Tagged: party

Mar 18

Owen’s Pirate Party

My son Owen is in LOVE with Disney’s Jake and the Neverland Pirates cartoon. So when he turned two in December, I decided to throw him a little pirate-themed party. I have such a good time planning parties for my kids knowing how excited they will be to see their favorite characters and themes come to life on their special day.

I built a pirate ship for the cake topper – it was made out of that foam paper and even had paper sails. Then all I had to do for the actual cake was frost it in aqua for the “ocean”. Another “fake it till you make it” cake :)

The invitations were swords with Jake the Pirates’s favorite saying “Yo, Ho!” – which Owen loves to shout. I love any excuse I can find to use my circle punch – best investment ever!

Some of the other fun pirate things were apple slice “boats” on blue Jell-O, Pirate dipped marshmallows and Origami boats with gold coins for favors. For the marshmallows – I just used an edible pen to draw on the eye patch. If you want to know how to fold the paper boats, just google “Origami boats”.

How about this swing-full of little pirates?! I think we are going to need a bigger swing soon to fit this crew!

We also had a second party for him with Daddy’s side of the family when we were all together for Thanksgiving and I decided to let the kids frost the cupcakes. At least they tasted good, right?


Happy 2nd Birthday to Owen!

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Feb 13

Graham’s Crane + Construction Party.

My son is in love with cranes. And dump trucks. And diggers. And scoops. But, especially cranes.
So for his fourth birthday, we went that theme. He received a GIANT toy remote control crane for Christmas, so I thought it would be the perfect “prop”.

If you’re considering throwing a construction themed party, I have one piece of advice for you. BUY DUCT TAPE. I feel like I wrapped the whole house in duct tape before the weekend was over! But I really liked it and feel like I will be using duct tape in more future projects in my life.

For a easy game, I wrapped miscellaneous boxes in newspaper and fashioned a wrecking ball out of duct tape to hang from the ceiling. We let the kids build towers out the boxes, then swing wrecking ball at them to see how many they could knock down. The kids – age 2-6 – all really liked it!

A week ago, I took a Social dessert table class that was taught by the very talented Sandra Denneler. (See some details on that classHERE.) One of the projects she shared was a heart-shaped molded brownie box with candy inside. (See the tutorial on that HERE.) I loved her idea and decided to adapt it to my party theme by making wrecking balls. These turned out super cool! I really should have remembered her tip about over baking the brownings, because mine did not hold up, unfortunately. If you do this project – OVERCOOK YOUR BROWNIES!!!

Some other fun things we did were color-your-own coffee mugs (the kind with the paper insert from the dollar bin), tool belt/apron favors for the kids to take home and color, and a “build-your-own-burger” lunch.

Graham thought the crane holding up his birthday number was pretty cool. He was pumped to get to raise the number off. We actually sang happy birthday to him then, instead of when he blew his candles out! Happy Birthday to my little man!

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Nov 17

Lilah’s cupcake party.


Lilah turned five in May (yes, May. I know, I’m behind.) and we let her have a few friends over to celebrate, in lieu of the typical family party. She loved it and the kids had such a great time. I kept it simple and used a cupcake theme. I borrowed one of those giant cupcake cake pans – and it rocked! A very easy, quick 3-D cake.
For favors, I bought pink Lofthouse cookies and candy necklaces. Easy peasy.
The kids had a water balloon fight, fed the geese in our back yard, played slip-n-slide and mostly just ran around like crazy people! Outdoor parties are the best, right?!

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Mar 03

Project No. 8 – Graham’s Fishing Party

For Graham’s 3rd birthday, we went with a fishing theme. He really wanted another train party, but I drew the line. (I can’t believe how much he still loves his trains!!!) I really had fun with the fish theme. Don’t you think that Pinterest and the web is totally changing the face of children’s birthday parties forever?!?

The invitations:

Want to download and print your own invitations like this? Visit my Etsy shop here.
The fish on his cake were made with orange candy melts. They were sort of an ordeal and I was not happy with them at all. One of those things you start and wonder why. I put wax paper of the printout of the fish shape and spread the candy to match the shape. But since the cake is round, I needed the chocolate to dry curved. Serious challenge. I’ll spare you the details since it didn’t work out that well. I think it’s time for me to get over my fear of fondant.


I had some more sugar cookies made and I LOVED the bobber cookie and the fish bowl. Almost too cute to eat. Almost, I say.


We set up a fishing game over the stairway, which turned out to be a pretty big hit. The kids played and played and played. They got real creative about what they could “catch” on the drop side.

For favors, I made these really simple goldfish bags and fishbowls of gummy fish.


Another thing I tried, but didn’t get a picture of, was blue jello with gummy fish in it. Here is Martha Stewart’s photo. Ours turned out a little murky – but it tasted great! I also attempted to make some water bottle aquariums (made from water, baby oil, a foam fish and blue food coloring in a water bottle) – they were fun but the kids lost interest in them pretty quick.

For a gift, we took Graham to the pet shop and let him pick out a goldfish. Sadly, the party balloons lasted longer that “Three”, as Graham named him. We are NOT a family that should have pets!

We also had a fish fry with fish sticks for the kiddos. My husband jumped at the excuse to pull the fryer down from storage. I was on board cause I can never pass up an opportunity to have fried okra. One of my big weaknesses.

Overall, Graham had a great day and I had a lot of fun looking for and trying out all the fishy ideas. If you want to see any of the other ideas I collected, you can check out my Pinterest board.

Happy third birthday to my little man! He is getting more and more ornery every day! In this photo, he is giving his “Frank Martin Stare”. If you’re not from Kansas, you probably don’t know what that means. But around here, it always gets a giggle. To which he replies, “Frank Martin doesn’t smile!!” (Frank Martin is the head coach of the Kansas State Wildcats basketball team and has become well-known for his facial expressions, including a pretty mean stare.)

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Jan 10

Project No. 5 – Owen’s Snowman Party

Last month, my baby turned one. Sit and cry about the passing of the last year? Or smile and celebrate the triumph of it? Maybe some of both. We have had an awesome year with Owen with some really great parenting milestones worth celebrating. We got Graham out of diapers and are counting the days until we can train Owen. Really looking forward to the milestone of not having to take a diaper bag with us everywhere we go. I threw out my nursing bras and said good riddance to the pump. And we finally stopped storing all the baby clothes. Once Owen outgrows it, it’s out the door!

Don’t get me wrong. I am very sad that he is growing up. His independence is everywhere these days. He walks. He talks. He makes sure we know what he wants. But he still loves to cuddle. And he still enjoys a bottle. Still my sweet little baby.

On to the party:

With a December for his birthday month, I went with a snowman themed party. We baptized him the same day we celebrated his birthday and had one big party to commemorate. I made a triple-layer cake and frosted it white to make a snowman head. The nose is made from a sugar ice cream cone and covered in orange frosting. The eyes and mouth are just chocolate that I shaped out on wax paper and let cool before adding.

We ordered cookies from a lady from our church and she did an awesome job as usual. (If you want her contact info, just let me know.) I loved the sweet little mittens and stocking hats. Another treat we made were chocolate dipped marshmallows. They were fun and the kids loved them! My two older kids even did the dipping for me. They went perfect with the pot of hot chocolate we had at the party.

Owen got all dressed up for his party and I couldn’t take my eyes off him. Not much cuter than a little boy in a suit. His outfit even had a pocket hankie that matched his neck tie. So handsome.

His baptism was beautiful. I am definitely a bit weepy that it will be our last baptism. The vows and song we sing to him are so true and precious to me.

Happy 1st birthday to my sweet baby.

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Feb 20

Choo choo, Graham is two.


Our son, Graham, turned two last week. Because he is in love with trains right now, we threw him a train-themed party.
train birthday cake and table

I had this dream of buying a fabulous cake so I wouldn’t stress myself out about making/decorating a cake. But when I started price-checking cakes like I wanted, I quickly retreated. So I whipped out my trusty old cake mix boxes and got to baking. The cake didn’t turn out anything like what I wanted, but I was still happy with it. I used cookie crumbs and chocolate frosting to make a track around the perimeter for his toy trains to sit on.


I also threw together a larger train car for snacks. I used shoe boxes, covered them in brown paper grocery bags and made the wheels out of rolled up strips of black felt. One of the cars had wheels made out of some vintage coasters.

We also had some sugar cookies made by a friend of my mom – and I was so happy with them! Adorable! My favorite was the RR crossing sign and the stop light. We used these as party favors for the kids as well.
train party cookies
For low cost decorations, I made him a birthday sign out of cardboard and reused our 4th of July pennant banners. I made the sign to match the party invitation that we mailed out. He was really funny with his invitation – he carried them around the house and called them his “tards”.
train invitation
Graham absolutely loved his day. He loved all the attention and all the snacking. He was super excited for presents and told each giver “than-too” after he unwrapped. We even had a difficult time pulling him away from his new toys to blow out his candles. But once he got to it, he was thrilled to hear his birthday song and huff, puff and blow his candles out. He was so darn cute doing it that we let him do it a couple more times.

Happy second birthday, Grahamser. It’s been two sweet years – here’s to many more!

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Aug 16

Old.

This summer, my husband, my brother and his wife are all celebrating their thirtieth birthdays. (Thirty?? What? My husband is turning thirty?!?!? When did we get this old?) Of course, I am happy to celebrate with them as I have two more years before I hit that milestone.

Together, we all threw a party to help the three of them through this. Of course, good times were had by all. But I have to tell you the story of the cakes.

The damn cakes.

First of all, let me tell you that I was determined to buy the cakes, not to make them. For two reasons. One: I know very little about decorating cakes and have been “winging it” through each of my kids birthday so far. Two: I didn’t need that added stress in my life. However, when it turned out that my kids were going to their grandparents for a few days and I saw what the bakery wanted for three separate birthday cakes, I changed my mind. I thought, I’ve got plenty of time. I’ll just use a box mix and do something simple. No problem.

Right.

I made these cakes the night before. Mistake number one, perhaps? And, I used frosting from a can. Mistake number two? We’ll just say that Martha would not be proud of my cake decorating skills. Oh well. At least they tasted good. Didn’t stop me from eating two pieces today. (Hey, I’m eating for two, remember??)

But I do have to tell you that I did learn one thing in the process. I always get really frustrated when baking the layers of a cake because they always bake with a raised dome in the middle. Which I then have to chop off and discard (read: eat while waiting for cake to cool). But I feel like this wastes cake and my layers aren’t as tall as I want them after I level off the lump.

So, I googled it. And it turns out that I wasn’t the only one who was devastated by the dome. All it takes is some old wet towels wrapped around your cake pan as it bakes. Who knew?? I guess the moisture keeps the outside cool so it doesn’t cook as fast as it normally would. Follow these directions and you’ll get a perfectly level cake. Worked for me six times.

At least something worked.

Anyways, clearly the party was still a blast without beautiful cakes. Life is not about perfect cakes. Life is about good friends and good memories. Here’s to thirty more years of that with three of my favorite people in the world. Happy Birthday to Trever, Jenny and Brady! Love you guys!

Oh, and to explain the “23″ atop Jenny’s cake:
What woman wants to openly admit their true age, right? For this reason, I taught my daughter to say that her mommy and Aunt Jenny are “twenty-twee” whenever prompted. In fact, according to her, I turned 23 on my last two birthdays!! Love you, Lilah!

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Jun 04

Three.


A few weeks ago, my baby turned three. Not so much of a baby anymore. Although you wouldn’t know it by the incessant amount of hardcore whining, fit-throwing, diaper-wearing, milk-drinking that still goes on around here. But she does do her fair amount of “big girl” things as well. Like wearing big girl pants all day. Or sleeping in her big girl bed.

For her birthday, she wanted a little mermaid party. Easy enough. I put on my party-planning shoes and whipped up some super simple invites. They were supposed to look like a mermaid tail, but I’m not so sure that’s obvious.

For the party, we planned a swim at the YMCA, dinner, cake and digging for seashells in the new sandbox she got for her birthday.

And the kids got beta fish as party favors. She named hers Flounder and surprisingly, she is still alive. Even though Lilah wants to feed it about a dozen times a day.

The cake was fairly simple to make. Turned out kinda sloppy, but Lilah never noticed. I bought the topper and the little sugar flowers at Cake Stuff and had no major problems, aside from the incident where Lilah stuck her little fingers into it the first time she saw it.

Her birthday party landed on Mother’s Day, so we were also celebrating that. My SIL, Jenny, and I decided it would be a great idea to have a portrait taken of the four grandchildren and give it to my mom. We took the kids to Portrait Innovations and it was NIGHTMARE. That’s all I will say about that. Any more details, and I’d need to start another post. However, the photo turned out great and Mom loved it – so mostly worth it.

Happy Birthday, Lilah! Here’s to many, many more years of giggles! Love you!

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Mar 25

Birthdays and chocolate and cake, oh my.

Over a month ago (seriously, it’s been that long?!?!), my little guy turned one. As if that wasn’t a big enough milestone, we decided to baptize him then as well. Oh, and it was also Valentine’s Day.
Is that enough reasons to party? I think so.

Since it was Valentine’s, the theme for the party was pretty obvious. I called it the “Kind of our Hearts” party. Feeling inspired by some of the amazing desert tables going around the internet, I decided to go “all out”. (I may have also been high the day that decision was made ;)

Six glue sticks, five cake mixes, three jars of frosting and one crazy mama later:

Seriously, this was a lot of work. How do all these people pull it off? Maybe all those other mom’s out there aren’t doing it alone? I was exhausted after baking and decorating all day! Don’t get me wrong, it was fun and I loved planning and carrying out all the details, but it was a TON of work.

Like, if I still worked full time, this would have never happened.

Hell, if I still worked full time, I probably would have picked up cupcakes at Dillons and called Pizza Hut. (We also served lunch – pulled pork sandwiches, chicken salad sandwiches, fruits and veggies).

But anyways, enough about the work.

It all started with the invitations. These were pretty simple to make, and I had almost everything on hand already. I used an old deck of cards for them.




And more details from the party:

One of the reasons that this was time consuming was these little guys. I have a mini-bundt pan that cooks six of these at a time. I think I made like eight batches or something crazy like that – that is a lot of in-and-out of the oven, watching the timer, greasing the pan, etc, etc. BUT, aren’t they cute?!?!?

The cake stand was actually very simple (and cheap!!) and inspired by this easy tutorial.

The crown on top was originally going to be made from fondant. But, having never worked with it, I got intimidated at the last minute. This one is made from foam paper and served the purpose just as well.

For the wall art, I just used some leftover wrapping paper and taped it over the art. Be warned, this took a lot of tape and trial and error. Lots of error. (That damned thing would NOT stay up!)

Chocolate dipped pretzels. The strawberries were supposed to be dipped as well, but I ran out of energy. And chocolate.

And the birthday boy. Who loved his party, but mostly loved his cake. Which is a reminder of why, in the future, I need to just keep it simple.

Happy Birthday, Grahamsey.

All hail King G. (Which is what Brady and Lilah have nicknamed him.)

And I conclude this with a vow. A vow to never go overboard again.
At least until May. (Lilah’s birthday ;)

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Mar 14

Me want cookies.

Last week, my neice Eva turned two and yesterday we celebrated. With an adorable Cookie Monster party theme. Now, if there ever was a little girl who loved cookies more than anybody in the world, Eva is her. She loves her cookies. So she was in heaven.

Cookie monster birthday party theme
There were Cookie Monster cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal peanut butter cookies. A little cookie-obsessed girl’s dream. (And mine too! I couldn’t resist a little of each!)
Cookie monster birthday party theme - cupcakes
Jenny and her sister decorated these and it sounded like they weren’t quite as easy as one might think. The cupcakes were too soft to cut into and shape. Maybe if you let them dry out for a day or two that would help?
Cookie monster birthday party theme

Those are real chocolate chips on there. I guess they had a problem with Eva sneaking the chocolates off throughout the day. (See the bottom left corner)

Blue plastic Solo cups + googly eyes = Cookie Monster. So simple and cute.
Cookie monster birthday party theme
She was pretty proud of her birthday spread.

Princess Eva and brother Jak. All the kids ate Cookie Monster’s eyes first.

Happy Birthday to Eva!

Eva received a Snow White dress as a gift and immediately put it on for the rest of the night. Even princesses have to go to bed at their own party.

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