No Birthday at School? Still Fun to be had.

classroom birthday

Foter.com

For all the complaints about helicopter parenting, any parent today can tell you there’s also a long list of things we’re not allowed to do for our children these days. Especially when it comes to birthdays at school.

You can find a school that has banned any of these ways of celebrating with classmates:

  • Sweet treats (too sugary).
  • Homemade treats (could be allergens!).
  • Store bought treats (sugar, allergens, undue financial pressure on classmates).
  • Paddy whacks.

Recently, in honor of back to school, a local ABC affiliate ran a segment on a non-food related way of marking the special day — paper plate crowns. Yes, you too can have the birthday fun of cutting up a paper plate and coloring on it and adding some stickers.

I’m all for the premise behind the interviewee’s business: “We love coming up with ways to use very based supplies to have a great time and make a cool craft.” Plus, she made a smart suggestion of getting the markers at back to school sales, so that each child could get their own set to take home.

Still, I’m not buying her argument that this is perfect for all ages. Plus, since she poohed poohed the TV host’s suggestion of sparkles (“teachers won’t like that”), there’s little to make the birthday child’s crown stand out.

classroom birthday

Foter.com

So, while I applaud the creativity of coming up with a non-sugar solution to the rampant ban on birthday commemorations at school, I suggest we keep our thinking caps on a little longer to come up with something more personalized and appropriate for wider age ranges.

Of course, I’m still in favor of the sweets once in a while in the classroom. My concession would be to have a cake once a month to celebrate all of the birthdays in the class within those 28-31 days. Then, on each of that month’s celebrants’ actual birthdays they could sing “Happy Birthday” to give the child the individualized birthday love they deserve.

Zoo Animal Birthdays – Let Them Eat Cake

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Even animals get to celebrate birthdays! The Denver Zoo recently celebrated two birthdays. In the orangutan habitat, the keepers decorated with pink and purple streamers and left out extra treats for Hesty, who turned 8-years-old! They posted a video on their Facebook page — doesn’t it look like she’s looking in a present here?

zoo animal birthday

There was also celebration last month for the 15th birthday of Jorge the llama. He got to share a nutritional cake with his enclosure buddies Fernando and Mahali. The cake made from biscuits, blended jicama, and other vegetables was a hit. I particularly enjoyed this photo of the llama with icing on its…uhm, I’m guessing it’s a muzzle? It reminds me of kid smash cakes.

In Oklahoma, Cindy the chimpanzee celebrated 50 years with streamers too. As well, as a picnic-themed animal enrichment activity and new blankets. 

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Another old fogey getting a special treat was Tricia the Asian elephant who enjoyed a fruit cake on her 61s birthday in Perth.

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Fellow 61-year-old Fatou also enjoyed a cake for her special day at the Berlin Zoo. Her cake of fruit, rice, and quark (a creamy, dairy substance popular in Germany) was gobbled up quickly. She’s one of the world’s oldest gorillas, sharing the title with an Arkansas gorilla, so it was a pretty big deal.

Germany: World's Oldest Gorilla Turns 61

Back in the States again, in Naples, Florida, a one-year-old panther named Athena was treated to a large pink, decorated papier-mâché birthday cake. Visitors were also invited to make birthday cards which would be displayed around her enclosure. 

zoo animal birthday

Another cute one-year-old is Jackie, a red panda at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. The video online just shows the panda moving about its space where there were birthday cards, but nevertheless it had 23K views in just two weeks. 

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Bet, you can now figure out why I did another animal birthday-themed blog. Plus, it’s fun to research and the images are so cute!

Birthdays in a Box

 

birthday decorNo, this is not a blog drawing on Justin Timberlake’s famous SNL skit offering his girl the present she’s always dreamed of in “a box” for the holidays. Instead, it’s about a clever birthday marketing idea I came across. Much more upscale than the birthday in a box kits I’ve seen (and still use when traveling) at something like a Target, the Birthday Butler offers portable, mailable birthday party packages for celebrations on the go.

The founder, Lisa Bader, loves “making people feel special on their birthdays” and wants grown-ups to be able to enjoy great, easy celebrations too. She’s a former Intel and Procter and Gamble branding and marketing executive who wants to “make it as easy as possible for you to celebrate your loved ones.”

birthday decor

That’s an easy idea to get behind!

The BirthdayButler.com offers several different styles of birthday party decor, in two different package sizes. There’s a black and gold, more upscale-looking option as well as a pink and yellow party theme called Sweet Indulgence.

birthday decor

My favorite thought is the Outdoor Theme one. Apparently inspired “by Mother Nature herself,” this party features greenery and natural woods.

 

I came across this party decor helper in an interview with her local TV station. Personally, I’m willing to give this idea two thumbs up. Not only because of its smart appeal to adults who are too busy or may be traveling on their birthday, but also due to its wholehearted embrace of the idea that grown-ups deserve a good birthday party too.

Unicorn party idea

Unicorn Birthdays and Celebrity Sparkle

Sometimes it is just fun to see how the rich and famous live. No, I’m not a Kardashian loyalist. But, when my birthday news alert (yes, I have one of those!) blew up with coverage of a Kardashian birthday party I couldn’t resist.

Cousins North (who turns 5 on June 15) and Penelope (6 on July 8)  wore matching rainbow-colored robes and swimsuits at the June 3 party Kim shared on Instagram. There were also horses with sparkly manes and rainbow-colored horns!

 

 

Grandma Kris Jenner…wonder what they actually call her (is there still a show people watch and already know that?) was also covered cuddling
with Dream Kardashian.

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Unicorn Party Ideas

The theme is popular for parties, so I thought I’d share some great unicorn party touches. Like this one to make Unicorn Poop Slime, which I know several girls in my neighborhood would absolutely love.

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Or let everyone wear a unicorn horn headband. Crafty kids could make their own at the party.

unicorn party ideas
You can easily go on Amazon and buy a cake topper that converts a cake into a unicorn.
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Or you might make these fondant golden horn cupcake toppers.

unicorn party idea

Then, there all the games you might play. There’s the obvious Pin the Tail on the Unicorn. Or, you could give each partygoer their own Unicorn to ride, as suggested in LollyJane’s 17 unicorn party ideas.

unicorn party idea

unicorn party idea

There are also videos and tutorials online to make your very own unicorn piñata.

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UNICORNS! It’s the best of little girl dreams: horses, magic, color, and — if it were my party — sparkle.

Queen E. II Rocks Out on Her Birthday

Queen's birthday

Image source Reuters

Many Brits love their Queen, and the fact that she has two birthdays regularly gets a spike in news coverage at this time of year. I’ve mentioned this before — the two birthdays for the monarch goes back to 1748 when England’s King George II, born in November, wanted a fair weather birthday celebration. He decided to make his official birthday in June, and the habit stuck.

This year, though, to celebrate her 92nd birthday, Queen Elizabeth II was feted with a star-studded pop concert. We’re talking Sting, Tom Jones… In fact, the opening number for the night was his “It’s Not Unusual,” which I have long loved for the hilarity of the “oonga shaka” chorus.

Shaggy, Kylie Minogue, Shawn Mendes, and Ladysmith Black Mambo were also among those on the bill for the longest-reigning, living monarch’s shindig in London’s Albert Hall. The Queen took the throne, in case you aren’t old enough to remember, in 1952! At the end of the concert, Prince Charles, 70, took the stage to lead a rousing round of cheers for his mother, who at 92 is also the oldest living monarch.

Birthday Fundraising

The concert was a “break in tradition” for the Queen as she usually celebrates more privately (and maybe noshing on jellied corgis, per a previous blog). Many of the Royal family members joined her in the box for this rocking birthday bash, which was also televised and aired on BBC channels.

The Queen’s actual birthday of April 21 was also marked with an honorary gun salutes in Hyde Park and at the Tower of London and in the town of Windsor.

The concert was also a fundraiser for The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, so she gets to join my list also of people who use their birthdays to raise donations or show generosity to others. The charity, led by her grandson Harry, will “encourage young people to excel in areas like sports, education, health and the environment across the 53 Commonwealth countries.”

Queen's Birthday

Image source Reuters

Birthday Concert Just the Beginning

Of course, the concert is only one of the Queen’s birthday events. I mean, she’s really someone who knows how to keep the birthday going and going, In June, all of London will celebrate her “official” birthday at the Trooping the Colour, an annual military parade which will bring all the royals back to the balcony of the Palace (including, presumably, the by then newly married Henry and Meghan). 

According to the Royal Mint, “during the ceremony, trained and fully operational members of the Household Division greet The Queen with a royal salute. She then inspects the troops, riding past them in a carriage. After the massed bands have performed a musical ‘troop,’ the regimental colour, or flag, is carried down the ranks of troops. Chalk up one more advantage to being Queen — the picture below suggests this pomp and circumstance is probably a bit more exciting than a balloon bouquet!

Queen birthday

Trooping the Colour, from the Royal Mint

Birthday Generosity for a BK Loyalist

While this may seem like advertising for Burger King, I would like to share this evidence that birthdays make people go out of their way to show they care.

Harold Rinehimer, a resident of Nanticoke, Pennsylvania, is a stalwart Burger King visitor. According to local media there, Harold has walked from his apartment to the fast food restaurant “every day, twice a day, for nearly two decades.”

“I guess I like the stuff down here, the food, the times, and I see good friends down here,” Harold said.

Birthday Kindness

Upon discovering that Harold was turning 80, employees planned a surprise party for his birthday.

Seeing the big smile on Harold’s face at the surprise was worth the effort, said restaurant manager Elizabeth Phenotti. “It made my day…It’s just doing something nice for someone, making someone feel special. He sure needs it, he’s a wonderful person.”

Along with a cake at the party, employees gave Harold a card signed by everyone and a Burger King gift card.

birthday generosity

Image source: WNEP

“Faithfully, rain sleet, snow, shine, he always makes it here. I think it’s awesome that he’s lived to be 80. Hopefully, he has a lot more years,” said Burger King employee Audam Fogle.

“That was a nice thing they did for him,” said Nick Indelicato, who met Harold at the BK and often shares a meal with him there. “He was really surprised, so that was nice.”

Harold’s advice? Life goes by too fast, so enjoy it.

Since Harold’s first meal of the day at the BK is breakfast, and he returns for dinner, he definitely started his birthday on the right note — cake for breakfast!

Happy Boozy Birthday — Drink Recipes on Me!

One of my favorite round-up blogs to write is the #yummybday one. That’s when I pull together some favorites from my twitter postings of tasty treats you might bake for a loved one’s birthday. The blog serves as an easier way for my loved ones to determine what they should make me at my next birthday, too.

Nevertheless, I’ve noticed lately more yummy cocktail recipes from the people I regularly follow for mouth-watering ideas. So, here goes — the first #boozybday round-up. Enjoy (but in moderation of course…).

Birthday Cocktail Recipes

The Cookie Rookie always has great beverage offerings on her twitter feed. I’ve picked two for you:

The Toasted S’more Martini is a favorite from her blog back in 2013.

birthday cocktail

I also like the sound of this Sherbet Mimosa, another one she recently republished.

Birthday cocktail

Another of my favorite foodie bloggers is Living Lou, and not just because she lives in London, Ontario (where I went to grad school). I’m confident her Peach Sangria with blueberries and basil will be a crowd pleaser!

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Since I live now in Charlotte, NC, I have to include Life, Love, Sugar’s Carolina Panther Punch. Plus, anyone who knows me, will know I love brightly colored foods.

Birthday cocktail

I’m a big fan of bubbly, so I also have to share this Blackberry Lavender Champagne Cocktail from AdventureBite.

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On Town & Country’s list of top spring cocktails, Le Bleu Glacier is the one that stuck out to me (and not only because it’s in French!). You garnish this blueberry, vodka, vanilla cocktail with berries and smoked cheddar!

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Then, because I was worried I was including too many champagne/vodka pairings I put whiskey into my Google search. As a proud Canadian, my eye was drawn to the Raymond Massey cocktail.  Turns out this cocktail is “a sophisticated cocktail with the simple classic flavours of Rye, Champagne and Ginger.” The drink’s namesake is Canadian actor Raymond Massey from Toronto, where you can go to Massey Hall. I can’t help it, champagne’s in there too!

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One last one, because it involves a star, the Zephyr Star from Bevvy features gin, lemon, simple syrup, allspice dram, and honey bitters. My only disappointment is that it’s not really involving stars other than the star anise on top. Well, I could still liven it up with the awesome light-up ice cubes my husband gifted me recently.

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Cheers! Enjoy your next birthday celebration, even if it’s for a one-year-old it’s de rigeur these days that drinks be served.