June 11, 2009

Carnival Birthday

For my kid's parties I usually look to their interests for the theme. Evan's personality definitely fit the carnival theme. He's our little funny man, the family jester, the clown. If you ask him where he came from, he'll tell you, "The Funny Farm!" So with inspiration from my favorite party websites, and fun carnival themed treats at Dollar Tree, and one of our Wii games Carnival Games, I started planning. I knew I had to keep it pretty simple for 5 year-olds.

I can't take credit for this because I found inspiration from a Google search, but sorry, I don't remember where. I did the whole thing in Microsoft Publisher, so it was pretty simple. I printed them on parchment paper and scallop-cut the ends so it looked like they had been torn apart.This was a card that my daughter made Evan for his birthday and I thought it would make a really cute invitation also. She made it so the popcorn part lifted out with more on it. A friend did a similar invitation a few years ago to her daughter's movie party. Come to think of it, I did too! I'll have to find those photos for another post.

Not too many. We set up the picnic table on the back lawn with a big colorful patio umbrella over it. My husband pounded in some fence posts and we divided them with string. I tried to hang paper off the edges off the string, but the wind was shredding it as fast as I could hang it, so I tore it all off. The games themselves ended up being the decor.

My daughter and two of her friends that came to help made a ticket both under the swing set. They handed out the tickets that were on a necklace for each guest. That way we could tear off the ticket after they completed the activity to keep track of what the kids had done and if they had gotten the prize for it. They could do the activities more than once, but only got one prize for it.

My two older sons also got to invite a friend over to help. They worked as my 'Carnies' to run the games. My Mom was up also to help out. I couldn't have done this without all their help. While they ran everything, I had time to wander around and take photos. You really need to have someone running each activity.

After each guest got their tickets, my helpers took them to a table where they each decorated a handled bag to put all of their prizes in. We had markers, die-cuts, stickers and foam letters and shapes to decorate with. As soon as they had a bag made they could wander to whatever game they wanted to.

I had a sign at each game station with a picture that said "1 Ticket". The signs corresponded with the pictures on the ticket necklaces for each game. They also got a ticket for a balloon, cotton candy, popcorn, and a drink. This was really fun for the little kids because they felt like they were buying them. I made the tickets in Microsoft Publisher also with each of the guests names on them.

Beanbag Toss. Made from a cardboard box and cute wrapping paper for the hat.

Ball Toss. Had to try and get the whiffle balls to land in the plastic cups.

Tin Can Alley. Had to knock tin cans over with foam balls.

Penny Toss. Had to stand behind a line and toss pennies onto a Twister mat trying to get them to land on the colored circles.

Fish Pond. Under our hay barn. My daughter made the cute fish.

Frog Toss. This one was a favorite. They had to stand on the base and toss plastic frogs to try and get them to land on the 'lily pads'.

Football Toss. Not pictured, but next to this we had a hula hoop hanging from the swingset that they had to throw a football through.

Ring toss. I couldn't figure out what to use for the rings, but then I found an inexpensive pack of bracelets at Michael's that worked great. I was going to give the Crush out as drinks, but since they were glass I changed my mind and did screw-top Sprite bottles instead.
My Carnies got the Crush after the party.

Double Shot. Logan's friend had fun playing against the kids on our little basketball game that we hauled into the back yard.

My friend's sister loaned us her awesome cotton candy machine and this really made the party. My husband David ran it for us and made enough to nearly make us all sick! What fun! All the neighbors commented on how they could smell it, and our dog Chloe went wild after the party licking up all the loose candy that had floated all over the patio. Definitely an outdoor thing.

Can you say "sugar rush"!

The birthday boy with his cupcakes. My daughter and her friends decorated the Funfetti cupcakes with sprinkles and candies we found at the dollar store. The thought was to make them look like a carousel. After they opened the candy sticks and gummy animals we discovered the animals weren't attached to the sticks in various heights like we thought they were. Without time to find a way to attach them, this is what we got, and the kids didn't care.

As mentioned above, they decorated their bags to take with them to fill with prizes. By the time they left they were filled with animal crackers, gummy carnival food, marshmallow circus animals, bubbles that look little plastic pop bottles, play dough, spinning tops, mazes, mini whiffle balls, bags of popped popcorn, soda, and extraa baggies full of more cotton candy to take home!

A very fun party. It could work for any age if you change the games a little too. It took a lot of helpers, but my Carnies also had a ball and one friend said it was the funnest party she had ever been to (even though she was working!) I bought them pizza afterward so they wouldn't be running on pure sugar the rest of the day.

June 10, 2009

Flip-Flop Luau Party

As soon as my husband and I knew we were going to Hawaii, the theme for my daughter's next birthday party was set. So my daughter and I planned for this party for about six months. I had done several Luaus before, so I already had a lot of decorations. We just had to pray for good weather (end of Sept. party) and come up with the final plan.

Stauney knew she wanted flip-flop invitations, so we searched the internet for ideas. We found some really cute ideas, but ended up liking wide chunky flip-flops the best. I found some cute ribbon first then got craft foam to match. I drew a pattern on some paper in the size I wanted, then scanned it and used that image to fit my text into. I printed them on cardstock with some hibiscus flowers in light pink rotated different directions in the background.
Then I made the foam pattern just a little bigger and ran it through my paper crimper so the foam had a wavy 'tread' to it. You can't see that in the photo, but it made them so cute. They turned out to be about the same size as real flip-flops. (Yes, Stauney tried putting them on her feet, but they were all left-footed.)

I had so much fun decorating. I pulled out all my supplies and went wild. My sister even had some palm tree cutouts that she had made for a Primary activity that we used outside to tie a towel line between, and inside around the table along the walls. I hung a parrot and paper lanterns from the chandelier over the dining room table.

We found some flip-flop napkins and cups at a party store and used the colors in them for the rest of the tableware - plates, tablecloth, and placemats. We sprinkled goldfish crackers in the fishnet on the table and put a seashell necklace that I bought in Hawaii next to each plate. We were going to give them to the girls when they first showed up, but decided to wait so they wouldn't get broken during the games. We handed out plastic leis instead. The centerpiece flowers were from the dollar store.

We kept seeing the word 'pupu' all over Hawaii, but didn't know what it meant. So on our way to the airport we asked our chatty shuttle driver and he told us it meant finger food. So we had pupu to eat at the party. My amazing and wonderful niece Laci came and helped me out with the party. I gave her a ton of directions and she saved me by getting all the food ready while I was outside running the games. (I sent my husband away with the boys.) Thanks Laci!!! She cut and assembled the food for me. We served fruit kebabs (pineapple, grapes, apples, bananas, melon) with fruit dip, pineapple with plum powder, mini eggrolls, cheese cubes, chicken nuggets with three sauces, Hawaiian kettle chips, Hawaiian coleslaw, and Hawaii's Own fruit juice to drink. I made fruit shaped ice cubes out of more of the juice and the girls died over them!

I covered the bar with some floral fabric, and used cake pans underneath to add height. (I blurred out my messy sink full of dishes in the background.) We had mellow Hawaiian music playing in the background. Stauney was limited to inviting only 11 guests because I could only fit 12 at my table. This was really hard for her, she started with a list of about 18 girls!

I made a CD of upbeat Hawaiian songs for the games. First we had a hula hoop contest. Some of the girls were really good, so we had them walking around, crouching, etc. to make it harder for them. The second game we played was musical beach towels. This was so fun! The girls were diving onto their towels when the music stopped and I got a little worried about injuries, but they survived. Then we split into two teams for hula hoop passing relays. They had to link hands and pass the hoops around the circle without breaking apart.

You can see the palm tree towel line in the background of this photo. And finally we did the limbo. The winners of each of the games got bags of Swedish fish to take home, but then we gave handfuls to everyone else later.

I invested in Drew's Famous Luau Dance Party Favorites CD years ago, so some of these songs are on there. I also have the Beach Boys Greatest Hits CD, and the 50 First Dates soundtrack.

Other songs I either had, or downloaded.
I Can't Help Fallin in Love, I Can See Clearly Now, Kokomo, Good Vibrations, Caribbean Blue, Wouldn't it Be Nice, Don't Worry Be Happy, New Soul, This is What Dreams Are Made Of, I'm Yours, Upside Down (A*Teens and Jack Johnson versions), Pocket Full of Sunshine, Humuhumunukunuku..., Mambo #5, The Sweet Escape, Tiki Room, Hawaiian War Chant, Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride, Me Helo No Lilo, Walkin' On the Sun, Copacabana, The Tide Is High, Aloha Oe, Wipe Out, Escape, Hawaii Five-O, Surfin' U.S.A., Over the Rainbow (by Iz), Hands Up - and many many more!

We found many cute flip-flop cake ideas on the internet, but this one was my daughter's favorite. I made two rectangle cakes, one for the base and one for the flip-flops (but you only use half of it). I used yellow cake mixes, but used pineapple juice in place of the water for a great flavor. The sand is crushed vanilla creme cookies, which should have been ground in the food processor, but were just smashed with a rolling pin in a bag since I was short on time. The straps are red Fruit Roll-Ups and the candies on the sides are sprinkles from Wilton. I think the candles really made it cute and were found at the party store. The only problem we had with the cake was that all the girls wanted to eat part of a flip-flop and some had to settle for beach and ocean pieces. They LOVED the cake design.

I got the idea for treat leis when I was in Hawaii. I saw some in a store like this with taffy inside. Stauney and I had a lot of fun finding little things to put in them. We had tropical gum, fruity Tootsie Rolls, tropical Smarties, hair ponytails with jewel flowers on them, lip gloss, powdered candy in plastic fruit shapes, and flip-flop erasers. I bought two flower leis that we cut apart for the flowers. Then we just spread out a long piece of plastic wrap, put the treats on, rolled it up, and tied between with yarn and the flowers. We gave one to each of the girls as they left along with the Hawaiian seashell necklaces that were on the table.

It was a very fun party to plan. The invitations were a bit time consuming, but since I already had a lot of decorations, lots of time to plan, and Laci to help, it went pretty smoothly. Hope you enjoyed it!

June 7, 2009

Mall Scavenger Hunt

My daughter went to a friend's party last year that was really fun and creative. All the guests met at the birthday girl's house then were driven to the local mall. They divided into two teams of about 5 girls each and an adult. Each team was then given $20.00 to spend to help purchase the items on their list.

3D Triangle Handbag Lip Balm Holder

It would be really cute to do the invitations like a credit card and put it in a little paper purse.
This one is an SVG cutting file from the digiplayground.com website. But there are tons of other ways to do paper purses. Just do a search on Google or Pinterest.

The Lists (this is what my daughter can remember, but there were 20 items on each list.)
...a candy that doesn't break.
...something that dangles.
...something that bounces that isn't a ball.
...something that smells like fruit.
...socks that have purple and orange on them, but not red or yellow.
...something brown with pink polka-dots.
...something furry.
...something red.
...something Christmasy.
...something you could use for school.

A single item could fit multiple categories. So they went to the candy store and explained that they were on a scavenger hunt and needed to find a candy that couldn't break. The girl working there gave them a bag of multiple candies (for free) that they started throwing on the floor. One of the candies didn't break, and also bounced, so they got to cross 2 items off the list!

My daughter's group had a hard time finding something brown with pink polka-dots, but the other group had someone put pink sprinkles on a chocolate cupcake. My daughter and her friends had a blast acting silly, and got really creative.

Each girl got a Symphony bar and a bottle of candy-smelling lotion. Then they put all the items they got in the scavenger hunt into a pile and the girls took turns picking items until they were all gone.
Some of the items they found: Webkinz (they were buy 1 get 1 free), candy, cookies, silly putty, lip gloss, socks, jewelry, charms, hair accessories, notebooks, and lots of food items.

Pink Purse Cake

At this party they served ice cream between chocolate chip cookies. But I was thinking, how cute would it be to have this purse cake from Wilton or one like it! Just do a Google image search.
We found some other fun scavenger hunt party ideas on Birthday Party Ideas in their teen party section. You could also do one by taking photos instead of purchasing items. This is a great party for pre-teens and teens, or a boy/girl party. It's also a great theme during months when it's not good weather outdoors.