Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I have decided that it is spring

And there's no going back now, because yesterday I washed All The Knits and hung them outside - in the sun! - to dry.  So I don't care if it ends up being 30 degrees and snowing next week, we're going to school/work/the grocery store with no hats and mittens, because those things are CLEAN!

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Angry Birds party prep, part 4 - the actual party

Whew!  Are you sick of Angry Birds yet?  I know I am ... especially after we inflated 40 balloons, tied strings to them, decorated them with faces, and taped them to the ceiling the day of the party.
The balloons proved to be a big hit with the kids, especially when I allowed them to pull them down and pop them.  Forget the carnival games - we want mass destruction!
Speaking of mass destruction, the carnival game was a big success, too.  When we ran it at school for 22 kids, we had two towers and two groups of four kids would take turns throwing the balls to knock down their tower.  We made sure all the kids got a turn to throw, but not everyone got to be the one who knocked down the tower.  At the actual party, we gave each kid their own tower and let them throw the balls until all of the pigs were down, then they got to help build the tower for the next kid.

We only had a handful of kids, so this didn't involve too much waiting - otherwise I would have run two towers, or had them work in pairs or something.

Perhaps you're wondering how I made the pigs?  With porcupine kooshy balls, of course!
I cut off the spines in the area I planned to use for the face, then glued on some googly eyes and added details with a Sharpie.  I'm particularly proud of the ears, which are just the finger loop that was originally attached to the ball, cut in half and glued on with E6000 glue.  This dude made it through the whole party with ears intact, which counts as a success in my book.

After the carnival game we took a break to get some snacks and take some pictures with the photo opportunity.  That worked out well, too, with the handles staying attached and everyone being willing to get their picture taken with it.  We need to work on these kids' angry faces, though.
After that we proved that 5- and 6-year-olds really don't have any basic sense of direction, at least not while blindfolded.
I ended up using eyeballs instead of eyebrows for the game, partly because I didn't feel like cutting out the eyebrows by hand (I already had some extra eyeballs from another project and could easily make more with two paper punches).  I'm glad I did, because the Octoclops angry bird is too funny for words.

And that's about it for the themed stuff.  We sang, ate cake, opened presents, ran around the house in various sparkly costumes (the kids) or ate unhealthy amounts of guacamole (the adults) until it was time for the guests to go home.  The goodie bags for the kids included some cookies, the birds' nests, a punch balloon, one of the crocheted angry birds, and a shrinky-dink necklace of the red bird that I made at 11pm the night before the party.

And the verdict?
This was the best party ever!

And next year I think I'll just take them bowling :)

Angry Birds party prep, part 3 - the refreshments

It's not a theme party without over-the-top food, right?  For LazyKid's school party I took the easy way out and made a box mix with frosting-in-a-spray-can, added a cupcake pick and some red or green sugar sprinkles, and voila!  Cuteness!
I had a few picks left over after the school party, and those came in handy for dressing up some of the food I prepared for the grownups in attendance at the actual party at our house.
The kids' food, on the other hand, needed no dressing-up at all, since it was all part of the table decoration:
In case you're wondering, that's pepperoni slices (red birds), colby cheese triangles (yellow birds), string cheese cut into rounds (egg birds), melba toast slices (blocks), two sizes of pretzel rods (blocks), corn chips and Doritos (more yellow birds), green grapes (pigs), and blueberries (blue birds).  The toy in the center is from a Happy Meal that LazyGrandma picked up on her way out to visit us this week, and it plays the most annoying music I have heard in a long time.  Needless to say, the kids loved it.

Since I hadn't planned on doing a really decorated cake, I made some sugar cookies that were easy to make look (sorta) like red birds, golden eggs, and pigs.
These were actually easy to make, if somewhat time-consuming.  I made the sugar cookie dough earlier in the week, dying half of it light green.  The day before the party we went into cookie production mode, baking and decorating all of them over the course of the day.  The eggs were easiest - roll an oval of dough in your hands, then smash it flat on the cookie sheet using the bottom of a glass that's been dipped in sugar.  When they were baked and cool, I spread premade cookie icing on them, then LazyKid flipped them upside down and dipped them in gold sparkly sugar.

The pigs used a similar method - one large ball of dough with two smaller balls stuck to it on the cookie sheet, flattened with the bottom of a glass dipped in a LOT of sugar (lest the ears stick and get ripped off).  When baked and cooled, we decorated them with premade black decorator frosting and stuck on some candy eyes.  We initially tried to use green frosting to make them darker (the ones in the back), but the lighter ones looked better.

The birds took the most effort, but were still easy.  Those were balls that I didn't flatten on the sheet, just baked so they would be rounded when they came out.  Cooled, then frosted with red cookie icing, which I also used to stick on the candy eyes.  Unfortunately, the slope of the cookies made them drip a little, so I tried to stick the eyes on so that the drips looked like the feathers atop the bird's head.  After that was dry, I used black decorator frosting to pipe on the eyebrows, and a little yellow frosting for the beak.

After making a couple of dozen of the cookies, I was ready to tackle the cake.  I had extra batter left when I made the cupcakes, which I went ahead and baked in an 8" cake pan and some mini muffin tins, then froze until the day before the party.  Thawed out the cake and cupcakes , flipped the cake over so I'd have crisp edges to work with, nestled the cupcakes in to look like tail feathers, and went to town with the frosting and a star tip.
The only trick here was that I only had white cookie icing, not frosting, so after I got the body and eyebrows done, I used a moist finger to smooth the red frosting down under the eye area, then flooded it with cookie icing.  Added the beak, and the black details with a smaller tip, and it was done!  The best part of it was, the cake was so small that it was just big enough for each person at the party to have a piece, with no leftovers to store.  Score!

The final bit of food I made special was in the goodie bags the kids took home after the party.  I made little nests with melted peanut butter chips and chow mein noodles, then added some Whopper eggs and blue Peeps leftover from Easter.  Put in a nice red party bag, it looked pretty decent, even if none of the kids probably ate them!
The kids also took home some of the cookies, but I didn't bother getting a picture of that.

That's about it as far as food goes ... stay tuned for more info on the actual party!