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Spa Party Table Decorations

Ribbon Runner

Ribbon Runner

Sometimes, well…..most of the time the spas we go to are very stark. I guess that is the upper end look or it’s to keep everything looking clean and sanitary. For whatever reason it is, it makes for a bla background for a birthday party.

The family throwing this party is anything but bla and the mom brought in some wonderful colors to punch up not only the serving table talked about in another post but the eating table as well. Does pink and green ever go out of style? Or does it just come in and out? Or maybe it’s a Southern thing? I don’t know, but it made this party.

Simple Centerpieces

Simple Centerpieces

Nothing makes you feel better than the walk into a space that is filled with color. So, I guess having it at a spa with neutral colors was a good thing. It allows you as a hostess to do whatever you like and you know that it won’t clash with what is already there. Here, my friend, added a simple ribbon down the center of the tables. Bought colorful cans and some pink flowers and voila you have a beautiful table!

Spa Party Serving Table

Spa Party Serving Table

SPA Party Serving Table

If you are having your SPA birthday party in a true SPA, it’s great because most have a neutral color scheme allowing you to be as creative as you want to be. This birthday girl loves pink….and the mom does too. As a result, they infused the party with lots of pink and green colors. It worked perfectly at this nail salon because all the walls were gray and the pink really popped!

Colorful Straws

Colorful Straws

Color for girls really is a draw. So anything you and do by adding color and sparkle and glitz will make their eyes light up!  On the serving table itself, there were cups, plates, napkins and even the straws that carried out the theme.

The other thing to think about in a nail salon or spa, is that the ceilings tend to be high.  And the last thing you want is to have a cold atmosphere.  Make it cozy by adding some balloons or tall flowers or something to “anchor” the seating area.  Here the pink and green balloons worked perfectly!  It’s all in the details!

Spa Party Lunch

Food for the Spa

Spa Spread

For my daughter’s spa birthday party, we were taking a trip to a hot springs and I knew the girls would be hungry! Rather than plan a big meal or have pizza, we decided to go with the theme and make it a bit more….well…..spa like. I took with us two picnic baskets full of goodies.

Sparkling cider was a hit! I bought plastic champagne glasses at Party City. They come in an 8 pack. Then for 4 girls I took two bottles of cider. They had so much fun with their flutes! On this one it’s better to have too much than not enough. Believe it or not 4 girls drank all of 2 bottles….well, maybe I had a little.

For the “meal” I had fancy cheeses, sausages, fruit, crackers, bread…..any finger food that they don’t normally get in their lunch at school if fancy. This really was the easy part. Pack a cutting board and some grocery bags from the local grocery cheese shop and I prepared it all on location. Oh my. Easy. Threw it all back in my bag after we left and we were set!

As kids get older, they do appreciate having a nice meal. Don’t cop out by just ordering pizza. Although, they sill love it. Make your child’s birthday party and especially a spa party special with some fancy food as well.

Spa Party Pies

Pie as a Birthday Cake

Pie as A Birthday Cake

Who ever said that Birthday Cakes always have to be cakes??? Tradition? One thing I’ve learned when planning a birthday party is that tradition should play a part in some ways but in others…..tradition shouldn’t be the end all be all. Like having a cookie cake. When did that become in style? Pies are gaining a come back in a big way. We are in a small town and there are several bakeries selling pies. One store even dedicated to pie only making!

My kids love pie which helps in the decision. My daughter was turning 12 and at her spa birthday party, I could envision them having cake in the hot tub and knew that it would end up being a mess! Pies were much better. I didn’t make them. I know, shame on me. It was December and time was limited so I got several different kinds from our Buttermilk Sky Pie Shop here in town. It worked out perfect. The kids took a cool wooden spoon and tested all the pies. They were yummy, tidy and all I had to do was bring them.

Spa Party Cookie Cake

Birthday Cookie Cake

Cookie Cake!

If you are like me, you think of a traditional, beautifully decorated birthday cake for a child’s birthday. But you know. It just doesn’t have to be that way.  A friend’s daughter had a spa party where the girls went into a boutique and had their toes and finger nails done.  So cute seeing the line of girls there all together.  Anyway, I diverge.  Her daughter wanted a cookie cake and nothing else.

Honestly, its the design and colors that make this so cute.  The folks that are hired by the ice cream shops that decorate cakes and the cookie cake places and other chains really do a great job.  I would encourage you to go and seek those folks out when someone does a great job and give them a cash tip.  I did this once with an ice cream cake and the gal was so surprised.

Don’t feel like you have to make everything fit into a box any longer.  Let your child lead the way and your birthday party can turn out fantastic….spa party or not.

Spa Party Cake

Cake Edited

This may be one of my all time favorite cakes!!!!! It is so stinkin’ cute I just can’t stand it. For your spa themed birthday, there are so many different directions you can go with the cake or dessert. This cake was a bit large for the crowd that attended the party but who cares. It was adorable. The cake was actually commissioned by a friend of mine who had a spa theme party for each of her girls in the same week! One of the girls wanted this cake and it turned out so cute……have I said that yet?

Cucumber Girls Edited

The cake is a white cake with fondant used to make the icing and the girls around the bottom. Attention to detail was taken with the girls having a mud mask and cucumbers on their eyes! This was made by a lady here in town called the cake lady. Well, I’ve deemed her as the cake lady. I don’t want to post her phone number here but if you live in Knoxville, TN and want her to make a cake for you, let me know and I’ll connect the two of you up. Her name is Karen Martin.

Spa Party Gifts

Spa Party Gifts

I’ve gotten to where when we have a party, I just hate it when my daughter comes home with a bunch of junk. You don’t need to spend a ton of money…..especially if you are having a large party…..just don’t spend your money on things that are going to end up in the trash the next day! Even if it’s a few dollars, get party gifts that the kids will at least keep around for a while. My daughter recently went to a swim party where the girls received an EOS lip balm. It doesn’t really follow the theme but their girls all LOVE them right now. So, as a result, they will keep up with it and use the lip balm and when they do they’ll think of the birthday girl every time!
Spa Towel & Flip Flops

For my daughter’s Spa Themed Birthday party, we only were able to invite a few girls as I had to transport them in my car to the party location. Because there were only a few girls we were able to splurge a little on the party gifts…..well spurge a lot. I found these super cool beach towels on Nordstrom’s Website and had them monogrammed with the girl’s initials. I also found the flip flops online. (When your daughter’s birthday is in December it’s tough to find beach towels and flip flops anywhere but online!!!) What I like about this gift is that they girls were able to use them at the party and it’s something they would keep and use other times!

Put some thought into this. Don’t just run around the day before the party trying to gather up what you can find in town as you will most likely settle for sub-par party favors!

Truck Birthday Party Thank You Notes

Truck Party Thank You Notes

Truck Party Thank You Notes

For my son’s truck and car birthday party, I wanted to carry the theme though to the end. I think by that point, my creativity had run it’s course. I don’t know that I can say it enough. It’s so important for kids to write thank you notes. No matter what their age, they need to learn etiquette and the proper way to say thank you. In a time where they text and their friends get the message in a split second, slowing things down and getting something in the mail is a good thing! And I don’t know about your kids, but mine LOVE to get things in the mail.

The creative part to my endeavor was to help select the clip art for the cards. I know that a lot of you are savvy with your computers, but it just takes me too long to figure it all out sometimes. And for this one, I had my friend who owns Paper Rabbit Designs to create the thank you notes for me.

I’ve talked about in other posts what level of involvement your kids should have in the thank you not process based on age…..really it’s ability. I believe on these, I just had my son write his name and I wrote the rest. Don’t make this too difficult on you or them. Fighting them to write or say more than they are willing/able just makes the letter writing not fun. On a side note. I took this theory with my husband when writing our thank you notes for our wedding. I made him at least write the notes to his family and close friends. I remember we received some steak knives from a friend of his and he thanked them for the knives that we would be able to practice our knife throwing skills with. Whatever! They loved it and they knew that we received the present and all was good.

Have fun with thank you note writing! It doesn’t have to be a chore.

Boys Night Out Movie Birthday Party

Arcade Games

At nine, my son was starting to really develop some core friendships. As I was thinking of a fun theme for the small group that he wanted at his birthday celebration, Boys Night Out just fit. You have to be really careful when not inviting all the boys in a class. The personality of the child determines whether or not this is possible. They can’t talk about it at school as it will make others feel left out and some school even frown upon handing out invitations if the whole class isn’t invited….girls and boys… Luckily my son could handle this. My daughter who is 11 can’t hold it in but he could.

Boys Night Out Shirts

This party was all about what the boys wanted to do. The theaters have party packages that you can take advantage of. But since we were having such a small group, I didn’t feel that that was necessary. I picked the boys up at their homes and we headed to a movie. After the movie, the boys hit the arcade. They had so many tokens to spend. It was interesting how 2 of them were interested in how many tickets they could accumulate for prizes and the other just wanted to play games.

After being crazy, we loaded into a photo booth for candid shots of the boys and off to the food court where they all picked out exactly what cupcake they wanted. Boys Night Out was the perfect, easy, low key party for my son as he was able to spend quality time with his best buds. He really is wise beyond his years. When you have too many kids, it’s fun for the atmosphere but you really don’t get to spend one on one time with your guests as we’ve all learned through the years!

Boys Night Out Invitation

Boys Night Out Invitation Closup

For my son’s boys night out invitation, I wanted to make something home made because I was spending so much on the favors…:) And it was only 2 boys who were getting invitations so it didn’t make any sense to have anything printed. Plus, I always love a new challenge in getting the creative juices flowing. And let me tell you…..this one was a challenge.

Boys Night Out Invitations

My initial vision was to have the invitation wording to swirl like a tornado shape but the closest that I could get with my non-computer graphics experience was to type it in circles. The T-shirt favor was my inspiration on color and circular design. In a word document, you can type anything you want and change the wording to a circle. Once I had two circles done, I drug one on top of the other for a layered effect. I went to YouTube to find a text in a circle tutorial and used one by Trevor Easton. You might check that one out. My 11 year old is learning how to do this in school right now and if she had known how to do this 6 months ago, she would have saved me tons of time!

The lettering around the outside were simple stencil letters and that part was much easier for me! Really, I always simply want to set the tone of the party and kids love to receive things in the mail. Because this one was so big, I hand delivered it but again, since there were only 2 it was pretty easy to do.

Boys Night Out TShirt Party Favor

Boys Night Out T Shirt

If you’ve looked at many posts on this blog, you should see a theme. Whenever possible, I try and give party gifts that can be used and won’t end up in the trash 5 minutes after they get home. I figure even if we were to purchase a bag full of goodies that I would spend a certain amount. So, I just take that as a budget and go and find something more meaningful.

I’ve done several tshirt type party favors but nothing like this. We have this great TShirt store in Knoxville that I believe will be expanding soon. It’s call the Tee Spot and their web address is theteespot.com. You can either go into the store or create your own tshirt yourself online. It doesn’t matter how many you get. You pay for it and go. Generally they are ready in days. It’s great!

I went over budget on this one a bit but we were only inviting 2 other boys and they were my son’s best friends so I went for it. Because of the design being a circle, that also posed me a problem with designing it on my computer myself. No problem, I went into the store off Cedar Bluff and they designed the shirt for me with my direction. I warn you. If you get overwhelmed by decisions, this might be tough. You select, font, size of image, where it should be, what color, what type of shirt, what color, size…….. Lots of questions and small decisions that have to be made.

I selected to add an “H” in the middle of the circle. It’s my son’s first initial. It also happened to be either the first name or last name initial of the other boys invited when was perfect!

I encourage you to think outside the box when selecting party favors. Not only is it more meaningful but the kids will remember the party for much longer than just the day afterwards!

Cupcakes & Icing

Icing

If you like to give personal touches to a birthday party, making your own cupcakes is an excellent way to do it. The cake part is important that it tastes good. But I can’t stand a cupcake that has horrible icing. Now, I know that some cakes use fondant to have cool images and that they don’t all taste good. That isn’t what I’m talking about here. Sometimes you just can’t get away with using anything other than the rolled out icing. What I’m referring to is the icings that come on many of the store bought cupcakes and cakes.
Cupcakes

I LOVE to make my own icing. I have posted the recipe before and you can find it under recipes. You’ll make way more than you need…..no problem. Put the rest in the fridge and it will keep for months! For my son’s outdoor birthday party, I made cupcakes out of a box. Yes, out of a box. It tastes just as good as home made vanilla cake does. I used these reusable cupcake cups. The jury is still out on these as it wasn’t the easiest thing to get the cupcakes out to each them……it just makes you feel good. Then I always, always use food coloring that is in a concentrate. It lasts forever! And you don’t have to mix forever to get the color you wish. If you are still using the liquid kind, switch! Concentrated food coloring is the way to go. I purchased this at Michaels, I believe, but you can get it in most grocery stores that carry cake decorating supplies.

Have fun and enjoy icing!

Silly String Fight

Making Armor

My son has several groups of friends that he wanted to celebrate his birthday with when he turned 9. Not that they wouldn’t get a long but they were small groups and he really wanted to share his special day with them. In comes the mom who can’t say “no.” Luckily we live next door to an empty lot and one of the small groups was comprised of some very special neighbors. So, we just decided to get together, spend some time outside and have a silly string fight!

Armor

There was nothing easier! I simply went to the dollar store and purchased several cans of silly string. Now let me say…..I don’t know if there are varying qualities of silly string, but these cans don’t last long at all. And I mean a few squirts and it’s DONE! Make sure you have multiple cans for each combatant.

Preparation for the “fight” was really very easy. After procuring the silly string and several roles of duck tape from the dollar store, I went next door and purchased coordinating bandanas so that the kids would know what team they were on. Not sure that it mattered that they had teams but it fostered working together when they were constructing their armor and discussing strategies.

Goofy String Fight

For almost an hour before the fight, I let them go with recycled cardboard and duck tape to construct their armor. We have so many stores close to us that receive shipments of boxes, none of them minded sharing some before it hit the recycle bin. I really didn’t want to be saving boxes for months. Getting it free from the stores was great and I could do it the week of the party no problem.

It was funny watching the kids decide on what was important to have. Some made full body armor. Others made huge shields. I really didn’t care. They were using their creativity and there is nothing that goes better together than kids and a cardboard box. We did have to help a bit with the exact knife if things needed to be cut down but that was minimal and it left a lot of time for the adults to enjoy some chat time.

Fight!

After everything was constructed, it was off to the races. We provided some work glasses just as a safety precaution. One team started on one side of the yard and the other team to the opposite side. Once the fight started it was over in a jiffy. But as long as you set some ground rules like no spraying in the face, no personal contact and those basic good sportsman rules, the fight should go off without a hitch!

Providing a Healthy Snack

Healthy Snacks

Providing a healthy snack at a birthday party is a welcome sight to most moms. I know, I know, It’s a birthday party or a get together. But as your kids get older you will find that parents use any excuse to have a party for the kids and almost never are the snacks healthy! Snack after every sports game imaginable. Treat when you get out of the pool during a swim meet. Party when you loose. Party when you win…..party, party, party. Don’t get me wrong. I love to have fun but it gets a little much.

So! When you do have a gathering and you can help it, at least try and have healthy snacks. Especially at a birthday party when you know that there will be cake and/or ice cream involved.

Eating Healthy Snacks
Here, we simply had a bowl of watermelon out. When I cut watermellon, I try and cut the pieces thin and not too big. That way more of the fruit gets eaten and there is little waste. Everyone had already had lunch so I wasn’t even sure if it would draw attention. As it turned out only 5 kids ate an entire watermelon!

It’s fun to have special food but since this party wasn’t about that, I didn’t plan any. You just never know what appetite the kids will have so be prepared…..always.

Truck Birthday Party Invitation Envelopes

Truck Party Envelope Embellishment

Truck Party Envelope Embellishment

Embellishing anything these days shows that you’ve taken the time to care. In my opinion there are so many cute things that can be purchased at the store that you don’t have to have a creative gene to pull off a great party. It’s the extra time taken to make something cute even more special that really stands out these days.

For my son’s truck birthday party, I found a truck shaped hole punch. I put one on the invitation envelope flap and one on the body of it. With a tiny hole punch and a brad, I connected the two and instead of gluing the flap down, I wound some colored floss around the two trucks.

You could also punch a bunch and have them lose inside the envelope. I’m a fan of doing that but my husband isn’t so much. Whatever you put inside an envelope like that generally ends up on the floor. It’s kind of funny that he is the one who doesn’t like that since he isn’t the one who cleans it up. But his biggest nemesis is glitter. It’s great to add glitter to an invitation or thank you note but don’t put it loose in the envelope. That is totally a disaster waiting to happen. And you can’t get rid of all the glitter in your house for a year and that is with regular cleaning!!! Figures yes. Glitter NO. Have fun.

Creating an Inviting Atmosphere

Marking the Birthday House

Balloons fit for the Mailbox

Whenever you have a birthday party it’s always nice to mark the location in multiple ways to make it easier for your guests. Even if you are inviting folks who have been to the party location….it’s a nice greeting. And for anyone who hasn’t been there, it is oh so helpful when they are screeching in on two wheels.

Here the balloons are not your ordinary balloons but the bigger sized ones and the ribbon is a nice 1″ thick satin ribbon. It’s that little added touch which sets this apart. If you don’t have the time to procure special items like this, certainly a group or regular size balloons tied to the mailbox will work! But this is just an idea to give your welcome a personal touch.

If you are having the party at your home, like this is, there are other ways of letting guests know they are at the right place. Place balloons at the front door or around a planter at the front door. Prop your front door open. Making it clear folks are invited in. (I recently started taking notice of my neighbors who leave the main door open during a normal day. It’s really an inviting feel and when I think about it, I open mine as well.) Another biggie is to turn every outside light on possible….even during the day time.

The other benefit to having balloons on your mailbox is that it alerts neighbors that you are having a party. They will be more likely to help lost guests or will slow down if it’s obvious that it’s a kids party that is happening.

Simple things really. But since these are things that are to be done right before guests arrive, it’s helpful to make yourself a note. Because if you are like me, I can get frantic at the last minute and leaving the door open might be overlooked!

Halloween Themed Birthday Parties

Halloween Birthday Party

Halloween Birthday Party

Kids LOVE to dress up!  It doesn’t matter if it’s a play date or a party, they will dress up any way and any how.  I’ll never forget the play date we had at our house with our 5 year old kids at the time.  I have a daughter and there were about 3 girls and 3 boys.  Well, all the dress up we had at the time was princess costumes.  Not only did the girls don themselves in full princess attire, but so did the boys from the crown to beads…. down to the shoes!  It was hilarious!

When it comes to birthday parties, you can always make it a dress up party and it will be a hit.  A Halloween Theme automatically lends it’self to dress up which all the kids did!  AND it was in December.  It didn’t matter that it wasn’t really Halloween, they thought it was for a few hours.

Planning a Halloween party is easy and hard at the same time.  Easy because there are an onslaught of ideas and hard because there are too many ideas.  Ha!  It’s hard to make yourself stop.  I would think of something else and say to myself…..Oh I can do that one more little thing………then, oh I can do that one more little thing……and after a while I had my work cut out for me.  But it was a blast.  I think I enjoyed it just as much as the kids did.

Take a look at the following posts to see what we did at my daughter’s Halloween Birthday party and have fun planning it!

Halloween Party Glitter Invitation and Wording

Halloween Party Glitter Invitation

Halloween Party Glitter Invitation

In coming up with an idea for my daughter’s Halloween party invitation, I had a hard time choosing. I make up a bunch to see if I could do them and how long it would take. In the end, this is the invitation that I ended up with. It’s simple orange card stock that you can purchase at any stationary shop or online store. Adding the glitter image was my crafty side coming out. I’m the kind of crafter that gets bored with one thing. I can do the same type project a few times but then I want something new…..this makes my craft room a nightmare as I have all these tools that I don’t use that often. :( I had never glittered invitations before.

I’m sure that there is a correct way of doing this…..this is just the way I decided to do it. I printed the invitation on the card stock (I used a 5×8 Size) first….making sure that once I started adding the glitter than it wouldn’t cover up the words too much. I took the template which I’ve provided for you below and laminated it. If you don’t have access to a fancy laminating machine, don’e worry. I used shelf paper and I’m thinking that that may have worked better than if I had actually laminated it. You cut out the parts that you want to glitter…..so the border, the tree and the fence or tomb stones were all cut out.

Halloween Invitation Envelopes

Halloween Invitation Envelopes

Be sure and work over a baking tray or some sort of tray so that you don’t loose any of your glitter on the floor! And it makes for much easier cleanup. Take a paint brush with liquid glue on it and dab straight down onto the voids of the template onto the card stock invitation. Lift your template and sprinkle the glitter onto the glue insuring that it’s all covered up. I used the March Stewart fine glitter as I wanted it sparkly but didn’t want big flakes of glitter.

Let the invitation completely dry before trying to stack or insert into the envelope. I recommend 24 hours at least.

For the envelope, I purchased the opposite color than the invitation card stock and then purchased round labels that I could print the addresses on to. The kids will love the sparkly invitations. The parents will too…..until the glitter gets all over the house and then they may be cursing your name…:)

Template:
Halloween Scene Template

Supplies:
Medium Size Paint Brush
Liquid Glue
Card Stock and Envelopes
Heavy card stock for template
Shelf Paper
Scissors

Resources:
Card Stock, Envelopes & Labels – www.papersource.com
Martha Stewart Glitter – shop.marthastewart.com

Spider Pop Up Card Birthday Party Invitation

Halloween Spider Pop Up Card Party Invitation

Halloween Spider Pop Up Card Party Invitation

Even if your child is fearful of arachne, there is a place for these ghoulish spider party invitations at his party. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love these pop up cards. They are so fun and different. They do take some time to make so you have to plan ahead. For the spiders, I found some great spider web paper that I used for the main part of the card making it look like the spiker was actually in it’s web. And instead of the trouble of printing the invite on the card, I printed it off on a contrasting orange and cut out and glued to the card. Loved how this one turned out.

Halloween Party Invitation Wording

Halloween Party Invitation Wording

Robert Sabuda has several great designs for you to select from and he provides the templates for free! The wording for this invitation could go like this:

Join Joe for his Birthday Party if you DARE,
Ghost, Spiders and Goblins will be there.

The Underground home of the Williams’
Address
Date
RSVP Info.

Make one for yourself. You’ll get addicted!

Resources: www.RobertSabuda.com – Template

Supplies: Craft Paper
Glue Stick

Pop Up Witch Party Invitation

Witch Pop Up Invitation
This is one invitation I tried in my quest for the perfect Halloween Party invitation.  This is a pop up witch.  When the invitation is closed she goes down into her cauldron.  So cute.  I just love all the pop up cards that are free from Robert Sabuda.  He constructs books out of pop up materials and on his website, he has shared some pop up card templates for free that range from easy to hard.  This one is a little tricky but I can’r remember what level of hardness it is.  That will, of course, vary on your skills as well!  You must follow his directions closely step by step.  Once I made a sample out of scrap paper and saw how much space I had for the invitation wording and where it should be printed, I created the wording in a word doc and adjusted the size of my paper to the size of the card.  Then, I printed off the invitation onto the background part of the card.  And finally cut out and glued on the witch.

Witch Halloween Party Wording

The wording I would have used on this invitation is such:
With a hoot and a giggle
And a trick or treat
Expect a good time
And something to eat.

RSVP, yada yada yada. Don’t forget your RSVP info, date, time and location of the party. We just received something from the kids’ school promoting a “fun run” and it doesn’t have the date on it anywhere!!! Rule #1. Include the boring specifics prominently. Soooooo important.  Have fun with your pop up card if you decide to try it.  Would be fun just to try it even if you don’t decide to use it…..kind of like I did with this one.

Resources:  www.RobertSabuda.com (for the Witch and other Halloween card templates)

Supplies:  Craft Paper
Glue Stick
Envelopes (I simply went online to find the color and size plain envelope and bought them in a pack.)