Wednesday, June 29, 2011


We don't really follow any tradition.  For anything.  In my quest to find the perfect tradition, I keep switching things up.  For Eli's birthday, one year we had a huge Halloween party.  Another year, we had a bowling party.  Then I decided we weren't having friend parties.  Now, I've decided to have one huge party for all 3 boys, sans gifts from attendees.  I hate the whole gift-giving expectation and chaos that occurs.  I've got three boys, two who have birthdays less than a month apart.  They all want "stuff" and they all want a party.  I asked them, "Do you want a party because you want stuff or because you want to be with people you love?"  They said, "both."  Then I suggested having a party without people bringing presents and mommy and daddy will just give you a large sum of money so you can buy whatever you want.  Ding, Ding, we have a winner! I like parties.  My kids like parties.  So, I don't mind throwing them.  However, it would cost us our mortgage if I were to throw 3 birthday parties within 6 months of one another.  And I'm not even talking about a birthday party including anything fancy like a moonwalk or pony rides.  I'm just talking pizza, beverages, cake, ice cream and favors.  The end.  For the amount of folks we invite, plus the last minute folks the kids just walk up to and say, "I'm having a birthday party, you wanna come???"
There is one tradition I have done for more than one party...pinatas.  I love pinatas.  Probably because I never had a pinata.  Plus it's a fun word to  Say it.  Love it.
For either safety reasons or because someones feelings might get hurt if they are not the one who breaks it open, pinatas are not the same anymore.  Now, they come with strings you pull.  Only one secret string breaks open the pinata.  What?
Forget that.  I want kids swinging a bat at a paper mache concoction that we created as a family in hopes of releasing the hidden contents.  So, we make our own.  It takes about a week and it's crazy, but I love it. 
I don't use your standard balloon.  I use one of those Hopper balls.  Except I bought mine at Walmart on clearance for about $3.  I make a paper mache paste of flour, water and glue.  I do a layer at a time and let it dry before doing another one, with newspaper strips going in the opposite direction.  If the first layer is horizontal, then the second layer goes vertical.  I do about three layers.  Any more than that and it would be too the first one I made with 5 layers.  A grown up had to hit the thing to break it open.  I leave the handle uncovered and the little hole at the bottom where the pin is uncovered.  After I cover the whole ball and it's dry, I take out the pin, let the air out and the ball comes out the top where the handle is just fine.  I did have to slightly grease the ball with petroleum jelly first.  Just a thin layer will do.  I also found out that if you dip the strips of paper in and only get paste on one side of the strip, putting the dry side of the strip on the ball, with the wet part facing out, it is much less likely to stick.  I have two that are lopsided because they stuck.  My kids plan on making crazy monsters, so lopsidedness doesn't really matter. 
I made a handle out of 3 sheets of folded up newspaper and I paper mached them right on.  I had to hold them in place with tape.  Then I gesso'd them.  Gesso is fabulous.  It makes a paintable surface smooth and basic before you get painting.  It's a primer. 
I'm waiting for the gesso to dry.  Tomorrow the kids will paint theirs.  I'll post pics of the finished products later. 
By the way, parties are fun.

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