Sunday, November 15, 2009

Benjamin's birthday party

Benjamin’s birthday was the opposite of Manda’ was a lot of work! It was so worth it though!!! Two things brought us to the party we had for Benjamin. For 2 years now I’ve thought about doing a science party for him because he loves doing science experiments so much. Last year he really wanted something else though so I waited. I knew this was the year. He’s old enough now to really enjoy it, plus, with him able to invite a few friends from school now, it would be fun to do with them. There’s a family who lives around here that we’ve been friends with since Benjamin was a baby. We met them shortly after he was born & have always had a neat connection. We were married exactly a week apart (but didn’t know each other yet then) & Benjamin & their oldest were born exactly a week apart. We met them when Austin (their oldest) & Benjamin were about 6 months old or so. Ever since their first birthday parties we have talked about the possibility of doing a party together, but it’s never happened. Well, they just had their 4th boy, so Jodi (my friend) has her hands full. We decided this was the year to combine! Although I’m very glad we did it, it was a lot of work planning for so many people! Jodi took care of the food end of things & came up with some really neat ideas to make it “scientific”. There was a lime green chocolate fountain, a bowl of fish crackers in water (blue jello) among other things. She asked if I would do the cake & activities. Well, I’ve always enjoyed making a fun cake for the kids’ birthdays so I started searching online. I decided a volcano cake was the best idea to make it scientific so started looking at all kinds of volcano cakes. Most of them were decorated to look like volcanoes with red icing for lava, etc...with a few using dry ice to make it “smoke”. I was disappointed though...none looked very realistic. I loved the dry ice idea, but I wanted the actual cake to look good too. Finally I came across a site that had the answer. It was soooo easy (easiest cake I’ve ever made!) & sooooooo cool!!! I don’t know how to upload from our video camera onto here, but if you go here: ...that’s where I got the idea & they have a video of it & instructions of how to make it. Ours was virtually identical. The only other thing I did was sprinkle some oreo crumbs in the “crevices” to make it look more real. To clarify one thing...when you mix the jello...mix according to package instructions, but only add the boiling water, not the cold water. The video is worth watching!!

When I started looking for science experiments I was overwhelmed. There were so many fun ones, how would I ever choose? I finally decided on 6 experiments that were all with different give some variety. The one downside to this party was that I was so busy directing that I couldn’t take very many pictures. Ben & my brother Andrew took some for me though which I’m thankful for. We made slime (white glue, water, borax), quicksand goo (cornstarch, water), rockets (film canister, water, alka-seltzer), balloon blast (pop bottle, vinegar, baking soda, balloon), geyser (diet coke, mentos) & lava lamps (pop bottle, water, oil, salt). There were a couple of them that could have been done with different materials, but then I would have had multiple experiments with the same materials (ie/ vinegar & baking soda) so I opted to use variations. If you’re interested in how to do any of these, let me know...I typed up all the instructions to put in the kids’ party bags so I could easily email it to you. me the best part wasn’t the actual experiments (although that was a lot of funJ), it was making it really seem like a science lab. I printed a bunch of signs from a site online such as “Caution: Testing in Progress”. As the kids entered the church they came to a sign that said “Authorized Personnel Only”. I asked if they could show me their badges. Obviously they didn’t have I gave them each a badge that said Professor (their name) Benjamin Werdal. They had barcodes on the bottom to make them more realistic. Next they came to 2 signs... “Notice: Goggles & gloves must be warn beyond this point”, “Warning: Do not Enter when Red Light Flashing”. I had found a flashing red light at Dollarama and of course it was turned onJ. Everyone was then given a party bag that had a disposable apron, latex gloves, & safety glasses. They then kept these bags & after each experiment they put their supplies in it to take home. They had to put on their apron & safety glasses & then I turned the red light off so they could go in. They thought this was all a blast!

As we rotated through the experiments there were a couple of things I realized...for if I ever do it again. Andrew & Trina had agreed to help me with the experiments & I couldn’t have done it without them, but with 20 kids, it wasn’t enough. I would definitely enlist more people to help next time. With Ben & some of the parents helping we made it through, but it was a bit chaotic at times. The other thing is cleanup. I didn’t think about the fact that I would need time between each experiment to clear off the tables & set up for the next one. Luckily we had lots of balloons blown up so the kids played with those. I had also found some really cool “scientific” bubbles that don’t pop when you catch them. Andrew blew those between a few experiments & the kids thought they were really cool. Other than that, it was a blast.

At the very end we did the cake. It was a HUGE hit!! The kids oohed & ahhed. It was so fun to see their reactions. The one thing I didn’t think about...candles. I had put a ring of candles around the cup at the top of the cake. I had put 16 candles in...8 for Benjamin & 8 for Austin...we lit them all. Then as I got ready to carry the cake out, I dropped the first piece of dry ice in...instantly all the candles went out. Oops...forgot that dry ice is carbon oxygen to burn the candlesJ. Ah well...I thought we’d light them after we finished with the dry ice. Well, that would have worked except that the candles (& wicks) were covered in gelatine so they wouldn’t light! Oh well...the cake was well worth it & Austin & Benjamin didn’t care that they didn’t have candles to blow out.

The boys opened presents.

Then, when the parents were already there, we headed outside for the last experiment...the geysers. Everyone enjoyed that & it was a great wrap up to the party. Andrew had the camera this time as I dropped the mentos into the coke. Unfortunately for me (fortunately for youJ), he caught me jumping back to avoid being sprayed by the coke.

It was a lot of fun to do a party with Benjamin & Austin together. Although we haven’t always been able to get together a lot, they’ve always been buddies. When we first decided to do it (at Amanda’s birthday party 2 weeks before), I went home & was looking through some old pictures & got this idea. I wanted to see how many pictures I could find with the 2 of them together. I found all the pictures & then Jodi & her mom put it all together for me at the last minute. It brings back memoriesJ.

Happy 8th birthday Benjamin!!!

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