Perfection Is My Enemy

A Chrisitan mom & crafter shares what's worked for her.

A Very Angry Birthday Party March 12, 2013

Filed under: Birthday Parties!,Frugal — Perfection Is My Enemy @ 3:25 pm
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Angry Birds Birthday

Angry Birds Birthday

My son is obsessed with Angry Birds, so it wasn’t hard to pick a theme for his 6th birthday party.

I like to start our parties with a craft that the kids can work on while we are waiting for everyone to arrive. I don’t think I’d ever do this craft again, but I guess it’s worth sharing. We had the kids paint empty cans to look like angry birds, then ran some string though them and made romper stompers. I think it would work great with bigger cans, but we used regular soup-sized cans, and they crumpled under the kids weight. We prepared the cans ahead of time by spray painting them green, yellow and red. I had craft paint and google eyes for the kids to decorate with.

Angry Birds romper stompers.

Angry Birds romper stompers.

piñata

 

Piñata

Piñata

Next we had cupcakes. I made cupcake toppers out of craft foam, glued them to popsicle sticks, and stuck them in the cupcakes. This was nice because I was able to have them (the toppers) done days before the party, which took a lot of stress away the day of the party.

Cupcakes

Cupcakes

But by far, the best part of the party was the life-size Angry Birds game. My husband tried to build a slingshot out of PVC pipe, but it did not go well. I bought balls at Walmart for a dollar each and used fabric paint to paint the faces on them. I took empty boxes of various size and covered them with white paper, and then painted them to look like wood, stone, glass, etc. Since the slingshot didn’t work out so well, the kids just threw the balls at the pigs. It worked out so much better that way because the kids had so much more control. They all had a blast with this game.

Life-size Angry Birds game.

Life-size Angry Birds game.

See, here they are having fun.

IMG_2150-001

 

 

 

 

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Letters From Santa December 1, 2011

Filed under: Frugal,Kids — Perfection Is My Enemy @ 12:59 pm

Well, this is just too nifty to not share. Did you know that you can you can print a free, personalized letter from Santa, mail it to Alaska, and it will be mailed to your house with a North Pole post mark? How cool is that?

 

Here’s where I went to create and print my free letter:

http://www.freelettersfromsantaclaus.com/free_printable_letters_from_santa.asp

 

And here’s what you do to get the North Pole postmark:

  • affix the correct postage to addressed envelopes and cards
  • pack them in a larger envelope, box, Priority Mail or Express Mail package
  • send them to:

North Pole Holiday Cancellation Postmaster 4141 Postmark Dr. Anchorage, AK 99530-9998

To ensure delivery by Christmas, all requests must be received in Anchorage, Alaska by Dec. 10. The service is provided at no cost, but each card or letter must have the correct amount of postage and be addressed.

 

I can’t wait to see the boys’ faces when they get their letters!

 

 

Halloween Costume November 3, 2011

Filed under: Frugal,Kids — Perfection Is My Enemy @ 2:37 pm

The boys all wanted to be NASCAR drivers for Halloween. Since Sam is only 5 and doesn’t read very well, he was just happy to have a costume that looked like a race car driver. And, God bless his little heart, he wore the generic costume that we already had in the dress-up box. I bought Mac’s costume from someone at work for $10 (YAY!). Luke, who eats, breathes and sleeps NASCAR, insisted on being Jimmie Johnson. The problem is that they don’t make that costume anymore. Over a month of constant checking on ebay, only lead to more frustration. We would find a costume, bid on the costume, and at the last minute, it would skyrocket to over $40 + shipping. Even if we could afford it, you’ve got to be kidding me? $40 for a polyester jumpsuit? So off we went to Joann’s for some fabric. We came home with this:

Now on to the business of creating a race car driver suit with no pattern. I used his brother’s costume as a guide to cut out the pieces. I sewed red ribbon on the sleeves and pant legs, and copied the Lowe’s logo. Then I used freezer paper stenciling to make the letters. Finally, I sewed it all together. I think it turned out pretty good if I do say so myself. The boy was happy too!

Luke, Sam & Mac

 

Cowboy Birthday Party October 9, 2011

Filed under: Birthday Parties!,Frugal,Kids,Uncategorized — Perfection Is My Enemy @ 11:21 pm

A few weeks ago, we celebrated my son Mac’s 8th birthday. He chose a cowboy theme.

The invitation

I created the invitation on Publisher and then saved it as a jpg file. I then uploaded it to Snapfish and had them printed at $0.09 each. They turned out GREAT!

We had intended to have the entire party outside, but the weather was less than cooperative so we moved part of the party inside. I bought really cheesy, foam cowboy hats from Oriental Trading Company and purchased foam stickers from the dollar store for the kids to decorate. I also went to a local discount store and bought bandanas for all the kids for a dollar each.

Mac requested a cowboy costume for his present, so I picked up some fabric and whipped this out in about an hour.

The birthday boy ~ Cowboy Mac

My favorite part of the party was the cake. I used cream cheese frosting for the blue and for the white piping on the boot. The boot, letters and rope are all made from marshmallow fondant. I know, people say fondant is terrible stuff, but marshmallow fondant tastes wonderful and the kids were all super impressed when I told them what I made the rope from.

Some wonderful friends who live down the road from us brought their wagon and mule for the kids to ride on.

We opened presents and then all the kids got to whack the cowboy boot piñata that I made.

{I promise to make a tutorial the next time I make a piñata}

The birthday boy was happy and I don’t have to plan another party until next year (the Husband turns 40 in February).

 

Luke’s Lego Birthday Party August 10, 2011

Filed under: Birthday Parties!,Frugal,Gluten Free,Kids — Perfection Is My Enemy @ 2:26 pm
Picture I took to use on his birthday invitations.

Luke chose a Lego theme for his 9th birthday party. He’s happiest with just a few close friends, so we had 4 young guests and a handful of adult ones (who seemed to enjoy the party at least as much as the children did).

My husband built a ramp with some leftover flooring. As the children arrived at the party, they worked on building Lego cars to race down the ramp.

Kids racing their Lego cars.
 
I picked up some ribbons in the clearance section of Michaels and added these little blue circles.
 
Award Ribbons
 
Since Luke has Celiac Disease (which means he has to eat a completely gluten-free diet), I use Betty Crocker gluten-free mix for the cake.
 
Gluten-free, dye-free Lego cakes.
And because he has such bad reactions to artificial colors, I used beet juice to color the cake.  This was my first ever experience with fondant and I think it turned out pretty good. I’ll do another post dedicated to my fondant experience (what worked, and what I would do different next time).
 

Luke eating the marshmallow off the top of the cake.

 I made a Lego pinata (again, it had to be gluten-free, so it’s made with corn starch instead of flour). I filled it with some all natural suckers and some silly straws from the dollar store.
 

Lego pinata.

 
Instead of putting a lot of junk that gets broken and thrown away in the pinata, I put in crazy straws. I went to Michael’s and got a bunch of toys from the $1-2 section. I laid them out on a table and then drew Legos out of a jar. When I pulled out a yellow Lego, the kids with the yellow straws got to pick a prize off the table. It worked really well. There was no fighting or whining and everyone got a little nicer toy because it didn’t have to survive a beating with a bat.
 

Whacking the Lego pinata.

 
 
 
 

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Sam & Joshua’s Superhero 5th Birthday Party June 20, 2011

Filed under: Birthday Parties!,Frugal,Gluten Free,Kids — Perfection Is My Enemy @ 10:46 pm

First, a little background. During my pregnancy with Sam, my friend Margie was also pregnant. We went to OB appointments  together and both had boys just 10 days apart. Sam & Joshua have had their birthday parties together since they were 2, and their 5th birthday was no different. What was different is that it is probably the last party the boys will have together. Joshua and his family are moving to South Korea next month and won’t be back for a few years. And, after my husband graduates from college next year, we will likely be moving away from where we currently live for him to find work. So, since this is probably the last combined party, I went a little nuts.

The Birthday Boys ~ Joshua & Sam

We chose a generic superhero theme. I had a hundred yards of white muslin fabric (leftover from our wedding 11 years ago) so I found out each kid’s favorite color and made them each a superhero cape to decorate with colored sharpies.  They did a great job and were all very creative. I love to start parties with a craft because it gives the kids something to do while we wait for everyone to arrive.

Cape Decorating

I also got some facepaint and we painted superhero masks on the kids’ faces.

Sam enjoying the facepainting

Then, we played a game. I volunteered 4 of the dads (we invite the parents to stay and enjoy the party too) to be the villains. Then I divided the kids into 4 teams. Each team got a roll of toilet paper (4 for a dollar at the dollar store) and they had a race to see who could use up their roll of toilet paper first by tying up the bad guys.

 

Tying up the bad guys!

After the game we enjoyed a wonderful BBQ dinner.

Mmmmmmmmmm

 

The weather did not cooperate well at all, so we moved some of the party into the garage and some of the dads set up some tents outside. It wasn’t ideal, but it worked.

To decorate the cupcakes, I got a package of primary colored card stock at Michaels (about $4) and printed out these little signs on my printer. I used hot glue to glue the toothpicks on and just stuck them in the cupcakes.

 

The cupcakes & photobooth

Joshua’s dad did a great job of setting up an obstacle course in their backyard. Between downpours, the kids had a blast running around with their capes on.

 

Lined up and ready to start the obstacle course.

Also between downpours we did a photoshoot. I used a couple of big cardboard boxes to paint a cityscape and painted some boxes to look like buildings to create a bit of a 3D effect. I did buy some paint and posterboard to complete this, but I had a lot of stuff on hand already (so I spent about $10). Once the kids got into it, we had a blast.

Girl Power

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Boy Power!

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The whole superhero gang

When the rain started again, we headed back inside the garage to whack the piñata. I made the piñata using cornstarch instead of flour because our oldest son has Celiac Disease and can’t have even the smallest amount of gluten. It worked great, but next time I won’t do quite as many layers as it was hard to break open (we used a hard rubber bat to whack it, but a wooden bat would have worked well, I just worry about the kids getting whacked in the noggen). I filled the piñata with toys, pencils, etc. from the dollar store and all natural suckers from the health food store (about $10).

 

Sam having a whack at the pinata

Then the boys opened their presents, we said our thank you’s and goodbyes, and it was time to head home. It was a great party and the kids, all 15 of them, (and parents)  had so much fun.

Presents!!!

 
 
 
I couldn’t resist sharing more great pictures from the party, so here’s a slideshow:
 

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Gluten-Free Paper Mache June 2, 2011

Filed under: Birthday Parties!,Frugal,Gluten Free — Perfection Is My Enemy @ 9:00 pm

If no one in your family is gluten-free it may not have occurred to you that even things like paper mache aren’t allowed. Each year, for their birthday parties, I make the boys a pinata. Since Luke was diagnosed with Celiac Disease last year, anything with gluten is out (regular flour is full of gluten). This is a problem for 2 reasons:

One, just the dust from the flour getting on anything that Luke might put in his mouth is enough gluten to make him sick. Don’t think flour causes much dust, just try to scoop a spoonful out of your flour jar in some direct sunlight. It’s amazing how much dust it creates.

And two, I couldn’t put any candy or whistles or silly straws in the pinata because they would come in contact with the flour and then in contact with Luke’s mouth and make him sick.

So, I did a little research and discovered you can make paper mache with corn starch and water. Who knew? It also makes great paste.

To make it, just combine 1 part corn starch to 10 parts water (I just used our smallest little measuring cup, 1/8 cup I think). Heat on medium until it boils. Continue to boil for 5 minutes while stirring occasionally, then let cool. It worked great and I can’t wait to post pictures of the finished product.

Here’s a picture of a tire pinata I did a couple of years ago. I forgot to take a picture of it before the kids started whacking on it, but you get the idea: