Jack’s Easter Party at School

I was the party planner for Jack’s Easter party which was held the Thursday before Easter.  Thankfully I had other moms helping out with the food but I put a lot of time and thought into my craft and the egg hunt.
I sent a note home with the parents to have everyone send in 14 eggs.  Jack’s teacher had mentioned 14 since that’s how many kids are in the class.  Not 30 minutes after I sent the note home, I realized that it didn’t matter how many kids are in the class as long as they all send in the same amount of eggs.  Because I really didn’t think they needed 14 eggs filled with candy.  But that’s what they got!  
I learned that they now sell eggs already filled with candy and you can get Star Wars themed eggs.  Brilliant.  But I’d already bought my empty eggs and candy and stuffed my own.  
Now what to do with almost 200 eggs.  It seemed too easy to just throw them all in a field.  Last year they each got six and I numbered them with the intent that they all get one of each number but that was a little confusing.  I was going to put their names on the eggs or their initials but that seemed to easy also.  I ended up numbering them again and then assigning each child one number.  It worked out great.  The kids had a fun time hunting for their numbers and helping each other. 

I made miniature brownies with cream cheese frosting and raspberries on top for dessert.  This was the second batch of brownies and I had barely minutes to spare before I had to be at school for the party but it worked out.  I figured they didn’t need a huge dessert on top of their 14 eggs full of candy.

And here is my craft:  a little sock bunny.

This is the version I made for an example.  The ones that the kids made were cuter and they had some different colored ones.  We filled the bottom of a child’s sock with beans, put an elastic around his neck, then stuffed his head with cotton stuffing and another elastic at the top.  We cut the rest of the sock in half for his ears.  Then we added eyes, nose, teeth and tail.  I found felt with adhesive backing in black and white so the eyes and teeth were easy to go on.  The tail (a white pom pom) and nose just needed a little tacky glue and stayed on there fine.  I spent forever putting all the supplies together for these and putting kits together for the kids but it went really smoothly and I think everyone had fun with it.

I also made these cute carrots out of napkins and silverware.

Jack was not cooperating with the camera but at least there is evidence that he is eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich again.  After eating two a day for a couple years, he got tired of them and went on a sandwich strike for about a year.  But he realized that he likes jelly again and has been eating jelly sandwiches lately.

After all was said and done, this was one of my favorite parties to do.  I was so glad when it was done but it was satisfying to see the kids have a great party and we now have three cute little sock bunnies to decorate with next year.

Casey’s Turkey Party

Today was Casey’s Thanksgiving party at school today and Jack’s was last Friday.  I thought it was nice that they were on different days so I wouldn’t have to run back and forth between their parties.  Unfortunately, Jack didn’t feel well today so he didn’t go to school and I couldn’t make it to Casey’s party.  I made a turkey though…a fruit turkey.  It looked mostly like this:


Minus the peppers and most of the cheese. It turns out the cheese wants to fall apart when I try to put it on skewers. I also didn’t like that you slide the cheese on and then the next set of grapes has to slide through the bits of leftover cheese on the stick. So I made a few with cheese and the rest were just grapes. I should have taken a picture, but you can trust that she was an impressive bird. I scattered the rest of the cheese around the bottom.

When I picked Casey up from school, the cheese was all gone and most of the feathers were still there. I guess it was more of a decorative turkey. Although as I was making it, I questioned whether it was wise to give 3 year olds pointed sticks as part of their snack.  I decided an adult could just de-skewer if necessary.

Also while I was making it, Jack was hanging out in the living room and piped up with, “Casey, would love that Mommy!”  I thought he was impressed with my fruit turkey making skills.  It turns out he was watching a commercial with a 3 story princess dollhouse for the Barbie sized princesses.  It’s exactly the castle that Pat thought should would love but I may have called it gaudy.  It was too plastic-y and purple and pink and fake looking for me.  Luckily we’ve found a compromise castle that maintains the princess part and tones it down a little.

Anyway, back to the party…or the after party…

Casey came home with a couple baggies with the food that I guess she didn’t eat, including a turkey sandwich, pumpkin bread and a pumpkin/cream cheese roll. When I asked what she did eat, she said, “A grape. And some jello.” A lovely Thanksgiving feast.  I’m sure Squanto wishes he’d had Jello at the first Thanksgiving.

Instead of stories tonight, Casey wanted to draw pictures on her erasable sketch pad. She asked me to draw a cornucopia which was pretty funny coming from a three year old. When I asked her to draw a turkey, she started drawing and chatting to herself – “Here’s an eye. Here’s another eye. This is a grape. This is a piece of cheese. There…it’s a turkey! Oh, wait, it needs a wattle.” I think she’s got her turkey nomenclature a little confused. But hey, she knows what a wattle and a cornucopia are.

Casey is also very excited about the real turkey tomorrow. I just hope she doesn’t think it will have grapes on it.

Easter Party

Since this week is spring break, Jack’s Easter party at school was on Friday and I was the party planning mom.  I was trying to bookmark ideas I have seen on the internet since Thanksgiving but at the last minute, I just went to Disney’s Family Fun website and found everything I needed.  It was really 6 days before the party but it felt like last minute to me.

I had to come up with some snacks and a craft and then we had an Easter egg hunt.  I made these cute little carrot gardens for the snack.  The dirt is pumpkin hummus and I don’t think any of the kids ate it.  A few ate some of the unadorned carrots that I also brought.  To make the carrots, I used a toothpick to put a hole in the top of the carrot and then stuck a sprig of parsley in each one.

This is my favorite part of the snack…the bunny face sandwich.  I used sandwich rounds, fluff for the face, peanut butter for the ears, pretzels for the whiskers, a strawberry marshmallow bit for the nose and chocolate chips for the eyes.  We had some fruit on the side and carrot cake cupcakes for dessert.  The cupcakes were pretty delicious…they were this recipe from the Smitten Kitchen blog.  

While I was crafting my sandwiches before the party, Jack’s teacher was working on another craft with the kids.  She called it a Harry Potter-esque bunny face.  The kids looked pretty kooky with their big glasses and big bunny teeth.

For some reason we decided to sneak a learning moment into the egg hunt so I labeled the eggs with numbers and each child was supposed to find one of each number.  They were a little too excited to care what numbers they got and started throwing eggs into their basket.  Then the parents ended up going around to each other and asking, “Does anyone have a 10…I have to two 8’s but we need a 10…” and trying to make sure everyone had the same amount of eggs.  Oh, and the craft was the Easter egg basket that they are all holding.  We turned green paper bags into baskets and decorated them with stickers.  

It was a fun little party but my party planning skills are on break until next year…when I will have two classrooms of opportunity to sign up for parties!

How To Be A Preschool Party Planner

Or at least how I plan a preschool party.

I volunteered to plan Jack’s preschool Thanksgiving party.  The instructions for the party planning parents are “Parties begin at 10:30 and run smoothly with a story, finger foods, a craft and a game.”

The original volunteer was unable to plan the party and I had seen the Halloween party and how it flowed, so I decided I could jump in and plan a great Thanksgiving party.

About two and a half weeks before the party, I started to browse the internet for ideas.  I thought I had it figured out pretty well.  I went to Jack’s teacher and told her my plan.  Then I walked away and felt like my plan was only the start of a plan.

I think preschool teachers have a huge cache of ideas just in their heads.  Meanwhile all my ideas came from hours of searching the internet.  She started talking about making a teepee out of pvc pipes and how much the kids would like that.  The “finger foods” turned into more of a lunch.  She said we could go out to the playground for the game or move into a bigger room and that it would be great if it was something physical.  I think she said something about a high ropes endurance course.  Maybe.  Oh, and maybe some Thanksgiving music while you’re at it.  I’m sure the library will have something.

So I did a little more planning.  Added some more food to my menu.  Decided I needed some help making all that food.  Couldn’t decide what to actually ask other parents to bring.  Finally sent a note home asking for some food contributions.  Messed up when I put the notes in the lunchbox and not everyone got the notes.  Didn’t want to ask parents to help at the last minute.  Ended up making all the food myself anyway.

For a week, it felt like I did nothing but prepare for this party.  Pat laughed at me.  I merely pushed by him to get the scissors to make crafty things.  The night before this party, my kitchen looked like this:

Something on every bit of counter space, a frozen pizza for dinner and obviously that was a great time to get some mopping done too.

Finally, it was time for the show.  And I think it went well although I’m happy I don’t have to do another one until Easter.  (Probably should start planning that now.)

Craft:
Turkey headbands – I cut out strips of paper to wrap around their heads, turkey heads, eyes, beaks, and feathers.  Probably should have made a model for the kids to copy but I just told them to do what they wanted to.

Games:
Pin the feather on the turkey – I created a turkey out of posterboard and cut out a feather for everyone

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Roll – I got this idea from a website called One Charming Party…give two kids each a broom and a pumpkin and see who can roll the pumpkin to the other side of the room faster.  The kids loved it and asked to do it over and over.

Feast:
Ritz crackers with cream cheese or pumpkin butter spread with chow mein noodles on top to look like a turkey track
Turkey roll-ups
Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches
Pumpkin Butter Sandwiches
Pumpkin Pie Pudding

Cranberry Oatmeal Bars

And finally, the part that got the most oohs and aahs, the turkey!
Another fabulous idea from One Charming Party…

Brown paper bags, filled with popcorn, scrunched up a little, placed in a roasting pan to look like a turkey.  I started off snack time by telling the kids that first we were going to carve the turkey.  Jack kept saying, “But I don’t like turkey.  I don’t like turkey!”  I told him I was pretty sure he would like this one.

I think the kids all had fun based on the decibel level in the classroom.  I came home, put Jack in front of the computer playing Sesame Street games and took a nap.  I couldn’t even bear to think of preparing a Thanksgiving dinner or really doing anything except recovering.