birthday party

A Simple Rainbow Birthday Party

Vera was hard-pressed to narrow down her birthday party theme.  She, unlike her brother, thinks about it all year long.  We had lots of contenders including unicorns, Shopkins, gymnastics and American Girl dolls.  However, Vera loves art.  She spends most of her free time creating art so we finally landed on a simple and fun rainbow art party!  I thought I would share all the details today.

We started by creating a fun and simple birthday invite with Canva.  This time I just saved the picture to my phone and texted the photo to all the invitees.  I sent a follow-up reminder the day before because I always need a reminder!  We asked the girls to come dressed in their favorite color!

For decor, we looked at the birthday girl’s art cart and gathered different art supplies to display along with the food on the buffet table.  We picked up a plastic rainbow tablecloth at Target and pulled out some fabric bunting and a colorful happy birthday sign.


Painting A Canvas Activity

When the girls arrived we had them sit in a circle and share their favorite color with one another.  Once everyone had arrived and was introduced, I gave them directions for our first activity.  Each girl would paint a canvas.  We bought craft paint, a variety of brushes, and a canvas for each girl.  My husband, son and I helped squeeze paints onto white paper plates that we called our “palettes”. The girls shared the paints and each created a unique piece of art.

Edible Rainbow Necklaces

We let the canvases dry on the counter while Vera opened presents and I prepared for the next rainbow-inspired craft.  The girls made rainbow edible necklaces.  We took a piece of yarn and placed tape on one end so it was easier to string and then tied a fruit loop to the other.  Then, the girls stringed on fruit loops and gummy lifesavers onto their necklaces.

Decorate Your Own Cupcake

When the girls were done, we put them into a plastic bag with their name on it so they could enjoy their rainbow birthday party snack later.  It was time to decorate their own rainbow birthday party cupcakes with a variety of sprinkles.  We also served up different colored food.  Grapes (green & purple), Gatorade (blue, orange & yellow), chocolate-covered strawberries (red) and goldfish (orange).

Rainbow Color Tag

When we were all done with our snack, it was time to play color tag in the front yard.  This was a perfect way to end the party.  The birthday girl was “it” first and everyone stood behind a line (marked by cones).  When she called out a color, anyone wearing that color had to run to the other line (marked by cones) without getting tagged.  If they got tagged, they would be “it” too. The last person not tagged then became the next person to call out the colors.  The girls loved it!

Goodie Bags

When the parents arrived, we handed them the wet canvas along with the goodie bags filled with a box of skittles, rainbow glasses, their rainbow food necklace, and a felt coloring craft.

The Budget

11 x 14 Canvas $25

10 craft paint bottles $5

Paintbrush variety pack $8

Box of Generic Fruit Loops $3

Bag of gummy lifesavers $3

Yarn, bag & tape (had on hand)

Cupcakes & sprinkles $10

Plastic tablecloth (similar) $4

Multi-colored lunch bags $5

Goodie bag supplies $20 (multi-colored glasses, felt art set, skittles)

White plates, paper plates & napkins $6

Party food (strawberries, goldfish, Gatorade, grapes) $15

Decor (had on hand) $0

Total Party Budget – $104

The birthday girl had a blast and the party was a perfect representation of how much she loves to craft and create art. It was simple but so much fun!  If you are in need of more party inspiration, check out these posts.

You can also hop over to Money Saving Mom to read all about my money saving tips on how to throw a budget-friendly birthday party.

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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Linking up with Lindsay and Becky – check out their blogs for more fun!

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Two Cute Mermaid Birthday Party

Sweet Lucille Violet turned TWO at the end of June (you can read more about her here) and since you only turn TWO once, she had three parties.  It actually worked out to have a little party at my in-laws one day, a party with our friends another and then we had her last party at the lake when all of our family was together.  So it might seem extravagant but it was out of necessity, I promise 😉 ;)!
We chose the mermaid theme because Lucy is such a water baby!  Plus, I thought it was a little something different!
For the first party, my mother-in-law and father-in-law did all the heavy lifting, I just showed up.  #yesmaam My father-in-law always makes our kids a cake based on the theme.  He works for hours on them. It’s a sweet labor of love!
It was a nice day out so we enjoyed the party on their large deck!  My mother-in-law had all sorts of under the sea themed appetizers to enjoy when we arrived.
How cute are these little Nilla wafer oyster cookies?
Sea shells (bugles), Goldfish crackers, fish food (a fan favorite) and seaweed (edema-me crisps) and waves (wavy chips).
The crab-wiches not only were darling but so good.  She got croissants and filled them with chicken salad for the adults and peanut butter for the kids.  Then she glued on some googly eyes to toothpicks!
Driftwood (pretzels), shark teeth (triangle cut white cheese), Seaweed, sea pearls (mini chocolate pearls), and sea shells (bugles).
We had a lovely time and everyone made second and third trips up for more “sea-inspired” fare!
Then, it was my turn to host.  My sweet mother-in-law shared her table runner she made and her food labels for this party so you will see them again.  We found all the paper products at Target (Spritz brand) and picked colors and prints that coordinated with our theme!  We used our silver chargers and Vera found a few mermaid dolls and toys to help “decorate” the table!
We used a box cake mix and made homemade buttercream frosting.  They were tasty and not too much work!  We also re-used the lanterns and bunting (Target) from parties past (here) and strung them from the chandelier!  I love decor that can be used again and again!



Mermaid Party Invitations –

We found the cute mermaid invitations at Target and print off a little calendar of events for the party.   I always love to come up with a few fun games for everyone to play.

Mermaid Party Games –

First up was Save the Mermaid, which is similar to capture the flag but with a mermaid doll.   We split up into two teams and each team hid the other teams mermaid and then we had to race to find it without being captured.
Next up was Pass the Pearl, which was passing white water balloons back and forth between teammates.  Last but not least, we played mermaid baseball.  It was so popular, we played it at the next birthday party at the lake.  The kids took turns hitting water balloons in lieu of baseballs.  Now that you can get balloons like these, its so fun to come up with all sorts of water balloon games!

Mermaid Party Food Ideas –

Of course, I took a cue from my mother-in-law and had fun sea-inspired appetizers.  We added seaweed dip (guacamole) to the line-up!
We used Barbie’s pool for the Goldfish and had sea biscuits (pita chips) and dip!
We also made a sign for drinks which included squid ink (root beer), ocean cooler (juice boxes), red tide (cherry 7-up) and fish pee (mountain dew).  You can imagine which one was the fan favorite.  Why does bodily function elicit such laughter?
Last but not least, my mom hosted the final party at the lake.  She got all the mermaid plates and decor on Amazon.  She just took the balloons to the grocery store and paid for the helium.


Grandma and Vera set up the party and decorated while Lucy napped and then we enjoyed cupcakes, presents and mermaid baseball!
I think we successfully milked the theme and her birthday for all its worth!  It was so fun to celebrate our TWO cute mermaid on her 2nd birthday!

For other birthday party inspiration – click here

Until next time keep on keeping on with a simple purposeful life!

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Wild about zebra’s 5th birthday

Our little Miss V turned 5 in September!  I am not sure how that is possible, I remember them handing her to me after a slightly stressful delivery and couldn’t believe she was a girl (we never find out until delivery day)!  My heart was so full and continues to be filled, so thankful I am her mom.

Birthdays have been a highlight for me since my kids were wee ones but they have changed a bit too. Gone are the days of mom picking the theme and over the top decor and that’s okay too.  Whatever kind of birthday party planner you are, I always remember that we are the best moms to our kids so our birthdays are just right for them :)!

Vera is wild about Zebras – wild about them!  I can thank her sweet older cousin because she loves zebras as well and since she loves zebras so does Vera ;)!  Vera is a planner like her mom so she was set on her theme, oh about April!  We started shopping for all the materials in August and luckily for us were quite successful in finding all things zebra!

We shopped at Dollar Tree and Hobby Lobby mostly!  Hobby Lobby had clearanced out all their zebra items so we found cute print-at-home invitations, streamers, and cupcake liners at a deep discount.  Our next stop was Dollar Tree for the goodie bag items…we found hand mirrors, brushes, and cosmetic bags, then added in some gum and a zebra notepad tied up with some zebra ribbon.

 My little helper and I set up the table with zebra table ware we found at Dollar Tree and then added zebra coloring sheets for the little ladies to do while they waited to get their nails painted.

And just like that it was party morning.  We each found our best zebra outfits (good thing I had a similar theme for sorority recruitment in college and I still had the skirt – it was in the goodwill pile and I pulled it for one more wear!).  The girls arrived at 9am and we started with painting nails.  Big brother manned the drying portion while I painted the little ladies choice of color and sparkle!  Most chose “Else blue” with gold sparkles :).

After all the nails were dry and coloring complete we played several rounds of traditional party games.  They are traditional for a reason, they always elicit a great response.  First up 2 rounds of musical chairs and then a few rounds of freeze dance before playing “Pin the Tail on the Zebra”.

Vera was very excited to color and cut the tails for the game so I outlined it and she did the rest.  It’s still up, she loves it! 

 We took a time out from games for some zebra cupcakes (white frosting with black frosting spread on with toothpicks).  We also served Elsa blue gatorade (the birthday girls choice) and goldfish crackers.

Before wrapping up the party, we unwrapped presents and then played several rounds of “Find the Zebra”.  We had a tiny plastic schliech zebra that the birthday girl hid first and then whomever found it that round got to hide it the next round.  The kids absolutely loved it and would shout “warmer or colder” based on where the others were looking.  This might be added to my traditional party games arsenal!

We finished the morning with Perler bead creations.  Vera is a crafter so no party would be complete without a craft.  I ironed them after the girls left and attached some yarn and we included them in a little bag with Vera’s thank you note.   For her thank you note I simply took zebra scrapbook paper and printed a fill in the blank thank you note on the opposite side.

It was a wild and fun celebration.  We kept things simple but there was endless fun and joy.  It’s all worth it when the birthday girl has a big smile on her face!  She is already forming her short list of birthday themes for next year.  Luckily we have a little time.  
Here are some other birthday parties we have thrown:

Vera’s 5th Birthday at American Girl Bistro

My mom has been waiting for the day until Vera turned 5 to take her to American Girl for her birthday!  We did it early so my sister, who lives in Seattle, could go with us.  My grandma also went so there was 4 generations present.  I don’t know who was more excited.  We headed out from the lake and let the guys have their own “date”, we popped a tube so they were off to lunch and finding a new tube!  They had lots of fun too!
So off we headed to the Mall of America…
A little girl in heaven!
Grandma and Vera chat about which doll Vera wanted EVERY time we were together for the past year.  They would sit down together, Vera on Grandma’s lap, and they would scour the magazine dreaming together!  Vera chose a “truly me” doll that does not look like her but rather has red wavy hair.  She named her Sage!  Grandma got her the doll as well matching outfit (from Zulily) for the special day! #spoiled 
We had about 15 minutes before our reservation to browse the store a little bit.  We had read that you can play with the displays and let your doll sit in them so Vera enjoyed touching and looking at everything and even letting Sage test out some furniture!
The rest of us were just as happy 🙂
Then it was time to head up to the cafe and pick out a chair for Sage!  Lucy borrowed a doll for lunch too!
3 happy gals – Grandma, Vera and Sage

The lunch options were super cute and really delicious.  We all got different things but the presentation was amazing!

My grandma’s appetizer (she had eaten 2 muffins)

My big girl and me
After we all enjoyed lunch, they brought out a cake and gave her a little gift!  This girl was beyond happy….wonder what she’s wishing…

They took the cake and cut it and brought it back with a little pot of ice cream
Everyone enjoyed it – Auntie Ellen is the best Auntie 🙂
I was so impressed with the cafe!  The napkin rings were hair ties you could take home and each of the dolls (even the borrowed one) got their own tea cup and plate which Vera got to take home!

Uncle Kristiaan and Auntie Ellen got Sage pierced ears for Vera’s birthday…

….and Grandma couldn’t help herself (at least 2 of those bags are food – so much food and cake!)

…and a full day of fun wears an almost 5 year old lady out!
It was a special 5th Birthday and a special memory we will always cherish!  We all laughed that in 4 short years we will be back with Lucy 🙂

Ice Cream and Soda Shoppe 1st Birthday

Ice Cream, Sprinkles and Cake Galore, A very happy First Birthday is in store…
On July 8th we held Lucy’s first birthday at the “Lake Waconia Creamery” aka the lake!  We had had beautiful weather all week and we woke up that morning to STRONG winds, I repeat strong winds and cool temps.  We were having the party at the lake…so my parents scrambled to put up the storm windows on the porch so it would be warmer and we moved most of the party inside until the sun came out and we decided to brave it for a bit!  We had a great time with my sister and her hubby (in town from Seattle), Scott’s sister’s family, my grandparents, and both sets of our parents!
Lucy was ready to party…she’s one-derful!

All ready for the birthday girl…

We went with the fan favorite walking tacos for the main course and it was a hit!

Then for dessert we had an ice cream sundae bar and plenty of cake!

With each kiddo I make a one year photo book and have the guests write them a little message.  The kids love to look back at their birth and first year of life!
No ice cream and soda shoppe party would be complete without bottles of pop…

Nana and Papa made the cake with a little decorating help from the kids…

The smash cake that was barely touched… 😉

Ready for cake — maybe???
and right after this she started to cry, we even tried to give her a sample and she cried harder.  We aren’t sure if it was everyone staring at her or she genuinely doesn’t like cake but 3/3 of our kids wanted nothing to do with smash cakes.  I should have known 😉
Everyone helped open gifts…

…and tested them out!

Auntie Raquel and the birthday girl!

…and finally some cake and ice cream sundaes!

Grace and Vera

Then after dessert the kids braved the wind and swam between the lake an the hot tub!

Uncle K and Lucy
Then no party would be complete without party games.  While the kids swam, I forced the adults to play Celebrity (birthday edition).  It’s a team game that involves charades.  Despite some moans I think everyone had fun!  Once the kids were done, we played pie face…some were novices!  It’s always a party hit!!!

Despite the crazy weather, we had a blast and were so thankful so much of our family was able to join us!  Happy First Birthday our Sweet Lucy Girl!

Mommy, ME and Baby Make 3 Tea Party

It is no secret I love to plan parties for my kiddos’ birthdays!  I spend too much time perusing pinterest and picking their brain as to what their heart’s desires are.  It is fun for me, I know it isn’t everyone’s thing :)!  It makes my heart happy when their eyes light up!  This year as I mentioned in my previous post, Vera wanted princesses, baby, pink, purple and sparkle.  She has been loving having “real” tea parties with water with the whole family and one of her favorite books is Princess Bitty Baby.  SO, we combined in all up into the theme “Mommy, Me and Baby Make 3 tea”, which was perfect for a 3rd birthday.  We invited 2 little girls and their mommies to come so there was 3 of everything :).
My mom scavenged the flea markets and found some sweet tea cups to use in addition to my Grandma Dingman’s tea cups.  They are all beautiful and unique.  We also used my Grandma Wetherbee’s silver tea set and our fine china.  It was fun to use it all and my grandma even polished the silver before she gave it to me and packed it in air tight containers so no polishing was needed!
We used princess napkins, borrowed 2 extra dolly high chairs and added a perfectly sized table to accommodate all of our guests.
We had mini doughnuts, mini cupcakes, princess goldfish, mini muffins and we made grape kabobs.  We also had pink lemonade or real English tea.
Each person had their own name tag and as part of their thank you note, we sent the little girls home with their tags that became door tags for their bedroom!
The girls felt pretty fancy with their dollies, drinks and beautiful outfits.  The mommies enjoyed chatting too!
We played a few princess games including Walk like Aerial (gunnysack races), Find the Missing Princess shoe (where I hid Cinderella’s glass slippers around the house and they had to find them), and we took pictures with fun props.  We rounded out the fun morning with gifts and play time.
Queen and Princess M being silly…

Queen and Princess P being sweet…

And mother like daughter equal parts sweet and spicy!
It was a wonderful way to wish our sweet Vera a Happy 3rd Birthday and a special mommy moment. I have always dreamed of having a daughter to have tea with and do girly things with, I am so thankful :).

Solon’s Space-Themed 5th Birthday

As promised in my previous post (found here), here are some party action shots from Solon’s special party day!
After the kiddos arrived, we started with a few games.  The first activity was called “Meteor Shower” (crumpled up computer paper and a string line).  2 teams try to get all their meteors to the other side (we adapted the game from snowball fight at VBS).  It was such a hit, we played it again at the end of the party, parents vs. kids as the parents came to pick up the kids!

Next up, “Moon Landing”.  Take an American flag to the other side of the yard while moon jumping in gunny sacks!  We played several rounds and as you can see there was some fierce cheering in the background.  Scott and I are big kids at heart, so we had to try it out too!  We found the gunny sacks at Old Navy of all places.

By that point, we were hot and sweaty and in need of sustenance.  So, we headed in and had treats and opened presents and of course sang happy birthday to our big 5 year old.

Solon was blessed with lots of nice new things which we spent the remainder of the evening playing with :).

The gang…

We finished off with asteroid splashdown, using water balloons to hit different “solar obstacles”. 
The party ended in a few more rounds of favorite games and a break-out water fight as well.
Solon had a great time and thanks to Emilie for staying and corralling Vera so Scott and I could focus on keeping the party going strong.  It takes a village!
Happy 5th Birthday Solon!

Blast Off to Space 5th Birthday

Step 1 running upstairs to get the cord for my phone to get pictures downloaded – check!
Step 2 uploading said pictures and getting a blog post written – check!
Realizing all the actual party pictures are on your camera – womp, womp!
SO this will be a party decor post 🙂 🙂
This year, as I shared in a previous post, Solon has been VERY into the Solar System (just this week, he wanted to check out EVERY available book on the subject…we left some for others, I am nice like that.) We are all well versed in the universe!  I will say, the subject has made me really think about God and His design a lot….our universe is beyond my comprehension.
Ok side bar done – we have a solar system theme on our hands folks and NO, read NO, box store has any solar system related birthday stuff.  Luckily it was Amazon prime to the rescue, I knew I accidentally signed up for that for a reason.  We purchased some plates and napkins and the rest we gathered from around the house or made!
Birthday parties are a labor of love and I know no one (ie Solon) cares as much as I do about the presentation but when he saw it, the hard work was worth it. “It looks awesome mommy!”
I borrowed his glow in the dark hanging planets from his room, the globe from the family room and blew up some balloons.

My sweet friend Lisa is gifted in many areas, including making cake pops.  She outdid herself with these planet-inspired pops.  They were as delicious as they were cute :).  I made the sun Styrofoam centerpiece (from Hobby Lobby and spray painted) so it looked as it the planets were orbiting around.

We served “rocket fuel” juice boxes, “space junk” munchie mix, cake pops and blue velvet cupcakes.

I made the little tags and printed them off…I used the same background template for the invitations, signs and gift bags.  I downloaded a free font that was space-themed.

For the gift bags, we found spritz brand hand air rockets and then the kids also placed their pinata candy inside the bag.  Each bag had a sign that said “Space Ranger (child’s name), thanks for making  my party a blast!”

Solon asked for a pinata and I took the opportunity to make a home-made one.  I ended up doing most of the dirty work on the deck by myself.  We used a balloon and paper-mached around it (equal parts water and flour and newspaper).   Then I spray-painted it blue and did a rough interpretation of the landmasses in green, making sure to represent our favorite places like Australia, Madagascar, and the USA ;)!  The only snag we hit was that, it broke easier than a store-bought one, which was good but the string was the first thing to break which was bad.  Scott held it bravely while the kids finished off the job :).
We also played a few other games outside before a water fight broke out.  We took hula hoops and a beach ball and played “Ring Saturn” by tossing the hula hoops over the beach ball.  Then we played moon landing, which were gunny sack races from one side of the yard to the other while carrying an American flag and depositing it across the yard.  Of course we also crumpled up lots of computer paper and played meteorite shower.  We played several rounds where you had to toss all the  meteorites across the line, to the other team’s side.  And lastly we played Asteroid Splash Down – aiming water balloons at different space objects, like planets and the black hole.
It was an hour and a half party and we had a blast with games, snacks and of course present opening and all the kids went home a little more tired and wetter than they came.  
It was an out of this world party for sure :).

Football and Cheerleaders Joint Birthday Party

This year we did a joint party for our kiddos.  Our good friends are moving to Africa and we wanted to make sure they could celebrate with the kiddos so alas the double birthday was born.  I actually was going to do a football theme for Solon and found in this birthday invite on Etsy and the theme “Football and Cheerleaders” was born.  I love the way it turned out!
The treat bags were a little bottle of gatorade, ref’s whistle and bouncy football…we also did tattoos when the kiddos arrived, they were a hit (sorry moms they were hard to wash off!).
We did a pinata because sometimes coming up with games both big and little kids can do is a challenge and who doesn’t love candy?!  I actually got the cheerleader pinata at our party store for a dollar (I know I know!) and used that to hold the balloons at the party!
The little tag on the gift bags said “Thanks for making our party a touchdown!”
The cupcakes…
For the food I did cotton candy, popcorn, nachos, stadium dogs wrapped in aluminum foil and since there is nothing healthy about stadium food I threw in carrots and watermelon!  I also bought little bottles of pop, water and gatorade just like they would sell at the stadium.
The kiddo table…
 Scott’s work has this indoor gym, perfect for the occasion.
We did a “football toss” aka water balloon toss…they had a blast of course getting the dads wet!

I mean how cute is she…ah…I can’t stand it (sorry biased mom here!)
Pinata time (we also did an obstacle course and let them play bball too!)
Present time…they were blessed with some nice toys!!!

And here are a few more from my friends’ camera….

and before the party was over a tea party broke out among the girls…
It was another successful party, I always enjoy planning for them.  I am not sure what 5 and 3 holds, I better start pinning!

Cute as a Button Birthday Party

Vera’s 1st Birthday Theme was “Cute as a Button” – my friend Mandey found a cake much like the one my inlaws made for Vera almost right after Vera was born BUT I loved the theme and a little different…
Her invitations read “Vera Ann is one and cute as a button!”
The food for the 11am party was brunch themed and all “cute as a button” or little!  We had mini doughnuts, doughnut holes, mini cupcakes, mini muffins, veggies, grapes, cheese and crackers, mini quiches, mini savory appetizers, mini zucchini bread loaves and mini yogurts.  There weren’t too many leftovers but I think it filled everyone up!  I glued some buttons on some toothpicks and stuck them in the food for more fun decor!

As you can tell the color scheme was mostly pink, yellow and grey with hints of light blue, green and purple.  I fell in love with the pink, yellow and grey in the scrapbook aisle and Michael’s….I used the scrapbook paper for the food labels, banners and backdrop for the button V and 1.  I also used a few pieces under the flowers around the house to bring in some color and our theme!

I opted to go with the chinese lanterns since there is a helium shortage and balloons are outrageously expensive, these were cheaper and I can reuse them.  I also made the little scrapbook banner for the window (look close – bummed I didn’t get a better short of my hard work)

My mother in law made the cake and my father in law made all the fondant buttons…it turned out so cute.  I will have cake for years though as this was 3.5 cake mixes worth – whoa!

I made little floral arrangements in a few vases around the house with pink, yellow and white flowers…I was excited to use flowers, not something you get to use for boy parties!  I also made a “V” and “1” out of buttons…The “V” was on the table modge-podged in a frame…not sure what I will do with them now 😉

I had Marty make a matching smash cake and I made a little banner for her high chair…the poor smash cake had like 2 bites out of it – Vera was so not into it…odd, since she is my child!

I also make a photo book for my kiddo’s 1st birthdays and have everyone that comes write a little message to them.  The book is full of our favorite first year photos and memories.  A nice little keepsake to keep with their baby book. (which is a work in progress 😉
The favors were “candy buttons” – I was so excited to find them at World Market – wahoo.  Perfect!
I had SO much fun doing all the planning with my lists and to dos but I am glad to take a little down time after it is all said and done…

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