Musings on my life as a busy opera singer, voice teacher, photographer and mom - not necessarily in that order! I consider myself immensely fortunate to have carved out a way of doing all of these things which mean so much to me - it may sometimes get a little crazy, but it's always worth it. Welcome to the madhouse!
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Sometimes it all just works out
I have decided that - this week at least- I am a diva-mommy rockstar.
Following the 2008 New York-Every-Two-Days commuting marathon, we managed to host a Halloween party for 10 10-year olds. Granted, the long drives up and down highway 95 gave me lots of quiet time to come up with scavenger hunt clues, but even so - I always question my ability to "do it all" at times like this! (Happily, the auditions all went very well and for once the Travel Gods were on my side as the trains ran on time both into and in the city, which certainly decreased the stress factor!).
Now, kids' parties aren't that hard, but they do take lots of planning. And plenty of space to do it in... which is where it proves tricky in our lives! We love our little house but it is, indeed "little". It is a 1920s cottage bungalow, and the rooms are small. Comfortable but.... small.
So, it was with some trepidation that I anticipated keeping this thing humming along with that many girls.
However, sometimes luck really is on your side.
The biggest stroke of luck was that the weather was GORGEOUS - warm and sunny all afternoon, and even after the light started to fade they could still play outside. This more than doubled the available playing area, and ensured that the games all ran smoothly. My husband had been a hero helping to organise the house and yard (which had been neglected in recent months between weather, schedule commitments and the like and needed serious clearing up!) in the days up to the event, and one of my friends volunteered to stay for the duration of the party, so we had an extra pair of adult hands, eyes and ears on hand too (thanks, H - you're a heroine). We were already ahead of the game!
Luck again resolved one of my other concerns: coming up with a decent batch of prizes and favors without breaking the bank. Success! I lucked out and visited my favorite discount haunt on JUST the right day, and picked up a case of Halloween-themed mugs for 25c each (grand total: $2.97); filled with a pretty cellophane bag containing a few other inexpensive trinkets they became rather nice party favors for the girls to take home. (What would we do without dollar stores?)
The cake was no real problem, excepting that there was no black icing to be had anywhere in our branch of suburbia (one can only assume that lots of other people took advantage of the weekend date to have Halloween parties too!) and I had to figure out a way of making some with on-hand ingredients. Even a professional chef friend of ours couldn't think of anything! Eventually, I decided to live with mucky dark-purple made from supermarket food colorings but at the last minute decided to try adding some cocoa to it - success! Worked perfectly, and enabled the result in the picture.
The rest of the food was simple, drawing on my British upbringing as much as anything: sausage rolls (I made them up ahead of time and froze them), pineapple and cheese chunks on sticks and assorted sandwiches. Nothing fancy, and they ate just about every morsel we provided and came back for more.
After dinner, we walked them through a few circle games then gave them a spooky-sound-effects CD and a flashlight to enhance the Halloween-ness of it all. It must have been a success since we heard nothing but giggles and faux screams for the best part of an hour.
And, once again, it was a refreshing reinforcement of the notion that kids don't need a lot of expensive toys and acoutrements to have a good time - the things they enjoyed the most were the ones which demanded their imaginations and just let them have a good time with each other.
So, all in all October was a pretty terrific month. It started with an inspiring concert, continued through a series of surprisingly satisfying auditions (no, no results yet, they were just auditions that were fun to sing!), and finished up with a chance for us all to remember what it's like to be a kid. Good stuff!