Happy Birthday!

First off, let me apologize for the lack of posts. Yesterday we celebrated my children’s birthdays. They were born two years apart but only by two days, so for the past few years, we have done joint parties. They are fun and memorable, but they are a lot of work.

I usually start planning my children’s next birthday party a day after their party. This gets me into some trouble because what they are interested in at age 4 is not necessarily what they are interested in at age 5. Usually, in the 365 days I have to get a party organized, loot bags made, and everything coordinated, the theme has changed 3 or 4 times. This year, I decided to wait to pick the theme until about 6 weeks before the party day. I am constantly on etsy, flickr and pinterest and find these sites to be wonderful sources for inspiration. You can easily get carried away in them though. I decided to just look at the different themes and decide “last minute” which one we would pick. I didn’t even need to pick though, because one day while browsing, my daughter came up to the computer and fell in love with the LEGO party I was looking through. Well, I did a few searches and started getting ideas: cakes, loot bags, food, party games, even colour schemes. It was decided, and the stress was off. My children (turning 3 and 5 in a few days) love playing with LEGO and I assumed most of their friends love it too.

Birthday party planning is, for me, sort of like planning a mini-wedding. I take it very seriously. I love it and I hate it. I love it because I remember my birthday parties with such vividness and fondness. The idea that I can create these special memories for my children drives me to make their birthday parties super special. But, I hate it because usually for an entire weekend I am on my feet, cutting, stirring, baking, icing, wrapping, and running around. That’s not to mention the weeks before hand shopping and organizing to make sure I’m not missing great deals or skimping out on something important for loot bags.

We decided to do two parties this year: one for my daughter’s school friends and one for family and family friends. I knew that my house wouldn’t accommodate all the people we had invited, so I rented out a community centre hall (an old school house in our area) with lots of charm and character. It was great for the kids to have room to run around and room for the parents to sit and relax. Our first party was small, calm, sort-of quiet and lots of fun. All the party games got played, the crafts done and there was lots of time for LEGO building. The second party was longer, bigger, louder, chaotic and tonnes of fun, but I’m not quite sure if anyone made a craft or even played with the LEGO. It was a blur. I just hope everyone had fun!

the party!!!

The kids made a foam LEGO mini-figure with hair and clothes (which I cut out every night for a good three nights in front of whatever TVO was showing). The mini-figures could then be stuck to a foam door hanger or had a magnet on their back for the fridge.

My only disappointment was not buying enough letter stickers – we ran out of As almost immediately and the kids had to get creative.  Why don’t sticker fonts come with 10 or more As?

One of our games was to guess how many “LEGO” candies were inside the jar. It was adorable the way 5 year olds were estimating. They took the jar, examined it, and then would say “7!” very enthusiastically. One boy said “100” and he ended up winning because we managed to squeeze 45 candies in the jar.

Our next game was “Help the mini-figure get his LEGO back!” It was a pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey type game. I found a printable online of some simple, LEGO-like blocks which I cut out and had the kids colour and put their name on the back. Once they were done, they were their “tails” for the game and the child who got closest to the mini-figure’s hand won. My daughter said to me before the party started that she didn’t want me handing out prizes for the games because then more people wouldn’t get a prize than would get one. She said she didn’t want anyone to be disappointed at her birthday party. What a diplomat. However, I had already bought prizes (mini-figures and the candies) so I snuck the prizes into the winner’s loot bags without my daughter seeing. For the giant mini-figure, I bought three sheets of bristol board from the Dollar Store and, using a ruler, drew a rough outline of a mini-figure. I started with his legs, and then put all the other pieces on to make sure the size corresponded to each other. I didn’t have to amend it and it wasn’t perfect, but it was close enough and I was happy with the results. You could pick any colours you want for your party, but the primary colours red, yellow and blue worked perfectly for our party and were easy to spot in the LEGOS.

Of course, a LEGO party wouldn’t be complete without, LEGO. The kids had a lot of free time to build and play which they seemed to enjoy. We had three kits of LEGO, my brother’s vintage set, a big boy set and a smaller girl set. It was more than enough LEGO for the kids. The boys had to be ripped away from the LEGO to play the games, and I’m sure they didn’t make the craft, but I got a report from my daughter that her friends told her they had a fun time at her party today at school. Success!

When I asked my daughter what she wanted to eat for her party she told me hotdogs. As weekday vegetarians, I considered buying veggie dogs but I thought some of the children might not like them, so we stuck with good old hot dogs. We also served veggies and cheese and small, individual sized servings of cheesies (I like this even though it’s a bit more pricey because I’m a germ-a-phobe!). We gave the school children cupcakes and served cake at the friends and family party. I forgot to take a nice picture before we started cutting it but you get the idea of the cake. It was a simple design (which I was SO thankful for come Sunday morning when I finished it because I was exhausted).

Because my children are born so close together and we combine their birthday parties, I buy a candle for each of them (usually their number) and we sing twice. Your birthday happens but once a year, and to have the song sung only once with your names squished into the middle isn’t very festive.

We had a miniature version of our big cake for the school party but I put 5 sparklers on for my daughter, and then after they went out, the cake had a black film and dusting all over it. I decided not to serve the cake as I (thankfully) had enough cupcakes. I didn’t want the kids eating all the stuff on top even though they really wanted cake.

If you decide to throw a LEGO party, do yourself a favour and call LEGO and ask them for their LEGO Club Magazine. The magazine is free to subscribe to but if you call them and tell them how many you need, they send them to you within a few weeks. There are two versions too, a junior and older version; something to suit every need! Our loot bag had the club magazine, LEGO City stickers, LEGO crayons (which I made and will post about tomorrow) and LEGO sugar cookies, which I also made.

I threw in some of the candies from the party in each loot bag and the children left as happy builders.

After a cupcake, lollipops, LEGO candies, cheesies, another piece of cake, a hotdog and probably 3 juice boxes, this little man crashed on the 5 minute drive home. He had a good birthday and told me that his favourite part was running around with “talloons” (balloons). My feet still hurt, I need about 12 hours more sleep and my house looks like a bomb went off in it even though we didn’t do the party here (how did that happen?!) but I do it for him, and for my lovely daughter, and I’m already starting to think of what we’ll do next year.

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