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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 9, 2014 / 11 Tammuz, 5774

Kids' fancy birthdays good for grandparents

By Ana Veciana-Suarez



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | When the last of my children hit their middle school years, I figured my time as a birthday party host -- and guest -- had wound down to a much-anticipated end. Wrong. As a grandmother and a great-aunt, I'm very much in demand, and this may have more to do with where I live than any particular Martha Stewart skills.

If you have a backyard pool, a few floating toys, a couple of foam noodles and a year's supply of sun block, as I do, your house is prime party real estate, especially during the warm months -- which, in Miami, is pretty much year-round.

Let me be clear: I'm not saying this by way of complaint. I love the chaos of a gaggle of 5-year-olds, the smell of coconut lotion and the squeals of kids jumping into cool water on a hot summer day. Few images are as endearing as a baby, in a flouncy swimsuit and a wide-brimmed hat, dipping her toes for the first time by the pool steps.

But my interest in kiddie birthdays tends to the anthropological and gastronomical. B-day bashes, and the attending hoopla, keep me current. They provide a window to the ever-evolving business of children's entertainment -- and expectations.

Like so many other things in our lives, kids' birthday parties have grown elaborate. They're hardly the slapdash effort of my early parenting years. Today's celebrations are thoroughly planned and superbly choreographed. Few details are left to chance.

I've hosted parties that have been catered, and attended one where you could eat as much cotton candy as you wanted. (I did.) At another child shindig, a fabulous food truck was the main attraction, and well worth the investment of a Saturday afternoon. I'm not sure how this fare went over with the children, but it was a hit with the grownups, and maybe they're the ones who really count.

It wasn't always like this. In my first go-round of kiddie birthdays, I preferred the low-key and the easy. So did most parents I knew. A home-baked cake with sprinkles was the norm, though I always splurged with one from a Cuban bakery. Kids played pin the tail on the donkey or ripped open a pinata. And if you had a pool, as we did, children marinated in the chlorinated water until their fingers and toes looked like prunes. I can still hear the call and response of their favorite game: Marco! ... Polo!

But that's all so 20th century.

In this era of global commerce and two-day shipping, birthday parties demand razzle-dazzle. They require creativity and flair, a talent for scouting out the next big theme. No sweat for the young mothers I know, who are very much up to the challenge. I'm constantly amazed at what they pull together: the clever games, the candy stations and table center arrangements, the paid party entertainment that ranges from puppet shows to petting zoos.

I think the upgrade in kids' parties has everything to do with the democratizing effects of the Internet. Today's parents have access to Pinterest. They have Etsy. They have Facebook and Amazon and Google and Zulily. YouTube videos aren't the only things that go viral. So do party ideas that are easy to copy.

Some might lament the passing of old-time birthday parties, and there is something to be said about the simplicity of such social gatherings. But you won't find a protest in this space. As a grandparent on the birthday party circuit, I'm not responsible for planning or paying. My job is to provide the pool and the appetite. So I say, party on!

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Previously:


A few words on the sad decline of reading

Handwritten letters: File under 'obsolete'

How did we all get by without all this stuff?

Ah, the freedom of summer

Work is less stressful than home

Let's not forget the play part of kindergarten

The food police keep giving us conflicting nutritional advice

Are Millennials moving us toward a post-racial society?

Times change, but the love of a grandparent is constant

Think before you dial, text, FaceTime, Skype, chat

Don't sacrifice too much at the altar of busyness

It's not about Gywneth Paltrow; it's about our insecurities and need to compare

Will you love me, granddaughter, when I'm (really, really) old?

We are failing to protect our children from abuse

The story of Marissa Alexander: When justice is blind, deaf and dumb

Why do women 'shop' in their friends' closets?

Mr. Smiley Testing My Patience

We're not forgetful, we just know too much

Why didn't I think of that? Another missed opportunity for invention

When being fair is really not, and other life lessons

Bridging the Generation Gap Has Gone Too Far


Ana Veciana-Suarez is a family columnist for The Miami Herald



© 2014, The Miami Herald Distributed by Tribune Media Services, Inc.

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