Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A little teaser

I'll reveal more soon but in the meantime, here's a clue

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Zooish kind of day

Wasn't it a beautiful day in Auckland yesterday? Pure blue skies and just the right amount of winter warmth in the sunlight. Miss M had a party to go to and Richard needed to do some work so E and I hung at out home. We spent the morning building a zoo for her toy animals on the deck.

Who needs fences when you have chalk and imagination?

The hippo enclosure. Check out those teeth!

The aquarium got a little crowded, especially when the penquins joined in

Grandma doll took ticket office duty. She needed a bit of a hand from E with
 the stamping of the tickets (and then the ticket office got a good stamping too).

The baby zebra learned to climb trees. Very talented.
It was so lovely to have some one on one time with E. She started school 2 weeks ago and it already seems like she has grown up so much. She ran all the way to her classroom this morning and got stuck in practicing writing her letters as soon as we arrived. It's so wonderful to see her passion for learning. Long may it last! I have some one on one time with M today. She's home sick with a virus that seems to have most of her school in its grips. Poor love is sneezing and coughing away on the couch. Fingers crossed she's better soon. Hope you had a lovely weekend. What did you do?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Not Stupid

Sometimes I worry that our cats are a few sandwiches short of a picnic.

Hmm. It said 'one size fits all' on the box...

Kitty Yoga

Other times, I know that they are pretty smart.

Kitty heat-hogger

Just try and take me out of here. I dare you.

Hope you are managing to keep warm too!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Miss E's Mermaid Party - The games and activities

With 15 girls at a 3 hour birthday party, I was in need of easy, enjoyable and fairly time consuming activities to keep the girls entertained. Miss M (my 7 year old) invited 2 of her friends (who had little sisters as guests at the party) to come along and I put them in charge of leading the games and crafts. It made Miss M feel very important and she loved guiding the younger ones. It also left me with a lot more time to concentrate on helping Miss E to greet the arriving guests.

 We had a long low table that our neighbour lent to us and Mr Cotton Kiwi came up with the idea of balancing one of my market trestle tables on sturdy boxes to make a table the same height. We pushed them together and put a big cloth over both and then I sent my girls on a big cushion hunt around the house. It's amazing how many cushions you can rustle up in a party crisis! Miss M and her friends used a corner of the table and a chair to run a 'Mermaid Makeover' salon for guests when they arrived. We had pink sparkly sticky gems for earrings, some silver glitter hairspray and a treasure chest of jewels, should the mermaid feel the need to accessorise.

 Another corner of the table had a crown decorating area. I bought sparkly craft foam from The Warehouse (New Zealand's version of Walmart) and cut it into crown shapes. I punched holes in the sides and threaded elastic through. The girls had a combination of mermaid stickers, craft foam sea creature shapes and gold stars and glue to decorate their crown (everything came from the Warehouse or the $2 shop).
It was quite tricky making decisions on the best combination of items for your crown.

 I made sure every child had their name written on the back of their crown and the first party game we played was a relay race with 2 teams. The girls had to crawl (mermaid swimming style) across the floor before climbing onto the rock (our ottoman), finding their crown, putting it on their head and 'swimming' back to tag the next team member. I have to say that it was a bit of a disaster as the vast majority of the kids had no idea about how to be in a team or about relay races. It hadn't occured to me that pre-school kids wouldn't have any experience of this kind of race. I think they had fun anyway and all of them got some lollies from the jar as a prize.

Another part of the craft table was a mermaid peg doll making station. I used this tutorial as the basis of the dolls but cut up pieces of yellow fleece into strips to use as the hair instead of yarn. I also painted the tail end of the pegs green in readyness for the party as I knew paint would be a disaster. The craft foam and fleece stuck on pretty well with a Uhu glue stick so there was no need for adult supervision at all. They used felt tip pens for the faces.

We played lots of other games including 'Mermaid, Mermaid, Fish' (Duck duck goose);, Mermaid statues and a hilarious game that involved popping balloons to get a challenge out and then completing the challenge. Again, not ideal for all 5 year olds as about 4 of the kids were frightened of the balloons popping. The others loved it though. I got my ideas for party games from here.

There was lots of dancing and an hours worth of enterainment from the lovely Mermaid entertainer.

We had afternoon tea about 40 minutes before the end of the party and then I just let the kids loose with balloons and a bunch of mermaid dolls and they entertained themselves for the last 20 minutes or so.
Hope you get some ideas from these posts!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Miss E's Mermaid Party - The food

The incredible cake my Mum made for Miss E.

Oysters and Pearls.
Madeleine cakes split down the centre and piped with pink icing and a yoghurt raisin.
Inspired by these

Mason jar of lollies to give to the kids as prizes.
The octopus is a craft foam sticker that I got from the local emporium.

Starfish cupcakes.
We used a star cutter to make the starfish then gave them texture using a bobbly piece of plastic.

Jelly Fish
Blue jelly with fish shaped lollies from our local dairy (I've also seen them for sale in KMart)

Another view of Mum's incredible cake

Dolphin sandwiches and Cheerio (cocktail sausage) octopii.
The dolphin cutter came in a set of 'Lunch Punch' critter cutters
(which are brilliantly designed to cut sandwiches without waste.) You can get them from here
You can see my tutorial for octopii cheerios here.

I'll show you the games and activities tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Miss E's Mermaid Party - The Decorations

E's birthday party was yesterday and it went brilliantly. The 15 little girls who came along all behaved beautifully and the birthday girl had a blast. I've just downloaded 137 photos of the day so I think I'm going to have to share the party with you in sections! Today, I'll show you the decorations and tell you a little bit about where the ideas and tutorials came from so you can copy them if you want to for your own mermaid or under the sea party. Here goes:
Fish in seaweed curtains.
These are pretty self explanatory to make. Take crepe paper in 2 different colours and cut a slightly curved line through all layers of the folded up paper. Cut another curvy line about 6cm apart until you've cut up all the paper. Unfold the crepe paper and staple it over string. Print out fish from here and cut them out. Staple them in place.

More crepe paper ribbons loosely knotted over the curtain rail

Fish net covering our book case
I bought 4m of bird net off  Trade Me to make the fish net. My girls decorated and cut out fish shapes and I stapled them to the net.

The party bag table
I bought these gorgeous under the sea paper boxes off another Trade Me seller. Instead of filling them before the party, the party guests won the contents of their take home box by playing games. Everyone got the same prizes but I found that getting the kids to put their own take home gifts away meant that they didn't empty the bags out just before they left (which normally happens) and I didn't get any treats left behind by any of the guests. They also put the things they made at the party in them and one child even put her shoes in the box to make sure she didn't forget them!
I named each party box and showed the girls where they were. All the girls were old enough to recognise their name.

I made this Mermaid and another out of different coloured card. They are now on E's bedroom wall. 

These are some of the decorations in our basement. We set up a staging area for the Mermaid entertainer down there so we could finish preparing the food (and have a cup of tea in peace!) before the kids all came upstairs again. The white fabric with the shells on is a shower curtain that I purchased for $2 from our local emporium. I got 5 of them so I was able to cover up most of the walls and shelves (which were full of very distracting toys as this is where our kids play!). I closed the curtains so it was quite dark down there and put on a low light to really give the impression that they were underwater. The girls walked through blue streamers to get into the room. The mermaid was brilliant and the kids all absolutely loved her. It's the second time I've used an entertainer from An Enchanted Party and they are worth every cent. I think my now 7 year old slept with the fairy dust given to her at her 5th birthday party under her pillow for about a year and when I went to drop the girls at school this morning, several of the party guests came up to me to talk to me about Melody the Mermaid. One Mum told me that her daughter hadn't stopped talking about how the Fairy Queen had granted Mermaid Melody legs for the day so she could come to E's party. Very cute!

And here's our little mermaid. I bought the costume from America via Ebay but I have seen a similar one on Trade Me. I don't think they are designed to last (more of a one off Halloween costume) and E's costume had split down the side by the end of the day. She loved wearing it though so it was well worth it and I can mend it so all is not lost!

I'll show you the food tomorrow if you want to see more!


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