well it was a huge success! and i'm pooped!! but i learned my lesson from maeven's last bday party--so i better get this up before i forget to do it entirely! :)
first of all, i had tried (key word-tried) to plan this event as one that once it was set up, i could sit back and actually enjoy the party. don't know what i was thinking because that is so not how it happened. there's always a ton of stuff i forget to do and i end of running around like a madwoman getting them done during the party as people ask for them. (like plastic utensils, doh!) oh well. i just am not as organized as i like to think i am, apparently.
anyway, so tyren picked "animals" as his theme. pretty broad, i know, but i figured it could be pretty simple because there's tons of animal stuff out there, right? well, strangely i had a harder time finding things for his party than i have for previous parties. dollar stores usually abound with items which work well to fit with my kids' party themes. and while i did find a good amount of stuff at them, i didn't find at all what i was expecting. oh well.
anyway, so we decorated with an animals theme. maeven drew animals and we hung them under the canopy that i borrowed from the discovery center.
i also copied all these animals with my color copier/scanner/printer doodad, and she cut them out and glued them around the bottom of a dollar tree plastic table cloth.
she also made a sign for the door.
and the day of the party, maeven, her friend brooke, tyren and i worked on the driveway...they drew chalk animals and we wrote messages to set the mood for the party.
maeven also used window markers that tyren got from the birthday fairy to draw animals on the front sliding glass door as well as the back one.
we decorated all over with streamers in blue and green. and i put up xmas lights in the canopy and the trees because the party was starting at 6:30pm so i knew we'd still be going at it as it got dark. just turned them on as i put them up and left them on so i didn't have to think "oh, its getting dark, i should turn the lights on." they were already on. :) especially needed since we don't have any backyard lights currently. (they died and we've yet to replace them).
so for the party, we did animal costumes. i bought plain plastic headbands from dollar tree along with sheets of craft foam to make ears. they cut out their ears and i hot-glued them to the head band (works fast, although i did burn myself quite a few times, argh.) for tails, they had an assortment of belts/scarves to choose from. they had a bunch of fabric belts and braided belts at dollar tree that i thought were really cool and we cut them up and safety pinned them to the animal's butts. (safety pins also purchased at the dollar tree...200 for a buck, how can you go wrong with that? i got enough for YEARS to come now!)
then i had my dad help me move maeven's dresser mirror outside and we put it against the fence and kids used stick face paint to create their own faces. (some with help).
i also had themed music playing...i bought the hampsterdance cd from the 99 cent store, and the jungle animal themed party cd from the fancy party store. kept playing those over and over.
by this point we had wild animals running amuck. and some really fabulous creations!
i also spent the good part of a week gathering up large appliance boxes (something do every year...free entertainment!) no easy task, i tell ya, since they don't hold them for you at the big stores unless you call in the wee hours of the morning when the deliveries are getting ready to go out! i had to do a couple days of setting my alarm for 6 and 7am, just to strike out a couple times, but i did get a fair amount too. and there's also clovis appliance, the only local small business that sells large appliances that just puts their boxes outside. snapped up within minutes of being put out there normally but i struck gold and made it when there were THREE outside! WOOHOO! so we had a good assortment of large boxes and every year i have adam put together a fun fort. this year it was tunnels/caves for the wild animals to play in.
oh i should mention that we use cardboard rivets, which work MARVELOUS!!! i can't recommend these enough!! these can be found at mr mcgroovy's and they are cheap and really worth it!! they make cardboard fort making FUN!! seriously! and some amazing creations!
so next i put out plain tshirts and fabric markers for them to make tshirts to enhance their costumes or for whatever they wanted to make.
then, as if they didn't already have plenty to do...i brought out the fixings to make ice-cream-in-a-bag. (what was i thinking? but it WAS a hit!) i set up moms around the small round table i had set up for snacks originally (but it kept morphing into other uses--note to self--BORROW more tables for next party! i simply don't have enough, and none are big enough.) each moms had an ingredient...so they were in charge of getting that one ingredient to the child and giving them the bags at the appropriate times, and sealing them, etc. we got quite a system going...would have been better if we had had a long table for moms on one side and kids on the other, though, but that's all i had, unfortunately. oh i could have brought out my larger round table but it didn't occur to me at the time. oh well.
the homemade ice cream was a hit, though!! and then i brought out cake and there was some storebought icecream as well.
it grew dark and the clear xmas lights hung up everywhere were lovely! i decided it was time for the goody bags because there were light sticks in them. (plus the bags were being used for putting the pinata booty in...so they needed them ahead of time). also in the goody bags were animal stickers and animal band aids (how unique is that? i thought that was too cool to pass up at the dollar store--wild animal bandaids, LOL!) i didn't get much for the bags because of all the other stuff they were bringing home. oh i forgot to mention the plastic animal plates i got also at dollar tree (2 for $!) which i gave the kids to put snacks on and then they could take home. another party favor.
then there was the pinata. have i mentioned how much i HATE pinatas? i really do. not only are they very ordinary (everyone does them at their parties...i hate ordinary, LOL. i'm just funny that way.) but they are just far too crazy and chaotic for my liking. and if it were my choice, i would have quickly nixed the pinata. but tyren decided he wanted one and daddy decided tyren REALLY wanted one, and encouraged it, so who am i to argue with what a newly 4yr old wants for his birthday when he has daddy backing him? so we did the pinata for the first time ever (and the last, i tell ya)...i bought small plastic animals to put in it (actually i kept hoping the pinata idea would be forgotten and i could hide the animals in the sandbox as i had originally planned)...and adam got the pinata and candy to fill in the rest.
we did the pinata, had a child howling because the chaos was overwhelming and she didn't get to get in and get anything...which is EXACTLY why i hate doing pinatas!! its just madness and someone often gets hurt or feelings hurt. but the kiddos shared generously with her and crying abated. (poor little thing, i really felt her pain, it was very crazy!) tyren got next to nothing since he doesn't quite get that you're supposed to go nuts and grab everything in sight...but he didn't seem to care. he had plenty of stuff...he got all the animals off the cake! so he didn't need anymore.
last was gifts and by now it was LATE. we finished off around 9:30 or so...guests departing and family sticking around later to chat. kids weren't asleep til after 11!! it was a long, exhausting, albeit successful, evening.
i do have a ton of pics, but i'm waiting on my husband to empty the card for the camera so i can get pics of the things i missed last night (the driveway, maeven's table cloth, the tunnels, etc...)
pics to come!