sneak peek: some birthday party details

One week left until Kaylee’s big birthday bash. My head is swirling with party planning details and I’m looking forward to seeing how it all comes together on the big day with anticipation. I can be quite sentimental when the opportunity presents itself, so we’re holding it at the forest preserve where we got married. However, while I had significantly more time to plan for her party that I did the wedding, I decided to save my sanity and keep things much more simple. I have found that parties held away from home, particularly at a park, offer several great advantages. They are meant to handle crowds so there is usually tons of parking, restroom facilities, tables, and places to play. However, I think it takes significantly more time to organize everything and then figure out how to transport it all. But, I find the challenges worth the extra work, although I must admit I found myself second guessing the decision more than once along the way. Afterall, it would have been so nice to be able to decorate over an entire week rather than just a couple hours ahead of time on the morning of the party without worrying about how I’m going to squeeze all the last minute details in around studying for my final.  Luckily I have people around that help enable my crazy ideas.

I knew I wanted Kaylee’s big day to have a crafty feel, but I don’t have the time to put into it that I did for the wedding. So, I decided to focus on a few crafty things, that I could fit in during nap times, and purchase the rest. With this in mind I started a list of things to make and things to buy. I have to admit that my d.i.y list was a bit ambitious, but I did manage to make her a birthday banner, some of the decorations, and I’m working on the food. I thought about making her dress on my own but stumbled on the perfect one at Baby Gap (which I actually bought later on eBay for 1/4 the price).

At first I thought a woodland theme would be fitting, but when I started searching for party decor I had a difficult time finding anything for kids that didn’t have Disney or Sesame Street characters on it. Finally I came across an owl themed first birthday set  that was seriously C-U-T-E. I could not resist purchasing the pinata and the bib on sight.

The ribbons on the bottom of the pinata release a trap door when pulled to allow the prizes to fall out – violence free 🙂 The rest of the theme is just as adorable, but since I didn’t want to be all matchy-matchy I went with a different owl pattern for the plates, cups, & favor boxes:

I like that they more color in them than the first theme, plus they match the poms I bought from Etsy a few months before almost perfectly!

And, yes, I did feel a bit of remorse purchasing all of these disposable, but we’ll recycle what we can in the end.

I have a huge list of food items to make this week, and it will take me most of the week to get them all done. Last night I made the acorn cookies. The recipe is simple; they are made from Hershey’s kisses, mini Nila wafers, and peanut butter chips. I melted some chips down to use as glue to get everything to stick together. If you want to make them and need more details than that, you’ll find several variations online. They’re super easy and cute. I’m not really a fan of Hershey’s or Nilla wafers and I find they taste like kiddie treats, but that is ok since they’re not for me.

I have also assembled the favor boxes from the supplies I had been gathering over the past couple of months. They consist of crayons, glow sticks, candy, stickers, bubbles (available in the wedding section at Michael’s for a great price), bird whistles (add water to make it sing), and friendship bracelets I made up during an extended nap session. There are eight total, although I am concerned we may have more kids than boxes, but that is where the pinata comes in. I realize having favors and a pinata seems like overkill, but I wanted to make sure the itty-bitty kids got their share without competition from the older ones who might be overly grabby once everything hits the ground. I had high hopes of making owl shaped bean bags too, but with so many other things to do I have lost steam.

I also printed up these great mini candy wrappers available here. They are meant for end of year classroom treats but they work with our owl theme well enough that no one should notice.

I fell in love with a doily vase table setting when I saw them and have created my own versions, but you’ll have to wait until the after pics to see them.

As for the party itself, we’re holding it from 11:30 to 1:00pm (between naps) and we’re planning to grill burgers & brats. I’m going to make up some PB&J for the kids and I have grand plans for a lemonade bar. There’s nothing quite like a great glass of fresh lemonade on a warm summer day.

I didn’t plan any games because this is more of a grown-up party, but there is a playground that should keep everyone content. I also printed out some owl masks for the kids to color if they choose and I plan on bringing along the parachute I bought for Kaylee which tends to be a big hit with the kiddos.

I still have a lot left to do this week. I’m planning on making Kaylee’s cake, owl cake pops, chocolate owl suckers (my first attempt was an epic fail), 3 gallons of lemonade, and fruit syrups. Plus I have to figure out how to transport everything to the preserve in one piece.

Here are some useful owl and birthday links:

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