Sunday, July 23, 2017

Nerf Gun Party

My son, like many young boys, LOVES his Nerf guns, so when his birthday was approaching and I asked him what kind of party he wanted, his immediate response was a Nerf gun battle.  He was so excited about it and eager to invite his friends to battle in the front yard.  This party was fun to plan, and even the adults got in on the birthday party fun!

Invite: I created the invite on PhotoShop piecing together images I found online. I used these same images/colors throughout the party decor to create a uniform look.

Entry Decor: I always like to have a sign welcoming guests to the party.  This is the one I created out of card stock for my son's party. I used my Cricut machine to cut the letters.

Decor:  I scrapbooked this Nerfday banner and added some of my son's guns to the mantle.  The star I already had for Memorial Day decor, I just added a target and 6 to it. I displayed the cake, cupcakes, and party favors on the table as well.

If you are going to have a battle with Nerf bullets, safety glasses are a must and these can get expensive.  Luckily, Oriental Trading Co came to the rescue with these construction glasses.  I was worried the kids might not wear them, but most of the kids kept them on for the battle as well as the party games. Score!  Oriental Trading Co also has these amazing favor boxes in any color and plenty of themes. I chose royal blue and then added a sticker I created to each box.

Inside each box, I had a package of 10 Nerf bullets. (I bought 400 bullets from Amazon for this entire party!)  I also had orange and blue gumballs per my son's request.  These gumballs from Oriental Trading are delicious, and they also come in a million colors.  I got one package of each color for the party favors, and I had plenty leftover.  They looked awesome AND they were super tasty.

Most of the party itself took place in our backyard.  I made these simple centerpieces for the tables.  The paint buckets are also from Oriental Trading Co.  I had the paint buckets from my daughter's painting party (see the post here), so I recycled them & used them here too. I made the target with card stock and just placed a few bullets on the end of skewers.

Party Games:  The kids arrived eager to shoot their Nerf guns, so I made sure we had plenty of things (not people...yet) for them to shoot. I made this Target Practice game.  I painted a 2x4 and my husband screwed it to the fence.  Then I glued targets on blue paper plates and attached them to the wood with a staple gun.

I made 10 total targets to enable multiple kids to shoot at one time.  The idea of having them take turns was too much work! I didn't keep score of hits or give prizes for any games.  It was just for the kids to have fun and test their skills.

Another game was the Tin Can Challenge.  I saved old soda cans and then spray painted them in the party colors.  We rubbed them in dirt a bit after they were dry so they weren't sticky.

The kids loved the Tin Can Challenge! They liked stacking the cans in different ways for different challenges too. (Notice how almost all of them are wearing their safety goggles too!)

A third game was the Shooting Range.  My husband spray painted some wood to look camouflage (using leaves from our palm tree), and I glued cups and cards I made with points above each cup.

Love this photo where you can see my son's bullet going into the 25 point target!

I set up a refill station next to all these games so the kids didn't have to worry about running out of bullets.  I moved these stations to the front yard when it was time for the giant Nerf battle.

Speaking of Nerf was awesome!  We divided the kids into two teams to start, but really with 6 year olds, it was just a free for all.  If these were older kids, I would have put more effort into the barriers, but honestly, these kiddos did not care one bit.  My husband just set out his sawhorses and some other items we had in the garage and threw blankets over was perfect.  Even I got in on the fun one round for a shot at the birthday boy!

The kids had a good time, no one got hurt, and I even got a group photo at the end!  According to my son, "Mom, that was SO awesome!"  What more could you ask for?

Menu: My son wanted pizza, so I asked the local pizza place if they could place the pepperoni in the shape of a target.  In cooking, I think they moved a bit, but that's okay. I placed some darts in the middle just for effect.

I also had battle chips (Doritos), Nerf darts (cheese puffs), Rapid Fire Fruit (fruit salad), and cartridges (carrots).

For the adults I made these battle greens (a yummy green salad).  This salad is delicious and perfect for summer.

I kept the cupcakes simple - blue cupcake wrappers and orange frosting.  I made cupcake toppers with the same images that I used on the invite and throughout the party.

I made the cake a target to match all the other targets of the party and placed Nerf bullets around the edge. I am definitely not an expert at cake decorating, but I think it turned out pretty well. The inside of the cake was orange and blue.  I just divided a white cake mix into two bowls and added my two food coloring colors. Then placed the mix alternately into the cake pan for baking.

My son liked it and was all smiles!

The above photo is what I created for my son's thank you cards.  This party was super fun for the kids.  The party activities kept them active, and they were cheaper than a bounce house or pinata. For me, that's a win! If your son or daughter is anxious for a Nerf party, definitely check out Oriental Trading Co for safety glass, favor boxes, and so much more.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Patriotic Painting Party

My daughter is an artist at heart.  She loves being creative, and it is one of the many attributes I love about her.  For her birthday party this year, she wanted to have a painting party, and she decided she wanted it to be with a patriotic theme.  So many great painting party items are available from Oriental Trading Co. that this party was easy to make great with their help. They really made my vision come alive, and I am so thankful to Oriental Trading Co. for helping me to add these special touches to my daughter's party!  This party was SO much fun to create, and the girls had so much fun painting.

Invite: When Ella decided she wanted a patriotic theme for her party, that obviously set my color scheme to red, white, and blue.  I designed the invite on PhotoShop. Once printed out, I glued this invite to a piece of card stock which added a backing and red border.

Entry decor: I painted this sign to place on an easel at the front door.  Instead of a canvas, I used a piece of wood to save money.  I painted it white and let my daughter paint the red and blue to match the invitation.

I went to Home Depot to get paint swatches in red, white, and blue to use for my daughter's name and used my Cricut to cut the letters on the swatches.  I painted the rest of the writing on the sign.

I used these same swatches to make a banner inside. I wanted to be able to use this banner for patriotic holidays, so I chose "celebrate" rather than "happy birthday".

I set up the painting party itself outside since I knew it might get a tad messy. I bought red plastic tablecloths for the same reason.

The canvases I purchased on sale at Aaron Bros.  I added alternating red or blue ribbon to the bottom of each canvas along with a tag I created that read "Time to Paint and Create".  The sets of paint brushes and the palettes, I got from Oriental Trading Co.  The brushes worked out great because they come in a set of 24 brushes of various sizes.  I got two sets for the 16 girls that attended the party, and that was perfect.  The mini palettes come in packs of a dozen.

Also from Oriental Trading Co, I got red and blue aprons to match the party colors.  These were a great fit for 8-year old kids and a thicker material so they will actually last.  I bought patriotic star fabric from Joanns, and my mom sewed a star and a waist sash/tie to each of them. (Thank you Mom!)

Didn't they turn out so cute?!  The aprons worked great and they were a nice take-home gift for the girls at the end of the party.

Once all the girls arrived, it was time to start painting!  Prior to the party, my daughter and I looked through images on the computer and found one that we thought would be easy enough to paint.  I also liked this choice because it is a painting that families might put up in their house to decorate for patriotic holidays rather than something that gets put up briefly and then thrown away.

I contacted one of my friends from high school who is an art teacher to see if she would be willing to help out in leading the girls through painting the art.  She was AMAZING!  She took the girls step-by-step through which brush to choose, how much color to use, everything!

The girls listened to her directions and really had a good time working on their paintings.

I love how each girl's artwork was different, but the same.  They each added their own creativity and flair to the piece.

Couldn't resist a group photo at the end!

Menu: What isn't more patriotic and American than hot dogs! We had hot dogs and chips along with red peppers since my daughter loves them.

I also made these patriotic jello cups.  I found the recipe here. They were easy to make the kids liked them.  My youngest daughter shared hers...

The kids loved this American flag fruit dish -- strawberries, blueberries and white yogurt pretzels.

This patriotic pasta dish was also yummy. I found the recipe here.

I made my daughter's cake to look like the painting that the girls were creating.  It was a bit harder to do with frosting and not paint, but I think it turned out great.

For the cupcakes, I made chocolate stars to decorate the top. The patriotic wrappers I found at Michaels.  My husband carved a piece of wood to look like a paint palette for me to display the cupcakes.

I made the inside of both the cake and cupcakes red, white, and blue.  This photo of my youngest is the only one I have that shows the inside of the cake.

Favor:  The girls were taking home the aprons and their artwork, but when I saw these cute paint buckets from Oriental Trading Co, I couldn't resist them!  They come 6 pieces in a set and they were the perfect size.  These buckets would be great for teacher appreciation week gifts or even as storage for art supplies in your home.

Inside, I made chocolate paint palette suckers and paint swatch notepads.  Oriental Trading Co sells paint palette suckers and swatch notepads as well, but since they were multicolored and didn't match the red, white, and blue color scheme, I decided to make my own.  To make the notepads, I cut the Home Depot paint swatches to be the size I wanted and then cut typing paper to fit inside.  I put all the notepads in a stack and used a vice to press them together.  Then I took Elmer's glue and glued the top (multiple layers of glue needed). Once dried, you just pull each notepad apart.  The pencils were from Oriental Trading, Co. I love that they are both a blue and a red pencil tip.  My daughter made a patriotic Rainbow Loom bracelet for each bucket as well.

 All in all in was a great party!  Thank you Oriental Trading Co for all the amazing items to make this party extra special for our daughter!