Wednesday, May 12, 2010

No more suggestions unless they are here to help.

I'm splitting the blame for this birthday party theme squarely between two of Leah's aunties. Those special aunts would be Kate (the artist) and Ruth (the musician/theater person). This whole thing started at Christmas, when Kate drew Leah a picture of her, Ruff, and Blossom in a field of butterflies.

It was adorable. And yes, it's framed and on her dresser.

Then Ruth chimed in: You could have a Ruff Ruffman themed birthday party, Leah!

Oh yes. Let's.

I mean, I love Ruff as much as the next person (What? You STILL have no clue what I'm talking about? Here's a clue:

How can you not like such a happy little dude? He's the host of a reality game show for tweens. He and his assistant, a black kitty named Blossom, kind of rock the world of kid shows.)

The only thing I had against a Ruff themed birthday party was the complete lack of anything premade. There are NO plates, napkins, balloons, goodie bags, nothing. Which means Mommy has to get creative.

Because do I really want to let down this little girl?

Um, no.

So I emailed the producers of the show. (Yes. I love her THAT much.) They were kind enough to give me a copyright release for the invitations and stickers. The stickers were just a series of images on one big 8x11.5 label, and then I cut them apart.

I also made nametages for each kid, since there were kids from MOMS Club, church, and Leah's kindergarten class. Even JJ, EJ, and MVJ got nametags, along with The Mom, The Dad, and The Brother.

Oh yeah. About all those nametags: there were about 16 kids in attendance. And 16 kids went home.

Before we officially got started, the kids played birthday freeze tag (to unfreeze, yell "Happy Birthday Leah!") and duck-duck-goose. Once they came inside, I divided them into groups. We had 4 stations set up, manned (or "mommed"! Ha!) by 4 pseudo-volunteer friends, all of whom had a kid or 2 at the party already. Leah had wanted to invite a few older girls (friends from school -she's kind of a pet there), so we made them "helpers" at the stations.

There were 2 different activities. The first one was called Float My Boat. It involved making tin foil squares into little boats, and seeing how many pennies you could put into it and still have it float in a tub of water.

I did NOT come up with this activity, or the other one. If you follow that link above, you'll find yourself at the Fetch! website, and there are tons of activities there. So fun!

The other activity was Throw Your Weight Around. It had the kids trying to get up out of a chair without bending their backs and trying to pick up something off the ground while leaning their shoulder against a wall. Also, they had to do a pretzel race (photo above) and other goofy balance stuff. Some of the groups even managed the puzzle sit - where everyone lays back on someones legs, and you all have to support each other for everyone to stay up. I was pretty impressed with their teamwork.

In past years, the cake has been a centerpiece of the party. But this year, I slacked a bit. Leah preferred cupcakes, and I kept it simple - JJ frosted them yellow, and then I use a grass frosting tip (lots of little holes) to pipe "fur" around the edges.

I was aiming for them to look like Ruff's belly, but they may have fallen a bit short. They were good, though!
The kids were herded outside for cupcakes and juice boxes (with straws already inserted, one of my better ideas!)

Then there was one more thing...the treat boxes.
The kids had a short scavenger hunt to accomplish before finding the basket of goodies under the tree in the front yard (an evil plot of mine to get them to run around outside for a little while). I'd like to have had a more extended hunt, but it had been raining all week, and I just wasn't sure the outside thing was going to work at all. But it did!

Leah reads the first clue...

...and on to the next one! It was pretty hilarious to watch those kids on a mission.
And the treat boxes? I'm particularly proud of them. Any fan of Ruff's knows that he is one dog who loves his Chinese food. So I bought some from our neighborhood buffet, and filled them with magnifying glasses and notebooks from Oriental Trading, along with some dog biscuit shaped graham crackers and few of those Ruff stickers I made. The notebooks had a blank cover, and I added a Ruff sticker and another that said: The fact is, I'm glad you came to my birthday party! Cute, huh? We were trying to push the science aspect of the Fetch! show.
There you go. The party was fun, we've had positive feedback, and we are not asking those aunties for party suggestions for another several years. (We love you! And can't wait to see you in ONE MONTH!)


JJ and EJ said...

Cute, cute, cute!! Love all the pics! : )

HEY! My word verification is "lizing" .... funny! I think I'm going to make that a new word in my vocab when referring to you! : )

nydampress said...

Oh I giggled through this whole post! The party looks like it was a big hit, I wish we could have been there!
Oh, and I happily accept partial responsibility for the theme (and I am so honored my little doodle was framed!). I just love that Leah loves that show, it is SO Massachusetts. I think she is a New Englander at heart :)

Aaron said...

That picture of the herd of children in your backyard gave me the shivers. Small groups only!