Book of Life Birthday Party

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My sweet baby girl turned five on May 3rd this year. I’m not really sure how that happened. Arthur had the nerve to turn eight only a few short weeks ago, which was celebrated in dragon training fashion, but Chiara wanted a Book of Life theme, which is all about Day of the Dead. Let the fun commence!
I’ve already talked about the games: Pin the Flower on La Muerta and Birthday Party Bull Fighting so now I’m going to talk about the overall theme.

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Her invitation featured La Muerta and, if you’re paying attention, Manolo. I found an image I liked and did a little playing around in Paint. Nothing like getting back to basics! Then I had 3x5s developed at Walmart. It’s that easy!

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The cake started out as this. I was a little amused at myself that I was going to make a sugar skull cake out of a jack-o-lantern, but maybe that’s just me.

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Once I did some outlining, it started to come together. Be kind because I have never claimed to be an artist!

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Here was my slightly lopsided La Muerta cake.

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For background color, I added an orange $.97 tablecloth to the red and black I had from Arthur’s birthday.
The kids decorated their own favors, much as they did at Arthur’s party, except instead of shields, we were decorating sugar skull masks.
We had a great time, but then again, we usually do when playing with friends!

Make Your Own Sugar Skull Mask

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My goodness, don’t I look terrifying! This was probably the easiest party favor ever, and it tied in perfectly with the Book of LifeAll you need is some cardstock, crayons and popsicle sticks.

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First step was making my stencil, then I traced a bunch of masks onto my cardstock. I enlisted Tony’s help to cut them out. The masks themselves are easy, but the eyes and noses are kind of a pain!
Let the kids, or adult partygoers, color or otherwise decorate their masks.
Last but not least, attach the popsicle stick to the bottom of the mask. Now you can celebrate the Day of the Dead in real style!

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Another of my fine creations.

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One of the kids made this beauty!

Pin the Flower on La Muerta

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Pin the _____ on the _______. Always a popular game and my favorite part is that you can adjust this game for any party theme! We even did something similar for Arthur’s party last year, Pin the Lightsaber on Yoda. This year was all about The Book of Life
Once you have your theme, figure out what you can pin your piece on, in this instance a flower and print off, or find a poster of, your main image. I printed mine off and, to give it a little more sturdiness, attached it to a piece of scrapbook paper. Then I covered the umage with packing tape to prevent the flowers from ripping it when they were removed.

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The flowers were a little time consuming, but I love the way they turned out.

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I took a piece of yellow construction paper, cut out a circle the right size to go with my La Muerta picture. Then I cut out two circles of yellow tissue paper and attached them with two crossed staples.

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Then I squeezed it a little like a paper fortune teller until it had a little shape. A little tape on the back and on the next one.

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The kids had a good time with this game! Nothing is more fun than blindfolding 4 and 5 year olds, spinning them around and letting them go!
So what do you think? Does it inspire you to create a pin-the game for your next party?

The Book of Life

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It’s been a little while since I’ve done a movie review and this is a movie that definitely deserves one! I do have to admit that I wasn’t too thrilled with the previews of this movie. Something about the way the animation showed in the commercials did not impress me.

My kids however were very excited about the bright colors and cheerful music. So I purchased the movie one night before leaving work. I put it on for the kids the next morning and they were loving it! After the first ten minutes of listening from the kitchen, I was drawn into the living room by the music and the voices.

Don’t worry, after finishing the movie with my kids, we watched it later that evening when Tony got home!

The movie is set in San Angel, Mexico, which is the center of the universe. The story opens with a field trip of delinquent kids arriving at a museum. A beautiful young guide offers to take them on a special tour. She introduces the leaders of the dead, La Muerta, who rules the land of the remembered, Xibalba, who rules the land of the forgotten and the Candlemaker, who keeps everything in balance.

She then introduces the three main characters of the main storyline, Manolo, Joachim and Maria. They are three children, growing up in San Angel and somehow become part of a bet between La Muerta and Xibalba. These three frequently get into mischief and Maria’s father decides to send her to a boarding school in Spain to improve her behavior. Joachim begins training to follow his deceased father’s footsteps as a soldier. Manolo is pushed into training as a matador, which is what the men in his family are famous for, when all he wants to do is sing his music.

Years pass, Maria has finally returned to San Angel. Joachim is a hero, visiting his hometown for Maria’s return. Manolo is now ready for his first bull fight. Both men love Maria and she seems to favor Manolo. Xibalba however, doesn’t want to lose the bet, especially since he has already stacked the deck in his favor.

Xibalba’s interference leads to the supposed death of Maria, which leads Manolo to sacrifice his life.

Don’t worry, this is not Romeo and Juliet!

Once Manolo reaches the land of the remembered, he discovers that he was tricked into his decision so that Xibalba could win the bet and gain the rule over the land of the remembered. He is forced to travel to the land of the forgotten, facing danger and judgement, to find La Muerta and beg for her help.

After facing his greatest fear, being himself despite familial pressure, he is able to return to San Angel in time for the battle with banditos who threaten his town.

I won’t give away the ending, but this is a beautiful story and the music is amazing. It brings modern music, with a mariachi feel, to this story and you can’t help but sing along!

Under it all are the lessons:

Never stop playing from the heart.

Never stop fighting for what is right.

Write you’re own story.

I hope you enjoy the movie as much as my family and I did!