usual, I kicked of the first day with a “Teacher’s Survival Kit”

The first thing I did was design the covers for each box. I made the girls pick the borders and I did the rest using powerpoint, printed them out on A4 and laminated each.
The next step was getting all the goodies. That’s the REAL fun part…..

I used a Plastic container that’s about 35cm x 22cm then I basically went to town with supplies.

Here’s what went into each container:
Colored paper clips, rubber bands, binder clips and push pins
Decorative mini clothespins and mini erasers
A collection of large and small smiley board magnets
Mini & Large colored post it notes
Pagemarker strips
Motivational Stickers
Colored Markers
Pocket notepad
As I was buying all these supplies I decided that I had to buy something special FOR the teacher so I added
Hand sanitizer, Band Aid, Actifast Panadol, Chapstick, mini chocolates and leamon & honey herbal tea.



Then it was just a matter of putting it all together.

I tried my best to make it as organized as I could. It was almost like putting a puzzle together with all the different sizes and shapes of the supplies.

Then the final touch that made it personal. I stuck the laminated cover onto the lid with glue dots.

All ready to be handed to the teacher hoping it’ll “Make life Memorable” to them.