Party Time: A County Fair Birthday

I wasn’t sure I could top last year’s Maddie-licious party, but decided to try with a county fair theme after going to the Minnesota State Fair. With a little planning, fun prizes and a lot of food on sticks, everyone has a fantastic time.

Melanie designed the invitation to look like a county fair flyer. I continued the award ribbon theme by making my own ribbons as well as cutting out ones from card stock to use as food labels. The labels for the prizes looked like tickets.

I served corn dogs, mac & cheese bites, cheese curds, kettle corn, mini donuts (all from Target) and Elsa’s homemade birthday cake.

I also ordered candy apple cake pops from Pop N Stuff NYC. Rita used velvet cake and actually coated them in candy.

Of course, we needed some games so the kids could win tickets. I ordered the Spin-A-Prize wheel and the Disk Drop from Oriental Trading. They were actually pretty solid pieces. I also used a Shut the Box game I had gotten on sale at Amazon. The rules of each game were posted in colored frames from IKEA.

Ping Pong Bounce and the Ring Toss rounded out the games.  I made a Ping Pong Bounce game out of a white shirt box, an insert from an advent calendar that I saved for some random reason, round stickers and card stock.

Soda bottles, stickers and bangles made up the Ring Toss.

We gave each child a drawstring bag stenciled with a ribbon to hold tickets.

The kids then turned in their tickets for prizes that included things like candy, puzzles, balls, stuffed animals and grab bags.

I toyed with the idea of another punch box but decided to make a fishing game using crepe paper fish instead since it fit better with the county fair theme. And that’s how we ended the party.

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Party Time: A Super Mario Birthday

Elliott LOVES Super Mario Bros., so there was no better way to celebrate his 6th birthday than with a Super Mario party. The invitations were double slider cards based on this tutorial by thenorsugirl. A little pull on the card and the 1UP slides out.

For decorations, yellow plastic plates, hot glue and fishing line became a coin garland. Yellow and maroon wrapping paper helped turn boxes into coin and bricks blocks , which were also used for a party game. Balloons and white labels turned into chomps and piranha plants. The fabric backdrop was inspired by the one made by Chica and Jo and we used the amazing goomba template from their site.

For the snacks and treats, we used containers that looked like Super Mario items. Round boxes were painted green to look like the pipes in the game. Juice boxes were wrapped in the same maroon paper as the boxes and stacked to look like brick blocks. And mini coin blocks were created with card stock.

Treats included piranha plant pops, chips, a Mario cake from Cupcake Cafe and

amazing cake pops from Pop-N-Stuff NYC. (Full disclosure: Rita is a friend, but the fact that these are the first Mario-themed pops she’s ever made show how amazing her work is.)

For activities, the kids played “Chomp Bop,” which was just the kids running around keeping the Chomps off the ground and also bopping each other with balloons.

Next, the kids played “Pass the Power-ups” by breaking up into two teams and using spoons to pass each other little wooden mushrooms.

To calm them down a bit, the next activity was “Design a Mario Kart.” The kids quietly decorated wooden cars with markers.

The next activity was Musical Mario Blocks. We used the brick and coin blocks for the kids to sit on and the music was the Super Mario theme song.

Finally, they played “Pick A Coin” where they picked a “coin” that contained a Super Mario character figure.

Then it was time for cake!

Party Time: Grady’s Subway Birthday Party

For Grady’s 4th birthday, his mom, Kelly decided to throw him a fantastic subway party. She used our printables to the personalize the party.

Look at these amazing cupcakes by Candace from Cupcakes and Compliments! She also made the cake.

All the guests received a wonderful goodie bag — the snow globe is a fantastic touch!

We love how Kelly made these balloons.

What a great party! Happy Birthday, Grady!!!

Easy DIY: Suprise Ball Game

For a fun party game (and because we wanted something other than a pinata), we used a bunch of surprise ball hearts, attached them to a board with glue dots and added numbered stickers.

We attached the same numbered stickers to the bottom of Hershey’s Kisses. (Avery’s 3/4″ round labels fit perfectly.) Each child picked a Kiss out of the bin and had to find the heart with the corresponding number.

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You could make this game with regular round surprise balls or make egg-shaped ones for Easter. Just make sure to have extras on your board so that even the last child gets to make a choice.

 

Try It: Momofuku Bo Ssam

We saw David Chang’s recipe for Bo Ssam in The New York Times and had to try it.

While it’s relatively easy, it is quite time consuming as you need to let it sit at least six hours to overnight in a sugar and salt rub. Then it’s in the oven for six hours and you baste it every hour. It is quite tasty, though, and would be great for a dinner party. And the leftovers are very versatile. We turned them into tacos and pulled pork sandwiches.

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Party Time: A Princess Tea Party inspired by Dora

We were delighted and fortunate to help Selina celebrate her 3rd birthday with a Princess Dora-inspired tea party. The party was to be held at Gymboree, so we decided to coordinate with their “Princess Playhouse Party” theme. The party itself was led by Gymboree’s own wonderful Nicole, who led the royal guests through songs and fun activities.

We had our work cut out for us in trying to transform the space into a royal venue for Princess Selina, but we managed to turn this:

Into this:

We took streamers and made a curtain to cover the sink area.

Paper flowers hung from the ceiling and we used a garland, more paper flowers, and lanterns to create a little sitting area for parents.

Real Green Toys tea sets were used along with safe LED tea lights to set the mood for a “royal garden tea party among the columns of the castle.”

Bloquets stood in for real flowers on the table for double duty as party horns and decoration. Dora made a small appearance on the table in the form of a ring used as a napkin ring.

We made a simple banner with satin ribbon and beautiful handmade paper to decorate the dessert table, which was filled with both treats to eat and celebrate. A large 3 balloon left no question as to how old the princess would be for her birthday!

The petit fours were from Dragonfly Cakes and just delightful dusted with a pearl luster. We also found chocolate and yogurt star cookies that would have made Dora happy and fit perfectly with the theme.

You may be wondering where Dora is in all of this. Selina’s mom wanted the essence of a Dora party, so we decided to use “Dora colors” to represent Dora, Boots and royalty. Dora did make an appearance on the invitations and in the goodie bags in the form of a doll.

The envelope also held a crown for the princess sealed with royal sealing wax.

We also based activities around making flower “Dora” bead bracelets and royal jeweled maracas as children arrived and before the actual party started.

All About the Packaging: Circle Garland

We whipped up these garlands for a holiday party. Super easy and super simple.  We made them with 5-inch circles, but you could make them in any shape or size. We used leftover paper to make rectangular ones. Smaller ones could be use for gift wrapping.

All you need for this project are:

-cardstock
-ribbon
-glue

 We used our Silhouette machine to cut out our 5-inch circles, but a circle cutter works just as well.  Apply glue to one circle and place the ribbon on top.

Place a second circle on top to sandwich the ribbon.  Continue along the ribbon about three inches apart for as long as you need the garland to be.

Cut the ribbon and hang. You could make the circles as large or as small.  The small garlands could also be used for gift wrapping.

All About the Packaging: Puppy Centerpiece Tutorial

We helped throw a surprise party for a dog lover and decided to make these centerpieces to use in the restaurant. All it took was floral foam, flowers, greenery and a water dish.

We used spider mums and carnations. Regular mums work well, too. All of them last for 3-5 days. Longer if kept cool and watered. And while hydrangea look fantastic, they last maybe a day. You’ll need three spider mums and one bunch of carnations. You’ll also need three small black silk roses for the nose and pupils. We actually used a Sharpie to color in blue ones. You can also use the center of black-eyed Susans.

First, take your flowers and cut off all but three inches of the stem. Place in water while you get set up. Then take your floral foam and carve a rough head and snout. After soaking in water, place in the dog dish. Using a skewer, poke some holes to allow easier insertion of the flowers.

Now you can start inserting the flowers. Start with the spider mums. Place two of them towards the side of the head in the position of the ears and one in the center for the snout. Then place two carnations for the eyes, and two columns of three down the front for the legs. Place the black silk roses in the center of the two carnations you inserted for the eyes and in the spider mum on the snout. You may have to play around with placement to make your dog look just right.

Now you can fill in the rest of the dog with flowers. Just leave the space between the legs open. This will be filled in with the greenery.

Once you’re finished, add the greenery around the base of the dog and between its front legs and you’re finished!