November is a fun month in our family! We celebrate my husband’s birthday and really kick off the holiday season. Men don’t usually care about party decorations the way we do but I still like to create a party vibe that they would enjoy. Here are my tips for putting together a party that the man in your life will love including these DIY balloon signs!
I’m so excited to finally share something super fun that happened over spring break! My son and I had the opportunity to throw a double birthday party (our birthdays are 2 days apart) with Company 77 for the whole neighborhood. And even more fun? It was filmed for a new show on Food Network called Craziest Restaurants in America! The show aired last night. You have to check it out! If you click on the link, it shows when the episode will be airing again. The episode is called “Too Hot to Handle” and they count down the top 5 “hottest” places. Our fire truck pizza party is number 4.
Company 77 found out they were going to be filmed and asked for help putting a party together. It was last-minute but I was able to pull off a really fun party for 50 friends and neighbors. And since we are BIG fans of theirs, of course we said yes!
This is not our first time having Company 77 for a party. You can check out my son’s 3rd birthday party here. And it won’t be our last. The pizza is delicious, the staff is crazy amazing and the kids and adults LOVE it! The neighborhood has already discussed getting it again!
The truck is set up for the kid’s to play on it. There is even a photo booth! The atmosphere at this party was so much fun! I love that neighbors that you didn’t invite always come out to have a look. It really brings people together in such a fun way! Please excuse the food in my son’s mouth but I think this photo is so funny and perfectly sums up the energy.
And each Company 77 party usually ends with the kids getting sprayed with the fire hose. They love it!
And to have it all filmed was so much fun! It will be airing a bunch so be sure to catch an episode! Thank you to Company 77 for having us be part of this super fun experience!
How is he 8 already? It’s crazy. My husband and I can still remember my water breaking plain as day. I mean, you don’t really forget something like that. Of course back then, I wasn’t sure what was happening and made my husband google it. Oh the laughs we had about that. But enough details about fluids. My oldest turned 8 and of course he wanted a Minecraft party. I didn’t want to throw a big party this year and you know how quickly themed parties can get out of control (ahem, Lego Dance Party complete with kid discoteque…). So instead, I billed this as a playdate and had him invite just his cousins and a few school friends over one Friday afternoon. It worked out really well. It was small, but still really fun and I know some of you are probably looking for cool Minecraft party ideas.
This kid. He’s super awesome. But gone are the days when I really get total say over his parties. He definitely has a point of view and I really have to sell him on some of my ideas. Oh, I kinda also waited until the last minute to pull this together so color me surprised when I figured out that none of our local stores really sell any pre-made Minecraft party stuff…Time to get creative.
I looked on Etsy but didn’t really have enough time to order any party decor. So I purchased some Minecraft themed digital papers and created a super simple Minecraft birthday banner with brads. I tell you what. No one else has that party decor so he thought that was pretty cool. I’ll tell you something else. Kid’s don’t really understand what Happy Cake Day means. But “birthday” was far too many letters for me to cut out. And saying Happy Birthday is just like, so cliche.
I knew I needed to add in more Minecraft touches. So I spent some time online browsing. I came across these cool Minecraft propaganda style posters and knew they would be perfect. I printed out a bunch of them and tacked them to the wall. The kids thought these were pretty awesome. And when the party was over, I let my boys move some of them in to their rooms. I felt like their graphic design was good enough to have it be art on their walls.
I thought about the creepers (do you know Minecraft? There are these things called creepers. and they are shades of green) so I used their color scheme in my kitchen area for the plates and cutlery. It really just helped to play up the Minecraftedness of the party…
We also decided to forgo the cake in favor of ice cream for the party. We used the black, white and green color scheme over here too. I did create a wall hanging above the table of what I thought were squid…but all the kids thought they were endermen. Either way. It was Minecrafty and it worked. I didn’t get a photo of it though.
We could have done just normal ice cream sundaes but we decided to do ice cream nachos instead. I mean, really that is just an ice cream sundae but my mom made waffle cones and we broke them up in to pieces and those were the chips. I also made mini chocolate cupcakes as a topping because how often do you see cupcakes as a topping for an ice cream sundae?
But how do you keep kids entertained? My husband and I watch Jimmy Fallon just about every night (well we tape them because we are too old to stay up late enough to watch them when they are really on) and he plays some really amazing games with his celebrity guests. So I tried to figure out which ones we could modify for the kids and to fill in any gaps I searched for “minute to win it” style games. These kept the kids really engaged and because each one was done in heats, they all hung around to cheer each other on. Another great part was they were super inexpensive! I presorted Skittles for the game above and two kids went head to head and had to separate them by color using only one hand. The first one done, wins. It doesn’t really seem like they would be that in to it but they seemed to really enjoy it.
Yeah, we played flip cup. So? Ok, so not the traditional drinking game flip cup but a more kid friendly version. I thought about using soda for a split second and then just realized we didn’t need any liquid. AND we started preparing them for their college years…
But the most fun game was water wars. I saw Jimmy Fallon play it with Li Lo and just knew the kids would love it! On the invitation I asked everyone to bring a change of clothes or swim trunks. I bought a cheap deck of cards (in case they got ruined from the water) and used plastic cups. All you do is split the deck and have two kids face each other. Each kid turns over a card at the same time and whoever has the higher number gets to throw water in the other persons face…so funny right?! I think my husband had them do best of 3 and then that winner advanced to the next round.
I had thrown around some Minecraft favor ideas with my son (like cool Minecraft socks!) but he was not in to it. So instead we went with these fun mustache glasses party favors from Target and a small water gun.
All my son wanted for his birthday was a Go Pro. And he got one. I really wish he would have had this before his playdate. Just think of the footage we would have had of the water wars! So I guess this is the least Minecrafty party you could possibly have. But it worked and still looked pretty cool.
You 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.
So 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.
The 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.
There 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?
I’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!
I 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.
I 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.
You 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.
I 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 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).
I 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.
Then 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…
In 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.
This 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.
All the MarthaCelebrations at JC Penney products featured in this post were provided by the Editors at Martha Stewart Living, a team that loves a good party and deeply admires the bloggers who throw them.
HBD. It is a much cooler way to say Happy Birthday, don’t you think?
With two little boys, I get to throw several fun kid parties a year. But there is way less opportunity to throw a killer adult birthday. I designed this fun dessert and cocktail party with several of my friend’s in mind. But why would you need to throw a party, you ask?
One day an email arrived to my inbox and I thought I had died and gone to heaven. The editors of Martha Stewart Living had put together a fun opportunity and they wanted me to be a part of it. Wait, what?! Me! And it gets better! Each blogger they chose would receive a box of some MarthaCelebrations goodies, you know, the new line of party products at JC Penney to design a party with. This is totally right up my alley. I said yes (duh) and then waited rather impatiently for the box to arrive to see what I would get to work with! I was SUPER excited when my box showed up. It was full of silver and white party supply items in a wood grain and star pattern. There was a bit of sparkle, it was a bit cool and I knew I could put my spin on it.
I have been wanting to do an HBD party for some time so this was the perfect opportunity. In this age of hashtags and text language, it just seemed right. Since I can’t quit neon, I knew that neon orange had to be a part of the design. And an old tapestry (not quite vintage, thank you very much) from my high school days inspired the use of the batik fabric. (Using fabric can be tough but I found this great product at the craft store called Phoomph, that helps to keep it stiff and able to better hold shapes.) I also knew that I wanted to use my plastic table-cloth ruffles (and some fringed ones too) to add texture to the walls. I think they added a subtle, feminine touch. I wanted the sweets to be spiced without being spicy so I kept a loose international influence throughout with hints of cardamom and nutmeg as well as citrus and nuts.
One of my favorite products is this cardboard cupcake stand. The tiers are actually reversible so you can choose which pattern you want showing! What a cool idea. I used a neon orange paint pen to edge the stand for a fun pop of color. And as I was going through the box I was thrilled to see the pricing on each item. The cupcake stand is only $12! Totally affordable. I wanted to keep the party focused on sweets (have you heard about my sweet tooth???) so I filled the stand with delicious vanilla cupcakes by Meringue Bake Shop and pistachio rose popcorn balls that I made, wrapped in the silver wood grain cupcake wrappers from part of a MarthaCelebrations kit.
To get the party started right, I asked my friends at Carta Society to create a custom invitation for me using the printable invitation/menu card set. I love how they were able to capture the fun yet classy feeling I was going for and incorporate the patterned fabric.
The prints that are available for all the paper products (not just the set I got) in the MarthaCelebrations line are the best I have ever seen. I don’t know why it has taken so long to get good prints on disposable products but I am so happy it has finally happened. I think they really elevate the look of a casual get together. I added in some of my Philippe Starck designed plastic cutlery with my favorite disposable heart fork/knife/scoops.
My dining room has very high ceilings and are not conducive to hanging chandeliers. Kristin suggested I hang it on the wall somehow which led me to what I think is very dream catcher-esque wall hanging. I added a small macrame touch to the center, which like neon, I can’t stop. I really like to knot things. Is there a 12 step program for those things? Can someone please stage a friendtervention?
These gray favor boxes were super easy to put together and the perfect thing for the spiced donut truffles Kristin, of Meringue Bake Shop, created. I added a little bit of sparkle with this amazing silver ribbon.
Since Martha knows how OCD we party ladies can be about our matching colors, she even has color coordinated candies available to go along with her collections, like these silver wrapped chocolate hearts. She thought of everything. Duh. She’s Martha.
I added a touch more silver to the wall decor with the silver metallic circle dot garland. The hint of orange mixed in with the white tablecloth ruffles was flagging tape I found at Home Depot. The flowers were a simple way to add more color to the table and I added a second “favor” item in the potted succulents. I wrapped the pots in the wood grain cupcake sleeves.
I fell in love with the sparkly, spiky, silver gift toppers and knew it was the perfect thing to add to my spiced bundt cake.
I felt like we needed a custardy type item to round out all the baked goods so Kristin suggested a panna cotta. I candied some kumquats to add to the top and they were the perfect addition to the table. The vanilla bean panna cotta she created was velvety with a touch of sweetness and paired perfectly with the tart but sweet citrus. AMAZING. I wish you all could have tasted them!
I tied in the decor to the main party table by once again using the plastic tablecloth ruffles and silver garland. I used some leftover invitation/menu cards to print out the specialty gin and tonic recipes and used macrame knots to create a way to display them on the wall.
I used the tags that came with the favor boxes to make labels for the bar syrups. I love using fresh herbs and produce in a bar set up. Not only does it bring the fresh flavor but is another way to add vibrant color.
The star patterned cocktail napkins paired really well with the glass and silver elements on the bar table.
I used the silver picks from the cupcake kit for the cocktail garnish which I made using flavors from the specialty recipes I printed.
The gin and tonic recipes were: the perfect gin and tonic, sweet cherry lime gin and tonic, blackberry meyer lemon gin and tonic, strawberry basil gin and tonic and elderflower gin and tonic. Delicious!!!!!
I am beyond thrilled that the Martha Stewart Living editors asked me to be part of this fun project!
And you have a chance to win your very own MarthaCelebrations party-in-a-box!! From now (June 7th) until June 14th, just head to the #LetsCelebrate Pin Party Board and repin your favorite party images. Use the hashtag #LetsCelebrate on each pin to be entered to win. The blogger with the most repins will win a feature on MarthaStewart.com!!! and win a JC Penney gift card. So for the love of Pete, repin my party! :) I’ll be your best friend.
Huge thank you to Dez and Tam for the GORGEOUS photos (and syrup label lettering). Thank you times one million to Kristin of Meringue Bake Shop for providing beautiful and delicious treats. And special thanks to Carta Society for working with me on the invitation. I could not have done it with out you guys!
I can’t wait to check out all the other parties!