15 December, 2014  |   2 Comments

Dorothy’s Fifth Birthday Party – The Villains Party

Dorothy has never been much for big parties, so when she told me she wanted a Villains Party for her fifth birthday, I was eager to help. So was her Auntie.

Auntafee dressed the part

Dorothy dressed as Maleficent for Halloween this year. We’re learning that she is the kind of person interested in our dark sides. She is interested in every side.

The royal family says, "Hey." Thanks to @kerrygirvs for the pics!

I tried to work off of a Pinterest board of Villains party ideas but we just couldn’t seem to find all the elements that would make our Villains party right for us.

Grownups snacking and watching

It is a testimony to the adaptability of our species that this lack of a complete and total party template annoyed me.

Ha!

For crying out loud, I didn’t even USE Pinterest two years ago! Now I can’t make dinner without it!

Dorothy will own all the balloons

All this just meant was that we just had to come up with some simple ideas that worked for us.

Dorothy's Villainous Birthday Party Plan

On the menu:
Poisoned Apple Slices with Antidote Dip
Have you ever whipped together 1 package cream cheese with 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1/4 cup brown sugar? It’s the perfect antidote for poisoned apple slices. The kids and grown-ups couldn’t get enough.

The kids also were grossed out by the green and brown goo (guacamole and hummus). Tortilla chips and veggies rounded out the menu.

Dorothy isn't sure who is eviller, Maleficent or Dorothy?

Dorothy’s cake was made by our friends from Model Bakery — the flavors were mint and chocolate and even us cake-haters couldn’t get enough.

Dorothy will own all the balloons

For the decor:
Balloons, and lots of them.
We busted our budget on balloons this year, and it was a great investment. Kids really don’t care about activities as long as there are balloons to push to the breaking point.

Dorothy will own all the balloons

We hung the bunting I made for Halloween a few years ago. Three cheers for reusable decor!

I also cut some mirror mirror frames out of foam core — the kids played with those on their own and there we had an impromptu photo booth!

Dorothy will own all the balloons

We rented a room from our city’s rec department. At $50, it was a great investment. The kids had lots of space to run around and I wasn’t chasing kids away from holiday decorations. I’d encourage you to find out if your city’s rec department has spaces available to rent.

(Since our annual holiday cocktail party was right before Dorothy’s birthday party, let’s also say our house wasn’t yet in good condition for a five year old’s birthday party. Grin.)

Auntafee and Pops

For the activities:
On my to-do list for the three weeks running up to the party I had written, “Invent Villains Games.” I just never seemed to be able to think of anything — Duck, Duck THIEF?! Capture the jewel? We’d invited them to dress up as villains, but I was stuck on an activity.

Then I talked to mom. She told me that if I threw the kids in a room with some balloons and room to run around, they’d be fine.
(Mom was right. She always is.)

Bad Guy Coloring Pages
When the kids showed up, we had a table covered with some bad guy coloring pages and crayons.That kept the monkeys focused as well as provided a space to get some quiet time when running around got a little too hectic.

Dorothy will own all the balloons

Goodie Bags
In the bag we put these sticky, slappy hands (perfect for snatching), an evil plan notebook with erasable evil plan pen, some Pirate’s Booty and Monsters Inc gummies. The slappy hands became the party’s most fun activity.

Three cheers for not coming up with an elaborate game!
Dorothy's villainous goodie bag held a sticky hand, a notebook, a pen and some Pirates Booty

Happy fifth birthday Dorothy. You continue to surprise us.

Happy birthday Dorothy!

19 August, 2014  |   2 Comments

Make a Lego bean bag toss game!

Oh right! I was going to share how we made this Lego bean bag toss game that we made for Nora Lea’s sixth birthday party.

Let’s get on that!

I got my handsome manfriend to help first. That was pretty awesome, but I know you can do this yourself.

We found an old 7/16 in. x 4 ft. x 8 ft piece of plywood. We spray painted it orange.

Then we used flat metal thumbtacks to stick plastic disposable plates to the plywood board. It was so easy, Nora Lea could help.

Then, we painted the plates to match the board.

I cut numbers out of sticky-backed foam – these represented the different points you’d get for tossing your bean bag on the right plate.

In my fantasies, I sewed a thematically appropriate bean bag for tossing.

In reality, I found a few unmatched, relatively clean socks. Then I filled them with rice and tied them off. They worked like a charm.

We played a few rounds and the prizewinner received a notebook with some washable markers. I believe the child was originally grumpy about their prize, but I was like, YO THAT’S A MOLESKINE and it had no bearing on the child’s disappointment.

Go make your own Lego bean bag toss!

28 July, 2014  |   5 Comments

Nora Lea’s Lego Birthday Party

Our shining enigma turned six this summer.
To celebrate, we threw a Lego themed birthday party.

Nora Lea's Lego Party

Two days before the party, Nora complained of a tummy ache.
No problem! We agreed she would be fine by her party!

When she was still sleeping 30 minutes after the first guests arrived, we realized she was definitely not fine yet.

But the party is strong with that one, so she pulled it together and sat quietly while her friends bopped around and played hard.

We played “Guess how many Legos are in the jar!”
(There were 88. We realized Nora had the right answer because of an eavesdropping sister.)

Nora Lea's Lego Party

We made a Lego bean bag toss board — I’ll show you how we made it later this week. It was super easy and it occupied the children for at least 15 minutes.

Nora Lea's Lego Party

More than one child was disappointed in the contents of our goodie bags. (Lego eraser, a small notebook and a pack of Lego man shaped crayons.)

I crossed my arms and said smugly, “When I was a child we did not have goodie bags.

Nora Lea's Lego Party

Our friend Melissa made this amazing cake. Before serving, we covered the cake in industrious Lego people that we then removed before serving and are humans weird or what?

Nora Lea's Lego Party

James crafted the utensil holder from Legos. He is my favorite.

Nora Lea's Lego Party

Little girls picnicked on macaroni and cheese and hot dogs. They spent most of the party sitting on a blanket and talking about presents.

Nora Lea's Lego Party

We had lots of Legos laying about for grownups and kids to build together.

Nora Lea's Lego Party

Let’s all build together.

Happy birthday my Nora Lea.

25 February, 2013  |   Comment

Joanie Loves Bocce Cocktail Book

Every year, my bocce team, Joanie Loves Bocce, descends upon the local pizza joint for an awards ceremony. We did it last year, and everyone got a song for their award, shared on a shiny compact disc.

Appetite for Destruction Award

Jessica's RhubarberellaThis year, everyone got their own specialty cocktail wrapped up in a little cocktail book.
The coolest part? You can check it out too.

Check out the Joanie Loves Bocce awards ceremony cocktail book here — or click on the sample page below this sentence.

(You could use a little Harvey Wallbanger in your life, I can tell)

11 December, 2012  |   6 Comments

Dottie’s cupcake decorating third birthday party.

Dottie turned three!

My children, they are different.
One child, started planning her next birthday party last month. Her birthday is in July.
The other, just wanted the exact same party she had last year.

Dottie turned three!

Dottie has a more intimate soul.
She loves the routine.
And we love her for it.

Dottie turned three!

Here’s the catch, the next night, we would be hosting our annual Hearn Holiday Cocktail Party.
It’s a doozy of a grown-up party.
And it’s our holiday kick-off.

Dottie turned three!

Plus, both James and I had various business trips that week, resulting in neither one of us being there full-time.
We did a little every day and were ready with time to spare.

Dottie turned three!

Sunday
Music plan, order balloons, grocery store, food plan, scheduling.
Grocery list: Dough, cheese, sauce, drink fixins.
(I froze the dough.)

Dottie turned three!

Monday
Make frosting.

Dottie turned three!

Tuesday
Make cupcakes. Set aside.

Dottie turned three!,

Wednesday
Put cheese, sauce, pepperoni, sausage, in plastic wrap covered bowls.
Defrost the dough.

Thursday
Party day! Pick up ballons, give the house a once-over, make the salad,
Buy last minute toppings like mushrooms and basil. Also, ice.

Dottie turned three!

When we picked up the girls from preschool on Thursday, we walked home carrying all the balloons. Dottie wore her birthday crown proudly and told everyone, “It’s my BIRFDAY today!” And if you couldn’t smile at that, you must have some very hard things going on in your life.

Birthday girling.

We put the frosting in plastic bags for squirting, and then we put the sprinkles and such out on the trays.
(Just like last year.)

Everyone could take a few home in these cupcake boxes — but truthfully, nearly everyone I know isn’t eating cupcakes right now. I’m okay with that.

Dottie turned three!

Happy Birthday Dottie, you make us laugh every single day.

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