Lego Birthday Party

Today, my baby is 5. I don’t know how that happened. No matter how many times we’re told when we first have kids, “It goes so fast”, you just don’t know until suddenly you find yourself having a party for your youngest child who is 5. I know, there are so many more milestones to come, but for now, I’m dealing with all the bittersweetness of his big 0-5 day.

Saturday, we had a party here at our house and I decided on a Lego theme. Over on Pinterest, I pinned a whole bunch of ideas. I love Pinterest for inspiration for things like this but I definitely had to swallow my pride and realize that there are some people who do really huge, really detailed, really perfect parties for their kids and I was just not going to be one of them. I tried to glean from different sites ideas that I could implement without spending a month’s pay or going so over the top that I was paying more attention to making a perfect party than just celebrating my little guy.

I tried to keep it authentic to us, and I think that worked out.

First, a few days ahead of time, I took one of his plain shirts and cut out a 5 and sewed it on. Easy, and he loved it.

The next big thing I worried about all week was the cake. I tried to make a cake that looked like a lego brick. Here is where I tell you that I have never ever done anything other than bake a cake and frost it with frosting out of a can. I don’t decorate cakes, I don’t make fondant. I knew I was attempting something I probably should’ve left to the professionals, but whatever. I baked two cakes and layered them, frosted over the whole thing and then stacked 6 sets of two oreos to make the little lego knobs, then frosted over all of that. It kind of looked like a lego brick, but not really. What I lack in cake making ability, I made up for by having my daughter put lego men on the cake holding little “5″ signs printed on red paper and using the lego font. I am pretty sure I am the only one who cared that the cake was a mess. It still tasted like cake :)

For goodie bags, I got plain colored bags in two colors, red and blue, and my kids helped me cut out 842 circles because we don’t have a fancy circle punch. We glued them to the outside of the bags to make them look like legos, too.

I bought a big bin of legos on ebay from a local seller, so for $10 had enough legos to fill a baggie for each goodie bag and send each of the 10 kids home with a stash to build with. The goodie bags were also used for a lego hunt and all the kids got to take home what they found. Lots of happy boys! :)

Let’s see…for games, we played pin the dot on the lego.

The kids loved that. Such a simple easy game made with foam board and cardstock paper, and each circle had a child’s name written on the back and had a little adhesive tab on it so we could keep track of whom they belonged to. The prize was…a baggie of legos.

I also set out a mason jar full of legos and some pieces of paper for each kid to write their name and their guess of how many legos are in the jar. The winner got to take the jar home.

Last, I printed out Lego coloring sheets and had them set out for the kids to do during the party. But all the kids were too busy playing outside on the tire swing, playing tug-o-war, or chasing our chickens around, so I sent a coloring sheet home in each goodie bag instead.

After the party was all over, my little guy claimed it was “super fun!” and I decided that meant it was a success.

DIY Dollhouse

Back at Christmastime, I was shopping for my kids and became incredibly discouraged to find so many cheaply made but expensive toys. I know, I should not be surprised by this anymore. After doing a lot of searching in stores and online for a well-made but not $300 dollhouse for my daughter, I gave up. I asked my hubby if he thought that maybe he could make one and I gave him some inspiration photos of ones I’d found online but, again, didn’t want to spend $300 on.

He said yes. Yes!

We went to the store to get the wood for it and spent a whopping $27. I can’t get a “cool” plastic piece of junk toy that was made in China for that at Target. I was a happy mama.

Then I did something that I never ever ever do and I didn’t boss hubby around on the project. I let him do it all himself without saying “oh, do it this way! Make more rooms! Make less rooms! Put stairs in! Put windows in!” I let him hide away in the shed and build his daughter a dollhouse. With the wood we bought, a scrap piece of beaded board we already had for the back and two small cans of oops paint for $2, we surprised our little girl with something she had no idea she even wanted but instantly fell in love with.

I don’t have a step-by-step tutorial and I do know that more went into it than just slapping wood together. I am trying to talk hubby into making another one so I can detail the process. And then he can sell it for $300. ;)

The best part is that when she outgrows the dollhouse part, it can just be a bookshelf. We hope she gets many years of use out of it!

Merry & Bright

On a whim I decided to do a craft with my kids a couple of days ago. Doing a craft with my kids really ended up meaning I did the craft while they played outside then when I was done, they came in and showed off “their” craft to their daddy like they’d done all the work. The circle banner garland thingy was really fun and easy. Just paper circles sewn together to make a big long tangly twisted garland that I hung as best I could considering the tangly twisted part.

Such is life, you do one little project that takes a few minutes and suddenly another project emerges. With our mismatched stockings hung below the bright and cheerful banner, I realized that it was time to get some new, nicer, matching stockings. Off to the store we went only to find that they are all cheaply made and ugly and expensive. So I spent a few dollars on felt and made my own. Seriously, I spent $4.62 and made 4 stockings. Please don’t think I enjoyed it – in my head, sewing is way more fun than it ever is while I’m doing it. But when it’s over, I look at a finished product and first, I wonder how all that swearing and needle breaking and such turned into something useable and then I pat myself on the back for actually sticking with it and miraculously turning all the frustration into something my kids adore.

And now, we’re 3 days from Christmas and I’m feeling weary and ready to rest from the lists and chaos. I want to be done so I can sit and enjoy – breathe – for a few moments before the day arrives and is gone in a blink. I don’t want to feel like I missed it.

Each night, the 4 of us have snuggled up and watched another holiday movie on instant netflix while eating popcorn. We’ve baked cookies together, wrapped some gifts with stuff we’ve found around the house together and we’ve had moments of quiet and still to remember what the season means beyond the stuff and the lists.

May the coming days be merry and bright for you.

Merry Christmas, friends!

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