Frog and Toad Outtakes

Maybe the title is misleading, but i thought i'd do another post more targeted at family and friends to relate how the party actually went.  If you've stumbled onto this post looking for frog and toad party ideas click here.

When the boys first guest, arrived i told Henry he needed to greet his guest and welcome her to the party.  These formal social interactions often leave him him hiding his head but he jumped up, put his arm around her and asked if she wanted to play his new game (Kids On Stage).  After a few more kids arrived i asked if they were interested in decorating some frog and toad houses.  They were very enthusiastic and jumped into the decorating process with Nonna. 

Nothing lasts for long of course and they were off to play in the playroom with everyone else that had arrived at that point.  I moved a few of them outside for games and had a blast watching the kids play and make up their own bean bag toss games.  Silas headed out with us but didn't want to participate.  He seemed like he was freezing, but he refused to put on a coat and pretty contentedly sat with Nonna.

The kids seemed like they were getting too cold so we moved folks back inside for hot dogs which were ready.  All the parents were helping the kids get settled with their plates and i assisted one of Henry's friends.  She asked for just a plain bun.  I assumed she meant no ketchup or mustard, but no, actually she just wanted the bun no hot dog.  Okey dokey!

While all the kids were eating Silas grabbed his guitar and decided to do two complete songs for everyone.  Usually he'll sing a few bars or strum a few "notes" and then get shy.  This time there was so much hubub and no one drew attention to him and he performed two complete numbers.  He had the time to do this because he declared that he didn't want a hot dog at his party, he wanted to eat peanut butter and jelly after the party was over.  Okey dokey!

Then we herded the cats... i mean guests outside where they got to listen to a frog and toad story called the "corner" about searching for spring around every corner.  While Nonna was reading the story there is a part where frog (or is it toad) looks for spring but just finds pebbles instead.  Someone said something about pebbles could hurt us.  And someone else chimed in with an awesome non-sequitor about how cacti can hurt us also.  Then another little girl said, "actually i have a cactus!"  Somehow Nonna got them back to listen to the rest of the story and when they finished it was time for their own search for spring.

Silas helped me put out the clues which had the kids running from the front of the house to the very back and then back again.  We almost weren't quick enough and as usual i think i could have done double the clues and the kids would have liked to keep on hunting.  After it was over they continued to hide the flowers for each other.

I finally ripped them away with the promise of cupcakes and we went in to sing happy birthday and blow out candles.  Both boys seemed to love this part even though Silas looked a little freaked out about all the singing directed at him/them.

After cupcakes were done it was about 5:30-- two hours after the party start i was starting to relax and was handing out in the kitchen with lots of other guests.  Silas was there too and loudly said... "when is everyone going to go home?"  If that didn't give folks a hint i don't know what would and after a bit guests trickled out. 


Frog and Toad Birthday Party

Just wrapped up our frog and toad birthday party for Henry's 5th and Silas' 3rd birthday.  I wanted to try to get an overview of the party and the stuff i made-- then i'll give friends and family the rundown of highlights and the funny bits.

We decided back in January to do a frog and toad party and i started to work doing web research to see what kind of ideas i could unearth.  The only hit i got that was exactly what i was looking for was this one.  This got me brainstorming and much searching and scheming later we came up with the following plan for the party.

For decorations i bought blue sheets to cover the tables, cut out lily pads from green card stock, and made little origami frogs to decorate.  I made cattails for the vase i put on our front step.  No matter how much searching i did i couldn't find any ideas or other crafters that had tried to make cattails-- so i invented my own.  I wrapped bamboo garden stakes with a 5" piece of batting several times, and then used knee-highs to cover the batting.  I poked a small hole in the toe of the knee high-- put the stake through the hole, pulled it down over the batting, and then double the knee high back over to make it a little darker.  I just tucked both ends into the top and bottom to make it look neat.

I also made a new birthday bunting that we hung up in our kitchen.  I can't find where i read how to do this but i just cut fabric into triangles using pinking shears, then sandwiched them between a ribbon that i folded over on itself and stitched with a zig-zag stitch.  This is one of the easiest hand-made decorations you could ever do and they look so festive!  And next year they'll be ready to deploy again!

Guests arrived and were directed to our kitchen where i had pre-painted and assembled "frog and toad houses" for the kids to decorate.  I saved cracker boxes, cereal boxes and the like, stuffed them with newspaper to make them stand up, used painters tape to "peak" the roofs, and then painted them with acrylics.  When dry i cut out sticky-backed foam to cover the roofs.  I had out some pre-cut pieces of the sticky-backed foam in various shapes- to make windows, doors, grass, etc.  We also had some flowers and bees that were sticky-backed, as well as half-sheets of the foam and scissors for the bigger kids to decorate as they wished.  This went over well and it occupied it the kids for a solid 15 minutes. I didn't get a great picture of the decorated ones yet, but will try to add that soon.

Then we headed outside to start games.  The day was chilly but sunny so we could be out, but the kids wound up getting cold so a chunk were inside playing in the very tiny playroom and a few were outside with me.  I used this post to come up with the idea for the bean-bag game, and this template to make the lilypads-- i made them bigger for the ones i made for the bean-bag toss and the same size as the template for decorations on the table.  The kids played "team" bean-bag toss and tried to get all of their bean bags from one lilypad to the next.  After they seemed to tire of that, i challenged them to balance the bean bags on their head, stand on one foot and so on until another 15 minutes had passed.

I had planned to read "the hat" next, but a lot of kids were inside, so we just launched into the next game-- a relay game with a hat.  The kids had a blast doing this-- especially Henry but after a few rounds they were done and the girls were ready to head in.  So we went in and had Chicago style hot dogs, potato salad and baked beans-- our traditional birthday fare. 

After the kids refueled, i sheparded them outside to our front steps where my mom read "The Corner."  Then it was time to begin the hunt for spring.  I had written up 4 clues and had them basically running from the front of the house to the back several times-- at the end they found a "vase" of spring flowers.

Henry and i made these by water-coloring coffee filters, and after they had dried, using craft glue to attach them to disposable chopsticks (something i always find uses for!).  We used a few of the coffee filters to glue to a juice can for the vase that could be "hidden" outside.

As in past years the treasure hunt was a big favorite and the kids spend a chunk of time hiding the flowers for each other over and over until i called them all in for cupcakes.  The cupcakes were super easy-- Cooks Illustrated yellow cupcake recipe, my mom's icing handiwork-- and the idea for the frogs from this site.

We had thank-you bags for the kids which were a labor of love.  Bean bags in the shape of frogs from this tutorial.  A special shout-out goes to Oma for sewing all of them on their last visit.  Henry and i stuffed them with lentils using a funnel and i sewed them up.  I also included a frog and toad paratrooper.  These looked really cute, but they took forever and they didn't work very well.  I'm not sure if i did something wrong (i'm thinking the parachute wasn't big enough maybe), but they are cute and it was fun to try my hand at them.  I used this tutorial to make them.  Finally a packet of buttons and a little treat-- hopefully they were fun gift bags to get.

So, that was the party.  Now to relax my aching legs and get some rest!


Celebrating Spring

What a really wonderful weekend.  The beautiful weather, abundant sunshine, and warm enough temps to be outside just lolling around in the grass (oh wait that was Mason), recharged my batteries.  Sharing it with our family and friends made it that much more enjoyable.

Saturday JT worked at the restaurant of a private club downtown and the boys and i had a great time doing easter crafts, cleaning the house (no really) and in general just enjoying the day.  I don't think i even remember any tantrums that morning.  Which in itself is an Easter miracle.

After naps we headed out to our friends' house for some fellowship, a relaxed meal, and a really relaxing evening catching up.  JT was able to meet us out there and although Silas fought a bit about going to sleep over there-- he ultimately did and this time we didn't expose anyone to contagious illnesses.  Last time he had strep throat and we didn't realize it.  Woops-- that's one of my "parenting get out of jail free" cards.

Sunday the boys enjoyed finding their easter baskets and then did an egg hunt in the backyard with Kerala.  Kerala and Henry were very determined, but Henry is two years older, so he was a little quicker, and had slightly more strategy about where to look.  So Henry could barely lift his Easter basket at the end of the hunt, Kerala's was quite full as well and Silas, well...

Here's how it went for Silas.  He did agree to get dressed, so hey that was a great first step in my book.  He found an egg or two and got really excited to open them and find candy and a little bunny.  Then he decided that was good enough and he was ready to move on to the independent play section of the day.

We spent the next hour or so playing soccer, baseball and letting Silas and Kerala entertain us with their duos on the guitar.  Then we had a wonderful meal and more fun outside after naps.  Made for a truly wonderful celebration of spring and gave me a glimpse of some of the fun to come being outside this summer with the boys.