Archive Page 3

Happy Birthday Kim Carnes — You Rock!

I felt I would be remiss if I didn’t give a proper shout out to Kim Carnes. If you are saying to yourself, “Why do I know that name?” Here’s a little reminder…Bette Davis Eyes

I wish I could go back in time — I think if I did I’d be working the Gimp at camp Arrowhead. Good Times…(written wistfully)

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!)

"Pick A Party" Winner

Once again my scientific method of picking from a hat has served me well, we have a winner: sqkecleen. Congratulations!! Sqkecleen gets this Party MOMster exclusive: A Kit to create your very own Chair of Honor!

Sqkecleen gave me a fun and most unexpected party theme idea: A Back to School Party. Ideal for those late August early September Birthdays. My head is swimming with ideas, but you’ll have to wait till Monday, that is “Let’s Party Mondays”, to get the full party poop. Thanks to Sqkecleen, it lives on for another week!

Two posts related to school this week — it has become a leitmotif for Party MOMster. Leitmotif, a dominant or recurring theme, was the word of the day on Dictionary.com. I’m trying to offset my frequent use of the word “poop”. (I just can’t help myself)

K.I.S.S.

K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple Stupid. I first saw this phrase in school. I think it was school. I’m pretty sure it was school because I remember it written on a blackboard. Or was that on T.V.? Maybe on school on T.V.? Wait, was it at Eastland Academy? Was I in class with Blair, Joe, Natalie and Tootie? OK, my heads spinning a bit — I’ll have to sort that out later.

But just the other day, one of the staffers schooled me on the beauty of simplicity (A concept I struggle with — can you say “Circus Party”?).

To mix it up a bit, two of the staffers attended a morning summer camp run by our town. Upon pick-up after the first day, our expert in pink, sparkles and little big-eyed animals, runs to me beaming.

“Look at this,” she gasps as she thrusts a piece of plastic mesh with plastic lacing running through it. “It’s a bookmark! This is the coolest craft I’ve ever done!” (I wince — I’m so easily forgotten)

“Wow, that is super great!” I say convincingly. (Really? The coolest? What about my card weaving project? How quickly we forget “Put Your Cards On The Table Week”.)

Later in the day, our lovely staffer has her friend over and shows her the bookmark. (Ok, here we go. I hope the lovely staffer doesn’t get her feelings hurt…) “WOW, that is sooooo cool! Can I make one?” The two run off to create with some extra pieces of plastic lacing the camp sent home.

Huh, well what do you know. Something so simple can provide so much bliss. That is definitely a lesson learned. Although, I should have known this brilliant bookmark — a monument to simplicity — is the result of many summers of fine tuning. Plastic Lacing, or what we called “Gimp”, is a Summer Camp staple. I myself remember working the Gimp at Camp Arrowhead back in the day.

So,if you can’t beat em — join em. This is our bookmark bounty from the craft store and it ran us $7.


We worked a few bookmarks ourselves and it is a great activity to do while you shoot the breeze. I got the 411 on the camp:

  • The head counselor just got engaged
  • The best person to push you on the tire swing is a third grader
  • The girl with all the woven key chains is not a good listener
  • The boys and girls bathrooms are kind of hard to tell part (There is more to that story)

Man, I miss Camp! I think this would be a great craft for a little girls birthday party. Or you could put together a craft kit to give as a favor.

Letting K.I.S.S. be my guide, I will stop here. There is really nothing else to say about this newly discovered craft — it is simply perfect.

Now if you will excuse me, I’m going to go look up Natalie and Tootie on Facebook and catch up on old times.

Birthday Party Tableau



Thank you staff for painstakingly creating and photographing this compelling Birthday Party Tableau (What a way to kill an hour).

Aren’t parties fun? How about entering the Pick A Party Giveaway and email a party idea?

PS (All email addresses will be kept confidential and if you want to use a nickname that’s cool too. I sometimes like to be called “Babs” — we don’t judge here.)

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!)

GIVEAWAY: Pick A Party (Say that five times fast)

I’ve been called impulsive. I’d like to think I’m enthusiastic. But after my proclamation of “Let’s Party Mondays”, I looked at the calendar and realized there are A LOT of Mondays (They come about once a week, you know.)

So, because I’m such a planner… (Well, not really. A planner wouldn’t run out of diapers.) Maybe because I’m scrappy — not willing to admit defeat and needing to give “Let’s Party Mondays” a fighting chance — I’m announcing my latest giveaway: Pick A Party

“Pick A Party” is my way of ensuring many “Let’s Party Mondays” to come. Because with your help, the Party MOMster will be swimming in party themes to pick from. All you have to do is email me a party theme and you’re in. It doesn’t have to explain how the theme works or talk about cakes or games or decorations or favors — all it takes is an idea.

For your generosity, you will be given the chance to receive…A Chair of Honor Kit


If you’re not immediately clapping your hands with delight, you might need to be reminded of the Chair Of Honor project. Using a pillowcase, fabric markers and iron-on transfers, we created a chair decoration for the Birthday Guest of Honor. The custom slipcover (previously referred to as a pillowcase) can become a fun family tradition to be used again and again.

The Chair of Honor Kit includes all of the items needed to make a custom Birthday slipcover all your own. (And years of Birthday memories: Priceless)

Here’s the Pick A Party W5:
(Thank you, Urban Dictionary. def.: Who, What, Where, When and Why. Similar to asking the “411” or detailed information about an event. Party MOMster adding some flava to the rules.)

  • Email me your party theme by midnight July 15th
  • One email per entry
  • All entries will then be put in a hat and one will be pulled
  • The chosen entry will be announced on July 17th
  • If winner does not claim prize by July 19th, another winner will be picked.
  • All entries will become inspiration for “Let’s Party Mondays” and will be properly attributed if used.

Hey, wake-up — that’s it for the rules. Wipe the sleep out of your eyes and email your party theme(click here to make it happen!).


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.)

Nice Cupcakes…

Someone recently complimented me on my cupcakes. (My Polar Bear Cupcakes — Hey, this isn’t a Singles Bar.) And I thought I would share some of my other adventures in baking. I would say my baking credo is: It’s the thought that counts. I’m sure after seeing my work you you would agree.




If you really want to be inspired by homemade creations, a great site is Coolest-Birthday-Cakes. It claims to be “by far the World’s largest collection of ‘makeable’ homemade birthday cakes, and thanks to visitor submissions, it’s growing larger and larger by the day“. And I can’t disagree. Where else can you find Chinchilla, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Jerry Garcia and Salad Cakes?
I am so impressed by this ambitious endeavor (They did say THE WORLD). I want in. I think the Lion cake is my best work. Although Coolest-Birthday-Cakes does have a few lion submissions already. I may submit my dinosaur cake (Yes, that is what that strange green bump with a head is supposed to be) because it is so ugliful. (Thank you, Urban Dictionary —def.: The ugly equivalent of beautiful) Maybe I will rename it “Salamander”, “Mature Tadpole” or “Worm Monster”and get a unique listing. Any thoughts?

But, whether you make your own cake or buy a cake, you should follow Party MOMster Principle #2: ALWAYS SAVE THE PLASTIC DOODADS (If you have forgotten, Party MOMster Principle #1 is Having little ones create for others, fosters generosity and kindness. Ok, Principle #2 is a bit of a come down from #1, but I feel very strongly about plastic doodads.)

Why the passion for doodads?

By saving the plastic doodads, your goal is to create a decorating stash that you can turn to when an impromptu celebration presents itself. My dear Granna had such a stash. When we would go to her house to celebrate my Dad’s Birthday, I would always fish out the Circus Strong Man and other odds and ends to top the Entemann’s Marshmallow Iced Devil’s Food Cake. Good stuff — I wish I had that stash (and I could really go for a piece of cake right now) . As you can see, I come from a long line of Party MOMsters.

So, leave your inhibitions behind, get out there and get some compliments on your cupcakes (or cakes, pies, jellyrolls, whatever — Wait, we are still talking about baking, right?)

PS (If anyone has a Circus Strong Man cake decoration — let’s make a deal.)

Put Your Cards On The Table Week: Closing Ceremony

What a great week. We really pushed ourselves for “Put Your Cards On The Table Week”. We sacrificed some cards for the greater good. We rescued some cards from the dark recesses of dresser drawers to let them shine again. And finally, we show that cards can be easily rein-card-nated as gift bags or handmade cards.

The staff and I knocked this out in no time — which matches their attention span. They are looking forward to presenting it to their friend at an upcoming Birthday Party. While “kid” friends may not appreciate handmade gifts, they do welcome a tricked-out package. So, crank up the bling, glitz, glamour, pizazz and oomph (“Oomph” is actually in the dictionary: 1) sex appeal 2) vigor; energy. This is a G-rated site, ok PG, based on my donkey pun at the end of Party Game “Who Am I?” But, we’ll stick with definition #2)

Finally, this demonstrates an important Party MOMster principle: Having little ones create for others, fosters generosity and kindness.

Wow! Ending with a little philosophy. This week has brought out the best in the Party MOMster and staff. Release the doves. Extinguish the flame of righteous idignation. We have conquered the pricey greeting card and “Put Your Cards On The Table Week” has come to an end.


Party Tableau from My Talented Staffers

Super Foolishness (According to Me!)