Thursday, July 12, 2012

Army Party (7 years)

My boy turned 7! Crazy! Since his little brother's birthday is less than a week before his, we combine their parties, so this party was a Blue's Clues /Army Party! Ha ha! This is our off year, since we only do friend parties every other year, so it was just family this year. I say just family, but we have a large family, so it was still for a crowd. :)

As I have said many times before (and I am sure I will say many times more) I just LOVE www.birthdaypartyideas.com. They have a huge congolomeration of party ideas for so so so many themes. You can search by theme, and then in each theme you can look for whatever age your birthday child will be, so you aren't looking at birthday party ideas for a 2yr old when your child is going to be 7. We found so many ideas there, more than we could ever use, and it gave us a starting point for some of our own ideas as well.

Here's the birthday boy, wearing his camo clothes and the pinata mask as a mouth mask. :)

We went pretty simple for our cake this year. Mr. T. wanted army guys fighting on the cake, and he placed them on. We used chocolate frosting as dirt, and a little bit of dyed green coconut foliage. We had bought the American Flag toothpicks and my son wanted to place them on the cake, and he wanted flags for the opposing army as well. I didn't want to offend anyone by picking a flag from a previous United States enemy, so we decided that most everyone still dislikes the Nazi's, so it would be a safe bet. I just found an online image and shrunk it down and taped them on some plain toothpicks. My hubs and I did joke about being placed on a watchlist for downloading Nazi flag images though. 



We made a tank pinata. This was probably the easiest pinata we have made thus far. Mr T. was excited to start, but didn't want to finish, but I made him work on it, and I think he was proud of his work in the end. 

Here are your needed supplies, a cereal box, a pasta box, and a tube (wrapping paper, paper towel, etc, I liked the wrapping paper tube because it is a bit skinnier)

To ensure that the logos did not show through I turned the boxes all inside out, and of course emptied the pasta into a bag. (Please ignore the mess behind the boxes, I tried all kinds of boxes to see which would look the best)

Fill boxes with candy, and tape closed.

Use masking tape to secure top and bottom box to each other. Cut a hole in top box and insert tube (you can cut the tube to desired length after), and tape all around it to secure it.

This is where my son helped the most. I gave him gift wrap tissue, a plate of elmer's glue, and a paint brush and had him glue it on the entire box, top, bottom, and sides.
Then after that dried we used tissue paper squares from Oriental Trading. I love these things, they cost very little, include a TON of squares, and we have used them on a number of projects, including these fun Stained Glass Butterflies. At this point the birthday boy was kind of burned out, so his sister and I did most of it. We just glued the different army colors (I have at least 2 different packs of the tissue squares) all over the tank. This was a nice pinata because I didn't have to make any newspaper paste and it took much less time, yet the end result was just as nice.

The hubs is always a great sport to hold the pinata. We keep trying to come up with something strong enough to not break after a few swings, so this time we threaded a coat hanger through it, but it was somewhat awkward to hold. One of my little boys was unhappy because his turn was not coming fast enough. It is hard to be two!

Decorations we went pretty simple, just found some Army themed and Flag themed items at the party store.


We also found this fun pin the tank sticker on the poster game there. The kids enjoyed it.

For loot bags I found these cute army vehicle boxes at OTC. The rolled army activity papers did not quite fit, but Mr. T. thought they made a good turret.

We stuffed them full, with some of the things from the Blue's Clues theme as well.

But here is what each kid got. I got a lot of it from OTC, and other things at the party store.


And here was the fun invitation we made up on the computer. 

Front:


Inside: 


We had a box open to send letters and care items to my nephew who was in Korea at the time. He is in the Army, and thankfully stateside now. But it was a good excuse to collect things for him, and since all the family was gathered, it was easy for everyone to write him a letter.

and the back: 

I like including a "bio" on the back of the card. I try to include clothing and shoe sizes if someone wants to buy those things, and sometimes we include what kind of things they birthday kid is into, to give family some gift ideas, if they need them.

This was a fun party, I think my boy quite liked it!

We had wanted to have someone come in real army clothes and do a miniature boot camp with the boys, but my "adopted" nephew had some other obligations to attend to that day, but I think that would make a fun activity if you have someone that can do it. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Webkinz Birthday Party (9 years)

For my daughter's birthday this year she was wanting to do a horse theme again (6th Birthday), and I was hoping for something different. So I scouted the ideas at Birthdaypartyideas.com. I just love their website. It is a conglomeration of other people's ideas, all in one spot. So many many themes to choose from! We saw the Webkinz theme and she jumped right on that one. We had so much fun coming up with which games we would play at her party, we did quite a few and could have done so many more. I must say, it sure is nice that her birthday is in early fall, makes it easier to do a few outside things.

We only do friend birthday parties every other year, so this year was just a family party, but she had her brother and 4 cousins, so there were still plenty of kids.

I did not get any birthday invitations made this year. Unfortunately my brother unexpectedly passed away a few weeks before my daughter's birthday, so we were very busy with funeral arrangements and grieving. Thankfully though we were able to get lots done and have a nice birthday for her, amidst the sadness.

There is not really any Webkinz themed party stuff, at least that I could find or for a decent price, so we just went with fun animal stuff.


I had an old Wilton cake pan I had picked up at a thrift store and found the directions online and modified it a bit more to our liking. We made a shag frosting, added spots where she wanted, used black jelly beans for eyes and nose, licorice whip mouth, and jolly rancher chew tongue and tag. We just made her a W (for Webkinz) to go on the tag.















We made lots of animal themed cupcakes (just scoured google images for ideas, before pinterest ha!). We used some tinted frosting and lots of goodies for the accents, thin mint type cookies, marshmallows, tootsie rolls, jolly rancher chews, skittles, gummy life savers, colored coconut (owls and chicks), licorice string, and more.






We bought Zoo Pals plates and cups. The Zoo Pals line has a Webkinz look to it. All that I could find was the farm line, but it worked. :)

The games were so fun, both making and playing! I think (at least for my kids) a lot of the birthday fun comes with their helping prepare everything. I think they will have more memories of making things for their party than of the party itself. On that note, not all turned out how I would have done it, but my daughter had fun, and gained confidence in her abilities, and it really was just perfect!

As we waited for all of our guests to arrive we had pipe cleaners and alphabet beads to make collars for our Webkinz animals. We had told each of the kids to bring their Webkinz or a small stuffed animal. This actually went much better than I expected. Her new step cousin (10) made at least 6 collars. :) It was great spelling practice too, and one package of beads went a very long way!

We tried to pick the Webkinz games that are my children's favorites.



Of course we needed to have a little mining. 

Luckily my twins had just moved into new carseats, so we had two large carseat boxes to work with. We taped the two boxes together with packing tape, and made a curve in it, so it fit in the corner, and made it more exciting and dark (after the party we opened both ends and my twins played in it for weeks until it collapsed! ha ha!). We bought some jewels at the craft store and wrapped them in aluminum foil in the stalactite shape.
Then the kids took turns taping the stalactites to the ceiling, and we covered it with a big brown blanket. My daughter made a sign for the mine, of course she chose the "Howling Horse Mine". She LOVES horses and of her 10 webkinz, I think 8 are horses. (Grandma is generous and usually buys her one for each birthday and Christmas). Anyhow, we also made some stalactites without any jewels in them, to be true to the game. We let each child have a turn to go in and pick three stalactites and come back out. They then opened them and saw what they got. Most got 2 jewels. Then once everyone had a turn we let them go back for seconds. We had small crowns we found at Zurcher's that we made our Crown of Wonder, so we had glue dots ready to attach the jewels to our crowns.


The premise of Webkinz is to play games and earn "KinzCash". So that set the stage for our party as well. Each game played gave the kids a certain amount of gold, and in the end we had a "W store" that they could purchase things from. I bought a lot of fake gold coins to be our "KinzCash". And then decided from there how much each game would be worth. I did run out of a little money in the end and needed to have some kids cash in, but it worked out fine.

What Webkinz party would be complete without a Wheel of Wow? I tried doing multiple image searches to find a Wheel of Wow that was blank, but did not have much luck. So I used one and modified it as much as my limited photo editing skills would allow. I just put colored boxes over the things we did not want on ours.  (I still need to get those uploaded, but they are still stored on our old computer, hopefully this week I can get them uploaded here for your usage)

Most of the online suggestions said to use a Lazy Susan for the Wheel of Wow, but I do not have one, and did not even know where to find one. The other suggestion was a Salad Spinner, which again, I did not have. Thankfully I was at Ross and they had one for about $6, I decided it was worth it because I wanted to try some paint projects with a salad spinner as well. So we just printed out our Wheel of Wow and wrote what you could win on there. We had some kinzcash amounts (we did change the amounts to match the coinage we had), gak (jello cup), a Webkinz outfit, and some pretend webkinz sized food.


 My daughter is not a huge fan of Operation Gumball, but I like it (do you ever get sucked into playing your kids games to earn them more points, cash, etc? lol). And it was a fun party game. We just had a small gumball machine from the $Store and a place to write down your guess. I worked hard in my print shop program (still familiarizing myself with Elements) to make it look just like the one on the game. We just gave each person one guess, and the winner received another mini gumball machine. We also had a JellyBean guess, since that is one of my daughter's favorites, same idea, used the back side of the same paper. :)




Lily Padz

This was a super simple game, but everyone liked it. We found some cheap little plastic frogs in the party section at Wal-Mart, and my daughter cut out four lily pad shapes and placed the lily pads on a blue sheet (the water). The kids stood on a marked line and tossed the frogs. They received 5 Kinzcash for the frog landing on the lily pad, and 3 if it was near it. Everyone wanted at least 2 turns.


Dr. Quack's Assistant

Miss B. drew a webkinz-ish horse, and left it white (that is her favorite horse), wrote the title of the game on the poster board and taped it on the window. We drew a few wounds (bumps and scrapes) on the horse. We bought a box of colored band-aids at the $store and tied a scarf around a child's head. The child then had to place a band-aid as close to or on the wound to win more kinzcash. Again, each child wanted more than one turn.
Whack Wacky
We just made a simple Wacky out of yellow felt with some felt face accents. Again, my artistic little girl made this with very little help from me. We stuffed him, but he was so light that when we tested the game it wasn't working well, he just didn't fly hard enough once hit. So we added some rocks to him for extra weight. The kids got three hits each to see how far they could hit him. We got out the measuring tape and measured the distance and gave a few kinzcash per foot he traveled. It was fairly difficult for the kids to throw him up in the air and hit him, so it wasn't just three swings, but three actual hits.


Wacky Pinata
I was somewhat slow on getting the pinata started on this one, so it was crunch time. However, Wacky was a very easy pinata to make. (Here is my favorite pinata recipe; for my method click here). I kept trying more and more paint, but the newspaper kept showing through, so I decided spray paint would get it done quickly. 

Bad. 
Idea. 


He looked great and Miss B. painted his face on and we added some construction paper arms and legs. Everyone had a turn to hit Wacky, my 18 year old nephew was the one to finally break it. But we were slightly somewhat sorely disappointed to find that the candy had a terrible smell of spray paint. Thankfully I had more candy left over. And we also put a lot of KinzCash and a few other small items in the pinata. 


My husband is always such a good sport to hold the pinata!


The party culminated in everyone shopping at the W Shop. 

I had boxes for everyone to make their own webkinz room. I bought bankers boxes with lids. 

We used felt squares for carpet. I had grand ideas of cutting carpet scraps from some old carpet we have, but with so much else going on, there was just not time.  There was also scrapbook paper to choose for wall paper. Other items in the W Shop were, of course, clothes. We just bought teddy bear clothes at the $store. They did not fit perfectly, but well enough. And the $store actually had some really cute selections, a few dresses, golf outfits, policemen, fireman, army, etc. They all had little accessories as well. I think we also had more jewels for sale, and some small pretend food and dishes. All the kids left with a lot of stuff and seemed very happy!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Blue's Clues Birthday Party (2yrs)

My twins turned turned two at the end of December, and I am just now getting this up. Let's just say that life with two two year olds is too too busy! 

Here is a photo of my boys that we put on their invitations. It was extremely difficult to get both to smile and look at the camera at the same time! (You can get my instructions for the Steve shirt here)

I really had fun making their invitations.

This was the front (I found images on google and added a clue to them.)
This was the inside of the folded card


And on the back we had a few stats about each boy. I like doing this when I can (or remember!) because it gives family a little info on things the child likes and clothing sizes, hopefully making gift buying a little easier, and it just looks so cute!


When my oldest turned 2 (over 7 years ago now) she LOVED Blue's Clues. I had been looking on ebay for lots of different Blue's Clues things, and some of them were pretty pricey. One day at a store I found they had all the Blue's Clue's party stuff on clearance. I bought a ton, and then hit every other store they had in the valley and bought more. I sold lots of birthday stuff on ebay, and still had lots left over, so all of my kids have had this theme, and I still have a few random things left. My sister even had some left over's from when her son (now 16) had his Blue's Clues party, that she passed down to me. 

Here are my other two kiddos on their Blue's Clues Birthday day
Miss B wither her "Clue" cake. We always make the clue cake for the day of their birthday (any round cake and cupcakes frosted in blue. I let her help me frost some cupcakes.

And Mr. T. on his first birthday with the smasher cake I made, wearing a Blue's Clues bib (received it as a shower present with my daughter)

I may have mentioned before, my twins were born on Dec 28th, and my older son's birthday is January 3rd. I feel bad asking family to come to two birthday parties so close together, so we always do a big combo boy party. So far no one seems to mind it, but my daughter said this year that she wished her birthday was close to theirs. lol. Anyhow, this was a Blue's Clues/Army Party (I'll get a post up for that party later), so you may see a few things that don't fit. :)
Simple Birthday Banner

I have probably mentioned before (and will mention in the future) that my favorite place to find and brainstorm ideas for birthday parties is at www.Birthdaypartyideas.com. They have a conglomeration of ideas for almost any theme, and you can scroll through them and pick the age that matches your birthday child as well. 

I really do love getting my kids involved in the preparation of any birthday party, their party or their siblings. It gives them pride in their abilities, and also, maybe a little less likely to be jealous of attention given to the birthday sibling(s). So my 9 year old drew our game of Pin the Flag on Mailbox. I bought one of these years ago, but could not find it, so we improvised. We left the flag as just an outline and then I traced the flags onto red construction paper. 

For another game we played "Toss the Clue into Pail". 


I had a red bucket I had saved out months before (you know, when sand toys were actually in season) and of course was unable to find it for the party, so, you guessed it, we improvised. I had an old empty paint bucket that I covered in red construction paper, and Miss B. made Pail's face. We sharpied Shovel's face on. I actually made this game when my daughter was two, but I just used a regular bucket and sewed blue bean bags that I stamped with clues. This newer version definitely turned out cuter. But with kids, you really can go minimal and they will think it is great!

To make the paw print rice bags (I had rice, but no beans, both work just as well), I started with two different colors of blue felt. I free handed a paw print (after looking carefully at many paw prints) and cut them out. I hot glued the paw prints onto the darker felt, folding it to make sure the size was about right.

Then I cut around both layers in a round-ish fashion. So that it now looked like this: I left the bottom edge folded.

The I hot-glued the sides together, leaving an opening to insert the rice.

I used a funnel to fill the bags, it was much less messy that way (though we still had a few spills). And then just hot glued them closed.You don't want to over fill, about 3/4 of the way is just about right.


And for being a simple game, even the older kids played it, and even a few adults took a turn also.
Here is Miss B, with a blur of a clue in action.


For the loot bags we had to have some Handy Dandy Notebooks. I only had a few of those left in my stash, not quite enough for the small party guests, so again, we improvised. I found cheap notebooks at the store, and my daughter drew the thinking chairs onto red craft foam. We added one crayon into each bag (no one minded that it did not look like Steve/Joe's crayon).
 Being that Blue's Clues is not as popular as it once was, it is very difficult to find loot bag items for a good price, so we just went with more of a puppy theme. 
I did have the sticker sheets left over (I found them at the dollar store years ago), but we bought puppy paw print collar/bracelets from Oriental Trading, puppy and kitty finger puppets, and then puppy paw print stampers there also. 

  
 Here are my boys checking out their cake (next year we'll probably have separate cakes, but three cakes (besides the two cakes we had for their actual birthdays... oh so much cake!)
  

 And all three boys being sung to and almost ready to blow out their candles!

I hope these ideas help you in your little one's Blue's Clues Birthday!