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PARTIES

Farm Birthday Bash

Posted in KIDS PARTIES, PARTIES
on April 30, 2013

This past weekend we threw a farm birthday party for our son, Ayden, who turns six this upcoming Wednesday. Ayden loves all things animals, and especially loves everything farm, so this party theme was right up his alley!

We decided to keep it small, to make it a “family party,” involving parents as well, and we decided to keep it casual.  As with all kids, you have to plan for the unexpected – like, your guests being interested in jumping on the trampoline, more than in playing your games – which is what happened here for the most part! Luckily for us, the weather mostly held up, and the trampoline was ready and waiting.

Originally, I’d planned to hire a petting zoo for his party, but by the time I figured out the exact theme, when it was going to be, etc., it was too late, and everyone in my area was already booked. It was also going to rain. Enter plan B.

We decorated in a western theme – lots of gingham and western paisley, and a whole lotta burlap (which tied in nicely with my continued obsession with the stuff). I like to use bandanas for decorating! They are inexpensive and always have such great patterns. 

The banner was made from cardstock, burlap and jute twine, and printed on my computer. I was lucky enough to find picnic style table clothes and plates at Dollar General.

We served picnic foods – pulled pork sandwiches for grown-ups and corn dogs for the kids, along with potato salad, mac and cheese, coleslaw, and fruit and veggie trays.

For treats, we served chocolate glazed Rice Krispie treats and smores on a stick, both displayed on burlap wrapped Styrofoam blocks. 

The cake came in the form of chocolate and double chocolate cupcakes with peanut buttercream. A galvanized pail served as a fun cake platter. I used half the frosting to frost the cupcakes and ate the other half. The cupcake picks were created and printed on my computer using card stock and various paper punches, with an added jute bow as an accent.

For beverages, we served lemonade, iced tea and “moo juice”, aka. Chocolate milk, from mason jars, which was a great thing for the kids! It was decorative, they are reusable, but most importantly, they all had lids!
After eating, we moved on to the fun stuff – games! Our garage was decorated like a barn – it even smelled like one, which was the not so good part –  We brought in 4 bales of hay, and added some “animals,” played some country music and we were good!
Bessy and Martha, our milking cows, were very patient in letting the children milk them to their hearts content.
The chickens in our chicken coop were so appreciative to have all of their lost eggs found.
Find the eggs! 

We had a hayride courtesy of our radio flyer wagon.

and played a lively game of cow-tipping.
And finally, all the children enjoyed a spirited horseback ride on these super cute hobby horses that I made for each of them, following these directions.
For party favors, each child received a bandanna of their choice, a hobby horse, eggs found in the “hay nest,” a punching balloon, a sidewalk chalk “egg”, and a small assortment of candies, in these rooster themed goodie bags. I made these, but you can order something similar through Etsy here.
Although I wish the petting zoo had been available, I think we filled up the party with a wide assortment of fun activities that the children had fun with. I think Ayden had a great time at his party, and we can’t wait to do it all again next year!  
For more party fun, be sure to follow along with me!
Pin for later: Farm Party Ideas
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Stirring up a “Stock the Kitchen” Bridal Shower, retro style!

Posted in PARTIES
on March 16, 2013

 

I LOVE a party. Doesn’t matter what it’s for, doesn’t matter who it’s for, I just love, love, LOVE a party. If I could, I would throw a party every day. Since, I can’t do that obviously, sometimes, I must live vicariously through others.

A friend is throwing a wedding shower – a “Stock the Kitchen” shower to be exact. She asked if I had any hot ideas to share. Uh.. does it snow in July?! Oh, wait, it doesn’t – not here anyways… But, I did drum up a few tasty morsels to share. Planning a party, even if it isn’t yours, is better than not planning one at all!

There are two things I’m really loving right now – a red and teal/sky blue color combination and a retro vibe – in this case, a retro housewife vibe. Luckily, both of these things are very popular at the moment, and as a result, there are ideas and sources a plenty!

Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4

Invitations, as always, set the theme and mood of the party. Etsy is a great place to find a wide selection of creative invitations and matching items. Both invitations shown on my idea board can be found on their site. As a nice touch, add a recipe card with your invitation, asking your guests to gift one of their favorite recipes. The collection of recipes can be added to a recipe book during the shower and presented to the bride-to-be at the end of the event – a gift she’s sure to treasure! These adorable cherry recipe cards can be found on the Jessie Steele website, where you can also purchase a matching recipe book.

 

Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4, Source 5

Another fun idea that I came across had guests bringing a small kitchen utensil to the party, and attaching said kitchen utensil to a funky apron, which is then to be worn throughout the party by the bride-to-be. How cute is that?! Beats the crazy gift bow hat so many of us have had the pleasure of wearing. 🙂

I found the most adorable aprons and a few free.. yes, I said free.. patterns to make them, if you are so inclined, and have the time. I love the apron pattern at sew4home – I have some extra fabric laying around that would make up some really cute gifts!

 

Set the tone by playing the right music. A few suggestions:
  • Love and Marriage – Frank Sinatra
  • All the Way – Frank Sinatra
  • Let’s Get Married – Al Green
  • Unforgettable – Nat King Cole
  • Anything from this list

 

Source 1, Source 2

A party would not be a party without games, and I found no shortage of those. Over at bridal-shower-games.com you’ll find hundreds of games, including old favorites and new fun.  ModernHostess.net has a great post for a retro bridal shower, that included this fun-looking game called How to Be a Good Wife, based on the 1955 Good Housewife’s Guide. It’s hard to believe that not that long ago “Good Wife Training” was taught out of a textbook. Since I’m blogging instead of making dinner.. it’s a given I would have failed the test in 1955! There are also a number of printable options on Etsy that are worth looking at, including this Say Yes to the Dress game, which has guests trying to guess what the bridal gown will look like. Whether you’re looking to break the ice, or keep the party rolling, you’re sure to find something for everyone.

 

Source 1, Source 2

Let’s talk table decor. I just LOVE the ideas the hostess of this party shared on Catch my Party. I really like the use of kitchen appliances as both serving plates and flower vases. What a unique idea! I also really like the table setting shown for a retro shower over at Simply Creative Insanity. Using inexpensive paper for table decor is genius.

 

What to serve? Staying in theme, take a cue from a retro cocktail party and serve finger food. Some ideas:
  • Deviled Eggs
  • Pigs in a Blanket
  • Cheese Puffs
  • Oysters Rockefeller
  • Shrimp Cocktail
  • Cheese Log
  • Meatballs
  • Fondue with crudites
  • Dip with Chips and Pretzels
  • Anything from here!

Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4, Source 5

Desserts, of course, run the gamut of spectacular to simply elegant, depending on your budget and guest list. A custom apron cake would add to the theme of “retro housewife”, but would be on the higher end of the budget. A serving of bite-size cupcakes, or the elegance of a simple cake would be equally as lovely, especially when paired with these custom cookies. Round out the desserts by whipping up a batch of these mini cherry pies.

Source 1, Source 2, Source 3

As the party comes to a close, thank your guests with a fun and useful favor. These fun soap bottle aprons are diy. So adorable, and easy to make! Or, go with something simpler, and gift back a small utensil, such as measuring spoons. I really adore the idea of a glass and small utensils tied with a ribbon as well.

I hope you find these ideas useful, and that you have as much fun throwing your party, as I’ve had planning it!

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