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Monday, October 18, 2010

Harried Mother Hosts Hootenanny

Like many mothers I am at times overwhelmed with day to day family responsibilities. Currently I am taking two college classes, have a design business, launching a second business and trying to build and maintain 2 blogs and 2 websites. But children still need birthday parties. I was hoping for an EASY button. But when you live in a world with children, Murphy's Law will always reign supreme.

Case in point. For years Sweet Boy has been begging for a party at Peter Peppers. But when finally given the option this year he politely declined and sweetly said, "Mom your parties are better than anything else. Can I please have a party at home?" This plea was accompanied by "the look". You know the one.  

 So I sighed and asked "What theme do you want?" As I fully intended to hightail it over to the Party Palace and load up on pre packaged party paraphernalia. His reply, "The Last Airbender". (This is a Nick toon that ended 3 years ago but is still extremely popular. It was also recently made into a movie.) But was there ANY partyware anywhere? No, of course not, because that would be too easy. Even Ebay was high and dry. So I asked "How about a Hotwheels party?" I was once again given the "Puss in Boots" face. So out came the glue, scissors, and scrapbook paper. Let it be said that I am forever indebted to images being available for printing on the web. The little red envelopes were found at my local Asian grocery store.  

The back read:
Airbenders, Earthbenders, Firebenders, Waterbenders
Are you ready to save the world?
Join Avatar (sweetboy) on Saturday, October 2nd
Training will occur from 11 am to 1 pm
The Four Nations will meet at (address)
You can assist in maintaining world order by calling (phone #)

I had to then figure out how I would decorate for such an event.

A trip to the Asian market yielded paper banners, lanterns, and dragons for prices that left me very, very happy.

I draped three yellow paper banners over a plain white dollar store tablecloth. More images were printed from the web and glued onto the front of dollar store cups. A cute touch that doubled as a take home gift were the chopsticks. The morning of the party I found myself in a panic as I hadn't remembered to purchase napkins. Luckily, some leftover Valentine napkins were folded to hide their design and they somewhat fit the bill.

The interior of the house required some digging into Mr. Decor's colorful past. He was stationed in Japan and thankfully we have kept his memento's from that time period.

Yes, the cake was store bought~ and delicious! The red candle, also purchased at the Asian market, is generally used in a Buddhist altar but I thought it made an excellent marker for year 9. Now let me tell you about the cake topper...

I went to 4 stores looking for the 6 inch "Airbender" action figures. Once again the easy button alluded me. I was finally told by a popular toy store employee that the Aang action figure was still available online. I ordered it 2 weeks in advance. The night before the party let's just say that the Toy Was Not Us. Grrrr! I handed Mr. Decor a picture of Aang and Momo and instructed him to "Build something".

Can I tell you how much I love that man? In all their Lego glory are Aang and Momo.

Almost everyone who was invited showed up. We take a picture in the same spot every year. It is fun to see how the kids have grown.

The warriors thought that Mr. Decor's Asian shirt and Mt. Fuji walking stick were "Cool!".

You know how you can google "birthday party ideas" and numerous sites featuring awesome games and activities show up?. Guess how many ideas showed up when I googled "Airbender Ideas"? Now, you're catching on~ none.
I put on my thinking cap. For the category of Earthbending there were two teams and a pile of small stones. The boys had to walk/run with the stone balanced on the spoon to the opposite end of the yard.  If it dropped, they had to start over.

Next, they developed their water bending skills with a water balloon toss.

Since it was close to 100 degrees the boys really enjoyed this skill.

Cooling refreshments came in the form of juiceboxes that featured Asian characters.

We also had several popular Asian snacks such as the Hapi mixed crackers guarded here by Katara~ a happy meal water bender.

My own little China girl prepared all the food. Cheery red plates held a beige sea of carbs.   In my defense the eggs rolls were vegetarian. :)

The boys happily ate it all.

Afterwards, the boys participated in the fire and air bending categories by enjoying a bit of cake.

Onto the mind bending. I explained the concept of the Chinese Zodiac and how Asian characters are like an alphabet of sorts.

I found a great website that took names and provided a representation in characters. The boys had a fun time trying to guess their names. The take out boxes were purchased at Michaels.

They then had to use their mind bending skills to solve customized puzzles.  

We had a total of six mindbending games.

After completing each game successfully the boys were rewarded with a prize to put into their boxes. Air bending whistles, journey aiding compass rings and Asian themed candy made up part of the loot.

I always photograph each party goer with the birthday boy, showcasing their gift. Afterwards the photos are printed and on the back we write a thank you message. It is a quick and easy way to instill gratefulness in your child, as well as document a friendship.

Tell me what you've done in the name of love~ 500 cupcakes? 40 costumes?


April said...

Ha. I love this. The last couple of weeks I guess "for love" I did two days of birthday celebrations for a 7-year-old "cowdog". :)
Thanks for gritting your teeth and taking lots of pictures of your creativity for us--and just think, next time someone searches for that particular theme birthday party ideas, YOU will pop up! Yay!
Happy day to you, Laura!

jeanette from everton terrace said...

NO WONDER he wants Mom to do his parties. I would have enjoyed attending this one myself. I've also done it all for the b'day parties - from 3 carloads of girls up to Pioneer village for a picnic and Little House on the Praire experience to hauling a gang up to Sedona for nature hike and campout. It felt harried and crazy at the time but now that she's grown, I miss it.

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

You are such an amazing Mom!!! I loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeee what you did!! The decorations are WOW!!!! Loving the photos! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

Lisa said...

What a cute party! I'm sure you are the COOLEST Mom on the block! All the kids look like they had a ball. said...


Hmm, would being an assistant camp director for over 250 children age 9 - 18 on 'vacation' qualify?

Great party! These are the ones children remember. The others are like boxed cakes -- they are good but not as special.

Your Friend,

Marydon said...

G'morn Laura ~ I love what you created for this party ... not that far off from the good ol' days ... I commend you.

Well, we come from the era when fancy paper plates, some streamers, a cake & drink ... were our birthday party. We played silly games, had prizes & then spent the rest of the afternoon just pal-ing around & playing. Then later the family would gather for a picnic or dinner. Simple, fun & memories to cherish ...

Have a beautiful week ~
TTFN ~ Hugs, Marydon

Auntie Em said...

No wonder you get the 'big eye' plea for your parties! They are AWESOME!!!
What a great Mommy!!!
Thanks for sharing! :o)

French said...

WOW looks like a fantastic party~ I wouldn't go out for a party when you can have one like this at home!! Great job carrying out the theme, and the boys all look like they are having a ton o' fun!

Linda said...

Sweet Boy's comment "Mom your parties are better than anything else...." is sure 1000% correct!!! You're awesome! I read this in amazement - you come up with the coolest ideas! :)

What have I done for love? too much to mention, but the trip to Florida with 4 teenagers in March/April comes to mind... :)

Karen said...

Your imagination is divine! That was so personal and wonderful, no wonder he didn't want to go to the Pizza Place! Job well done and very envied.
Your family is lucky to have you!

Sonya@Beyond the Screen Door said...

Like you, I'm tired! 4 kids almost 25years of parties! B-day parties make me weak! My favorites are slumber parties. I don't mind 12-15 girls in my home and they entertain themselves. I make cupcakes, muffins for breakfast and take pictures! The girls do all the rest! I may not get much sleep but for me it's an easy party!
This was such a great post! You're an awesome Mom! Such creativity!
And I LOVE that post title!

Lorrie said...

You are the MOM!

I remember our son's 9th birthday party - he wanted to go horseback riding. We did. In the rain. I hate horseback riding and was in tears by the end. Never again. All for love.

Squeak said...

Your children are very lucky. I'm 56 years old and I've never had a birthday party.

Craftymoose Crafts said...

You are amazing! I thought I made sacrifices "in the name of love" but nothing like this!

The Boston Lady said...

Sweet Boy is a lucky boy indeed and it looks like his party was a terrific success. I'm especially fond of Mr. Decor's action figure/lego creations and am stunned that it is still 100 degrees where you are.

Karen said...

You really earned your "angel" points with this--how creative and fun. A memory, I'm sure your sweet boy will never forget.

Karena said...

Laura, are you kidding me?! You are the best Mom in the world. Your theme turned out perfectly!!

Art by Karena

Carolyn said...

LOL!! I love this post! So cute, creative ....and super job!!!

The first couple of pictures were awesome!! I couldn't help but laugh!!

Hugs, Carolyn ~ Cottage Sunshine

WendyBee said...

Never, not ever, in the name of love or anything else have I ever achieved what you did with this party. poor kids. I'm glad they don't read their blog. They'd probably turn me in and try to trade up.

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Laura, I just love this! You are such a trooper, and the party turned out perfectly! Good job!

Those boys look like they are having a blast. I had to laugh at the "Puss In Boots Face"! LOL! Yes, I know that one. I have a very dramatic young goddaughter. But everything turned out great, and the Legos are a hoot. Just perfect.

Happy Belated Birthday to Sweetboy!


Sheila :-)