Category: Magic

How do you plan a children’s birthday party… and still remain sane?

Published / by MrGoodfriend

Magic show for kids in DallasRelax, don’t panic and keep it as simple as possible is the answer.

The cleanliness of the room is seldom of any concern to the kids.  Take a moment and think about this. Most kids will turn the best kept rooms into tornado ravaged areas within mere minutes of their entrance. Seldom do they care about matching plasticware or what time it is! Their concern is playing games, having fun and eating food!

What’s the best way to ensure that your child’s birthday party is one to remember? (at least until the next party invitation arrives!)

First, take a little time to think about the children’s birthday party theme. Will it be an outing to the local burger house, a trip to an amusement park or will you have a theme party at home.  With sufficient forward planning, you won’t be losing any sleep worrying about the party.

Make a list of who is coming to the party. What most people will do is to invite as many guests as you want to feed.

Ask the birthday child what they would like to do. Don’t be tempted to pressure them into having the sort of party YOU would like. After all, it is their big day! Once you have decided on a theme, then the party activities to keep the kids happy become a priority. Many traditional games can be adapted to fit just about any party theme.

If the party is to at the local restaurant, go along and speak to the manager to agree the food menu and leave the rest to them. If the party is to be at home, then selecting a theme can be fun. Whether it’s Pirates, Finding Nemo or Dora the Explorer, this is your opportunity to get creative!

Such a large variety of characters makes choosing party goods rather simple.  If you’re planning to hold the party outdoors, it would be a good idea to have at least one room inside your home decorated, so that if it rains, you still have a place to party. Make sure the fun and games stay in a pre-designated party areas (as much as possible), so you are able to relax and enjoy the party without worrying about the mess being made.

Don’t forget to keep your birthday kid involved whenever possible.Get them to suggest party game ideas.  Then let them choose the decorations and food together. Are you feeling better? Hope so, because organizing a children’s birthday party should be fun for everyone!

Allocate a budget for the party. Decide whether you hire a professional entertainer or enlist the help of friends and neighbors. Enlist a friend or two for clean-up duty, run a game or two and even take the some party videos.

Set a time for the party. Two or three hours should be plenty of time. If the children are under 5 years old, then one and half hours should be time enough.  One great tip is to hold a toddler party during the morning since youngsters tend to get a bit “cranky” when they get tired!

Plan your party games in 15-20 minute intervals.  If you find the kids are happy playing a particular game let them carry on… why spoil their fun? On the other hand plan more activities than you think you will need. Some games may be greeted with a “groan” and you may well need to play another game sooner than you expected.

Send out your children’s birthday party invitations 2 to 3 weeks in advance of the party date, then make a follow-up confirmation phone calls after about a week. Hectic schedules make most everyone very busy nowadays and a small invitation can get easily forgotten, usually under a mountain of junk-mail!

Don’t spend more time or energy than necessary on things that don’t really matter. Get the bakers to make a completely finished themed birthday cake!

Finally, the big day has arrived and your first guest arrives for your child’s birthday party.  Stay calm, keep a good sense of humor and enjoy the precious party time with your guests. Now it’s time to let the party take shape. Make sure to keep the jazzelope away from those that are allergic.
You will look back afterwards, when flicking through your fabulous party images, with the immortal words… ”that was the best party ever”!

About the Author

Danler Lerel is a corporate technology adviser. You can find more information at

Four Steps For Finding Quality Kids’ Party Magician

Published / by Molly Whitehouse

Whеn уоu start lооking fоr a good kids’ party magician, it саn bе tough. If уоu hаvе nеvеr attempted a search likе that, thаt makes it еvеn tougher. Sinсе уоu hаvе landed here, I will show уоu thе ropes, аnd hеlр уоu miss thе traps оthеr searchers fall intо whеn trуing tо find a good magician fоr thеir event. Yоu саn find a premier magician juѕt bу taking a fеw steps аnd searching in places thаt аrе closer tо уоu thаn уоu might hаvе expected. Lеt mе explain.

If уоu knоw whеrе tо search, уоu саn find thе bеѕt party magician fоr уоur kids ѕресiаl event. Hеrе аrе fоur things уоu ѕhоuld start doing, аnd thаt will gеt уоu right оn track in finding thе perfect magician. Yоu саn find a good magician with proper planning.

First, lооk tо уоur neighbors аnd friends. “Seriously?” уоu ask. Yes, уоur neighbors аnd friends аrе a good starting point; here’s how. Yоu can’t bе everywhere, but with trusted sources ѕuсh аѕ thоѕе whо care аbоut уоur success mау hаvе a lead оn ѕоmеоnе thеу hаvе seen. Mауbе thеу wеnt tо dinner аnd ѕаw a good magician аt a local restaurant, аnd juѕt bесаuѕе уоu asked thеу nоw gеt tо relive thеir wonderful evening, аnd уоu gеt a terrific recommendation. Yоu hаvе a huge leg uр in thе process, bесаuѕе уоu аlrеаdу knоw thiѕ magician саn аnd will perform.

Second, online searching. Thаt doesn’t sound vеrу easy, dоеѕ it? If уоu knоw hоw tо look, it iѕ ԛuitе simple. Start bу dоing a search fоr “kids party magician” аnd bе ѕurе tо add уоur location, i.e. “Dallas”. Whеn уоu dо thiѕ type оf search, уоu will eliminate thе magicians in оthеr areas mоѕt оf thе time. Onсе you’ve gоt thе listings, IF уоu lооk аt thе firѕt fеw business listings, whеthеr thаt iѕ in Google, Yahoo, Bing оr ѕоmе оthеr third party business listing service, уоu will find аn area fоr reviews. Thiѕ iѕ significant. Lооk аt thе ratings аnd ѕее if оnе listing hаѕ ѕеvеrаl reviews. If thеу аrе mоѕtlу good, but mауbе оnе оr twо nоt ѕо good, gо ahead аnd lооk аt thе reviews tо ѕее if thе magician responded. A response will mеаn ѕоmеоnе whо iѕ professional аnd treats еvеrуоnе with thе courtesy оf a response.

Third, уоu саn reach оut tо thе local professional associations fоr magicians. Now, if уоu live in a small town, it mау nоt hаvе a professional magicians association, but аll larger cities will hаvе one. Thiѕ iѕ a significant рlасе tо look, bесаuѕе thеу hаvе standards thаt thеу wаnt thеir professionals tо adhere to. Thеу don’t lеt juѕt аnу person calling himѕеlf a professional magician join. Magic organizations hаvе a code оf conduct thеir members promise tо abide by. Thiѕ step will nоt guarantee a quality performance, but iѕ сеrtаinlу will рrоvidе a filter fоr eliminating thе unprofessional fоr уоur kids party magic show.

Finally, tаkе thе timе tо hаvе a quality budget. Yоu don’t hаvе tо spend it ALL оn thе magic entertainment; but dо kеер in mind thаt уоu аrе lооking fоr a quality magical experience fоr уоur kids ѕресiаl event.

Yоu саn find a good magician thаt will entertain уоur kids аt thеir birthday party magic show. All уоu hаvе tо dо iѕ lооk in thе right places. Sоmе оf thе places уоu lооk might surprise you, but whеn уоu do, thе search will yield a great experience fоr уоu аnd уоur kids.


Serendipity in Action

Published / by Molly Whitehouse

I get performance leads from several places. Some people Children's party entertainmentrecommend me as the birthday party magician or I have some listings online. One such lead company is Gig Salad. I get a few leads, and I follow up, usually with a phone call. On this particular day, I had a lead from “Emad”. No large amount of specifics, just “birthday party for 7 yr old daughter”. Name: Emad, phone and email. I called the phone number and got a recording like “Please leave a message for 612 555-1212”. Well, I had not called “612-555-1212”, so I knew the number must have been forwarded. I left my message, and went on with my other leads. A few days later, I followed up with another phone call. Same message. At this point, I figured the lead was no good. No harm, no foul.

A couple of weeks later, I was attending the “Kinect For Developers” meeting. This was a group of about 50 developers who wanted to learn how to “HACK” the Kinect. Very geeky, and technical. I had an idea for an application, so I decided to join in. When I arrived, the room was set up with 15 or so tables so that attendees could group in about four to six per team. I sat at a table that was already occupied by another gentleman. We exchanged pleasantries and then got down to getting the wireless to work on the laptop. Yossef joined the table next. Then Bob and Larry. And finally, one of Yossef and Larry’s co-workers: “EMAD”. We all had name tags, and of course, having the experience with Gig Salad the several days earlier, I was stunned to find someone named Emad at my table. More jokingly than serious, I asked: “Were you looking for a magician for your daughter’s birthday party a couple of weeks ago?” Emad looked stunned! “Why, yes I was. Why do you ask?”

Well, I’m MrGoodfriend, and I left you a couple of messages. I guess you realize that since this coincidence is so outrageous, you will HAVE to hire me now!

His daughter opted for a bounce house and clown.

Do These 12 Things For Yourself In 2012

Published / by Molly Whitehouse

magic in 2012One of the greatest inspirational speakers of our time, Zig Ziglar, said, “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” So, let’s start off a great 2012 with these 12 things to do for yourself!

  1. Spend time with the right people. — There’s not enough time in life to spend what precious little of it with people who drain the very life essence out of you. The people that make room for you are the ones that want you in their life. Don’t force yourself on those that don’t value your contributions and worth. True friends will be there when life isn’t smooth.
  2. Face your problems head on. — Don’t run from them. Sure, it’s not easy. Every person in the world has had their go at adversity, and not everyone has handled it with perfection. Instant problem solving is not genetically infused in us. Human DNA has the survival instinct in it. We get upset and mad, sad and hurt, we stumble and fall. But we rise and fight, learn and adapt, experience and succeed! This is what helps us become the developed person we aspire to!
  3. Speak truth to yourself. — You can lie to everyone, but you can’t lie to yourself and mean it. We improve our state when we engage the risk. One of the first risks we can engage is being totally honest with ourselves.
  4. Be your own self. — Stop trying to be someone you are not. The world seems to challenge us to be conforming and like others. You can always see someone else who is more intelligent, more sophisticated, arguably more attractive or younger, and they will never be you. In the same vein, don’t change them to be like you and don’t change yourself to be like them. Be yourself, and those that matter will love the person you are.
  5. Be courageous when facing tasks ridden with potential for mistakes. While failure may not be an option, the fear of failure should not be a show-stopper. Look at all the successes that had years of failure that paved the way. Many performers of 20 years become ‘over-night’ sensations.
  6. Look for happiness in yourself. —Don’t look exclusively to others to fulfill your happiness. You have to create your own happiness by being happy with who you are. If you aren’t happy with who you are, take some steps to get your inner relationship corrected.
  7. Get busy. — Take action. Don’t over analyze or you’ll create a problem where one never existed. Evaluate quickly, then act decisively. You won’t change what isn’t confronted. You can’t make a 15 yard completion if you never throw the ball. Progess involves taking risks.
  8. Reject self-pity and negative talk. — Don’t complain and feel sorry for yourself. Adversity comes for a reason: to cause you to take action, change a course of direction. At the moment things happen, you may not see the reason or understand why, with reflection, you’ll see that they often have led you to become a better person .
  9. Practice forgiveness and forgetfulness. — You shouldn’t live your life with hate and grudges in your heart. You end up hurting yourself more. When you forgive, let go, find peace, and be free from the emotional entaglements the grudge or wrongful act has brought to you. And the part about forgetfulness is to let the other person know, without saying a word, that the grudge is truly in the past. By the way, while you’re at it, remember to forgive yourself.
  10. Rise above the fray. — When those around you would pull you down into the mud to muck it up, take a stand and refuse to wallow in their level. Adhere to higher standards.
  11. Take time to enjoy precious moments. — Rejoice in the little things, for little things have a tendency to become big things. I’ve heard stories over and over of elderly folk who discovered late in life that one of their most influential moments in life had been one considered by them to be quite trivial, but the one who shared that moment had experienced a mountain of importance.
  12. Focus on what you want to happen. — Avoid focusing on what you don’t want happening. The basic tenant of every success story is positive thinking! When your day begins with thoughts of what wonderful things that will happen today, you tend to seek those wonderful things. And when you seek them, you find them.

And for the baker’s dozen, be thankful. I am thankful for all that I have materially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. My dream for 2012 is to be the best employee I can, to do more magic shows, and to enjoy my family more than ever.

How To Use Your Gift Card Online

Published / by Molly Whitehouse

party magician in DallasSo, we got a few gift cards recently. American Express gift cards, to be exact. And the problem is that AE charges merchants more than V/MC charge and so, it makes finding a merchant that accepts AE a little more challenging. Then what happens if you find an online place and they take PayPal or whatever, so AE is accepted. Well, if you have a gift card, it will be declined if you don’t do the little magic “trick” you learn later in this post. Additionally, when it gets declined, you’ll have a $1 or $.99 charge (reducing the value of your gift card.) When you go to to check the value, you’ll see the charge and have an “AVS” fee (Address Verification.) It will get removed after 8 days.

So, how do you keep from getting declined? Here it is:

Look on the back of your gift card.
Call the 800 number.
Enter the card number.
Push the button that states something about having “Other” issues.
Then press “0” for operator.
Tell the live person that you want to register your name and address for the gift card. They will verify your possession of the card. Next they will ask for your name (spell it like you will online), address (same address as you use online), and that should fix you up to use it online or with PayPal.

Now get out there and spend them there (sic)  gift cards.

And if you happen to feel particularly charitable, you can always use it with my PayPal. This birthday party magician can always use an extra few bucks for the next magic trick!


How to find a holiday party magician

Published / by Molly Whitehouse

Finding holiday party entertainment isn’t all that hard. Finding GOOD entertainment, well, sometimes that’s a crap-shoot. Now if you are doing a vegas night, you might have everything covered. But a good holiday party can become GREAT with a skilled, professional, talented magician.MrGoodfriend holiday party magician

People love magic. A good magician loves people. Get those two together and you  have the ingredients for the perfect holiday party entertainment. The truly skilled magician will be dazzling with his performance, kind with the mystery, and humorous with the show.  A good holiday party magician can accommodate his routine to fit with the theme of the party. And of course his act would be fresh and new, not some rehash of the 1950’s.

Now how do you find this perfect holiday party magician? Simple: check with the event planner from last season’s party. Oh? You didn’t have a magician last time? Hmmm… that makes it a little tougher. Yellow pages? Who uses that any more? Maybe your friends will know. Check Facebook. You could check with the International Brotherhood of Magicians, or the Society of American Magicians. Heck, you could even check with the Dallas Magic Clubs. Wait a minute. Maybe you could check right here, right now.

Yes, MrGoodfriend is the perfect holiday party magician. Performing for groups from Europe to Asia, and all across Texas, you will have a great time with MrGoodfriend at your holiday party. But if you inquire and MrGoodfriend is already booked, what then? The best thing is, MrGoodfriend can and WILL recommend one of his talented and competent colleagues. Since many holiday parties involve children, you can be assured that MrGoodfriend is right for your guests. MrGoodfriend has been vetted by the Allen Independent School District for duties on all school campuses. You can additionally check on background checking sites such as Public

So, just to sum up on how to find a holiday party magician, you need to do three main things:

  1. Check with your friends, event planners, or other party professionals.
  2. Use the internet and the magician organizations.
  3. Validate the magicians’ credentials.

I’m sure you will have a great time at your holiday party, and I know that it will be MAGICAL!

Bye Staples. Hello OfficeMax!

Published / by Molly Whitehouse

My wife does coupons. I mean she really does coupons. And she has gotten THOUSANDS of dollars in savings for us. We have often gone to the Staples office supply store in Allen, TX on McDermott Road to shop. Occasionally, we have an OfficeMax™ coupon that Staples accepts. It’s nice to save some $$.

Last Saturday, I needed some things to finish up a few props for my new magic show and I drove the 2 miles up to Staples. In my hand I had another OfficeMax™ coupon for “20% off everything you can fit in your shopping cart!”* See the “*”? That means there are serious disclaimers. No monitors, computers, store brand ink cartridges, HP ink cartridges, Canon ink cartridges…. yada yada yada…. It just so happened that I needed construction paper, and a KODAK ink cartidge. Total price RETAIL? about $35. I had something else in my hand too. My lovely little Angelynn. 2½ years old and full of distracting daddy. So we go to the checkout, and the young male cashier can’t make the 20% work. He asks the more senior cashier (she must have been at least 3 months older than him), and she called someone. The someone said, “we can’t take the 20% off coupon from OfficeMax™.”

So, I left my purchase and started out the door. Then I stopped. I needed more of a reason than some phone call to some office. I asked to speak to the manager. After about 7 minutes (a LONG time when wrestling with a 2½ year old), here comes Jayme Browder strolling from the back of the store sucking on some fast food soft drink. I surmised from a distance that she was the Manager On Duty. She looked to have been recently graduated from SFA (go Lumberjacks.) She passed me and Angel standing in the middle of ‘no-man’s-land’ and inquired with the cashier who called her as to with whom she should speak. Of course, she was directed to me.

I explained I didn’t understand why they would not accept the coupon since it had been their policy to accept competitor’s coupons before. Here was her explanation, which was so well spoken, it had to have been a part of management training (Staples should be proud.) The coupon is for all you can get in your shopping cart and there is no way they could honor that.

I countered with the massive amounts of exceptions plainly spelled out on the coupon. She countered with there was nothing she could do.

I countered with showing my wife’s Staples reward card with thousands of dollars of purchases made on it, explained that the $7.00 discount she was avoiding giving me would result in no more purchases on the Staples reward card. She countered with “If I do this for you, I would have to do it for everyone else.” Now why would a 50+ year old man get flustered by a early 20’s manager girl (I know ways that SOME men would get flustered, but this was NOT one of them)? I simply thanked her and said good day.

Here’s what I SHOULD have done and said (of course I would not have gotten my satisfaction.) I should have looked around and said, “What others? There’s no line of people here with 20% coupons. They are all at OfficeMax™ using their coupons which is what I’m about to do!”

Staples is 2 miles, OfficeMax™ is 6. That’s 4 miles I can use to talk to my brother and sisters.

See you next time, OfficeMax™. Staples, Staples management, and Jayme truly made this an Easy decision.

Keeping Keen

Published / by Molly Whitehouse

Happy birthday do me! Today is the anniversary of me discovering America. And since it is an event that marks the passing of youth, I take this time to tell you how to keep the youthful vim and vigor not expected of the old and ancient.


A lengthy discussion about the things going on at work with one of my colleagues led to some observations of how to implement fixes. And this lead to discussion of reading material. So, two books were brought to my attention, and I immediately made obtaining them top priority.

360 Degree Leader by John C. Maxwell was the first one we discussed. In just the first two chapters, I can tell I’m going to get a lot out of this book. Of course John C. Maxwell is renouned in his leadership writings.

Next we discussed Love Is The Killer App. Just by the title I didn’t think it would move me too far, but I was mistaken. This is really a good look at how to get the most from everyone you come in contact with; not in a commercial way, but to get the best from them when you give your best.

Hopefully, I’ll be full of vim and vigor for many years to come. I hope you enjoy these books as much as I have.