Posts Tagged ‘party’

Caroline’s 8th Birthday – Ice Skating Party

Friday, January 4th, 2019

One of my rules as a parent has been that I don’t throw big birthday parties after the kids are 5. It gets too complicated with school friends and activity friends and mom friends and far away friends and long term friends. My house isn’t big enough for that many friends.

But Caroline fell in love with ice skating a few weeks ago after just one trip, and when she asked for a party at the rink it sounded so fun I broke my own rules and threw Caroline an ice skating birthday party on December 15th.

We only had the room space for 3 hours, with about 15 minutes to set up and 20 minutes at the end to do cake and presents, so it wasn’t my fanciest or most Pinterest-worthy party. Not even close. Which means I feel a little bit like a failure – I’m usually really good at making magic but when one wall is painted bright red, one is bright yellow, and I can’t reach the ceiling, the decorations are really limited. I had also never seen the room before, and was picturing a much smaller space so I was woefully unprepared.

Luckily, the actual ice skating part was so fun no one seemed to mind. I also brought my Keurig along to set up a custom hot cocoa bar, which was a big hit with the kids. I bought travel cups with lids and sleeves from Amazon, and had candy canes, sprinkles, whipped cream, cotton candy and other stuff to put in the drinks. The rest of our menu was just cookies and candy I made (the biggest hit was the cream cheese mints, which are also my very favorite Christmas candy). I copied almost all my food from Caroline’s first birthday menu.

As favors we had jingle bracelets from Oriental Trading and cute fuzzy gloves from Amazon. We’ve been seeing our friends wear them ever since the party and it’s nice to have given out something so useful!

Thank you to everyone who came to help us celebrate! Caroline said it was the best day of her life so far (of course, earlier that morning we also got a puppy, which might have helped).

Linc and Finn’s Superhero Birthday Party!

Monday, August 20th, 2018

Lincoln turned 4 on July 23rd and Finnegan is turning 2 on August 30th. Since they’re only 5 weeks apart, they get joint birthday parties. I asked Lincoln what kind of party he wanted, and since he’s totally Batman-obsessed, his answer was A SUPERHERO BIRTHDAY PARTY! Finnegan has no objections because a) he’s still 1 and b) he also loves superheroes. I had a hard time narrowing it down to which superheroes – generic Super Hero stuff? The DC Universe? Just Marvel Comics? Am I a monster for mixing it all together? I decided I didn’t actually care and we went with every kind of Superhero from all the worlds. Fight me if you think that’s a crime.

After years of throwing Evan cold spring parties and Caroline cold winter parties, it is SO FUN to throw a party where 90% of the activities are outside. This was also the first party where I planned actual activities for almost the entire time – we had 2 straight hours of games before we did cake, then the grown-ups all got to sit down while the kids burned off some of their energy. It was the most fun I’ve had at one of my own parties ever, even though the noise level was insane.

Previous parties for Lincoln and Finnegan: 2017 Children’s Books, 2016 Camping Party, 2015 Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

There is a ton of superhero stuff available everywhere from party stores to Target, so I grabbed stuff whenever I saw it. The pinata was from Walmart, the napkins are Party City, the backdrop and banner are from Amazon. All the crepe paper and regular balloons and silly string came from the dollar store and the quick-fill water balloons have been purchased for the last year every time I saw a pack on clearance (although they are available online as well). Let me know if you’re looking for anything and I can be more specific.

The party wasn’t just a party – it was Superhero Training School. The kids had to complete their superhero tasks in order to get a certificate (my husband had all the parents fill in the name once the kids were here).

The training stations included:

Hulk Smash Bricks
Laser Maze
Bomb Disposal
Web Slinging
Bad Guy Capture
Leaping Tall Buildings Practice
AND
The Infinity War

We used jumbo cardboard blocks to make smashable tours for Hulk Smash practice.

Almost all the kids at the party fell between age 12 and age 2, and they all loved all the activities. Once they picked out their mask they were ready for training.

These masks I got from Amazon were GREAT – 2 of each hero so there wasn’t any fighting over who got to be the only Superman or whatever, plenty of “girl” heroes, and they held up through a lot of wear without falling apart.

After we finished the training, we celebrated with the pinata. I hate the pull-strings, so we did it the old-fashioned way. We lined the kids up by size and they each got two hits. It survived all the way to the last kid!

Of course, all these superheroes needed plenty of energy to save the day. I’ve always loved doing themed food at parties, but I’ve learned over the years what is popular and what just ends up as leftovers. I definitely over-estimated on the cake, but I’m not even that sad because I love leftover cake.

superhero birthday food

superhero birthday food

superhero birthday food

superhero birthday food

You can buy a 40-count box of individual Fritos from Amazon for around $15, which works out perfectly for portable, fun taco salad. At the camping party we called them walking tacos, today they were “ready for action” tacos, since you can eat them while running to stop bad guys.

Two bottles of red wine, a bottle of lime selzer, some fresh fruit. It was DELICIOUS.

We also had favors (bubbles, tattoos and a toy) as well as a tattoo station.

Finnegan did not understand how to blow out his candle, but he definitely liked the cake and the part where everyone sang. Linc just loves everything about birthdays.

At the end of the day, we even managed to get some family photos of us all in our on-theme outfits. It was just a perfect day with amazing weather and SO many great friends. A huge thanks to my parents who did an enormous amount of work for party prep and clean-up and all our Ohio relatives who made the super long drive to help celebrate the babies! Having cousins here for their birthday was such a treat.

(Finnegan isn’t dripping blood, it’s ring pop. He’s obsessed.)

Happy Birthday to Lincoln and Finnegan! We love you!!

 

 

My Week(355) in iPhone Photos

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

I keep saying I’m almost caught up and then I fall farther behind. Now that we have a real schedule – a crazy schedule, but a schedule – I know where my writing time fits in and I’m hoping to get back to it. Partially because I like having a blog and partially because I want to document this time for E. So I’ll say it again…I’m a few weeks behind but I’m going to catch up on these recaps.

Sunday:

This slide is huge

Finding rocks

I can’t remember why I took this picture

Monday:

It was a very Monday Monday

Tuesday:

He’s not sure I should let babies drive

Biggest coffee possible after 4 kids at the dentist

Wednesday:

Every time he sees a camera

Thursday:

He decided driving was OK after all

Party planning

Friday:

Filthy urchin

Saturday:

Watching for party guests

I super love how everything came together

He had an excellent day

And just like that, Finnegan is awake so I can’t do another week. He’s supposed to be sleeping for another hour, but he’s got molars coming in. Let’s hope they break through quickly because both of us are happier when he sleeps.

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!

 

 

 

My Week(312) in iPhone Photos

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

I’m going to write a real post. Soon. Maybe even 2 posts. I have thoughts and things to say about going from 3 children to 4, about how our routine is working, and about how my big kids are becoming more responsible. And Finn will be 2 months old in just a couple days so I’ll have that one up too. Blogging is hard.

Sunday:

sunday1

Perfect outdoor weather

sunday2

These are not my chickens but I really like chickens

sunday3

Two parties in one day = sugar overload

Monday:

monday1

Cupcakes are a poor choice in a bounce house

monday2

Camel wearing

monday3

Finn’s face looks like this about 87% of the time

Tuesday:

tuesday1

The only thing I did all day was clean this up

tuesday2

Bus stop face

tuesday3

A+ sibling interaction

Wednesday:

wednesday1

Playgroup art is high quality art

wednesday2

Playgroup is also exhausting

wednesday3

Seat stealer

Thursday:

thursday1

Helping change the sheets

thursday2

My favorite tree

thursday3

After school shenanigans

Friday:

friday1

The only place he’s sleeping right now

friday2

IPAD OBSESSED

friday3

The huge bear was an excellent purchase

Saturday:

saturday1

Rounded head ever

saturday2

Corn-mazing

saturday3

This was not as good as I had imagined

I had a photo shoot yesterday and needed someone to watch the kids, so I bribed my friend Steph into doing it by promising her a photo of her kids for their Christmas card. That meant she watched seven children under the age of seven. So when I’m feeling overwhelmed by my four, I just keep reminding myself at least there aren’t three more of them all the time.



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