Archive for the 'LPM' Category

LPM is Back and it’s Beachy!


I know you are all waiting for this week’s Let’s Party Monday’s (a.k.a LPM) party theme — uh, waiting two weeks in fact. Last week, the staff and I were at an off-site meeting at the seashore doing some intensive team building and sandcastle making. We are back — well-rested, inspired and ready to present to you…

A BEACH PARTY

Decorations

Get ready to get your MacGyver on (and join me as I unpack the mini-van after vacation). Take everything you take with you to the beach and throw it all over the place: beach towels, shovels, beach chairs, plastic buckets, sandcastle forms, and inflatable whatever. What about stringing a clothes line and hanging swimsuits? (Maybe not my big granny-suit, but the staffer’s suits are fun and colorful)

You may be thinking — ugh, that sounds like a big mess. Well, check out this classy pic from the May issue of House Beautiful where they put those Beach towels to work as a great (and absorbent) tablecloth.

You can also purchase shells at a craft store to sprinkle around. And depending on how brave you are, get a little sand from the craft store or playsand at the hardware store.

In college, I went to a party at a Frat House with beach volleyball on the third floor – that’s right a couple of inches of sand covering the entire third floor. Those boys knew how to throw a party. I don’t know how they cleaned it up, but those aren’t the concerns of a college party-goer.

A more practical solution would be spreading the sand in a couple cookie sheets with some shells to create a zen garden/mini-seascape for the table. (That seems so lame compared to full scale beach volleyball indoors. Is a Frat House really the standard I’m striving for? I’m really struggling with this one.)

Activity

This activity came to me as I was preparing for our trip to the seashore and saw two days with rain clouds assigned to them. I ended up not having to break out the crafts (YEAH!), but it was great to do post va-ca and perfect for this week’s theme.

Take a frame cut out of cardboard and paint one side with Mod Podge.(You could probably use white glue, I’m just digging Mod Podge lately.) Then take the sticky side and drag it though some sand – maybe take advantage of your mini-seascape decoration. Then have party guests arrange shells on the now sandy frame. While they take part in another activity, hot glue the shells to the frame.

The weight of the shells and the amount of white glue necessary to hold them will take forever to dry. Hot glue will ensure your guest can take their handiwork home, instead of standing by your door weeping with gooey shells lying on the floor before them. (Trust me on this.)

Game

Leaving the beach is always a feat of endurance and now it’s a party game! Create a “Packing It Up” obstacle course by spreading out all types of beach gear: blankets, sand toys, beach ball, hat, sunglasses, boogie board. The contestant has to collect and carry all the gear across the finish line. Think John Candy in Summer Rental.

At the finish line, you can take a picture and if you have the A-team of party helpers, that picture can then be printed and put into the beachy frame created earlier. I love it when a plan comes together!

There you have it a Beach party to squeeze in before the end of the summer, but could also be a real stunner in the winter – so unexpected!

I’d love to sea your beachy ideas in the comments – they’re great I’m shore!

(That last line was desperate, but did you get my A-team reference and quote? Anyone? Come on that was gold, baby! Someone is fresh from vacation.)

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Let’s Party Mondays: Huki huki, huki huki, huki hukilau

It was recently suggested that I offer an Adult Party theme. Something about the phrase “Adult Party” makes me giggle the same way the staff reacted to “Grey Poupon”. (“Did you say poop on?”) But, knowing the source, they weren’t suggesting any flagged content — just something for grown-ups. No piñatas. No goody bags. No mutant cakes. (i.e. my dinosaur cake) I’m a people-pleaser — this week’s Let’s Party Mondays theme is…. HAWAIIAN LUAU

Decorations

I’m not really going to bother talking about decorations. I don’t think a party store can call itself a “Party Store” if it doesn’t have a Hawaiian Luau aisle, Mardi Gras section or 50’s Dance Party display. So, you know what to do.

Food

This will determine the success or failure of your Luau — in fact, the Hawaiian translation of Luau is feast. So, you’ve got to get your food on. What incredible pomaika’i (luck) that this grown-up request comes on the heels of a fabulous menu created by the brainchild of bacon, the clever cake-in-the-mug-maker, boozy-paint-can-shaker: Bacon Concentrate. The “Celebrate Someone Special with a Hawaiian Luau Dinner” more than fulfills the feast requirement.

And a party menu dedicated to the Party MOMster just can’t go wrong. (I am so feeling the love -– no more eating cookies with a spoon for me)

Music

I haven’t really talked about music before – it’s not one of my strengths. I am hoping DJ Running Man in the sister offices in Eastern PA will help me with a music post. He knows how to rock an ipod. But, I did a little research on my own and starting off very simply with “Hawaiian Luau Party” at the iTunes store. Two albums popped up.


Hawaiian Luau Party by The Hit Crew came very highly rated. Upon listening to a sampling, it definitely gets your grass skirt shaking. But, with selections like Day-O, Rock Lobster and Cha Cha Slide, it does not have the authentic sound I was hoping for.


Hawaiian Luau Party by various artists is just what I was looking for. Although I am questioning my tolerance for the ukele, I would say it offers a more credible luau sound with hits like Sweet Leilani, Hukilau (of course!) and Hawaiian War Chant (which is certainly not as scary as it sounds). I was reading a review of it on Amazon which included “surprisingly taken up in the fascinating weird world of this amazing CD” – enough said, we have a winner!

With that, I say “Aloha” for now. If you have any “grown up” suggestions, please share. I, myself, am feeling very grown-up. I made it through this whole post without making any jokes about getting “lei’d” (Wait, does that count? Oh, so close.)

Let’s Party Mondays: Start Your Engines, A Car Party!

Well, I was strolling the web and checking out Blogs last week and I hit the jackpot. How? I found inspiration for Let’s Party Mondays (I gotta tell ya, I wasn’t sure if it was going to make it another week. It seems to have the staying power of my last diet.) And I also found a kindred spirit – someone that loves kid parties too!

So, thank you Momma’s Gone Over the Wall your “Things That Go” Party has inspired today’s theme: Cars

Food

I think what I love most about Momma’s “Things That Go” Party is the food. Yeah sure,they had great cakes. But, extending the vehicle theme to the crudités (I could say cut-up vegetables, but I’m feeling fancy) and fruit – GENIUS! I would also like to point out the cookies offered. They are brilliant in their simplicity — Traffic Light Cookies with a red, yellow and green M&M. I am so pumped (and on my second cup of coffee) I’m going to hit you with a quick Haiku:

Things That Go Party
Garden bounty put on wheels
Cookies stop traffic

Brava Momma’s Gone Over the Wall!

Games

Momma’s party reminded of a Cars party we attended at our sister offices in eastern Pennsylvania. They created the “Tow Mater” game. They had paper cut outs of the different characters from the movie Cars with paper clips around the edges. Using a stick with a magnet hanging from it, guests “towed” cars out of the pile up. If only tow trucks were so popular in real life!

And because I can’t get my mind off those Traffic Light Cookies, there is the classic game, Red Light/Green Light. It is expertly detailed at Games Kids Play. They also have several rhymes that can be used in selecting who is “It” on the site. I have heard the staff chanting “Eenie Meenie” lately (another gift from camp) and they always seem accepting of the results – some sort of kid code.

Another activity that might be fun is a car race. My XY chromosome staffer is lousy with matchbox cars. As a group, it may be fun to determine the fastest with a ramp. So each guest takes turns grabbing a car and racing it against others. You keep going till you get it to the top few. Then to up the drama you might pull out a special car to compete – kind of like a “shill” or bad guy in Professional Wrestling (that is Sports Entertainment) – “El Diablo, the hot shot”. Get the kids all worked up to see if the cars they have raced can beat “El Diablo”. We are working on our track — we will keep you updated.

Books (Why books? Click here to find out and you can witness yet another Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Metaphor)

Of course any Disney Cars book would be a strong choice, but some other fun options would be:

  • Cars, Trucks and Things That Go by Richard Scary
  • If I Built a Car by Chris Van Dusen
  • Wheels On The Race Car by Alex Zane & James Warhola

Have some more Car ideas? Park them in the comments. And if you have a great idea for Let’s Party Mondays, cruise over to my email. (Enough car puns, I’m driving myself crazy – ugh, now I’m car sick – jeeze, it’s like I have no brakes — honk, if you’re done – Beep! Beep!)

Let’s Party Mondays: Hello Campers!

Hey, it’s Monday again — let’s party! Today’s theme is Camp!

As you know by now, I am loving Camp at the moment. The morning day camp the staffers attended was a big hit and it sent me into a nostalgic frenzy. (ahhh, Camp Arrowhead, Good times…) But, my love of camp has been taken to a new level this week — the staffers are attending Nature Camp this week. That is 4 1/2 hours a day Monday through Friday. And it couldn’t have come at a better time for — EVERYONE!

Besides giving all of us a break from each other, (I’m banking on “absence makes the heart grow fonder” all around) the staffers came home with great games, crafts and were so tired they had very little fight left in them — JACKPOT!

I’m not the only one loving camp at the moment. My favorite magazines have weighed in with some great ideas as well. So, here’s a little somunsomun I put together — welcome to Camp!

Decorations

Now is the time to drag out that dusty tent you may have or borrow one or at the very least hang a simple tarp. I found a very competent video that explains how to make a tent out of a tarp. If you make a tent happen — sit back, you are golden.

If you still want to take it up a notch, I say go for the campfire. Fire and kids seem a bit dicey for me — I’m looking for theater here. I would pile a few logs together and create a faux fire — maybe some orange and yellow tissue paper. I didn’t get to try this out yet, but I was thinking of a small fan with crepe paper ribbons attached to give the illusion of flickering flames. I’m not sure if that would work — if I can make that happen you will be the first to know. (Maybe the second, I may have to explain myself to the neighbors)

Cake

I don’t want to talk about cake — let’s talk S’mores. S’mores and Camping are like Peanut Butter and Jelly, Macaroni and Cheese, Captain and Tennille (Did anyone get that last one? Sometimes, I really am just writing for myself.) So, I offer several S’more options:

Activity

My Mom saved the August issue of Family Fun magazine because it had some great camp crafts. The Totem Pole was her favorite. You have each person create a self-portrait on a paper plate using markers, natural materials and white glue. When the glue dries, tape the plates to a large stick and set the stick into the ground – wahlah a Totem Pole. Nice work, Mom.

Game

Now, there are various iterations of tag and the staff has played quite a few of them at camp — to rave reviews I might add. Now, the Party MOMster usually shies away from tag because someone is “it”. Everyone runs away from the person that is “it” – it just feels wrong to me. But, those super smart camp counselors have teams of people being it – no one is left to be a pariah. Brilliant! I promise a sampling of the most-loved tag options from the staff by the end of the week.

I have got so much more to say including a great game that the staff and I started today. It’s drying overnight. (Oh, are you intrigued?) So, I’m calling it a night and just making my Monday deadline. We will have more Camp ideas for you tomorrow. But, feel free to pitch in a few of your own. (That whole Golden Graham thing has got me a bit down too — that Cinderella song has me all choked up)

Let’s Party Mondays: School is in session!

Hey, it’s Monday — it must be “Let’s Party Mondays”. Thanks to our Pick A Party Winner, Sqkecleen, today’s theme is: Back to School

Just going back to school is a reason to celebrate. I know I will be having a Back to School Cocktail Party, myself (that is, party of one). But, if you have a late August or early September Birthday in your family, the staff and I found it to be a theme with a lot of possibilities. If you have preschoolers or kindergartners that are new to school, this is a great way to get them worked-up about this exciting milestone.

Decorations

I would score some of those bulletin board cut-outs that Teacher’s use. We have a store called Becker’s that sells all sorts of classroom supplies — they have a website as well. Get your MacGyver on and grab any school theme toys you have around the house to place in festive spots. I don’t think I’ve met a family that doesn’t have a School Bus. Wah-lah you’ve got your centerpiece.

Cake

As I suspected, Coolest-Birthday-Cakes does not disappoint. There is a great selection of school bus cakes to inspire. I had a brainstorm for a Chalkboard Cake. If I have a few minutes, I might try to pull it off. (The MOMster likes her cake.) I’m picturing a rectangular cake with dark green icing, graham cracker pieces lining the edge as a frame for a chalkboard. Maybe, half a candy apple sitting on the bottom right corner, like an apple for the teacher resting on the chalk ledge. Chalk pieces made out of pretzel rods dipped in white chocolate. I don’t know, just a thought. (Yeah, this is what I daydream about. It is a sickness.)

Game

The staff and I put the most energy into the game. Never discouraged by my failures (i.e. Cootie Clown) , we created the School Bus Obstacle Course.

This can begin as an activity. You need to have kid cut-outs on white paper and a mess of crayon, stickers, googly eyes, etc. You should have a table dedicated to this. Ask the guests to make a student. It can be them or not — whatever they want. They just need to decorate the one side. When they are finished, they bring their student to you. You need to have sticky back Velcro and put the prickly Velcro on the back of each student. Then the real fun begins — the School Bus needs to pick up the kids for school.


The paper students that were decorated earlier are scattered all over the backyard or through the house or at a park. The “School Bus” is a child wearing a yellow felt tunic (A yard of yellow felt with a hole cut through the middle for their head.) We added a foam visor that we made — we always like to kick it up a notch. The “School Bus” rushes to pick up all the students for school by sticking them to the felt and finally running across a finish line.


YOU HAVE TO HAVE A FINISH LINE. This is an obstacle course must. Red crepe paper held by two people must be broken through — it is the only satisfying way to end. I don’t time it or make it a race — they just have to finish. You can give them a sticker, a stamp on their hand or a dollar store medal to commemorate their triumph. The staff and I thoroughly tested this idea — no student was left behind!

Book

I always love to have a book to tie-in with the theme. It can be propped up as a decoration or have the guests sign the inside of it. Or depending on the audience, you can have a story time. My favorite Children’s Book Blog, the Book Nosher, who has come through for me in the past , was gracious enough to provide some quick picks off the top of her head:

  • I Love You All Day Long by Francesca Rusackas (preschool)
  • Mrs. Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten by Joseph Slate (kindergarten)
  • The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn (preschool/kindergarten).

She also promised more selections on her blog as Back to School approaches — stay tuned to The BookNosher.

Alright that is my offering for “Back to School”, I know there is more, so please feel free to weigh in with your comments and ideas. All this party testing has caused a bit of a backlog in my housework. Right now my kitchen is like school on Saturday — no class.

And with that Fat Albertism, I am outta here. (Na na na gonna have a good time. Hey! Hey! Hey!)

Let’s Party Mondays: It’s a Circus!


Ahhh…Another weekend…Ugh…Another Monday…Yeah! LET’S PARTY MONDAYS!

Today’s Party Theme: Circus

This is one of my favorite party themes. I got quite goofy on this one and it was also one of the most epic battles between Me vs. the Evil Overdoer. (Also, me — but, picture me with little red horns dragging a very long to-do list).

Decorations

The grandest decoration was a circus tent ceiling. We took eight plastic tablecloths (4 red/4 white) and hung them from the playroom ceiling. They clustered in the center and fanned out to the walls. Finding a tape that would stick to the slippery plastic tablecloths, defy gravity and not mark the walls was a bit problematic. There were constant re-adjustments, even during the party (“Oh, excuse me sweetie, let me get that tablecloth off your head“). This was a circus party not a planetarium, such a heavy investment in ceiling decor was likely unwise. Advantage: Evil Overdoer

Pulling a little MacGyver, we collected some stuffed animals and turned them into clowns. The staff and I made clown hats out of construction paper and ruffled collars out of tissue paper. We had fun doing this a few days before the party to get us into the mood. Very festive results. Advantage: Me


Cake

Because I knew I would be busy decorating (raising a tent, creating a game — more to come), I decided to delegate the cake to someone else. (I was still smarting a bit from my Dino-disaster) I heard of this woman that made cakes out of her home and she was very fun and creative. The woman lived 20 minutes away. So, on the day of the a party, I ran a 50 minute errand (20 minutes there + 10 minutes getting lost + 20 minutes home). The cake did look awesome. Advantage: A tie


Game

I had played the classic childhood game, Cootie, with the staffers a few weeks before. Quick rundown, you roll dice and depending on your roll you earn different parts of the Cootie bug to build your own.

Brainstorm: I will make a Cootie Clown. We’ll roll the dice to earn different parts of the clown’s face. There were about eight pieces to the face which we needed for 6 players = 48 pieces were created. I sorted and put them into numbered envelopes. Okay, let’s play. We started with one player rolling the dice at a time. It was going s-l-o-w. I was losing them. Gave everyone dice and let them all go at the same time. That was chaos. Just gave everyone the pieces to make the face — we finished. The guests seemed happy with the results. (They may have just been glad it was over. Moving on) Advantage: Evil Overdoer

Acitivity

This was the best part of the party and, best of all, it lives on in video. We had the guest put on their own circus which Mr. Party MOMster dutifully recorded. We dragged out the dress-up bin, toys and other props to create the following acts:

  • Snake charmer (rubber snake wrapped around someone playing a whistle)
  • Tightrope walker (put a piece of tape on the floor while walking in a tutu with a parasol)
  • Lion tamer (wearing a pith helmut, throwing a stuffed lion through a hoop)
  • Lady on Horesback (Princess costume while riding a Rocking Horse)
  • Strong man (counted how many stuffed animals one child could hold — we got to 11)

We ended with a clown parade made possible by the purchase of rainbow wigs and red noses for the party. Following the parade, all the performers watched the tape on TV. It was a rousing success and we are often asked to bring out the tape to watch again and again. Advantage: ME

In the throwdown between me and the Evil Overdoer, it was a draw. But, as always the only casuality is, once again, ME. When the Evil Overdoer rears her ugly head, I am left feeling very tired and very stressed. Absolutely no fun — so not Party MOMster.

So, join the Circus with some great party ideas — the more the merrier. And don’t overdue or you’ll feel like a Party Pooper. (Speaking of, I’ve got a diaper to change. I think that also may become Party MOMster principle #3.)

PS (Let’s keep the Party going on Mondays — do the Pick A Party Giveaway!)

Mark you calendars for "Let’s Party Mondays!"

Mondays are hard. Before I was blessed with my little staffers, I hated Mondays. They were the first day back to the grind after the free-wheeling good times of the weekend. Now, Mondays are my foe for different reasons.

Everyone in the household is free from jobs, school and weekly obligations on the weekends. They are trolling the hallways looking to have some fun. Let’s do something. What are we going to do today that’s fun? So, Saturday — fun! Sunday — fun! fun! And Monday — everyone is back to their respective jobs, school and weekly obligations and I feel like the clean up crew after Mardi Gras.

After a day of regrouping (i.e. cleaning and mediating disputes between overly tired staffers), the Party MOMster is looking for some fun. And nothing is more fun than Parties! So, from this day forward I proclaim Mondays to be: Let’s Party Mondays!

Mondays will be dedicated to one Party theme which everyone is welcome (encouraged!) to join in and build on. I’m not as ambitious as Coolest-Birthday-Cakes, creating the WORLD’s largest resource. I aspire to my Junior High School Spanish teacher’s comments, “adequate, makes a capable effort.” Gracias.

Today’s theme for “Let’s Party Monday” is Dinosaurs! I figured after seeing my Dinosaur cake, many of you were saying to yourselves, “Ouch, I feel sorry for the poor kid that got THAT cake.”


But, I did redeem myself. To start, we made dinosaur hats out of foam visors. Our resident Dinosaur expert classified this as an Apatosaurus. And this is a constant favorite in our dress up bin. Three years later and this dinosaur shows no signs of extinction (That’s right I said extinction — come on, give it to me.)

We then changed roles from dinosaurs to Paleontologists (or what we called “Dinosaur Hunters”) in search of dinosaur remains. To prepare, everyone worked on their spotting scopes. We had toilet paper rolls covered in green paper and a mess of dinosaur stickers. As you all know, the more stickers used in decorating the better the scope works.

While we worked on our spotting scopes, a sneaky party helper hid pieces to an over sized T-Rex puzzle (a dinosaur lover must-have). When our equipment was ready, we began the search.

As the hunters collected the pieces, we began putting the the puzzle together. And it all comes to a very satisfying conclusion — a large ferocious T-Rex. In a word: DINO-mite (oh yeah)

These are just some bare bone ideas — let’s hear your ideas and build a Dino Party that is Pre-HISTORIC! (I’m done, that last pun made me a little queasy.)


Party Tableau from My Talented Staffers

Super Foolishness (According to Me!)