Homemade Gifts: Snowman Kit

Sorry, late start today! I left work yesterday, stopped and picked up a few gifts and then met the family at the Christmas tree lot for 5. I remember how Christmas tree shopping used to be an all day affair. We (I) would look over the trees at the first lot and when I couldn’t find the perfect tree, we would move on to the next lot and then another one after that. After several lots (and hours), I would decide that I liked the tree we saw at the first lot. It was a true test of Tim’s patience, but we always got a beautiful tree. Over the years, I have learned to let a few things go. Shopping for the “perfect” tree is one of them. I can still be a bit indecisive and it can take some time to make a final decision, but rarely do we go to more than one lot. We have found this little gem that always has beautiful trees that are well priced. I seriously should have won some kind of an award last night! We (mostly me) picked out the tree in warp speed. I hate to say it, but being warm far out weighs getting the perfect tree. We have been in a severe temperature cold snap over the past few weeks (or at least it seems that long) and I hate the cold. We zoomed up those tree isles, pointed out the one we liked and then left Tim out in the cold to tie it on the roof of the van. (I love that man!) I think we were at the lot about 10 minutes. I was so impressed with our efficiency that I decided to do a bit of shopping before heading home.  The family headed home and got the tree in the stand to begin thawing and I knocked off about a dozen gifts on my list. (It was a gift in itself to miss the actual “standing” of the tree. For Tim and I it is a bit like putting up wall paper. Somehow we tend to lose the spirit of Christmas during this task. I was happy that Shay took over the task of holding the tree while his dad secured it in the stand.) The stores were amazingly quiet and I wanted to avoid weekend shopping at all costs. I am not done, but feel so much better and have lots that I can wrap over the weekend. Hence the late start….I was totally exhausted after a very busy week and was out cold by 9:30 and slept in until after 8. By that time, I had to wait my turn to get on the computer.

Homemade Snowman Kit:

Last year, I made up a few snowman kits to give as “hostess gifts” and to a few families with young children.  I picked up the “felt” hats at the dollar store during the Halloween season, with this project in mind. The hats are cheaply made, but perfect to leave outdoors on your snowman. I think these were $2 each. I used some of the wire ribbon that I had bought on clearance at Michael’s and added a little “branch” embellishment to the hat.

I also picked up a few Old Navy fleece blankets that were being cleared out for $4 each. You could purchase the fleece at a fabric store, but I loved the colours and design of the Old Navy blankets and they were very reasonably priced. I cut the blankets into strips and slit the ends to make a fringe.

For the other elements, I used a combination of odds and ends. I found a little plastic set of face pieces that were meant to be added to a pumpkin at Halloween. There were googly eyes, funny noses and silly smiles. On their own, these were a bit cheap and tacky looking, but I added them to some of the other items to make a cute little kit with several options.  I had found some small fruit ornaments on clearance at Michael’s and used some oversized buttons from my collection. I then bagged-up the items, labelled them and made a little sign for the hat that said “Just Add Snow”.

I actually don’t have a photo with all of the little baggies inside the hat, but everything was just set into the hat and delivered without any wrapping. These were fun to make and cost very little, but it does take some insight to shop around for just the right items to put in your snowman kit. You could always include a fresh carrot for the nose. This doesn’t have to be given during the Christmas season, it could be given as a birthday gift for someone on your list with a winter birthday! Watch for those ornaments and embellishments that clear-out just before and after Christmas and plan ahead for next year. Have fun!

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Snowman Birthday Party

Well, it’s January and with it brings Eden’s 12th birthday. I can’t believe it….she is already booked for her first babysitting job. Now that the kids are getting older, they aren’t very interested in the “over-the-top” theme parties that I used to do. I still like to make a nice invitation and cake, but the theme related games, decorations and activities seem like they are becoming nothing more than a distant memory. How sad! I used to love pulling those parties together ~ maybe I’ll be a Party Planner in my next stage of life? We hope to finalize some plans and pull things together for finalizing her plans for this year, but I know that my role is progressively becoming less significant as the girls are quite happy just to hang-out and amuse themselves, but in honour of her January birthday I thought I would share some ideas from one of her past parties.

Snowman Birthday Party

I need to begin by saying that this was early on in my birthday party planning craze and I was not yet adept at making sure every single detail was taken care of. She didn’t have a birthday party with friends until she started pre-school. Because the party was primarily adults,  there weren’t any games, activities or loot bags.  I have included some of the ideas I used for Eden’s party, but have also included several others that I either thought of or found on the web. This party was back in the “olden days”, pre-digital camera and I couldn’t find the negatives anywhere. I am embarrassed to say that the pictures I am sharing are photos of photos. How tacky!  Anyway, no other choice. I was also quite surprised to learn that I don’t even have a full picture of the birthday banner. I think I got better at taking photos of everything, as I did more parties.

As shared in my previous post on the basics of planning a birthday party, I always consider 6 main areas when pulling a party together:

  • invitations
  • decorations
  • activities/games
  • food/snacks
  • cake(s) ~ plan, design and bake a cake/cupcakes (or save the hassle and order one)
  • loot bags

Snowman Party Invitations:

snowman birthday invitationThere really is nothing fabulous about the invitations I did for Eden’s party. I was not yet into card making and thought I was brilliant because I scanned the napkin so that the invitations matched the napkins. They were fine, but nothing special. I would do something totally different now that I am into scrapbooking and card making. If you simply google “snowman birthday invitations” under images, you will see hundreds of great ideas. You can also refine your search to “homemade snowman birthday invitations” for even more ideas. I often search the web for ideas before coming up with my own.

Snowman Party Decorations:

Again, I don’t seem to have great pictures from the party, but below are a few of my favourite party ideas from her snowman themed party. I always make a huge hand-painted birthday banner that is theme related. This might have been the first year I started this tradition! I don’t have a picture of the whole banner, but I remember it was on black with both light blue and white paint. My favourite part was the snowman family in the bottom left corner. Each member of our family made a footprint and then I added the details to make them into snowmen for the banner. Of course, there were snowflakes painted on the banner as well. After the party, I cut-out Eden’s footprint and included it in the scrapbook layout from her 3rd birthday party. The foot print is a great memory in itself. I did something similar for Shay’s pirate birthday with a hand print parrot on his banner.

For this party, I wanted to have an indoor snowman for photo opps. I purchased a large white Christmas tree bag over the holidays and then we stuffed it with shredded paper. It worked fine, but it was quite a bit of work collecting enough paper and you really had to have white or it showed through. If I were doing it again, I would use some of the other great ideas I found on Pinterest for making indoor snowmen. When I think back to the planning of her party 9 years ago, I realize how much has changed in terms of technology. I did find some ideas on line back then, but the ideas (especially the images) were quite limited. Social media sites like Pinterest have made it so much easier to share great ideas.

For the centrepiece on the table, I made a snowman ice sculpture. I froze water in balloons (with varying amounts of water in each) and then melted the flat side slightly so that the balls would adhere to one another. This worked perfectly. I added the embellishments the same way…..I slightly melted the area I wanted to adhere the eyes and then attached them. I did prepare the snowman ahead and re-froze him on my steps. Very cute!

I really don’t have a picture of them, but I had also used plain white balloons that I decorated with a face and hat so that they all looked like snowmen. They also turned out well.

Here are a few pictures from Eden’s Snowman Party.

When preparing for this post, I found so many other great ideas. If I were doing another Snowman party, I might consider including some of these great ideas.

For more creative indoor snowman ideas, visit Amazing Interior Design.

Snowman Party Activities and Games:

As mentioned earlier in the post, I didn’t plan anything for our party as Eden was only 3 and it consisted primarily of adults and older kids. However, being a teacher, I can tell you that there are many great ideas based on a winter/snow/snowman theme. Pinterest is always a great source, but here are a few that I came up with quite quickly. Of course, you would need to pick activities that are age appropriate.

  • pin the carrot on the snowman (you could even use the refrigerator for this as shown in the pictures above)
  • make your own snowman using cornstarch and shaving cream
  • snowman bowling
  • Snowman Game using toilet paper and accessories to dress each other up like snowmen. Check this and other great snowmen ideas out at Fun on a Dime!
  • make snow globes
  • go sledding
  • in a perfect world you could actually go outside and build a snowman with the freshly fallen sticky snow (Ha! Ha!)
  • marshmallow snowman (lick and stick the marshmallows on paper to make a snowman picture)

There are so many fabulous ideas for this theme, I could go on forever, but I am becoming deeply saddened that I will probably never get to plan another snowman party again. Rats! I would do it SOOOO much better if I had another chance.

Snowman Party Foods:

Snowman Cake and Cupcakes:

For Eden’s party, I opted for a 3D snowman cake. I wanted a really bright white icing and so I used my mom’s recipe for 7-Minute Frosting. I find it a bit sweet now, but it was my favourite when I was a kid. Again, you can search for all kinds of great cake and cupcake ideas, but here is a picture of Eden’s cake. I actually can’t totally remember what I made the hat out of, but I want to say a “wagon wheel”  with chocolate cookies stacked on top??  The hat is very dark in all of the pictures and I made this cake 9 years ago, so I don’t exactly remember. I still have the print out of the recipe and directions, but I know I did a bit of my own thing as well. I tried to find the link, but the page is no longer there. Sorry! Again, this is certainly not one of my better cakes, but I guess it illustrates my growth and development….let’s celebrate that! What drives me the most crazy is that I actually left the finished snowman displayed on a messy plate. I can’t believe I wouldn’t have cleaned-up the icing drips and crumbs ~ what was I thinking?

Loot Bags:

I didn’t hand-out any loot bags at the family party we had, but here are a few ideas:

  • a snowman cookie in a cellophane bag (I have made those melted snowman cookies before and they are so cute!)
  • snowman kit (I’ve included the link to mine, but you could make a much simpler version if you had lots to make.)
  • crazy carpet
  • snowman or winter book
  • snowman soup (hot chocolate, marshmallows, candy stick (candy cane), chocolate kisses). There is a little poem to go with this, but it is a bit more geared to Christmas. I am sure it could be modified. I have sometimes made these as little Christmas gifts.
  • the crafts the kids make at the party will be taken home as well (example – a snow globe)
  • you could even put all of the loot in a “snowman’s” hat in lieu of a bag

This is theme is so much fun and the ideas are literally endless. So, if you have a winter birthday party to plan why not plan your own snowman party?

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