September 3, 2012

Space Party

My son Evan's space party for his 8th birthday was a real BLAST!

Theme:

I would have to say that the inspiration for this party came from two things.  1 - we own a rocket launcher, and 2 - my husband works for a company that designs stuff for NASA.  Access to space stuff was great motivation.  And as I have said before, I can talk up any party idea enough to make my kids fall in love with my ideas :)  They truly never mind, and always love what I come up with.

The majority of the details and activities came from this amazing party on Life Frosting.  So I give her the credit for coming up with all of the great ideas.  She has WONDERFUL parties posted, so check them out sometime.

Invitations:

I saw many cute invitations as I was searching for ideas on all of my favorite party sites, but just wasn't finding the perfect idea.  While browsing space wallpapers I found this photo from NASA and got the idea for these invites with my little astronaut as the star!
Front and Back.
I took a photo of my son's face, and using Photoshop Elements, I combined the two (adjust the layer opacity of the face) and made him a space walker!  For the back I just Photoshopped out the guy and added the text.  The wording came exactly from the invites on Life Frosting, so check out the link above.  The font was called fixedsys.  I tried to find the link for the photo, but can't find the exact one.  It's a pretty common photo though, so if you do a Google search for Manned Maneuvering Unit you should find it pretty easy.

Activities:

As kids showed up, we started them with Weightless Practice by doing Anti-gravity Arms.  Have you done this before?  I used to do it all the time as a kid.  You hold your arms straight down at your sides and push up as hard as you can.  While doing this, someone is holding your arms down at your sides.  Do this for about a minute, then have them let go and relax your arms. Your arms will float up in the air by themselves!
Top left, clockwise: Anti-gravity Arms, Target Practice, Nuts, bolts and washers for Shuttle Repair Relay.
Then the kids lined up to do target practice with a UFO (Frisbee) and foam Rocket (my son is holding it) through a hula hoop tied to our trampoline.  I got the Frisbee and rocket at Target.

For the Shuttle Repair Relay I explained to the kids how astronauts train for missions under water in their space suits.  We tried to simulate this by putting two washers on a bolt, then screwing on the nut while wearing dish gloves underwater.  I filled two plastic tubs about 6 inches deep and we divided into two teams and raced to see what team could finish first.  I had four sets of nuts, bolts and washers (from Home Depot - the square ones are in the cement section) so that when a boy finished we would take out a completed one and drop in the loose parts for the next boy to start on.  It was pretty tricky, especially for the younger boys, and took quite a while to complete.  I should have had something for the kids waiting, or those finished, to do when it wasn't their turn - like find a "Moon Rock" (we had already done it).
"Moon Rocks" made for Starbursts and tin foil.
Moon Rocks were made ahead of time and hidden around the yard.  Each boy got to find one and then put it in their treat bag.  Yes, they look like baked potatoes, but are a big handful of Starburst candies wrapped in tin foil.
Thanks to ATK Space Systems for loaning the demo video and composite parts.  And free coloring books also!
As I mentioned before, my husband works for a company that makes parts for aerospace companies including NASA.  That company is ATK and they make the booster rockets for the space shuttle, among other things. My husband talked to his boss, and they were able to let him check out a video and some composite parts.  He did a short demo for the kids and we watched some of the video that showed a shuttle launch, jets taking off, etc.  They thought it was pretty cool - and it was!

We actually did the rocket launching at the very end of the party because their parents had to drag them away!  Literally. Each kid got to make and decorate their own rocket.  If I would have had time I would have just made the rockets ahead of time, had them decorate with stickers and markers, then launch.  So the actual construction took a little time, but they still enjoyed it.  But the best part by far is launching their little rockets about a hundred feet into the air.  They had fun trying to catch them too.
Rocket launching!  The highlight of the party!
For plans on how to make a PVC rocket launcher go here for one similar to ours, or just do a Google search.  There are many different ways to make them.  We make our rockets by rolling a piece of cardstock around a piece of PVC pipe that is just bigger than the one we launch off of (3/4 inch on launcher, 1 inch to roll on).  Tape it well with clear packing tape along the entire seam.  Tape over one end of the tube well and make sure it is sealed.  This will be the cone end.  If you don't tape over the end, air will get through and the cone will blow off.

Cut a 3" circle of cardstock for the nose cone (I just trace around the inside of the tape roll).  Cut a line from the edge to the center, then roll it into a cone and tape.  Tape it to the top of the tube.
Rocket fin pattern.  Print on 8 1/2" x 11" cardstock and follow insturctions on where to cut.

Tape three fins to the bottom of the tube like in the photo above, and then decorate and launch!
I hope the directions make sense.  Looking at the photo will probably help the most.

Music:

Years ago I helped do a space themed Blue and Gold Banquet for the Cub Scouts in our area.  I ordered this album for it, The Science Fiction Album - City of Prague Philharmonic (4 disks), and have actually used songs from it for other events, like a haunted house, and an alien themed Halloween party.  Songs from 2001: A Space Odyssey, E.T., Close Encounters, and Star Trek made great background music, not to mention Star Wars of course.  I highly recommend this great album.  Actually listening to it as I do this post.

Food:

We tried to keep the food pretty simple for picky 8 year-olds.  We had "Flying Saucer" pizzas, "Asteroid" cheese puffs, "Meteorite" grapes, and "Galaxy Juice" drinks.
The space food and display table.
I made the star ice cubes from unsweetened colored Kool-Aid in my star ice cube trays.  I should have sweetened them!!  They were okay with the "Galaxy Juice" sprite from 2-liter bottles poured over, but when they got smaller and people started popping them into their mouths to suck on they got a very tart surprise!  Kool-Aid has a lot of citric acid in it.  They did make the Sprite interesting colors though.  The label is clip-art from Microsoft Publisher.

The backdrop was made from a black plastic tablecloth and wall decals from the local Dollar Tree store.  I also got the space shuttle die cuts there.  Boxes were placed underneath the plastic to add levels and height.

The table was close to the same with the addition of silver star die-cuts from Zurcher's party store.  We had silver cups and plates.

Cake:

I got the idea for the cake from the Family Fun crater cake.  I didn't want to take time to serve up the cake at the party, so I made patriotic cupcakes to go with it.  I was excited to find the space playset at our local party store Fundaze.  I may have squealed with delight!  It came with the rocket ship, flag and space men.  I think I got the number 8 sparkly candle either there also, or at Zurcher's party store.
Space backdrop and Moon Cake.
The cake was a chocolate cake mix baked in a stainless steel bowl.  I used canned frosting with crushed Oreo cookies mixed in.  The craters were made with gray Necco candy wafers.  I suggest buying several packs to get plenty of gray ones that aren't broken.  The only store I found them at was also Dollar Tree.  Love that place.

Favors:

The favor bags consisted of Mars Bar, Orbit gum, Milky Way candy bars, Starburst Moon Rocks, Pop Rocks, glow sticks, squirt gun, airplane finger flyer, patriotic bendy straw and Tootsie rolls, parachute dude,  an ATK coloring and activity book, and a completion certificate.  My husband got the activity books from the HR department at work and they were awesome.  They had puzzles, space facts, and full-color paper airplane pages to fold.  He also ordered some space erasers and dehydrated space food through work (the actual stuff they send up with the astronauts) but it didn't make it in time for the party.  We used it at a family party a month later.
The treat bags with Space Shuttle die-cuts for name tags.
Completion certificates we put in the treat bags.
At the time of this party NASA was doing a fun "Send Your Name to Mars" program on their kid's website.  You could register and get your name on a computer microchip that would be sent to Mars on the rover Curiosity.  I entered my son's name and printed him a certificate telling about it.  Well, this rover just landed on Aug. 5, 2012 and my son thinks it is pretty cool that his name is now on Mars!  You can see how it landed here.

Other Parties to Visit:

Need more ideas?  There's a fun Robot Command game at Birthday in a Box, and don't forget to visit Life Frosting where I got my inspiration for this party.

Good luck planning your own space voyage, and don't forget to leave comments or e-mail me with questions.  I LOVE COMMENTS!  If you use any of my ideas, please let me know in a comment.

June 20, 2012

Mad Scientist Party

Theme:
I would have to say that the inspiration for this party came from cool Halloween supplies on clearance at Walmart!  I'll show it to you later in the treat bags, but since Halloween is about six months before my son's birthday, he had to decide quickly.  Since I am pretty good at persuading my children toward the party I want to plan, it wasn't hard to convince him :)  They do actually get a choice, but once I tell them all of the cool ideas I have for that theme, they jump on board quickly.

This was a fun party to plan, but got a little pricey from all of the specialized supplies I purchased for it.  Compared to some I found, I think I actually kept it pretty cheap.  But with 6 months to plan, I accumulated quite a few items.  But the results were a really cool party.  And just to prove it, I will quote a boy who attended that came up to me and said, "I just have to tell you, this is the coolest birthday party I have ever been to!"  I love that kid.

Invitations:
I found these awesome invitations that I used at Living Lucurto (her party linked here).  Here's the link for the cute OPEN WITH CAUTION stickers used to seal them with.  I love it when talented people share awesome freebies!  Forgot to take a photo!  Click on the link to see hers that I used.

Decorations:
The color scheme came from the invitations and the supplies that I had, and this cool Hazardous Teen Party on Catch My Party.

 Test tube sprinkles were from Halloween clearance items at Walmart.

Halloween decor and dry ice in colored water added to our mad decor. The background science die-cuts were from Dollar Tree.

We bought dry ice to add to the colored water for a cool effect, but it just doesn't last very long!  Long enough to take a few photos, but not through the party.  It would take a big chunk of dry ice to get a long-lasting effect.  We put a little more in when the kids came in to eat so they could see it.

Activities:
Safety goggles from Dollar Tree.

We had the caution sign (below) posted on the front door as the kids showed up.  My daughter drew the "Get your Einstein on!" sign on the white board that was in the entry.  She helped them get their lab coat on, safety glasses, then if they wanted, she used hair mousse to get their hair spikey.  A few kids even let her do it!
The lab coats were made from a white garbage bag and a Sharpie marker.  We cut holes for their head and arms.  Here's a cute idea for one out of a white T-shirt, but we were going for waterproof.


Building their atom structures.

After the boys got dressed for mess, they headed outside and were given a bag of gumdrops and toothpicks to build an Atom structure.  We told them to make it as tall and as stable as they could.  They came up with some pretty neat towers.  I got the idea from here at Party Planning Mom, but I think the gumdrops we used were more stable than marshmallows.  The link will take you to her entire party, which is very inspiring.  Many of my ideas came from her party.
My husband and my oldest son were our scientists that demonstrated and helped run the experiments. I kept calling my son Beaker, but since he had never see The Muppets, he didn't get it :)

I had my very own Beaker and Bunsen!

The jelly marbles were purchased from Steve Spangler Science.  If you watch the videos on his website you can get lots of ideas for experiments to do with the supplies.  When they show up, they also come with a sheet of directions and experiments which was really helpful.

Jelly marbles are solid polymer orbs that start out the size of a small bead.  They expand to a squishy marble size as they absorb water.   The first photo is of marbles that we soaked for at least a day in colored water, yellow and blue.  The middle photo shows how they disappear when you add water to the container.  We had a message taped on behind it that said "Happy Birthday Noah" and was revealed when the water went in, but you can't see it in the photo.  The third photo shows how the clear ones are practically invisible in water.  The kids loved putting their hand in this and feeling them.  They were given some dry jelly marbles in their treat bags to take home and "grow".

We tried to dry them out afterward, but after being handled and played with, they got moldy before they shrunk, and we threw them away.

Hydrophobic sand or "Magic Sand".
Hydrophobic sand is SO much fun to play with!  When it is in the air it looks and feels just like regular sand, but when it is under water it gets 'scared' of the water (hydrophobic) and clumps together.  You can shape it and lift it under water, but as soon as you get into the air it falls apart.  My husband explained how it works and then the kids got to take turns playing with it.

I was able to spread it out to dry after the party to store back in a bag.  Spread it thinly though because little drops of water kept hiding in it.


I tried to make everything sound as scientific as I could, so the above supplies are white vinegar and baking soda.  In the recipe below there are scientific (or scientific-sounding) names you could label them with.  Most of the kids were pretty smart and knew what they were.

Top three photos are the volcanoes. Bottom two are Insta Snow.

I knew we wanted to do the old erupting volcano experiment, but I wasn't sure how.  Somewhere I stumbled across this easy way to make a volcano out of a Dixie cup, small plate and foil.  Just tape the cup to the center of the plate, put a piece of tin foil over it and tape to the bottom, then cut slits in the top of the cup and tape them to the inside.  It was an easy and inexpensive way to make 12 volcanoes.

Volcano Recipe (for a small Dixie cup)
1 Tbsp. baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
2 Tbsp. water (H2O)
drop or two of food color (Blue No. 1, Red No. 40)
1 drop of dish soap (sodium laureth sulfate, or anionic surficant)
     Mix together with a popsicle stick (stirring stick).  Then take to eruption site before adding:
2 Tbsp. vinegar (acetic acid)
     Pour it in quickly!

I experimented with a lot of different recipes, but loved it this way with the dish soap.  Without it the bubbles pop and go away quickly, but with it, it foams and oozes over the edges slower for a longer-lasting effect.  Always try it out ahead of time to make sure it works well with the size of cup you have.  It wouldn't be any fun if it didn't overflow!

The bottom two photos (above) are of the Insta Snow, which was also purchased from Steve Spangler Science.  This powder is a super absorbent polymer that grows in seconds when you add the water.  Again, watch the videos on his site to see how cool it is.  We had the kids team up for this one and after watching it grow in the cup they got to dump it out onto large cookie sheets and play with it.  We didn't send any of this home because it could be a big mess if not controlled.
The next experiment was to make Oobleck, a non-newtonian fluid.  This basically means that when stress is applied to this liquid it exhibits properties of a solid, and it's totally cool to play with!  I got the little storage containers at the dollar store, which is a great place to get them because I think they come in a six pack for a dollar, and they have all different sizes.


Oobleck Recipe
1 part water
1.5 to 2 parts cornstarch
food coloring (optional)

Try it ahead of time to get the right consistency.  I think we used a straight 1:2 ratio.  The kids got to take this home in their containers, but because of the dirt and oil on your hands, it goes moldy quickly.  You could try storing it in the fridge, or just make a new batch.

Tip:  I bought the baking soda and cornstarch from a store that sells these items in bulk bins and it made it much cheaper.  I went to WinCo Foods.

And what party would be complete without Mentos and Diet-Coke geysers!!!
The highlight of the party! Saved for the end because the kids were a MESS afterward!

We purchased the Geyser Tube from Steve Spangler also, and you really couldn't do this as well without it.  The best effect comes by getting all of the Mentos into the Diet Coke at once, and the pull-pin makes that possible.  My husband made a little stand out of some scrap wood to keep the bottle from tipping, and each guest got a pack of plain mint Mentos (they got to decide how many to add), and a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke.  We rinsed out the tube between launches to keep it from reacting too soon.

Off brands of soda will work also, but I got this on sale for the same price.  My family hardly ever drinks soda, and we don't drink Coke at all, so I felt SO guilty with a shopping cart full of twelve 2-liter bottles!  I told everyone I talked to that it was for Mentos and Diet Coke geysers because I didn't want them to think I was going to drink it!

Most of the kids actually kept their lab coats on, and only a few chose to stand in the geysers, but for this reason, go with Diet Coke instead of regular to reduce the sticky mess.  Nothing you can do about the smell though, because those kids were REALLY stinky afterward!

Food:
The food was simple, but fun.  I saw some Jello made in petri dishes with a gummy worm, but didn't want the added expense, so I used clear cups instead, and I think they turned out great.  I let them set up just a little before adding the gummy worms.  We did four flavors of jello.  The main dish was hotdogs, and the drinks were mini cans of 7-UP with the label below.  Again, thanks to this post for the inspiration.  The atom structures the kids made were a great centerpiece, and I filled my big cookie jar full of atomic cheese balls.
Cake & Cupcakes:

I purchased this gummy brain on Halloween clearance at Walmart, and it made an awesome cake topper!  The container was from some rolls or something that we had just purchased their also.  The icing is tinted slightly grayish, and it was easy to do a brain design on the top of the cupcakes with a large round tip.  I totally LOVE how they turned out.  I was going to tint some vanilla pudding green to put as filling in the cupcakes, but I didn't have time.

Favors:

The treat bags were: skull suckers, prisms, wax drink things, and paddle/balls from Halloween clearance items from Walmart, Toxic Waste candies, bubbles, glow sticks, Sour Dudes Sour Straws and grow capsules from Dollar Tree, Smarties and Atomic FireBall candies, and polymer orbs from Steve Spangler Science (link above).  Nerd candies would also be a great addition.



The bubbles from Dollar Tree turned out really cute.  I struggled to come up with a scientific name for them, and eventually made this one up on my own.  I'm pretty proud of it!
It was a very fun party to plan.  A little time-consuming to come up with the experiments, but worth it.  It was also great doing something that felt a little educational also.  Helps me justify the cost! :)


Please leave comments with questions or additional party ideas.
I'd love to hear from you!
Click here to download the printable files I made.
Extras:
  • The font I used for the labels was Aharoni.
  • The label images were from various clip-art I found on Google Images, and the font Science which is a bunch of science dingbats.  Available free on dafont.com.
  • Funology is a site with great information and science experiments.
  • Birthday Party Ideas.com has this great party posted under the name Scientific Sleepover 8 yr.

June 5, 2012

Paper Mache Recipe

Thought I would include a photo of the finished tree since it looks cool!
I recently made a tree trunk for a church play.  While working on creating it I came across this recipe for paper mache, and I loved it, so I thought I would share.  I've used it a couple of times now and it makes a nice strong finish that sticks well.

Paper Mache
1 cup flour
1 1/2 cups water (cold or warm)
1/2 cup white school glue
pinch of salt (important in humid climates to prevent mold)

Place ingredients in a bowl and whisk.  It should be a syrupy consistency and can be tinted.  Then tear newspaper strips about 1" to 1 1/2" wide and around 6" long.  Dip them in the paper mache, squeegee them off with your fingers and place in alternating directions on your object.  You can do several layers to make it strong.  I like to use brown craft paper because it is thicker than newspaper so you don't have to do as many layers for a strong finish.  Let it dry overnight.

If you need more detailed directions, just Google it.  There are even videos on how to do it.

Here are the photos of my projects that I used the paper mache on.  Unfortunately, I keep forgetting to take a photo of them before they are painted.
The trunk before the paper mache went on.

My son is almost 6'5" so you can see how big this tree is!  The trunk is made with cardboard cement form tubes from Home Depot.  I used cut up pieces of foam pipe insulation and pool noodles for the raised knots.



The pig pinata.  You can see it created a pretty smooth finish.  Painted by my daughter.
Don't ever be afraid to try paper mache.  It's really easy and a great project for kids too.

June 4, 2012

Angry Birds Party

As you can guess, my inspiration for this party came from the Angry Birds game.  I had it on my iPod, but it was too small to play well.  It wasn't until I played it on my computer on Google Chrome that I really got hooked.  This party was a great excuse to play it too - I was doing research!  That really is true though.  I needed to know what the characters and items did, and the best way to find out was to play.

I do need to add, that my son Evan, who the party was actually for (they are all kind of for me though :) is also a big Angry Birds fan.  It's a favorite for him to play on my husband's iPad.  So it wasn't hard to convince him that it was the perfect theme for his 9th birthday.

My thanks though, goes to Pinterest, where I got all of my ideas for the party.  You thought I came up with this stuff on my own?  No way.  Only when I have to.  I love to find amazing resources and use what they have provided, or re-create it on my own.  But the ultimate goal of this blog, is for you to save time on your parties by using the links I provide to all of these amazing websites full of ideas.

I'm an idea collector, and here's the Angry Birds party blueprint for you to follow!

Invitations:
Free Printable Bithday Kit | Angry BirdsThis free printable from SheryKDesigns was the biggest help to my party.  I was able to make adorable invitations without doing hardly any work!  The kit even comes with the font to make the words look just like the game.

I used this kit for the invitations, banner, and sling-shot toppers.







I just copied the same format they used for the sample invite and re-sized it for a 4x6 photo print.



Decorations:
I wasn't able to find many Angry Birds party supplies in stores.  What I did find was at a local party store called Zurchers, but it was being discontinued.  Apparently the big craze had already come and gone there?  I did get a pig tablecloth and yellow bird napkins there.


1.  The backdrop was a green plastic tablecloth (every single store I went to was out of light blue!), and the little cutouts and Angry Birds words were cut out from the fruit snack boxes we got at Walmart.  The banner was made from the free kit mentioned above.
2.  The cute birds on the door were made by my friend who is a teacher.  She made them for a school bulletin board, and was kind enough to loan the to me.  I love them!
3.  Self-explanatory - the napkins.
4.  The baskets of treats were for the games.  They got to pick one depending on how good they did on the game.  At the bottom you can see the edge of the pig tablecloth.

Games/Activities:
As the kids showed up, we had Angry Birds Bingo set up for them to play.  I got the idea from THIS site.  My son told me that he wanted to play Bingo, and he wanted to do Angry Birds trivia.  I combined the two by reading off trivia questions to which they had to guess which square to cover.  I put a picture on there too so we can play it at our upcoming family reunion with younger kids.
I was pretty tired from party planning when I wrote these clues, so they are quite goofy!
I created the Bingo board and cards in Photoshop Elements using clipart from THIS website (awesome!) and screenshots from the actual Angry Birds game on Google Chrome.  I'm still working on finding the link for the cute graphic at the top, so I'll post it later.  I made 12 sets of Bingo cards, so every one of them is slightly different.  This was time-consuming, but not hard once I had them created.  You could also make these in a program like Microsoft Publisher.
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I got the idea for the can toss from THIS website.  We used a ball that I purchased at Walmart.  I didn't paint this one.  My daughter wants me to make sure to give credit to her and her friends for painting the cans.  Amazing job girls - thanks!  The kids got three tries to knock all of the cans down.

The pig bowling game came from THIS site.  We changed it up a bit by knocking down pigs instead of pigs knocking down colored bowling pins.  I spray painted them first, then added the faces with acrylic craft paints.  They had two tries to knock the pins down.

Both games were pretty easy and really just there to give them something else to do while they waited for their turn at the main activity.  The real Angry Birds game!
We had seen some other life-sized games on these sites HERE and HERE, but we really weren't excited about building the slingshots.  Then we saw a segment on a local talk show where they had played Angry Birds using a water balloon launcher and told where to find them.  I got this one at Big5 sporting goods for $20.  It takes three people to use it - two to hold and one to launch.  That's a big bonus for me since my two youngest boys can't do much damage with it without a helper!

I used the guidelines for painting plastic balls from the sites above.  But I had Zinsser Bulls Eye 123 primer/sealer and it worked amazingly well.  I painted the outline base coat with several layers of the white primer, then let it dry well.  The other colors were acrylic paint over the primer.  I didn't bother tracing the faces on, I just free-handed them, so they aren't perfect, but turned out pretty darn cute!  And I didn't use a sealer like the other sites suggested - and they didn't need it!  Those birds took a LOT of abuse and not a single one looks different from when I painted it.  Do make sure you have them inflated to the size you want them before painting though.  I'm pretty sure that doing it after would crack the paint.

The boxes were from kind neighbors and were painted by my teenagers.  Thanks guys!  The kids got four tries, with the four birds, to knock down the pigs and as much of the structure as they could.  They got a level 1,2, or 3 treat depending on how much they destroyed.

The top-left corner photo is of the Grandpa pig pinata (or Pigata as we like to call it).  The inspiration came from HERE.  I made it from a punch-ball I purchased a the dollar store and paper mache.  I found THIS recipe online and have used it several times.  It works really well.  This pinata used only 1/2 a batch.  My daughter did a fabulous job painting it.

Our final activity was for the birthday boy to launch the pinata.  Unfortunately it was so heavy with candy that it only went about two feet before landing on the ground with a thud.  My oldest son tried, then my husband.  It was just too heavy.  So they did the next best thing and launched it by hand about 20 feet into the air.  It took only two good landings before the kids tore into it and filled up their hands (and shirts) with candy.

Music:
Simple really.  We started the Angry Birds game on my husband's computer and put the speakers in the window.  It set the mood and made everyone want to dance along - for a while.  There's not a lot of variety to the theme song, so after a while we were just sick of it. :)  But it was fun music.

Food:
With past experience of scorching hot summer birthday parties, we found that the kids don't have much of an appetite, so we just did cupcakes, drinks and ice cream cups.  Since it was about 93 degrees outside, we also had cups and a cooler of ice water in the shade so they could stay hydrated.

Cake:


Evan told me he wanted a 'fancy' cake for his birthday and proceeded to show me some very elaborate ones made of fondant sculptures that I had pinned on my Celebrations board on Pinterest.  I have yet to attempt fondant, and knew I didn't have an extra 20 hours to spend on a cake.  I did find THIS cake though, and used it as inspiration for the cake and cupcakes that I made.

It was super easy to make.  I just made a round cake (I have a tall round pan I bought in Japan that fits a whole cake mix so I don't have to deal with layers), then froze it for about an hour in the freezer.  This makes it easy to put on the crumb coat of frosting.  It's just a thin layer of icing to coat the crumbs!  Then I traced the face into the icing and outlined it with a round tip and dark chocolate icing.  I don't like to add a ton of food coloring to get black, so I always just use dark chocolate for black.  Then, using a star tip, you just fill in the design with the desired colors.  It's as easy as coloring!

The red food coloring is from AmeriColor and it is good stuff.  I have tried other brands, and will always use this brand from now on.  I bought it at Hobby Lobby.  Duncan Heinz cream cheese frosting is my favorite for taste when I don't want to take the time to make homemade icing.  It works pretty well if it doesn't get too warm while decorating.  (That's why I won't show the sides!)

The cupcakes were made in a similar way, I just skipped the outlining.  The candy eyes (love them) are from Wilton, and the beaks were made with banana Laffy Taffy.  Roll it flatter with a rolling pin, then cut with a knife.  The eyebrows are the same chocolate frosting with a large round tip.  Adorable!

Favors:
I saw the idea for the bags HERE, but the download for the faces came from HERE.  I ordered the slingshots and balls from Oriental Trading Company.  They were a little pricey, but not too bad for a dozen slingshots and enough balls to give 5 each.  We put Chiclets gum, Dots, Crunch bars and Air Heads candies in with them.  Then the kids got to load up on other candies, Angry Birds fruit snacks, popsicles, and pinata candy throughout the activities and games.  Their bags were nearly overflowing by the time they left the party, and they ate a ton of it while still here!  They were pretty excited about it all though, especially the sling shots.  Hopefully I don't have any parents too angry with me over that - I did put a warning on the labels!  The labels were from the kit at the top of the post.  I modified them in Photoshop to fit my warning on them.
It was such a fun party and I thank my Mom and my family for all their help, and the wonderful ladies in the blogs mentioned in the links for their inspiration.  I hope you will do your own Angry Birds party.  If you do, you may earn the title I earned from my kids as the "Coolest Mom ever"!  Thanks guys!  You're worth it.

May 11, 2012

Memo Pad Holder

I'm still alive!  My plan is to get back to blogging, so I thought I would start with a simple post.

Teacher appreciation week just ended, and for one class I just donated money, and for the other I forgot to take a photo of the gift!  It was actually a repeat of a previous year for another teacher and an idea that is on my other blog.  I will be transferring it here someday :)  This idea is actually what we gave teachers as a Christmas gift.  I love how they turned out and thought I would share the idea.


These memo pad holders are made from 5x7 clear acrylic photo frames.  I got these at Walmart and I think they were $2 each.  Then I just used my digital scrapbook stash to create 5x7 designs to go in them.  If you don't have a digital scrapbook stash, GET ONE!  There are innumerable free supplies out there to hoard.  After designing, I got them  printed as 5x7 photos, slid them in and added a 4x4 Post-It-Notes pad.  Super easy, and I think they turned out adorable!  If you had a thin piece of cardboard to slide in behind the photo for support, that would help support it when writing.  I also ties some jute just above the note pads for a little extra.

Total price is under $5 each.