Friday, January 25, 2013

Hot Air Balloon Party: The Favors

Punch boxes are one of those things that look like they'd be a giant pain in the tushy, but they are unbelievably easy to make. It was a perfect activity for toddlers because it is a little bit naughty (you mean I'm allowed to break that?), a little bit curious (hey, what's inside there?) and a lot fun. I was nervous that someone would have a meltdown because they didn't like their prize, but the kids seemed genuinely happy to have had any prize. So thank goodness for that. 

I read the tutorial on here and adapted it to use stuff we had around the house. The box we used is actually the box that the girls' bedroom chair came in, I had the tissue paper around the house, I used cake boxes left over from our wedding (over five years ago!) to hold the prize in place and I bought the prizes themselves at Target (all dollar bin stuff -- LOVE Target dollar bins!).

The whole thing is seriously simple. Cut out some holes, tape tissue behind the holes, put a prize on the tissue and tape a paper bag (or in my case a paper box) to the tissue square to hold the prize in place. Voila! 

We made the whole thing in less than an hour. Of course, as soon as Ryan came downstairs in the morning he saw the punch box, walked right up to it and stuck his hand through the tissue. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Thankfully he nailed the top yellow circle, so it was easy to repair. 

We had nine kids that fell into the under 1's category. I didn't have to do favors for them (obviously), but I thought it would be cute and help with some more theme-driven decorations. I ordered the little bears from Oriental Trading Company, favor tags from my friend Lindsey's Etsy shop and strung them up with balloons. Ta-da!

The main favors were mini hot air balloons for our toddler/preschool friends. Each balloon basket contained a bear, a hot air balloon shaped sugar cookie and a custom coloring book and crayons.

I downloaded free coloring pages online - eight different sheets total - and customized one for a cover in Photoshop. Then I brought the image files to Staples where they were printed four to a sheet. In all honesty, I could have printed these at home but I didn't have cardstock and the cost to buy a package of cardstock was equivalent to the cost of a black and white copy, so I simplified the process. To save money, I sat in Staples and cut each sheet down on my own. Then I gave them back to the Staples Copy Center to bind for me. The coloring books were less than two dollars a piece. I ordered some crayon packs from Oriental Trading Company and threw it all into cute stripey bags and that was that. 

The cookies were from a local bakery, and I'm not going to lie I was super disappointed in them. I kept having to remind myself that they were for two year olds. Sigh. I was going to order through Etsy and after dragging my feet on making a decision I stuck with the local bakery. The best thing I can say about ordering locally was that they gave me more cookies than I paid for, which was fabulous because we had a few extra RSVP's the day before the party and I was able to make them a hot air balloon basket favor on the fly. 

The twins' friends were all so excited to get "gifts" when it was time to leave and the favors were great because they performed double duty as decorations and party favors. 

The day after the party I wrote out all of our thank you post cards -- a ridiculously apropos Etsy find -- and had the kids sign their names on the cards (with my help, clearly). They had so much fun coloring. They've been learning how to spell their names in preschool and I thought I'd surely go deaf writing out cards with Reese in my lap since she kept shouting R and E in my ear. I'm 99% sure those are the only two letters she mastered since she never shouted S and looked a bit confused by the letter as a whole. 

I've gotten a few questions about where stuff came from, so I am putting together a source list for the party that I'll publish next week. I really had so much fun running with this theme and putting everything together. But even more important than the party details were the people AT the party. Friends that have supported us through the highs and the lows while we waited for our take home babies. To have them all there celebrating our little miracles TWO years later. Well, it was just incredible. Every day I feel blessed that these tiny humans are mine. Even on days when the laundry is piled high and the kids are rolling on the floor in some epic meltdown, it is all beautiful wonderful motherhood. And I am so thankful to be able to celebrate it. 

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