We've been talking up her 8th birthday for many months now, and one of the promises that was made referred to a party. A real, in our home, with friends, party.
It's been 3 years since our last party, and now I remember why.
First, we chose the theme: beach/ luau. Super fun for FEBRUARY, right? Yeah, especially in the Midwest when we will likely be snowed in, iced out, or generally just trapped indoors. But why not bring the outdoor fun inside?
Next, I spent several weeks haunting Pinterest, and gathered lots of good ideas. I also found a great little etsy shop called Bee and Daisy where I bought a pack of party printables. Most of the items were standard, ready-to-print, but I also bought an add-on which personalized some of the items. At $20 for both, this was a fantastic way to personalize a lot of the decor without busting my budget. The first thing we did was to create the invitation using a basic photo editing program.
We printed these out on photo paper through our local WM, along with the pennant banners. And then the real work began.....
Burning up my paper cutter!
We decided to make rolled fabric flowers into barrettes as part of the take-home favor boxes. I had all the fabric, so I only needed to purchase the clips.
We also made flower cookies for the girls to take home.
And most of the other decor was tissue paper flowers!
$4 in tissue paper transformed into this:
(there are many, many tutorials online, starting with the classic from Martha Stewart)
The flowers were all cut out using the Cricut, and I attached them to the buffet table using removable glue dots.
Banner in the front window reads
"Happy 8th Birthday M------!"
I loved the personalized water bottle labels.
I made fruit skewers
(Layered Jello cups with a gummy shark)
Sunshine cookies (dipped Oreos)
Flip flop cookies (Nutter Butters)
Celery & carrots with ranch dressing
(which no one wanted - HA!)
And mini cups of Starburst.
After all 11 girls arrived, we got started by making paper leis.
I used the Cricut to cut hundreds of paper flowers, then snipped some colorful straws as spacers.
The girls sat on beach towels to string their leis.
Next, they ate, then moved on to
"Toilet Paper Hula Girl".
They broke into teams and had 10 minutes to create a "hula" outfit.
I think they liked shredding the toilet paper more than anything.
(Best 97 cents I spent all weekend)
(Best 97 cents I spent all weekend)
Next, Pin the Coconut on the Palm Tree.
They then took a whack at the Palm Tree Pinata. No pictures because it took 2 of us to manage everyone.... but the girls loved it. The only bummer was that it appeared 2.5 lbs. of candy was not quite enough for everyone.
That's OK, because we had cake and ice cream!
I know, this is a lame picture, but I am super proud of the ombre cake.
And finally, presents!
The girls each left with a cute favor box filled with the hair clip, cookie, a pack of goldfish, and a personalized thank you tag.
It was a great party, the 2 1/2 hours flew by, and no one cried.
And yep, it's going to be at least 4 more years before we do this again.
For my own posterity......
- Command hooks & tabs are the way to go. I used them to hang the poms, attach the backdrop behind the buffet (which was just foamboard covered in wrapping paper), and attach the palm tree.
- Too cold for a pinata outside? Hub took a 2 x 4 and suspended the pinata from the end. He was able to maneuver it up and down while the girls took a swing at it. Worked perfectly, and no one had to shiver in the 40 degree weather!
- People will arrive early. It is inevitable. They will also drop off their kid in the driveway & peel out. Also inevitable.
- You can use a hole punch to make the straw hole in the canning jar lids. Unfortunately, my straws were much bigger than the hole. Measure & test it out more than an hour before the party.
- Decor doesn't have to be expensive. I purchased some items from the Dollar Tree (foam board, spoons, TP, clear cups), some from WM (plates, napkins, balloons, treat bags - all less than $1 each), and used a lot of items that I already had (serving plates, drink tub, twine for banners, fabric for barrettes). Other than the $20 for the printables, the most expensive items I purchased were the pinata for $9, a pack of scrapbook paper for $5, and the tissue paper for $4.