Monday, August 27, 2012

Little Golden Books Baby Shower, Girly Style

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Over the weekend, we had a baby shower for my oldest and dearest friend, Stephanie. Stephanie and I became instant best friends on the first day of fourth grade. We were both eight years old. We are now . . .significantly older than eight, and we have been thick as thieves ever since. I am beyond excited to welcome her baby girl into the world this October!

Our friend Sara graciously provided the location, her adorable house. Stephanie had mentioned liking the idea of a Little Golden Books theme for her shower, but with a girly twist for little Amaya (how cute is that name? Like I said, I am BEYOND excited).

We set up everything in Sara's bright and airy basement room, which opens out to her back patio and pool. The walls are a pale blue, which looked so pretty with the pinksplosion of decorations.

I covered a papier-mache letter A (from JoAnn) with pink tissue paper twists.

My mom and I made this bunting, which alternated aqua Little Golden Books fabric with pink Poky Little Puppy fabric.

You know I had to get all themey with the food.

I tried to include pages (mostly from The Poky Little Puppy) that referenced the desserts. I put them in "Little Golden" frames I found at Goodwill for 50-99 cents apiece. 

 And I labeled the food with little cards bordered with the Little Golden Books endpapers and written in the Lauren Script font.

"Chocolate Custard" cake pops. In little fence baskets. GET IT?

We kept the activities low-key. Stephanie is not a fan of traditional shower games (amen), so we had guests, at their leisure, sign a photo mat for Stephanie to frame with a picture of Miss Amaya when she arrives. We set out Sharpies in colors that coordinated with Amaya's nursery.

We also encouraged them to write down advice for the mom-to-be in a journal.

Favors were various strawberry print stationery items (memo pads and note cards) that we found at Michael's. 

The guest of honor and her hostesses.

We got a big group shot at the end of the shower with everyone holding one of the pennant buntings. 

Congratulations, Stephanie and Eddie! We all love you and can't wait to meet your little Amaya.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Harry Potter Birthday Quest

Pin It Lauren is perhaps the sweetest ten-year-old I've ever met. She wanted a Harry Potter birthday party, but she was very specific: she wanted a quest! I had so much fun developing a series of Potter-y problems for her and her friends to puzzle through. Here are a few pictures from last weekend's party.

We started off the party by visiting the "Transfiguration Booth," posing with our props for some talking portraits.

Then we enjoyed a wand-making craft, based on the clever tutorial I found here.

Note the floating candles!

Don't these look great? Chopsticks, beads and hot glue!

Everyone was sorted into houses.

 The girls all lined up at Platform 9 3/4 (or the entrance to Diagon Alley, or whatever magical brick portal you like), which was really a sheet that I sponge-painted with red "bricks" . . .

And then it was time for some questing! It would take too long to go into all the details here, but to give you some idea, there were tasks involving glow-in-the-dark ink, spells, potions, and flying keys. At each turn, the girls had to solve a riddle that led them to their next clue. I had worried some of the riddles were too complex, but these girls were some serious Harry Potter scholars and flew through each tasks like experts. The quest had 5-6 distinct parts, and I hope to go over them in more detail in later entries.

It's not a Harry Potter party without some wizardy treats! We had peach pasties (instead of pumpkin), chocolate frogs, Hagrid's rock cakes (donut holes), cauldron cakes with little golden snitch gumballs, sorting hat cookies, and Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans in boxes made by yours truly.

We also had some veggies from Hagrid's veggie patch, and of course, butterbeer!

After the quest, dinner, and sweets, the girls retreated to the "dormitory," or the basement rec room, where they hunkered down for a Harry Potter movie marathon. And what's a movie without some broomsticks full of popcorn?

And I retreated back to my Chicago hotel room to collapse in exhaustion. Thanks, Lauren and family, for a wonderful time!

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Party Planning: Little Golden Books Baby Shower

Pin It I have had a party-free June (and unfortunately, a June free of progress on the remodel), but I have several upcoming events that I am excitedly planning, like Stephanie's baby shower! Stephanie and I have been friends since we were eight years old! That is a LONG TIME, people.

I co-hosted the Luau Shower celebrating her marriage to Eddie two years ago, and now I get to help celebrate the impending arrival of their first baby! (Whom I'm sure will be named Emily, no pressure.)

Stephanie had mentioned liking the idea of a Little Golden Books-themed shower a while back. When we found out she was having a girl, I tried to take the ideas I had found online and feminize them a little bit. Here's a peek into my planning process and my thoughts so far.

Don't mind my rambly theme food ideas at the top--those are a work in progress. I had seen Little Golden Books fabrics before, but many of them were in brighter, primary colors. Finding the same print in a aqua and rose colorway, and pairing it with the pink "Poky Little Puppy" print (both found here) helped to make the palette a little more girly, which Stephanie liked. I like it, too, because I have two boys and don't get to do many frilly, feminine parties.

Anyway, aqua, rose, and some gold to bring in the golden spines of the books. I'll be making decorations and food based on the more classic LGBs: The Poky Little Puppy, Scuffy the Tugboat, The Little Red Hen, etc.

Feel free to weigh in with any suggestions for the party, and make sure to check back in August to see how everything turns out! Pin It

Friday, June 1, 2012

Graham's Mappy 3rd Birthday

Pin It The following is a look back at my son Graham's 3rd birthday party, in 2009. It originally appeared on my personal blog, and it was featured on Apartment Therapy. The map-themed birthday was a big hit, especially with the guest of honor. We set up almost everything while he napped, and when he woke up and saw everything, he just kept saying, "Wow." It was the best reaction I could have hoped for. Although I like themes (okay, I have a theme sickness), I generally think super-specific themes are not worth the trouble and expense for toddler parties, but Graham is so OBSESSED with maps, flags, and globes that I felt like this theme would be worth it.

For decorations, we used (of course) tissue paper poms in lime, aqua, and orange, as well as hanging globe-printed beach balls. The colors were inspired by the bright map colors of his invitation. We placed some earth-printed and other solid-colored balloons around the yard, too.

Never one to miss an opportunity to beat a theme to death, I made little state maps for the food: Iowa (Caramel) Corn, California Grapes, Wisconsin Cheese, Idaho Potato Chips, and Georgia "Peanuts" (um, actually Nutter Butters, but you get the idea). We stuck to snacks because the party was at 3:00, between meal times.


My mom made the fantastic caramel corn, which we put in some DIY paper cones that I cut and stapled in coordinating paper.

We  went a little overboard on cake: Mom made a Tennessee-shaped chocolate cake, and I made cupcakes decorated with tiny state flags. Just about everyone had a serving of each.

The beverage table is covered in a fabric remnant my friend Mimi left at my house (thanks, Mim!). I think she had originally planned to recover a chair with this, but it made a perfect last-minute tablecloth. The beverage signs here  (Tennessee Tea and Florida Key Limeade) didn't turn out quite as planned--I had intended to tape them to the beverage jars but didn't think about condensation.  Oops. I ended up slapping them onto the lids, which I guess was okay.

We denoted the boundaries of the party (and of our yard) with some lines of flags (international, since I couldn't find any state flags like this and ran our of energy to make much more stuff). However, that didn't stop some Graham and his cousin Caspar for trying to ambush the golf course. Luckily, their dads intercepted them.
We got so lucky with the weather (70s and overcast!), so for activities we just put out lots of outdoor games and random seating throughout the yard and let the kids help themselves. We have a small cornhole set and a cheap ladder ball game (found at Aldi, of all places, for $5). We also left Graham's teensy Kangaroo Climber out, and we drug out his castle-shaped tent. All of these options made it easy for us to be fairly unstructured and just let the kids run around and be kids.

I resisted the tent at first, but Seth insisted, and it ended up being the hit of the party. We stretched the theme, figuring it was loosely related to the Grahamville idea, so we decided that Graham was king of Grahamville, and we stuck Seth's old prom king crown on him.

Oh, and a couple days before the party, I worried that there wasn't enough to do (ah, last minute freakouts) and ordered a parachute. The kids seemed to really enjoy it.

For favors, everyone left with a little bag containing an earth punch ball and some geography-themed treats: a Charleston Chew, Boston Baked Beans, and some flag-wrapped Tootsie Rolls.
Everyone had a great time, especially Graham. He's still talking about his "states party."

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