Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Graham's Solar System 5th Birthday

Pin It My older son Graham loves all things outer space. He would like for you to know that he doesn't necessarily mean rockets, and he absolutely doesn't mean aliens. He's into actual planets, stars, and moons, particularly those in our own solar system.

So when Graham turned five back in September, the solar system was our theme of choice.

I know every parent experiences this (some experience it every year), but HOW IS HE FIVE?  I need to bind his feet and stop this "growing" business right away.

We had the party at 2:00, so we kept the food to snacks (and cake and ice cream, of course!). We rented a bouncy house, which, while pricey, was FANTASTIC: it gave the kids something to do the whole time, it wore them out, and someone set it up before the party and took it away afterward (um, after I took my own turn bouncing up and down in there. So fun!).

The combination of bright afternoon sun and shiny black fabric and paper made this too difficult for a non-photographer like me to photograph properly, but you get the idea. 

My mom made this sweet cake to Graham's borderline-OCD specifications. She painted the fondant discs to mimic the different planets. Neptune and Uranus are my favorites. I found the little star candles at Deals, a dollar store.

It was surprisingly difficult to find a moon bounce that was space-related. I must have looked at 100 different options, from a dozen different local companies. They all seemed to have Shrek or Cars 2 or princesses or something on them. I did end up finding one with rockets (I know! No rockets! But rockets made more sense than a Kung Fu Panda 2 bounce house, okay?) from Jump Jump Bounce in Murfreesboro. They were great, and I highly recommend them. (Also, we ended up getting to have the bouncy for six hours, so I invited a couple grown-up friends over for post-party beers and bouncing. Just a suggestion.)

I don't think I got a great picture, but I made signs that said "Astronaut Training" and put them on either side of the entrance to the bounce house.

We wanted to have a couple other activities besides the bounce house, in case it got too crowded in there.

Some hula hoops, an overturned table, and a fitness ball = ring (around Saturn) toss. Trust me, that is the most action that fitness ball has seen in a long time. Sorry, abs.

I dragged a lot of Graham's space crap collectibles out to use for decorations (use what you have! Always!), and I thought I'd hang these from the swingset and let kids shoot at them/launch rockets at them/whathaveyou, but of course this just ended up in the kids' shooting each other with the cheapie ping pong ball guns I provided. Well, at least they did until the guns all stopped working--"plus" of buying dollar store party favors. 

This was baby Dean's first exposure to toy guns, and boy did he love them. Mother of the year, right here. Stay tuned for his violence-themed second birthday!

I made a little "Astronaut Portrait ID Station" photo booth from foamcore and Graham's own vinyl decals, and the only place I could find to hang it was on the little back "clubhouse" portion of Graham's swingset, which faced right into the blinding afternoon sun. Sorry, kiddos! Squint at me and say cheese!

For favors, I gave each kid a bag of treats with space-related names: Starburst, Milk Ways, and mini Moon Pies! I named it, lazily, Space Junk. Yes, my theme disease led me to make a dumb joke about space pollution. But it is junk! And from space!

The biggest hit by far, though, was the bounce house. Seriously. I want to rent one for my own birthday. 

Happy birthday to my big kindergartener! You are my favorite five-year-old in the world. 
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Monday, March 25, 2013

Dean's Dance Party: Mood Board

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Well, it's certainly been a while! I have so much to share from the past few months of parties and projects. Right now I'm happily focused on my next party, which is for a very important client indeed: my younger son, Dean. My sweet BABY will be TWO in a little more than two weeks, and I am dealing with all of my motherly denial by party planning obsessively.

Like a lot of toddlers, Dean loves to dance. Any hint of a song or a rhythm, and he is immediately shaking his tail feather and moving to the beat. Based on this, I thought Dean's Dance Party would be a fun theme for his big day.

I put together this simple invitation in Publisher:

I chose the colors based on things I have on hand--a lot of turquoise and lime card stock, a silver disco ball, and some black tablecloths. 

1. I'm going to make a backdrop for the table out of a piece of black foamcore that I salvaged from a previous party (that stuff is great to use over and over--you can flip it over, cover old projects with fabric, and even sometimes paint over it).  I'll attach some letters as Dean's unofficial birthday banner. The black backdrop and table cloth will serve as a good contrast for the disco ball we already have (my husband used to be in a band, and this hung in their practice space).  On the table, we'll have some snacks displayed in the galvanized pails I used for Dean's first birthday and for Graham's 5th birthday (more on that later!).

I also have a dozen mini disco ball ornaments that I want to incorporate--maybe in garland form across the front of the table. A lot of my party decorations do double duty as Christmas ornaments!

2. I want to try my hand at the DIY marquee letter trend I've seen all over the place. I'll either spell out "Dean" or "Dance," or maybe both if I'm ambitious. (Image source.)

3. My one splurge purchase for this party was a couple lengths of silver fringe curtain from Oriental Trading. It wasn't expensive, but I do consider it a bit of a splurge because I don't know if it's sturdy enough to use more than once. I am really excited about it for a dance backdrop for my little performer and his brother and cousins. I plan to haul the ancient big screen TV out of the basement into our back yard, hook up the Wii to it, and let the kids play Just Dance and Glee Karaoke to their hearts' content while the disco ball spins.

4. Cake pops are one of my favorite things to do for birthday parties (So cute! So yummy! So portable!), and this time around, I'm going to attempt microphone-style ones. I found these two on CakesDecor.com and DreamDayCakes.com. The main differences are the shape of the ice cream cones they used for the base, and the finish (sprinkles vs. sanding sugar) on the rounded part. I may borrow a bit from each style to make mine.

That's all I have so far. Wish me luck for a cute party that's big on fun and low on funds. And stay tuned for a very overdue update from Graham's 5th birthday party, as well as some client parties I've styled in between then and now. Pin It