Thursday, July 12, 2018

Shark Week!

Shark Week (at the end of July) is such a popular week on Discovery Channel, and I knew it would make a fun theme for a monthly dinner.  I had a lot of fun carving sharks out of food and coming up with ideas for this party.

Invite:  I stuck to the basics with the invitation. I stayed away from actual sharks as I didn't want a scary "real-looking" shark on it or a cartoon one.  Blues, white, and red was the color scheme I went with for this party and invitation.

Decorations:  The table was simple with a blue plastic tablecloth, an easy centerpiece, and handmade scrapbook paper decor.

For the centerpiece, I purchased a net from Michaels.  (FYI - the net was $7 (pre-coupon) for that little piece!)  My kids already had the shark puppet that I put around a candle.  The fins are just two pieces of grey felt sewn together and set over an empty vase.

The placecards I made with my Cricut.  I found a shark silhouette image and added each girl's name to the center.  I welded two of the sharks together and then put a scrap of red paper in between them before gluing.

I love my shark bookmarks that I used for my napkins. I made them a bit larger than I normally would for a bookmark so that they would be big enough to fit a red napkin in the mouth.

I really like how they turned out.

I made wine labels to play with the theme.  The Great WHITE shark for my white wine, and the hammerhead shark "Drink Red and Get Hammered" for the red.

I made some silly wine charms playing off names of types of sharks -- nurse shark, pool shark, loan shark, etc.

My daughter helped me make this simple shark banner. I cut the pieces with my Cricut and my daughter glued them onto the twine.

Menu:  We started with a green salad with yummy toppings - grilled corn, tomato, and bacon.  I cut sharp white cheddar cheese into shark fins.  I used the end of a mustache cookie cutter to cut them out instead of trying to do it by hand.

For the main dish, we had chicken, pesto, and roasted red pepper sandwiches.  I had a shark cookie cutter made by a local cake shop which I used to cut sourdough bread into sharks. Then we added slices of deli chicken meat that we cut with the shark cookie cutter as well so it would keep the look of the shark. Then we just added the other ingredients and grilled them on the stove.

I carved a shark head out of a watermelon which was fun.  It took a bit of time, but it came out cute and wasn't too difficult.

I also carved a cucumber into a shark for my "shark infested" veggies.  I served yellow squash, carrots, and asparagus that I cooked in the oven.

For dessert, I made white cake cupcakes with shark fins on top and a strawberry glaze inserted into the middle.  When guests bit into the cupcake, the strawberry glaze was a fun little surprise.  I didn't get a photo of the inside of my cupcakes, but this is a photo from Cupcakes and Cashmere, where I saw the idea. The shark fins on the top are just cardstock I attached to a toothpick.  I stuck them in right before serving, so that they did not get greasy from the frosting.

Favor:  I love these favors!  I made them using a template I found online and then just cut them out using my Cricut. Then I just had to fold the box and glue all the pieces to it.  They do take a bit of time to make, but luckily I only had to make 8 of them.  I put a celephane bag inside with goldfish crackers for each guest.  Cute huh?!

I hope you enjoyed reading about this party as much as I enjoyed planning it.  Thanks for're "Jawsome"!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Goodbye Cali, Hello Texas

One of my good friends and monthly dinner girls was moving to Texas this month with her family. We are so sad to see them go!  To send her off with well wishes, I decided to theme our dinner around her move to Texas.  We'll miss her, but we're crossing our fingers her work will be having her travel back to Cali often (preferably the first Monday of each month so she can attend our monthly dinners)!

Invite:  I designed the invite with reds and blues and a little southern flair.  The party colors were going to match the Texas flag, so that's why I chose these.

Entry Decor:  As a parting gift for Michelle, I made this welcome mat for her new house.  I looked up some tutorials for how to do it, and it didn't seem too difficult, so I gave it a try.  I started with the outline around the sides using blue painter's tape to tape off the area.  Then I used black house paint that I already had from our Ho Ho Home Depot monthly dinner and a paint brush to put the paint on.  The tape did not stick well to this uneven surface, so I was nervous it would bleed, but it didn't!! Just go slowly and carefully.  I did 3 coats.

For the letters, I used my Cricut to make stencils and measured carefully where to place them on the mat so that it was spaced properly.  This took the most time. Then I used the brush to paint on again.

I love how this turned out. I can't wait to make a mat for our front door someday in all my free time!

Table Decor:  I used a red tablecloth and cut out the state of Texas from a map I got from AAA.  Everything else I used on the centerpiece I borrowed. 

My mom had the red, white, and blue flowers.  My neighbors used to live in Texas, so I asked them if they had anything I could borrow.  They had the license plates (perfect) and the coasters!  Another friend of mine had a "Don't Mess with Texas" deck of cards, so I set some of those out on the table. 

For place cards, I used my Cricut to cut out the state of Texas large enough to fit inside my dinner plates. I added each of the guest's name and a heart for the area in Texas where our friend is moving.

Check out my napkins! They are just plain blue napkins that I set a piece of red and a piece of white cardstock on for the stripes.  The star is a party favor I helped my mom make for her last UMW meeting.  It is just two 2" white stars I cut out with my Cricut, a 1"x 4" strip of white cardstock folded into a triangle, and then I glued the stars to the front and back of the triangle.  I stuck a Hershey kiss inside the triangle for added fun.  Then set it on the napkin.

With the leftover map sections from the AAA map, I made a Texas Bound banner. Nothing fancy -- it even has the folds of the map still in it, but it worked.

Instead of wine glasses, I used mason jars to fit with the theme.  I cut out small California and Texas state silhouettes in red, white, and blue for wine charms. I tied them around the glasses with twine and added a gingham ribbon bow.

The wine bottle labels I made to match the theme as well. Nothing too elaborate, but I like the Texas-shaped wine glass and the Texas flag wine bottle.

Menu: The menus was some finger-lickin' Texas BBQ.  My husband grilled chicken and we lathered it with BBQ sauce.  He also grilled some ribs after I added a rub to them.  I used a delicious Texas-Style Dry Rib Rub.  Mixed it together and rubbed it on the ribs right before placing them on the grill.
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
For sides, I served grilled corn on the cob and twice-baked potatoes.  The cornbread muffins were just a box mix, but they were really good as well.

Slices of watermelon added a sweetness to the meal.

For dessert, I wanted to stay simple and light, but still match the theme.  I bought frozen pie crust and cut it into stars before sprinkling it with cinnamon and sugar and popping it in the oven to bake and crisp up.  I then topped it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a strawberry, and a couple blueberries.  Simple and delicious.

Favor:  My mom always makes a homemade Chex Mix when our family travels anywhere.  I have started to do the same for my family's road trips.  For the favor, I filled mason jars with this Chex Mix, but I renamed it TEX mix.  A gingham bow and label on top, and the favor was done.

I hope you enjoyed this post!  Please comment, so can hear your favorite touches from this party!

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!