May 26, 2009

Super-Sized Birthday Party

THEME:
It really gets harder for me to plan parties as my kids get older. Especially for my oldest son Logan. He's my only child that doesn't plan his next party theme a year ahead. My daughter had already picked a 'Tiny Party' for her theme and since their birthdays are 2 days apart, it was going to be held the day after Logan's party. So we thought, why not do the opposite and go SUPER-SIZED! What growing 13 year-old boy wouldn't jump at the chance to have jumbo-sized party foods. So the theme was set.

INVITATIONS:
Now, I know the invitations (below) don't look that exciting. But what made them fun was that they were each printed on a full 8 1/2"x 11" piece of cardstock and delivered in 9"x 12" envelopes. What was really fun was that my son and daughter delivered big and tiny birthday invitations at the same time to friends that are a brother and sister .

DECORATIONS:
We didn't really decorate, besides these huge balloons for Logan, and primary colors for the tablecloth and big napkins. But if you wanted to, just think BIG, JUMBO, anything super-sized. Logan thought the huge balloons were completely awesome, and I agree, but wow, try driving with those puppies in your car sometime! Luckily the party store where I got them is close to my house and we didn't have any kids in the car.

ACTIVITIES:
Logan mostly wanted to play video games with his friends, but as we were waiting for everyone to come we sent them to the back yard where they played jumbo kick-ball with a huge ball that Noah got for his baseball party that year. You can see my husband running to tag Logan in the photo below.

For additional game ideas, check out my favorite party sites. But really, all you need to do is think of a normal party game and then think of how you can play it big.

FOOD:
We bought pre-baked pizzas from Sam's Club for the dinner. I also had my husband get some big cups and straws there too. Then we had 2-liter bottles of soda that we filled them with. I made a salad too, but I don't think any of the boys ate any of it except my son.

CAKE:
I really wanted to make the cake with that cute new giant cupcake cake-pan from Wilton, but it wasn't available at the time in stores. I still think it's adorable, but can't bring myself to pay $30 for it. So instead I made cupcakes in my big muffin pans and sprinkled them with these jumbo Wilton sprinkles. (WARNING: The boys said these sprinkles nearly broke a few of their teeth out.)

There it is again. That reoccurring blue tray! I swear it's in nearly every party theme on here. I really must invest in more trays I suppose. I really tried to find some more just like it for this party so the boys could use them as plates to eat off of, but I couldn't.

FAVORS:
I found some big favor bags at the dollar store that we used and filled them with King-Sized Kit Kat candy bars, movie theater sized-candies in boxes, big Blow-Pop suckers, and big party blowers, also from the dollar store. My son and his friends really enjoyed getting huge candies as favors and since he only invited four boys it didn't cost that much.

Overall, the party was a BIG hit and the boys had HUGE amounts of fun. Okay, I'll stop now. But if you're looking for an easy party theme, SUPER-SIZE it!

May 14, 2009

Bug Party

THEME:
For Evan's 4th birthday we had a Bug Party. I have to admit that the whole party was inspired by the cute party favors that I found at Dollar Tree that were bug-themed. I'll explain more about them later, but it was a very fun theme to plan around, and great for a 4-year old and his playgroup friends.
Years ago I helped my friend plan a Ladybug party for her daughter's birthday and I will also tell about some of the ideas from that party here also.

INVITATIONS:
Front. I cut the jars out of vellum from a die-cut. The bugs were 3-D stickers that I actually just had laying around so I have no idea where I got them.

Back. I'm pretty sure I got the idea for the wording from Birthdaypartyideas.com.

DECORATIONS:
The back yard served as our decor for this party. But it would be fun to decorate with oversize flowers and things to make it seem like you are a small bug. You could hang pictures of bugs, flowers, or decorate with butterfly nets. We have a small bee tent that we set up to set the gifts in.

ACTIVITIES:
As the kids showed up my daughter painted the bug of their choice on their faces. In the photo below you can see the centipede she painted on my son's forehead (not a big ugly scar as you might think). You can also see the cute bee pinata we had. It was such a shame to beat it up! No blindfolds for this age, it was a hard little sucker to break open.

We gave each of the kids a bug mask (leftovers from a Pack Meeting - purchased at OTC), taped 8 pipe cleaners on each of their backs and had a bug leg grab. They had to try and grab the legs off of the other bugs while trying to protect their own.
In our sandbox we buried a bunch of plastic bugs and each child had 30 seconds to dig for as many as they could. Then we washed the sand off and dried them in the sun before putting them into their bug-catchers from Dollar Tree (photo below).
At the ladybug party my friend hid the plastic bugs around her backyard and told each of the kids how many they could each find. They also played pin the spots on the ladybug.

At the end of the party my husband gave the kids rides in the wagon behind the lawn tractor while we waited for parents to come pick them up.

MUSIC:
Another One Bites the Dust, Butterfly Kisses, Firefly (A*Teens), Fly On the Wall, Come Fly with Me.

FOOD:
You can add clean plastic bugs into red or green Kool-Aid in a clear pitcher for bug juice. We purchased individual bottles of Bug Juice at the local convenience store. We didn't have a meal at this party, but some ideas are picnic foods, sandwiches cut in flower shapes, ants on a log, or a big sub sandwich made to look like a caterpillar. I always label their drinks or drink cups so you don't get them mixed up.

THE CAKE:
These cups are layered with crushed Oreo 'dirt' then a small chocolate cupcake, chocolate pudding, more Oreos and filled with gummy bugs and worms. The gummy bugs were awesome because the were Fruit Gushers and had liquid in them that squirted out when you bit into them.


This was the family party cake covered in Oreo 'dirt' and awesome bugs from a local store that carries all sorts of plastic animals and bugs.


I have a better photo of this cake somewhere but I can't find it right now, so you get this little one off a proof sheet. For my friend's daughter's ladybug party I made this daisy cake. The center is a rounded cake baked in a glass bowl and frosted yellow with yellow star-tip dots all over it to make it textured. The white petals are actually Twinkies frosted with white frosting. And one ladybug cupcake for the center because black and red frosting always tastes disgusting whenever I make it. There are black licorice pieces for the antenna and chocolate chips for the spots.

FAVORS:
I think treat bags and party favors are my favorite thing to do for a theme party. And as I mentioned before I got some cool stuff from the dollar store. The first thing I found were some little plastic jars with glow bug suckers attached to the lid. When you pushed a button on the top the candy lit up like a firefly in a jar. We also got some really cool gummy bugs that were big and squishy in bright colors. Then they also got a mini magnifying glass, a personalized bug catcher, candy from the pinata, their plastic bugs and their masks.

I made labels for the yellow bags that said, "We're so glad you could 'bee' here for my party. Thanks so much for coming. Love Evan." I always recommend labeling treat bags with the kids' names. No doubt someone will set it back down somewhere, and then you know who it belongs to.

These are just a few ideas. Visit some of my favorite party sites to get endless more ideas for your bug party.