A Spy Themed Kid’s Birthday Party

Balloon garland for birthday partyYou might be looking at this photo thinking, “that doesn’t look like a spy party!”  And you would be correct.  My youngest celebrated his birthday right after Christmas and this year I wanted to keep the party really small.  Since I only get two chances a year to throw a kid’s birthday party, I usually go crazy.  But seeing as this birthday is so close to the holidays, I decided to do it different.  This year we had only family and a few of the neighborhood kids, who would have probably played together that day anyway.  And while my son wanted a spy party I didn’t have the energy to get too themey.

spy party invitations with invisible inkSo instead of throwing a traditional spy birthday, we threw a spy birthday party disguised as a regular birthday party.  Genius, right?!  I just put together a really simple invitation and then since we only needed to give out a few, I bought each kid an invisible ink pen and wrote a secret spy message on the back.  I know it is hard to see but the message just told them that there was a secret spy component to the party and to get ready for some fun in the secret lair.  This killed two birds with one stone, easy decorating and a happy spy obsessed kid.

gallery wall for kids birthdayThe decorations in the house were kept to a minimum.  Aside from the balloon sign and marbled balloons from the first image in this post, I only decorated one other wall in my house.  This wall will eventually be a super cool gallery wall with all of our fave artwork.  But since it was blank I decided to put up a temporary gallery of the birthday boy.  I had these photos printed from Pinhole Press.  They are actually vinyl so they could have been stuck right on the wall!  But because I knew they weren’t staying, I put them up with washi tape.  And this is the first wall you see when you enter the house so there was no doubt we were celebrating a fifth birthday.

Disguises for kid's spy partyThere were just a few ways that I made sure this party was spy themed.  In an empty area of the kitchen I put up the “Disguise Department.”  I gathered all the dress up items that my kids already had and then picked up a few more things to round it out.  Since I knew about the theme for a few months, I was able to get a screaming deal on most of this right after Halloween.  I mean, a good spy uses disguises, am I right?

disguises at kid's spy birthday partyI’m not sure what these people are disguised as but we had a really fun time at the party watching how the kids put themselves together.  You guys.  Stick on mustaches with kids will never get old.  But stick on eyebrows and sideburns are hilarious too!

sticker name tags for the spy partyI created super easy name tags for the spies to wear.  There was no real reason for them to have these name tags.  But my son’s, when they are playing spies, make us go by an agent name.

spy lair for kid's birthday partyI knew that I wanted to have a spy lair in the backyard.  Since I have the most amazing friend who is a printer I decided to take a photo of this area in the backyard and have him print it, life-size, on a banner.  This would disguise their secret spy area.  The day of the party was soooo windy and I was worried we weren’t going to be able to use it.  That is why my husband’s bowling ball bag is right there (omg, did I just write that? Yes, my husband has his own ball and shoes…nerd).  Totally takes away from the amazingness of the banner but we didn’t really want it to fall on the kids.

birthday-boyThe birthday boy had a great time and all the kids loved playing in the “lair.”

kid's spy birthday partyI wanted to keep the party really free-flowing so I just set out a table and put out all the spy toys we had and the spy kits I had picked up from the dollar store.  Since most of these kids play together anyway, I knew they would come up with their own games to play.  My niece was the oldest kid there and she is a natural leader.  She took it upon herself to give out spy assignments and decide who was good and who was bad.  It all went really smoothly.  I had one other activity (a shooting practice) for the kids but it was far too windy for it.  Boo.

mini mylar balloon garlandYou may remember these balloons from a post I did before Christmas.  They are reusable so I used them again for this birthday.  I’m obsessed with them.  And these marble balloons that I found at Party Lab.  And I added a yellow finger-knitted garland for a pop of color.  I had made them for my Christmas tree so just grabbed one to use here too.

Easy party food for kid's birthday partyI kept the food really simple.  We had the party in between meal times so it mainly needed to be snacky. I made caramel corn and a bread salad (hopefully Kristin will share the recipe soon!) and my neighbor made some chocolate chip cookies.  Now let’s talk about the cake!  Kristin humored me and made a cake similar to one I had seen on pinterest.  I LOVE how it came out!  I’m pretty sure every single person at the party asked about it and my son thought it was so cool!  I topped it with a topper by Little Cat Design Co available at Sweet and Saucy Shop.

pinhole press custom beer labelsPinhole Press also makes labels for bottles.  I freaking love this picture of the birthday boy so I decided to make a quick label for the beer at the party (while this is a kid’s party, I always have some drinks for the adults too.  Grandpas like beer.  Grandmas like wine.  Super easy).

boxed water is better for partiesI also had juice for the kids and some Boxed Water.  Here’s the thing, most people at the party had never seen Boxed Water before.  The kids chose to drink water over the juice which made me super happy.  And that never happens at a party!  It was a total conversation starter and the boxes are recyclable.  So rad.  And they just look super cool.  This is a MUST for your next party!  Buy them here.

cake time at kid's birthday partyThen we sang.  Here you can see the marbling on the white chocolate on the cake.  It tasted amazing too.  Kind of hard to take this kid seriously, right?  And I’m not sure why my kid’s always end up without shirts…

present-openingNext it was time to open presents.  Some kids remained in costume.

favor-bagsThen it was time to grab a favor and head home.

spy disguises for favorsIn the brown lunch bags I gave each kid their own disguise kit including mustaches, eyebrows and a pair of sunglasses.  It was super simple but seeing how much fun they had with the stick on stuff at the party, I knew it was a good decision.

party aftermathThis party was super easy to put together and the kids had a GREAT time!  As long as my kid’s let me have a little say with their party themes I know I can throw a party everyone can be happy with.  And how great is that shirt by Prefresh!?  Not sure why it isn’t on my child…

How do you give your kid’s the party they want while still having fun with it.

December Loves

mozza newport beachSorry for the terrible iPhone pic, but we tried out a new restaurant a few weeks ago and it was AMAZING!  If you are in Orange County and haven’t tried Pizzeria Mozza yet, you HAVE to.  It was phenomenal.  We tried a bunch of different things and all of it was perfection.  And this cocktail, the Holiday Garland I think it was called, was sensational!  A spiced cranberry reduction with bourbon and a cranberry gelee garnish.  FTW!  I had 3 of them!  3!! I never have three cocktails when I’m out.  And I was able to walk myself out so they may have been light on the liquor.  Or my belly was THAT full of delicious yumminess.  We also spotted a celeb chef eating there.  That is always a good sign.

k-and-i-at-microsoft-p.s.-i-made-this-partyKristin and I attended a party thrown by Microsoft hosted by Erica of P.S. I Made This to showcase holiday gift DIYS that can be done with their products.  We got to take home these awesome plastic ornaments that were printed on a 3D printer! (image via Getty Images for Microsoft)

fresh-paint-custom-wrapping-paperWe also got to create our own wrapping paper.  Using the Fresh Paint program, Kristin drew a Christmas tree pattern and then it was printed out for her!  SO cool!  I’m dying to play with Fresh Paint some more.

custom-thank-you-noteIt is rare that a company sends out a thank you note after working with you on a project.  It makes sense, you sometimes are working with a PR company and not the actual brand.  And some of their campaigns include a huge number of bloggers.  But I got this thank you note from Chinet (remember this post?) and thought it was super cool.  Not only was the message very nice but it was personalized with the name of my blog right on the front.  I thought it was a really nice touch.

abe-lincoln-sweatshirtYou all know that I love U.S. President’s right?  I saw a girl wearing this sweatshirt when we were at Disneyland and I almost stopped her to ask her where it was from.  I googled it once we got home and found out it was from Forever 21 (says no longer available but they have this version too)!  Sold!  It’s my fave.

hooray-cake-topperI can’t wait to use this cake topper from Little Cat Design Co. available at Sweet and Saucy Shop!  My youngest is turning 5 a few days after Christmas and this will be coolin’ out on top of his cake.  They come in a bunch of colors and phrases and if you live in Orange County, you can order over the phone/email and then pick it up in one of their stores (I went to the Newport Beach location).  That way you save on shipping AND since you are in the bakery, you might as well pick yourself up some delightful treats.

What did you love  this month?

I’m Hosting a Party at C. Wonder and You’re Invited!

#unwrapwonder Fashion Island*UPDATE 12/4/13:  C. Wonder has decided to increase the discount they are offering to 30% off your purchases and have added a raffle to win a $75 gift card to the store!!  So cool!  And if you aren’t in Orange County, click here to see where all the other events are being hosted so you can attend one in your area!

YOU GUYS!! I’m hosting a party at C. Wonder Fashion Island on Thursday, December 12, 2013 from 6 pm – 8 pm and I want to meet you!  If you are local, please come say hello!  C. Wonder is a great store for gifty items and cool clothes and accessories for your holiday party dressing.  Store stylists will be on hand to help you make your purchases.  C. Wonder will be offering 25% off of all purchases during the party and 10% of the total sold will be donated to a very special organization, Operation Shower.

Come for sweet treats and get some holiday shopping done at the same time!  The party is open to the public and kids and husbands are more than welcome (although the party will not be geared towards them :)).

RSVP here by December 9, 2013!

C. Wonder Fashion Island  .  347 Newport Center Dr.  .  Newport Beach  .  CA  92660

I hope to see you there!

Disneyland is Pure Magic

*My family and I were invited to preview the new holiday features at The Disneyland Resort on behalf of Savvy Sassy Moms.  All opinions are mine.  Be prepared, this post is long and features lots of reminiscing.

sleeping beauty's castleI grew up in Anaheim.  Which means I got to go to Disneyland a lot.  We had annual passes for many years and one of those years was the 30th year anniversary celebration in 1985.  Every time you went through the gate you got something.  It was usually a collectible pin, but you could also win tickets to Disneyland.  My mom would take us every day after school to see what we would win (I mean, there were also cars, etc. that were up for grabs).  I remember even going in the rain.  Clearly, that is not ideal.  You could say that Disneyland had lost its sparkle for me.  And getting to go so often, on off-peak times, makes you a little bit reluctant to deal with the crowds.  And then I had children.  You know that you will end up at Disneyland at some point (and oh yeah, now there is also California Adventure which is super new to me since that was not around during my kid years).  We waited until my oldest son was 4 before taking him the first time.  I wanted to make sure he could really experience all of it.  And, well, he wasn’t very expressive with his emotions and I felt like if I was going to spend the money, I need some high-pitched screaming or jazz hands at the very least.

disneylandSo my almost five-year old had never been.  When I was asked to cover the holiday preview at both parks for Savvy Sassy Moms (go read the full post over there where I give all the details on the holiday features) I started to get really excited.  He would give me the child-like wonder I wanted to see.  So I kept the trip a surprise and told them the morning of.  We would have two-day park hopper passes and get to stay a night at the Disneyland Hotel.  The only HUGE bummer was that my husband was in Australia on business so he couldn’t experience it with us!  I texted him pictures constantly though.  And my mom came with me which was huge.  Not only is she a HUGE help to me, it was also fun going back to a place I had been so many times with her.

outside-of-disneyland-hotelThe boys couldn’t have been more excited!  We stopped by the hotel to drop off our bags before heading to the parks.  I know that I have been to the hotel before (back in college I think?) but what I found was a really nicely done hotel.  While it had hidden Mickeys and character features, it didn’t feel child-like.  The colors were great, the materials were nice and I really liked it.  And we hadn’t even seen the room yet!  We decided to hit the parks and sneak back later to change in to pants for the evening.

disneylandWe headed straight to Cars Land and started riding the rides.  The boys were in heaven.  And since it was a Thursday, the crowds were not that bad.  We rode three rides and then made our way to Radiator Springs Racers.

the-boys-stuck-in-lineWhere the line was quite long.  The boys were really good for about 20 minutes but then I started hearing, “Mommy, I want to go home.”  What?  No.  But they persevered and when we finally got to ride it.  O loved it.  M said he really liked it but finally changed his mind to say it was scary.  But that was their first fast ride and it made me remember how much fun the rides at Disneyland are.  Evey where you look, whether you are waiting in line to actually on the ride, the details are just amazing. And the staff is incredible.  They are so friendly, full of amazing information and really do make your time in the parks enjoyable.

media-passes-for-ridesOh yeah and we might have gotten THE RADDEST THING EVER along with my “media” pass.  When we checked in for the blogger event we were given coupons for a few of the rides.  With these, we could walk in the exit and walk RIGHT ON THE RIDE!  Boom.

top-of-small-world-buildingsI was super excited to find out that one such pass could be used on It’s a Small World, my favorite ride.  You guys!  I just really love that ride!  From the way the building looks to the all the colors and happiness on the inside, I just really freaking love it.  I was excited to share it with the kids too.

o-in-small-worldThe coolest part is that they have given it a holiday make-over.  In almost every area, there are holiday decorations that go along with the country represented.  There are carols playing and everything seem even more joyous than usual.  It was so rad to watch the kid’s faces.  I suddenly realized that I had a smile on my face for the entire ride.  What a nerd.  [Read more...]

Lette Macarons at Fashion Island

*Lette Macarons provided me with macarons to sample.  All opinions are mine.

lette-luxury macarons-at-fashion-islandYou all know that macarons are all kinds of awesome and yummy.  I’m about to do a few projects with Lette so when they invited me down to their Fashion Island location to taste their seasonal praline flavor I said, “HECK YES!”

choosing-macarons-at-lette-macaronsI took my youngest with me on a day when he didn’t have preschool.  I had told him we were going to eat some cookies and immediately felt really bad for disrespecting the macarons like that.  Because these are not just cookies.  But he’s 4 so he doesn’t really know how special these French treats are yet.

lette-macarons-at-fashion-islandI think there are a few reasons that I love macarons.  First, they usually come in the most amazing flavors.  On this day in particular, Lette had some in salted caramel and chocolate but then also more unusual flavors like violet and earl grey.  And then the colors are so amazing!  I mean, how gorgeous are these!  For someone who likes to plan parties and entertain, finding things that look beautiful and taste delicious are a dream come true!

packaging-at-lette-macaronsI love the simple, modern logo of Lette.  This is how they package the cookies when you purchase them individually from the store.  Classic and totally lovely.

violet-macarons-from-lette-fashion-islandI was able to meet the store manager, Roni, at the store that day.  I really enjoyed hearing about the company and how they are growing.  Look for a store near you soon San Diego!  I’m so grateful that she let me come in and sample some of these amazing sweets and I got to see all the ways you can use macarons at a party.

macaron-tasting-at-lette-fashion-islandIf you are near Fashion Island, or one of their Los Angeles stores, you must pop in!  The stores are light and bright and just plain happy.  And of course you need to try as many as your stomach can handle.  I can’t wait to go back and try out some more flavors!  I wasn’t sure how my son would like the more unusual flavors but he really enjoyed them all.  Passion Fruit was probably my favorite – so tart and flavorful!

macaron-tower-for-parties-from-lette-macaronsI totally died over this display!  How rad is this!  This would be so amazing at a party, right?!  Weddings, of course, but I think this would be so perfect for a little girl’s tea party!  They also can provide them in cool little favor boxes.  Have you had the opportunity to try a Lette Macaron?

Lette Macarons Fashion Island

1131 Newport Center Dr.

Newport Beach, CA  92660

(949) 706-8299

Follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

Thank you for having us in, Lette!  My son and I enjoyed it immensely!