Monday, March 28, 2011

How to Train Your Dragon Birthday Party!!


Well, it was a lot of work and a lot of stress, but i pulled it off! The party was a blast, and here i am to share some highlights!

We started out with a light lunch. I put together some basic snack foods, trying my best to focus on healthier foods (and some not so healthy). I made them fun by giving them names:




(you can't see it too well, but the cheese "viking huts" were cut into squares and triangles to make little houses)
I didn't get a picture of the red punch, which was labled "Lava". One of the boys wouldn't drink it because lava is too hot to drink!! hahahaha!

Then we outfitted the kids for the dragon hunt:




The kids decorated their shields with markers, then grabbed their swords and hats and practiced fighting the balloons! They had a blast hitting the balloons around the room with their swords. One of the boys accidentally popped a balloon, and his mom exclaimed "Good job! You killed the balloon!" After that, R followed me around for a good 15 minutes begging me to help him "kill" a balloon! (i didn't comply because i absolutely hate popping balloons! I know, i'm no fun.)

Then we went on a dragon hunt, using the dragon manuals. I had hidden candies and toys around the building, with pictures of different dragons on each of them. They were given their treat bags to put their dragons in as they found them.


 
I used this tutorial for the treat bags (link opens a pdf file). I did a google search and found a dragon image i liked, printed it out onto cardstock and cut the pieces out with an x-acto knife. Then i used the stencil to apply red fabric paint to the bags. I should have made a few stencils - after about the fourth or fifth bag, the paint started leaking under the edges. Good thing kids aren't as nitpicky as i am.  

After the hunt, we played games. We fed the dragons:



And used the dragon tails i made to have a relay race.



Each child got a chance to knock over three 2L pop bottles. I filled them with a little bit of water and food coloring to make them heavier and a little tougher to knock over. I also had to stand them on boxes to make them taller.

After the games, it was time for presents, then cake!! And i have to say, i LOVED this cake!




I found the instructions for it  here. It's a "limited access without a paid membership" site, but i gleaned enough from the photos i could see to recreate it. I was too cheap to buy up a bunch of candy, so i made all the pieces with icing. i also cut the tail wrong, which worked out better anyway, because it created the extra piece for the head, which i thought looked great!
The wings are brown cardstock. I "glued" some bamboo skewers to them with chocolate icing, then piped the veins on to give it a little something extra.


Since the cake wasn't quite enough for all our guests, i made the viking hat cupcakes, this time with little sleeves i made on the computer. There were intended to be the iron rim on the bottom of viking helmets. I still can't decide whether i like them or not, but there you go.


I ran out of colored ink, which is why they look a little strange, but thankfully they were supposed to be gray anyway.

After the cake, we did the Wooden Spoon Toothless craft, and i was so busy helping the kids that i didn't even get one photo of the whole activity! (sad face)

In their treat bags, they got all the dragon hunt treats along with their manuals and a little coloring book.


I found printable "How to Train Your Dragon" coloring pages here, then made them into a little booklet and included an inexpensive box of crayons from the department store's party section. I made the little embroidered treasure pouches and filled them with little plastic gold coins, from the party section of the dollar store. Inside the 'monstrous nightmare eggs" were those little "bug-eye" things that multiply everything you look at through them (what do you call those??). M's mother brought up the "How to Train Your Dragon" treats from Idaho on her last visit - chocolate dragon eggs and FunDips with characters on them! A great addition! They also got to take home their hats, swords and sheilds, and their wooden spoon Toothless.


It's a sad fact of life that the hostess doesn't get to really enjoy the parties she puts together because she's too busy hostessing! I didn't get as many pictures as i would have liked, and it seemed to end far too quickly, but the kids all had a blast, and that's what's important!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Coming Soon...

I know i haven't been posting much lately. I've been super busy with party stuff!! Tomorrow is the big day, and we're all SO excited!! Stay tuned for more ideas and tutorials coming next week!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Dragon" Party Craft: Wooden Spoon Dragons

I wanted to do a fun craft at the party, and it was pretty serendipitous that i stumbled upon this tutorial while browsing online. I thought it was so cute, and the kids would have a blast with them!

I changed it up a little to make one specific dragon. If you've seen "How to Train Your Dragon", you may recognize him:


The wooden spoon made the perfect shape for Toothless's head!

Want to make your own? Here's what you'll need:


- Wooden spoons (I found mine at the local Dollar store for $1 for three)
- Black and White paint (and a paintbrush or two)
- 1 sheet black craft foam, scrap of red craft foam (for tongue)
- Scissors
- Pen or pencil
- White Cardstock (for traceable pattern)
- Glue (I used a hot glue gun, because i'm too impatient to wait for regular glue to dry)

Step One:
Paint the spoon black and let dry.

Step Two:
While your spoon dries, draw your pattern peices onto your cardstock, or print and cut out this one I made:


I don't know how to make a PDF, so you'll have to put the picture into a word document and enlarge it to fit the borders of the page.

Step Three:
Trace the eyes onto the spoon and paint white (You can use googly eyes if  you want to make it easier, but I wanted a more Toothless-like shape to the eyes.



Toothless's eyes change shape in the movie from catlike slits (when he's angry or threatened) to rounded squares (when he's friendly or happy).



I didn't have a small paintbrush - i was using a toothpick, so the eye's aren't as smooth as i'd like, but you get the idea.

Step Four:
 While they eyes are drying, trace the wings, tail, ears, and mouth onto the black foam, and the tongue onto red foam and cut out the pieces.



In the movie, one of Toothless's middle ear/horns is shorter than the other, so i cut a little bit off the end of one.

Step Five:
Assemble. See photo above for a close-up of his head to see the placement of the ears.



Glue the tongue onto the mouth piece, then glue the mouth piece just at the back and slightly up the sides, leaving enough unglued for the mouth to open.


Step Six:
Give to your child, who will fly him around the house all afternoon. I will admit to flying him around a bit myself.


Since the party is for a bunch of younger kids, I have the spoons painted and the foam cut out, so all they have to do is glue them together. I'm also playing around with the idea of making little foam fish for the kids to "feed" to their Toothless.

It should be lots of fun. Can't wait!!

Linking up:

Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Photobucket

Sunday, March 20, 2011

FIVE!

My little boy is five. Five! I can't believe it! It's gone by so quickly, and at the same time, i never thought he'd live to see five! (he's a real pain rambunctious little boy sometimes).

Today we celebrated with some friends of ours. One of their boys is close to E's age, and E's best friend. He won't be around for the big bash next week, so today we had them over for visiting  and dinner.

We had some delicious cupcakes for dessert. Sadly, i can't share the recipe, because my friend made them. They're special vegan cupcakes for her boy who has dairy, soy, and egg allergies. I made them fun, trying out something i plan on doing for the birthday bash (please ignore my filthy stove and peeling wall):


Viking helmets!! Another idea from Stacey. They were too cute! Especially the tiny one with the HUGE horns!



(this one has special icing on it, for the boy with allergies - thus the melty-ness)

E was very excited. And now, he's even more excited for his big party! I will admit, I'm super excited too.


Happy Birthday, little man!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patricks Day!

So, I don't actually have a craft for St. Patricks day. We usually don't go all out for the smaller holidays, since we usually just stay home, nobody comes over, and i don't have kids in school yet.

But in honor of St. Patty's day, here's something Irish for you. This is a men's singing group called "Celtic Thunder". They are awesome. They do mostly covers of other songs from a variety of genres. My favorite are the Irish songs. Here are a couple of my faves for your listening pleasure.

Happy St. Patricks Day!




This vid's not the greatest, but it's the best i could find. These voices are AMAZING! Ach, i'm in love!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Dragon" Party Game: Dragon Tails!

After my last post about the bean bag toss game, i feel a desparate need to redeem myself. I don't know why i posted that picture of the demented fish... Lets go with "it's healthy to be accepting of one's failures".

A couple weeks ago, I saw a tutorial for dragon tails by Jessica over at Running With Scissors. I knew we could not have a dragon party without at least a couple of these bad boys! Zip on over there for the tutorial (and some much nicer photos).

The boys had a great time helping me stuff them:



My little model has some strange poses...


 I didn't have enough stuffing for the green one, so you'll have to settle with pictures of just the purple one for now. Head on over to Running With Scissors and make one for your little dragon (or dinosaur)!!

"Dragon" Party Game: "Feed the Dragon"

An idea borrowed from Stacey at "Boy, oh Boy, oh Boy". It's a bean bag toss game, where you try to throw fish-shaped bags into the dragon's mouths.

First, i took two of the biggest boxes we had and opened them up, taped down the flaps, then taped them together. I had to reinforce them so they wouldn't keep folding in on themselves, so I hot glued a bunch of straight pieces of cardboard on the folds. I'm not showing you a picture of that. it's pretty ugly. you'll just have to trust me.

Now, I consider myself a fair artist. Not great, but good enough. But that's small scale. Drawing something large scale? Forget it!! So I once again turned to my trusty PC and made large versions of the dragon pictures i'd used for the invites, then printed them off, cut them out, and glued them on the board. then i used a box cutter to cut out the mouths.



Aren't the pixels beautiful!?



While cutting out the Monstrous Nightmare, E asked me, "Why are there squares all over the dragon??"  Hahaha! Yeah, well, still better than i'd be able to do by myself. And thankfully, it looks okay from a distance.

The fish were a snap to put together. I did it quickly, using very little sewing skill (i can sew! i promise i can! i just didn't care enough today).


Poor blue fish has some serious issues. And I accidentally cut through the seam when snipping the rounded edge on the green fish, so i had to re-sew that spot - hence the dent in his face. No, they definitely won't win any beauty contests, but the boys had fun testing out the game, and i think the kids at the party will have a blast!

Monday, March 14, 2011

"Dragon" Party Favors: Dragon Manual

As one of the party favors, I made miniature "Dragon Manuals" for each child. If you've never seen the movie, the Dragon Manual lists all the known dragons and everything they know about them.


I once again used my trusty PC, again using the "DS Rune English" font, and printed off some covers and pages, using old cardstock i dug out of my scrapbooking box that has been laying dormant for many years. I will need to tea-stain some more pages, though. Not enough of the other stuff.



I made a few in  different colors, since i didn't have enough of any one color. There are 8 dragons, so it worked out well printing on both sides. I cut each page out individually, then used my mini hole punch to put four holes in the pages, then tied a piece of hemp string through each hole.

I used the same cliparts i used for the invites, except i changed the coloring to sepia so they would look more Dragon Manual-ish. My camera is lame, so just imagine that the paper and images are more of a creamy, antique-y color, rather than grey.


I had great help from a "How to Train Your Dragon" wiki - found here. It uses the movies and the books as reference to compile their lists of dragons, characters, and so on. I had a lot of fun looking up the eight dragons from the movie, and gathering extra tidbits that weren't specifically mentioned in the movie. Did you know that the reason the Gronckle eats rocks is to fuel it's fire? the rocks melt in it's belly and he spits out molten lava! Yes, i am a geek.

Since this party is going to be full of pre-school children, i did my best to stay away from using words like "kill" and "death" and "blood". There is a bit about the Terrible Terror being one of the most frightening because it's small enough to sneak in your house while you're sleeping and attack you before you even know what's happened. Yeah, a little too nightmare-inducing for these kids, i think.



I even borrowed some lines from the movie to make a list of "tips" for fighting dragons. We are going to use these Manuals for something at the party, but you'll have to wait to see what it is!!


UPDATE #1:

I have had a lot of people asking about the font I used. I always look every time i'm asked, but could never find it. Well, this morning luck was with me. I found one!! It may not be exactly the same - i haven't compared every letter - but it's darn near perfect, and made by the same designer. You can download it here:

DS RUNEnglish 2 by Dan Smith's Fantasy Fonts 

UPDATE #2

 I Sincerely apologize for my lack of response. Go to THIS POST to download the free printable!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Recipe Time: Pancakes

It was my assumption that every Suzy Homemaker had a recipe for pancakes from scratch, but if all my blog stalking has taught me anything, it's not to make assumptions. I have found myself more than once saying "wow!" over things that should have been completely obvious, and I know many others have had the same reaction.

We love pancakes in our house. We eat them a lot. For Valentines Day, my husband got me an electric griddle. I was so excited! He even let me have it a week early, with the proviso that I make him pancakes and bacon on February 14th.  It was used a couple of times before Valentines day, the first time being when a friend of mine came over for dinner and made us all pancakes. (Yes, we are the kind of people who eat pancakes for dinner). She made them from scratch, which i had never had before, and my goodness they were divine!!

Not long after, I made pancakes on the griddle using a boxed mix that i had on hand (I've always been way too lazy to bother learning how to make them from scratch), and i was shocked at how revolting they were! The griddle certainly cooks them differently than a frying pan. They practically disintegrated the instant i put the syrup on! They were grainy and crumbly and just ... blech!

So, for Valentines Day, i got my friend's recipe, and I've been using it ever since.



This is what i did for my husband for V-Day. Not the greatest, but decent for a first attempt at making pancakes in shapes other than circles! I added a little red food coloring for fun.

Today, thinking again about pancakes, I figured i could cut down prep time and extra dishes by making my own mix! So I got out some medium sized freezer bags (i like the durability, and the double zipper) and made some mixes. I had seen this done elsewhere in blogland a long time ago - throw all your dry ingredients in a bag, label it and list the wet ingredients to add - just like a mix from the store!


And the bonus? Much cheaper! If you do not currently have a pancakes recipe, feel free to use this one!

In the bags i have:

2 cups flour (i use white all-purpose, but I'm sure any kind would work)
2 rounded tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Wet ingredients, listed on the bag, are:

2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1 3/4 cup water (keep a little extra on hand in case you'd like the batter thinner)

Stir dry ingredients together in a bowl. Add wet ingredients and mix with electric mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom as you go. Pour or spoon onto your griddle and you're ready to go! The pancakes i make are small-ish, about 8 at a time on the griddle, and i get 24 out of this batch. Enough for me, my hubby, two pre-schoolers, and leftovers for the next day (pancakes freeze awesome, by the way)!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

"How To Train Your Dragon" Party: Part 1, Invitations

E is turning five soon! Normally birthday parties at our house are low-key; family, maybe one or two other couples and their kids, dinner, balloons, gifts, and a special cake. With a limited budget and a teensy house, it's the way things are done. But I decided this year, since five is kind of a big deal, I was going to plan a nice big bash for my boy!

Okay, I admit, it's for me too. I LOVE theme parties, and I LOVE watching my boys with their friends having a great time! I was mulling over what kind of theme to choose when I saw this post by Stacey over at Boy, oh Boy, oh Boy! She threw a "How to Train Your Dragon" party for her boy, and i was totally inspired! That's my boys' favorite movie EVER (it's high on my list too!), so it would be perfect! I ran the idea past E and he was so excited! Even more so when i told him he could have more than two friends over.

I'm kind of going my own way with it to work with my own skills and what i have available to me, but I'll be using a few of her ideas. And hopefully we can both be inspiring to you!

First come the invitations!

I don't have pictures for the first step, which was tea-staining some cardstock. it would have been nice to use regular antique-y colored cardstock, but i didn't have any, nor did i have the money to go out and buy some. so, some of my bright white cardstock got a bath. If you don't know about tea-staining, it's just like it sounds: make some tea, then use a brush (or in my case, a painting sponge) and paint the paper all over with the tea. I don't drink actual tea leaves, but i had some peppermint herbal tea laying around, and after steeping it until it was good and dark, it worked quite well as a stain.

While the paper dried, i used my trusty old PC to design the invites.



I did a google search to find promo pictures from the movie that i could use. The fonts i used are "DS Rune English" and "Cup and Talon". I downloaded them forever ago, but i believe they both came from DaFont.

Then I printed them off on the now dry tea-stained cardstock, and cut out the individual invites.



note: I had to iron down the paper, as the tea-stain made it rather bumpy. It could have just been the way i dried it. If this happens to you, a couple seconds under an iron on high (no steam) will flatten them out in no time.Otherwise, you're bound to end up with something like this:



After folding them all up, i carefully burned the edges with a candle. Okay, i probably could have burned them a little more carefully. I had to wet my fingers and dab the edges once they were burned enough, because even when i blew out the flame, the cardstock just kept burning!

Time consuming? Absolutely! But I LOVE how they look!