Category Archives: parties

Backyard Roastin’ and Toastin’

The Hubs and I hosted the monthly elders and wives dinner at our home last night.  Since our house is kind of small without a lot of seating for enjoying a meal, the Hubs had the idea to do it outside by the fire pit.  I thought this was a great idea, so we went with it.  We set up the pop up tent and put two tables for food, drinks, and desserts under the tent.  I wish I had taken a picture of the set up because it looked pretty good.  We also set up two tables for everyone to sit around and eat.

We kept the food pretty standard for a fire pit wienie roast, so I set up a “Roasting and Toasting” station with hot dogs and a s’mores tray.

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On the other side of this table I had the drinks–facing one direction was the fruity water with Solo cups and a sharpie for labeling.  Facing the other direction was the hot beverage station with hot chocolate and coffee with all the fixings.

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On another table was the rest of the food.  Once people had roasted their hot dog, they could head to the table, grab a plate, stick that wienie in a bun and load their plate up with all the toppings and sides they wanted.  Besides the traditional condiments, I also had chili and slaw for the dogs, potato salad and baked beans.  We kept the service casual with paper plates, paper napkins, and plastic cutlery.

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The weather was perfect–cool enough for a fire but not so cold that you couldn’t stand to be outside.  People stayed around until almost 10:00, clean up was a breeze, and I really enjoyed the evening.  I definitely plan to entertain outdoors more often!

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If you are looking for a fun, easy, affordable hosting option, this is a great way to go.  I was a little worried about how it would go over since we had two older couples as part of the group, but they went on and on about how much they loved it!!

Princess Splash Pad Fourth Birthday Party

I’ll admit it–B’s last birthday party spoiled me.  I have always had my kids’ birthday parties at our house.  BUT when we had B’s 6th birthday party at our church and I didn’t have to clean the house, well let’s just say I was sold.  No more parties at my house, thank you very much.  So when I started questioning C about her party, and she liked the idea of having it at our local splash pad, I was all in.  She wanted a princess theme, so I was able to find these adorable invitations on etsy that fit perfectly with her desired theme.


Obviously, the décor must be pink, pink, and more pink.  So I grabbed some pink table cloths and balloons and called it a day.  I picked up some little princess wands and foam pirate swords from Hobby Lobby and tied them to the little bottles of bubbles that I found a Party City and set them out for favors.

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I kept the menu VERY simple:  pizza with a few healthy fruit options, cupcakes, and ice cream.  I snapped the picture before we got the pizza, so the table looks a little empty.  I did several cupcakes–half chocolate half vanilla–with pink frosting and stuck some little princess picks in them.  Sadly I forgot to get a picture.  I don’t know how that happened.

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The party started with the kids playing out on the splash pad.  This was good for about an hour and a half of entertainment for the kids and required 0.00 planning on my part.  SCORE!

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After plenty of playtime, we brought all the kids in for lunch, the singing of “Happy Birthday” and cupcakes and ice cream.

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As soon as they were done eating, the kids were ready for the opening of the gifts.  Queue the herd of kids gathered around the birthday girl “helping” her open her gifts.

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This was a super fun and CRAZY easy party.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take nearly enough pictures of it.  We are so blessed to have had our sweet girl with us for four whole years.  We look forward to many, many, many more years with her blessing us!

Splash Party for his 6th

B’s sixth birthday party was celebrated today with a splash party, and it was a HUGE hit.  We made it a joint party with one of B’s best friends I.  I and his family will be moving to Chicago in a few weeks, and I knew that between traveling to look at houses and trying to keep their own house clean and ready to be showed by a real estate agent at any minute, they didn’t have time to throw a party.  I was going to be planning a party anyway, so why not include I and just let them help with the cost.  I mentioned it to his mom and dad a few weeks ago, and they thought it was a great idea.  So I started moving forward with a joint party, and it was lots of fun.

I started with the invitations which I found on etsy along with the cupcake toppers and favor labels.  I waited a bit too long to order them, so I barely got them out in the mail before the party.  But they were super cute.

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The precious couple that teaches the kids’ Sunday school class at church has a side business renting those fun inflatable slides and bouncy houses.  When I spoke with them about renting their water slide, they gave it to the boys for their party as a birthday gift.  It was so unbelievably kind of them, and I have a treat up my sleeve for them. 


Yes, that’s JuJu standing in the pool at the bottom of the slide.  That is the only way C would get in.  She is not a fan of the big water slides.  So with the entertainment taken care of, I moved on to the food.  I kept in extremely simple–even more so than in years past.  We picked up Hot n Ready pizzas from our local Little Caesar’s and I ordered cupcakes from the Wal-Mart bakery.  I added some chips, grapes, and carrots with ranch as side items.  And of course I served ice cream with the cupcakes.

I kept it simple with the decorations as well.  Just plastic tablecloths and balloons.  Our church was generous enough to let us have the party on their property, so we pulled a few tables and chairs out and set up a small eating area for kids and parents.

The only real effort I put into the party was for the favors.  I made sugar cookies and decorated them with royal icing to look like beach balls.  This was my first time dealing with royal icing, and it was a royal pain.  haha  I don’t plan on doing it again any time soon.  But they came out cute.

I set the favors up with my chalkboard sign, and left room on the table for the “gifts” that everyone was bringing.  Since I’s family is getting ready to move halfway across the country, and we need another toy in the house like I need a hole in the head, we asked that all friends bring a book that we could donate to our local library in honor of B and I’s sixth birthday.  So people piled up their books on the table with the favors.  I plan to put a little label in each book and drop them off at the library in a week or so.  We got well over 20 books to donate!

After playing on the slide for about an hour, we called everyone over to pray and eat.  I’s dad said the blessing and I snapped the sweetest pic of the kids praying.  Then everyone ate, and it was time for cake, ice cream, candles and the singing of “Happy Birthday.”  All the kids headed back to the slide as soon as the last candle was extinguished.  Water slide trumps cake apparently.  Who knew?

Aside from the fact that both of my kids got their first sunburns of their lives (parenting fail), this party could not have gone better!  Happy Birthday to my sweet boy, B, and his precious friend, I.  We sure will miss that whole family when they move!!

Frozen Third Birthday Party

C is completely and utterly obsessed with all things Frozen, Elsa, Anna, Olaf, etc. She would watch the movie on repeat all day everyday, and we have the soundtrack playing in the car pretty much all the time.  So it was no surprise when she wanted a Frozen-themed birthday party.  And honestly, I was all for it.  It was ridiculously easy, and the theme was super easy to shop for.

I found the invitations of Etsy and fell in love with them instantly!  They are what I based the whole color scheme on.


The menu was inspired by the movie as well.  I served Snowballs (mini white donuts), Icicles (rock candy suckers), Kristoff’s Ice Cubes (blue jello), and Olaf Noses (baby carrots) with ranch and chips.  And cake and ice cream of course.

I ordered the figurines for the cake from Ebay, and they were not great quality.  I am pretty sure they were knockoffs, but they got the job done.

The birthday girl wore the Queen Elsa dress that Uncle J and Aunt A gave her for her birthday, and she looked adorable in it if I do say so myself.

Now, you may remember from birthday party posts of yore, that I am not a fan of party games, but this party was different.  We did two cute activities that I think the kids liked.  The first was “Do You Wanna Build a Snowman?”  They used marshmallows, mini chocolate chips, pretzels, orange Tic Tacs and toothpicks to build their own snowman.  Then we played a fun round of Pin the Nose on Olaf.  I free-handed the Olaf onto poster board and cut the noses out of orange construction paper.

After games we sang “Happy Birthday,” blew out candles, and ate.  Then the girl of honor opened her gifts and everyone just hung around and played and talked and enjoyed each others company.  When the guests left, they picked up a sheet of Frozen stickers and a package of ‘warm hugs’ and kisses.

It was a fun, laid back party, and I think everyone had a blast!  Happy Birthday, baby girl!

Valentine Party

As I mentioned yesterday, B and I decided to throw a little Valentine soiree for him and some of his friends from church for lunch this morning.  The kids had a blast, and honestly it was one of the easiest parties I have ever done.

The menu consisted of hot dogs (staying warm under the foil in the top picture), Cheetos, strawberries, grapes, and sugar cookies that the kids decorated themselves.  I served homemade strawberry lemonade to drink and had a bowl of chicken salad with crackers for the mommies (since most of us are pretty tired of hot dogs and other kid food.)  My little Valentine centerpiece fit perfectly under my drink dispenser and added a sweet touch to touch to the counter buffer area.

When B and I were discussing this party, I suggested serving hot dogs.  He loved that idea and said, “Yeah, heart-shaped hot dogs!”  Uh, so here is my best attempt at ‘heart-shaped hot dogs.’  They turned out alright, and he was pleased.  And the kids had a blast stabbing strawberries and grapes onto their skewers once they pulled them out of the hot dog!

Once they were done eating their lunch, I passed out bowls of white and pink frosting and little individual cups of three different kinds of sprinkles for them to deck out their cookies.  I used the left over dough from the Olympic Rings cookies, and it made just enough.  They had a blast decorating the cookies and enjoyed eating them when they were done–although most of them wound up taking their cookies home with them!

 It was such a fun time.  The best part was having B come up to me after eating lunch and saying, “Mommy, thank you for my Valentine party.”  I love that kid so much!!!  And I think all the kids that came thanked us for having them.  What a sweet group of friends my kids have!

They played with toys, exchanged Valentine’s and headed home just in time for me to get the kids down for a nap.  It was a great party!  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Birthday Party Rewind: Veggie Tales Party

I got to thinking about celebrating and decided to do another party rewind post:  B’s Veggie Tales second birthday party.  He first laid eyes on Veggie Tales as an infant and instantly loved it.  He was a hard and fast VT fan until he was about four and half, and sadly he has kinda moved on and will only watch it every now and then.  But I digress . . .

Printed Veggie Tales invitations are not easy to find, and I am not a fan of the fill-in-the-blank invitations.  So I made my own.  They were simple but sweet, and I was pretty proud of the cheesy little ditty that I wrote to mimic the show’s theme song.

Since the party was between meals, I kept the menu light and full of veggies–obviously.  I served Cheetos, spinach dip with Fritos, celery and baby carrots, and cake and ice cream of course.  I did the cake myself and was really happy with how it turned out.

There were no bells and whistles with this party.  I made little green sugar cookies and decorated them as the French peas as the party favors–then I completely forgot to give them out to the kids.  I didn’t even get a picture of them.  I didn’t really get many pictures of this party at all.  But it was super fun and he loved it.

Birthday Party Rewind: Sugar and Spice Party

When C was having her first birthday, the sweet shop parties were all the rage.  However, I wanted to take that same theme and change it just a bit.  So I based the theme on the rhyme about little girls being made of sugar and spice and everything nice.  Hence, a birthday party was born.  I will start with a couple of shots of the birthday girl waiting for her party to start.

I did the food myself and it was kinda hit and miss.  Of course to stick with the theme it was mostly sweet stuff like Oreo balls and marshmallow pops (both of which came out mildly disastrous looking), but I also had Red Hot candies out for the ‘spice’ part of the soiree.  I did Country Time pink lemonade in my beverage dispenser.

Fortunately, the cake turned out beautifully, and I could not have been happier with it.  It was so girly and adorable and everyone loved it.  Including the birthday girl as you can see.

 She wasn’t sure what to think about everyone singing “Happy Birthday.”

As far as decorations go, I kept it pretty simple.  I made the bunting with paper and ribbon from Hobby Lobby.  I also made the tissue paper pom poms which were a total pain and did not want to stay hung on the ceiling.


 After a quick bath (because she was covered in frosting!!), it was time to open presents with some help from big brother B of course. 


Each guest left with a pink Rice Crispy treat with a sweet note attached from C.

We are beyond blessed to have this sweet baby girl, and it was just a joy to celebrate her first birthday with family and friends.  I love her so much!

Little Southern Gentleman Baby Shower

One of my best friends since high school, K, is expecting her own sweet little man in November.  So, friends C, L and myself put together this sweet shower for K and Baby Henry.  Here are the details–and the adorableness, if I do say so myself.  And I have to give props to Amanda at Dixie Delights for the idea behind this shower.  You can see her original ideas here.

L took care of the invitations which I think turned out pretty precious.

In keeping with the Southern theme, we served Southern foods–cheese straws, chicken salad sandwiches, pimento cheese sandwiches–and some standard shower foods like fruit and nuts.  And of course the ever-so-chic-these-days cupcakes were a part of the spread as well.  I made the little blue bowtie toppers with toothpicks and some hot glue, and they were adorable.  L brought the pretty plant as the centerpiece and it looked gorgeous–and the blue and white container matched my kitchen PERFECTLY.

 (Please ignore the horrendous shelf in the back corner.  I need to find some sort of fabric to cover it with, but when you homeschool you just have to keep stuff like that out and easily accessible.  I will have to find a new home for that shelf once Christmas comes, but I digress . . . .)

We kept the drinks Southern as well with Amanda’s great sweet tea bar idea.  I LOVE this and definitely see more sweet tea bars in my entertaining future.  I made the lemonade myself.  It was my first time making homemade lemonade, and it came out sweet and tart and nicely refreshing.  I had lemon wedges, lime wedges, and mint leaves in the small silver handled bowl set.  I was also able to pull out my wedding crystal which was nice.  And I have a friend with the same pattern, so she loaned me a few of her glasses so I would have enough.

The shower was lovely, and we had a blast.  Several high school friends from out of town made it into town, and it was so wonderful to see them all again.  K got some sweet outfits, some really useful stuff like diapers and bibs, and the three hostesses were able to go in together and get her the much needed Pack n’ Play.

 The mother-to-be with the hostesses L, C, and myself

K and I have been friends for over 16 years!!!  I can’t believe it.  I am so excited for her and her husband and just can’t wait to get my hands on sweet baby Henry. 

Birthday Party Rewind: Farm Party

B’s third birthday was a farm theme which is pretty standard for this age and is pretty easy to do.  I started with the invitations which I ordered from Vistaprint for a steal!  They were super cute and with Vistaprint you can customize the wording, layout, font colors and styles.  I was really happy with them.

The table decorations were pretty standard.  I found the cowprint tablecloth at Hobby Lobby, ordered the cowprint balloons online, and got the additional balloons from our local grocery store the day off.  The hay bales were donated to us by a friend who has a few acres of land with hay.

I stuck with pretty simple and easy foods–I mean, after all, I did have a 3-month-old baby!  I served grilled hot dogs (thanks to the Hubs), chips, cake, and ice cream.  I keep the drinks pretty simple too with juice boxes, bottles of water, and canned soda.  I did the cake myself, and it is one of my favorites ever.

There weren’t many planned activities or games.  The kids pretty much just played in the yard with B’s toys.  At the end of the party, I pulled out the little sandbox that was full of hay.  I had hidden an ‘egg’ of Silly Putty for each child in hay.  They had to race to find the egg which wound up being their party favor.

It was a fun party, and I really loved the farm theme.  And my baby boy loved the party as well.

Happy Bird-day!

Yesterday, we celebrated B’s fifth birthday with a Angry Birds fete complete with all of his favorite birds!  I found the adorable invitations, as well as the bunting, on etsy.  The seller was really easy to work with and even sent me water bottle labels for free when she accidentally e-mailed me the invitations again instead of the bunting.  So sweet of her–and she was very reasonably priced!

This party required a good amount of ‘crafting’ on my part, but it was well worth it.  I made red bird, yellow bird, and green pig party hats for the kids, and they were a big hit.  I followed the directions and used the free printable image at this link for the yellow hats.  I could not find any packages of all yellow hats at any of my local stores, so I bought 3 packages of mixed color hats and made red and green hats as well.  I used this link from the Party Animal blog for the printables for the red and green hats as well as many of the other images at the party.  More on that in a minute.

I found the pig table cloths, Angry Bird napkins, and red plates at the brand spanking new Party City that was built in a neighboring town that I am CRAZY excited about!  That place has EVERYTHING!  But I digress . . .  I used the printable template from the Party Animal blog again to put the faces on the balloons (which I didn’t get a great picture of) and the face on the bowl of blue candies (also from Party City).  I reused the blue and white striped cloth from B’s pirate party last year for the food table. 

Now, I have never professed to be an expert with party games–they are not really my forte.  But this year the game was a HUGE hit with the party goers which ranged in age from 2 to 10!  I used a set of 3 lime green paper lanterns that got at Hobby Lobby (with a 40% off coupon, no less) to make the pigs–once again using the printable from the Party Animal blog.  I then went to our local liquor store and grabbed several empty boxes, Hubs spray painted them brown (cause nothing says ‘kid’s party’ like Budweiser and Jim Beam logos, right??) and stacked them up to make a real life Angry Birds game.  The kids took turns throwing a ball at the set up to knock down the pigs.  It was a blast, and I could hardly get them to stop playing when the pizza showed up.  This was a PERFECT game because the kids could play on their own.  Once all the boxes and pigs were knocked down, they could set it back up by themselves and keep playing.

We ordered pizza from Domino’s (which showed up much later than I expected) and served strawberries, grapes, and baby carrots to make it a little bit healthier.  I put fruit punch and apple juice boxes in the white tub to the right of the food table as well as cans of Coke, Diet Dr. Pepper, and bottled water on ice.  I made cupcakes the night before (don’t get excited–Betty Crocker box mix to the rescue) and piped on some canned frosting.  B helped me make the cupcake picks from another free printable.  They were easy and got the job done.  I served individual cups of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream.  B blew out his five candles with some help from a friend and everyone enjoyed the dessert.

After cake and ice cream, B was itching to open his presents.  Which means queue the hoard of kids hovering around trying to catch the first glimpse of each new item being opened.

I managed to get a really great picture of most of the kids before the end of the party.

I think that this party was my favorite one yet.  The kids loved it, and I really had a blast putting it together.  Happy Bird-day, B!