Wednesday, April 23, 2014

4th Birthday Party

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We weren't planning to throw birthday parties for Michael and Sophie with friends every year, but their enthusiasm for others' parties lately made me want to give them another of their own this year.  I'm thinking we'll take it on a year-by-year basis.  Maybe next year we'll do something just as a family.  Maybe not.

The Party Plan

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I considered the typical locations and really liked the idea of a paint-your-own pottery kind of place.  However, the cost for such parties is pretty steep, and you can only invite a handful of friends before the price goes up even more.  With two kids' friends to include and twin friends among them, a limited guest list can get tricky.

I found myself staring at our gloriously empty living room, envisioning:

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We rented a couple of kids' tables and 18 chairs from a party rental business ($48), bought a bunch of supplies from Oriental Trading and Dollar Tree (roughly $200 for games, decorations, crafts and so on), and got lesson party planning.

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The general theme was spring, so I bought some bug activity books.  Those were intended to keep kids busy as we waited for everyone to arrive, but most kids went right for the playroom instead.  The books were cute enough as table decorations and favors.

The main craft was painting flower pots for spring flowers or herbs (bought seeds for favors at the dollar store).  At the tables we had the pots, sponge stamp brushes, and bug stamps.  I asked Michael and Sophie's grandmas to give out squirts of two or three colors to each kid on paper plates.  I gave a few ideas to the kids, but tried not to get too teacher-y and let them just have at it.

I did get some photos of the kids getting all crafty, but we'll keep those just for us.  I loved seeing the guests get into it and make some masterpieces (Michael and Sophie's are below)!

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Above is my supply table with paint, extra pots, baby wipes, smocks, game supplies in bins, and prizes and favors in baskets.

Some Decorations and Details

Our record wall is up again in our dining room and I added photos of the kids and the wooden four.

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I made the photos with a combination of Photoshop (to black out the background--these were from our family Christmas photos) and the photo editor site Picmonkey to add the borders and bugs.

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My mom made the cupcakes, just like the pink and blue ones she made for the baby shower four years ago but all green this time.

I made the pinwheels using a tutorial like this with a little adaptation.

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Instead of using pins, which just didn't sound wise for kids' snacks, I used sturdier and easier to see metal brads.  I punched five holes in the paper for the brads to easily slide through.

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The ends of the brads wrapped snugly around the sticks (for candy making).

I went with the theme and chose one-sided bug scrapbook paper rather than the not-quite-right patterns on two-sided paper.  Two-sided would have been pretty cute, though. 


The kids played three games.  The bee and flower beanbag toss game is from Oriental Trading, a bit of a splurge ($15), but it can be played with long after the party.  

For Pin the Tail on the Bunny, I made two rabbits by tracing two mixing bowls, connecting them and drawing ears.  I let the Michael and Sophie at them with their finger paints and patterned roller brushes, then cut out the bunnies, glued them to another poster board and had them laminated.  The kids at the party stuck the dollar store pom poms on with the that gummy stuff for hanging posters.

We played these games after painting the pots while we switched the tables into cake and ice cream mode (changed the tablecloths, mainly).

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After cake and presents we played the third game, the party event Michael looked forward to the most.  We bought a bunch of plastic bugs from the dollar store and hid them around the backyard for a bug hunt.  I gave each kid a paper cup and sent them running to rid our backyard of the spring pests.  It was a good ending to the party as it gave the all kids time afterward to play on the play set and enjoy the gorgeous spring day.  

The families took home painted pots, Annie's Cheddar Bunnies, and seeds (forgot to keep track of those bug activity books to send home--woops!).

Thank you to everyone who came and celebrated with us!  You helped make some great memories for these four-year-old's.

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