Saturday, October 30, 2010

Toy Story Birthday Party under $130


I love planning the kids' birthday party. Since it's just one party for both of them we don't spend a fortune on two parties in the same month. In fact, we try to be really economical. We plan the party for an afternoon so that we aren't serving a meal, so that they can invite more friends. If we had it around dinnertime we'd have to limit the amount of people we have. 

Invitations:  I like to use my digital scrapbooking software to make all kinds of things so I made an invite for the kids party as a 4x6 project and printed them out as photos for less than $2 total.


Games: The Toy Story birthday party started at 3pm and once all the kids arrived we started our first game. It was a "Gold Nugget Hunt". I'd spray painted some rocks a metallic gold and Hubby hid them in the volleyball court. The kids had a blast looking for the 'gold'. 


Our second game was "Bullseye's Horseshoes" and a few kids really got into this game.

After cake the kids went outside to play our last game, the Buzz Lightyear shooting gallery. I found some water guns on clearance after the summer and so each person got to take home a gun with them. I think they were $1 for a four pack. For the game they had to line up and shoot as many cups off the table as they could, and of course some kids were more concerned with shooting each other.

Cost for Games:  $8 for horseshoes and waterguns, plus some for the cups, but I think I had those at home. Had my daughter collect rocks from the yard and had a little gold spraypaint in the garage.

Decorations: I borrowed a banner and hanging decorations from a friend and I used some tablecloths and streamers I'd had left from other parties. I purchased some Toy Story plates to match the theme, some primary colored balloons, and a pack of Punch Out Table Decorations from Hallmark/Party Express and so I only spent about $15 on decorations, pretty good!
 





Food:  This is generally where a birthday party budget gets out of hand, but since our party was 3-5 we just had snacks. I got apples, bananas, pretzels, crackers, chips, salsa and some sodas and Capri Suns. I labeled a container of Green Gatorade as Alien Juice. Cost: $25

Goodie Bags: I was really excited about the goodie bags too. I found some fun things to include that the kids enjoyed but weren't too expensive. I put in bubbles (.25 each), a toy story bandaid, a ring for the girls and a sheriff badge for the boys, a door hanger (from the paper pack), and toy story stickers. I did splurge and let A get Toy Story silly bands for everyone. They were $1 a pack, for a little pack of just 6 bands! But she loves things so much and they were pretty cute packs. My favorite bargain in the bags was the Toy Story pencil. I got those back in February after Valentine's day. There was a pack of Valentines that came with 16 pencils for a buck. I just used some standard goodie bags and tied them up with ribbon and a cutout from the paper pack.

Cost for the Goodie Bags: $40, so about $2.50 per person

The Cake: Now, I love planning the party, figuring out the theme and making the invitations, but my favorite part is making the cake. After the Dora and Diego last year I decided that using a cake pan to make Buzz or Woody wasn't a good idea for this theme. After searching online I found a couple of people who'd made a bed, but the ones that used buttercream frosting just didn't look right. The others used fondant and made the blanket look awesome, but I never used fondant before. But I figured this was a good chance to give it a try.

First I made a 9x13 cake and cut the top off so it would lay flat. I used a wooden cutting board as the base because I thought it would look like hardwood floors of a bedroom.

 Next I made the brown fondant furniture. I started by making it brown and then added a bit of black but didn't fully mix it all so that it had a wood grain look. This was my first time ever using fondant. The pillowcase was pretty easy since it was white. I just wrapped some fondant around 2 or 3 graham crackers and cut the edges off.
 Next was coloring the fondant for the blanket blue. I started with the fondant on wax paper.
 Mixing the blue coloring in took forever and I was glad I used gloves.
 The next step was rolling it out flat and then laying it carefully on top of the bed. You can see the corner kind of tore but I was able to patch it up with a little bit of water smeered in.
 You have to use powdered sugar to roll it out on and I didn't sift my sugar so I had little white spots stuck into the 'blanket'. Let's just pretend it's blanket fuzz.
 I found some star sprinkles and took out all the yellow ones and placed them on the bed. I purchased a 5 pack of little Toy Story toys to put on top and Voila! 


G stuck his fingers in the bottom of the bed so there is a little indentation there, but not much that I could do about it to fix it.


The kids thought the cake was great, but pretty much just wanted to eat it rather than look at it.

 Cost: $40 for fondant, cake, sprinkles, and candles

Gifts: After last year's party we decided that we wouldn't be opening gifts at the next party. One because it takes so long. Two because the kids didn't appreciate all the gifts or have time to thank everyone. Three because if we want to invite more friends then that's way more gifts than our kids need.

So instead of having their friends bring gifts for the kids, this year we asked guests to bring a donation for Operation Christmas Child. It's a part of the Samaritan's Purse ministry where shoeboxes are filled with gifts and school supplies and delivered to kids in other countries. They also share the gospel of Jesus. We showed a DVD with a promo video of what the boxes were for, and video of kids receiving the boxes and enjoying the gifts and then we all got to pack some boxes.


We had two big tables set up with the supplies separated so kids could go down the line assembly style and grab some toys, school supplies, hygiene items and candy for their boxes.


I thought it was a huge hit and so glad I'd heard of this idea to do at a birthday party.


 Some people wondered what the kids thought of this whole idea of not getting any gifts at their birthday party. Trust me, they didn't go without or want for much! All their grandparents and relatives spoiled them quite well. Meme brought bikes for them both as they were growing out of their old ones and have really enjoyed playing outside recently.


I'm glad that 16 other children around the world will have a part in the happiness that comes in gifts and celebrating through the boxes we've put together.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Man, those butterflies can spend!

A has learned about camouflage and how animals protect themselves from predators. During church the other week they colored a picture of a butterfly and added googly eyes. She showed me her picture and I said it was pretty and I liked the googly eyes. She said, "Mom, I added extra googly eyes on the wings because this one is a Monarch Butterfly and the extra eyes help protect it from its creditors."