How to Make a Nerf Party Cake

How to Make a Nerf Party Cake

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As promised, here is the Nerf Party Cake (modified version of the archery cake featured on showerofroses.blogspot.com).

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You will need

A box of cake mix and two 9″ round cake pans

2 cans of white frosting

13 KitKats or 4 of the XL size you find in the candy aisle of the grocery store

42 oz Party size bag of M&M’s

Nerf Dart

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Instructions

Bake the two round cakes according to package instructions.

Let cool for at least 15 minutes and trim the tops  with a knife to make them flat.

Place one round cake on your cake pan and frost the top.

Add the other layer (trimmed side down, smooth side up to make frosting easier).

Frost the entire cake liberally. It doesn’t have to be pretty because it will be covered with candy.

Separate the red, yellow, blue, and brown M&M’s.

You will need approximately

22 yellow

70 red

110 blue

50 brown

41 kit kat sticks trimmed to fit the height of the cake

Start your dart board design with adding a rim of brown m&m’s all the way around the diameter of the cake. This gives you a frame to line everything up with.

Next add approximately three more rows of blue M&M’s in a circle.

Then add three rows of red M&M’s.

Lastly, make a bullseye circle in the remaining space with yellow M&M’s.

Lining the cake with KitKat bars is easy. Just trim about a half inch off of the bottom of all the bars with a knife then stick them to the edge of the cake. They should stay in place without any trouble.

Then top off your cake with a decorative nerf dart. Just remove the M&M’s in one spot and gently push the Nerf dart into place.

I cut the cake servings with two Kitkats per slice. This meant that cake made about 20 servings.

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It was festive and delicious. Most kids and adults will love it!

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The candy is the priciest part and sorting the M&M’s was a bit time consuming, but the good news is I used the blue and orange for another side dish and I also plan to use the leftover green and brown for my other son’s party next month which is Ninja Turtle.

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I would definitely make a cake like this again! I loved it. Next time maybe I’ll try a different pattern like a number or a flower. Oooh, now my wheels are turning!

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By | September 15th, 2017|Parties, Uncategorized|1 Comment

Indoor Nerf Party

Z’s 10th birthday was a bullseye with this Nerf Party.

I love making printables and Z helped me with my designs this year. He also spent a lot of time coloring and making his own Nerf theme signs to hang up around the house.

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Even little brother helped set up.

As each guest arrived we had a sign in sheet where they wrote their name, gun model, and number of darts. This made everything so much easier!

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The “Armory” was a pegboard with hooks moved from the garage to the play room. The boys could hang their guns up there until battle time.

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We made these ammo pouches full of nerf darts as party favors.

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They were really little messenger bags from the dollar store that Z covered with black duct tape and then individualized with names taped on with clear tape.

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All the boys had a way to carry their own bullets and they all used them. It turned out so great.

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The first game was Whack-A-Villian which was a game that J and Z made for a Cub Scout carnival and then we played at Ezie’s 4th birthday party. Everyone used the same gun and had to see how many bad guys they could hit. The two boys with the highest scores were team captains for the nerf war.

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Next up was the Mess Hall (military phrase for cafeteria).

Of course, the food had to be Nerf theme which meant lots of orange and blue.

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We also bought some frozen pizzas and added our own toppings in the shape of a dart board.


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Then there were fun military theme touches like cheese bombs


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War Heads and Explosives (Pop Rocks)

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Gun powder (pixy stix)
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and more…

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The cake turned out amazing. I’ll be sure to post a recipe/tutorial for that soon.

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Lastly was the ultimate capture the flag show down. There was a blue team and an orange team. Each team got some face paint markers in the corresponding shades of their team color. I explained that this was their war paint and war paint started with the Native Americans who would apply paint to their face and bodies to prepare for battle. This was the print out for the war paint station.

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I turned a full length mirror on its side so that multiple boys could paint their face at once.

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The blue team was using the bathroom mirror.

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Then each team had 15 minutes to build their fort out of cardboard boxes.

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After that was the big moment. The Nerf War.

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The rules were the same as capture the flag and they had an orange shirt and a blue shirt as flags. If they were hit they had to go back into their forts. The final battle was a free for all and the boys went wild tearing down their forts, firing their guns, and making an insane amount of noise. It was probably not the safest most organized activity, but it can you imagine anything more fun for a group of 4th grade boys?

Yes there was some bickering about who was shot and who was cheating, but all in all they really just had a great time.

I have a lot of favorites when it comes to kid’s parties, but this one is going to be added to that list.

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By | September 6th, 2017|Parties, Uncategorized|2 Comments

How to Throw a Successful First Birthday Party

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Having your little baby turn one only happens once and you want to make this first birthday party special. Where do you begin?

Having gone through the experience 4 times with each of my children I have a few tips that been helpful to me.

Here are 5 tips for throwing a successful first birthday party

1. First Birthday Party Theme

The theme is like pizza crust. You can’t start adding all the delicious toppings until you have your crust. The theme can be as simple as a color, number, or letter. You can also go with characters from movies or books. Sometimes the theme ends up being whatever was on the clearance rack.

For my oldest son the theme was construction. He got a Tonka truck that year and 9 years later he still uses it!

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Baby #2 was Cupcake theme. Delish.

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Baby #3 was One Happy Camper

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Last, but not least we just recently celebrated with a Fun to Bee One party.

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2. Party Time and Location

The most important part here is to go with what you know works best for your child. If their bedtime is early have an afternoon party on the weekend. If your child is uncomfortable in unfamiliar places stay home.

3. Enlist Helpers for the First Birthday Party

You cannot do this alone! You should be enjoying this special event and you can’t do that if you are running the whole show. Here are some jobs that you may want to assign to close friends and family, or a professional.

  • The food and drinks
  • Cake
  • Decorations
  • Photography/ video
  • Someone to watch the baby during set up
  • Someone to keep a record of what gift is from whom for thank you cards.

4. First Birthday Party Schedule

You don’t have to stick to the schedule, but it is better to change it as you go than make it up as you go. Given that your child is turning one, short and sweet is going to be your best bet for this occasion.

Here is an example schedule from our last first birthday party

1:00 pm guest arrive

1:15 Eat (pizza, salad, snacks, and drinks)

1:35 Sing happy birthday and eat cake (change baby’s outfit after cake)

2:00 Open presents

2:20 Piñata

2:45 Watch slideshow of guest of honor

3:00 Party ends

5. Some Things to Consider When the Party is for a One Year Old

Throwing a birthday party for a one year old will be different than any other birthday party. You will want to decide how to handle some of the party activities before hand.

Here are some questions you may not have thought of
*Who is REALLY going to blow out the candle?
*What will the baby wear before, during, and after the cake?
*Is the party going to be after naptime and how long will it last?
*Who will help the baby open presents and how much will they assist? 

*What is your backup plan if the guest of honor does not seem to be enjoying things? 

Pinterest is full of ideas and it’s fun to incorporate your own special touch. However, don’t let unrealistic expectations get in the way of being able to enjoy the moment. You can’t control if your baby cries through the birthday song or if he or she is disinterested in the presents. Just be prepared for whatever happens, the more relaxed you are the more your child will be. Have a good time and be sure to document it. The guest of honor probably won’t remember their first birthday party, but down the road you can remember how special it was and later don they can hear all about how fun it was and see pics of how cute they were.

By | January 6th, 2017|Parties|0 Comments

Bumble Bee Birthday Party

“Fun to Bee One” Bumble Bee Birthday

I had been planning Elle’s “Fun to Bee One” bumble bee birthday party in the back of my mind since she was 6 months old. It all came together beautifully and I wanted to share some of what made the “Fun to Bee One” party a success.

Before I dive in, let me stress that all of my parties are small space and small budget. I hope that can be an encouragement for some other families out there. Now, let’s get started.

Bumble Bee Invitations

First off, it was no coincidence that Elle was a bumble for Halloween. I took photos of her in her costume and then designed this invitation (I censored the time and place, because this is the internet after all.) The Bumble birthday party invites were printed on 4×6 photo paper at Costco for 13 cents a piece.

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Bumble Bee Photo Collage

I decorated this old door with photos of the birthday girl. I made a pom-pom garland of yellow and black and picked up some scrap book paper from Hobby Lobby to use as a frame for the photos.

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Bumble Bee Birthday Outfits

We didn’t totally coordinate, but I tried dressing the family in yellow and black.

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SJ was also a bumble bee for Halloween so her outfit for the bumble bee birthday party was a no brainer.

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DIY Bumble Bee Piñata

You probably spotted the piñata in the photo. This was one of my favorite parts. This is my 5th DIY piñata and I’m proud to say the whole concept was my own.

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The body was made from a papier mache balloon covered in streamers. The antenna were from SJ’s bee costume. The face was simply card stock, marker, and googly eyes I pulled off of one of the kid’s art projects. The wings were a wire hanger with white panty hose. In other words the whole thing was made almost entirely from items found around the house.

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I’ll admit, it wasn’t my best work in terms of functionality. The whole bee sort of dropped off of the string instead of gradually bursting open and flinging candy everywhere.

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It wasn’t a total wash though. Would you look at those smiles!?

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Side note, in the background you’ll see the compost pile I wrote a tutorial for a few months ago.

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Bumble Bee Birthday Party Decor

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The yellow gift bags were from the Dollar Tree and were used for gathering piñata candy. They also made good weights for the balloons and they had a wallet size print of Elle in them. So that was our party favor.

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The party was buffet style, but I set the table anyway to make it look festive. Most of these paper products were from Amazon and since I had a lot of left over unused plates and decorations I sold it all for 20 bucks on Craig’s List. Score!


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We served water or lemonade for beverages and the stripes on the lemons were colored with a thick black sharpie. I actually had a dream that we served lemon wedge bumble bees on the edge of a glass and that’s where the idea came from.


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I found this little guy for a dollar at a yard sale over the summer and hung him from the ceiling.
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Bumble Bee Cupcakes

The cupcakes were made with white cloud frosting tinted yellow and topped with chocolate sprinkles. The cupcake wrappers were from Amazon and they were so fun because one side was striped and the other side was bumble bee and bee hives. The bee hive side I used for the snack cups which were filled with Honey Comb cereal. Lastly, the cupcake stand was the cheap pink cardboard one that we have used over and over and painted black for Ezie’s batman party. This was the last use though. J made me throw it away. In all fairness, it was time. 
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I think this busy little baby enjoyed her first birthday party and so far I’d say she’s proving that it really is fun to bee one. 

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By | January 4th, 2017|Parties|1 Comment

Batman Party

We celebrated Ezie’s 4th birthday on Sunday.

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You can probably guess the theme from the above photo.

The buffet was pretty simple, regular ol’ party food.

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I did do my signature fruit pizza using blueberries and pineapples to make the bat signal.

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Their were two convenient coincidences about doing a batman theme.

  1. It’s almost halloween so it’s easy to find black/bat decorations everywhere right now!
  2. Elle’s party is in November and her theme is bumble bee so all the black and yellow stuff can be reused.

The cake was both a store bought batman cake and there were some really simple home made cupcakes free of dye and artificial flavors as well.

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The number 4 candle was something my friend in Michigan had laying around. They knew Ezie would be turning 4 this year so when we were up there in July they asked if we wanted to take it with us. Candles are super cheap, so we certainly could have just bought one, but it was fun knowing a piece of Michigan was at the party.

We had different “stations” represented throughout the party and I made batman themed signs, but unfortunately our printer doesn’t work so at the last minute my parents darted off to Office Max for me. Hooray for helpful grandparents!

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We had signs directing our guest to the bathroom (or bat-room as the sing indicates).

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There was also a tattoo table.

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And there was a costume station with a sign that said “Where is my super suit?” Can you name what movie that is from? The kids definitely could.

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Then there were two games. The first was “Mr. Freeze Mission”. The idea is that Mr. Freeze froze batman and the party guests had to rescue him out of a block of ice.

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They broke up into two teams and used water guns to squirt at the ice until batman was free.

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The first team to rescue batman won. It was a little chaotic, but they all loved it. Mission accomplished.

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The next game was one Z and J made for a cub scouts carnival last week called Whack-a-Villian. I read a really short story from a lego batman book that went with the theme of the game. Then each party guest had a turn to throw bean bags at the lego batman villains and knock them over. The two boys that got them all down won a prize.

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That was about it other than presents and party favors.

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We had 17 little ones running around in the back yard and the weather was great.

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I am definitely pleased with how it all turned out and more importantly Ezie felt really special.

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Happy birthday to my little super hero!

By | September 27th, 2016|Parties|3 Comments

The Big Six

SJ turned 6 years old on Friday. If you have spent any time around MessyMom.com then you probably know I like to party. SJ has had a Cupcake Party, Green Eggs and Ham Party, Donut Party, and Tea Party. However as I said in my blog post “How to avoid overboard kid parties” I don’t do theme parties every year and this is an off year. That doesn’t mean that we don’t have fun though! SJ still had a fabulous birthday and I still got to cherish all those gigantic smiles with FOUR teeth missing.

I started the day by sneaking in her room to hang some streamers in the door and throw some pink balloons on her bed. This might sound fancy, but trust me it was nothing you are going to see on pinterest. She woke up late so all 5 of us snuck into her room to surprise her (not hard to do with a deaf girl). We sang happy birthday as a family and she was beaming!

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Her birthday outfit was a shirt I got from a yard sale that had a number 5 on it, but I covered it with a pin that said “I am 6” and she also wore her cupcake headband from last year which was from a conisgnment shop.

No slaving over the oven this year. The cupcakes I sent with her to school were store bought and the 13×9 cake that we ate that night was all from a box.

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My parents and nieces and nephew came over for her “party”. It worked out great because they were going to come over anyway because their mom just had a baby and needs to rest. It made for a really great surprise birthday slumber party though.

Decorations $2

Birthday accessories $6

Birthday desserts $10

Birthday joy- Priceless

So as you can see it was definitley a low budget simple year and I know SJ still loved it just as much as the years I go all out.

The fun continued on Saturday since the family was still around to hang out and ride scooters.

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Then Sunday she graduated to the big girl class at children’s church and yesterday she had her first daddy/daughter date.

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That’s the last of it though. The birthday festivities are officially over until next year, which may or may not be a theme party. I’ll warn you though, if an idea sparks, there is no stopping me!

 

By | March 8th, 2016|Frugal Living, Motherhood, Parties, Uncategorized|5 Comments

Farm Party Highlights

I gave some behind the scenes planning details as I was busy preparing for the ultimate farm/3 Little Pigs party. I also shared the elaborate farm theme menu. Still, there is SO MUCH more that I haven’t had a chance to reveal about how Ezie’s third birthday panned out.

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My brother sent me some previews from the multitude of photos that he has (and a I have few that I took myself). I am sure I will do some tutorials and craft related posts later, but for now I can’t help but pass along the highlights that I do have. This was one of the best parties I have ever thrown. I am so grateful that the weather cooperated and that we have so many laid back creative friends that could get into such a silly theme party! It was the best.

As I already mentioned the theme was farm, which was so perfect for a fall birthday party. We had a little photo, prop, and costume area that was a lot of fun.

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I also came out dressed as a cow at one point (the things we do for our kids) and told the story of The Three Little Pigs, with help from some volunteers. I’ll have more pictures of that later, but for now here is a pic of the cutest big bad wolf you’ve ever seen!

 

 

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We then had a house building contest and I think the kids could have spent days messing around with those cardboard boxes. The creativity was so impressive and it was such an economical game. I highly recommend this activity whether you are having a birthday party or not.

 

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Okay, last one. I made party favor bags for each family instead of every kid this time. I already had the brown paper bags and I printed out the barn so I didn’t even have to buy any supplies. I also made printable stick figure families to glue inside the barns that I cut to allow for open and shut doors.

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Like I said I’ll post more at some point, but when I got the email with those photos I couldn’t keep all the cuteness to myself!

By | October 26th, 2015|Crafts, Creativity, Parties|14 Comments

I Dream of Pig Parties

“I think I’ll combine the boys birthday this year and just keep it really simple because it’s going to be so close to when the baby is due.”

I distinctly remember having that conversation with my family. Z and Ezie’s birthdays are less than a month apart and I DO have a lot going on, but what can I say? I love to party!

Here are some behind the scenes details about the Ezie’s third birthday this weekend.

The original idea was Three Little Pigs theme which I thought of last year (these are the kind of things I think about when I can’t sleep). Since Ezie is turning three it seemed fitting, but the idea has evolved into more of a full blown farm theme with some 3 Little Pig touches.

First I inquired amongst friends and family for hay, costumes, decorations… anything farm related that I could borrow (trying to keep costs low here). It was looking pretty bleak, until I called my aunt who is not on Facebook and she had so many awesome things that I will be integrating.

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Not to mention I got to visit her in the country while the leaves were falling AHHHH, and Ezie got to feed a horse and pony and pet some other animals. It was like a mini surprise before his birthday even started.

Next I looked everywhere for farm theme party stuff. I spent the day going from Party City to numerous craft stores with Ezie in tow and I was exhausted. I made one final stop at a random Dollar Store and JACKPOT! I found farm theme party paper goods and for $1. I was stoked.

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One of the 3 Little Pigs idea I had was to have a “House Building Contest” where families team up using cardboard boxes. So I called up my local Kroger which really came through for me when I needed free boxes for packing. This round was a little small than I had hoped, but I was grateful and hauled a load home. Then J told me they have tons of huge boxes where he works (the place he started this week) and he brought some home yesterday.What are the odds!?

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Lastly, my aunt had an old saddle that she just wanted to give to us. So J joined in with his creativity by crafting a wooden “saw horse” so that the kids can sit on the saddle.

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Needless to say I did not keep things simple this year, but it’s all coming together and I feel great about it. Ezie didn’t have a party last year and he is about to loose his status as baby of the family so what better time to celebrate him. Not to mention I just love autumn and farms, so this is very therapeutic for me. I am just really looking forward to the family time. I think it’s going to be fun for all ages. After this I’ll be ready to get down to business because before you know it our latest addition will be arriving!

By | September 25th, 2015|Frugal Living, My Life, Parties|5 Comments

How to Avoid Overboard Kid Parties

We just wrapped up  Z’s 8th birthday party and I want to talk a little about my battle to be balanced when it comes to my party planning obsession.

For some of you the thought of having to tone down party plans sounds ridiculous. It would be like me wanting to ensure I don’t make an idol out of my exercise routine. I don’t have an exercise routine. In other words it is NOT an issue.

However, I know some of you party mamas are out there.

People think we’re crazy or that we are spending too much time on Pinterest, but there are tons of people that had creative party juices brewing and served up long before Pinterest ever existed. The internet just gives everything more of a platform.

Either way, with bigger and more elaborate birthday trends on the rise here are seven ways I keep myself in check when it comes to my children’s birthday parties. 

1.  I Don’t Have Do a Theme Party Every Year

Last year SJ had a theme party, but my sons didn’t.
The year before that she didn’t, but they did.
The year before that she did, but Z didn’t and Ezie wasn’t born yet…

So I try to keep it at every other year. That doesn’t mean we don’t have a little cake, or hit Chuck E. Cheese on the off years. They are definitely celebrated, but because I know I like to go all in with the DIY birthday parties I try to spread them out a bit to avoid turning into a party momzilla.

2. It’s Our Thing

I touched on this before when I wrote “A Tale of Two Parties“. A lot of people think that cutesy “pinteresty” birthday parties are just adding more fuel to the fire of an already entitled generation.

I can see the danger there for parents that feel like they have to keep up with the Jone’s or satisfy their child’s every whim, but in that case there is a much deeper issue at hand than birthday details. That’s not what birthday parties are about for me.  No parent can or should do it all, but if parties are your thing then ignore the haters and party on.

3. I use what I have and borrow as much as I can

I am all about shopping clearance, thrift stores, and online specials. Even then party supplies can add up. So one thing I try to do is ask for help. Instead of renting a place I have the party at a friend’s house. Before I go buy more decorations I ask around to people I know already used toulling at their baby shower, or someone I know had a green table cloth, or princess costumes. You get the idea.


4. I LOVE Crafts

One big tradition I have is homemade pinatas. This is something I remember doing as a child (although it was just a round balloon back then) and I enjoyed it. I also love making crafts like these goody bags that I did for the Super Hero Party and I did something similar for the One Happy Camper party.

I have to start planning quite a bit in advance, but as long as I’ve carved out enough time then these things are fun for me. They are not this taxing demanding projects that leave me cursing in the early morning hours. IF you don’t enjoy it then DON’T do it, but if you do then I say go for it. It’s really that simple.

5. I Keep the guest lists SMALL

I know this one isn’t easy for everybody, because some of you have a hundred relatives and you might end up estranged from the family if you don’t invite every single one and I know that it’s difficult with children that are school age and you have classroom protocol. Sometimes you have to do either one or the other though. If the guest list is small the cost per head can be higher while still keeping the over all cost down.

6. I Communicate With My Family 

I love throwing parties, but it’s not all about me. I have to be communicating with my husband to make sure what I’m doing isn’t too much for our family and our schedule. I also have to communicate with the birthday boy/girl. My children have let me pick out all of their themes up to this point, but if they start having more of an opinion that’s totally fine!

7. I TRY not to be a perfectionist (I try)

Things don’t always never go as planned. Read this previous post about “when your pinterest idea flies out the window ” and you’ll see what I mean. Remember it’s just a party, and what really matters is the guest of honor whom you are celebrating.

Those are the seven ways I try not to go too overboard on birthday plans. Are you a big party planner, or does the idea of it make you dread birthday months? Feel free to share your own sanity saving party tips. 

 

By | September 10th, 2015|Creativity, Parties|1 Comment

Broken Jewelry Decor

 

I’m all about birthdays this week. Remember the tea party from last March?

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I do and I will never forget it and how special it was!

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One of the things I shared when I blogged about the decor was this simple wooden letter S. It was a nice little addition to the party theme, but unlike the piñata and the desserts that I talked about yesterday this is a piece of art that we get to keep!

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I have a cute story about this S that has traveled to a new place in our home. SJ got her own room yesterday. We were waiting to find out the gender of the baby to decide how to split the rooms up in the new house. Then when we learned we are having a girl we still had a bunch of boxes in the room to unpack. Finally we got the room straightened out when  my in laws came to visit this past weekend. That was the motivation we needed to set up a bed in there. After they left yesterday SJ moved in. We still haven’t really moved any of her stuff, but she wasted no time getting her toys, a photo of herself, and this letter S.


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She is so proud of the new room. I would share pics, but I don’t have any since at this point it is really not much to look at. The thing that cracked me up was the moment she got home from school and started setting up camp in her new room I overheard her yell “Ezie get out my room!!!” It was the first thing she said, almost immediately after she claimed that territory. Ahhh, siblings.

She slept through the night in there all by herself which is saying a lot because she is 5 1/2 and she has never been in a room by herself. Her and her brother have shared since day one.

Anyway, I bring all this up because that lovely letter S that she cherishes so much was a super easy DIY project and you can make one too! All you need is a wooden letter, some old jewelry, hot glue, and some fabric. The whole tutorial is over at Little Dove Creations today! Stop by Little Dove Creations to see all the details.

By | September 9th, 2015|Crafts, Parties|1 Comment