One Day I Will Rule the World

World Domination, Babies and Middle Eastern Dance

November 29, 2012

Lion Party

Hannah’s Birthday party on Sunday went so well. We were overrun by kids and at the end of it we were a little hoarse – but it was from good natured yelling over the noise, not yelling to try to control things.

I’m not the kind of person who just interacts naturally with kids, so I tend to over plan activities for them. So we had planned to open with a couple of crafts, so that early arrivals could sit at the table and be occupied but still see who was arriving and late arrivals could join in at any time, and then we’d do a couple of games and then food and presents, then a pinata and then if there was time before parents were arriving we’d make them popcorn and put on the Lion King for them to watch and unwind until their parents arrived.

But then the early arrivals and Hannah immediately girded themselves with swords and ran off to play.

I was still frosting cupcakes and gluing pieces of lion mane on the pinata, so I didn’t object to the delay in schedule. Once everyone had arrived, Ian sat them down to colour some lion masks, which they were pretty into. But then he said, “does anyone want to play a game?” And they replied, “nawww,” and ran off to play.

And as much as I’m a compulsive planner, I’m a firm believer in not interfering with kids who are entertaining themselves. So we just let them go with the chaos. I stood in the kitchen and visited with a couple of moms who stayed and Ian occasionally mediated something. And Rachel ran around stoking the flames of the five year olds’ imaginations – encouraging them to be zookeepers who had to catch her as a lion or to be pirates or whatever. Light sabers were fetched and duels transpired. Some pirates perched at the top of our spiral staircase which had become a crows’ nest.

Eventually we got out the snacks. And then fed them cupcakes. Then they ran around a bit more. Then we opened presents. And then they ran around more playing with the presents. And then it was five minutes until parents were supposed to be showing up and I said, “I guess we better do the pinata.” And the first parent got to walk in the door in time to hear the five year olds shriek in unison “CANDYYYY!!” as the pinata broke open.

My favourite part is always the invitations. I like stationery and details and presentation – so I have a bit of a confession, most years I barely let the kids help with the invitations at all. Which is horrible of me because they’re like, “Yay! We’re getting ready for my birthday, what can I do?!” And I’m all, “go watch TV. I’m busy getting ready for your birthday.”

For the sake of do-it-yourself invitations while still managing to get out of the way for your kids, this method of putting together invitations works pretty well. I printed out a couple of lions, then made templates of all their shapes. Then I just traced eight of them onto scrapbook paper, we cut them out and Hannah assembled them. She did the gluing and the stamping and she even drew the faces. And I think they turned out way more charming than if I had done them all. So that’s good.

And then one of the kids did this super-awesome thing of pasting a new piece of paper inside and turning her invitation into a Birthday card to give back to her to keep.

 

 

I had been all set to order a pinata – but then a number of places wouldn’t ship to Canada. One of them would but was going to charge $30 to ship a $15 pinata. And then I found this page. Making our own was for sure more work, but it was way, way cooler. My tips though: start the pinata at least a week out so you know you’ll have enough time to do a couple of layers and let them each dry thoroughly. Also, choose a good quality balloon so it can hold its pressure for a couple of days. Also, don’t let your pinata get heated during the drying process. We had this funny (in retrospect) moment where we were trying to use a space heater to encourage it to dry out a layer and once the air inside the balloon heated up, it could only expand out the neck at the top. So the balloon, well, it ballooned suddenly out the top. But it also cracked open the neck of the layers we had already done. And then we had to do some quick surgery to relieve the pressure without popping the balloon – but that meant that we didn’t have a lot of balloon pressure to sustain the pinata structure while doing the last few paper maché layers. I think we managed to save it though. Hannah was sure pleased with it.

Funny story about the lion sandwiches too and this one I feel kind of bad about. We had a cookie decorating marker for drawing faces on, but it was a pain to work with so I resorted to using a toothpick dipped in food colouring gel. I forgot that the gel is so much more colour potent. Maybe you know where this is going? One bite of sandwiches and the kids were all blue around the mouth. For five years olds who drool a bit or are sometimes messy eaters this means sending them home with a bit of a blue beard. Sadly it wasn’t a pirate party or that would have been much more awesome.

I had zero time to pull together the cupcakes and these petal wrappers saved me from having to mix up another batch of icing and apply manes.

And then we made some last minute party bunting. Last summer I had made some bunting for my aunt’s Birthday (to match the quilting fabric that was her actual birthday present). And that was totally pretty – but even that with its nice pressed seams and bias tape trim was more fuss than I could spare for this party. These ones are sewn right side out and then just threaded onto a ribbon. They’re so super-simple. Hannah said we should keep them up for Christmas and I said, “well do you want to hang them up in your room and I’ll make more for Christmas?” And then Hannah said, “OKAY, and then you can make more for everyone’s birthday and for Valentine’s day and you can make new ones for my next birthday” and I wasn’t even upset at her making that demand. That’s how simple they are.

 

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  1. Alison

     /  2012-11-29

    You’re awesome.

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