4.22.2013

A most excellent egg hunt birthday

My big girl, Mim, turned 4 on April Fool's Day (such an awesome birthday). It was the day after Easter, so we decided to have a big Easter eggs hunt as part of it. We have a pretty big piece of property (that feels even bigger than it is because our bitty house is just in one little corner of it) and I've always wanted to host a big neighborhood Easter egg hunt. There was one just up the street from me when I was growing up and I LOVED going there every year. Anyway, I was thinking of this as a step up to that. We've done cousin ones for the last 2 years (that were also part of Mim's birthday celebration) that I kind of considered a warm up to this one. Baby steps.

Mim wanted to invite her preschool friends and her church class, which are about 14 and 10 kids, respectively. And the cousins that were her age, which was another 3 kids. I was like, "Sure, why not? If we invite that many, it'll probably be about a dozen that show up." I was very wrong. We had about 2 dozen kids that came. Apparently the 60% attendance rule does not apply to kids. Good thing I'm a paranoid over-preparer and we had just enough of everything.

So, the first thing the kids did as they got there was decorate their Easter "baskets."

I set up a few tables in our living room (after I rolled back the rug) and scattered supplies down the center, thusly:

I tried to give them a really wide variety of stuff to work with because I wanted this activity to last for a bit so everyone would have time to show up. They had pom poms, pipe cleaners, googly eyes, cut out shapes (including but not limited to: dinosaurs, butterflies, super heroes, flowers, stick figures, lobsters, fish, and animals) and tape and glue sticks and SOOOO many stickers and NO GLITTER. I'm not insane.
{Around $20 of dollar store stickers- I planned on having extra and I needed to restock the girls' sticker supply anyway.}
After they finished their bags I gave them all one balloon in their requested color. They chose one sticker to put on it and then we wrote their names and threw it downstairs. More on that later.
{Some of the finished bags. We had them wait in the kitchen while we rounded everyone up and put shoes on- it was pretty crazy.}
Then it was time for the big hunt. There were over 200 eggs, so even though we had many more kids than I expected it still worked out just fine. I told them to stop when they had 10 eggs and help somebody else. That kind of worked. My sweet niece got a bunch of eggs, then came up and showed me, asking "Is this more than 10?" It was about 20. I told her it was a lot more and she totally started re-hiding some and I sent the kids with only a few eggs to follow her around and gather them up.





{Almost everyone.}
We came back in and did presents and then cupcakes- the cupcakes were rainbows with clouds on top.
{Don't mind the tupperware lid serving platter. My husband is a problem solver, what can I say?}
The rainbow cupcake idea came from here (if you follow the link you can see that I obviously didn't care to much about actually layering them- I just plopped in all the different colors and let things happen), but the marshmellows on top were my idea. Anyway, the cupcakes were a big hit with the kids and I decided to not even bother with the ice cream I had bought for the occasion.

After they finished their cupcakes they got to go downstairs and find the balloon they had put their one special sticker on. The twist was that there were 130 balloons downstairs in the family room and we had mixed the marked ones up with those. When they found their balloon they took it to Mike and got a little prize, then they got to play in the balloons some more.



I can not describe 20+ kids amongst 130 or so balloons. It was amazing and loud and crazy. I just let them run amok for the last 10 minutes or so until parents came and picked them up.

It was my first party for my girl and I am marking it down as an awesome success. It was happy faces all around. There are a few things that I think were crucial to making the party work and having be as low stress as possible for me:

1. Preparation. Duh. This is true about anything. I did most things as far in advance as I could, like rolling back the rug and setting up the tables the night before, making all the decorations earlier in the week, buying most things early in the week, and making the cupcakes 2 nights before. Most of the egg stuffing happened earlier in the week, as well.

2. Helpers. I had two of my sister in laws there helping as well as my husband and my little brother. My little brother and his wife totally saved my butt the morning of- I hadn't found plain white or brown gift bags at any of the other stops I'd made (or had my husband make) and so planned on getting them the morning of the party. That all kind of fell apart so I called them in a panic to see if they could get them and they came through in a big way. They even brought chairs, since Mike was delayed on his errand and couldn't pick up the ones he'd planned to. My sweet neighbor also saved me in the chair department. I went over there in the morning when I realized Mike couldn't get the chairs and she sent me home with her kitchen table bench. Love her.

3. Keeping it simple. We only had three activities in the whole hour and a half. Decorating bags, Easter egg hunt, and balloon finding. I had some other backups in case things didn't take as long as I thought they would, like letting them all feed the chickens and a few balloon games, but we didn't need them.

Here's a few more shots of the party fun, since I feel like I've kept it reasonable so far:


{They couldn't wait to dive in}


{So many helpers with her presents.}

 That's how the party was, here's what I actually did:
First, rainbow streamers and tissue paper cloud pom poms every where:


 Second, a basement filled with balloons (I really recommend using an air compressor to blow them all up):

 The picture on the left is 130 balloons, which I thought sounded like a ton, but in reality it was much sparser than I had envisioned. For Mim's actual birthday, Mike bought over 200 more balloons that we blew up the night before. It was much more like what I had mentally pictured and Miriam was just delighted when she woke up on her birthday and saw how many balloons there were. Simple and fun and hours of entertainment.

Third, (and no pictures, sorry) eggs filled with temporary tattoos, stamps, some candy, the entire contents of Mike's change bowl he keeps on his dresser, plastic animals, bouncy balls, and tiny containers of goo. It was really fun to think of things to go in the eggs that weren't candy. I've seen a bunch of lists out there, but it was really simple and easy to just go to the little party supply store and grab a variety of tiny toys.

I also made a big cake for her actual birthday and let her help me decorate it with sprinkles. Fun stuff.

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