Last weekend we hosted Jason’s Pokemon Birthday Party. Prior to planning this party, I knew very little about Pokemon, but I think my research paid off and I pulled together the theme pretty well. Based solely on the fact that my daughter is now requesting a Pokemon party for her next birthday, I’m concluding that the party was a success by the kids’ measures as well. But that might have been the pinata envy talking. (more…)
Parties & Holidays
Jason requested a Pokemon-themed birthday party this year. It’s a hard theme for me to get excited about, mostly because I know very little about the game and even after watching an episode of the cartoon series, I still feel largely uninformed and uninspired. I’m trying to roll with it though, and so far, he seems pretty happy with our party planning.
Last week, I finished the invitations which are based on the design of the character trading cards. (more…)
When Jenna first suggested a camping and Cinderella themed party, I immediately loved the idea. I wasn’t exactly sure how to pull it off, but I knew it would be fun to try. Jenna had a few requests – like wanting to dress up like princesses and wanting to make necklaces - so that was my starting point and I added on from there.
Here’s what a day at Camp Cinderella turned out to be:
When guests arrived, they entered into the ‘costume area where they could gear up with all of the necessary clothing and equipment for the day (capes, tutus, sunglasses, tiaras, etc.).
After getting dressed up, the guests moved out to the backyard where they could choose from our ‘camp activities.’
Camp activities included:
- Archery – we had a couple of sets of the Brave archery bow and arrows and a hula hoop hanging from a tree to serve as the target.
- Horse Riding – it doesn’t get much better than a pink pony with lots of sparkles galloping through your yard.
- Sword Fighting
- S’mores – see Part 1 for the camp menu
- Tent “Clean-Up” – I purchased these castle tents and then decided at the last minute to add a few toy brooms so that the kids could clean their castles, just as Cinderella was required to do before going to the ball.
- Camp Photos - I purchased a frame at Michaels, spray painted it Cinderella blue and suspended it from the ceiling using pink tulle. I added some tulle along the wall behind it for an easy photo opp set-up.
I think the highlight, at least for Jenna, was definitely the horse. There’s something pretty magical about a sparkly pink pony wandering around in your yard.
For details about the camp food, see Camp Cinderella: Part 1.
My daughter requested a “Cinderella and Camping” party to celebrate her 6th birthday. It was an interesting mix of princess girliness with outdoorsy fun, and Jenna and I had a great time thinking up ways to combine the themes. In the end, our backyard was filled with girls in tutus, boys wielding swords, a bonfire and a glittery pink horse. I’m hoping we look back on this one as the year mom nailed it! Happy Birthday, Jenna!
Today I’m sharing our camp menu:
Enchanted Trail Mix
We set up a create-your-own-trail-mix bar for party guests to assemble their own camping snack. The bar included:
- Chocolate-covered almonds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Pink, blue and white M&Ms
No camping adventure would be complete without s’mores! Despite 80 degrees temperatures, all of our campers were up for sitting around a camp fire, roasting pink and white marshmallows and making traditional s’mores. I purchased these extra long roasting skewers to keep everyone a good distance from the heat.
Cake and Princess Punch
After making a practice cake a few weeks ago and experimenting with marshmallow fondant and natural dyes, I ended up purchasing two cakes and decorating them myself with pre-made fondant. For drinks, we served strawberry lemonade (aka Princess Punch).
For more party details, see Camp Cinderella: Part 2
Jenna loves planning her birthday parties, and this year’s celebration of turning 6 is no exception. She suggested a “Cinderella Camping” party, and I’ve had a great time thinking up ways to merge two seemingly opposite ends of the party theme spectrum. I won’t go into detail now but the mood board above gives quite a few clues. Will there be a pink-maned horse? Yes, yes there will. More pics after the party!
Despite lots of sickness in our family, we had a very nice holiday weekend. It was our first Easter in the new house, and the yard proved to be the perfect site for an egg hunt. Most years, Jason and Jenna quickly snatch up the eggs and count their bounty to see who won. This year, victory definitely went to the Easter bunny. J+J gave up after an extensive search of both the front and back yards, leaving at least 3 or 4 eggs to be found later in the day.
Here are a few more highlights from our weekend:
Jenna has requested a “Cinderella Camping” themed birthday party this year. That one loves to challenge her mama with theme mash-ups. Last year’s Hello Kitty Rainbow Flower party seems easy in comparison to this year’s combo. Luckily, I enjoy a good challenge.
In preparation for the upcoming festivities, I decided to experiment with natural food dyes to see if I could achieve a good ‘Cinderella blue.’ And while I clearly need more practice working with fondant, I was pretty happy with the colors resulting from my experimentation this weekend.
I used this recipe for marshmallow fondant. Dye-free marshmallows are surprisingly hard to come by, but I’ve discovered that Walmart brand marshmallows don’t contain the artificial blue dye found in most other brands. For the coloring, I used this all-natural blue food dye. The results are more muted than artificial dyes, but work well for the Cinderella palette I was going for.
Yesterday, I finished making Jenna’s Valentine’s for her classroom party. I love the idea of giving flower seed packets instead of candy, so I was pretty excited about these. Jenna also seemed pretty happy with these little boxes, until she saw the Valentine’s I’m making for her brother. More on that later this week when I get done cutting, folding, gluing and filling 21 paper Minecraft treasure boxes.
We had a wonderful weekend visiting with family in the town of Fairhope, Alabama. Here are a few of my favorite photos:
This weekend I made a really simple paper garland to serve as a backdrop for a cookie party.
I started by creating a large batch of paper circles using a 3-inch paper punch.
To make each paper ornament, I folded the circles in half and glued the halves together, using 5 circles for each ornament (4 to 6 circles work the best).
I left one side of the ornament unglued until all of the paper ornaments were created. Then, I attached the ornaments to twine by gluing the twine inside of the remaining two sides.
And once the garland was complete, I placed in along our kitchen windows, behind the table where I’ll set up the cookie display.
It’s not even Thanksgiving and I can already check ‘Christmas Cards’ off my list. Am I on a roll this season or what?
I took our Christmas photos early this year, with the idea that we may need to go a few rounds before getting that perfect shot. I’ve probably mentioned this before, but by ‘perfect’ I mean: everyone is smiling, in focus and looking in the general direction of the camera. My expectations have been rather low based on historical evidence (see last year’s outtakes). This year, I’m happy to report that our shoot went fairly well, and we ended up with quite a few adorable shots of this brother and sister duo. I’ll be sharing our cards (selected from the Tiny Prints holiday collection) along with a DIY project for displaying holiday photos on the Tiny Prints blog soon. In the meantime, here are a few outtakes:
Thank you, Tiny Prints, for our gorgeous holiday cards!
We had A TON of candy leftover from Halloween. This was our first Halloween in our new house, and we had no idea that only one group of kids would ring our doorbell for candy. Two weeks later and we still have bags of candy in our cupboards. So when I was assembling a s’mores bar for a party we had this weekend, an idea hit me: candybar s’mores! The mini Hershey’s bars are obviously perfect for this, but I also added peanut butter cups, Crunch bars and Kit Kats.
I completely failed to take any pictures at our party, but here are a few pre-party shots of the set-up. I think the Reese’s peanut butter cups were the party favorite. We’ll definitely be trying this again … especially since we still haven’t eaten all of our candy.
This weekend, we celebrated Jason’s 7th birthday with his friends at Legoland Discovery Center, probably one of his favorite places in the whole world. I love throwing birthday parties for Jason and Jenna, but this one was almost entirely handled by the nice people of Lego. In fact, both my husband and I had trouble leaving the house because we felt like we were forgetting something. This was by far the easiest of all of our kids’ birthday parties so far, and while I miss the fun of planning and creating, I also know that Jason could not have been happier with his party.
For the favors, I ordered a Lego stamp and created Lego-themed notebooks and carrying cases to hold the notebooks and a few other goodies. I’m not a big fan of giving (or receiving) favors that will just be thrown away, so I usually try to create something with a longer shelf life. Jason and Jenna are always packing up cases, bags and other containers with toys to take on the go, so when I saw these little suitcases at Target, I knew they’d be a perfect favor box.
The cake was provided by Legoland and Jason wasn’t too pleased when I wiped all of the dye-filled frosting off his piece. Sorry, Jason.
Our friend Dustin’s handmade gift-wrap has become a tradition at Jason’s birthdays, and this year’s design didn’t disappoint.
Happy Birthday, Jason!
Jason turned seven today. S-E-V-E-N. Can you believe it? Jason couldn’t. When we wished him Happy Birthday this morning, he commented that he couldn’t believe he was seven! I couldn’t agree more.
Tonight we celebrated with steak (Jason’s favorite food), chocolate cheesecake (possibly my favorite food) and a few presents. This weekend, we’ll celebrate with his friends. Happy Birthday, Jason!
Last night I returned from my ‘culinary adventure’ with my close friend Tara. Over the course of 5 days, we visited Napa, San Francisco and the Santa Cruz area, eating and drinking quite a bit along the way. My favorite meal was a farm-to-table style dinner at the Everett Family Farm organized by Outstanding in the Field.
Here are a few scenes from our evening touring the farm and enjoying an amazing dinner prepared by local chef, Santos Majano.