It’s a Small World After All

I really wanted Lydia’s Small World party to be a colorful, whimsical world like Mary Blair created. I imagined big murals and balloons and fun cut-outs and streamers. Alas, my dreams are always bigger than my abilities and we went for the whole flags-around-the-world-and-do-kids-really-look-at-decorations feel. <insert sheepish grin>

When the kids arrived they passed my favorite part of the decor, our front table complete with giant map, vintage Small World album, ornaments and some knick-knacks from around the world. We still have this up because I kinda love it.

small world party 18

Then, they signed Lydia’s book and were ready for their passports. I scoured (and I do mean, scoured) the internet for a cool printable passport. We ended up using this one but can I tell you it’s probably not a good idea as it used “surname” and “given name” and the kids thought this was SCHOOL and not of them could do it alone. Sheesh.

small world party 1

After they received their passport, they made their way to Mexico to make a maraca. It’s a basic craft (it’s actually in my Sense of the Resurrection book!) with easy supplies–plastic spoons, a plastic Easter egg, beans and my favorite, DUCT TAPE.

small world party 17

Just fill the egg with beans, place it between two spoons and tape it up! We also added some foam beads  leftover from Asa’s Flying Ace party because they were travel-appropriate.

small world party 3

After a little maraca action, it was time for the big-time travel. We gathered at the…uhm…(trying to think of a good travel word)…uh, front door and I divided them all into groups of four and then sent them off to a far away country! These countries were really just sections of our house with small stations set up (similar to Lydia’s Winter Fairy Party).

small world amanda

I was so hoping that each of these country games would be authentic games or activities kids play on their birthdays. Alas, the library did not give us a lot of interesting help in this area, so we improvised!

In Hong Kong, I gathered some authentic Chinese take-out containers, chopsticks and puffballs. (Y’all, we love puffballs around here!) The kids played a few relay games (hopping, over-under, etc.) to fill up their container with puffballs only using the chopsticks.

small world china 2

It doesn’t sound very fun but can I tell you that the kids thought it was amazing. We played for 5 minutes (as timed by my phone) and then I sounded the alarm (I wanted a train whistle but used my voice instead) for all the kids to rotate to the next stop.

small world china

But before they left, they got their own stamp in their passport. (Which was really a sticker I made. You can download them by clicking the graphic below and then print off on full sticker paper. It’s got Lydia’s birthday date on it, but really, who’s gonna pay attention to that?)


Passport Stamps // free download from

OK, our next country was Lagos, Nigeria! I chose Lagos because it’s supposed to be where Anna Hibiscus lives. We actually did find a Nigerian tradition where kids play pass-the-gift in a circle and when the music stops, they begin to unwrap it.

However, the package has been wrapped several times so they can’t get to the gift right away. Once the music begins again, they have to pass the gift on, no matter what stage of unwrap it’s in! Finally, when it’s unwrapped they receive the gift. We put jungle animal hats inside and every kid got a prize!


Lydia was adamant that Paris, France be one of our countries. She loooooves Paris! So, we had the kids build an Eiffel Tower out of cups! This is one of those games where you just have to wing it based on who is playing.

You can either say, “Hey, kids, let’s all build this together!” and everyone joins in and likes it. Or you may have everyone make their own smaller tower, or have a race and see who can build it the fastest, or tell them they are competing against the other teams and make it the tallest. Thankfully, my BFF, Staci ran this game and knew what to do!

small world party 23

Apparently, the boys were the best at this!

Our only outdoor station was the arctic tundra of…Australia! I borrowed some burlap bags from my mom (she has EVERYTHING) and we did a little potato sack kangaroo race.

small world australia

My girl loved it…

small world happy

Our final country was Norway where kids will fish off their balconies for ice cream on their birthday! How fun, right? Instead of ice cream, we fished for giant puzzle pieces which the kids then put together to form this fun around-the-world picture.

norway small world2

My brother manned this station and had all the kids singing Frozen songs as they fished. They loved it! (He’s dressed as a Canadian. Heh.)

norway small world

The final part of all this is that Lydia and I made these AWESOME signs for each station. I printed off pictures of local geography or people, pictures of the flag, etc. and then we made a little display with other items to match the decor. And somehow we got NOT ONE PICTURE OF THESE. This is one half-done display so you can see the idea…but they all turned out so much cuter than we had planned! (Our Norway sign had a picture of Arendelle and some Anna and Elsa Itty Bittys!)

station signs small world

Whew! Are you jet-lagged yet? I am! We’ll get to the food, the goody bags and the not-unwrapping-presents next time! Look at the widget below for more links to some of the fun stuff we used at the party!

party banner

Missional Women

Over the years I’ve written for a lot of different blogs. Everything from Disney to TV to motherhood! I don’t write for others as much because, let’s face it, I don’t like being on someone else’s schedule. (!!) I’m a say-yes-to-everything kinda person but I’ve learned over the past few years that I need to stay up on my wall and do my best things first.

So, I’m super picky about the spaces and places I give my time. Recently, I decided a new place I’m excited to give my time and words! I’ve joined up with the Missional Women blog because I met the founder, Laura Krokos at the Declare Conference a few years ago and fell in love with her. For almost a year, I had her name on my heart to do something with Truth in the Tinsel. And a few weeks before the TNT crush hit, Laura emailed me and asked me to be a part of Missional Women. I felt like it was a G0d-connection and here we are!

I’ve only written once so far but the more I’m around the blog and the writers, the more I am in love! They are big-hearted women who are doing fabulous things around the world. They are missionaries, mamas and supporters of God’s work in every corner of the globe.

The contributors have a private Facebook group where we chat and share our stories. And every day I am amazed at these women! Honestly, I’m humbled to be around them because I don’t feel very missional sitting in my northern Atlanta home homeschooling my two kids. But that’s why this blog is so cool–the readers are from all over the world, some missionaries in other countries, some in ministry in the US and some women just like me and you who want the world to know God’s love.

Raising American Kids to Be Missional // and

Anyway, I’ve got a new post up over there and I’d love for you to read it. It’s about how to raise missional kids in the middle of modern America. It’s so much of what I talk about here on this blog so I think you’ll like it.

Will you also poke around the Missional Women site? Like them on Facebook or Instagram or whatever social media place you frequent? These ladies will inspire you and remind you of how God desires us, calls us and made us to GO and tell others about Him!


Lydia’s 100 Boxes

occ 2014

My Lydia turned nine on January 5th. We’re halfway to eighteen years old! I literally cannot fathom that the little baby who made me a mama is now nine! For months, Lydia has wanted to have a “It’s a Small World” party based on one of her favorite rides at Disney World of the the […]

[Continue reading...]

Into the Woods, Annie & Night At the Museum

Screen Shot 2015-01-02 at 9.30.19 AM

Just a quick note to let you know Heather and I podcasted about some new seemingly-kid-friendly movies. You should listen before you head out to the theatre! And apparently I called Meryl Streep Glenn Close during the whole podcast. Boy howdy. That’s the kind of quality journalism you can expect around here, friends. (Let’s just call […]

[Continue reading...]

Top 3 Books of 2014

top 3 contemporary

Hey friends! Christmas has come and gone! Now we’re in my favorite week of the year–Christmas vacation where we don’t have any after school activities, my husband barely has to work and we literally have not one thing on the agenda. So, when my mind is off of to-do lists, it heads straight for books! […]

[Continue reading...]

Gifts That Will Help Lead Your Kids to Jesus

top 5 gifts for mom

I thought I’d do a little Bible-Based, Jesus-Centric Gift Guide for you and your kiddos this season (well, ONE WEEK TILL CHRISTMAS). As I started writing it I realized I’ve linked to all these products several times and thought about not making it. But then I realized the reason I talk about these products/ministries all the […]

[Continue reading...]

Everlasting Light


(I got so excited about this post, I felt like I was shouting it with my fingers. So, I recorded myself reading it for you. Click play below to hear! And no, there’s no shouting.) When I was in Middle and High School it seems like our Youth Pastor talked about being a light a […]

[Continue reading...]