I'm sure you all feel very grateful that I have not subjected you to every ridiculous detail of our party planning this year. No need to thank me. But if you are feeling nostalgic and would like to see all the hoopla from last July, you may. Just click here and here and here and here and here and finally here.The party I speak of is the one in Florence, where all our family, old friends, and some new friends attend. Normally I do a full-blown theme, major decorations and all that. But due to some other events coming up around the same time this year, I just didn't do that this time. Besides, we decided that most people just come to swim and eat cake anyway, so that's what we're going to do. This year I think I have achieved the "simple party" I tried to do last year, which mushroomed into one of the more complicated ones.But I did want to show you the party favors we made. One of the things I've learned is that those cheap plastic "party favors" don't do anyone a favor. I saw these neat books in this post by Shivaya Mama, and thought they would be easy enough to make. I also thought they would suit boys or girls, and a wide range of ages, which we have at this party. The covers are scrapbook paper; some are not as thick and sturdy as I'd like, but I think they will do. The inside is plain paper. They have a little pocket which will have a pencil and one of a variety of drawing-related accessories. We have already used them as favors for Lizi's party with her friends here, and they absolutely loved them; I had to break out the pencil sharpeners because they wanted to start drawing in them right away.