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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.

Personal Party Photo Thank You Note

Party Photo Thank you Note

Party Photo Thank you Note


This might be one of my favorite thank you notes that we’ve ever gotten! This was an outdoor vintage theme party and it was held in downtown on a boardwalk. Because it was in the middle of summer, the hostess put out a water sprinkler and the kids went wild.

The thank you note was a photo taken from the party. Not only did it have both my kids in it but it had the party girl in it as well! The personal note was written on the back. Now, what is so interesting about this is that the card was an actual photo. Then the backing looked like a postcard backing that was a sticker that was just applied to the photo.

Party Photo Thank you Note Back

Party Photo Thank you Note Back

This particular postcard backing was from Photopostos.com. They are made in the US. They are acid free so the image will keep forever! I haven’t done this yet, but I feel it coming in the near future!

Indoor or Outdoor Birthday Banner

Birthday Banner

Birthday Banner

Birthday banners are fun to hang up no matter the party theme or no matter if the party is outside, in your home or on location.

The paper ones out there are so completely hum drum. I’ve even tried to make paper one and they can be very personal and cute. The party where I photographed this had a paper banner as well.

But I really liked this idea. This is a purchased banner. It was cut in triangles with seams 1/2″ in from the edge so keep it from raveling. And then the top is sewn on to some seam binding or fabric folded over that resembled seam binding. You could totally make this yourself. Use left over fabrics or a specific theme of fabrics for the banner. With quilting at an all time high in popularity there are an unlimited number of themed fabrics out there. No matter if you are planning a vintage, outdoor, bug or halloween birthday party, this idea can be transformed to work.

Now, if I were making this myself, I might sew the seam binding on as it would be the fastest way of doing it……. But, if you don’t sew, you could make this birthday party banner by simply using hot glue or fabric glue to glue over one of the edges of the banner. I don’t have a template for the triangle but I plan to make one of these for one of my kids parties and when I do, I’ll certainly offer the pattern.

Just another way to let your creative juices go. Have fun with your birthday party banner and add some color to your child’s birthday party.

Decorating Flower Cupcakes

Flower Cupcakes

Flower Cupcakes


If you are planning a flower Themed Birthday Party or an Outdoor Birthday Party, having these flower decorated cupcakes will be perfect!

We attended a party where the hostess had made these herself. If you could have seen the kids faces, wow. I don’t know if it was the super cute decorations or the fact that each child not only was getting a cupcake to eat but also a sucker. Ha!

To make the flower cupcakes, they were iced with regular white icing. Use any flavor of cupcake….whatever your child prefers. Take the cupcake and dip in yellow sprinkles. Besides the one shown above, there were also ones with orange and green “grass” or base coat. Or sprinkles. Simply stick a sucker the color of your choice and then add some green taffy as the leaf.

I think I overheard the hostess say that she had seen this done before, not sure where. I just thought these Flower Cupcakes were super cute and a big hit with the kids!!!

Ice Cream Birthday Cakes

Ice Cream Birthday Cakes

Ice Cream Birthday Cakes

Kids and adults alike love to eat ice cream cakes. So, what better time to have them at a birthday party? We have some good friends that purchase ice cream cakes for every birthday no matter if it’s a kid or adult and no matter if there’s a party or not!

Ice cream cakes a wonderful alternative and I’ve never seen an ice cream store that doesn’t make or offer ice creams cakes of some sort. They aren’t always the most creative cakes but what’s to say that you couldn’t get a plain one, take it home and decorate it yourself? I might have to try that and share it with you for one of our parties. Why do you have to do it all???

Depending on the cake, you can experience a few glitches with ice cream cakes. If you don’t plan to eat it at the ice cream store, don’t forget to take along a strong sharp knife to cut the cake. And depending on how hard or soft you want the cake to be when you serve it up, you’ll need to gauge the outdoor temp. The above photo was taken at a party where the ice cream store is right across the street from a water park (aka location of the birthday party). The store didn’t have a knife to share with the host and was relegated to try and cut the cake with a plastic knife!!! It was not a super hot day and it took forever for the cake to get warm enough to serve. Just food for thought!

Extra Towels for Party Guests

Towels for Party Guests

Towels for Party Guests

Are you planning an outdoor water type party? If you are having a summer party, it is just too much fun to have it at a water park, where you can turn on a sprinkler or even at a pool if the kids are old enough!

First off, it’s always good to either put on the invitation or on an insert that your guests should bring a swimsuit, towel and sunscreen. But I don’t care who it is or what age party it is…..someone…..will forget one or more of the required water enjoyment items. We’ve been to 3 water involved parties this summer and at the most recent one, another one of the little girl’s mom forgot to bring her swimsuit. Tragic! Luckily, I had taken my swim bag and it had an extra swimsuit in it! It was about 2 sizes too big but the kid didn’t care. All she wanted to do was play in the water.

So, as the hostess of a party that includes frolicking in the water it would be good to remember extra towels, sunscreen and a swimsuit or two. That is if you have extra you are willing to share. Forgetful moms and/or dads will be thankful!

Outdoor Vintage Birthday Party Seating

Vintage Children's Chairs

Vintage Children's Chairs



When creating a festive birthday atmosphere, it’s important to add personal touches. Do you have fabrics at home that you love? Do you have dishware that you love to use? Or do you have just the cutest chairs and/or tables in your home?

These vintage chairs were brought out for the kids to sit on while at an outdoor kids birthday party. When you have enough to provide adequate seating for the kids, please use these items. They really set the tone and make the party stand out. And if vintage is what you are going for….anything beaten up will look vintage even if it’s not truly vintage.

Don’t have these items yourself? Know someone who does have them? Don’t be afraid to ask to borrow items. I just loaned 3 table cloths to a friend who needed them for a party today. I loved it as I want the items to be used and enjoyed and in my closet, no one will enjoy them. So, crack out those special – vintage items or borrow them and you will not regret it!

Homemade Birthday Cake on Vintage Cake Stand

Homemade Birthday Cake on Vintage Plate

Homemade Birthday Cake on Vintage Plate

Don’t want to pay $100 to $200 or even $300 for someone else to make your child’s birthday cake? Don’t feel comfortable doing cake cutouts and all kinds of fancy stuff? Or don’t have the time to do it yourself? No worries, a regular homemade 3 layer cake can be beautiful and can certainly do the job!!!

This one was beautiful. It was the centerpiece of a vintage inspired outdoor birthday party. Pink on a beautiful pink glass cake stand was perfect. I don’t know the name of the glass but I’m sure someone knows. And making it this way insures that it will taste good! And coming from a mom who has tasted a lot of birthday cakes. I certainly love the parties where the cake is good.

So, if you don’t have the money, time or don’t think you have the talent or tools to make a fancy cake, never fear. Just make a pretty cake. It’s all about blowing out the candles anyway. Did you know that?

Outdoor Birthday Pinata

Outdoor Birthday Pinata

Birthday Pinatas don’t have to be traditional! It is much easier to find a pinata that matches the theme of the party you are having. But if you can find a unique decoration like this one, go for it.

The mom of the birthday girl found this decoration that a local store was about to discard. She took it, filled the center hole with candy and put some plastic in front to secure the candy. This party was for 4 year olds so she knew that her pinata wouldn’t be torn up that much. Even if it was, it didn’t really matter.

So, when thinking of having a birthday party pinata, think outside of the box and don’t feel like you can only use a pre-made pinata. Or even have your kids make one…….who knows.

Outdoor Birthday Gathering Spot

Outdoor Birthday Gathering Spot

Outdoor Birthday Gathering Spot


Many outdoor birthday parties will be at your home but probably more of the outdoor parties that we go to are on location somewhere. At a park, at a swimming pool or did I say at a park? If you are blessed to live in a city that is filled with parks, they are the perfect location to host a birthday party. And don’t forget how important it will be to mark a spot where the party will take place.

When you choose to have a party outside, decorations can be important to anchor where the “party” central is going to be. Another great way to designate the gathering spot is by throwing out a blanket or two. Blankets can add color as well as provide a space for the kids and moms for that fact to sit and enjoy.

I don’t know what it is but putting out a blanket provides a natural gathering spot. If you don’t own a “picnic” blanket, don’t worry. Use a colorful quilt or even a colorful sheet. I will say that a light sheet may be a bit pokey to use a term my daughter likes to use. Enjoy your party and be aware of the items you use to make your outdoor party cohesive.

Birthday Party Music

Birthday Party Music

Birthday Party Music

Setting the mood of your birthday party is just as important as with an evening cocktail party. Besides everyone being incredibly visual, folks are also auditory. I know that I’m not telling you anything that you don’t already know! But when you are planning a birthday party, especially for kids, you get all caught up in the minutia of the party and forget about some of the other important details.

Now that Ipods are so popular, providing your own music can not be easier. Really you can’t go wrong with background music. We’ve been to parties where the music is all kids oriented and others where the music is more along what the parents like. And to my surprise, the kids love much of the adult music as well. As long as it’s up beat, the kids will love it.

If anyone is interested in play lists, let me know and I’ll get my husband on it. He’s the one in charge of music in our house! Just let me know.

Outdoor Birthday Party Games

Outdoor Birthday Party Games for Kids

Outdoor Birthday Party Games for Kids


When it comes to outdoor Birthday Party Games, the old faithful seem to win out over all others. Pretty much any game that can be played inside can be played outside. But not vise versa….. We’ve been to several birthday parties and the best games and activities are the ones I played when I was little! And I’m not even going to begin to tell you how long ago that was.
Outdoor Birthday Party Games

Outdoor Birthday Party Games


Having a water hose attached to pretty much anything can provide a long span of fun for almost any kid. Especially if it’s hot outside. If you plan to do this, it’s always helpful to give the parents a heads up to bring a bathing suit. But even if they forget, up to a certain age, the kids can just strip down to their skibbies. Why not?

I’ve seen all variations of pin the tail on the ??? You fill in the blank. In our outdoor bug party, they pinned the spots on the lady bug. I had at a winter party, pin the parts on a snowman. Use your imagination here but these can be fun for many ages. I will admit that kids that are about 5 or 6 and up have more fun with this game. The little ones don’t seem to get as much out of it and lose interest pretty quickly.

Outdoor Birthday Games

Outdoor Birthday Games

For older kids, sometimes all you need to do is to carry along a bag full of sports equipment. At this party, they had 3 hula hoops set out. This is a skill that ages 5 or 6 and older have got down but much younger they don’t. And throwing a ball back and forth takes too much effort on a parents part. But for older kids, it’s a great time filler. Our super hero party that we’ve highlighted, had an obstacle course outside. I’ve seen duck duck goose done effectively. Face painting. Don’t let the outdoor party part of it throw you. Let your imagination go free and enjoy being outdoor for your kids’ birthday party!

Outdoor Super Hero Birthday Party

Outdoor Super Hero Birthday Party

Outdoor Super Hero Birthday Party


A Super Hero Birthday Party lends itself perfectly for an outdoor party. This party could be held at home or at a park. Very easy to set up once you know what you are doing. Remember these guys are super heroes so make everything BIG!

We’ve outlined all the detail for this very creative outdoor party under the Super Hero category. This particular party was held at the birthday boy’s home. With all the activities outside and the food inside but with how friendly parks are these days, it could all easily be held outside.

Super Hero Birthday Party Details

Bug Outdoor Birthday Party

Bug Outdoor Birthday Party

Bug Outdoor Birthday Party

There are lots of themes that will work for an outdoor birthday party. This particular party was a bug party. Everything revolved around creepy crawly bugs, spiders, butterflies and lady bugs.

To see the full party, click on this link to our Outdoor Bug Birthday Party. Here you’ll see games that were played, activities well suited for outdoors, favors and the perfect setting for an outdoor birthday party……a city park!