How to have a Stress Free Kid's Party

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Davina here: It was Elfie’s fourth birthday recently and I had BIG crafty plans! I love making lots of decorations and going all out for her parties. But then reality sunk in and I realised I had a tiny baby who doesn’t like to nap much and wakes several times every night and so the chances of even having enough energy to sort out materials, far less make decorations, were slim to none. I started to panic about how I could give Elfie a special party without making lots of things for it and then started to consider taking her somewhere for a special experience instead of trying to 'make' one.

Elfie loves going to the theatre so when we found out that the Unicorn Theatre, which is our favourite kid's theatre in London, hosted kids parties we were super excited. They offer a package called a Party Box in which you get 10 kids tickets to the theatre, 4 adult tickets, cake and juice for the kids and a dedicated space to celebrate your child’s birthday before or after the show. They also offer to theme the party for you - we chose gold at its Elfie’s favourite colour at the moment. This made my life so much easier - I can't tell you how much.  It was especially easy as for half the party we were watching the show so all the kids were fully entertained and focussed and I could just relax and enjoy the show! 

10 Tips to a Stress Free Kid’s Party:

  1. Let your child make the invites. Elfie's are above - they are super simple - she just stuck a button on each one using washi tape and printed a message using my Trodat stamp. (I pre arranged the letters, she just had to stamp, it self inks so no messy ink pads. We LOVE the Trodat stamp!). 
  2. Keep the numbers small - there is a golden rule to invite as many kids as the age your kid is turning but we allowed Elfie to invite 9 so there would be 10 kids in total. You could keep it even smaller to reduce the cost. 
  3. Just do cake and tea/ juice (tell parents to feed kids before) so ideally set the party early afternoon. 
  4. If making a cake then make it with your child - this will be fun for them but also mean that you don't have to worry about it looking professional in any way! See Elfie's cake below - she decorated it. 
  5. Keep it short - 2 hours is long enough!
  6. Use a colour as a theme to simply bring it all together - we used gold - see photos below. For example you could buy napkins and balloons in your chosen colour. 
  7. If you can financially justify it book a child entertainer or take the kids to an event - we chose to take the kids to the theatre. A music show, cinema trip, or dance show would also work. If this isn't possible then think about a focussed free activity you could all do for example a treasure hunt, planning nature bingo using our free printables or an old fashioned game time. Ask the parents to run one game each to take the stress from you!
  8. Buy/make one simple little present for guests instead of making party bags. This year we made button jars (mini jam jars filled with buttons)- last year we gave every one a jam jar filled with soil and sunflower seeds - see picture below. One of my good friends Aoine this year gave everyone a bath bomb - brilliant! Another friend gave a small bag of sweets and another a stuffed toy.
  9. Plan every minute - like a lesson plan! Cake time, activity time, free play time if appropiate, present opening time, game time, even toilet time! (if going to an event, toilet time first! Take it from us!).
  10. If you play Pass the Parcel make sure everyone has the same gift and that there is one for each kid! It sounds obvious but some people don't count gifts before wrapping. 

Some photos from Elfie's party at the Unicorn Theatre

If you have any other ideas on how to keep a kid's party low stress and easy please do let us know as we'd love to share it with our readers.

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P.S Have you noticed our sponsors on the right? A massive thanks is due to them for supporting this blog and our families and helping us to keep creating content for you guys. Cambridge Baby do gorgeous ethical kids wear and have given us a 10% discount for Seeds and Stitches readers with code 'green' (thanks guys!). Myriad is full of the most uh-mazing kids toys, activities and games for all ages. Built to last from wood and lovely ethical materials. Wild Fox photography (AKA Hannah's mister) specialise in natural, non posed family photo's. Go check em out! And get in touch with us here if you're interested in sponsoring or advertising with us, we'd love to hear from you.

DIY Confetti printed T-Shirts for Mollie Makes

DIY matching confetti printed t shirts for Mollie Makes | Seeds and Stitches blog

Hannah here: I've been doing a lot of printing at home recently, from big projects like my curtains to little projects yet to see the light of day, to middling ones in between, like this T Shirt I whipped up for Mollie Makes. They are super easy to make and I couldn't resist making one for Frankie-Rose either. 

DIY matching confetti printed t shirts for Mollie Makes | Seeds and Stitches blog

For the full tutorial see this months issue of Mollie Makes! There are some other really nice projects in there too. 

DIY Matching Confetti printed T shirt for Mollie makes | Seeds and Stitches blog

Happy (Making) Monday!

About Us / Follow & Subscribe to our Newsletter / Press / Events Contact

P.S Have you noticed our sponsors on the right? A massive thanks is due to them for supporting this blog and our families and helping us to keep creating content for you guys. Cambridge Baby do gorgeous ethical kids wear and have given us a 10% discount for Seeds and Stitches readers with code 'green' (thanks guys!). Myriad is full of the most uh-mazing kids toys, activities and games for all ages. Built to last from wood and lovely ethical materials. Wild Fox photography (AKA Hannah's mister) specialise in natural, non posed family photo's. Go check em out! And get in touch with us here if you're interested in sponsoring or advertising with us, we'd love to hear from you.

A perfect Spring recipe: Wild Salsa Verde

Wild, Foraged Salsa Verde by Fore Adventure | Seeds and Stitches blog

Hannah here: We're thrilled to welcome our friends at Fore Adventure back to the blog to share a Spring recipe. Our monthly cake feature has gone out of the window recently as we've both been too busy (it will return, it will!) so we are extra excited to have a recipe on the blog again. How good does this sound! They talk about the health benefits of Cleavers which I had no idea about, and find geekily exciting. I am learning more and more about the natural healing properties of plants and it's pretty amazing. I am currently on an elimination diet to sort out my dodgy lymph system (recurrent tonsillitis etc) so this is perfect for me at the moment. I'm going to get foraging this week. Thanks pals!

Foraging Three Cornered Garlic

Foraging Three Cornered Garlic

A cleaver cleanser in the shape of our wild salsa verde.

 
Spring has sprung! It’s that time of year when you can happily shrug your coat off on your afternoon strolls and you are forever in a quandary over what shoes to wear, when you can (just about) walk along the beach barefoot with the heat of the sun low in the sky on the back of your neck...we love these happy days in Dorset, for us the simple things are the best things and this recipe is one of those.

We are surrounded by new beginnings in our little patch of wild at this time of year, the carpet of wild garlic, the tender nettles that have sprung from nowhere, the wood sorrel with a hint of apple, a fresh zest of lemon. To me this is the time that foraging gets truly exciting. If you eat green, this ones for you.

Wild Nettles

Wild Nettles

The forage

One of this recipes main ingredients is cleavers, Galium aparine, the sticky back herb that hitchhikes it’s way around using it’s zillions of tiny hairs, it’s usually one of the first wild herbs we find in spring around March time and can be found growing close to it’s pal the common nettle. Now is a great time to pick Cleavers and you can eat them raw as they are still tender enough, not only are they tasty but they are clever little shoots, well known for their medicinal properties.

Cleavers (below) work their magic in 2 ways, to stimulate your lymph nodes to remove waste materials into the blood stream and to cleanse and nourish your blood to clear them. Without getting too technical on you, this enables your lymphatic system (the bodies mechanism for discharging toxins) to function better. When you have a back up of toxins you feel sick and tired, achy and slow, sound familiar? [Yes! so interesting!]

Cleavers

Cleavers

Together with three cornered garlic and nettles, which go in pretty much everything we feast on at fore hutquarters, as they grow in abundance around us and are so simple to forage, this is a deliciously fresh green and wieldy way to create a super supper that there is simply no excuse not to.

So here you have it, wild salsa verde that not only works it’s magic on your taste buds but gives your body a kickstart too. I’d say that was a pretty perfect way to welcome in Spring and say goodbye to the winter blues and I have a hunch you might agree once you’ve given it a whirl….

The feasting

Wild, Foraged Salsa Verde by Fore Adventure | Seeds and Stitches blog

Time: 10 minutes (depending on your knife skills!)

Makes: enough to fill a jamjar of loveliness

Ingredients:

A large bunch of wild herbs
Small handful of Cornichons
Small handful of Capers
4-6 Anchovy Fillets
8 tablespoons of good quality extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
1 garlic clove (we don’t bother if we are using three cornered garlic)
1-2 tablespoons of white wine vinegar (you can use red aswell)
salt and pepper to season

Wild, Foraged Salsa Verde by Fore Adventure | Seeds and Stitches blog


How to;

Gather and wash your herbs, we used Cleavers, Three Cornered Garlic & Nettles, but anything goes; salsa verde is routinely made with parsley, but we have used a whole array of greens in the past from Sorrel, Mint, Basil to Wild Chives.

Chop your herbs finely then add your Cornichons, Capers, and Anchovies, keep chopping all of the ingredients together to combine. (we like ours to have a bit of texture but if you prefer a smooth consistency use a food processer)

Add all of the chopped ingredients to a bowl and mix in your Olive oil, Mustard, Garlic and White Wine Vinegar.

Season and give it a taste, you may need to add more vinegar, mustard and oil to get the balance tickety boo. Lip smackingly good with fish or meat, we gorged on ours with lamb to stick with the spirit of spring!

Yep. Getting outside, getting to know your environment, getting that little bit muddy and that little bit rosy cheeked is the good stuff. If you fancy an adventure and a trip to the coast, for yourself or your little humans, then come say hello. From foraging to feasting, bushcraft to fishing, wild camping to retreats, kayaking to coasteering- we live life through adventure. Nice to meet you.

*There is a way to forage that is not so good for the environment- that includes taking more than you need, picking rare things, and the issue of permission. You can have a trawl through the web to find out good/bad ways to get wild feasting.

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10 simple things to do with kids this Easter

Tea in the garden | Seeds and Stitches blog

Hannah here: Well, we're fairly smitten with this beautiful Spring weather, which always reminds me of the first few weeks after Frankie-Rose was born and compels me to hum and fill the house with flowers and drag the deck chairs out for morning coffee. It's such good timing for the Easter holidays! Davina and I both have preschoolers and we both love celebrating Spring with them.  We thought we’d share our favourite activities, all of which require no money (well maybe a train fare or petrol money) and little time. No expensive theme parks or holidays. Just simple activities our kids love. 

1) Go to your nearest large park or woods and take a few copies of our free printable Nature Bingo for little kids, or our free printable Nature Bingo for bigger kids- a new printable we’re releasing today! You could organise a group trip and print out a few. 

Bug Bingo for bigger kids by Emilie Maguin | Seeds and Stitches blog

2) Bake carrot cake using new season baby carrots (so sweet and delicious!) This is always pretty messy but worth it. Frankie and Elfie are both brilliant at cracking eggs (and fishing out bits of shell!) and both love pouring flour on to the scales etc. 

Baking Carrot Cake | Seeds and Stitches blog

3) Have afternoon tea in the garden (eat carrot cake if you baked them!) put a few spring flowers in a little vase and use a tea pot; it makes it just that bit more special and kids pick up on that. Frankie and her cousin Stanley requested apple and raisins to accompany their cakes and they wanted milk in the tea pot!

Tea in the Garden | Seeds and Stitches blog

4) Organise a picnic with friends to a local beauty spot. Bring a ball.

Spring Picnic | Seeds and Stitches Blog

5) Go tree climbing or pond dipping. Even busy cities have gardens where you can do this- google for your nearest. In Faversham we are incredibly lucky to have access to Abbey Physic Garden which has a small pond and supplies nets and buckets for kids to fish out frogspawn and the like.

Pond Dipping | Seeds and Stitches blog

6) Go Blossom or Daffodil hunting. Frankie is really into “We’re going on a bear hunt” so we sometimes supplement the word bear for daffodil/blossom etc which make it more of a game for her. 

Daffodil hunting | Seeds and Stitches blog
Daffodil hunting | Seeds and Stitches blog

7) Plant seeds or bulbs. Let them get messy and be cool with them squelching the soil with their hands (I learned this the hard way!) We do our potting on our patio so I can sweep up the compost and re use it afterwards. If it turns into a mud kitchen then go with it- bring out a wooden spoon and a pan for them. 

Gardening with kids | Seeds and Stitches blog

8) Make a Spring floral crown out of paper. (No pics as we've yet to do this!)

9) Make a welcome home birds basket for the migrating birds. (This is a suggestion from our Sunday Supplement- we love it so much!)

Welcome Home bird baskets | Seeds and Stitches blog

10) Plan a trip to the sea shore! Bring a bucket or basket and task your kids to look for egg shaped rocks. Frankie loved doing this so much that she didn't want to leave and came home with a beautiful collection. Leave them as they are or paint them when you get home. 

Sea eggs | Seeds and Stitches blog

What are your favourite free things to do with kids?

There are lots more ideas over on Pinterest too (as always!)

Things to make and do with kids:

Things to make and do with kids outside:

And loads of ideas to make dens, for the inevitable rainy days to come. 

And finally, here are the free printables, arrange 4 on one A4 sheet.

For littles:

Free printable Nature Bingo by Emilie Maguin | Seeds and Stitches blog

For bigger kids:

Nature Bingo for bigger kids by Emilie Maguin | Seeds and Stitches blog

Sunday Supplement: April

Davina and Hannah here: Firstly we want to wish everybody a very happy Easter Sunday whatever you may be up to! We believe that whether you're Christian or not, Easter is a wonderful Spring celebration full of the symbolism of re-birth, fertility and new life. Spring is such an exciting time- from chocolate eggs and planting seeds to baby animals and new buds, there is so much to celebrate! Davina and Hannah are both with family this weekend; Davina will be celebrating Easter the traditional way by rolling eggs and Hannah will be out enjoying this gorgeous Spring weather as much as possible (and both will be eating a butt-ton of chocolate too, obviously)

Here are 10 wonderful ideas of things to make, do and celebrate in the month ahead!

  1. Shower yourself in Cherry Blossom: Stand under a Cherry Blossom tree in the wind and allow yourself to be showered in blossom or if no wind pick up a bundle from the street and throw it in the air. Ignore the stares, this is magic! ; )
  2. Colour your Home with British Tulips. We feel passionately about buying local and seasonal flowers - in April Tulips will be in abundance. Google your nearest park or gardens to see if they have them (Hannah is heading to Doddington House to see theirs)
  3. Play Outside: If you have young kids sign up for an outdoor play group for the summer term (most Steiner schools run them) or make your own weekly mini playgroup in your local park or woods with friends.
  4. Spot Migrating Birds as they return home for summer: Many migrating birds such as Swallows, Martins, Cuckoos, Swifts, Nightjars, Turtle Doves return to the UK for the summer in April. Look the birds up so you will know how to recognise them if you see them. 
  5. Make a Welcome Home Birds Basket - We found this idea in Amanda Soule’s book The Rhythm of Family. The basket could contain items to help birds build their new nests for example: left over yarn, thread, embroidery floss, feathers, scraps of fabric, leaves, moss, sheeps wool.Or make a Tree Hanging Bird Feeder as welcome home present for birds.
  6. Go Outside as much as possible and enjoy the first few warm days. Morning coffee in the garden is lovely. 
  7. Take advantage of the Longer Days and go for walks or runs after work - Spring is a great opportunity to get fit again after a long winter of staying in doors and comfort food.
  8. Plan May Day: Last year Davina and Elfie made May Day Posies and left them on their friends’ doors to celebrate the coming of warm weather. This year we are looking forward to going to a May Day dance. Could you host a May Day bbq? A posy making morning tea?
  9. Do some Spring Cleaning! A brilliant excuse to do that de-cluttering we've all been thinking about. A physical clear out of your objects will make your mind feel clearer too - its good for your home and its good for you. Look out for our DIY Natural Cleaning Recipes coming soon!
  10. Have a Spring Picnic. Hannah and Frankie have been picnicking this week (or "pignicking" as Frankie says) and the weather is perfect for it. We're going to find some local apple trees to have a picnic under once the blossom arrives too. 

This list of 10 wonderful things to do is compiled for our Sunday Supplement, which you can have sent directly to your mail box by signing up here. The email will also includes additional exclusive material - including a round up of our favourite links from across the world. 

P.S Some more Easter Inspiration over on Pinterest: