Thursday, July 28, 2011

Minnie Mouse House

We threw this party for my little girls birthday.  It was so sweet and so much fun. For the invites I printed off a Minnie Mouse head outline and traced it onto black paper. I found a Minnie Mouse and Walt Disney font, added some ribbon, and the invitations were sent.

I love using baby food jars!  These have painted lids and felt hearts on top.  We used these for our Minnie Mouse Bingo Game markers as well. I made the Bingo sheets and switched the characters around before printing each one on card stock.

The table scape: lots of pink sparkly sequence and polka dotted fabric. Pink balloons and the thousands of Minnie dolls my daughter already had added to the decorations.

 My mom sent some actual Minnie Mouse sprinkles and a cookie cutter from Disneyland.  The kids loved frosting and decorating their own cookies!
This is what happens when kids get to add their own toppings.  Believe it or not the little artist (to her mom's dismay) actually ate this cookie! 
 Another Costco favorite, chocolate cake!  We added a Minnie, some lettering, and a lot of edible pink pearls. Yummy!
 I love covering my square vases or circular vases with scrapbook paper to match the party. I simply fill with tissue and add some balloons.  It's a great inexpensive centerpiece that literally takes minutes to make!
 There are so many perks to having a red and pink party right after Valentines day.  
With the help of my amazing mom friends we made these sweet pink and red polka dot skirts for all the girls.  I had already made some bows to match and bought paper Minnie ears at the party store.  Throw on some lip gloss and sparkle hair spray and these little ones were in Minnie Mouse heaven!

The girls also decorated their own party bags upon arrival.  I always try an do something that will take a little time so that we can begin the party once everyone is there.

 Minnie Mouse turned Birthday Princess!
 Why? Because we like you!
Amazing good time!

Bananas for Bananas!

 What to do for a one year old.  It's a first birthday and oh so special but I prefer to make it a no fuss, all fun kind of day.  If it's a big 'to do' it's harder for us to enjoy the moment.  The solution: a small family party with a wild monkey theme. 
 The table scape: Some balloons, some leftover animal print furry fabric, some safari animals, a safari hat, lots of yellow, and lots of bananas. It may not be normal to have safari hats and animal print fabric on hand, but I was a costume designer before becoming a mom so this stuff is usually coming out my ears.

 The older siblings had fun making the foam monkeys and decorating with their stuffed animals.
A cake fit for a one year old king. 
 Even if he is too tired to party.
Cheap tricks:  I love using baby food jars as candy holders.  The inspiration comes from my childhood.  It reminds me of these little candy boxes with Disney characters on the top I would get as a souvenir on Main street at Disneyland.  Also, my mom made a little black cat candy jar for my sisters 8th birthday party.  I thought it was so cool! 

Add some cute scrapbook paper, stickers, ribbons, and party colored candy, and TA DAH! So inexpensive and so cute.

*My favorite party game is when everyone at the party gets a toy and whoever the birthday baby crawls or walks to first get the prize.  Best bet: anything that lights up, makes noise and spins.  If you have all three you are sure to get the prize!

Jurassic Park Party

A painted poster for the front door welcome.  We also had dinosaur footprints leading up the walkway, on the steps, and inside on the walls and floors.

A vine covered chandelier.

Upon entering the kids saw this cave. Alright, I know it's a little messy but this is an 'after party' picture.  You get the idea.  This big box turned cave was the hit of the party on so many levels.  First the kids loved it because they could make 'cave drawings' and hide inside.   Secondly, I loved it because it was a way to get 13 four year olds in the same place very quickly.  I would just yell "run to the cave before the dinosaurs get you," and they would laugh and yell and run!

Here is the canvas for the party.  It was painted to match the colors I already had.

Quick Tip:  I love using plastic tablecloths for anything.  They are so cheap and super easy to cut.  For this party we folded up the table cloth and cut out vines with leaves.  We used all the material and hung them everywhere for a super cool and inexpensive jungle look.

More cave dwelling!

 We used these blow-up dinosaurs to play Dinosaur Ring Toss.

First, let the kids make their own rings with glow-in-the-dark necklaces.  They love building them and cracking them to make them glow.  


And Toss!

I had this cardboard/wooden frame that came with the big box.  If you are anything like me, when you see something so random you have to figure out a way to use it for something.  

I had ordered some dinosaur airplanes.  The kids got around 6 each and got to build them and throw them through the jungle for 1 point and the volcano for two points.

Painting fun!

We also built this dinosaur on my sons wall.  The bones came in pieces and the kids had fun with the giant stickers.

Check out these cereal box dinosaur feet!  You can find the tutorial here.  They are so cute and so easy.

My son really got into the idea of being a dinosaur. After the kids got into two teams, they ran around a volcano while wearing the feet and holding a dinosaur egg on a spoon. It was a super fun relay game.

For another idea...I bought dinosaur grabbers and I spread paper leaves all over the basement.  The kids fed the grabbing dinosaur heads by biting the leaves and running back to a bucket to fill it up.

And then there were the volcanoes...  This was harder than I thought but the kids seemed to really enjoy this activity.
Far in advance I casted these volcanoes out of plaster.  I bought one volcano making kit for the mold and then bought extra plaster to make them.  It was actually kind of fun (I think I was channeling my elementary school science project days), it's just a little time consuming.  I painted them ahead of time and set them on plates. 

We added some sand and little dinosaurs to the bottom of the plates and the kids each got their own little cup to pour into the volcano and make it erupt.

A huge hit with everybody! And the party was a complete dino-riffic success. Now where's my cake?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Snakes, I Hate Snakes!

 Indiana Jones Party 
for my favorite six year old
(Cue Famous Indiana Jones music)

We had so many fun projects in preparation for this party.  The kids loved helping me make this sarcophagus out of old cardboard boxes we had lying around.  I was going to put my husband in it, hence it being so large, but the kids loved it so much my husband never got a chance.  
We placed it at the front door so as the guests arrived the birthday boy would walk like a mummy toward them and then take off his mask and say "welcome to my party."

This looks a little funny but it was a archeology dig for buried treasure.  Things like jewelry, wrapped candy, a compass, etc. all hidden in sand. The boxes just kept everything a little less messy.

For easy decor ideas we just filled vases with different colored water and hot glued bugs all over the place.  After the party I simply peeled off the bug with the hot glue but you might want to do a test run first. Also, it helps to have a mom that is a frequent visitor at Disneyland and can send you actual copies of movie memorabilia like this crystal skull.

Snakes, I hate snakes!  Unfortunately they are a major part in the movie, so we had to have them all over the place.

We also covered light fixtures in crepe paper to look like fire and we attached old fabric to bamboo poles to add to the market feel.

This is my kids' favorite game.  It's a team mummy wrap.  Each team picked one person the get wrapped up like a mummy.  As soon as they were done the mummy had to run around a sacred idol and back in order to win.  It was a big hit!

We also had a scavenger hunt. I hid clues to each game or activity in places like this.  The clues were in plastic baggies in the green water filled with snakes and bugs.

This activity was hilarious.  They were looking for clues in 'monkey brains' aka jello, 'slimy snakes' cooked spaghetti, you get the idea.  It was funny because the boys dove right in, the girls however were a little weary about getting messy.

The final clue led the kids to the treacherous, secret, spider filled caves (our basement) where they would find the lost treasure.  The birthday boy led the pack with an L.E.D. lantern.  All the kids had their Indiana Jones hats and satchels and they followed with excitement and anticipation.  

The kids had to crawl under webs (yarn, Halloween spider webs and silly string) while trying to dodge spider webs being shot at them (more silly string).

This activity was so fun and wild.  The kids loved being covered in silly string so much that it took them a minute to find the treasure.
 Alright so this is the treasure after the kids went through it but it was filled with gold coins, chocolate gold coins, chocolate Hershey nuggets, and jewels.  The kids divided the treasure in their satchels and we opened presents.  My husband decided to turn himself into a Pharaoh and chase some of the kids around, but that was more impromptu fun than an actual planned moment.

My son made it clear to his guests that he was the real Indiana Jones and the rest of them were all just pretending.  He took the whole thing pretty seriously and made sure that his friends were safe at his adventurous birthday party.

My favorite cake is from Costco.  I love the plain vanilla/custard filled cake.  My son helped me top it with some action figures and smashed cookie crumbs to look like dirt.

Excavating some cake and ice cream with green lime sherbet in Sprite and sour gummy worms on top for a super special drink.

This is what the spider web basement looked like before the team came through.

I covered two party tabled with some gold damask curtains that I wasn't using.  I also used some burlap and gathered all the brown baskets in the house.  Maps were on the tables with you guessed it, more spiders, snakes, and webs.  I used some small LED lanterns to add some glow and made an easy birthday banner with Safari scrapbook paper.

My sweet Grandma sent us a cute pinata but I wanted it to blend in with the decor so I peeled off the front, added a few more cut pieces of tissue paper and a printed picture of Indiana Jones and...
Walla!  A perfect party pinata!