Tag Archives: party

A Doc McStuffins Birthday Party

Olivia is three! And like most kids, she has become more opinionated about her birthday party with each passing year. This year, she decided that she wanted a Doc McStuffins birthday party. For those who are unfamiliar with the good doctor, Doc McStuffins is a cartoon on Disney Junior about a little girl with a magic stethoscope who fixes all the broken toys. It’s actually a pretty cute cartoon, and I love the fact that the main character is a girl who is NOT a princess. So I was more than happy to indulge Olivia’s theme choice.

I decided to use Paperless Post instead of mailing out invitations this year. Best idea ever! My stepmom designed this adorable invitation, which I uploaded into one of the full photo designs. I removed the text overlay option, added in everyone’s email addresses, hit send and … done! I was able to track everyone’s responses, send messages to invitees, and it was all for FREE.

Doc McStuffins Invitation

Given the fact that I am roughly the size of a whale right now and can’t move without crazy sciatic pain, I went very light on the DIY for this year’s party. I did, however, manage to make a cute sign for the front door …

As well as a few pennant garlands. Here’s a quick tutorial on how to make your own pennant garland, if you’re interested.

I couldn’t resist these bright pink hydrangeas for the table!

I set up a “clinic” in the basement for the kids to be able to give the stuffed animals (and each other) a check-up, complete with fun Band-Aids and a variety of doctor tools.

Instead of traditional favor bags, I set up a “pharmacy” so the kids could make their own goodie bags to take with them. I found Doc McStuffins sticker sheets at Walmart, Doc McStuffins mini coloring pages at Target, Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies, Annie’s Fruit Snacks, and a few different types of candy—everything in shades of pink, purple, and blue to match the theme.

I also made pink (i.e. strawberry) cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and pink and purple sprinkles. I think these were the highlight of Olivia’s day because, as each new person came in the door, she greeted them with “It’s my birthday! And we have cupcakes!!”

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of the cupcakes (or any of the other food for that matter). I blame my pregnancy brain. I ordered most of the food from Wegmans and Costco this year—I was not up for making everything from scratch like I usually do—but I did make my mom’s edamame orzo salad, which was a hit. I’ll be sharing that recipe soon, so be sure to check back!

It is definitely harder to throw a child’s birthday party when you’re eight months pregnant, but Olivia’s excitement when she saw the decorations (and the cupcakes) made it all worth it. Not to mention the fact that I got a huge hug and a “Mama, I love you—this was the best birthday ever!” at the end of the evening. Yep, totally worth it.


Josh & Caity’s Coed Bridal Shower

My stepmom, sister, and I recently threw my brother and his fiancée a coed bridal shower. We decided to do a fun backyard shin-dig to take advantage of the pool in the hot summer weather.

Unfortunately, mother nature decided to throw some serious thunderstorms our way 15 minutes before the shower started (and then a couple more times during the party), but we still managed to end up with good food, good company, and a good time!

We went with a red, white, and turquoise country theme and carried it throughout the entire event, from the blue mason jars to the gingham ribbon.

For favors, we baked s’mores brownies right into small jars and tied on a thank you tag, which was perfect considering it was National S’mores Day.

To make the favors, mix together melted butter and graham cracker crumbs; press the mixture into the bottom of each jar. Mix together a box of brownie mix and pour evenly into each jar. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, according to the oven temperature listed on the box of brownie mix. Top each brownie jar with 8-10 mini marshmallows and bake another 3-4 minutes or until the marshmallows are melted and slightly browned on the top. Allow to cool before topping each jar with a lid.

For the food, we made hamburger sliders and bratwurst with gourmet toppings that ranged from onions sautéed in red wine to peperoncini sauce. To go along with the main dish, we served a variety of different salads, including fruit salad, edamame orzo salad, and roasted corn and black bean salad. Because of the heat, we kept the salads on ice in a couple of galvanized tubs—not as cute, but we thought it was best to put food safety first!

To go along with the s’mores brownies, we did individual banana pudding cups for dessert. Unfortunately, I was apparently too busy eating mine to actually take a picture. I blame pregnancy—I cannot be held accountable when there’s sugar around!

Despite the rain, I think the shower turned out really nice, and my brother and his fiancée really appreciated all the effort that went into the party. The kids even made it into the pool for a bit between storms—all in all, a success!


Finger Foods for Your Next Fête

I can’t get enough of all the adorable mini foods I am seeing on Pinterest these days. Not only are they cute as a button, but two-bite finger foods are less mess at parties.

I’m starting to think about Olivia’s 3rd birthday party, and I’m kind of bummed that I will be ordering food this year instead of making it all (I will be 8 months pregnant, and I am not a glutton for punishment!). So maybe I’ll have to keep some of these in mind for next year … or maybe for the holidays. Here are a few of my favs:

Mini Tomato and Mozzarella Tarts from Life as a Lofthouse

Mini Chicken and Waffles from Southern Living

Lemon Meringue Pie Shooters from HonestCooking.com

Mini Pancake Bites Four Ways from Prudentbaby.com

Baked Spinach Dip Mini Bread Bowls from Picky-Palate.com

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Coffee Cake Bites from SpoonForkBacon.com

Mac and Cheese Bites by Yours Truly


Last Minute Ideas for a Kid-Friendly NYE

They say that New Year’s Eve is the most difficult night of the year to find a babysitter, and they ain’t lyin’. Not sure about you, but we’ll be ringing in 2013 from the comfort of our own home. Luckily, we have wonderful friends who will be coming over to party it up with us.

Olivia definitely won’t make it until midnight, but she’ll probably stay up a little later than normal, so I’ve been looking for some fun kid-friendly ideas for NYE. Here are some of my favorites:

Via Parenting.com

Mix up some tasty mocktails. Alcoholic or not, these look amazing!

Make a time capsule. Click here for instructions. I think Olivia might be a little young for this this year, but I’m totally keeping this in mind for the future!

Serve kid favorites in miniature—think pigs in a blanket, little taco cups, bite-sized pizzas, sliders, meatballs, mac and cheese poppers—who doesn’t love this stuff?!

Via Family.com

Pick up some party hats, poppers, balloons, noisemakers, etc. to get everyone in on the fun and excitement. You can even use a hole punch to make confetti out of leftover Christmas wrapping paper.

Break out the Xbox or the Karaoke machine to get the party going. Group video games like Just Dance get all ages involved—there’s even a Nickelodeon Dance game that features Dora and the Backyardigans!

Ring in the New Year with milk and cookies (or at least let the kids do it!).

Celebrate “New Year’s in Rio” if you’re on the East Coast and don’t want your kids staying up until midnight. Since Rio is three hours behind U.S. Eastern Time, you can count down with your kiddos at 9 p.m.

No matter how you plan on welcoming 2013, stay safe and happy, and I’ll see you next year!


Olivia’s Sunny Sesame Street Birthday!

My baby girl is two. I know it’s true because her birthday was September 21st, but I just can’t seem to wrap my head around the fact that my little baby isn’t really a baby anymore. She’s a full-fledged, opinionated, affectionate, tantrum-throwing, observant (sometimes too much so!) toddler. She’s a girl who knows her mind—especially when it comes to what she will and will not eat any given moment of the day.

So when I asked her what kind of party she wanted for her 2nd birthday, there was only one answer: Elmo. Well, it was more like, “Elmo, Elmo, Elmo! Super Grover! It’s my birthday! ‘Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you. . .’ —Mommy may me have some milk?—’Sunny days. . .’ YEAH, YEAH, YEAH!” 

Ryan and I with our little birthday girl

Invite designed by Better by Design

I had a lot of fun putting this party together. . . but it’s a good thing this happens only once a year because it’s exhausting! Still, to hear Olivia whisper “Wow” when she walked downstairs to see the garlands, balloons, food, and presents—that made it all worth it!

My friend Stephanie made this amazing, hand-painted sign for our front yard. The best part? There’s Velcro on the back of the sign where it attaches to the yard stakes. After the party, we were able to take the sign off and hang it in her bedroom above her door!

I made the garlands using colored card stock and the Martha Stewart Circle Cutter (a HUGE time-saver and worth every penny!). I free-handed the letters and cut them out, then I just glued everything together and strung them on some yarn.

My favorite part of the party planning—the Elmo and Cookie Monster cupcakes! They were much easier than I expected, though I recommend the gel concentrate food coloring if you want a saturated blue and red. I used regular liquid food coloring and mine ended up more “denim” and “hot pink,” but it worked!

I came up with themed names for all of the dishes (Mr. Noodles Noodles for macaroni and cheese, Abby’s Magic Wands for fruit kabobs, Big Bird’s Bird Seed Muffins for corn muffins with poppy seeds, etc.) Though I probably stretched it a bit with Bert and Ernie’s Famous Beef Brisket. Can’t say I’ve ever seen B & E actually eat brisket, but I liked the alliteration.

The party favors included Sesame Street cereal bars from Earth’s Best, stickers and books from Target, and Goldfish Crackers. The favor boxes were from Target, and I just wrote “Thank You” on the front. Had I thought about it, I would have designed and printed stickers for the front, but that one slipped through the cracks.

Overall, I’d say the party was a huge success—we had good weather, yummy food, and great friends and family to help us celebrate! Best of all was the one thing we DIDN’T have. . . a meltdown! Bring on the two’s!!

 


Kids’ Cupcakes (That the Average Parent Can Actually Make!)

We’ve all seen them—those amazing cupcakes on Pinterest that you decide you just HAVE to do for your child’s birthday party. Until you try to actually make them and they turn out like this:

For the record, those aren’t my cupcakes nor is this my picture, but it made me laugh out loud because it’s so true! Oh, I am still going to try to make the Cookie Monster cupcakes for my daughter’s 2nd birthday Sesame Street party, so we’ll see which of these pictures I get closer to.

But for the average parent (i.e. those of us who aren’t professional bakers or even good amateurs), here are some adorable cupcakes that are actually DOABLE. Enjoy!

By Good Housekeeping

By Frilly Milly Events

By Better Homes and Gardens

By Disney Family Fun

By marthastewart.com

By Better Homes and Gardens

By Disney Family Fun

By Better Homes and Gardens

By ericasweettooth.com

By justcallmechris.blogspot.com

 


Kellan’s Dr. Seuss Birthday Party!

A Dr. Seuss theme is great for birthday parties and baby showers because it’s gender neutral, colorful, and provides tons of inspiration and creativity for food, drinks, and decor! Kellan celebrated his first birthday in true Seuss fashion, right down to his birthday outfit. All photos are courtesy of Kellan’s proud mama and party planner, Sarah.

The plates, napkins, hats, etc. were ordered from Birthday Express. . .

 . . .as was the personalized banner!

For snacks, Sarah got creative, making Cat Hats (strawberry and marshmallow skewers), Green Eggs and Ham, Seussville Sticks (besprinkled chocolate dipped pretzels), Yertle’s Turtle Shells (chocolate dipped Pringles), One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (Goldfish crackers), and Horton’s Spirals. The water bottle labels were ordered from Etsy.

The birthday boy sported a Dr. Seuss onesie from Etsy shop Antsy Pants and enjoyed a Cat in the Hat smash cake made by mom.

Sarah used blue cotton candy atop her Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes, and a friend made the adorable birthday cake.

Thanks so much, Sarah, for sharing Kellan’s adorable birthday party!


Scarlett’s Ballerina Birthday Bash

My friend, Desi, is so creative and talented—she even has her own accessories boutique on Etsy, Scarlett and Co. (see? super creative!). So it was no surprise when she whipped up this adorable, ballerina-themed birthday party for her daughter’s first birthday like it was just another day’s work.

Desi handmade the invitations and did nearly all of the decor herself, with styling help from our friend Brooke of Granger & Wit and from her mom (check out that handmade tulle tablecloth!). She purchased the hanging poms from Sweet and Savvy Designs and the old-fashioned pink and white striped paper straws from Dime Store Buddy.

The tutu cupcakes and sweet, pink smash cake were made by her mother-in-law, as were the ballet slipper chocolate pops. Desi and her mother-in-law worked together on the ballerina cookies, and I love the clever sign next to the basket, “Please take one {not tutu}.” So cute!

The birthday girl changed from her Janie and Jack pink tulle party dress into a custom onesie from Orchid Avenue to enjoy her birthday cake.

Well done on the party, Des! Everything looked absolutely perfect!


A Fishing-Themed Baby Shower!

This past weekend, my mother-in-law and I threw a baby shower for my sister- and brother-in-law, who are expecting their first baby, a little boy, in about two weeks. They are outdoorsy types, and my brother-in-law loves to go fishing, so we thought a fishing-themed baby shower would be really cute.

It was pretty easy to find decorations and such with fish, ducks, etc. The one part that was a little bit difficult was coming up with the invitations. Surprisingly, there aren’t very many fishing baby shower invites on the usual invitation web sites. I found an adorable one on A Breath of Fresh Erin, which was designed by Pink Door Design. My talented designer friend and coworker, Steph, offered to help me recreate the design for our shower, and I think it turned out really cute!

The blue “goldfish pond” was french onion dip with food coloring, and my mother-in-law found the blue punch recipe here. The cupcakes were chocolate and vanilla with crushed Oreo “dirt,” topped with chocolate and graham cracker goldfish cookies. In retrospect, I probably should have done blue frosting since fish normally don’t jump out of dirt, but at least they were delicious!


Finn’s Mickey-Themed First Birthday

My friend Shannon’s son just turned one, and she threw him a Mickey Mouse-themed party to make Walt Disney proud!

A friend of ours—Brooke Granger of Granger & Wit, a boutique firm that specializes in floral and event details—did an amazing job with the party details, including the invitations, banners, Mickey and Minnie party hats, “photo booth,” name tags, and signage. For the photo booth, Brooke created a fabric backdrop along with fun chalkboard signs that said “Hey Folks!” and “Future Mouseketeer” for the little ones to hold. With the party hats on, they were just too cute!

The cupcakes came from Klein’s ShopRite Supermarket in Bel Air, MD, and the cookies were made by our friend Desi (both turned out great!). Shannon had the party catered by Famous Dave’s, which was not only delicious but made the party prep a breeze. The vintage Mickey plates and bowls came from Target and were an absolute steal!

As Mickey would say, “Oh boy! What a party!”