March 26, 2012 § Leave a comment
Those who know me well know that I really enjoy planning my children’s birthday parties. It started when my eldest two turned three (Princess party and Spiderman party respectively) and has continued through the years with Barbie’s Three Musketeers, Super Mario, Care Bears, Pokemon, Puffles, Pirate party and most recently, an Angry Birds theme.
Now Angry Birds hasn’t been around as long as some of those other characters, so I had to get resourceful with most of the planning. I didn’t mind – that’s my typical MO anyway as it is so much more fun (and a nice challenge for this stay-at-home-mom).
I always begin my party planning with a quick perusal of the merchandise (and available coupons) at www.birthdayexpress.com. With a little luck you can find table decorations for almost any character or theme. In this case, they did have an Angry Birds package, but unfortunately the only licensed Angry Birds items were the plates, cups and napkins (the usual balloons, table cloth, mylar and centrepiece were in the right colours but were nothing more than what I could get at Dollarama for much cheaper). So I ordered the basic package, supplemented with a few items from Party Packagers, and went to work creating my own Angry Birds flavour for the party.
Googling Angry Birds Birthday party themes brought me to www.ThePartyAnimal-blog.org at which I discovered (in my opinion) the best feature of the party! They had created an Angry Birds template of faces to cut out and tape onto appropriately coloured balloons to make the characters from Angry Birds! They looked amazing. I also used them on the loot bags – see below.
Even though my son was turning nine and thus a little old for the stereotypical “pin the tail on the donkey” game, it is now tradition in our home that we have that game in the theme of the party (pin the sword on the musketeer, pin the hat on Mario, pin the patch on the pirate and so on….). Envisioning the green bristol board I had seen previously at Dollarama, I opted for pin the nose on the King Pig!
Scavenger hunts are always fun and a necessity for a young boys party (if you want to save your hearing and sanity) as it gets them all running around outside. Given the Easter season, there were loads of “egg” options available, so I picked up six fist sized golden eggs and labeled them with each of the boys names. They were hidden in various places outside for the boys to find (had to find their own egg, and keep it a secret if they found someone else’s!). Once found, they were placed into their loot bags to take home later.
Next up was Angry Birds Bingo! This one took a little more effort as I needed to make them myself (I have attached them below to save other Mom’s the time it took to put them together – pay it forward!). I scoured the internet looking for enough pictures to fill a bingo card (thank goodness for Angry Birds Seasons edition!) I printed them out, laminated them and (back to Dollarama) used circle stickers for the kids to mark them.
Finally, in true Angry Birds fashion, we set up an Angry Birds structure in the garage using empty boxes, styrofoam and a broken old wooden CD rack. I placed green balls (thank you, Dollarama!) throughout the structure to represent the pigs, and used small plastic red and yellow balls from one of our “ball pit” type toys. Inspired by some of the ideas I found online for this initiative, I selected the fitness band from my Wii Fit game (comes with handles – perfect!… truthfully, it wasn’t getting much use anyway). The kids each took turns slingshotting the red and yellow balls into the structure in an attempt to hit the pigs (again, awesome energy burner for a young boys party).
My husband had purchased a Wag Jag for cupcakes at a local cupcakery so I inquired as to whether they could do Angry Birds – they said yes, but only two characters. I chose the trademark red bird, and my son’s favourite: Bomb Bird!
On the actual day of my son’s birthday (not the same day as the party) I tackled an Angry Birds themed treat myself and created a Bomb Bird Birthday Brownie! Brownie mix baked in a circular cake pan, coloured icing, a few smarties and voila!
I used the templates from www.ThePartyAnimal-blog.org on the loot bags as well as the balloons to create these beauts:
Inside each bag, I included the golden egg from the Scavenger hunt plus a few of those small foil wrapped golden eggs (which I picked up at, you guessed it, Dollarama!), as well as a toy. Each friend also took home one of the helium-filled character balloons pictured above.
The final loot bag item was my own creation. I courageously went to Bulk Barn (I say courageously as this is a very dangerous place for me – it turns my discipline for avoiding junk food into a shrivelling mess), and purchased M&Ms in yellow, red, blue, green and brown, as well as a handful of white and yellow mini eggs. I placed a few of each in small Ziploc bags and labelled them accordingly:
All in all, a great day! Thanks to all the inspiration and resources I found online (referenced throughout). I have attached the AB bingo cards as well. Enjoy!
November 18, 2010 § Leave a comment
There are a great many tips and tricks you pick up by the time you have your fourth kid: some by accident, some by necessity, and some by sheer brilliance (if I do say so myself!). Christmas shopping for four children, one very hard-to-buy-for husband, and all the extended family, is one area I have learned to successfully navigate by necessity.
Dragging four children around to buy Christmas presents simply doesn’t work because 1) they see what Santa is going to give them, thereby eliminating a mother’s most effective holiday parenting tool (“Are you sure you want to clock your sister with that couch pillow? Santa is watching!”); and 2) a mother’s sanity needs to be preserved for more demanding scenarios, such as “How did your baby sister get a hold of that red glitter glue?!”. More importantly, I have a primal maternal need to find quality gifts that effectively span all my kid’s ages so I’m not frantically picking up small pieces from the older kid’s toys before they get in the mouths of the younger ones (where are Santa’s elves when you need them!)
So, what’s my recipe ? Hard core internet surfing, combined with selective idea snatching from my children’s extra-curricular activities, add a dash of friend’s referrals and voila – successful Christmas shopping complete. Special note – you need to leave enough time for shipping as this is not a last-minute shoppers methodology! In my experience, I find afternoon nap time in late November is the best time to delve in.
Step One: Think of your children’s extra-curricular activities, in particular, the parts of those activities that elicit the most joy.
Step Two: Always, always, start with Amazon.com. They have a super selection of nearly everything on the planet, usually at reasonable and budget-varied prices, and it’s a fantastic place to secure additional gift ideas you never would have imagined on your own (“If you liked this, you may also like…”). Plus Amazon can be counted on for reliable shipping and they have those handy product user reviews for each item. If Amazon doesn’t have it, then you need to resort to Google, a very solid runner-up to sourcing gifts.
Step Three: Purchase, receive and hide the items in the preferred gift-hiding location in your home.
Step Four: Congratulate yourself on your brilliance, grab yourself a drink, and relax with your new found time (sanity fully intact).
Here are some examples from my own experience to get you started:
Stepping Stones (my kids discovered these at our local children’s library – countless hours of imaginative fun for all ages)
Children’s Parachute (elicited squeals and giggles from every kid at gymnastics class)
Large wall size dry-erase board (to accommodate all four kids drawing at once, save the budget on paper, and no crayons left askew for my toddler to chew on!)