Saturday, December 10, 2016

A Christmas Story Party

My favorite movie of the Christmas season is A Christmas Story.  How can you not feel for Ralphie when mom makes him put on that bunny suit? Or when everyone tells him "you'll shoot your eye out" every time he excitedly tells them about his desire for a Red Ryder BB gun? And come know you want a giant leg lamp in your front window for the neighbors to see your MAJOR AWARD!  If you haven't seen this classic movie, do yourself a favor and watch it this Christmas Eve when it plays in the 48 hour marathon.

Invite: I designed the invitation based on a poster for the movie, but added the leg lamp. I tried to tie in some of the well-known movie quotes in the text.

Entry Decor: In the movie, Ralphie sends away for a Little Orphan Annie decoder ring.  He listens to the Little Orphan Annie show regularly and anxiously awaits the decoder ring's arrival.  When it arrives, he decodes the message and is disappointed that it basically just tells him to "Be sure to drink your Ovaltine."  Turns out its just a gimic and advertisement.  For my entry sign, I created an alphabet/number code like the one in the movie.  I added a "Welcome Secret Society members" message to the decoded message.

I also made a giant pencil out of construction paper and set it with a jar of Ovaline.

Decor:  For the centerpiece, I had a Red Ryder BB Gun, broken glasses, a Chinese to-go box, and a frame with various quotes from the movie.  I designed the Chinese box based on the movie. In the movie, Ralphie's family is forced to go to a Chinese restaurant on Christmas since its the only thing open and their delicious turkey meal has been destroyed by the neighbor's dogs.  The restaurant is next to a bowling alley, but Ralphie's dad thinks "Bow-Ling is the name of the restaurant because the neon W is out on the sign for the bowling alley.

I bought the glasses at the dollar store, and then used a hammer to crack the them.  My husband owns a Red Ryder BB gun, so I just borrowed that from him.

I also placed A Christmas Story pint glasses on the table.  I attached photos from the movie to chopsticks to place in each glass.

Our Elf on the Shelf "Jake" was added to the fun as well.  Jake had glasses and a Red Ryder BB gun just like Ralphie.

Check out these leg lamp wine glasses! I made these out of scrapbook paper and placed one at each place setting!  The lamp shade was just lifted off when it was time to drink from them.

For placecards, I made FRA-GEE-LAY boxes! (The leg lamp in the movie came in a wooden box like this, and Ralphie's dad doesn't pronounce fragile correct. He thinks  it's pronounced FRA-GEE-LAY and that "It must be Italian!")  I bought wooden boxes at Michaels and the cut tongue depressors to glue to the sides and top.

In the movie, Ralphie gets a bunny suit from his aunt for Christmas.  I made bunny ear napkin rings to tie in this part of the movie.  To make them, I cut toilet paper rolls, and then hot glued pink felt around them and into ears on the top.  I used pipe cleaners in between the light and dark pink of the ears to make them stand up.

I borrowed a leg lamp from a friend to decorate my side table and made a sign with "It's a Major Award" - a famous quote from the movie.

I bought a crate from Michaels and used scrapbook paper to glue stencil letters to say "Fragile" and "This End Up."

I made wine labels with sayings and images from the movie.

Menu:  I created this menu for each place setting.  The "Deck the Harrs" lyrics are what the Chinese restaurant employees sing to the Parker family.  Their accents make it difficult for them to pronounce certain words.

We started with Egg Rolls that I purchased from the grocery and just had to cook in the oven prior to serving.

Next was Crock Pot Cashew Chicken. It was super easy to make and yummy too.

I also made Mongolian Beef.

And a vegetable chow mein that was delicious.

For dessert, I made Ovaltine cookies! I made them into ice cream sandwiches for extra fun.  Ralphie's gotta drink his Ovaltine right?!

Favor:  I made a couple items for guests to take home.  When Ralphie cusses and says the F-word in the movie, his mom makes him put a bar of red soap in his mouth.  He later has a dream that the soap poisoned him.  I bought a soap mold and used red chocolate melts to create "soap" bars.

I also made Rachel Ray's 5-Minute fudge to give to each guest.  The tag was another quote from the movie.

Another photo of some of the details.

This party was so fun.  We had a blast!  I even have my ugly Christmas sweater with a leg lamp!

Have A Christmas Story party of your own this year!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Our Little Cupcake's 3rd Birthday Party!

Our youngest daughter LOVES cupcakes, and I knew it would make a perfect theme for her 3rd birthday. I contacted Oriental Trading Co. about doing a product review about some of their cupcake themed items.  They carry a ton of items that were perfect for this birthday theme, so I was excited to choose some cupcake favors and neat decorations. These touches really made the party special, and I am so thankful to Oriental Trading Co. for helping me to add these special touches to Jenna's party!  We had a great time celebrating our little beauty!  Check out the details and let me know what you think!

Invite:  I designed the invitation using a background image I found here.  Then, I used Photoshop to add my text, graphics, and the small cupcakes.

I have a very talented mother, and she always agrees to sew dresses for my kids for their birthdays.  This year, she again did an amazing job with Jenna's cupcake dress!  I found the material and buttons at Joann's Fabric Store, and this fabric was the inspiration behind the color scheme for the party. Since I had already designed the invitation with lighter pinks, I decided to do a mixture of shades of pinks and blues for the party.

Cupcake Decor:  Look at these super cute giant inflatable cupcakes from Oriental Trading, Co.!  They were so fun!  I placed some at the entry door and throughout the party area. Later during the party, the kids took some into the bounce house and played "catch the cupcake" by tossing them back and forth as they bounced.  My kids also had fun using them as chairs for a little cupcake and tea party!

I made a Happy Birthday banner using scrapbook paper and the cupcake image I used on the invitation.  The letters I cut out using my Cricut machine.

I invented my own cupcake centerpiece for all of the tables.  I took terracotta pots that I already owned and cut/fan-folded scrapbook paper to create a cupcake wrapper around them.  I taped every other crease together at the bottom to make it tighter at the bottom and open up like a true cupcake wrapper would.  To create the cupcake part, I made giant tissue paper flowers and cut small circles out of scrapbook paper to glue on to look like sprinkles.  I alternated my cupcake wrappers between blue and pink so that every table wasn't the same.  I used the same fabric my mom used for Jenna's dress to make table runners for under the centerpiece.

This is the only photo I could find of the other cupcake banner I made.  I bought a pink tissue paper flower banner at the dollar store and just added cupcake wrappers to the bottom of each paper flower. Super easy and super cute!

Activities: A party is not a party unless you have some fun activities for the kiddos to do.  Besides cupcakes, Jenna loves cookies, so I set up a cookie decorating station. I bought a large cupcake-shaped cookie cutter, so it still matched the overall theme.

The kids were all smiles while creating (and eating) their masterpieces!

Check out this cupcake pinata from Oriental Trading! It was so cute and perfect for this theme!  I made the bags to use for the pinata.  I bought plain bags at Michaels and then used my Cricut to create the cupcake on the front.  I just used a hole punch to make the pretend sprinkles.

Getting ready for the pinata....

Jenna was first to go...

And after all the candy was snatched up...the girls still found ways to have fun with the pinata...

Menu:  I wanted to serve cupcake-themed foods, but I also wanted to stay sane.  I opted for a combo of easy to make foods that are crowd favorites.  For the adults, I made Crockpot Chicken Chili. It is always a crowd favorite and the simplest thing on earth to make.  I made cupcake wrappers out of scrapbook paper to put around the condiment bowls to tie in the theme.

For the kids, I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into cupcakes.  This was the same cookie cutter I had used for the cupcake cookies.

I also tried a new recipe for macaroni and cheese cupcakes.  These were good, but I only made a handful for them because they can't be made ahead of time unless you want to serve them cold (and that did not appeal to me).  I served the additional macaroni and cheese in a crock pot.

I cut a bowl of watermelon and made a quick Caesar salad to complete the menu.

I borrowed a silicone cupcake mold from a friend of mine to make a cupcake cake. This one took 2 boxes of cake mix. I frosted the bottom and used a serving fork to make the ripples in the "wrapper".  I used a large icing tip to do the white cupcake frosting and then added a red frosting cherry to the top.  The sprinkles I bought at Michaels.  It isn't professional and perfect, but I was pretty proud of the finished product.  And it might have been Jenna's favorite detail of the party, so that made it worth it!

Look at her grin as we sing happy birthday...

And just after our birthday girl made her wish...

I also made was a cupcake party!

Favor:  The cupcakes were part of the favor that guests took home.  I got these super cute cupcake boxes from Oriental Trading in my party colors.  Oriental Trading carries them in several colors, so you can definitely order them to match the color scheme of your next party.  They were easy to assemble and so cute along my mantle ready for guests to grab and go home with.

Favor:  I also wanted a bit more of a fun favor for the kids.  Our daughter loves bubbles, so she wanted to have those. I bought packs of 3 bubbles at the dollar store and then designed a new label to match the invite and other party details.  Oriental Trading also had the perfect cupcake items to pair with the bubbles -- pencils and notepads! Check these out...

These cupcake pencils were even in my party color scheme!  The cupcakes notepads are adorable and have jewels glued to the front to make them even cuter.

Jenna had a great time as did all the kids at this party. It was a fun theme!  I'd love to hear your thoughts on which party details you love!  Thanks again to Oriental Trading for helping to make this party so great!