January 14, 2014

Our Winter Themed Birthday Party

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Having daughters is so wonderful!  Some of my favorite things to do with them are craft and play and watch them grow and be excited about new things.  As much as I want them to stay babies forever, my oldest daughter is growing up to be one of the most helpful, thoughtful and kind kids I have ever met.  This year, she and I had a lot of fun planning her 7th birthday party together - and she picked a winter theme!
Over the past couple years we have thrown a Pirate Party and an Art Party, and they were great!  I have learned a few things about throwing a party for kids, and I am feeling much more confident that I can plan games, food and activities that they are sure to enjoy.

For our invitations, we made colorful mittens with all the info on the inside, tied together with string.

First, I cut strips of colorful magazine pages, and my daughter used Mod Podge to glue the strips side by side onto a piece of cardstock.  

On the back of each page I traced 4 mitten shapes.  2 mittens per invitation, so you can get 2 invitations per page.

Once they were cut out, I punched a hole in the top corner of each, wrote a little rhyme on one mitten, and the party specifics on the other.

Finally, I tied the two mittens together with a string, and they fit into a colorful card envelope. 

Most of our winter party centered around snowmen.  
One of the crafts we had the kids do was make these easy wooden snowman decorations to take home.  The kids loved sanding, painting and gluing!

As the kids filtered into the party, we had them sit right down and start sanding their wood.  I purchased a 2" x 2" pine board and cut it into 7" lengths.  I put one at each seat, along with a little square of sandpaper.  It was good to have them all sanding as people came, because you can't sand too much, and it kept everyone occupied!  Once the edges were smooth I let them paint the wood with sponge brushes and acrylic paint.  Just advise them that the paint stains clothes and to be really careful!  They did great.  I also told them to use a very thin layer, so they would dry in time.  
With a thin layer of paint, these dry in about 10-15 minutes.  We just played a couple games while they dried, and when they came back they glued dried black beans on for the eyes, a little piece of MDF board I had cut and painted orange for the nose, and tied a raw scrap of fabric for the scarf.  They turned out really cute!!

One of the games we played was pin the nose on Frosty.  As they get older they get really good at this game :)  I made a rule that they couldn't feel around and had to stick their nose to the first place they touched.  It was fun and got a lot of good laughs :)

Another game we played was "Roll-a-Snowman" with a giant die.  I took a little cardboard box, wrapped it in white paper, and then drew or pasted printed pictures of snowman accessories on each side.  (We had a hat, scarf, carrot, buttons, arms, and black dots for the face).  Each child got a piece of paper with a basic snowman shape on it, and some crayons.  Then we went around the circle pretty quickly, letting each child roll the die at their turn.  Whatever item they got, they had to use somehow in their snowman picture!  It was funny to see scarf belts, arm hats, and carrot arms when they started to get the same things over and over again.  We went around the circle half a dozen times, and they had a fun time making silly snowmen.

Another craft we tried was making these "snowball poppers" out of styrofoam cups and balloons (click the link for a tutorial on making these).  First they decorated their cups with snowman faces - the balloon looks like a hat, so they were really cute.  Then, they each got a handful of mini marshmallows to shoot at other cups stacked up on the table, decorated to look like the sun.  They were very serious in their concentration :)

For the winners of the pin the nose and popper games, we gave each a bag of "snowman arms" or "snowman buttons" filled with pretzel sticks and raisins!

I always love to take pictures of all the friends.  When I saw this idea, of wrapping someone up with TP to make them look like a snowman, I thought this would make an awesome group picture.  We had a couple rolls of TP available, and all my daughter's friends had fun wrapping her up, arms and all!  Then, they taped buttons on (we used the buttons from pin the nose on Frosty) and we put on a colorful scarf and hat.  They even stuck a nose from our pin the nose game on her face :)

I also took picture of each person one by one with the snowman wrapped birthday girl (without the nose on) and a copy will go to each party friend in their thank you note!

At the end, they thought it was hysterical to rip off the TP like they were unwrapping a birthday girl present :)

For part of the decor (above) we strung different sized cotton balls on fishing line and hung them in the windows.  They looked like pretty snowballs,were inexpensive and easy!  To make the cotton balls stay spaced out, we tied a loose knot in the string for the cotton ball to sit on.

And of course there were snacks!  There are tons of great ideas out there for Snowman and Winter themed treats.

This "Melted Snowman" printable was cute and easy to attach to bottled water.  The kids got a kick out of them!

These darling printables made pretzel snowman arms, raisin buttons and carrot noses an easy treat!

I put popcorn in clear cups, with construction paper snowman faces glued on.  Can't go wrong with popcorn!

I also made a little snowman personal pizza for each friend, with olives and cheddar cheese for the face, and white sauce and mozzarella cheese as the base.  This worked great, because I baked the crust first, and assembled the toppings just before the party.  Then, when it was about time for lunch, I stuck them under the broiler in the oven to warm them back up, and melt the cheese.

Dessert was "snowball" cupcakes - and these were DIVINE!!  White cake with vanilla bean frosting - both recipes that I've adapted and made for other things.
If you're making white cake - try this recipe!!

Cute kids, eating lunch and letting their wooden snowmen dry...

In addition to the wooden snowman they had made, and foam cup snowball poppers, each friend took home a "Snowman Soup" goodie bag.  I adapted a rhyme I saw online, printed it out with a picture, and stapled the folded paper to a ziplock back.  Inside was hot chocolate mix, marshmallows and a chocolate dipped spoon for stirring.  

It was such a fun birthday party, and my little lady had a wonderful time with her friends!  I made her this winter birthday crown which she wore during the party, and all day at school on her actual birthday.  How cute is she?? :)  You can find a tutorial for this type of crown here.

Happy Winter!
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