Friday, April 25, 2014

Wilderness Explorer Birthday Party - The Food

The food is always such an important part of any party and a 6-year-old Wilderness Explorer party is no different.  Like last year the party was in the middle of the afternoon (after lunch but before dinner) and I did not want to serve a meal.

This was also one of the only ways I could think of where I would be able to incorporate Dug and Kevin as well.

I kept everything very easy and I think everything was a hit.

The Menu:

- Dug's Doggie Biscuits: Dog bone shaped sugar cookies
- Kevin's Chocolate Treats:  M&M's (because Kevin loved chocolate)
- Fruit:  Strawberries, grapes, apples, raspberries, blackberries
- Wilderness Explorer Trail Mix:  In a large bowl, mix together, 1 cup peanuts, 1/2 cup chocolate chips, 1 cup mini pretzels, 1 cup dried cranberries.  Never explore the wilderness without a full bag of trail mix!

The best part of the food was the "cake".   Instead of a cake she wanted S'mores.  Since it would have been extremely difficult to actually do S'mores I came up with a S'mores Trifle.  It was so incredibly easy and delicious.  It was a big hit.

For the parfaits I just crushed a box of graham crackers in my food processor and put a layer on the bottom of Mason Jars.  Then I put a layer of chocolate pudding, a layer of Cool Whip, topped it with mini marshmallows and stuck a square of Hershey chocolate in the top.

We did an even larger version of the Trifle for her family party.

For more of the Wilderness Explorer/Up party please see the links below.  Thanks for your time and please comment below to tell me how you like our party.  Don't forget to follow my blog for more fun party, scrapbooking, home decor and many other project ideas.

Wilderness Explorer Birthday Party - The Favors

The favors pulled double duty at this party.  As each girl arrived they were given a sash and a Wilderness Explorer Survival Bag that had all the essentials for the upcoming activities...compass, binocular, disguise glasses, rope , bookmarks and trail mix.  These items were also part of the favors.

Making the favors for the Wilderness Explorer party were a lot of fun to make.  I went to the Disney website first to see what kind of printables they had and I found a lot of great stuff.  I included Ellie's Adventure Activity book, the Wilderness Explorer Handbook from Disney's Animal Kingdom (which the cast members were gracious enough to give me 10), The Ellie Badge (Grape Soda pin) and a Carl cut out.

In addition to these fun books I decided to make Grape Soda badges for all the girls.  These were pretty easy to make.  I found all the supplies at Michael's:  bottle caps, large safety pins and Modge Podge Dimensional Magic.

I found the Grape Soda template online and converted it to the size I needed and printed them out.

I used a circle punch to cut them out

I used a scrapbooking adhesive to attach the paper soda tops to the bottle caps and used the Modge Podge to cover them.

I started with the Modge Podge around the edges to make sure that the paper stayed attached to the bottle cap.  I then filled in the middle.

I printed out the cards to attach them too and waited for them to dry before pinning them to the card.

The Ellie Badge - "You and me, we're in a club now!"

The best part about the card was the cute illustration I found of Ellie as a girl.  It kind of looks like Bug-A-Boo.  It definitely is a perfect depiction of her spirit and personality.

For more of the Wilderness Explorer/Up party please see the links below.  Thanks for your time and please comment below to tell me how you like our party.  Don't forget to follow my blog for more fun party, scrapbooking, home decor and many other project ideas.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Wilderness Explorer Birthday Party - The Activities

Like all Wilderness Explorers the guests would be doing activities to earn badges.  We decided on 7 different badges.  Art, Wilderness Explorer call, knot tying, fishing, zoology, hiking and master of disguise.

For the badges, I used the same process that I used to make the badges for the tray in our living room.    I purchased 8-1/2"x11" transparent sticker paper by Avery and 1-1/2" felt pads (used on furniture).  I printed out the badges, cut them and stuck them to the felt pads.  Since the stickers were transparent you are able to see the texture of the felt through them and they really look authentic.

We set up different "stations" through out the yard where the girls could get instructions and earn badges.  The Base Camp is where everything started.

When the girls arrived they were given a sash and a Survival Bag.  Once they had these items they were given the chance to earn their first badge.

I had bought a tall canvas and painted the picture form the movie that hangs above Carl and Ellie's mantle.  It is their house on the top of Paradise Falls.  As the girls arrived they were able to put paint on their hand and put it on the canvas to look like the balloons that Carl had attached to the house to fly to Paradise Falls.  Once they did this they received their Art Badge and Bug-A-Boo received a wonderful moment from her birthday party.  The painting now hangs in her playroom.

In order to get the party started we all needed to learn the Wilderness Explorer call.  We gathered the girls around the table at Base Camp and I taught the the call.."The Wilderness must be Explored.  Caw, Caw, ROAR!"  The girls loved it.  Once they kew the call they all received their badge.  They were so excited to put the badges on their sashes.

"The Wilderness Must Be Explored!"

"Caw, Caw..."


Since Prince Charming was home and is the greatest Daddy in the world I wanted to make sure that he did an activity with the girls as well.  We thought that teaching the girls to tie a know would be a great thing that he could help with.

The girls all grabbed the piece of rope from their Wilderness Explorer Survival Bag and they all earned their Rope Tying badge.

Next was rising.  Prince Charming cut sticks from our trees and Bug-A-Boo and I attached string and paperclips to them and viola!  Fishing poles.  We filled the baby pool with water and Bug-A-Boo colored some paper fish that we laminated and attached pipe cleaners to and the girls were able to learn some "fishing" skills.

Another activity that Bug-A-Boo came up with on her own was the Zoology Scavenger Hunt.  She chose several of her stuffed animals and thought it would be fun to hide them all over the outside of the house and then the girls could try to find them to earn a badge.  We broke the girls up into 2 teams and each team had 4 animals.  I made a checklist for each team that had a picture of the stuffed animal they were looking for, some facts about the real animal, a graphic of what that animals tracks looked like and a clue of where to find it.  

For example:
the moose tis the largest species in the deer family.  They lie in northern forested habitats that have lots of rivers and streams.  Moose eat the shoots, leaves and bark of trees and shrubs.  Their most distinguishing feature is the broad palm0like set of antler that the male moose grow new each year.  Look for dark green bushes along the side of the house to find this moose.

The girls had a blast running around the house finding the animals.  They earned a zoology badge and a hiking badge.

When deciding which badges to have the girls earn, Bug-A-Boo and I looked in our Wilderness Explorer Guidebook.  One that she really liked was the Master of Disguise badge.  I thought it would be fun to t=get the girls Groucho glasses that they could use, and take home, and then we could have other dress up items (hats, boas, etc.) ad set up a "photo booth" to take individual pictures of the girls being silly in their disguises.

All the girls definitely got their sillies out during this activity.  The scavenger hunt and the Master of Disguise "photo booth" were probably the two favorite activities of the party.

For more of the Wilderness Explorer/Up party please see the links below.  Thanks for your time and please comment below to tell me how you like our party.  Don't forget to follow my blog for more fun party, scrapbooking, home decor and many other project ideas.

This was by far one of our most fun parties.  I told Bug-A-Boo after this party that this was THE last party we would be having at home and then she looked at me and said, "but Mommy I really want to have a Harry Potter party for my 7th birthday."

I can't pass that up.  I have wanted to plan a Harry Potter party for years.   All I can say is...Bring It!

Wilderness Explorer Birthday Party - The Stationary

The first impression that people get about a party is by the invitations.  I wanted to have something that would really reflect the fun and adventure of the Wilderness Explorer party.

I went online and found a lot of great ideas but my favorite was a ticket.

I can't remember where I found it but I knew I had to use it for the invitations.  I went through a couple of different incarnations of an invitation.  First, I thought I would use the ticket like a postcard.  Filling out the party information and having the recipient and the address on the back.  I didn't really like it.  I also made a plain invitation and thought about using the ticket as an insert that the girls would have to bring to the party and redeem for a prize.  I didn't like that either and the chances of the girls remembering to bring it were slim.  Finally, I came up with a card that incorporated the ticket on the front of the card.

I went to the AAA office and got 2 South America maps.  I used one to cut up for the front of the invitations and I used the other for decoration at the party.  Using white scrapbooking paper and the maps I made invitations that were 8" x 4" and fit into a standard business envelope.  On the outside was the ticket and on the inside was more detailed party information.  I just love these invitations.  They came out so cute.

I also made sure we had themed Thank You notes as well.

I printed this out and again using scrapbook paper made note cards that were 3" x 5" and fit in standard invitation size envelopes.

For more of the Wilderness Explorer/Up party please see the links below.  Thanks for your time and please comment below to tell me how you like our party.  Don't forget to follow my blog for more fun party, scrapbooking, home decor and many other project ideas.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wilderness Explorer Birthday Party - Theming and Decorating

One thing that I pride my self on is my ability to work a theme.  When Bug-A-Boo told me she wanted a "Wilderness Explorer party with a touch of Up" I knew that this would be fun.

Around the time I was planning the party I was lucky enough to be able to go to Disney World and experience Disney's Animal Kingdom's Wilderness Explorer program.  It was a huge inspiration to me in the theming and decorating for the party.

I wanted the guests to go right to the backyard and decided to point them in the right direction by creating a sign post out front.  We had a sign for Base Camp, Paradise Falls, Bejing, China and Sydney, Australia.  I used foam core and my Cricut to make the signs and dowel poles and felt for the Wilderness Explorer flag.

The Base Camp was our 10 x 10 pop up tent.  I used scrapbook paper that I taped together on the back to make the banner.  I also used my Cricut to cut out the letters and then laminated the long banner and the Base Camp sign.  I punched holes and used string to tie it to the frame of the tent.  To make the large badge signs I enlarged the graphics of the badges and adhered them to foam core.

Also at the Base Camp were the Wilderness Explorer Survival Bags which had items to be used during the activities and also were the favors.

The other area that I decorated was under the two trees near the deck.  I set up a table that had additional favors that the girls could get on their way out.

While I was redecorating our living room to incorporate elements of Up in it I found lots of prints that looked like vintage travel posters.  I was able to find some that featured Russell and Dug as well as some that were specific to the Wilderness Explorers.  I printed them out, laminated them and draped them around.  I used a vintage suitcase I already had and a old looking globe and it gave everything a cool, vintage look.

The final element really was the greatest part.  In order to give it the "touch of Up" I went to Party City and got 75 helium balloons.  We tied them to the roof of Bug-A-Boo's playhouse and it was so cool!

For more of the Wilderness Explorer/Up party please stay tuned.  Thanks for your time and please comment below to tell me how you like our party.  Don't forget to follow my blog for more fun party, scrapbooking, home decor and many other project ideas.

Adventure is out there!

Bug-A-Boo's 5th birthday party was a BRAVE theme and it was so much fun, but it was a lot of work.  For her 6th birthday we started talking to her early about having a party somewhere other than home.  Just like last year we threw around ideas of rollerskating, the zoo, the pool, etc.

In 2013 though, for Bug-A-Boo, everything was about Backyard Safari and scouting.  Bug-A-Boo loves animals and nature and she loves to explore outside.  For her 5th birthday she had received some of the coolest gifts.  All of the things were from a toy line called Backyard Safari.  She got an explorer vest and hat and an accessory belt and then she asked for a tent and several other accessories.  She would set up her camp in the backyard and spend hours playing.  

Around this time I was also redecorating our living room to incorporate some elements from the Disney Pixar film UP!  Bug-A-Boo loves this movie as much as me and Prince Charming and as she would play Backyard Safari she would use our UP Wilderness Explorer Guide book to assist her in her adventures.  She even memorized the Wilderness Explorer motto.

The Wilderness Explorer motto:
"An Explorer is a friend to all, be it plant or fish or tiny mole." - Russell from UP!

So as the summer went on she continued to play Wilderness Explorer and she started to ask me about getting into a real Wilderness Explorer program (which led us to Girl Scouts, which is a whole other set of blog posts to come).  

Finally the time came and we had to nail down a birthday party idea.  I asked her one day what kind of party she would like...roller skating, pool, zoo?  She looked at me and said, "I would really like a Wilderness Explorer party with just a touch of UP!"  

Is she my daughter or what?  "A touch of UP!"?  I knew that meant another house party but I also knew that this was going to be Fun!!!!  Let the planning begin!

The Wilderness must be explored!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

BRAVE birthday Highland Games

A big part of the party were the Highland Games.

The kids were very excited to start the games and we began with the Corn-hole tournament.  In order to make the boards I went to Home Depot and had a piece of plywood cut into three 4' x 2' boards.  Then I nicely asked the associate in tool rental if he had a round saw blade at least 6" that could cut out the holes.  He did and even better was when he offered to cut them out for me.  It was quite a project and he blew threw about 7 or 8 batteries for his drill before pulling out "The Beast" (a plug-in drill that was huge), but he got it done and they didn't charge me.  I love Home Depot.

In order to prop the boards up we bought 3 pieces of scrap wood that were 4' long and about 12" wide. We got some brackets and I put them together. It worked perfectly.  I used leftover primer and paint from another home project to paint the boards and basic craft paint to paint the triplets.  I used leftover wood grain fabric and rice to make the beanbags for tossing.

I had the Triplets as bear cubs hanging from the tree.

The kids had a great time playing.

Next was the Caber Toss.  For the log toss I was able to get a piece of foam (on sale) that was 5 inches thick and I had them cut it 4-1/2 feet long.  I wanted the "logs" to be taller than the kids and figured this was a good length.  I then found some Heidi Swapp Fabric that looked like wood grain and I got 3 yards of it to cover my foam "logs".  Once I got home I cut the foam into 5 inch wide "logs" and then started sewing the wood covers.

This was a big hit and we still play with them two years later.

I had made a target that we hung between two trees in the back of the yard.  I knew I needed a large circle frame of some kind that I could cover in burlap but would have the back open so that arrows could go through a hole that would be cut in the middle.  I finally found the solution at Joann.  I bought a large embroidery hoop.  I purchased 1 yard of burlap and was able to fashion a target from that.  I used basic craft paint for the bullseye.  One problem I ran into was that when I hung the target up you weren't able to see the paint because the light shone through the burlap.  I got a piece of cardboard and cut it to fit the hoop and solved the problem.

I had found really inexpensive bow and arrow sets online and bought a set for each guest that they could then take home as part of their favor.  Unfortunately, the packaging that the sets came in had a  very politically incorrect Native American on it along with a knife.  I didn't want to give the kids toy knives so I opened all the sets and fashioned a sheath for the arrows for each kid.  I collected empty paper towel rolls and covered them with brown construction paper.  I then punched a hole near each end and used twine to make a strap for the "sheath".  

The kids had a great time shooting at the target and then later running around the yard shooting at things.

For more of the BRAVE party please see the links below.  Thanks for your time and please comment below to tell me how you like our party.  Don't forget to follow my blog for more fun party, scrapbooking, home decor and many other project ideas.