Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Party was a smash!

 Why does July have to be such a busy month?  It passes so fast for us every year and before you know it summer is half done with.  But I guess that is what happens when you have 2 birthdays in one month. Heck one week!  This year was going to be different. I was going to plan better so it wouldn't be so busy and I didn't have to do lots of extra running around.  For once I did what I said!  I had planned out ahead of time what the boys wanted for meals on their birthday, I had presents bought ahead of time, cake designs picked out and dancing though my mind how I would pull them off... and then life happened.

My brother called and said he was making an impromptu 1600+ mile (one way) trip to see everyone.  He was heading to my other brothers house in less than a week from when he called! So an unexpected mini family reunion was in the works.  The week my brother decided to make his surprise trip also happened to be birthday week at our house, so we had to re-arrange a few (ok lots!) planned events.  One thing we decided on was to have a birthday party at my brothers.  Not only was it Bacon Jr and Little Boy Bacon's birthdays, but the next week was their cousin's birthday as well. So we threw together a few things for a party!   One thing the kids wanted was a pinata, and they choose two days before we had to leave to ask if they could have one. Humm.. sure we can have one.  I remember making one before... in kindergarten!  It couldn't be too hard right?  A little online research and we were off!

First to gather some supplies to make a pinata. Here is what you need:

Newspaper torn into about 2 inch strips.  Best guess is just fine, you just want smaller strips.
A nice big balloon
something to protect your table (or work surface)- I don't suggest more newspaper! I'll explain more later.
Some place to hang your pinata so you can attach the newspaper- think creative!
Items to decorate pinata with

So to get started, tear up the newspaper.  The kids had a blast with this step!  It was like Christmas all over again, only minus the toy clutter!
Next blow up the balloon as big as you'd like or as big as the balloon will allow before popping.  The challenging part is finding a spot you can hang the balloon so you can attach the newspaper.  Ideally a clothes line out side would work nice. But when it's just you and 4 kids (and you did the next step before this one) you have to think fast.  I looked around and the first thing I found was a wine bottle and a roll of tape.  This should work right! Right?  Perhaps I should have just drank the bottle of wine instead of attempting this, but I tried it anyway!

 Now it's time to mix up the goo or paste, which ever you'd like to call it.
2 cups water
1 cup flour
1/4 cup glue (which happens to be half a standard size bottle of glue)
Pour all these in a bowl (I choose glass that would clean up easy) and mix well. 

You're all set, let the mess begin! Take one piece of torn up newspaper and dip it into the mixture. Take your fingers and slide them in a scissor fashion and squeegee off as much of the goo as you can.  Then lay it on the balloon.  Continue on with the next piece slightly overlapping as you go. Make sure you stir the goo mix every few minutes as it likes to settle.  Once you get the first layer on, it's time to start on the second. 
 I have to say once the first layer went on, it was hard to figure out where we were putting the second layer and if we were covering all the spots twice or adding more layers!  This probably wouldn't be quite so confusing if there were not so many little hands helping plaster the balloon.  But hey they had fun.  So when I figured we mostly covered the balloon for a second time, I had an idea to make sure the third layer made it over the entire balloon.  While doing my research most sites I went to said place no more than three layers on the pinata unless you were taking a steel rod to break it with!  Sounded like good advice for a kids game so I choose to follow it!
 Now on to the third layer, I just happened to have some coffee filters laying around the kitchen, the kids used them earlier in the day to do water drop paintings on. (color filter with washable markers, then take a dropper and drop one drop of water at a time on them for a tye-dye effect, it's fun try it out!)  I knew if I added coffee filters as my last layer I would cover it all. By the time we needed to add the third layer, we had so much goo on the balloon that I was able to just lay the filters on the balloon, dip my fingers in the goo and cover the other side of the filter instead of dipping the whole thing in it.  Here it is with the third layer on!

 Now for a few tips, notice there is no wine bottle!  No it wasn't so stressful I had to finish it off half way though the project.  The balloon got too heavy as we added paper to it and it wouldn't stand up any longer.  So half way though coating this balloon (fairly fast because I was afraid it would dry as soon as I put it on. Don't worry, it won't!) I had to think of a new place to hang it.  This is where I was wishing for a clothes line outside.  Then I decided to create one inside!  Two bar stools and some string and we're back up and running.  The other tip that I mentioned before is not to put down newspaper on your work surface to do this project.  Our balloon for a while sat on top of the newspaper that covered the table and all the newspaper we had on the balloon fell off and stuck to the paper on the table.  Nothing a re-coat job didn't fix!  Maybe it was cause we were a bit heavy on the 'goo'. 
Now where to place the pinata to dry?  Fist I propped it up on an ice cream pain in the tub. And gave the froggies specific instructions to watch it and not to let anyone touch it until it was dry!  By the time I headed to bed seven hours later it was still pretty wet.  Mr. Bacon suggested placing it on the kitchen table overnight where there would be more air flow.  In the morning it was a bit drier, but not as much as I hoped.  So I
placed it in front of the patio door with the sunshine on it. 
 It helped some but not enough. Now if I was better at planning or the kids had suggested this sooner, I wouldn't worry how long it took to dry.  But I needed it dry by the afternoon since I needed to fill and decorate it that night as we needed to leave in the morning.  Since it was a nice day out, a very humid day too, I took it from the patio door and just set it outside in the sunshine. Before I placed it out there, I popped the balloon so the inside could dry too.  I took a scissors to the top part of the balloon where I had tied it and cut.  That way it didn't pop and ruin the pinata since it was still wet.  Doing this did make the sides of the pinata collapse a bit, it's ok- I just put my mouth over the hole and blew the pinata back up. 
 Sitting it out in the sunshine did the trick!  It was dry in one hour!  Now on to the fun of filling and decorating! I needed some way to hang the pinata up that would be sturdy. I choose some zip ties and punched two small holes in the sides of the pinata.  I also cut a door in the back with a razor blade so I had a spot to fill it up. 

  Bacon Jr asked if he could design the pinata.  Sure, who can say no to that excitement!  I had painted it red (the only color of craft paint in the house besides black!)  At first he was all about painting the face on, but in the end he wanted me to.  He did draw out how he wanted the pinata to look on paper for me though.  Of course he wanted flames coming out of it's mouth, we compromised by making the monster eating some birthday paper.   Glued on a party hat and it was done!
 Next came the fun part of adding the candy and prizes!  Little Miss Bacon and Little Boy Bacon were happy to help with that part too! They were excited to see what was going inside. 

I chose to leave the door open, I just kinda pushed it shut. I was going to find some tape to secure the door shut, but somehow got side tracked.  I promise it wasn't the wine!  I'm thinking it was more Bacon Bit needing some mommy time.  If you want and have more time you could make up some more goo and close the door securely so nothing comes out until it's party time.  

Lets just say it was a huge 'HIT'!  The kids had a blast taking turns hitting it.  Now honestly feeling the pinata when it was dry I thought it was too flimsy and my first thoughts were if I ever make another one, I'm putting on more layers.  I was all prepared to have just the little kids swing at it because it felt that after one swing it would break apart.  After seeing the kids bash away on this at the party, I'm glad I stuck with the three layers!  It took several hits by the bigger kids to finally break it apart.  And the area that helped break it was the door I left untapped from putting in the goodies!

The rest of the time was great too. It was a fun few days seeing everyone again.  And when we got back we had a celebration with cakes for Mr. Bacon's side of the family too.  Last year I wrote about making the kids birthday cakes.  Each year I let the kids decide what design they want and I try to come close to creating something edible that they like!  This year Bacon Jr wanted Angry Birds and Little Boy Bacon requested a Yoshi cake!  Nothing like easy requests here right?!  After working on them all evening before the party, they were extremely happy with the outcome!

It's been a busy July, but it was all worth it! Nothing is better than seeing smiles on the faces of your children! So go have a party! (even if it's no one's birthday!)  What a fun way this could be to celebrate the end of summer!

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