Tuesday, January 14, 2014

::pirate party invitations::

I had to experiment with these bad boys.  

All of them are printed on card stock from my super cheap home printer.  I made the font in a dark brown to try and add to the aged effect.  The pirate at the top was off a Google search for "free pirate clip art". 

The first try was cut out to be a map shape and then dipped in watered down food color mixed to be brown.  It turned out green and not wrinkled enough.

The second try was paper dipped in the food coloring and them wrinkled into a ball.  It came out so faded and over wrinkled that you could no longer read it.  And it was still green.

Lily likes to make herself tea so I made a batch and experimented with it.  It was too pink, not very brown.  By this point I had looked up online from Martha Stewart the idea of putting the mixture  into a spray bottle instead of dipping the paper.  I had also figured out by this point to spray the paper lightly.  Then wrinkle it into a ball - this made the paper easier to wrinkle but the print didn't fade.  But even with all this experimentation the color was still too pink.  

I didn't want to go to the store and buy a darker tea just for this.  I started digging through the cabinets looking for something brown that would work.  I came up with baking cocoa.  I wasn't sure it would work but I figured - why not?  I put one teaspoon for about 1.5-2 cups of water into a spray bottle.  It worked well.  

Here are my final directions -
Print invitation in brown ink on white card stock.  
Take one teaspoon powdered baking cocoa to about 2 cups of water.  Put in a spray bottle and mix very well.  
Spray the front of each invite lightly.  Make sure you cover it but don't soak it.  Rub it in with your hands.  Be careful on any place with black ink because the smear on them was more obvious.  
Turn the page over and lightly spray and smear the back.
Wad the page into a ball.
Smooth it out, able more spray if needed, and leave it to dry.  
When dry rip the invite roughly into a map like shape.  
Smooth out the paper like you would a dollar bill you are trying to get into a soda machine.  
Burn the edges.  
Show them to Max and have him add his name and use a pencil to poke a hole in each one.  He says its a cannon ball.  
Roll it into a map and tie it with the string of your choice.  I used yellow raffia because it was near by.



Saturday, January 11, 2014

::it's time for the Pirate Party::


It's time to get rolling on the Pirate Party.

The kids don't get huge parties until they are school age.  But since Max and Q's birthdays are only two days apart I am throwing Max a big awesome Pirate Party, and having a little nod to Q in it too.  In his 2 year old mind he will think that its his party anyway.


Invites need to be pirate maps.  I have been playing around with a few different ideas about how to make them look like old maps.  These are a few of my inspiration ideas.  Don't bring up putting them in a bottle - these are going to be passed out at Max's kindergarten class and glass bottles are not realistic.  Plus - with only so much budget glass bottles seem like an unnecessary waste.  


Sometimes I make the cakes if the idea is simple, sometimes I have it made if my dreams our bigger than my skills.  I have the most amazing cake lady.  She is inexpensive for the quality of her work and she delivers.  I throw a ball of ideas at her and she makes them real.  Never once had I wished for more from a cake she has brought us.  Here are the cake ideas that I emailed her.  She will mix them together and come up with a two tier cake for Max and a smaller side cake for Q.

I will have a big red X on the door of the gym and then the hallway in full of black streamers that the kids have to walk through.  I have an idea of what I want to do with the cake and treat table but I am still trying to figure that one out.  I think the stations are going to be plenty of decoration but I will also be to sprinkle gold coins all over the place.  I plan to kind of figure this out the day of.  I'll just have lots of basics to decorate with and go with it.  

Intro Craft:
 I have found over the years that it is good to have a craft or two at the start of the party.  Something fun, but not your main craft.  Something that kids can spend 15 mins on if they come on time or something that they could quickly throw together if they come late and we have moved on to other things.  I call it an intro craft.  For the pirate party I am going to have a table set up right when the kids set up with a few crafts.  They will be making looking glasses out of paper towel rolls, gluing feathers on their parrot, and making a pirate hand print.  During this time they will also pick out a pirate name - something like Scurvy Mike and they will have set an area to put all their things to take home.  That way at the very end of the party pretty much everyone can just grab their stuff and go.   

Pirate Stations
Here is the meat and potatoes of the party.  After the intro crafts are done we get started on Pirate Stations.  I am using the word stations because that is the same wording they using in their kindergarten class.  These little people know that word, they understand it.  I will divide them into groups if lots of them are there, if we have a smaller number then I will just let them pick their own stations.  The first time they do a station they get a little pirate prize.  After they do them all they will have a collection of pirate gear.  I may not do all of these, but these are the basic concepts.  Since this will be a an church  
1.  Walk the blank.  Big cardboard boat with sail that has an opening to a wooden board up on milk crates.  They walk the blank like they would walk a balance beam.  Underneith will be a blue sheet with shark fins.  First time they do it they get an eye patch.
2.  Swab the deck.  Push black balloons with a push broom around some kind of area.  Maybe into a basket.  After this they get a pirate sash.
3.  Crab walk to get a pirate tattoo.
4.  Climb the mast.  A rope tied to heavy weights that they must pull themselves along to get to the end of.  After this one they get a pirate sword (a blow up from the party store).
5.  Peg leg hop.  Hop on one leg over a certain area and get a pirate hat.
6.  Pirate Cave.  Go through a few boxes taped together to look like a cave and get a beard.

Pirate Games
I need a few filler games to keep things going.  Some times kindergarteners needs to just run around and be crazy.
Cannon Ball Blast - each kid has a balloon tied to their ankle and they run around trying to pop each others balloons. 
Musical Islands -I will have a few different islands pre-made.  Things like a red island with a canon on it.  Or a blue island with a parrot.  I will have about ten islands.  Then I tell the kid to go to a red.  Or a cannon.  Or a blue.  Then after five or six directions I pick a winner card.  Card will have one thing on them.  Like a red or a cannon.  Then anyone on the red wins.  Its very similar to the game Hullabaloo.  Winner has to do something - like give a pirate shout. 
I always have a mental list of a few filler games just in case my timing is wrong - usually things like Simon Says and Red Light Green Light. 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Thursday, January 2, 2014

::oh, max::

 Max.  That boy just seriously makes my soul ache from him cuteness.

I have a Christmas story about him that I really want to remember when I am old.  It all starts with a little boy and too much TV.  All these commercials are perfectly designed to touch his little heart.  He had fallen in love with the Hot Wheels Car Maker.  He told me in early November that he wanted one.  I got on Amazon and it had mixed reviews.  One of the big problems with it was that several reviews said it wasn't good for little boys that were "really active" AKA - cray cray  AKA - Max.  The toy requires an adult to help the kid and there is a ten minute or so waiting time while the mold heats up and cools down.  I didn't think it sounded like a good toy for Mr Max.

Then we went to see Santa and the only thing Max asked him for was the Hot Wheels Maker.  Still I ignored it.  I figured some one else in the family was going to buy it for him.

Then we get down to three days before Christmas day.  Max tells me that he just can't wait to open his Hot Wheels Maker.  I tell him he may not get everything on his list.  He tells me that his list only had five things on it and the Hot Wheels Maker was the number one thing on it, and he asked Santa for it in person.  He told me he was pretty sure he would get it.  I reminded him that his birthday is only one month after Christmas and that he could ask for him birthday what he didn't get for Christmas.  He actually winked at me, because he was so confident that Santa was going to hook him up.  That's when I text the family and realized I had to find this crazy toy. 

Then we are down to two days before Christmas.  A toy that was literally on every single shelf in the city was now out of stock.  EVERYWHERE!  It was like trying to find a Cabbage Patch Doll in the early 80's.  Gone.  I even tried Craigslist because I was totally willing to pay a scalper by this point.  Nothing.  No store in the state of Indiana had this toy.  Amazon had it with Xmas day delivery but it was almost $200 dollars and had to be ordered by 3pm.  I just couldn't do it.

That night Max and I laid in bed together talking about our day.  He was falling asleep, and I swear I am not making this up - he whispered "Hotwheels Car Maker".  I asked him what he said and he woke up and looked at me and said, "I was just thinking about opening my Car Maker on Christmas morning.  I just can't wait to see it!"  And I melted into a puddle.  I regretted not getting that darn thing on Amazon early that day.  Super cheap Brooke regretting not buying a TWO HUNDRED DOLLAR TOY!!!!!  I had lost my mind.  I put him to bed and spend another hour researching every store in the state.  Still no luck.

The next day was Christmas Eve.  We went to Josh's parents.  Josh had come up with the idea that we would order the toy on Amazon and give Max a picture of it.  Telling him it would arrive soon.  We even talked Emma into backing us up.  We got to his parents and used his brothers Amazon prime to order it.  It would arrive a few days after Christmas.  It wasn't perfect but it was a solution I could live with.

I stole my sister in-law and we made a quick store run to buy some stocking candy.  We were slowly shopping around and enjoying each others company.  As we walked by the Hot Wheels section I said - "Let's just check and make sure they don't have that F-ing toy."  I had literally called this store myself three times.  My Father in-law had checked for himself that morning.  But guess what was sitting on the bottom shelf?

right when I found it

One magical Hot Wheels Car Maker.   Just one.  All alone and not showing up on the stores inventory sheets.  Not there that morning.  One perfect unopened miracle of a flipping toy.  I teared up.  Jamie and I hugged and jumped up and down.  We celebrated.  

I bought that damn thing.  I didn't even look at the price tag.  I actually held it in my arms for the rest of the shopping trip because I was worried someone would take it out of my cart.  I was willing to brawl over it.  I read the box over and over because I just couldn't believe it was actually the toy I wanted.

I snuck it home and gave it to Santa to put under the tree.  And when he opened it - he stepped right up to the plate and gave me exactly the reaction I was looking for.  Video below.

Then we opened the box and actually played with it.  He really does like it.  It's actually a pretty fun toy.  He very calmly waits for the toy to do its job.  It was worth the whole adventure.   Just like it must have been worth it when my parents bought our off the back of a truck African American dolls in the 80's. 


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