Childhood Birthdays {some reminiscing}

Today is my 38th birthday.  I have always loved birthdays.  Although they do seem to get a little more uneventful as the years go by.  I don’t seem to put any where near as much effort into the celebrating of my own birthday as I do for my children’s birthdays.  Kudos goes to my own Mum for coming over yesterday though with a delicious afternoon tea to help me celebrate … and for cleaning up afterwards (which, if truth be told, was just as wonderful as the afternoon tea itself).  Maybe the desire to make birthdays special for our children never disappears.  My Mum has always been a birthday queen.  I inherited my love of going over the top for kids parties from my Mum.  Back in the 70′s & 80′s, long before themed parties were all the rage, she was getting right into it!  
These photos are from my ninth birthday.  Twenty nine years ago in 1984.  The theme was ‘Snugglepot & Cuddlepie’ from the classic May Gibb’s storybooks.  The chalk board that I am holding in the photo above says Beware of the Banksias written in the squiggly writing of the gumnut babies.  The handmade poster behind me says ‘Gum Inn’ – shake the bell (referring to the gumnut covered dangly thing in front of the poster).  That’s my sister Lou standing next to me.
 

Gum branches covered in blossoms were hung all throughout the toy room.  We had the best toy room as kids.  It was originally my Dad’s veterinary surgery and we lived behind, until he moved the surgery down the road and we converted the space into an extra large playroom at the front of the house that opened out into the kitchen.

We had gum blossom party hats made from brown card and crepe paper and it looks like we were allowed to use the fancy glasses and candles too!

My friend, Felicity is holding up a menu with bush type names for all of the food we are eating – written in the squiggly writing of course.  

She even decorated the plates with gum blossoms & wattle sprigs on the plates and piped the names Snugglepot and Cuddlepie onto the cupcakes.  They’re meringues on the plate at the front, in case you were wondering.
 
Every year, Mum made our birthday cakes out of vanilla icecream.  She moulded the icecream into shape, then melted small amounts to colour with food dye and use as paint over the top to decorate.  I’ve never known anyone else to have done that.

That’s me and my Dad in the photo above and my face covered in flour in the picture below after playing the flour game – one of our all time favourite party games!  You can read more about how to play the flour game in this post.  I hope you enjoyed my little trip down memory lane and maybe even some understanding of how I got bitten by the party bug!  
I think I have mentioned before that I have two younger sisters.  My sister’s birthdays are only 5 days apart and mine is a few weeks later.  Mum went all out with a separate party for each of us.  She involved us in all aspects of party prep and I have fond memories of all of us sitting down together making invitations, party hats and party bags.  We even decorated plastic plates with each persons name on them and then cover them in clear contact so they could still be eaten from.  We played the best party games like animal noises, the flour game, treasure hunts, dress up games, I could go on.  We even had lollies and stickers in each layer of pass the parcel long before it became fashionable.  She was way ahead of her time!  As we became teenagers they continued with Dad putting on big ‘It’s a Knock Out’ style games (remember that TV show?) set up in the farm shed which involved lots of mess!
 
This is really a thank you post to my Mum, who is an avid supporter of this blog and also an avid supporter of me.  Thank you for supporting me for the last 38 years and for throwing the best parties ever!  You always knew how to make each of us feel special and I can only hope that I’ll be as wonderful a Mum to my children as you are to us.  xo
more-party-ideas

THE LEGO PARTY part 2

Welcome to the second instalment of ‘The Lego Party’!  
A quick run down on the games & activities …

I like to have “stations”.  Mostly because it takes the pressure off me but also because it cuts down a little of the awkwardness when you first arrive at the party and not everyone is there yet to start any group games and you can just get right into the fun!  If you’ve seen any of our other parties, you’ll know that we do this set up often!  There were a lot of kids at this party (27 in the end – what on earth was I thinking?!) so we had lots of stations and only 2 organised group games.

ACTIVITY STATIONS:
Sounds a bit formal doesn’t it, but it was really a very relaxed, play whatever takes your fancy, kind of set up.  

1.  Lego Tattoos –  I actually made my own tattoos.  I still love saying that!  These ones were made by photocopying a page from a sticker book onto tattoo paper.  You can find a full tutorial here.

2.  Lego man colouring table - I just googled ‘lego man printable’ to find this pic.  This activity was surprisingly popular with both boys and girls.

3.  Free play with Lego - I was so impressed with the things the kids created!  Many thanks to my mother-in-law who purchased the giant bargain bag of mismatched lego earlier this year!

4.  Pin the mouth on the Lego man - thanks to the great artistic skills of my friend Jess for helping me make this baby!  Made with coloured card stuck on a large piece of card.

5. Lego Straw game – move the Lego pieces into the cup only using a straw. 
Tip: small lego pieces and bendy straws made it a little easier for this age group.

6.  Lego Toss - How many lego pieces can you get to land in the plates.  Can you tell that it’s meant to look like a giant lego brick …. ? Probably should have given the kids a chance to score points and get prizes for this one, but ran out of time to organise it properly.  Not sure anyone minded though.


7.  How many lego pieces in the jar?  There were 109 lego pieces in that jar … 
8. Lego Man Photo booth – Thanks to the talented Jess once again for drawing this one! The kids and I had great fun painting the fridge box and on the day of the party the kids loved poking their heads through and getting their photo taken.  It is still a popular feature in our house (?!)

GROUP GAMES:
Pass the Parcel - We play this game a little differently than most.  There is no music and an activity written on each layer.  For eg. the person wearing the most items of clothing, the person who can stand on one leg for the longest, the person who has the next birthday, the person who can make the funniest face.  The person with the parcel at the time is the judge of that round.  In the pic below they are all doing crab impersonations!

Lego Hunt – Goose hid Lego all through our garden – front, back and sides.  Each child had to find four pieces of Lego – one of each colour – and exchange it for a small prize. A simple, but fun, game to get them running around and to tire them out a little!

The prizes for the lego hunt were chocolates that I made using a fantastic Lego man mould that I borrowed from a friend.  I forgot to take a picture of these on the day, so this pic below is of the ones that we made for Bear’s school friends on his actual birthday last week, all individually wrapped.  Tutorial on how to make these here and I just used white chocolate and yellow gel food dye.  I’m pretty sure they sell the moulds on ebay.
The take home goodies were simply a small lego set (a bargain on ebay) and some candy Lego bricks I purchased on my recent trip to the US that I popped in a treat tube (my new favourite thing).


You can find part 1 of the Lego Party here with the pics of the food & decos and pics of the invites & party prep here

You can also find more party ideas from previous Frog Goose & Bear parties over here


If you have any questions about preparing your own kids party, don’t be scared to ask – I’m always happy to help if I can!

THE LEGO PARTY part 1

Sorry to keep you all waiting lovely people!  Here are the pics from Saturday’s Lego Party to celebrate Bear’s 6th birthday!  

I made the sign by downloading the free lego font and printing it out, sticking it onto yellow card, cutting it out and then sticking it on to red card.  


 Lego bunting was made from coloured card and the dots were made by using a large circle punch stuck on with padded double sided tape.
The water bottles were decorated using the same method.


FOOD:
Having a party at 2pm means that you don’t need to provide as much food as you would at a party that falls over a meal time – makes things a lot easier!  We had… 

Strawberry cups
Lego sandwiches and Lego cheese biscuits 
(in case you were wondering we used the tip of an icing piper to make the circle shape)

Lego jelly (thanks lou xo)

Marshmallow Lego heads - I died the marshmallows yellow using this method and then drew the faces on with an edible ink pen.  You can vaguely see in the background the chocolate grissini sticks – simple tutorial here.


Lego biscuits.

Of course, as per usual, I started taking photos after everyone had already begun to attack the food … you can see what was popular first – the marshmallow heads, the jellies and the blue, yellow & red biscuits!

We also had a sushi platter (from a local Japanese restaurant), some corn chips, popcorn, jellybeans, kabana, sausage rolls, my favourite mini egg & bacon pies and a fruit platter (red, yellow and blue fruit of course!)


Lego Brick Birthday Cake – totally thought that I was taking the easy way out here by making lego bricks, but those oreo cookies were quite painful to ice with butter icing!  Don’t even ask how much red food dye (I even used the gel stuff) was in the red lego brick!  Did not cut that one up at the party!  Note to self: avoid party themes that require a red cake!

Stay tuned for all of the games and activities in the next post…


Click on the cake for more Frog, Goose & Bear parties!

* No, that sharp knife is not pointed at my four month old niece!

In Preparation for a Lego Party

Preparations for Bear’s 6th birthday party are well under way.  In fact, I’m not sure if I’ve ever been this organised for a party two weeks ahead.  Time will tell whether I can keep up the momentum!  

 Thanks to some inspiration from here the invitations were super easy to make.  At under 10c an invite to print, they were cost effective also.  No need to even write on the back, as all the info was right there in the photo.  Bear wrote the names on the envelopes before we handed them out at school (in a secret squirrel kind of way as I just couldn’t bring myself to invite the whole class – always such a tricky one that one! What do you do?!).

We stuck a piece of magnet on the back of the photo so the recipient could pop it up on their fridge.  We just cut up the free advertising magnets that seem to multiply in this house and taped them on using double sided tape.  In case you were wondering, that yellow contraption in the photo below is one of the best birthday gifts my mother ever gave me – a double sided tape gun.  Love it!  

To keep with our tradition* of making something from a fridge box for each birthday party we made a lego man photo booth!  Thanks to pinterest for inspiration once again and the artistic skills of our friend Jess.  The painting was a joint effort between Frog & myself before you go thinking she’s a genius 4 year old for painting so perfectly in the lines. ;)

Thanks to Jess once again for helping me create this pin the mouth on the lego man.  I love him!  As soon as I showed Bear he told me that he liked it also, but told me that he did not want to play that game at his party anymore.  ?!?!?!  So after a little discussion (no way that effort was going to waste!) we decided that it would still be ok if some of the other kids at his party played it.  Phew!
We’ve been doing a little pre-party prep in the kitchen as well and popping them in the freezer or in airtight containers and we’re currently in the middle of whipping up some lego bunting and making juice boxes look like lego bricks.  Gosh I love party time!

Stay tuned for more lego party adventures!

Feel free to follow my lego party pinboard on pinterest if you’re looking for inspiration for your own lego party.

In addition, some of you will be pleased to know that, as of last week, I am now on instagram!  You can follow me over there under @froggoosebear as well as good old facebook as I’ll be far more likely to be popping lego party pics on there sooner than I’ll be getting around to putting them on the blog!
You can check out previous FGB parties on our party page over here.
Are you preparing for a party of your own?  Have you had a lego party?  Do you use pinterest to collect ideas?



* I pop out the back of our local ‘Good Guys’ store and they are always happy to give me a box or two.  For previous parties we’ve made a princess castle, a pirate ship and a rocket.

TILLY’S HORSE RACING PARTY

As this seems to have become a month of birthday party posts here on Frog, Goose and Bear, I thought I’d share with you some pics from my niece’s first birthday party that I’ve been meaning to share since last October!  The perfect theme for a one year old in the middle of Spring Racing Carnival here in Melbourne for a little girl who was off and racing long before she turned one!  My sister-in-law did an amazing job!  Love that cake!

You might recognise a couple of props from a certain farm party and pirate party.

Do you have a party coming up?  How are you celebrating?

For more kids party ideas head on over here…

A Tree Party

Yes, you read that correctly, a “Tree” party was the theme of choice for my 7 year old nephew a couple of weeks ago.  Just a small do with a couple of school mates and his extended family.  

Game #1: Pass the parcel.  
For details on how to play this version of pass the parcel see this post.
Game #2: The flour game.
For details on how to play the flour game see this post.

Game #3: Pin the bird in the nest.  

Tree painted and names written on the birds by the birthday boy.  Love kid involvement in birthday prep!  In fact the whole party was designed by him!  Love this kid.


Game #4: Worms tied to string on the clothes line.
The kids had to eat the lollie worms with their hands behind their backs.  
Game#5: Tree pinata.
 Containing glow in the dark bugs, bouncy balls and wrapped sweets.

Some pinata action shots!

As well as some sushi and hot dogs at the birthday boys request, for dessert we had Chocolate Birds Nests

Fruit Cups with Tree toothpicks

Choc Grissini Sticks (aka ‘tree branches’) 

and a wonderful tree birthday cake!  It was dark by the time the dessert came out so along with glow sticks and sparklers.

The party was a week earlier than his birthday as his Mum (my sister Lou who many of you know) was due to give birth within the following weeks.  Not sure exactly how she managed it, but a week after his party, at 11.15pm on the day of his actual birthday, he received the best present of all – a new baby sister.  Seven years apart, brother and sister share the same birthdate!  Which ironically enough is the same date as our Dad, their Grandpa, who is of course quite chuffed.

How close together are your children’s birthdays?!
How much scope do you give your children in party prep?  
Do you run with whatever theme your child suggests or steer them in a particular direction?  Or is the whole ‘theme thing’ just not for you?

If you’d like to see some pics of some more diy parties, you might like to head over to the Frog Goose & Bear party ideas page…

A Fabulous Scooter Party

We went to a delightful birthday party today for our 4 year old friend, Eliza.  Look at me actually posting pics on my blog on the day I took them instead of 3 months later like the last party I posted!!  ‘Twas a perfect day in the park for a scooter themed party!  I totally forgot my camera, but snapped these ones on my iphone.  Our kids had an absolute ball!

I love the idea of an outdoor party where kids can just run/scoot/skate/ride around to their heart’s content.  Kids LOVE that kind of thing!  If you like that idea too, you might like to check out the ‘Scooter Party’ board on pinterest put together by the birthday girl’s Mum or the photos I posted from my nephew’s ‘Skateboard Party’ last year.  

Have you ever been to a Scooter or Skater party?  I’d love to hear all about it!

To see the Frog Goose & Bear party page head over here!

Rainbow Celebrations Continued …

Sorry folks to leave you in suspense once again!  Although I have high hopes for this blog, lots of ideas,fun crafts and parties to share, I sometimes just find it hard to find the time! Just as I got some more time on my ownwith kids at school and kinder, and I finally get back into blogging … school holidays arrive!  Being a perfectionist by nature I do find it hard to just let this blog sit dormant sometimes when I have so many ideas floating around in my head.  I sometimes wonder whether I need an editor for my own blog to give me a deadline for the next post for the extra motivation, or perhaps I need to give myself the deadline, or perhaps I just don’t need the added stress and this blog will just be what it is for now – sharing the fun things when I get the time – and it will continue to evolved and expand as it has over the last 3 years.

In my last post I shared with you the Rainbow Crafternoon that we had to celebrate Goose’s 9th birthday back in January.  After the Rainbow Crafternoon the celebrations continued when Goose’s 6 aunts and uncles, 2 siblings and 3 young cousins joined us for a BBQ dinner, party games (so the cousins and siblings didn’t think they’d missed out on the “party”) and rainbow desserts.

 Goose’s main stipulation for this party was the rainbow cake.  “I don’t care what we do Mum, but we have to have that cake!”  She loved the idea of having a surprise under a boring looking cake on the outside.  She allowed me to put the rainbow bunting on the top under duress as she wanted to maintain the secret beneath the cake for as long as possible.  

That first slice…


Thanks so much for all of your tips which made this cake so much less intimidating!
Rainbow jelly cups were a big hit!
Along with the rainbow fruit platter
that we served in spotted rainbow cupcake pans with mini wooden forks.

 A bit of everything for Bear!

The always colourful Super Granny.


Rainbow stools borrowed from a friend.

Frog with her beloved Aunty Clare and the stunning views from our new house!


Lemon cordial in stripy rainbow cups that Goose and Frog designed & decorated.

Party games of ‘Pin the cloud on the rainbow’ and ‘Pass the Parcel’.
Our favourite way of doing pass the parcel.  No music.
An activity written on each layer.  For eg…
… to the person wearing the most colours of the rainbow
… to the person who can stand on one leg for the longest
… to the person with the most letters in their name
… to the person who can do the best impersonation of a dog
or, in the case of the photo below,
… to the person who can make the funniest face. 
The person with the parcel at the time is the judge of that round. 

Rainbow tissue garland that Goose made covered the length of the balcony!

When most of the aunts and uncles and cousins went home, the girls
set up their beds in the big empty lounge room, painted their nails in rainbow colours 
and watched the movie of “Ramona & Beezus” with snacks and then eventually sometime in the wee hours they went to sleep… and I crashed and burned!

Granny, Aunty Clare & Uncle Mika stayed the night too as they are beloved out-of-towners and helped with the pancake & fruit breakfast in the morning.  We sent the party guests home with the crafts they’d made from the crafternoon along with some rainbow lifesavers and a gorgeous little Re-Sew-Cool flower brooch making kit from Sister Outlaws


Thanks Julianne!  We ran out of time to make the badges as a party activity, but Goose has made hers (with no help from me, it’s that user friendly!) and loves it!  Re-Sew-Cool sell gorgeous little craft party kits from recycled materials that are perfect for craft parties and all of their craft packs make great gifts for girls of any age.

For more Frog Goose and Bear Parties head to this page!



A Rainbow Crafternoon Revealed

And here it is!  The much awaited pics of Goose’s 9th Birthday party.  The gorgeous Goose spent a lovely few hours with 5 friends, her two Grandma’s and her Mum (that would be me!) at her ‘Rainbow Crafternoon’….


Goose and I had got everything prepared before the move (which occured 2 days prior, yes I am absolutely insane) and put it in a big box labelled ‘party’ making it much smoother on the day for others to pick it up and run with it.  Thanks lovely family for all of your help over that time!  It was a lovely, lovely day and I’d highly recommend it for a party theme!  Particularly for the 7-12 age group.

We had just moved into the house and most things were still in boxes which meant that we could easily customise the party space as it was a blank canvas!  The bookshelf contained everything we needed for each activity and Goose had made pen pots using old tins for a set of supplies for each child for each activity.  We purchased an apron in each colour of the rainbow from this online store which each child got to take home.


Goose had made samples of six crafts.  Here are the four crafts that we had time to do.  

Craft no. 1 No-sew cushions.

Craft no. 2 - Fabric painting on bags. 

 The bags were also purchased from the same online store as the aprons.
Craft no. 3 - Rainbow clay necklaces


Packing boxes (still unpacked of course!) 
make great make-shift snack tables for a snack while crafting.

It was a quiet and pleasant afternoon as there were only 6 girls, my mother and MIL and myself.   Then at 6pm the little siblings (who had played at their cousins house all afternoon) arrived along with siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles for a birthday dinner which I’ll tell you about in my next post!

Click here for more FGB parties and stay tuned for the rest of Goose’s rainbow birthday celebrations – including pics of that rainbow cake!

Rainbow Party Prep

As we’re moving house in the next few days and Goose’s birthday is two days later (yes, I am insane) party prep has not necessarily been my first priority, but never fear, I have a party prep protégé.  Lucky, as sometimes I have been known to regret setting the precedent of a big at-home party every year.  Particularly at this time of year.  These school holidays Goose has been a little insatiable for craft, so I’ve just gently nudged (with only the occasional bribe) her toward rainbow crafts that can then be used at the party.  
She’s made a very, very, very long tissue tassel garland (thanks to these clever tutes – thanks Brenda & Julianne)

rainbow tissue poms (who knew how easy they were!),
drawn and painted a rainbow for pin the cloud on the rainbow game,

made a sample for every craft activity for the crafternoon,

made some rainbow chocolate grissini wands and many other rainbowy bits and pieces.

These party things really are “extras, but I’m so glad that she is old enough to do them so that she doesn’t miss out completely on the extras that we love.  Thank goodness for birthday parties in the school holidays!  Without her it may have been a lot less colourful party!  So glad that Goose is making sure the fun remains!  
So, things might be a little quiet around here on the blog for a bit, as tends to be the way here when my life hots up a bit.   Now… back to those boxes… and taking big deep breaths … as those short, sharp breaths threaten to overwhelm when I think of all that needs to be done before school goes back next week … next week!!!


How involved are your kids in party prep?
How are you going as the summer holidays near an end?  
Still trying to hang on, or desperate for them to be over?
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