Small Hands in the Big World

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Birthday Nature Crafts

Once the Forest Fairy and Animal party theme was approved by my Birthday Girl, fun ideas were abundant. Simple, affordable, and quick ideas, however, weren’t as easy to come up with. Enter Pinterest, a world of nothing but cool ideas to browse.

I need to thank the creative Mom of Paint Cut Paste who inspired these no-sew Forest Animal Masks using felt and glue.

All this mask-making took was a mix of colorful felt squares from Michael's (about 39 cents each), some thin black elastic, and fabric glue (I used all-purpose Tacky Glue). Superhero masks littering our playroom served as starting patterns to provide the perfect size and placement of eye holes. Next I hand-sketched  animal shapes around those masks onto paper, playing around with them until they looked right.
"Easy Peasy!" as the dear Birthday Girl would say. Sadly, I didn't get any photos of her in these masks that day...  she was too busy changing into different fairy princess costumes during the party. Oh well, at least it wasn't Hello Kitty.
Happy Birthday, Sweet Sara. I love you more than words can say.

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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Forest Fairy Fourth Birthday

Once we said “Goodbye” to Hello Kitty and welcomed the Forest Fairy & Animal Theme, Sara came up with a modest guest list of six girls and six boys ranging in ages 3 to 6. Twelve kids might not sound like a big party but we learned that a dozen kids can be just as wild as thirty when you invite two pairs of rambunctious brothers. HOLY COW (and I say this with deep respect and admiration for the patient parents of these pairs of lovable boys). It was a wild ride but also one very fun and very happy celebration.
One "Forest" Cake complete with blue sprinkle river and white chocolate-dipped pretzel logs...

One Fairy Cake complete with fairies playing jump rope and a cougar prowling after a mountain goat. When in doubt about decorating a homemade birthday cake, just add M&Ms and figurines from those great "Toob" play sets  
Anyone with Kindergarten-age boys will know that their sense of humor is blossoming… that’s putting it nicely. In a more direct manner, one might say they are goofy, wild, and loud to the Nth degree. So take this mix of wild boys (mine included), add wild animal masks (provided by me… whoops, didn’t think that through very well) and being relegated indoors (it was horribly cold weather with mixed hail and rain) and you get one super crazy high-volume wrestling match, interrupted only by cake, crafts, and opening presents along the way.

Girl Power still ruled the day. The Birthday Girl and her 5 girlfriends weren’t phased by the testosterone frenzy. They joined in the wild animal play for a bit but it didn’t take long for them to break off and start their own imaginative play in the rooms where I had set up twinkle lights and a bunch of fairy wings and fancy dress-up clothes.

Thanks to both lovely Grandmas, there were plenty of colorful flowers to adorn Spring Nature Crowns and all the kids (both genders) enjoyed making them.

Lots of hugs on Sara's Happy 4th Birthday -- lots of costume changes too. Go back and see how many outfits Sara was able to squeeze into her two hour party - it's impressive!
Tired Party Animals went home with Handmade Animal Masks, Fairy Wings for the girls (found affordable ones at Party City), and "Pixie Dust Activators" for the boys (light-up version of the classic hand-held magnet- and gravity-driven gyroscope). Everyone had fun and Mommy learned that William's upcoming 6th Birthday needs to be planned outdoors where wild boys can run, jump, wrestle, ninja-kick, and do all the things that wonderfully wild boys do.
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Monday, April 16, 2012

Goodbye Kitty

Call me an ogre, call me what you will but I couldn’t help but discourage my girl from having a Hello Kitty birthday party. While she has inherited some pajamas and a t-shirt with the infamous kitty face, there are no Hello Kitty toys in our home and she has never seen a show featuring Hello Kitty... her fascination merely comes from admiration of an older neighbor girl who mentioned she had a Hello Kitty birthday. Sigh… what’s a Crafty Mom to do when her child chooses a theme that Mommy doesn’t want to execute? Well, I guess I would like to execute Hello Kitty but not in the way dear almost-four Sara was thinking…  

Why the Hello Kitty hate? Part of it is that I just don’t get it. Even back in the ‘80s when my little buddies showed off their collections of Hello Kitty eraser tops and mini pens, I wasn’t sure what the big deal was. And more than not “getting it” (I imagine there will be MANY things I won’t relate to in my children’s interests over the years) I suppose the commercialism is what I find so unappealing. I won’t veto a shirt or pjs but a whole party? Really?!

When I mentioned this “birthday dilemma” to my dear Swedish friend (an incredibly kind, intelligent, active, multi-lingual working mom with angelic children, by the way) her suggestion nearly knocked me off my feet. “How about not asking what kind of party they want? When my girls have a birthday, I make a cake; we sing a song and have friends over.” Drat! I should have thought about that a couple years ago, before Sara’s zoo party or William’s superhero party which I got so into, you’d think I was the one turning 5! Yes, I’m afraid I’ve done this to myself, creating the perfect storm for high expectations on birthdays… but hey, it’s what I like to do so as long as it’s not Hello Kitty, I’m on board!

My sneaky phase one of the Hello Kitty eradication began with talking about how much fun she had up at the Veterinarian Clinic at the Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett. “Remember how you got to care for all types of animals in the Vet Clinic? Instead of just focusing on Kitties, wouldn’t it be fun to have a party featuring a mix of animals?” I asked innocently? Sara pondered this thoughtfully. “How about forest animals? Then we can make a big chocolate cake with trees and animals on it” I continued. My last suggestion finally sealed the deal:  “We could make it even more fun if we did forest animals AND forest fairies, how about that?” SOLD! Even though it was a huge mouthful that Sara could hardly remember when inviting friends to her party, my girl was totally on board for her Forest Animal and Forest Fairy 4th Birthday Party!    Party Details complete with animal masks and fairy wings coming soon…
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