Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Mya's Tea Party

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This is going to be quick. We all just got back from Dominican, so we're wading through piles and piles of laundry, the baby has been up 4 times already since I put her to bed just over two hours ago, and I'm wiped.

So with few words and a lot of pictures, here is our girls big day. She turned 7 last month, and a tea party was her request. So before I forget to actually place these pictures here for her to look at in years to come, I figured late was better than never.


So, a tea party. A cute girly tea party. I got a little excited about the details...because a tea party with a bunch of kids is pretty fun to organize. 


So we made treats for the kids to take home,


and borrowed the most adorable perfect set of tea cups from a friend (thanks Sarah!).





We welcomed all of her friends with cute signs that my dad had printed for us and encouraged all of the guests to wear their favourite dress or outfit (because a tea party needs to be fancy, of course).


And as I carefully iced every last one of those cupcakes for her pull apart cake and sprinkled hot pink sprinkles all over it, she was absolutely thrilled. 





So, here's the thing...

somehow our guest list turned into 18 kids--like a full classroom of kids in our house. So I literally had to run the party like my kindergarten classroom...with a variety of centres where the kids could flow from one to the next. 

And it actually worked like a charm. 

So we filled the table with little tea party food





and tiny heart shaped sandwiches, because, well it just felt appropriate...



and as kids piled into our house, we set them up with ribbons and Froot Loops and they made beautiful necklaces that they could wear to tea. 






and then we sent them off to their centres, where they continued to prep for the tea party by making beautiful bracelets for themselves out of gorgeous beads and charms...





 



and then sent them off to make cute bonnets (made simply by gluing paper plates and bowls together and adding ribbon)--and we had special black hats for Carter and Oliver to decorate since they were the only boys in the mix.








and then we had a Shopkins centre, where there were Shopkins galore for the kids to play with--just because, well these little Shopkins are all the rage right now (and I have no idea why). 


And then...just as they finished tying the last of their bonnets on and finished showing off their new necklaces and bracelets to eachother, they all sat down to a cute little tea party where they were served hot tea (or lemonade for those who prefered it) and they ate, and laughed, and giggled the whole way through it.   



 
And we taught them how to hold up their little pinky finger while sipping their tea...because, well, that's just how the fancy people do it apparently.




And then, just as they were jammed full of tea and sugar, we pulled out the piniata that was full to the rim with candy and let them go nuts.


and we played a little game of pin the tea cup on the tea pot...


and this new 7yr old was thrilled with all of her gifts.


And then, just as I was about to fall over from party exhaustion...I made her a candy drip cake, dripping in pink ganache and covered in her favourite candy for her actual birthday with our family--because I like to run myself ragged apparently.



So, there it is. Another birthday passed by. Another year older. Another party in the books.

Happy (late) 7th birthday Mya, to the sweet girl who made me a mom.

Erica xo





Tuesday, 31 October 2017

When your blog post makes it all the way to Galen Weston

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So here we are, Halloween 2017. Where kids are giddy with excitement, where sugar overload is coming, and where costumes are being pulled over the heads of children everywhere.

It's hard to believe that a whole year has passed since this time last year. A whole year which has thrown us some hard moments, where it can seem like the world might just be falling apart a bit. But as I read through this old blog post that I wrote from last Halloween, it reminded me for a moment of the good. The good that is always around us--the people who surprise us with kindness and love when we least expect it. The kind of good that needs to be recognized, to inspire others to do the same.

So as I think back to that time when I pressed "publish" and my words of thanks landed on the page for a company who went above and beyond to make my students Halloween memorable, it's hard to feel anything but grateful still--even one year after the fact. It's also hard to believe that somehow in all of the sharing and attention that my little o' blog post created, my little Halloween post got into the hands of Galen Weston (the executive CEO, chairman and president of Loblaws Company Limited)--you know that cheery guy on all of those commercials for the Superstore and Loblaws? Ya, him.

HE read my blog post. And he didn't only read it himself--he read it out loud to his ENTIRE company at a town hall meeting. A little way to inspire others to be kind too--because if you see kindness, you have to pass it on.

So here it is, the post from last year as a little reminder that there really is a lot of good in this world--people are good, companies are good..and Halloween should be fun for absolutely everyone. And by the way, thank you Galen for using my story to inspire others. And thanks for making great meatballs.

****************
Sometimes you get these little pockets of magical things that happen in life. These little moments that bring you to tears, things that make your heart jump, things that make you realize that the world really is full of so many great people.

Last Friday I had one of those moments. One of those moments that took my breath away and made me so incredibly grateful.

You see, I was on a bit of a mission this past week. A mission to convince companies to donate Halloween costumes to our school. Halloween costumes for all of the kids who I knew would walk into school Monday morning, see others dressed up and feel upset knowing that their family couldn't afford such luxuries. So, I went store to store begging asking managers to please consider donating some costumes to our kids...but I got turned down over and over again.

Then my mom, my 6yr old daughter Mya and I walked into the Superstore this past weekend and I stopped the very first lady who I saw with a name tag, and I told her about my kids at my school. I told her that I didn't want any child to show up feeling upset, feeling like they didn't fit in, or feeling that terrible sinking feeling in the pit of their stomach when it feels like you don't have what everyone else has. 

And I could all of a sudden see it happening in her eyes.

She GOT it.

She felt it.

She immediately called her manager.

And then the real magic happened. She literally spent all of two seconds explaining the needs of some of the kids at our school and the managers response was an immediate YES.

YES!!!

I couldn't believe it. I swear my heart stopped for a moment.

This angel of a lady turned to me and said, "Go pick whatever costumes you need".

I thanked her profusely, took Mya's hand in mine and turned away so she wouldn't see the tears streaming down my face. Overwhelmed with gratitude. Overwhelmed with shock and with the incredible feeling that people are good.  

I turned to look at my mom and her eyes were full of tears too. So there we were, two blubbering women, walking down the aisles at the Superstore, heading towards the costume racks knowing that those costumes were not just costumes anymore--they were a lifeline to some kids at my school who would all of a sudden get to feel that surge of excitement of being handed something new, that feeling of belonging and that sense that they could, if even just for a moment, have what everyone else had.

So we picked through the racks of beautiful princess gowns, complete with jewels, crinoline and beading. We scanned through the Ninja Turtle costumes complete with built in muscles, turtle shells and masks. We looked at sizes and types, holding each one up to Mya's body to make sure we had appropriate sizes and we tried to pick a variety of options so that there could possibly be a good match for any child in need who showed up at my classroom door on Monday.



And then we carried our pile of costumes to customer service where they scanned each and every one of those amazing costumes through and handed them over to us, free of charge, with a smile.

When I stood there watching her scan each and every one of those costumes through, I realized that Loblaws had just donated over $300 worth of Halloween costumes to our school, without a second thought.



Unbelievable.



So my intention with this blog post is to say a great big thank you to Loblaws. To this wonderful company, please know that when the word started trickling through the school that I had costumes available for kids I started having teachers stop me in the hallway. I had one teacher tell me that she had a little boy in her classroom at that very moment who was incredibly upset since he didn't have a costume. Ironically, she told me that he spent the day before drawing a picture of Ninja Turtles since he loved them so much, so I handed her a Ninja Turtle costume and watched her walk down the hall to deliver this amazing gift to this unsuspecting little boy. 

Please know that I had a kindergarten teacher come to my room telling me that a 5yr old little girl in her class was crying in the hallway since she didn't have a costume to wear, so I brought her into my room to pick a gorgeous sparkly dress from the pile that fit her perfectly and all of a sudden made her feel like she was the same as everyone else.   

Please know that I had a shy little girl show up at my classroom door with her friend asking if there was possibly a costume that might fit her since she didn't have one of her own. So we pulled a gorgeous Snow White costume over her head and she was all of a sudden transformed.

Please know that at the end of the day a little boy came up to me in a panic, asking if I had any costumes left since he had nothing to wear trick or treating that night. I'll never forget watching him skip down the hall holding his Ninja Turtle costume over his shoulder, thrilled beyond belief.



Please know that there was a little girl whose mom drew whiskers on her face with eye liner and told me that it was all that she had. She said that they were late for school that day since this little girl was so upset about not having a real costume--so we took her back to pick from the pile of gorgeous ball gowns.



I wish I could post a picture of her beaming face wearing the most beautiful purple princess gown that day.



So thank you Superstore and Loblaws for making this joy happen.



Thank you for caring as much about our kids as we do.



Thank you for your generosity, your thoughtfulness and your kindness.

And thank you for showing my own 3 kids the importance of giving--even if it meant Mya watching her mom and Nana sobbing down the aisles of the Superstore.


Happy Halloween from our little family to yours.




 And thank you Superstore and Loblaws for being so amazing.


 Love Erica xo

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