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I’m Exhausted December 22, 2010

Posted by Lil' C's Mommie in Uncategorized.
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The birthday party was held at the beginning of this month and it went really well!  I was exhausted after it was over, and I’m still exhausted from it today!  I basically made the party into a glorified playdate with cake.  I set up a bunch of “stations” around the house.  And just let the kids play.

I papered the dining room table and set out crayons and taped on space-themed coloring pages printed off from the internet, and let the kids color to their hearts content.  My friend, Catie, sent us a box of these super cute rocket themed puffy stickers, that had letters so the kids could customize their own sheet and take it home.

Then out on the patio, I set up my son’s trampoline.  The kids loved it and the parents, too!  I think this was one of the hits of the party!

His cars and trains were set out on the train table in the living room.  And we had a toy kitchen that the kids could play with in the desk area.  Our house is tiny, and a lot more people that I thought RSVP’d that they were coming, so I decided to extend the party out into our garage, as well.  That’s where the black sheeting came in.  My husband made a rocket playhouse out of cardboard (that he got for free from his work) and I put up black sheeting (that I borrowed for free from a member of my Freecycle network) behind it, with planet stickers all over it to look like outer space.  I wanted to add white Christmas lights, too, but ran out of time.  I also wanted to put up black sheeting around the entire garage, but we didn’t have enough sheeting.  But that’s ok.  It worked out because it wasn’t easy to put all the sheeting up!  I also set out a rug (which I had happened to find on the side of the road when I was picking up another Freecycled item – it was the perfect size and was totally clean and smelled brand new) with some toys and some riding toys for the kids.

I made a “comet toss” game, were I wrapped colored tights around tennis balls (that I got for free through Freecycle) and cut holes out of a box and let the kids toss them in.  And I set out his astronaut costume that I made back in October, so the kids could try it on and take pictures as an astronaut in the rocket playhouse.  The helmet and rocket jetpack parts were Freecycled to me, and I turned them into what you see in the photos.

You wouldn’t believe how many crayons I still have left, from someone who gave them to me through Freecycle.  I made 12 stars and 24 planet crayons.  I LOVED making them!  SO FUN!  I ended up not only making “planet” crayons, but star shaped crayons, as well.

One Freecycle member offered to make “Thank you for coming to my party” tags!  SO SWEET!  Here’s a picture of the crayon goody bags I made and then I attached those tags onto it.

I added those to the rocket container, along with the “Hope you had a blast!” coloring page that I printed out, a rocket comic book that I got for free from a friend, a pop rocket, which I found at the dollar store, 3/$1, and an organic lollipop, which I got very inexpensively from a deal through Amazon!

Christian loved helping me put the party favors into the containers.

I made the rocket containers out of Pringles cans, that were Freecycled to me, and the paper that I used was free as well, from my leftover stock of scrapbooking paper and some of it was offered from someone on Freecycle, as well.  Oh, and the glue that I used to put the rocket containers together was also Freecycled to me.

I also handed out “wrist rockets” that I had a friend sew together for me.  I bartered her sewing skills for a book that she was wanting.  Which I traded for, for almost free, on www.swap.com.  The kids wore these wrist rockets during the party.  They could take the rocket off (velcro) and fly it around, if they wanted to.

I also had my friend make a tie dye shirt for my son, and I used fabric paint (from Michaels, with a 40% off coupon) and freezer paper (that I got for free at my local deli) to paint a rocket shape on it.  She bought and made the shirt as a birthday gift for my son.

AND I designed and made the party invites and the thank you cards!  And I made the envelopes and stickers.   All, again, with leftover paper from my scrapbooking stock.  WHEW!!!

Yes, it was a lot of work, but I loved doing it!  And my son absolutely loved it!  OH, and I made a moon cake!  I think I need to start a side business.

Best part was that I was able to do most of this party for almost free, at very little cost.  Exception was the food and cups/plates/napkins.  Although the Tang hardly cost a thing! And I was able to get star-shaped mylar balloons for a $1 each at the dollar store.

This party took A LOT of time, but not a lot of money.  Which was my goal.  A low cost but spectacular party!

It’s amazing what we can do with a fantastic Freecycle network, some time, some resourcefulness and a lot of determination.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go get ready for Christmas!

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Thank You Tags December 8, 2010

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When I had posted a “Wanted” posting to my Freecycle group, I had asked for cellophane bags with twist ties, noting that it was for a rocket birthday party. Well, one member replied back, offering to make me some “Thank you for Coming to my Party” tags! This is probably one of the sweetest things someone has ever offered me! I can’t believe how amazing the folk on Freecycle are. Everyone is so giving and generous and kind.

Here are the tags.  She even made made me a scrapbooking strip in case I wanted to make a scrapbook page!  HOW SWEET OF HER!!

Here’s a picture of the crayon goody bags I made and attached the tags onto.

Then I added those to the rocket goody container, along with the coloring page, comic book, pop rocket and lollipop!

The tags were the perfect final touch to the goody bags!  Thank you Linda!

Trash to Treasure – Building Rocket Goody Bags December 3, 2010

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I finally put the rocket goody bags together from old Pringles cans. I posted a “Wanted” ad on Freecycle and received about 10 cans, from different sources. 1 or 2 cans here, 3 or 4 cans there. Then I had to buy 2 more because I needed 12.

I collected and cleaned about a dozen Pringles cans.

Weird that there wasn’t one single repeat flavor.

Using a brand new glue stick and a brand new bottle of quick dry glue (so much better than Elmer’s!  And a stack of scarpbooking paper) that I just happen to get off of Freecycle, from someone offering it, I wrapped and glued the paper to the cans.

I cut out some cones and fins.

Punched out some 1 1/2″ circles in coordinating colors, of course, for the windows.

Punch holes in can and through cone. Add the ribbon.

Slapped on some stickers and voila!

I paid $2 for 2 cans, recieved the glue for free and the rest of the materials, like the paper, were from Freecycle and I also already had some sheets in my scrapbooking supply.

Cost: About $0.20 each.  I like it!

Comet Toss Game November 21, 2010

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10 tennis balls: $2.50

5 pairs of tights: $1.00

Box with holes in it: Free

A game to distract toddlers for an extended period of time and costing less than $4: PRICELESS

Wrist Rockets November 21, 2010

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My dear friend Amy has agreed to stitch together the wrist rockets that I’m making for the kids, since I don’t have a sewing machine.  Even if I did, I’m sure that I’d ruin about 1/2 of them before I figured out how to sew them together.

Paper template

Ready to ship

I’m still trying to decide if I want to hand these out when the kids get here, so that they can play with them, or just add them to the goody bag.  Although, I like the thought of the goody bag only having the crayons, coloring pages, “Saturn’s ring” (i.e. glow in the dark wrist band) and the rocket comic.  I think that’s plenty, don’t you?  Plus, I think it’d be super cute to see the kids running around playing with their wrist rockets on.  Great photo ops, too.

Rocket Invitations November 19, 2010

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Here they are!  After hours of designing, printing, cutting and assembling, the rocket invitations are done!  The only thing I spent money on was the postage!  And I hand delivered about 1/2 of them.

I made vellum envelopes, too!  They were so thin though.  I’m worried that the postage machines will shred them!

Do you like the little moon stickers I made!!  Love ’em!

Cosmic Planet Crayons November 19, 2010

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We did it!  Aunt Becky helped me make the cosmic crayons out of the crayons that I got for free from Freecycle!  They were so easy, almost cathartic, to make!  Becky was using a hammer to smash them and I was chopping like no one’s business.  When they were in the oven, I was a little worried because it looked like the different colors were just blending all together, making a yucky color.  But after a while in the fridge, we flipped them out of the muffin tins and they looked spectacular on the other side!!  Yay for metallic crayons for that extra sparkly effect! 

Each kid will get two crayons in their goody bag.  Along with some space-themed coloring pages.  I love it!

Look What Nay Found! November 6, 2010

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So, my sweet cousin, Nay, has an eye you can’t believe. She finds the most amazing things. So I asked her to please keep an eye out for some items for Christian’s birthday party. Here are a couple of items she found:

Rocket cut-outs:

I’ll definitely be using this for Christian’s invites. Now to find envelopes big enough…

Rocket Popsicle molds:

If I end up making the moon cake, I’ll be using one of these for the chocolate rocket that sits on top. But in the meantime, he’s loving the juice popsicles that I’m making for him.

Thanks Nay!

My Little Astronaut November 6, 2010

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Since Christian is going to have a rocket themed birthday party, I figured he could be an astronaut for Halloween and get more than one use out of his costume! But then I started checking out the prices of astronaut costumes. $50!?!? I don’t think so. So I did a little research on the internet, got a couple of good ideas, compiled the ones I liked, and here’s the final look.

Duct tape, tissue paper from the dollar store, some old stickers and printable sticker paper from my scrapbooking days, and the hubby already had some blue and red electrical tape.

I made the straps for the jet pack after he had gone to bed, and I hadn’t measured him of course, but they fit perfectly!  Whew!

And then I saw this commercial the night when I was making Christian’s astronaut costume and was just dying laughing. This is SO me!! ROTFLMAO!!!

The costume:
A race car driver costume that I found at a thrift store, while on vacation, for $6, I found some large white shoe covers for $1 at a thrift store, which I cut down to size and taped up with white electrical tape, and I found an astronaut vest for $3, it was too big, but it was so perfect that I decided to get it and pin it down to size:

When we got to school, he ran down the hallway like he was blasting off!  His teacher loved the jet pack so much, she couldn’t get over it.  And the Halloween parade was a success!  We marched around the classrooms and school offices.  People kept asking me where I bought the costume and when I said I had made it, they couldn’t believe it.  He loved his costume and he kept his helmet on the entire time! I’m so proud of him!

So, for around $12 I was able to create a pretty neat astronaut costume. 

Transformation October 26, 2010

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Here’s what I did with the items Freecycled to me (2-liter bottles & party cups):

Before: A plain ol’ helmet, ordinary 2-liter bottles and some party cups.

After: An astronaut’s jet pack and helmet!

I can’t wait for Christian to see these in the morning!