I soooo did not want to do a birthday party this year! I just didn’t want to take the time to research, plan, search for deals and put it together in addition to my jobs – COO of Casa de You, Me & B; Director of Education at You, Me & B Academy; and Editor & Writer of You, Me & B Blog. I just wanted the three of us to do something special together or to take B and a friend or two to do something fun. *sigh* But B really wanted a party and, since he was turning 12, this would be the last birthday party. So I caved and agreed to do it and accepted his desired theme – Transformers. I went online that night, looked up ideas and saved some links in my favorites (without reading them) for later. Then I proceeded to procrastinate for a month.
Two and a half weeks before the party, I finally realized that invitations needed to go out, so B and I spent the morning creating them. Actually, he spent the morning creating them and I was his lighting and prop gal. He selected a picture of ours and pulled it up on the computer screen. I stacked a small suitcase in front of the monitor, covered it with black material and B arranged 3 of his Transformers on it. Smokesceen is in pieces in the background on the left (destroyed by Bumblebee) and Deep Desert Brawl has a gun to Bumblebee’s head in the forefront on the right.
B spent a lot of time with the camera, focusing in on one part and fuzzing out the rest, then trying a different part, then another and another and another. Then he decided he didn’t have the lighting he wanted, so I stood over him with a desk lamp pointed at the computer screen, and he moved my arms around until the lighting reflected off the computer screen to get the effect he wanted. What looks like fire in the middle of the screen is from the lamp I’m holding. Finally he had The Shot. We uploaded it to the computer, added wording and ordered copies from Staples.
I’m so proud of him; he did an excellent job on the invitation! Staples had a minimum order requirement of 25 invitations even though I only needed a dozen. They were printed out on 4″ x 8″ cards and came with envelopes for $14.99. They were ready for pick up at our local Staples in a few hours. Some we delivered in person; some we had to mail. Then, I still procrastinated until one week before the party. But once I got started, I was on a roll and the kids had a blast. The hubs and I did, too, to tell you the truth. I received ideas from BirthdayPartyIdeas.com and Pinterest. Here’s what we did.
Once everyone arrived, we went into the kitchen where I had covered two tables with plastic, yellow tablecloths and put bowls of regular sized marshmallows and thin pretzel sticks. We told the kids to build themselves a robot out of the pretzels and marshmallows. Some kids were finished before others and asked if they could eat their creations, but we made them all wait until everyone had a robot completed. We all admired the robots and then threw the kids a loop: using only the pieces already in your robot, transform it into a vehicle. Some complained they didn’t have enough pieces to make a vehicle, but we asked them to at least try, use their imagination, a vehicle doesn’t have to have 4 wheels, etc. before they they reached for more parts. They got creative! 🙂
Since they were all so keen on eating their creations (but we hadn’t washed hands before everyone dug into the bowls of pretzels and treats) we had everyone wash hands and eat the snacks I’d set out: veggies and dip; crackers & hummus; cheese sticks; pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. While they munched, I filled cups with water and passed them out. Each cup had the child’s 1st name written on it with a Sharpie, as well as their Transformer name. They loved to hear all the names I got from this Transformer Name Generator.
After they’d all had something to eat and drink, the hubs took the kids into the front room to play a Transformer Memory Game. I got the idea from Tip Junkie, but did not use their free printable (I don’t have enough ink in my printer!). Instead, we took pictures of 6 of B’s transformers – one in robot form and one in vehicle form – and uploaded them to Costco’s Photo Center. The twelve pictures costs me $1.65 and were ready in a couple of hours. I glued the pictures to blue construction paper and laminated them with a laminator and sleeves I already owned. Punched holes in the bottom and top of the laminating sheets and connected with red yarn so that each card could be turned independently. I hung the game on the coat closet doors. Although only a few of our guests had ever seen a Transformer movie, I told them they would still be successful at the game by matching colors of the Transformers in the pictures. The hubs played the memory game with the kids while I ran out back and hid several items in our backyard and my neighbors backyard. I came back inside just as the memory game ended. All the kids were up at the board asking the hubs if they could take one of the pictures home with them. 🙂
I told the kids that in the 1st Transformer movie Sam Witwicky’s dad told Sam if he got A’s and earned $2,000 he’d buy him a car. I was going to ask each child a question and they had to get it right in order to get their A. For the younger children, I asked them how old they were, what their last name was, their favorite movie, favorite animal, etc. For the older kids I asked them what the capital of the US is, what country is our neighbor to the north, to the south, etc.. The homeschool mom in me had to inject learning into the party but still ensure they would get their question correct. 😉
After they’d all answered a question correctly, (we cheered & hi-fived everyone when they did), I told them how to earn their $2,000. Items were hidden all over our yard and the neighbor’s yard (the fence is open between us so the kids can run back and forth easily). Some of the items had price tags on them and some didn’t. Each child needed to find and bring to us $2,000 worth of items to buy their car – no more, no less. If they found a disguise item that did not have a price tag, they would have to put it on and perform for the hubs and me and we’d give them “money” based on their performance. We had white ping pong balls (representing the ice that Megatron had been trapped under in the Arctic) with $1,000 written on them; we had glow sticks (Sam’s great-grandfather Captain Witwicky needed light down in the ice cavern where he found Megatron) with $500 price tags on them and Captain Witwicky mustaches with no price tags. We made sure everyone knew that this was not a race to be first nor to collect as many items as possible. They needed to use their Math skills just to get $2,000 and then help the others. I loved the accents they came up with when they talked to us with mustaches on!
So, they’d earned their A and $2,000 and it was time to get their cars. I told them the car picks the driver, the driver does not pick the car. We went into the alley behind our house and lined the kids up at the base of the neighbor’s driveway (because it is on an incline). The plan was to roll the cars, one at a time, down the driveway and whomever the car went to, the car chose that child. Unfortunately, I was using B’s Hot Wheels and the small tires didn’t go but a few inches on the blacktop. So, we just had each child reach into the bag of cars and select one.
We went back inside for cake & singing, next, because the scavenger hunt was the last planned activity and they could burn off sugar marching through the neighborhood. I made B’s favorite cake (which was my fav as a child) Triple Chocolate Cake. No icing needed! The hubs cut our an Autobot symbol stencil for me and I used that to shake powdered sugar on the cake (I used too much, but shook it off before putting slices on their plates). The kids were impressed. We sang, ate cake. Remember the invitation B created? The Decepticons were holding the Autobots hostage and we had to find them before it was too late! There were 8 clues that sent the kids up and down the alley. I sent the kids outside to receive their 1st scavenger hunt clue. Here are all the clues:
- If you’re looking for your Autobot brothers,
It’s not hard to see;
You’ll find your 1st clue
Where you watch a movie.
(They successfully went to the living room DVD player and found the next clue.)
- If you want a clue to help save Ironhide,
Look where B puts his drink when he goes for a ride.
(They successfully went to the garage and found a clue in the water bottle holder on B’s bike.)
- Someone on this street
Makes lemonade popsicle treats.
So don’t sit a spell.
Go ring her doorbell!
(After some debate over who’s mom made the best Summer popsicles, they decided on the correct mom, rang her doorbell and she handed them the next clue.)
- He dribbles the ball.
He shoots; he scores!
He finds another clue
At one of these outdoors.
(There are 2 permanent basketball hoops in the alley out back, one at each end, plus a couple of the kids have the Fisher Price ones in their garages. They had to search them all to find the right one and they did.)
- When you take out the trash
You have to choose-
Will it get thrown away
Or can it be reused?
(They realized it was a recycle bin and since most of the kids lived on the alley, they all wanted to check their own recycle bins first. B thought it made sense to check his first, so that’s what they did and they found the next clue.)
- The enemy is scared.
Your search has been bold.
Now look in the box
Where milk stays cold.
(Everyone yelled, “THE REFRIGERATOR!” and started to head for the house. But B stopped them and said we had a fridge in the garage and that’s where we keep the extra milk. They found the next clue.)
- The Decepticons are getting close to defeat.
Your next clue lies where The Smiths wipe their feet.
(They all yelled, “DOORMAT!” and headed to the Smith’s house.)
- You’ve found the last clue
But you’re running out of time!
Put this puzzle together
To get your last rhyme.
(Then they dumped several cut up pieces of paper out of the envelope and they all worked together to fit the pieces of the last clue together.)
- There’s a honeysuckle bush
That smells so sweet.
It’s real close by
But you must cross a street.
Will you pick the right one?
Which way will you go?
Will you save them in time?
Or will they fall to your foe?
(Their first guess where the honeysuckle bush was located was correct! They found a clear Ziplock bag full of Autobots behind some thorns at the base of a honeysuckle bush.)
There were 20 minutes left before the parents would pick up their kids and we went to the alley out back to play. Everyone who lives on the alley shared their bike, scooters, swords and Nerf guns with those who didn’t and there was a mighty battle of Decepticons vs. Autobots.
When it was time for a child to leave, I gave him or her their personal Allspark full of Energon to keep them going. I decorated plain cupcake boxes to look like the Allspark and each one contained 2 Honeycrisp apples and a pumpkin chocolate chip muffin.
This morning, B decided to do another Transformer picture to include in the Thank You notes. We had 10 guests, including 3 sets of siblings, so we ordered 7 pictures.
Cost of party breakdown, with tax:
Pictures for Memory Game $1.65
Thank You Notes $0.96
Decorations, plates, napkins, cups, tablecloths, ping pong balls, glow sticks and mustaches from Dollar Tree $13.78
Cupcake boxes from Webstaurant.com ($11 of that was shipping) $19.98
Broccoli, hummus, pretzel sticks, marshmallows, organic Honeycrisp apples $27.34
Cake & muffin ingredients, carrots, dip, crackers, cheese sticks I already had $0.00