Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Sports Themed Birthday Bash

My daughter and son agreed to have a dual birthday party this year (thank goodness). I always let my kids pick the theme, so my son and daughter decided they wanted a sports party with all the sports that they play.  For them, that means baseball, softball, soccer, and basketball.  I stuck with those sports to carry throughout the party decor.

Invite:  I used simple geometric boxes and circular balls to design the invitation.  I am hoping to start an Etsy shop at some point to make the invites I make available to you, but it seems to be on the list of things that never take priority.

I asked all the guests to wear a jersey or sports attire to the party.  It was fun to see so many adults and kids dressed up! For my son and daughter, I asked my friend if she would make them some baseball tees.  She has an Etsy shop called Meraki Handmade + Kids, and she makes great stuff!  Check her out!

The front had their names and the back had our last name and then the number was how old they are turning this birthday.

My husband and I wore referring jerseys -- helped out when we were overseeing the party activities!

For the dessert/favor table, I made a scoreboard with the scores as each of my kid's age and their name.  The game time was the year, 2018.  I made this with poster board, cardstock, and my Cricut cutting machine.

My son wanted a soccer ball cake and my daughter wanted a softball cake.  I made two 8" round cakes and frosted them with the color of each ball.  Then I used a frosting tip to pipe on the details.  I created a stencil for the soccer ball with my Circut to help guide me for the solid black pentagons.  Then just piped on the lines to connect them.  Adding the green grass to bottom was easy and a good addition I think.

For the cupcakes, I made Funfetti cupcakes (my kids' request), and piped on white icing.  I didn't design my own cupcake wrappers this time.  I ended up purchasing some digital images from Etsy.  These were a basketball net, a baseball/softball diamond, and a soccer field with net.  I made cupcakes toppers with the same ball images I used on the invitation and made them 2" so I could easily cut them out with a circular punch.

I wanted to incorporate my kids photos from their years in sports so far, so I decided to use the photo buttons we get each year in the centerpieces of the tables.  I filled a pail with food items that went with each sport -- peanuts for baseball/softball, orange slices for soccer, and popcorn for basketball.  Then I taped the buttons to skewers to place inside.  I also printed out the same 4 balls that I used on my invitation to tape to skewers.  I used my Cricut to add embellishments to a 12x12 piece of cardstock to make a soccer ball pattern, basketball, baseball, and softball to place under each pail.

I decorated the food table with sports equipment and trophies from the kids sports adventures.

Menu:  We stayed simple with game day favorites -- hot dogs and chili nachos.  I also had a green salad and watermelon for guests as well as peanuts, popcorn, and cheese balls.

We had adult and kids drinks as well as a water station set up.

Party Activities:  My kids wanted a bounce house with a slide and basketball hoop.  I rented one that had that and was sports themed which worked out great.  We also borrowed this basketball game from a neighbor which was fun for both kids and adults.  The gladiator jousting set my husband picked up at Sams Club.  The boys had a blast with that.  We also had out some mini soccer nets for the kids to play with.  The original plan was to have a relay race with dribbling a soccer balls around some cones and shooting into the net, but we didn't end of up getting to that.

The one organized game we did have was water balloon batting cages!  This was so fun and perfect for a hot summer day.  Kids had the option of hitting off the tee or just regular pitch.  Each got three pitches each time they came up.

Favor: I bought white bags from Michaels and printed out basketballs, baseballs, softballs, and soccer balls to blue on the front with a colored background.  Simple and easy.

Inside the bag was either a soccer ball or a basketball stress ball (Party City), a box of Cracker Jacks to match with baseball, a basketball or soccer ball pencil (Party City), and some licorice that I put in a bag with a softball tag on top.

The kids had a great birthday celebrating with friends and family.  It wasn't very expensive for us to throw this party either which is always a plus.  Definitely some fun ideas if you are planning a sports birthday or team party!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Mother's Day Tea Party

With the school year ending, I have been a bit swamped, so I am just now getting to post our May monthly dinner.  Our dinner happened to fall the day after Mother's Day, so I decided to have a Mother's Day Tea Party.  I went simple and sentimental with decor and just made it an evening with friends -- some who are mothers of kids and some who are mothers of puppies!

Invite:  Instead of a paper invite for this dinner, I recorded my own kids in a video. My three darlings wished the ladies a Happy Mother's Day, then invited them to the dinner and told the theme, and finished off with singing "I'm a Little Teapot."  I came up with the video idea because I needed to get the invite out quickly, but I absolutely loved it.  It was a perfect for this type of theme.  The photos are some stills from the video.  Unfortunately, it was too large to upload.

Entry Decor:  All I did for the entry was make a paper wreath with teacups.  I found a couple silhouettes of teacups online and used various colors/patterns of scrapbook paper to cut them out using my Cricut. I cut a large circle out of foam board and then just glued the teacups around the circle. Hot glued a ribbon to the back for hanging.

Inside Decor:  For the table, I used a pink tablecloth and created a table runner with flowered scrapbook paper.  I borrowed my mom's good teapot, teacups, and saucers for the centerpiece.  The wooden letters I picked up at Michaels and stood them up with vases.

The flowers were a Mother's Day present from my kids, so I split them into several vases and added some baby's breath.  I also called each of the girl's moms, husbands, or relatives to find photos of them with their moms from when they were babies or kids.  I glued these photos to skewers and added them to the flowers.

I added the rest of the mother/daughter photos to a few clipboard picture frames and placed them on the table runner. These frames are from Michaels as well.

At each place setting, I used my own wedding china.  We hardly ever get a chance to use it, so I loved using it for this dinner.

For place cards, I bought cute white frames from Michaels, and placed a photo of each of my guests with her daughter/puppy inside.  Simple, but special.

Another sentimental idea I had for decor was to have each of the girl's kids write her a letter. The husbands/aunts/moms emailed me a scan of the letter/photo, and I printed them out and made them into a decorative banner.  At the end of the evening, I gave each guest their letter.  For one of the guests that does not have children, I asked her mom to write her a note about why she loves being her mother.  For the second, her godson wrote her a note.

A close-up of a few of the letters.

I did not actually serve tea at this Mother's Day Tea Party, but I did make simple wine labels on Photoshop after scanning the scrapbook paper I used on all the decor.  I wanted it to blend in with the rest of the decor.

For wine charms, I cut out mini teacups with my Cricut using the same cup and scrapbook papers as I used for the entry wreath.

Menu:  The common theme of tea parties is little sandwiches and small portions of foods.  With working all day, I knew I would not have the time for that, so I just found some recipes that looked good and went with those.  One menu item was a fruit salad that I served in teacups.

I also served a green salad with goat cheese, toasted almonds, and strawberries.  I served it with a poppy seed dressing.

To finish the meal, I made mini mac and cheese pies and ham and cheese sandwiches.  Both were delicious.  The mac and cheese pies are made with Ritz crackers and white cheddar/Boursin Garlic and Herb cheese which makes them taste amazing.  My kids didn't love them, but the ladies did.  You can find the recipe here.  The Baked Ham and Cheese sandwiches were delicious & super easy to make.  Layer them in a 13x9 baking dish and put them in the oven!

1 pkg. black forest ham
1 pkg. provolone cheese
3/4 stick butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/3 tablespoon yellow mustard
1/3 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 pkg. King's Hawaiian rolls

Slice the Hawaiian rolls in the half.  Put bottoms in an oven safe baking dish.  Melt butter and mix mustard, brown sugar, and worcestershire sauce in with it.  Paint some of the sauce on the bottom buns.  Fold each slice of ham into quarters and put one one each bun bottom.  Put one half slice of cheese folded in half on top of ham.  Cover with top buns.  Add the poppy seeds to the sauce and paint it on top.  Make sure all bun tops are covered with the sauce.  Then pour the remaining sauce all over buns.  Bake covered in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.  Take cover off the last 5 minutes.

Favor: Check out these simple teacups I made out of scrapbook paper!  I love how they turned out.  I cut them out using my Cricut which saved tons of time. I used scrapbook glue to put them together and then put a doily in the bottom and Hershey hugs and kisses to fill it.

We had a great time celebrating each other for all we do as mothers.  These ladies are amazing mothers...some of the best I know!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Leprechaun Olympics - St. Patrick's Day Fun

In 12 years of hosting monthly dinners, I have yet to have a St. Patrick's Day theme. I decided this was the year to do it, but I wanted to add a little fun to it as well.  Remembering how fun our Minute to Win It Dinner Party was back in 2012, I decided to add some fun St. Patty's Day games to this dinner.  Our monthly dinner became the Leprechaun Olympics!

Invite: I designed the invite on PhotoShop making Olympic Rings in shades of green to pull in the Olympic part of the party.  I used the same leprechaun and Olympic rings on my front door entry sign to welcome guests to the party.

Inside Decor: One of my friends made me the cutest Valentine's mantle banner which inspired me to make a St. Patrick's Day one.  I made this using my Cricut Explore and then printed out some signs I found online to frame above the mantel.  The green grass balls are from Oriental Trading. I originally got them for my daughter's Trolls party, but they work perfectly for St. Patty's and Easter too.

I added a gold medal I made to each grass ball by hot gluing the ends of the rainbow ribbon together and adding a big gold chocolate coin. These worked as added mantel decorations, and they were also awarded to the winners of the Leprechaun Olympics at the end of the evening.

For the table, I used a green tablecloth and made a centerpiece out of St. Patty's day themed pieces.  The leprechaun and bear I borrowed from a friend.  The felt hat I purchased in the dollar bin at Target.  The glitter shamrocks I found at the Dollar Tree.

Had a bit of trouble getting the leprechaun and bear to sit up, so I added a couple Guinness bottles -- an easy and theme-appropriate fix.

For place cards, I made mini pots of gold.  I painted flower pots I purchased at Michaels black, added a glitter strip with card stock, and a shamrock sticker.  I filled the vase with gold tissue paper, chocolate gold coins, and Rolos.

Added a strip of black card stock and a gold glitter square to make a leprechaun belt for my napkins.

I made a couple themed wine bottle labels to match my theme using PhotoShop.  There's nothing like some red wine when you are getting ready for Shamrocks and Shenanigans, right?

For my wine charms, I used my Cricut to cut out shamrocks in 5 different shades of green.  I glued a Lucky penny to the center of them.  These were cute, but I would suggest writing the guest's name above the penny to further distinguish them (especially if you have a large number of guests).

Menu:  I knew we were going to play our Leprechaun Olympic games before our main meal, so I wanted to have something for the guests to snack on as we played.  I settled on a Guinness & Cheddar Dip which was delicious!  I served the dip with red peppers and celery for dipping because they are light and I didn't want the ladies to fill up on bread or chips.  I did set out pretzels alongside the veggies. I shaped the dip into a shamrock for added fun.

I love Corned Beef and Cabbage, and St. Patrick's Day is the only day I eat it all year, so this was my main entree.  There wasn't a need for side dishes since potatoes, carrots, onion, and cabbage are already a part of the entree.  I made the Corned Beef and Cabbage in the crock pot. I have never done this before, but it was tender, tasty, and super easy.

I made these small shamrock-shaped mini toasts to go alongside the corned beef and cabbage.

For dessert, I made Leprechaun Olympic Torch cupcakes.  I used a cake mix and added green food coloring.  I baked the mix directly in the ice cream cones - standing them up in loaf pans in the oven.  Two mistakes I made -- 1.  I filled the mix a bit high, so some overflowed. Make sure you fill a little below 2/3.  2.  I put the cones in a sealed container after cooling for storage.  When I took the cones out the next day to frost them, the cones were soggy and disgusting! I made a quick run to the store to buy more cones.  I pealed away the old soggy cone and stuck the cupcake down into the new one.  It worked fine, but could have been avoided if I didn't store them in something with a lid.  For the frosting, we piped on 3 shades of green and added a gold chocolate coin to the top to symbolize the Gold Medal of the Olympics.

Activities:  I love short games even at adult parties, and Minute to Win It games work perfectly.  I found a few games that were easy to play, and that I could adapt to be St. Patrick's day themed.  The guests got into teams of two, and I awarded points for each game (1st place = 4 points, 2nd = 3, 3rd = 2, 4th = 1).  The winners received the gold coin medals I made.

The first game was the Leprechaun Suck (a.k.a Suck It Up).  In this game, the object is to move as many M&M's from one plate to the other in one minute. I bought green mint M&M's to fit with the St. Patty's day theme.  Turns out these mint M&M's are a bit larger than normal ones, so it made it a little more challenging. I pulled some green out of a regular M&M bag as well because of this.

Next, we played Scoop "That Gold" Up (a.k.a Scoop It Up).  The object of this game is to transfer 6 ping pong balls from the bowl to the green cup using only a spoon held by your lips.  My plan was to spray paint the ping pong balls gold to match the name of my game and the theme, but I ran out of time.  I had guests transfer all 6 into the cup and then attempt to transfer as many as they could back into the bowl in the one minute time limit.

Our third game was the Lucky Charm Stack.  The girls had one minute to stack only the marshmallows from a bowl of St. Patrick's Day Lucky Charms cereal.  At the end of one minute, the team with the highest stack was the winner.

The last game we played wasn't a Minute to Win It game, but it is a common drinking game, so it fit with St. Patrick's day.  I called it Flip Your Luck (a.k.a Flip Cup).  The guests could choose whether they wanted a shot of Guinness or a shot of apple juice in their cup for this one.  We did it in a relay of 4 on 4.  If you haven't played this game, the first person drinks their drink and then has to try to flip their cup 180 degrees from standing upside down on the edge of the table to standing right side up on the table.  Then it is the next person's turn to drink and then flip, and so on.

Favor:  I needed simple for a favor, so I made Rice Krispie treats, dyed them green, and cut them in the shape of a shamrock.  I added a little tag about friendship.