The next night I worked on the writing I wanted to put on the invitations. I decided I wanted the invites to look like a wall - 4 rows of bricks, 8 sets of nodules across. I built an invitation, covered both sides with scotch tape b/c I did not know how many tries it would take to get the words to fit and used a Sharpie to write the words. They all fit! I actually wrote on both sides of the bricks, so that would make it more of a challenge for the guests. ;o) I dug through the tub and pulled out blocks to put the rest of the invitations together and wrote directly on them all.
The other side of the invitation had the RSVP information, our street address and advised guests with allergies that we have cats. Each invitation was then taken apart and the pieces put in a manila envelope. I found a LEGO font online, downloaded it to the computer and printed out a "label" (just a sheet of printer paper I taped to the front of each envelope) that read:
TO: GUEST NAME
We then hand delivered each invitation.
B is a member of the Geoffrey Birthday Club at Toys R Us and every year he receives a birthday card and $3 coupon to spend in the store. This year, I also received a coupon in the mail - $5 off $25 - I assume to encourage me to buy the birthday boy's present at their store. The 3 of us headed up to TRU with our coupons and B's wallet on October 1st. I was disappointed that they did not have any of the LEGO tubs that contain random bricks for use at the party.
However, I was psyched to find these LEGO Fun Favor Packs on the Clearance rack! The original price was not listed, but they were marked down to $12.98 and there were signs up stating that additional markdowns on all clearance items would be taken at the register. I picked up 2, because I needed 8 car kits for the party, and there were only 4 car kits and 4 plane kits in each box. At the register they rang up as $8.50 each and I used my $5 off coupon! (Ben's purchase with his own money was added to my purchase to reach the $25 minimum required to use the coupon.)
I ended up ordering the below random bricks set from Amazon.com. It had 650 bricks (81 bricks per child), cost $28.79 and shipping was free.
I divided the 650 bricks (I counted all of them and there were actually only 647 bricks in this box. However, since every other set we have ever received from LEGO came with extra pieces, I decided not to make a stink about it) into 8 ziptop sandwich baggies to keep them separated. Those baggies came back to haunt me at the party...
Then I called the boys to the kitchen table. I got 8 sets of disposable chopsticks from Wegmans (free) and used their paper wrappers along with rubber bands I already had to make "kid-friendly" chopsticks. One of our cereal bowls and a set of chopsticks was placed at each seat and the boys sat down. The baggies of LEGOS were in the bowl at the center of the table and I passed them out. Now began the building challenges.
Challenge #1 - Using your chopsticks, how many bricks can you pick up out of your bag and put into your bowl in 1 minute? After this one was over, I had all the boys poor their bags of LEGOS into their bowls and I removed the bags from the tables.
Challenge #2 - Who can build the tallest and most sturdy tower using all of your bricks? (Untimed) This one took the longest amount of time, but setting a timer would mean not all the boys would get to use all their blocks. I took a picture of each boy with his tower and am going to print the pictures out to make the Thank You cards.
Challenge #3 - Build a person in 1 minute. Now, when the timer went off, I got a lot of "not fairs" and "I didn't get to finish" complaints about the short amount of time, including from the hubs. However, 2 boys were able to finish a complete person before time was up and 1 boy made 2 people! Those who did not finish were creating big people and only got legs done.
Challenge #4 - Build something, anything, that flies in 6 minutes. They built planes, helicopters, blimps, UFOs and one boy built a fishing pier with a fishing pole hanging off the end.
Challenge #5 - By this time, it was time to put the pizza in the oven, so we gave them LEGO car kit bags from the Favor Packs. I told them they were each to build a car and then they would race them. They could build it exactly as the kit comes, they could "supe" up the kits with their bowl of LEGOS or they could make a car completely from scratch. After the cars were made we went back to the living room where B's architect desk is. It's slanted, so each boy took a turn rolling his car down the desk to see how sturdy it was. Only 2 out of the 8 cars survived the fall without losing any parts. Some boys made adjustments to their cars.
Challenge #6 - Who's car could go the farthest? I knelt at the entrance to the kitchen from the living room with one of our kitchen mats in my hand held up like a ramp. Each child placed his car at the top of the "ramp", let go and watched how far it went. All cars stayed on the floor until all had been released and the "winner" was announced. The boys went back to make building adjustments to their cars and wanted to race again.
By now, pizza was ready and we served it up. I put the loose LEGOS back into the ziptop baggies with the cars they had made as well as the bag and instruction sheet for the cars. The bags and instructions had admission coupons to LEGOLAND and a LEGO Club membership. I put each boy's name on their bag and set them aside. As they were about to take their 1st bite of pizza, one of the boys said, "Wait! We need to pray first!" and a few others said, "Yeah, yeah!" What a pleasant surprise! I asked who wanted to say grace and half the hands went up. Then one of the boys said, "No, the birthday boy should say the prayer," and so he did. :o) One of the boys was picked up early, while they were eating pizza. The rest finished eating and then we brought out and served the cakes.
With 30 minutes left before their parents came, we gave the boys the option of racing their cars again or going outside to play and they chose outside. Thank goodness! It was loud inside our tiny house! ;o) I grabbed a grocery bag and put their ziptop baggies in it as well as the plane building kits to take home with them. We walked over to a common ground area diagonally across the street from us and let them run around. They played tag and hide-and-seek and we flagged down the parents as the arrived.
As I'm handing out ziptop baggies and plane kits to the parents at pick-up, I got really embarrassed! Good thing it was dark out by this time so no one saw me blush. I hadn't even thought to get nice, actual goody bags; I'm handing them a sandwich baggie! Oh, well. Whether the bag was clear and ziptop or colored and designed, it's probably going to end up in the trash and I'm sure no one cared about it but me.
After everyone was gone, we went back inside and the hubs and I ate while B opened up his gifts. "Always open the card first, right Mom?" B said with a wink. The party was a great time! There were a couple of extra things I wish I had done, like hang the MEGA-BLOKS from the ceiling for decoration and decorate the front door to look like a giant LEGO brick. But you know what? The parents and the kids might have looked at those when they first arrive and thought, "How cool!" but never thought about them again. They had a great time doing at the party and none of them could believe they actually got to take their baggie of LEGO bricks home. LOL! That's all they needed.
So, here's the cost breakdown of the entire party:
19"x14"x14" tub of MEGA-BLOKS $ 6.50
Blue tablecloth $ 4.99
Green napkins $ 2.49
LEGO Bricks & More Set #6177 $28.79
Two LEGO Fun Favor Packs $12.00
Two boxes of Pillsbury cake mix - one vanilla & one chocolate $ 1.76
Two cans of Duncan Hines Butter Cream Frosting $ 3.58
Red, plastic, 16-oz cups $ 1.99
Two Costco pizzas - one pepperoni & one cheese $16.98
Prints from Costco for Thank You cards $ 0.96
Sales tax $ 4.00
Party Total $84.04
I will post a tutorial, with pictures, on how I made the LEGO cakes, soon.