Realizations of An Empty Nester

tribeI remember that as a new mom it was uber important to be there to experience all of my child’s first moments, like when my daughter Alyssa spoke her first word or when my son rode his first two wheel bicycle or when the baby of the family cut off her long hair or Sam thought she could drive to Hawaii.  Those moments will stay with me the rest of my life.   Having The Tribe (Our 4 kids dubbed themselves The Tribe when we made a family bulletin board for the kitchen one year.) fly the coop and go separate ways has brought so many of those “firsts” to mind and I sometimes find myself lost in a memory so vivid I can almost hear their voices.  Watching The Tribe grow and accomplish and become the passionate, creative and strong people they are has been rewarding to say the least and while I’m so unbelievably proud of them and excited for the new adventures headed my way the realization that the nest is empty is threaded with sadness that my fledglings are living a life where I am only a part of it rather than the epicenter of it. Sounds selfish don’t it?  I thought it did as I said it but then I don’t feel selfish about it at all, I grew them and raised them so I get to be selfish about them but I won’t.  Instead I will cheer them on and celebrate that I too will live a life where they are only a part of it rather than the epicenter of it; funny how it works out that way.    What prompted this post was that I realized that after tomorrow August 17th 2013 I will no longer have mounds and mounds of laundry to wash, it will just be the hubs and I.  Here are a few other realizations that empty nesting has brought.

  1.  I will never change another poopy diaper in the middle of the night (no I’m not babysitting grandchildren – ever)
  2. There will never be 4 sopping wet kids fighting over dish duty in my kitchen.
  3. 4 radios on 4 different stations will never simultaneously reverberate off the walls of my hallway.
  4. I will never ever again say, “Blake if you don’t stop that I will pull this car over and make you get out!”
  5. A sippy cup will never makes its home in my cupboard again.
  6. A scared little boy will never bolt into my bedroom in the middle of the night and climb in bed with me.
  7. The only puke I will have to clean up will be either mine, hubby’s or the dog’s.  Still yuck.
  8. I won’t leave my front door unlocked while I go to bed, worried because so-n-so forgot their house keys.
  9. Never again will I drive a history textbook to middle school.
  10. I will never wake up in the morning to find my living room looking like a party happened in my sleep, unless a party really does happen in my sleep.
  11. You won’t hear me ask, “Who did this (insert crime here)?”
  12. School will never dial my telephone number again to ask me why my student hasn’t been there for 3 weeks.
  13. I have no one to give “the sex talk” to.
  14.  4 little hands will never again shake me awake on Christmas morning to scream “Santa came!”
  15. The only person in my house that will ever wear my underwear or socks will be me.
  16. I have to do all the housework by myself unless the hubs helps out.
  17. When I travel or go on vacation I no longer have to plan and pack for 6 people.  Someone should probably warn the hubs that he’s on his own for packing from here on out.
  18. Barney the stupid purple dinosaur will never again sing I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family….
  19. Never again will 4 kids burst through my front door on roller skates – 3 to tattle on the 1 that pushed the other…again.
  20.  I will never again receive another school report card in the mail, or by accidental discovery of said report card being taken out of the mail and hidden in the pocket of a pair of jeans in the laundry.

The Boomerang Daughter

boomerangIts not uncommon in this day and age to hear about a twenty-something moving back in with their parents because they can’t afford to pay for rent and utilities on their own.   Businesses are working these young adults in short 3 hour shifts and only giving them a few measly hours each week; not enough to sustain themselves.  As an empty nesting mom on the cusp of rediscovering life without kids the last thing I want is for one of my kids to struggle so hard they have no other choice but to boomerang back through my front door.

One of my daughters has been having this exact struggle for a few months now and I have anticipated that she very well may darken my door with bags in hand.  Of course I would never turn my own flesh and blood away; I’m always happy to see them and hug them and send them home…to their own home where they throw their towels on the floor, grow mold in cups of forgotten fluid on the coffee table and leave pizza crust on the couch.

My husband and I have discussed at length what this will mean for us and our plans for new adventures and we have decided on a clear set of things we will and will not allow to take place in our home while we are there or while we are away.    We realize that it shouldn’t stop our plans to enjoy life and it while it doesn’t bring things to a screeching halt, it does delay things some.

I wonder sometimes about other parents and how they handle the issues that come with having grown kids.  We have friends who’s adult children live at home with them and we often talk about the difference between a home with a full family of grown adults vs our empty nest.

How’s things been for you since your kids grew up and became young adults?

The Brotherhood of Constricting Pants

sagging pants
Image Courtesy of Susan NYC’s Photostream

Finally! I have the answer to the universal mystery of sagging pants. I’ve had a lightbulb moment. You know, those moments that strike when you aren’t looking, right out of blue and usually leave you mystified at how it happened.

I had one of those moments back in 2007 when my son was15.  I was standing amidst the chaos that we commonly called my son’s bedroom, talking to him about his clothes.  He was folding a pair of pants that have giant holes in the knees, frayed pant legs and are about two sizes too big.  I shook my head and asked him why he still wore those things.

I probably shouldn’t have bothered asking because I already knew the answer.  The answer was that he was holding out for expensive name brand jeans and I was refusing to budge.  I bought him several pairs of lower end jeans for around twenty bucks a pop and he flat out refused to wear them.  He said they were cowboy jeans.

I’ve come to learn that cowboy jeans in my son’s language, means plain old regular jeans.  He informed me that the cowboy jeans are uncomfortable; they are too tight and go up his butt.  I argued that no they don’t go UP his butt, they stay ON his butt.

This conversation led to my light bulb moment.  Clarity came when I realized that he doesn’t like constrictive or restrictive clothing.   One would normally assume that he just wanted to walk around with his pants hanging off of his ass because other kids do it and while that’s true I am reminded of previous arguments over his clothing.

My son hates underwear.  By underwear I’m referring to whitie tighties and when he was about 5 he decided he wasn’t wearing them anymore.  His reasoning for not liking underwear was that they are too tight.  I’m pretty open minded and I find some undergarments to be uncomfortable myself so I could hardly fault him for his logic.

So you see, I believe my son belongs to a secret society known as the Brotherhood of Constricting Pants.  While this secrete society walks around blatantly displaying their disdain in public, to reveal why they do it is to betray the Brotherhood thus leaving all other adults in a state of confusion.

Even though I don’t like seeing your underwear or your pants hanging off of your ass, I can look at you baggy-pant-wearing fools in a little different light.  From now on when I see one of the Brotherhood instead of getting irritated, I’ll just pat him on the back and assure him that I understand the code.

Raising a Good Man – In The Thick of It!

boyI can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard other parents say, “My kid ain’t gonna play video games and lay around on the couch all day, doin’ nothin’!”   And I’ve agreed with them many times.

Then one day I woke up to find that my little boy had grown into a big hairy, smelly guy.  Complete with a ferocious appetite and the inability to move beyond a snail’s pace.   He grew up without me noticing how fast it was happening.

Now I’m one of those parents that whines, “My kid lays around all day doing nothin’ and playing video games.”   Be careful not to say “my kid ain’t gonna…” while they’re growing up because it has a way of coming back to bite you in the butt later.

The only parents  that have the right to thumb their noses at parent’s who have a kid on the couch, are the parent’s who’s kid has eventually gotten off the couch.  I’m a firm believer that nagging encouragement is key to successfully getting them off the couch but I don’t actually have any proof of that…..yet.

One day I made umpteen suggestions to my son that he needed to go do something with himself.  He stayed on the couch.  Yet on a totally different day, without my prompting, he went and signed up to take classes at the local community college across the street from my house.

Then, after several weeks of alternating between helping his dad out with some lawn work and listening to me gripe about him lying on the couch; without prompting from anyone, he went across the street and took care of business.

It was then that I realized that you’re either in the thick of raising a man or you have already raised a man.  The trick is not to get stuck raising man into old age years but to transition into that “have already watched my son grow into a man” category.

There’s a ton of parenting articles in magazines, books and on the internet that say parents should practice tough love or use put-your-foot-down tactics but those bits of advice are much easier to say than they are to do.

How is it possible to turn a boy into a respectable man?  I don’t know.   I do know by seeing other fully grown men function in the world that it is possible.  I am determined to get my son off the couch and I’m pretty sure he eventually will but right now I’m still in the thick of it, teetering on that line, looking forward to being a parent that’s already done that, did it, finished successfully and raised a good man.

Parenting Grown Children through the Party Phase

I don’t know about anybody else but I am finding this stage of parenting to be just a wee bit tedious.  You see I have a grown daughter, 21 years old, who is in the thick of this particular phase.  At times it makes me want to yank out all the hair on my head, jump up and down and shriek in her face if only it would get her attention.

Part of me wants to accept this phase for what it is; to chuckle at her hangovers and wish her a good time as she’s on her way out the door.  I mean I’m not that old!  I do remember those days.  Days full of drinking, partying, staying out late, dancing and puking in the ladies room.  Those days were fun and every young person should enjoy those days while they can because they sure don’t last long.

The other part of me completely freaks out that she’s getting sloshy somewhere and the dangers that that in itself presents.  The images that go through my mind are nerve wracking to say the least.  While she’s out I worry and I fret until I hear her come creeping through the door at 5 a.m.  Then I get angry at her childish ways; coming in at such an hour so she can sleep all morning!  This is no hotel!

What’s a parent to do?  I sure as hell don’t know.  I’ve come to learn that the most difficult thing to do as a parent is to shift how I parent.  The time for me to yell, lecture and ground is gone.  These days I’m supposed to be supportive, encouraging and letting go as well remain as a source of council but only when asked.

How is it possible to rear a child for 18 plus years and then one day switch it off?  If I ever find the answer I’ll let you know, in the meantime someone needs to send me some antacids.

Cheapest Places to Buy Birthday Party Supplies for a Rave Party

My daughter’s rave birthday party was a huge success thanks to several reliable and reasonably priced online merchants.  I found some of the cheapest places to buy my birthday party supplies that I just have to share.  Trust me if it flashed, blinked and was a glow in the dark product, chances are I  had it at this party.  Check out these merchants when you start buying your rave party supplies.

Glow Stick Man – The first place I started looking for rave stuff was on eBay and while I didn’t find as much as I thought I would I did discover the Glow Stick Man.  He has got to be one of the best sellers on eBay.  Not only are his prices good but his customer service is phenomenal!  He even threw in a little extra something when he didn’t have to.  I purchased 2 dozen koosh flashing rings from him and I ended up receiving 36 rings for $18.50.

Glow Sticks – In the past I’ve ordered my glow stucks from Glow Stick Kids because I order 1000 every summer for our annual family camping trip.  I decided to go with another seller for my daughter’s rave because Glow Stick Kids raised their prices.  This time around I purchased 700 glow sticks for $40.41 from Glow Stick USA.

*A note about Glow Stick USA – It was the free shipping that caught my eye.  I was a little leery of buying from this seller at first because the contact information on their website it somewhat inconsistent and there was no other option for shipping besides ground shipping.

I placed my order a bit later than I should have and wanted to pay extra for faster shipping but I was never able to reach anyone from Glow Stick USA through either of the contact numbers listed on their site.  To be honest it worried me especially when my order didn’t ship until 4 days after my payment processed and there was no tracking information.

To  give credit where credit is due, I did receive the 700 glow sticks – just 2 days after the party.  Bummer.  Had they been shipped the next day or had I been able to reach them by phone they would have been here on time.

Glow Source is another really good place to shop for rave birthday party supplies.  I purchased 50 glow cup collars, 100 shortie glow sticks and 3 packages of glow cutlery for $57.  It was a little steep but the glow cup collars are reusable and well worth the price.

S&S Worldwide – I was pretty surprised by the amount of glow stuff that S&S carries.  Their prices aren’t half bad and they offer free shipping.  I ended up buying 36 glow in the dark mardi gras beads from them.

Wisbitcat – This is an ebay seller that has pretty good prices on flashing balloons.    This seller has them for $12.75 while Windy City sells the same item for $14.00.  Not including shipping.

Gloworks – This place is awesome.  They have incredible deals.  For $56 and some change I purchased 36 multicolored flashing mouth pieces (which sold for $4.99 a piece at the Spirit Store), 36 flashing sunglasses and 100 purple glow bracelets and 50 lanyards.  I could have easily bought more products at this site because the deals are that good.

Musician’s Friend – When it comes to a rave party you gotta have a light show or 5.  I purchased the Chauvet Double Derby from Musician’s Friend, with free shipping for $56.00.  They have since discontinued this item but you can still find it fairely cheap on ebay or at Cheap DJ Gear.

Spirit Store – for backlights and discount light shows this is the best place to get them, the day after Halloween that is.  Don’t even bother shopping there any other time because everything they sell can be found cheaper online.

Last but not least, Baskin and Robbins.  They have really cool icing that glows under a blacklight.  If you don’t have a blacklight they have some neat neon icing that comes pretty close to glowing.  The cake maker did a free hand design for my daughter’s cake and it didn’t cost me anything extra.

Blog Carnival Roundup

Welcome to the October 1, 2009 edition of suburban wife life blog carnival roundup.  I was focused on getting together a Halloween blog carnival of links but that didn’t necessarily happen.  So even though there are only a few Halloween links, I thought the posts were so good I’d include them anyway.  Enjoy the roundup.

Silicon Valley Blogger presents Fun, Cheap Halloween Costumes To DIY, A Photo Gallery posted at The Digerati Life.

TSW presents Ways To Save on Seasonal Purchases: Time To Shop For Halloween! posted at The Smarter Wallet.

Madeleine Begun Kane presents Is It July 4th, Columbus Day, Or Halloween? I’m Confused! posted at Mad Kane’s Humor Blog.


These may not be Halloween posts but they are good enough to make me hungry.  Check out today’s menu of recipes!

axel presents The Healthy Salad posted at axel g.

Thailand Breeze presents Noodles In Thailand (Part 1) posted at Tip.

Britnee presents GREAT SEMI-HOMEMADE DONUTS posted at Britnee Timberlake’s Institute of Home Cooking Blog.  I can’t wait to make these.  Thanks for the wonderful recipe Britnee.

Britnee presents Moist Meat Balls!!!!! posted at Britnee Timberlake’s Institute of Home Cooking Blog.

Mom Stuff

Jessica Stern presents American Zombie Fashion Show, an Educational Event posted at Desperado Penguin, saying, “I’m a suburban working mom. I’m currently blogging about my reading challenge to read 50 books by 50 authors in one year.”  Not only did I find her post entertaining but I’m beyond interested in her book challenge.

Lisa Taylor presents 50 Best Productivity Blogs for Students posted at Online Degree.

Autumn Beck presents Do you have your Woollybottoms Footies yet? posted at All About Cloth Diapers, saying, “You don’t?! How could you not?! Surely the leaves are starting to fall where you are.  Temperatures below 100 degrees around here means wool season is fast approaching.”


S. Krishna presents S. Krishna’s Books: Mrs. Perfect – Jane Porter posted at S. Krishna’s Books.

Sonja Stewart presents Sew Easy to Save posted at Parenting Squad.

Anne Simone presents Top 100 Health Experts on Twitter posted at LPN to RN Blog.

Rose King presents 100 Great Social Sites to Boost Your Career and Brand posted at – Job Descriptions and Online Schools to Start Your Career, saying, “However gifted, intelligent, hard-working, or creative you may be, success is seldom found without someone else’s help. Fortunately, the art of networking can be learned, so get started today by perusing these great sites.”

That concludes this edition. Submit your blog article to the next edition of
suburban wife life blog carnival roundup
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Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.

Your Room is A Fire Hazard!

Where on earth did my daughter go?

If I had to put her face on a milk carton this is the one I would choose. I love how her sweet innocence shows through in the photo.

teen daughter

Once upon a time my almost 15 year old daughter was the most responsible, cleanest and most organized child in the house. The nominations for filthy, stinking, rotten teenager are neck in neck.

The other day I told her to clean up her room. Mind you, I NEVER had to ask her before. She always kept everything clean, tidy and organized; so much so that the rest of us questioned whether or not she really was one of us.

Yesterday I was happy to see that she had cleaned her room. Not surprised but happy.

My elation didn’t last long. This morning, only one day after cleaning it, her room looked liked this. Notice the dog wants nothing to do with this room?

Can you find the floor? I sure as hell can’t!

This is supposed to be a dresser damnit!

Notice how the cat blends in with the filth in this next photo?  I would have missed her if she hadn’t meowed at me.

I told her that her room is a fire hazard.  I warned her that if a fire broke out in the middle of the night she’d break her neck trying to get out.  She shrugged and looked at me with glazed over eyes in the way that only a teenager can do and said, “It’s fine mom, I’d just go out the window.”  Doh!  Why didn’t I think of that?   I wonder if that philosophy is acceptable for not doing my chores?

Innocence is being lost at a rapid rate!  Look at little miss snotty now.

Teen Texting Codes

I don’t know about your teen but my teen has had a phone permanently implanted into her hand.  She doens’t “talk” on the phone, she texts.  There’s a rule in my house that if you delete your messages and I find out about it the phone gets shut off forever.  All cell phones are turned into me before bed.  I consistently read text messages and I”m on the look out for anything suspicious.

If you are checking your teen’s text messages and aren’t up to date on the texting lingo then you better get a clue.  Here’s a few common texting codes teens use.

There are more but these should get you started.

KPC = Keeping parents clueless

IGHT = I got high tonight

GNOC = Get naked on camera

LMFR = Let’s meet for real

MOS = Mom over shoulder

MPFB = My personal F**k buddy

P911 = Parent alert

1174 = Nude club

DUM = Do you masturbate

Banana = Penis

K4Y = Kiss for you

NIFOC = Nude in front of computer

PIR = Parent in room

RUH = Are you horny

RU/18 = Are you over 18

143 = I love you

8 = oral sex

You can find a complete list of texting anacronyms at Net Lingo

How to Potty Train your Child Using an Alarm Clock

Way back when Moses was parting the Red Sea I was potty training my oldest child.  After using M&M candies to bribe her and washing out I-don’t-know- how-many pairs of poopy panties I had a lightbulb moment.   I figured out how to potty train my daughter with an alarm clock.  It worked like a charm and it became the tried and true method of potty training with my other children.  Here’s how it works.

This method starts the moment you wake up.  Set an alarm clock for the normal time you get up and get up when it goes off.  No hitting the snooze button for a few days.  Set up another alarm clock in your child’s room if they don’t sleep with you.  After you’ve gotten out of bed go immediately to your child’s room and wake them up.  If you’re lucky the alarm clock will have already done that.

Point out the ringing alarm clock to your child.  Make a big deal about how exciting it is.  Make it a GOOD thing.  Then take your child to the potty right away.  Chances are you’ll get the first morning pee sucessfully in the toilet.  If it doesn’t happen don’t linger around the bathroom.

As soon as the first morning potty session is done go get your alarm clock and put it in the living room or somewhere nearby where both you and your child can hear it.  Set it to go off in one hour.

When the alarm goes off in one hour, get excited about it once again and get your toddler to the potty.

Repeat this throughout the day.  Yes you’ll run back and forth to the bathroom but there’s very little chance you’ll miss a potty opportunity.

For day 2 and 3  repeat the steps but this time extend the time between alarms to 2 hours.

On day 4 set the alarm clock for 4 hour intervals.  This may seem like it takes a long time but I promise you it is easier than it seems.  With this method there are very few times you’ll have to wash out training pants and in 5 days your child will be almost completely potty trained.

If you are super busy, having company coming, going to a barbecue, attending a party etc, get yourself  a watch with an alarm or set an alarm on your cell phone to keep the consistency going.  In no time flat your child will recognize the sound of the alarm clock as time to go potty and it’s all uphill from there!

When Did High School Become a P0rn Convention?

Yeah I know high school has changed since I was a teenager some zillion years ago (according to my son, harumph!) BUT…

I don’t remember the kids at school wearing so little.  Okay, I don’t remember the girls wearing so little I should say.

A couple of weeks ago I escorted my youngest ankle biter to her high school roundup to get her class schedule, books and locker.  I thought I was hip.   My kid’s friends tell me I’m the cool, young mom.  Now however,  I’m afraid to admit I might not be as cool as they think I am; not after seeing the current generation of teenage girls anyway.

While we were standing in one line of eternity after another I noticed that most of the girls were wearing teeny tiny mini skirts with their butts hanging out or booty shorts.  Boobs were falling out of spaghetti strap tank tops and there were bare belly buttons everywhere.  It is no wonder there are so many boys flunking high school now days – they can’t concentrate because they are walking around with boners all day long.  This high school reminded me of a p0rn convention.

As if all this bare skin wasn’t enough, I happened to be in line in the attendance office when some teenage dude walked in and was instantly confronted by administration.  The conversation went something like this:

Administration: “You need to step into the administrator’s office and take a seat sir.”

Teenage boy:  “Why?”

Administration: “Your shirt is inappropriate.”

Teenage Boy:  “Can I just take it off?”

Administration: “Sure.  You can take it off, give it to me and pick it up after school.”

Teenage Boy: “Give it to you?  Why do I haf ta give it to you?”

Administration: “Because I don’t want you putting it back on.  You can either give me your shirt or take a seat in the administrator’s office.”

While this sounds like good old fashioned discipline it was in fact a double standard.  The shirt the kid had on was nothing more than a huge shirt with some wierd pictures on it.  Nothing offensive.

I’ve noticed a trend where boys are getting pulled into the office for inappropriate shirts but it’s perfectly fine for the girls to run around half nekkid.

I fear high school has become nothing other than a slut factory.  ‘Tis a cryin’ shame!

Spanking Didn’t Kill Me. Is Spanking a Positive Parenting Strategy?

I came across an article recently about alternatives to spanking at the positive parenting website and as soon as I read the title I was flooded with memories of spankings received

When I was growing up my parents believed in whoopin’s.  I never even knew it was called spanking until I was in my teens.  I remember back when I was about 10 or so getting my butt whooped while on vacation back east.

My mother had the knack for tearing up my backside, as she called it.  She could find the skinniest, flimsiest tree branch and strip the bark and leaves in mere seconds.  I learned from her that there is technique in corporal punishment; it’s all in the wrist.  You gotta have a quick, sharp crack of the wrist.

Jeez that woman could make me dance.  It literally felt like she set fire to my legs.   She’d have hold of me by the hand and I would run around her in a circle, screaming my head off.  Crack!  Pop! Sting!  Impact!  Round and round we’d go.

As an adult I look back at those times and laugh, yes laugh. It wasn’t funny as a kid but I can see the humor in it now.  For a few different reasons.

1. She always asked me, “do you wanna whoopin’?”  Yes of course that’s it!  My day just isn’t right without sometime leaving welts on my thighs.  I’m such a masochist.

2.  Mid whoopin’ she’d yell, “if you’ll hold still it will be better.”  For who?  I certainly didn’t see the benefits of standing still while a switch stung my butt.

3.  My mother was felled by the most famous spanking related phrase ever uttered, “this hurts me more than it does you.”  Really?  How about we switch places then and I’ll take your hurt and you can have mine.

I received more spankings in my childhood than I can remember which surprisingly affected my decision whether or not to spank my own children.  On one hand I can honestly say those spankings did not affect who I am. But on the other hand as a parent I feel it is a technique futile at best and demented at worst.

There have been reserved moments, far and few between, that one of my  four children have actually needed a spanking.  So I would say that there are times when it is both effective and necessary.  Such as when my son egged my neighbor’s house at 7 in the morning, in broad daylight….

What are your thoughts?  Are you a spanker or a time out delegator?

When Poop Becomes a Travel Issue. Poor (Constipated) Baby

A constipated baby is no fun to travel with. I know.  I did it.  My son was 1 month old when I decided to fly back east at which time his bowels got so locked up he screamed constantly.   I was a mother twice over so I had some tricks up my sleeve.

Sitting around my aunt’s house I tried everything I knew to help my little guy.  I massaged his tummy, scrunched his legs up against his chest so maybe he’d pass some gas and gave him warm apple juice mixed with formula.  None of this had any effect on his constipation.

Out of desperation I switched to giving him bottled water rather than tap water and immediately noticed a difference.   But he wasn’t cured completely.

It wasn’t until my last day of vacation that I gave him a suppository which didn’t take long to kick in.  During his first diaper change he let go with such fury that poop skipped across the bed I had him laid on and hit, splat, on his sister’s shoulder who was standing at my side.  I still laugh about it.   She was horrified.

The next time you are planning on traveling with a baby remember to keep bottled water on hand because a switch in water can cause your bundle of joy to get really freaking cranky!

Tween Girls Birthday Party DIY Invitation Craft

Tween birthday party invitations can not just be printed on paper.  OMG!  Like No Way!  You know how teen girls are.  Here’s a  DIY invitation craft that is cheap and quick and your tween girl will love them.

Key Chain Pom Pom Invitations

Cost for 20 total – $7.77

cost per keychain pom pom invitation -¢.40.

Supplies Needed:

1 package clipable keychains – $2.99 (at Michael’s)

1 skien of yarn – $2.99

3 sheets cardstock paper – $1.27

Curling ribbon -¢.50

scissors – beg, borrow or suppliment creative alternative

Instructions for Pom Poms:

Hold your hand up so that your thumb and pinky finger are folded into your palm, as in holding up 3 fingers.  Now wrap yarn around and around your fingers at the widest point until you have a good sized wad.

Pinch the center of the wad and slide the wad off of your hand.  Be sure to keep the yarn’s shape.  Cut off a length of yarn and tie it around the center of the wad.  Pull tight so that it pinches the center closed.  Think of how hairbows are small in the center.  You can leave the tails of the yarn hanging for now so you have something to hold it by.

Slip your scissors through one end of the yarn and cut through all the layers.  This will immediatly cause one side of the pom to burst up nice and fluffy.

Now cut the other side and you should have something that resembles a pom pom.   Start pulling the yarn and manipulating it until it becomes round in shape.

Use your scissors and trim the yarn.  The shorter you cut it the fluffier your pom pom will be.  Trim it so that it gets rounder.

Invitation Instructions:

Cut the cardstock paper in to three equal sized strips.  Lay the strips on top of each other and cut them into 3 equal squares.

Use crayons, markers, colored pencils, stickers, buttons and other decorative items to decorate.  Write your birthday party invitation information on the card.

Punch a hole in the top left corner of the card.  Tie a piece of curling ribbon to the card and then tie the card to the keychain.  Use your scissors to curl up the ribbon.