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!

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Emoji Party Time

Emojis are all the craze right now, so I decided to have some fun with them as my Monthly Dinner theme for November.  There are lots of ideas out there on the internet, but I always like to come up with my own.  Check out my party ideas and let me know what you liked!

Invite:  I tried to pull in as many emojis as I could on my invitation. I love the date, time, place emojis that are perfect for an invitation.  I did Photoshop the date emoji to be the date of my party instead of the generic emoji.  I didn't want to confuse my guests with two different dates.

Entry Decor:  I found emoji pillows at Michaels Craft Store to set out, and I bought happy face emoji balloons at the dollar store.The place most adults use emojis is in text messages, so I decided to make my entry sign look like an iphone with a string of text messages.

I designed the speech bubbles and "texts" on Photoshop and then just printed them out and pasted them to foam board. I added some black card stock to make the rim of the phone and drew in the other phone features.

I went with bright yellow and black for my color scheme, so I set my table with a black tablecloth.  For my centerpiece, I bought sunflowers from the grocery store, and simply placed emoji faces I had printed out on card stock on the face of each flower. I placed emoji pillows around the vase.

I borrowed other emoji decor from a student including this "poop" hat!  It was a silly addition that I placed on a cake platter.

I made emoji faces on yellow salad plates for each place setting.  I cut some of these out with my Cricut cutting machine, but most of them I just did my hand.  These would also be fun to string together as a party banner.  I only had time to make one set, so I did not do the banner, but it would have been fun.

I cut out small emoji faces to glue to bright yellow folded napkins.  All the emojis for the party I found online.  Just a warning though, sometimes it was difficult to find large size emojis that weren't pixilated. Just  make sure you check them before you print.  Here's a photo of the entire place setting...

For place cards, I decided to use 3 emojis that represented each individual guest.

It was fun to see the girls trying to figure out which place was theirs.  It was surprisingly easy for them.  The top one pictured here is my girlfriend to does makeup for Knott's Halloween Haunt, is a pastry chef, and is amazing with makeup.  The bottom is mine - I sell jewelry, love popcorn, and teach high school English.

Here's the one I made for my friend's baby who was a special guest for the evening! Pretty accurate right, moms?

My wine charms were emojis as well.  Printed them small, and then tied them to the wine stem with bright yellow ribbon.

I designed my wine bottle labels on Photoshop using an equation of the red color emoji + the glass of wine followed by the = sign.  I did the same equation with the white wine.  It was fun adding some emoji faces and messages onto the borders of the labels as well.

Menu:  In trying to come up with a theme-related menu, I decided to use some of the emotions related to emoji faces.  I started with a green salad I called "Greedy for Green Salad" so I could use the "money" emoji. I used a small round cookie cutter to cut the circular face of the cheese emoji and then used a straw to cut out the eyes.  I used a pairing knife to cut out the mouth.  I cut broccoli, tomatoes, and yellow pepper to put on the salad  with the cheese and romaine.

For the main dish, I served a Sweet and Spicy Chicken I made in the crock pot.  I used some emojis related to spicy - fire, heated face, and the tongue.  This wasn't super spicy which was good for me because I am a whimp when it comes to spicy.

Crockpot Sweet & Spicy Chicken

2 lbs. chicken breasts
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
1 tbls chili garlic sauce
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
Sesame seeds for garnish

Place chicken in the crock pot.  Mix remaining ingredients and pour over chicken.  Cook on low for 4 hours.  Then remove chicken and pour sauce into a pan. Simmer for 20 minutes until sauce has reduced to 1/4 the amount.  Pour sauce over chicken and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

I made Manhatma yellow rice and shaped it into circles.  I freehand cut red hearts out of red pepper to use as eyes.  This was to go along with the "loved" emoji face.

I sauteed green beans and cut butter to look like the "oh" emoji. I again used a straw to cut out the eyes and the open mouth.  The straw worked well because I just kept cutting the end off instead of worrying about trying to take the cut butter out of the straw.

For dessert, I wanted to make Death by Chocolate to represent the "dead" emoji.  I adapted the recipe to make it single-serving in martini glasses.  I simply layered brownie pieces, instant chocolate pudding, whipped cream, and a chopped up Score bar.  Then repeated that order one more time.  I topped each martini glass with a "dead" emoji face.  I used chocolate melts for the yellow circle and black features.  The black face I drew on with a toothpick.

Favor:  I found yellow cups at the dollar store and filled them with Hershey kisses and hugs. I printed out the "blowing a kiss" emoji to glue to the front and then designed a tag.

We had a super ......


                                                                         time! I just

these girls!

Hope you enjoyed reading about the Emoji Party!