Have you planned a birthday with/for a 6 soon to be 7 year old lately? If you haven’t you don’t know what you are missing!  At our house it is customary to celebrate the kids birthday’s with a family cookout including: grandparents, great aunts, regular aunts, uncles, cousins and all of their dogs followed by a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday in the overly decorated dining room with presents, cake and ice cream.

My chandelier will never be the same. It’s had streamers, ribbons, little swirly plastic-y things, lego guys, Indiana Jones figures, spiders, bats… you name it… hanging from the crystals.  I have been known to go a bit overboard for the kids birthdays. There was the one year when we all met under the festival tent with tiki torches at the entrance wherein the kids were given passports, a compass and a list and then sent on a scavenger hunt. The evening culminated in the hay barn where they had to pass through an obstacle course complete with a pit with rubber snakes. It would have been a challenge even for the real Indiana Jones.

This year was the first time that we had a “party” off of the farm for one of the kids. Ryder (10 yr old no longer wanting to be referred to as “the Bean”) wanted a laser tag party for himself and 3 of his buddies. At our family party he didn’t want the chandelier decorated with anything. WHAAATT?!!! It was a bit shocking for me. I went along with it… the “no theme” party. Uggh. The humanity of it. A mother with the gift of hospitality… and no coordinating colors or plates. I know. The child has to grow up. It’s okay. I’ve really gotten over it. Truely. I CAN let go.

So today Lala and I went on her birthday party decorating spree.  A tiny bit of the licensed stuff and a whole lot of colors and bling. She is such a delight. Our party favors for the cousins include: bouncy balls, tiny rubics cubes, friendship bracelets and sticky hands… which I had to give the proper warning against. “No sticky hands stuck on the ceiling! They stain when they are stuck there too long!”. Not that I have ever had a sticky hand stuck to the ceiling for beyond its proper time. Its just that those ones from the dentist office are especially sticky, stainy or something.

We have pretty pink paper lanterns hanging from the chandelier this year. Yay! As an artist it’s not easy when your design background wants to overrule a Birthday Girl’s sensibilites. I mean we want to stay away from tacky, right. Self expression vs. tacky… a fine, adorable line for a 6 year old but visual chaos as they get older.

This leads me to the conclusion that my days decorating the chandelier for birthday parties are cherished and limited. However, if you are in the same boat or even if your children are grown… celebrate. Celebrate life’s simple moments and rites of passages however it makes your heart sing. Wear the red dress. Wear the tacky purple hat. I promise that I will continue to hang wacky things from my chandelier if you will.


The Cookout Menu

Southern Baked Beans

Steamed green beans

Herb Roasted Baby Potatoes

Cucumber Salad


Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs

Sauteed Snow Peas

And… Birthday Cake and Ice Cream  : )

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Sounds like fun. Love the Chcken Kebobs!

Joanne- We used the recipe from your dinner actually! They were delicious. Your trip to Hawaii inspired me… in fact the Flower Show next year is on Hawaii. I have some thoughts of a hedge/wave surfing bunny or a bunny playing the ukele in front of topiary dancers. Just gotta figure out how to work one of those bold hibiscus flowers in there somewhere. Stay tuned! : )

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Hi, I’m Michelle. I am an artist/designer specializing in unique topiary themed art for the Home & Gardener. I live on a farm in Upstate New York with my husband, two children and a small petting zoo of other family members. #shapeyoursweetestlife



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