Archive for the ‘We Like To Party’ Category

Children’s Book Themed Birthday Party

Friday, August 25th, 2017

We celebrated Lincoln turning three and Finnegan turning one with a children’s book themed birthday party last weekend. I feel slightly guilty that I made them share a party when the big kids got their own celebrations for each of their first five years. But between the bathroom disaster (ongoing) and E’s work schedule, this was really our only free weekend for a party. I don’t think either of them minded. Honestly, the guest list would be exactly the same for both parties anyway. When you’re the 3rd and 4th kids your friends are the younger siblings of the big kids’ friends.

I didn’t start planning this party until late June, so when I was looking for a theme I needed something that wouldn’t need too many custom-made or hard to find items. I had done a Nursery Rhyme Baby Shower for Caroline and it was pretty easy and totally adorable, so I expanded upon that to include all children’s books. It turns out most children’s books are already about food, so the menu was the easiest part:

Book worms – gummy worms

Green Eggs and Ham – green deviled eggs

Very Hungry Caterpillar – cheese & sausage plate, fruit

The Runaway Bunny – veggies

Dragons Love Tacos – taco bar

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie – chocolate chip cookies

The Giving Tree – apple slices

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs – meatballs

Uni the Unicorn – unicorn pops

The Big Hungry Bear – strawberries/berries

Paddington Bear – marmalade sandwiches

Don’t Forget the Bacon – BLT sandwiches

Eloise at the Plaza – tea sandwiches

Where The Wild Things Are – wild thing claws (Bugles)

Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great – sparkle cupcakes

Captain Flynn and the Pirate Dinosaurs – pink pirate dinosaur punch

children's book themed birthday party

children's book themed birthday party

I keep all of our dust covers in a box because the kids just ruin them. They came in hand as decor!

children's book themed birthday party

children's book themed birthday party

children's book themed birthday party

children's book themed birthday party

children's book themed birthday party

Taco bar serving trays were super cheap and from Amazon.

Wild things claws = Bugles

When it came to decor, I already had almost everything I needed. A few banners from Oriental Trading Company and a whole lot of photos added to the many, many books. Many of the books I used both as the theme and as actual decor are my books, from my own childhood. Some of the others are favorites from bedtime for Evan and Caroline. We were lucky enough to meet Mo Willems a few years ago (one of my favorite posts of all time!) so most of his books are signed. The whole thing just felt so special and personal, even if it isn’t the most dramatic theme I’ve ever done it was perfect!

Ladybug balls from Amazon.

All our Mo animals – Elphant and Piggie, Pigeon and four Knuffle Bunnies – came from a recent promotion at Kohl’s. I went to two different stores to find them all.

Bookmarks, bubbles and temporary tattoos for party favors.

Please excuse the unpainted spot on the wall, we didn’t quite get our construction finished before the party. At least we had a ceiling!

I made the photo display for Finnegan with a hula hoop, spray paint, ribbon, fake flowers and hot glue. The outside pictures are his monthday photos for the past 11 months and the center photos are from his cake smash session.

We are very lucky to have so many friends who have so many kids, because the kids are really what makes the parties fun. I also love that some of them have been coming for so long now that they get excited ahead of time thinking about cucumber sandwiches!

The cheeseburger pinata was from the party aisle at Target (and the theme is from Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs, where cheeseburgers fall from the sky). I’ve had it in my dining room for months now and it always made me smile.

I also bought some of those magic quick-fill water balloons at Target when they went on clearance. They didn’t exactly go with the theme but Lincoln LOVES water balloons. And it was super hot, so the kids enjoyed getting wet and dried off quickly.

 

All four of my kids had book shirts from Out Of Print Clothing. I bought Evan shirts from their site when he was a toddler, which Lincoln still wears and Finn will wear. Evan wore Caps for Sale, Caroline wore Harold and the Purple Crayon, Lincoln got Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus and Finnegan wore Where The Wild Things Are. To be honest, Finnegan already owns like 5 other Wild Things shirts that were hand-me-downs but they’re all long sleeved and it was too hot so I bought him another. You cannot have to many Wild Things themed articles of clothing.

This bounce house I bought Lincoln for his first birthday remains one of my best decisions to date.

My kids are currently obsessed with painting rocks, so I put out supplies and lots of the big kids did rock painting. I sealed them all this week and we hid them at Mystic Seaport for others to find.

After water balloons and bounce house and painting and pinata and lots of eating and running around, we wrangled everyone inside to sing Happy Birthday to Lincoln, because he thinks people singing Happy Birthday is the BEST THING. We sang for Finnegan too, but he just wanted to eat the candle.

children's book themed birthday party

children's book themed birthday party

Thank you as always to my parents, who were pretty much the only reason this party happened. Their help with cleaning and prep is invaluable. And thank you to everyone who came, it’s so wonderful to know that my kids have a village of both actual relatives and by-choice relatives to love them. Lincoln and Finnegan are both sufficiently celebrated!

 

 

 

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S’More Fun at a Camping Birthday Party – Linc Turns Two

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

On Saturday we celebrated Linc turning TWO with a camping birthday party! I debated doing a camping theme last year, because it just seemed so fun for a summer birthday, but decided he would have more fun at his own party with another year under his belt. I’m glad I waited, he had a BLAST.

Here’s the truth about throwing a lot of “fancy” birthday parties: After a few, you start to realize that being fancy really is less important than making sure everyone has food they like to eat and fun stuff for the kids. So although I still have strong commitment to a theme, I’m more flexible when it comes to including stuff that might have a cute, camping themed label. For example, hot dogs are camping-themed on their own without a clever name. But adding a bunch of Goldfish and Swedish Fish and calling it “The Fishing Hole” is on theme because of the name. See how reasonable and flexible I have become??

I am SO relieved we didn’t have rain and could be outside because I didn’t have an indoor backup plan. I am NOT thrilled that it was 90 degrees and I couldn’t offer anyone a cool place to relax. But I did plan ahead on the beer and water and juice boxes and lemonade so everyone stayed hydrated, the kids had the sprinkler (and eventually the toddlers ended up in the kiddie pool) so besides letting my own child get a sunburn (SO SORRY EVAN) everyone survived. Even me, which was the person I think everyone was most convinced would pass out at any moment.

All my supplies this time came from either Amazon or Oriental Trading (unsponsored and un-comped, because I wasn’t smart enough to ask ahead of time). I didn’t do a super great job of taking detailed photos, but hopefully these give you some ideas if you want to throw your own camping birthday party. Poor third child’s life isn’t nearly as well documented as the first or second.

camping birthday party linc turns 2-5

It is a shame I never got a good photo of all the kids in their adorable Happy Camper shirts, but they barely wore them at the party. Luckily I got photos before to use as decoration, so please accept this as proof they exist even though the photo isn’t really OF the shirts. I got them from a shop on Etsy.

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My sister made a chalkboard sign for the door.

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The photos I took on our camping photo shoot made good dining room decoration.

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I made the banner with craft paper, a free font and a free plaid paper download.

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These VERY realistic State Park Camping Signs came from Oriental Trading. I had one young guest worried I might have stolen them from an actual park.

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Two balloon from the grocery store, because I forgot to order a more on-theme red one.

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Extremely half-assed banner I made with leftover camping tent fabric.

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Bucket of sunscreen and bug spray for the guests.

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Chalk, tic-tac-toe rocks and card games for the big kids.

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I was going to do the food outside but it was too hot, so thank goodness we have a huge dining room table.

Our menu was:
Trail Mix Buffet
Walking Tacos
Watermelon
Cheese Puffs
Fruit
Veggies
Dirt Pudding Cups
Candy
Corn Muffins
Cupcakes
And, in theory, a s’mores buffet – but it was REALLY HOT and no one wanted to start a fire. So no actual s’mores were made.

camping birthday party linc turns 2-38

camping birthday party linc turns 2-39

WHO KNEW individual bags of Fritos with meat, cheese, lettuce, salsa, sour cream and taco sauce would be SUCH a hit?! I ordered a huge box of Frito bags from Amazon and was sure I would have most of them left over. But nope, everyone ate multiple bags. They were a great lunch.

camping birthday party linc turns 2-40

Trail mix buffet – I had paper bags to fill with nuts, dried fruit, candy, pretzels. cereal and marshmallows. The kids loooooved this.

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Bait = gummy worms and chocolate dirt pudding cups (pudding, crushed oreos, more worms)

camping birthday party linc turns 2-10

Berry Patch sounds more like camping than just “fruit”

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camping birthday party linc turns 2-12

Cheese puffs look sort of like a campfire, right?

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camping birthday party linc turns 2-14

camping birthday party linc turns 2-16

Cupcake toppers, invitations, food signs and thank you labels all designed by the VERY talented and my most favorite Becca of Jumping Jax Designs.

camping birthday party linc turns 2-20

camping birthday party linc turns 2-23

My poor, unused s’mores buffet. Oh well, we’ll make good use of all that chocolate and marshmallows at the lake.

camping birthday party linc turns 2-25

Our party guests might have actually been more kids than adults, so I worked hard to make the party as fun for children as possible. I’m pretty sure the combination of bounce house and sprinkler helped me achieve extreme success.

camping birthday party linc turns 2-27

Fishing was very popular. $12 kiddie pool and 3 plastic fishing pole sets from Oriental Trading.

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camping birthday party linc turns 2-29

camping birthday party linc turns 2-34

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camping birthday party linc turns 2-52

E made tents out of scrap wood and I sewed (actually sewed! with a sewing machine!) the covers. They were less popular than the bounce house. Shocking.

camping birthday party linc turns 2-32

Giant fishing bobber balls from Oriental Trading

camping birthday party linc turns 2-33

camping birthday party linc turns 2-53

This was a Pinterest idea that worked out even better than expected. E found a branch and cut it into slices, then drilled holes so I could make them necklaces. I provided markers to decorating the medallions (we kept it supervised with the toddlers, since they’re permanent markers) and every single one of these was used. Total cost: $9 worth of colored string, because I already had the markers.

camping birthday party linc turns 2-26

camping birthday party linc turns 2-55

Linc had an amazing time. I barely even saw him and definitely didn’t take as many pictures as he deserves for his second birthday (because, you know, I NEVER take pictures of him…) but he slept for almost 18 hours that night. Thank you to everyone who took the time to come be hot and sweaty and slightly miserable in my back yard to make is day special.

camping birthday party linc turns 2-41

I made Linc his own tiny smash cake with “flame” frosting. He ate none of it, but did eat 4 cupcakes.

camping birthday party linc turns 2-42

camping birthday party linc turns 2-43

camping birthday party linc turns 2-44

camping birthday party linc turns 2-45

We had funfetti cupcakes, vanilla cupcakes and chocolate cupcakes. They were all equally delicious (and from a box).

camping birthday party linc turns 2-46

camping birthday party linc turns 2-47

camping birthday party linc turns 2-48

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Surprise! Twins!! Baby Shower!!!

Tuesday, January 26th, 2016

Last week I helped throw a surprise twins baby shower. The party was a surprise I mean, not the twins. Well, the twins WERE a surprise, but they aren’t now. Now we all are very aware that my friend Steph is having identical twin girls sometime in the very near future. We are very, very excited for her.

One of my co-hosts found out from Steph she was really attached to the colors yellow and purple for the girls, so that was the theme we ran with. I hope she REALLY loves those colors because when you tell someone the theme is purple and yellow you end up with nothing but purple and yellow gifts. I’ve decided that to fit the theme she has to name them Violet and Marigold, but strangely Steph thinks she should “talk to her husband” and “let him help decide”. It makes no sense to me, but whatever. I’m fairly confident Vi and Mari will look beautiful in their purple and yellow outfits.

purple and yellow baby shower twins

purple and yellow baby shower twins-6

I filled in a few inexpensive bouquets from a local flower shop (McKenna’s, I highly recommend them!) with yellow pinwheels from Oriental Trading.

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Diaper cake made with love by my co-host’s 2nd grade daughter.

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purple and yellow baby shower twins-20

Rainbow circle bum pants! Hanging up the baby clothes as part of the decor was a great idea I stole from Pinterest (like most of my great ideas).

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purple and yellow baby shower twins-12

purple and yellow baby shower twins-11

Lemonade and champagne, because what else could you possibly want at a baby shower??

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Yarn mobile I made (just like the ribbon mobile I made for Caroline’s nursery)

purple and yellow baby shower twins-8

Lemon buttermilk petit fours (adapted from this recipe)

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Popcorn balls (don’t they look like hydrangeas?) These were a really big hit with the big-sister-to-be.

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Juice for toddlers, because there were a LOT of toddlers.

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Cream cheese and bagels from Poppy & Rye here in town. That herb cream cheese might be my favorite food on the whole planet.

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purple and yellow baby shower twins-23

Most of the food was guest provided which meant there wasn’t much for me to do at all (besides eat way too much sugar). New babies are always such a joy and since the youngest baby in our friend group just started walking – despite our best efforts – we could use some teeny tinies around here.

 

 

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Caroline’s Nutcracker Birthday Party

Monday, December 14th, 2015

Welcome to Caroline’s Nutcracker Birthday Party! As always, this will be super long and picture heavy.

This is Caroline’s 5th birthday, which means it’s her last big everyone is invited party before we switch to family/special day/maybe a couple friends/sleepover parties. I can’t say she’s quite accepted that fact, since she told me today she wants an ice skating party next year, but I’m pretty happy I only have one kid to plan huge parties for (at least for the foreseeable future). I really do love throwing these huge birthday events but fall is my busy season for photography so doing a birthday on top of that is a tiny bit overwhelming.

With a December birthday and a daughter who has been in ballet for several years already, I’ve been dreaming of a Nutcracker Birthday party for a while. For those who haven’t been reading my blog for 5+ years, her previous themes were: Winter Sparkle Snowflake, Woodland FairyPrincess and Mermaid. They were all really fun, but this year was the best.

I’m going to put in a page break after a couple of pictures because I just looked and I have 177 edited photos from the party and I’m going to have a hard time cutting that down to an acceptable number. I’ll round up sources at the end and link recipes in the food section, although a lot of the recipes are stuff I’ve linked for every party since her first (because I cannot have a party without thumbprint cookies).

Carolines Nutcracker Birthday Party

Despite the fact that it is December in Connecticut, the weather was in the mid-60’s for her party. I would have done a lot more outside decorating if I had known the kids were going to spend ALL DAY in the yard or on the porch, but at least I got lights on the house and a couple of Nutcrackers for the planter boxes. I found those at Lowe’s. The sled and wreath are just my standard Christmas decor. It’s really nice that the first act of The Nutcracker is just a Christmas party, so all my decorations were already on theme.

Decor:

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I made the wreath using Jill’s tulle wreath tutorial. Super easy and super cute, although glitter tulle is the fabric of the devil.

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PINK five balloon from Party City.

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Candy cane garland from Oriental Trading, who was kind enough to give me a party budget and send me some of my decor for free because they’re awesome and I am a very, very loyal customer.

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Little house from Ikea, circa 2012

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Christmas card holder made by my very talented husband. You can see a bunch of Caroline’s invites I used to fill it in until it gets full of holiday cards from friends. Those invites were done by the AMAZING Becca of Jumping Jax Designs. I cannot recommend her more highly – she is creative, talented and so fun. She turned my very vague ideas (“I’m doing sort of all the colors, but girly? And a little vintage? But not too cartoony, still classy. But good for a 5 year old?”) into the CUTEST invitations. The ballerina in the middle has red hair and glasses. I mean.

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Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, One Year Old Is What You Are

Monday, July 27th, 2015

We celebrated Lincoln’s 1st birthday party on Saturday with a Twinkle Twinkle Little Star themed party. I fell in love with the star idea while rocking Linc to sleep in his room – there have been glow in the dark stars on his ceiling since we bought the house. Plus I don’t think it’s a stretch to say he is a sparkly, twinkly baby personality-wise. He’s my little star.

You can check out my Lincoln’s First Birthday Pinterest board for a lot of the recipes and inspiration for all my ideas. I’m putting the post after a jump so all 2 bazillion photos aren’t on the front page for the next month…

twinkle twinkle little star first birthday ideas

(more…)

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