Friday, June 28, 2013

Swim Teacher Thank You 2013

My two little ones finished their first round of swim lessons today. I wanted to give the swim teachers a little thank you, but didn't want to do exactly the same thing I did as last year's gift.  Both of my kids' teachers wear zinc on their noses, so I thought of this gift as a practical one...

The package of zinc that I bought had the stick as well as the circular container in one package, so I changed the card to eliminate the "stick" phrase for my son's teacher. Of course, I also changed the blond girl to a boy.

Both tags were done in Microsoft Word.  If you would like either tag to use this year to thank a swim teacher, just comment below!

Happy Summer!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A Pirate Birthday PARRRty!

Seeing how my kids are a 2-year age difference and their birthdays are only 3 weeks apart, this year I decided to combine their birthday parties.  Lucky for me, they are both excited about pirates currently.  My daughter always wants to watch the Disney pirate show on television, and my son loves to walk around telling everyone "Arrgh Matey" with his fist pumping in the air.  Both were excited when we talked about this as their birthday party theme.

Invite:  I found some red and white striped scrapbook paper at Michaels which went perfectly with this theme.  I typed the party details using two free pirate fonts I found on the internet - Pieces of Eight is the majority of text, and Rapscallion is the Arrgh Matey font.  One of my students designed the pirate patch for me on Photoshop. She found the skull and crossbones, and then just added my children's initials to the image.  I used card stock for the invite and elevated the patch with a small piece of double-sided scrapbook foam. *Note: This 3D addition did cause the post office to charge me a little more to mail them.

Entry Decor:  I bought a long piece of plywood and wrote on it with Sharpie for guests to "Walk the Plank" before entering. I put a couple of crates until the wood for added support, and the blue tarp was my pretend water.  The simple sign on the door welcomed guests to The Pirate PARRty.  The kids LOVED walking the plank...this is an easy activity and a must-have for any pirate party as the kids had a blast.

Decor:  I kept things simple with red tablecloths, black/white napkins, and red/black plates and cups. My centerpieces for each table were wooden treasure boxes I found at Michaels with goodies inside. I used wood stain for each box, then set it on top of a pirate bandana (Oriental Trading Company), and filled it with red tissue paper, beaded necklaces (Dollar Tree) chocolate gold coins (Party City), and Ring Pops (Dollar Tree).  Some of the coins melted since the party was outdoors, but no big deal. I made the Happy Birthday banner with card stock and my Cricut machine.  Loved how it turned out.
I borrowed this amazing boat from a friend of mine to add a ship to the party.  Her husband made it, and it was a cute addition to the theme.

Activities: Upon entering, the kids received their pirate attire and Treasure Map.  I made the pirate hats and patches using black foam from Michaels.  You can get two hat fronts out of each piece.  The hat front and strip on the back were attached with hot glue.  I cut the white skulls out of white foam board that already had the sticky back. I bought a Pirate foam sticker pack from Michaels, picked out the skull/crossbones and used theses for the front of the patches.  Then just hole punched the foam and tied black elastic to complete the patch.

My mom also made these super cute head scarves for each guest.  To add more "pirate" to the plain red fabric, a friend of mine drew a skull and crossbones on the front with white paint and fabric markers.

I created the Treasure Map using Microsoft Word.  Besides the Patch the Pirate game, kids could just play throughout the party and didn't really have to go in this order or need organized supervision.  This was nice because it allowed the party to have freedom and kids could do what they wanted, whenever they wanted.  When the kids finished their Treasure Maps, they received their pirate sword and gold coins. Since my kids are so young, I didn't want plastic swords, so I decided to make swords out of balloons (video found on youtube).  The coins were just chocolate coins.

One activity was the Tattoo Parlor and Face Painting station. I bought pirate-themed tattoos from Party City, and one of my friends offered to put mustaches on kids with black makeup.  Easy and fun.

Patch the Pirate was one activity we did as a group.  I found the pirate image on Google and traced it onto butcher paper.  I made patches with each child's name on it and they used the pirate hats they were already wearing as blindfolds.

Activity #3 was the Captain Hook Toss.  I bought 3 pirate hooks from Party City, and my husband screwed them into a plank of wood we painted white. The kids tossed pool rings to see how many they could make onto the hooks.  Since my kids are only 2 and 4, I did not set a specific line to throw from.  I just let them go.

Activity #4 was Fishing for Buried Treasure.  I bought fishing poles for $5 from Walmart and attached large magnets to the ends.  The kids fished plastic coins with washers glued to them out of a small pool.

The other two stations on the Treasure Map were the Pirate Lookout and Bounce Ye Heart Out.  This was just the fort my husband has been building for the kids and a small bounce house we borrowed from friends.

Menu: I chose an easy menu and just thought of pirate names for things.  For the adults, I served meatball sandwiches out of a crock pot and called them Cannonball Sandwiches.  This was honestly just frozen Costco meatballs and spaghetti sauce with a few extra spices that I put in the crock pot that morning.  For the kids, it was hotdogs in buns which I called Scurvy Dogs.

I served Fish and Chips and Pirate's Booty for chip selections.

The vegetable platter was "planks" of celery and carrots of course to be "dipped" in ranch dip.

I cut a watermelon to look like a pirate ship, hollowed it out, and served the fruit salad in it.  I tried to include a lot of berries so that I could call this the Ship with "Berry"-d Treasure.  I also made some masts using a dowel pole and sails I created on the computer.

For drinks, I served Kool-Aid and iced tea which I called Pirate Punch and Ahoy May"Tea".  We also had soda and alcohol in a cooler for adults.  I added the party logo to the cups by printing the logos on Avery Name Tag Label stickers and then using my circle punch to cut them out.

The Cake:  I love the pirate ship cakes I made for my kids.  Each one is a 9x13 cake cut and layered to make the pirate ship.  Square pretzels, stick pretzels, and Lifesaver mints were used for the added touches. I placed the candles coming out of the portholes. Again, I created the masts on Microsoft Word.

I made pirate ship cupcakes as well.  These were marble cupcakes that I frosted blue and then piped on a boat in brown.  The sales were printed and attached to toothpicks.  I got the free printable for the sails online here.

Favor: I made pirate face sugar cookies for each guest to take home and chocolate suckers.  Both took a while to do, but turned out really cute.  The tag for the cookies read, "Thanks for Coming to Our PARRty!"

Choosing to make all the desserts, hats, patches, etc. added a lot of extra work (and luckily I had some friends offer to help), but I think they were great additions to the party. My kids had a blast, and the party turned out great.

Here's a couple final shots of the birthday boy and girl!  Happy Birthday Ella and John!

*As usual, please comment on your thoughts!  Love hearing from you!  And if you would like any of the tags, treasure map, etc....just ask!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Julia Roberts Jubilee

Pretty Women, Mirror Mirror, Erin Brockovich...what do these all have in common?  Julia Roberts!  I wanted to do something completely different with this month's monthly dinner theme, and I decided to host a Julia Roberts Jubilee.  She has so many great films, and I had so much fun coming up with ideas to incorporate her movies.

Entry Decor: I borrow the long red carpet from my high school ASB to put on the walkway leading up to the door. I made a Hollywood Walk of Fame inspired star using foam board, glue, glitter, and letters cut out with my Cricut machine. (Fun fact: Did you know Julia Roberts doesn't really have a star on the walk of fame?  She did for this party though!) I also made a popcorn wreath inspired by Pinterest.  It was much more difficult than the directions I read online though.  I glued all the popcorn on a piece of circular foam using Elmer's glue.  The following morning the popcorn had shriveled up & it looked horrible! I ended up purchasing spray adhesive instead.  This worked, but didn't look as good up close.

Inside Decor: I set up my table and party room to incorporate as many Julia Roberts movies as possible, but in the middle of the table I had this centerpiece.  I used paint pen to write the party details and filled the box with popcorn.  The film strip it is sitting on I made using 12x12 scrapbook paper. I used my Cricut machine to cut out the squares on each side.

Along the table, I placed 4 of the scrapbook paper film strips and focused on one of Julia's movies on each one.  New running shoes (I needed them anyway) and a bouquet for Runaway Bride, a bound stack of papers with a title page and a pelican beanie baby for The Pelican Brief, the famous Van Gogh painting and paint brushes for Mona Lisa Smile, and poker chips and cards for Ocean's Eleven.  I made the film labels using photos from Google of scenes for each movie.

Other spots in the room highlighted the boombox and perfectly aligned cans for Sleeping with the Enemy and champagne and strawberries for Pretty Woman.

And of course, I served water from Hinkley, CA to fit with my favorite scene in Erin Brockovich.

The photos behind my table were covered with quotes from Julia Roberts' movies.  You could do this as a party game instead, but I decided to use it as decor. IMDb is a great source for quotes.

One of my favorite decor parts of the party was the place cards. We took posters from Julia Roberts' movies, and Photoshopped my friend's faces in place of Julia's.  We also took out Julie's name and replaced it with the guest's!  How amazing are these!!  One of my student's helped me with them, which is why they are totally awesome.  I really need to learn Photoshop myself, so I can do things as great as these. 

Here's a couple more just because I love them!

The photos were jpegs, so I shrunk them down to use as the wine charms as well.

Menu:  I wanted to try to pull in food items from Julia Roberts' films, and this is what I came up with....

We started with the Mirror Mirror Apple Salad which was just romaine lettuce, feta, walnuts, and apple slices.  I served it with a choice of Italian dressing or Raspberry Vinegariette.  It was a great salad that was not too filling.

The next course was A Slice of Heaven Pizza from the movie Mystic Pizza.  This was the Julia I dressed up as for the party.  I used paint pen to make my t-shirt like hers in the movie and pulled out my old Ruby's apron from my days as a waitress.

Alongside the pizza, I served Eat, Pray, Love Pasta.  I grilled the chicken on the bbq and then added it to spaghetti sauce, orange pepper, zucchini, and spices.

For dessert, we had the Armadillo Groom's Cake from the movie Steel Magnolias.  I must thank my friend Deanna for doing the decorating on this one!  All I did was bake the red velvet cakes, and she did the rest!  FYI - the body was baked in a football cake pan (purchased at Michaels) and the rest was cut from a 9x13 cake.  It turned out perfectly and was super yummy!

Favor:  As my parting gift, I made my guest's each a Tinkerbell dress box with pixie sticks inside to go with Julia as Tinkerball in the movie Hook.  I could not find a box pattern online, so I just created one myself.  This took a bit of time, but I love the finished product.  The wings are cut from my Cricut and attached by the green and purple ribbon (no glue on those).  I was pretty impressed with my tag as well.  It read:

Yes, we truly were "hook"ed on Julia Roberts for one evening.  The girls and I had a great time dressing up as one of Julia's characters.  We had everything from Pretty Woman representations, to Flatliners, Erin Brockovich, and Runaway Bride! So much fun once again!

*Reminder: If you would like the movie film strips, menu tags, or favor tags feel free to email me. As usual, I never mind sharing.  Hope you enjoyed this post!!  Leave me a comment if you did...I love reading them!