Tomorrow is His Majesty’s play school Valentine’s Day party. Play school parties, I’ve come to learn, require roughly as much food as that necessary to feed a high school football team, only packaged prettier so as to attract the little tykes’ attention. For the Thanksgiving party, I signed up for the “snack tray”. I brought a two pound bag of chunk cheese and 2 boxes of pretzel crisps, figuring I’d bring the rest home as an afternoon snack.
When I arrived to pick him up, less than three hours later, every bite of the cheese and crackers was GONE.
There are five children in His Majesty’s class.
They collectively weigh less than my (naturally and annoyingly thin) husband, and they ate TWO POUNDS of cheese and TWO ENTIRE BOXES of pretzel crisps, PLUS the “Main Dish” and fruit platter that were brought in by other parents. I was absolutely astonished, but more so, I was secretly relieved to know that it wasn’t only my toddler who ate like every morsel of food set in front of him was his last meal.
This time, it’s my turn to provide the “Take Home Treat” (which is their way of describing goody bags). I knew that I wanted to make sure to include enough stuff to actually make it home. I mean, if they can blow through two pounds of cheese and crackers two hours after breakfast, I’d better have more than one thing to tide them over until they got out of the parking lot. Naturally, I turned to my pinterest boards.
The first thing I decided to include was this holiday snack mix, from Betty Crocker. I followed the directions exactly and whipped up a batch, packaging it up into individual servings in these cute little heart sandwich bags. Pretty, colorful, AND tasty. It reminded me of what I’ve always called “monkey munch” (and what my husband calls “puppy chow”), except with vanilla instead of chocolate. I made a double batch to pack some in my husband’s lunch, for a play date that we’re hosting this week, and of course, for Christopher to have a special treat. The recommended servings were really small, though (seriously, a TEASE), so I ended up making TWO double batches. If you’re going to make a mess in the kitchen, do it right. At least, that’s how I like to do it.
Next, I saw this school valentine idea using Swedish Fish (from Bateman Buzz), and I decided that it would be the perfect way to incorporate His Majesty’s favorite treat on the planet: Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers. Oh yeah, baby. I kick myself for not having bought stock in Pepperidge Farm prior to His Majesty’s discovery of them, but luckily, we have a Pepperidge Farm Outlet a few miles from our house, so he’s not breaking the bank with his
demands indulgence. I did a quick Google search for “Free Fish Clip Art” and came up with dozens of choices. My favorite was these kissing fish, from Squidoo.
I cut and pasted the images onto a 3 column table, picked a font, typed the rhyme from the Bateman Buzz post, and printed everything out on regular old printer paper. I cut them apart, and then used a hole punch and yarn to string the Valentine to the individual cracker bags. You could use card stock, if you’re that cool. You could even get fish stickers and really fancy it up. I am not that cool, so printer paper it was. Maybe next year I’ll be cooler.
Next came the butterfly suckers. I got the idea from this pin, which led me to Mud Pie Studio , where I read her incredible post of 101 Valentine Ideas for Under $5. The list is a keeper, so be sure to pin something from it for next year. The butterfly sucker, #8, was the original idea that I was after, and it was easy to recreate, using (the obvious) suckers, Valentine themed scrapbook paper to print the template (so graciously provided by Mud Pie Studio), scissors, wiggly eyes, and tacky glue.
Cute, right? Hold that thought, we’ll come back to it in a minute…
While I was perusing Mud Pie’s List, #65 also caught my eye; What toddler doesn’t love bubbles? Seeing that I already had some mini bubbles (from the stash of pinata supplies I’m collecting for His Majesty’s big birthday party coming up in a few weeks), all I had to do was search for “Free bubble clip art”. I found this little cutie from Clkr, and my search was complete.
I made another table, typed out the text, printed it, picked up the scissors, and went to work with my paper punch and some valentine ribbon (I got the valentine themed mini ribbon multi-pack last year from Michael’s).
I was pretty pleased with myself. I got out the Valentine’s Day boxes and treat bags that I bought on Super Clearance last year, and I also threw in little harmonicas from my growing pinata stash. At Christmas, one of the take home treats was a little plastic flute, so I decided to stick with the noise making toy tradition. His Majesty loves that thing, and it’s so funny to watch him dance around the living room “making music”. Toddlers are so fun. I spent less than $20 on everything, which is $4 per kid, with several leftovers to give to friends, and lots of leftover chex mix to enjoy and, of course, for the teachers. Not too bad.
But, do you remember when I told you to hold the thought about the suckers?
Do you see a problem here? Look again…
Think about it…. Toddlers… play school party… suckers… And no, I wasn’t worried about the sugar. I know some people who are super freaks about sugar, and that’s cool for them, but I’m a moderation person. Plus, I don’t even give His Majesty juice, not even watered down juice, so I’m ok with giving him a sugary treats here and there.
But sugar worries exempted, the problem was indeed the suckers. Specifically, that I had chosen to use Blow Pops.
Blow Pops have GUM in them. As in, pretty much the number 1 edible item that “they” tell you not to give to toddlers. Play school parenting fail. I got so excited about the cute pin that I pretty much forgot about who I was making them for. Boo. But, no worries, we have a playdate the day after the big party, so we’ll be giving some to his older friends. Plus, Christopher assured me that he could handle eating “a few”, all in the name of not letting any go to waste of course. He’s such a team player, that one.
So, I guess three out of four ideas turned out as intended, and I’m ok with those odds. 75% was a passing grade when I was in school, and I’ll take it for my parenting prowess as well. C= MOM. Oh Happy Day.
What about you, though? Are you passing out Valentine’s this year? Are your children? Anything that was inspired by Pinterest? Share it with me, maybe I’ll be able to use it next year!