Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Harry Potter Birthday

As Harry Potter fever is rampant in this house, we went with an HP theme this year. Actually, we've rarely had a theme. Ok, maybe we had a theme once in second grade. In fact, we are very simple when it comes to birthdays, and we're all fine with that. Last year, I offered to make a Minecraft cake for Sojo's birthday sleepover, and she said (with no snarkiness at all), "Um, don't start being a fancy mama now. I'm fine with my normal cake."

But, fancy mama I was for this birthday (and fancy baba as well). Many have asked about how we put together the party, so I felt it was worthy of a blog post of HP goodness. This was my first foray into Pinterest-land, and it was a blast for everyone. Two hours from start to finish, which is my kind of party.

Ok, down to the good stuff:

1. Platform entry. Easy-cheesy and super fun.



2. Polyjuice potion! The kids went crazy over this one, and I had to make two batches. Our town actually had sherbet, which is a rarity, so I also went crazy over this one. Just a clear bowl, sherbet (lime, if possible, but I used rainbow and no one cared), Sprite to make it fizzy and neon green food coloring.



3. Butterbeer! Warm a bit of apple juice and butterscotch syrup (more juice than syrup, but you want it to be butterscotchy tasting. I found tiny mugs and used those as it's a bit rich of a concoction. Add about 1/3 of the warmed syrupy stuff and then put ginger beer on top. Add a smidge of whipped cream. Not everyone liked this, but one girl had three mugs full!




4. Hermione's beaded bag. This one was Sojo's idea, and it was brilliant. She is fascinated with Hermione's beaded bag in the book that holds everything (tents, framed portraits, the workds!) but looks just like a regular bag. I had buy-one-get-one-free bag from Claire's, so we put a slit in the bottom, attached it to a table and put the game prizes in there. So much fun!





5. Pottermore quiz! Since all the kids were older, we had computers set up with the Pottermore quiz when they came in. Everyone took the test and then put their name on the banners we had up on the wall. We did tell them that if you got the house you didn't want, you could change, but everyone was excited. I had written all the positive qualities of the houses on the banners.

6. Horcrux Scavenger Hunt! I found this one online and tweaked it to make it easier (we were down to the last minute on this one before guests arrived). I hid seven items around the house and they worked together to find them. A huge success, even though it was pretty easy for older kids.

7. The Wand Ceremony! This was by far my favorite part of the day, and it was our grand finale. We had purchased white helium balloons and Sojo drew owl faces on them. Ahead of the party, we had ordered handmade wands to give as gifts and had them shipped to Saudi (although the DIY ones looks fun to make at a party). We wrapped them in the morning, and Sojo wrote a small note about why the wand had chosen that person. She listed three positive qualities about the person on the note, which was very sweet. At the very end, Dale went upstairs on the landing and "sent down an owl" with the wand attached to the balloon for weight. Sojo then read the card about why the wand chose the person and presented it. The kids were giddy!



Overall, we had an absolute blast, and I'm kinda sold on being the fancy mama.




Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Assembly Love

Sojo's fifth grade class hosted our first assembly of the year, and it was so sweet seeing her on stage. She even chose to wear her fancy blazer (also known as her single piece of clothing that is remotely fancy).



Our art teacher and counselor collaborated on a video of the class that was so profound that I could not help the tears pouring down my face. 

The kids were working on self-portraits and did what is called a blind drawing, where they each had a blindfold and drew their portrait without seeing. In addition, they studied the techniques for doing a quality self-portrait. Our amazingly wonderful counselor then met with all of them and talked about how they viewed themselves physically and as people. The two teachers worked together to create a black-and-white video with a photo series of each kid with their quotation about himself or herself. When I saw Sojo's, it made my heart burst. To know that a child can look in the mirror and know that she is who she wants to be is something that is amazing at any age. 



Tuesday, October 10, 2017

11!!

As a pre-celebration, we spent a weekend away in Bahrain with a friend (and his family) who shares a birthday that is close to Sojo's for what we called the Birthday Extravaganza! Breakfast at IHOP (ramen for Sojo as that is her perfect breakfast), and a stay at a cool hotel with a small water park inside. The weather is just starting to turn from crazy hot to mildly hot, so it was glorious.



And, for her actual day, she asked me to make a chocolate chip cookie cake, which I had never done. So many mama things I have never done! But, it turned out great. I then went to the cabinet to get the super cute candles I bought this summer in the US where they have everything. Hmmmm...somehow I could only find one of the number 1 candles I bought. We had a laugh about it.

Dale and I are so proud to be her parents and watch her grow. Her sense of who she is and what is important to her is so solid at such a young age, and she does not waver. Here are a few loves from this moment in time:

She loves ramen and building Bionicles and chillaxing.
She wears what she wants and not what is in fashion.
She is great at basketball but loves all sports.
Her favorite subject is PE.
She just weeks ago started picking up books on her own and is obsessed with Harry Potter.
She is a bit sassy, but just a bit. She refers to herself as witty, which really says it all. Such a fine line between wit and sass.

She is a cool kid.


Tuesday, October 03, 2017

Almost 11


This girl. 

Almost 11.

Off to an evening swim class on her own, growing out of her new bathing suit already, kinda pre-teenish, and filling us with joy at every turn. 


Friday, September 29, 2017

Grandparent Time




Our main reason for going home each summer is family, and a good dose of grandparents is good for Sojo and our parents. Popo and Gong had already been living in our house for weeks before we arrive, so we were spoiled with lots of favorite meals they had made ahead of time and froze for us to eat when we got home. Veggie soup and meatballs are our definite favorites!


Sojo is almost as tall as Popo now!
And speaking of being spoiled, both Sojo and Dale's mom love the local, homemade ice cream from Elevated. We go so often during the summer, and it never gets old. Lemon chiffon for both of these gals.




Thursday, September 28, 2017

Cousin Time

Sojo's favorite part of any summer is cousin time. We were not able to see her cousin Jake this summer, but we had tons of time with her other two cousins. They even did three camps together: basketball, Ninja Warrior camp and the most beautiful Forest camp.




During forest camp week, we dropped the kids off in a field just outside of town, and they headed off into the woods for five hours of fun. We heard stories about campfires, climbing trees, learning games and general old-fashioned kid fun. They came home dirty each day, and that was awesome.

The grand finale was in the woods. We trekked into one of their areas in the woods, but there was no one in sight. Noises erupted in the forest, and out came the kids. They put on the coolest obstacle course show for us, complete with tricks and drumming.




Sojo's final vote for the best camp was the Ninja Warrior one, but my vote went for the forest camp. Either way, it was good to have so much cousin time.


Monday, September 25, 2017

Skate Like a Girl

This past summer, Sojo was totally open to attending a bunch of different camps. The first one she attended was called Skate Like a Girl, and it is run by young people. We made it a mini-vaca and headed downtown Seattle for a few days to toodle around while she was in the camp.


She LOVED the camp! And, just like it is intended to do, she felt very empowered and strong. Our favorite part each day was the end: each kid gets up and shared a trick he or she learned that day for "showcase." If they do it right, awesome! If they fall, the crowd chants, "One more time! One more time!" Sojo's growth in only three days was incredible, not only in skill but in confidence. We all hope to do this camp again next summer. Here's the final showcase!