Kid’s Party Planning – Dr. Seuss Party

So I went a little overboard for my son’s 4th birthday party.  We had never thrown a party for him before and I’m never one to pass up a theme, so I went a little nuts. It was so much fun though and the party turned out great. Here a few ways I organized for the party beforehand and then I’ll share a few party pics because I can’t help myself! The theme for the party was Dr. Seuss so the possibilities were endless!

1) Lists, lists, lists – I love making lists and have a tendency to have too many flowing around. But I tried to streamline a little for the party so I could keep a handle on what tasks were left. First I made a spreadsheet and just did some brainstorming. I used separate tabs at the bottom of the sheet so I could split up my thoughts into categories: decorations, food, invite list, favor ideas, etc. Then as the party got closer, I used the Listo app on my ipad (recommended by Thea over at Time With Thea). This is such an efficient and easy app to use and I’m pretty much obsessed. On Listo, I had a list for Party Tasks and another one for my grocery list.

Listo

2) Assess  – I searched my house for what I already had and what I would need to buy. I wanted to do all of the decorations as cheaply as possible so there was a lot of DIY and a lot of Pinterest involved here. After I got a little creative with what I had, I bought or ordered the rest of the decorations, favors, etc. Most projects were a combination of purchasing and DIY. For example, I made Truffula Tree decorations for the kids table. To hold the trees, I used cans I had saved ( I told my husband I would use them someday!) and covered them with printed paper. I painted some cheap dowels and bought some small styrofoam pieces and round sponges from the dollar store. I ended up buying the feather boas from an online party store because it was cheaper. IMG_8575 IMG_8573Here is the finished product!

Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (128)For the favor bags, we bought candy and a bag of little toys, but then I made a bookmark and activity book with coloring pages, connect the dots, etc. I laminated the bookmarks and put the favors in cheap plastic bags I bought at the dollar store.

Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (143) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (138)I also did a lot of other print outs to use as decorations, table signs, etc. I even made some cutouts for a little photo booth wall we had set up.

Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (113) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (120) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (130) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (139)I laminated all of the signs because I knew they would hold up better, look nicer and could be reused. I happen to know of another upcoming Dr. Seuss party, so some of these can be passed on. And several are going in the scrapbook!

3) Recruit help – I had several people lending me chairs, tables and decorations so I picked up those things early in the week before the party. I even had to borrow a camera because mine broke with the party just several days away. I was so worried, but I ended up having 3 people offer to lend me cameras! I also had 2 friends agree to come early the day of the party to set up and do all of those last minute things. It was great to have the help. I never would have finished cutting out all my Dr. Seuss Lorax Mustaches without them! My friend Roni drew the Cat in the Hat for our ‘Pin the Hat on the Cat’ Game and Deb made an amazing cake!

Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (116) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (144)Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (108)

3) Grocery Shop – I did a preliminary shopping trip a few weeks before hand to get all of the non perishable items and also all of the paper plates, plastic silverware, tablecloths, etc.  I wanted to get some of this stuff purchased so I didn’t have to get everything all at once right before the party. Then the day before the party was the big trip for the fruit and veggies, drinks, meats, etc. I normally don’t take my ipad to the grocery store with me, but in this case it was perfect. I usually categorize my grocery list by store section so it’s easy to shop. But for the party, I was just jotting down items as they came to me so the list was all out of order. With the Listo app, you can cross off items and they automatically move to the bottom of the list. It was a really easy way to shop actually. If I had an iphone, that would make more sense to do on a regular basis, but for now I don’t have one.

4) Set up – Party set up was going on the whole week as I slowly transformed our house into Seussville. I knew that if I waited until the day of the party, I would be a frantic mess. So I did a little each day and crossed items off my list a bit at a time. I tried to get decorations up, chop veggies, and make a list of items I realized I had missed in my previous 400 lists.

5) Let it go – This was the most important for me. Even with all of the planning, there were still many things I didn’t get done that I originally wanted to do. I didn’t have a cute sign on my front door, I didn’t finish the backdrop behind the drink table, I didn’t make signs for all of the snacks. And the list goes on. But no one came in and asked me where my front door sign was. And no one came up to me with a confused look on their face because the pretzels weren’t labeled with a cute Dr. Seuss inspired name. And no one left the party because there wasn’t a decorative backdrop behind the drinks. In the end, the party went great because I focused on my 4 year old boy and all of his friends at the party.

If you want to see my crazy Pinspiration board for this party, take a look-see here.

And here a few pics from our party:Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (37)

Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (7)  Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (2) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (31) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (53) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (78)  Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (91) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (95) Evan's Birthday Party 2013 (123)

And......spent

And……spent

 

Happy Birthday Evan!!!!!

~Erin

 

Halloween Party Wrap Up

Last night was our first (and hopefully the first of many) Halloween party. I actually spent days prepping for this because a) I love Halloween b) I love theme parties and c) I love planning things. I was joking with my husband that I like planning for a party almost as much as the actual party itself. (almost!)

So I pulled most of my decorating and craft ideas from Pinterest, blogs and magazines. Here are a few:

The first decoration I put up was a spider web made of yarn, which I found here.

In the same post with the spider web tutorial is a link to a paper bat tutorial. These were super easy and made a great accent to the other decorations.

We actually had a lot more bats in the living room, and next year I want to do even more. We also had the obligatory carved pumpkin.

You can’t tell from the photo, but this pumpkin is HUGE! We went to a pumpkin patch and traded in the ‘normal’ size pumpkins we got with admission for 1 ridiculously large pumpkin.

For food, I decided to bake chicken with pesto, marinara and Parmesan cheese. It was super easy and we made a lot, so I see chicken marinara leftovers in our future for the next 4 days.

I wanted some of the food and drinks to have a Halloween touch, so I tried a couple other ideas I found. My pumpkin juice boxes were inspired by some Mummy Juice Boxes I had seen both here and here. I needed white duct tape for the mummy’s and all I could find was an industrial size roll of the stuff. Since I didn’t need 500 yards of white duct tape, I snagged the normal size bright orange roll of duct tape and made pumpkin juice boxes.

I used felt for the stems and leaves and construction paper for the faces. Thanks to my husband who spent a lot of time gluing eyes and noses!
I pulled off the straws before I wrapped the boxes in duct tape and then I just taped the straws to the backs once they were finished.

The grown up version of juice boxes was a crock pot cider. My husband and I had looked up dozens of recipes online (it’s incredible how many ingredients some people put in their cider). And it was a fun week trying the recipes until we found the perfect combination. There were all sorts of test ingredients…cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, orange juice, apples, rum, brandy, whiskey. It turns out that the absolute best combination is: apple juice, rum and cinnamon. That’s it!

I also made a cupcake ghost, which I saw in Family Fun magazine’s October issue.

For chips and salsa, my husband carved out two medium size pumpkins to perfectly fit 2 bowls we had. They made perfect serving pieces and we set them up with a wicker pumpkin which held the plastic silverware.

I set up a craft table for the kids. Most of their time was spent running frantic circles around the house, wielding plastic tools, a fake lawnmower, a large red ball and handfuls of candy and cupcakes that were grabbed as they flew past the dessert table. It was craziness and I’m not sure how our house is still standing. But after the main sugar high wore off, I asked who wanted to do a craft and almost every kid followed me in the dining room. Amazing!

I had set out several different activities:

But the hit of the craft table was the Pipe Cleaner Spider. I found them here and they were so cute and easy. They were from Homemade by Jill. Follow her on Pinterest here, she has some great Pin Boards. I made a few changes to the spiders, such as adding the ‘googly eyes’, but the concept was pretty much the same.

Tip Alert!:

Here is a tip I will absolutely use for every craft table I set up from here on out if I can. I took a shallow storage bin and put everything needed for this craft inside the bin – pipe cleaners, google eyes, glue, and scissors. Then I set an example on top. I also had a bin for felt and cotton ball ghosts, which had it’s own glue and scissors. It made things so much easier and efficient. If I was just doing one craft, I would probably lay everything out on the table. But with multiple crafts, we just picked one and I opened that bin. The table stayed cleaner and I knew I had everything I needed.

And I couldn’t leave the adults without an activity, so I had a Halloween Trivia Game. It included 10 Halloween questions and the winner received a little gift basket.

The party was a blast and I hope to continue the tradition next year. Happy Halloween!

~Erin