Invitation :: Ombre Beach Party Theme

I positively love working with my talented friend Steph on parties for her kiddos. Remember the ridiculously adorable Olivia The Pig party from last year? Yeah… she’s pretty good at throwing parties!This year she conceptualized an “Ombre Beach Party” as a joint party for her daughter and son. I loved the idea and love being a part of her creative process so I was onboard for the printables. Pink faded into blue to honor both genders. She always comes up with a way to make her parties perfect for both and girls. That’s not easy to do, but she sure makes it look like it is.Since they were inviting friends from all over SoCal, she wanted to include a map to the beach they were celebrating on. Here’s what was on the back of the invite.I’m excited to share the actual party photos once she gets them back. Unfortunately I had to miss the party first-hand so I am just as excited to see what she did as you are! Here’s a sneak peak of their beach bash!

2nd Birthday Party :: Pirate Theme

Before I get going on this post, please note that I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY OF IT! I am going to include all I know about the party, but won’t be able to tell you much else if you have additional questions. That being said, I simply had to share how friggin’ adorable this party for my nephew Nolan and his cousin Matthew was! These little boys turned into birthday pirates for the day and their moms – my sis-in-law Kelly and her sister Kristy, put on such a totally darling bash for them. Starting with dessert first, how cute are these cupcakes? They got them and personalized birthday cakes from French’s Bakery in Costa Mesa and topped them with toppers from Top It Cakes & Cupcakes. So dang darling, don’t you think?My absolute favorite part of the party was that they turned the table into a pirate ship. Kelly & Kristy’s parents saw the idea on pinterest and whipped up the COOLEST table topper ever! I love how they used a plastic plant container as the look-out on the mast. So rad.Another darling touch? They built a hill on the beach in front of the house and put a huge pirate flag in it. The kids went bananas for it. What a fun, simple, and totally entertaining activity for the little ones.They also buried a kiddie pool into the sand so that the kids didn’t even need to climb over the sides. So cool!Unfortunately, I can’t find the invite right now to take a photo of how darling they were but Kristy’s designer friend, Christina Merry, did all of the paper items and stickers. They were BEYOND darling. They bought the paper goods, flags, and party favors at Target or Amazon.com. So many fun pirate things!They made individually packaged lunches for “Captains” (adults) and “First Mates” (kids). So cute and so easy to eat wherever you happened to land.The pirate props were a HUGE hit! My boys still talk about being “Captain Hook!” And the favors were banana-boats! Kristy works at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and was able to gift all the kids the most amazing hardcover pirate books! I was floored! (Especially since I give dollar store favors at our parties! Ha!)As always, I wish I took more photos, but when you’re chasing rugrats around a beach and every day I get closer to meeting my daughter, I feel slower and slower, the camera gets pushed aside! It was such a darling party! Argh!

4th Birthday Party :: Lifeguard Theme

The party gods shined upon us once again! In the coastal parts of SoCal, June is kind of the worst month of the year. True story. (Ever heard of June Gloom? Well, it’s tooooooootally real!) Anyway, we somehow picked the ONE day out of the week that was semi-sunny and warm for this beach party. What luck! The party was honestly sandwiched between two of the grayest (even rainy!) days we’ve had. So thankful for that!If you read the last post with the invitations, you’ll remember that my goal for this party was to K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid! I think my math teacher used to tell us that.) And I think we kiiiiiiiiiinda did. I had a bunch of other wacky ideas swirling about in this noggin that I nixed in favor of simplicity… but I think the party was a success even without the mega bells & whistles. (Well… we had whistles. So without the mega bells.) In fact, I think it might have been better without them. Personal growth here, I’m telling you! I’m kind of laughing when I tell you that “I” put this party together because that’s TOTALLY not true! This shindig would not have remotely taken place without my amazing dad who took EVERYTHING over train tracks and rocks down to the beach (this means 5 folding tables, tons of water bottles, juice boxes, food, decorations, etc…), my mom who made 75 cupcakes & insanely adorable cookies, my husband who was a pack animal himself, and my fabulous parents-in-law and aunt & uncle who along with the aforementioned group of peeps took everything back up the rock hill, over the train tracks and into the cars after the party just so that my ‘vision’ would be achieved. And what, you ask, was I doing? Sitting in a beach chair like a bratty beach queen pulling the 8+ month pregnancy card. What a total lame-o! But THANK YOU ALL!Okay – let’s get down to business. I guess I should mention that my son chose a lifeguard theme because he is… duh… obsessed with lifeguards. We’re down at the beach a ton and we have friends who are lifeguards so he’s pretty into them. In fact, he’s so into them that he actually thinks he IS one. He actually spent the last half of the party ‘guarding the tower.’ I loved his idea so we went with it! I painted his name and a lifeguard cross on a cheap red beach chair….… and my mom scored these nuggets of lifeguard props at Home Goods – a skim board and boogie board for under $10 each! Seriously? Done. Forgive the pics – they were taken before everything was really ‘ready’ but you get the idea. I painted more white crosses on clip on $5 red umbrellas from Walmart. I also painted a huge read beach umbrella the same way but never took a photo of that. Use your imagination. Or wait… just look at the photo above and blow it up in your mind. Got it? Good. I searched the WWW for an appropriate piñata but had no luck. My husband had just gone camping the weekend before so I stole the tent box and made a one that would keep my eyes happy. (For those interested, I taped it all together using an additional box, spray painted the whole thing red, then covered it in tissue paper that I cut to look fringe-y.) Normally I would say that this was the PITA* but it totally wasn’t. It was pretty fun to make. (For those of you who aren’t familiar with my language yet: PITA = Pain In The A**)Earlier this month, I had taken some photos of my birthday boy by a lifeguard tower. I got 99 cent plastic frames from Walmart and put a few of them in there. You get what you pay for and they wouldn’t stand up so I collected some beach rocks to prop them up. Sometimes things like that are blessings. So much cuter with the rocks holding the frames in place.The party was from 4-6pm so we just ordered pizza, got a chicken salad from Costco, some grapes and veggie trays along with the cupcakes and cookies and that was that. Water got dressed up for the occassion but it was the first party I think we’ve ever thrown without alcohol! I didn’t know we were capable of that! It’s illegal to drink on the beach – which helped us out in the K.I.S.S department. Less to bring down (not that that was my problem! Ha!) and no one seemed to mind. The birthday boy is actually kind of an artsy dude and he had one major request from Crafty Jan: Shark cookies. Good thing she can deliver. These sharks swam fast… right into the bellies of all the little lifeguards at the party.Crafty Jan also made the cupcakes… all one million of them! I swear there were so many and I was SO thankful for her help! See how little I did for this party? She used edible sugar paper for the crosses. How clever is that? She even made the new 4-year-old a super special big one. Since lifeguards HAVE To have red trunks, that was a no-brainer. All the boys in my family wore them. But we got Brooks a pint-sized lifeguard hat from Hobie and I ironed ‘his’ logo onto a white shirt so he would look legit.As favors we gave each kiddo a whistle. What. The. Hell. Was. I. Thinking? I swear! I’m pretty sure I made some parental enemies after that decision! “Hey kids! Come to a party, eat lots of sugar, and I will send you home with an ear-piercing whistle.” Awesome. I’m sure next time he goes to one of his friend’s houses he will come home with a drum set in retaliation. I was also set on giving out sunscreen – but if you’re a beach bum like we are – you know that this stuff isn’t cheap. Well… it is at the dollar store! How much? Uh… less than a dollar! (Though I wonder how potent dollar sunscreen is. It’s gotta be expired or something, right?) It was the idea I liked… I guess I didn’t really think about the fact that we may have sent everyone home with ear-drum ruptures and burnt skin. It pained me so that the sunscreen was orange and not red, but in my new desire to keep things on the less wacko side, I just put a “thanks for coming” sticker over the orangest part of the tube. (What is wrong with me? I was thisclose to getting out red nail polish and painting in the “SPF 30.”)So that was basically it as far as decor went – though what you’re not seeing are 3 cute kiddo tables and the big red umbrella. I haven’t really been myself this pregnancy as far as taking photos. Now onto the really cool part of the party! The lifeguards!We are fortunate to have really, really, reeeeeeally cool friends. Friends who do your kids really, really, reeeeeeally amazing favors. Friends who are current & ex-lifeguards who stop everything in their day to make your kid’s birthday the best day of his life. Yep. That’s the kind of people we know and we are BEYOND grateful, you have no idea. Our friend Alyssa is a current lifeguard and got the OK to give a ‘public ed’ for our party of lifeguard wanna-be’s. She drove her ATV down to our tower and let all the kiddos crawl all over it. Can you imagine how insanely cool you would feel as a kid doing something like that? Um… they did! Then she sat them all down and talked to them about what it takes to be a lifeguard. How cute is that?Our other incredible friend, Laurie, happens to a former lifeguard as well (and she was also a Jr. Lifeguard instructor which was perfection!) and the two of these gals basically ran the entire party for us. They had all the kiddos stretch and warm up for lifeguard training. Isn’t this the cutest? Then it was time to get down to business! After running around the lifeguard tower to get the blood flowing, Lifeguard Laurie had the kiddos do Watermelon Races around my husband. (Alyssa had to take the ATV back to HQ… how pro did that just sound?)These weren’t just ordinary watermelons though. They were lubed up with Vasoline to make them slippery. It was so cute to watch them trying to keep hold of these suckers!The watermelons were practice for if you had to pull a slippery person out of the water. Good training technique, don’t you think? Next we got out four hula hoops and the kids had to dive through them like they would dive under a wave. I don’t have photos of this because I was helping hold the hoops but it was also a hit.Alyssa left Laurie with some “beach flags” which are cut up pieces of hose and are used in Jr. Lifeguard training all the time. Laurie had all the kiddos lie on their tummies facing me, while she and Lifeguard Assistant Brett (my huz!) hid the beach flags all over the beach behind them. They had to jump up really quick and grab as many of the hoses as they could. (This is the 4-year-old version of this game. There is a more sophisticated version for older kids.)The crew ate it up! They loved it! And we loved the fact that they were getting so tired.As if it couldn’t get more legit, Alyssa left each kid with a lifeguard coloring book, bookmark, and tattoos. Isn’t that soooo awesome? I honestly have the best friends in the world. I am still so humbled that they would help me out like this. We took a break from the games for awhile but just when it was time for the piñata, a lifeguard in a jeep drove up. He was nice enough to let Brett use the PA system to call all the kids over to take a crack at it. I really love our town. Nicest people in the world, I swear.We grabbed two of the dads that were there to hold the strings of the piñata since there was no real place to tie it up, and note to self: tent boxes are pretty indestructible. We kind of ended up dumping out all of the candy after everyone got a good crack at it and the thing still wasn’t broken. I guess that’s why you don’t DIY.  I found red lunch sacks at Target for suuuuuuuper cheap (look in the ziploc bag section! They have navy blue too!) and just put a sticker on them that said “Brooks is Four” so kids could scoop up the candy. Didn’t really get a detail shot of those, but you get the idea.We had a big parachute that we were planning to use underneath it so that the candy wouldn’t be buried in the sand, but the littler kids thought we were going to play with it. Therefore, sandy candy for all! We nixed the parachute and I am sure we sent each kid home with a chocolate, sugar, and sand combo plate. I mentioned I tried to keep the party small in the last post… Well, above is what a small party looks like in my head. It was perfect – even if it was not necessarily small – and I love everyone in that photo. I just don’t do small well.This kiddo had the very best day in his entire life. We took him to the beach this weekend and he did NOT want to put on his blue trunks. He only wanted his lifeguard trunks. I have a feeling there will be holes in these red ones by summer’s end. Speaking of ‘the end,’ after all of the manual labor I forced upon my incredible family in getting all of our gear back to our cars, we stayed down at the beach with both sets of the grandparents and my aunt & uncle and roasted marshmallows (and may or may not have snuck some vino down there. Shh… Don’t tell the lifeguards!) It was the perfect way to end the day.And let’s face it… my boys needed another hour or so of running all that sugar off! Lifeguard Cakes signing off!

4th Birthday Invitations :: Lifeguard Theme

My lifeguard’s son’s 4th birthday party is this Thursday which also happens to be his last day of preschool. Double celebration time! It was my goal for this party to keep things SUPER simple and NOT go overboard. It’s hard for me to pull in the reins because I really looooove thinking about parties. Like dream about them and stuff. I’m not saying this a good thing. Actually, if you think about it, it’s a little messed up.It’s especially hard to stop myself from overdoing it when the party is at my house… It’s so easy to tweak this or that or add ‘just a few more things’ when you’re living amongst the chaos. Because I am 8+ months pregnant, and because I am putting both this party together and hosting another one on Saturday, and mostly because my son so kindly wanted a lifeguard birthday party (and why would you have one of these at a house?), we are taking this bash to the beach! I have MADE myself keep things low key and easy and I think a mid-week party at an offsite location was just the right trick to keep my craziness at bay. That being said, here’s a look at the invitation, which could be a little on the overboard side. But remember… I really do love this stuff. The invite is a funky shape – about 3.25″x11″ – (and actually all the invites got sent back to me because I didn’t put enough postage on them the first round! Ugh!) and I sent it in totally awesome clear envelopes from Clear Bags. I printed a lifeguard cross & “4” design on the back of the actual invitation so that it would show through and put the address labels on the outside of the clear envelope. To disguise the birthday information, I place a ripped sheet of sandpaper over the front of the invite so you’d actually have a reason to open the envelope and see what it said. If I were in my psychotic prime, I would have lined the back of the sandpaper with a cute pattern but I left it as is…. ugly Lowe’s pattern and all. I actually think this is a mark of growth for me. Let it be! Move on! It is a party for a 4 year old not the Queen of England!! (Oh but I love this stuff! Such a teeter totter of emotions, invitation making is! Ha!)The state lifeguards in our area have bright red jackets with blue patches that have the California bear on them. I wanted to incorporate this into his invite to make it more legit.Our beaches also have a warning flag system for water safety and I wanted to mimic that idea as well. I could only come up with “Birthday Flags” but I am sure that there is a better idea out there. My brain has been 100% fried by my baby. Here’s what the front of the invite looks like without the sandpaper.And that’s just about it! To keep with the low key idea, we just invited our families and Brooks’ close friends and classmates. It’s been a little tough but I guess I am realizing that kids probably don’t need 80+ people at their birthday parties! (BUT. IT’S. SO. FUN! See? Teeter totter! I have to admit I like myself a blowout!)More to come after the big bash on Thursday… Let’s see how mellow I can make this thing!

Sneak :: 4th Birthday Party

I’ve been a busy bee over here! My sister had her baby last week, my sister-in-law is having hers next week(ish), and I’m putting together two big shebangs that I can’t wait to share with you! My son’s 4th birthday party is next week so I made this piñata for the occasion since I couldn’t find one pre-made like this. (I know… shocking right? You’d think the Swiss would have a piñata shop for God’s sake!) Any guesses on the theme this wacky boy of mine chose this year? Stay tuned! More to come!

1st Birthday Party :: Bouncing, Balls, Balloons, & Fun

My friend Lindsey approached me a couple months ago with a great idea for her son Ryan’s first birthday. She had been searching for invites that included the themes of balls, balloons, and bouncing – since they were getting a bounce house – but couldn’t find just what she liked. She was a joy to work with because she was set on her vision – which makes my job so much easier! I created some printables for her (available to purchase right here), but she was the true party genius here. Everything looked SO bright and FUN! I didn’t know that they made frosting so bright! They matched the color of the balls so perfectly.She set up a blow up pool with balls for the little ones, had a bouncy house for the big kids, had the most amazing face-painter to keep the kids (and Ryan’s cute dad Marc!) happy, and had a crafting station where the kids made necklaces out of Froot Loops. It was a smashing success. Above every doorway was a garland of bright paper balls she strung together. From the front door, it looked so darling. Here’s shot of the Froot Loop table, but what I love most is her genius use of balloons. Are those helium, you ask? Oh no! How smart is this? She blew them up and taped them to the ceiling. This is brilliant on a lot of levels… no need to rush to a balloon store the day of, but also you can leave your doors open, let the breeze in and the balloons stayed put throughout the party. I am SO stealing this idea! So so so smart!She framed photos of her sweet boy in bright frames and placed them all over the house. I really love first birthdays with little touches like this. There is something so dear about that first year of life and I get choked up looking at baby photos! It’s like the end of an era… he’ll never be a baby again… so it’s sweet to honor that first year.Another thoughtful touch was that she painted a birthday plate just for him that he will use every year on his big day. His two big sisters each have their own as well. She displayed it by the food and it just made me happy. What a great idea and dear memento he’ll get to keep forever. She used bright gumballs as decor and even replaced the candles in their sconces with balls. What a cute touch!Chevron fabric anchored the food.And she even tracked down “RYAN” soda! How perfect… and in bright colors too! They must have known she was throwing a party!Each kiddo went home with bubbles and I have to tell you, this was one of the most fun parties my little guy has been to. He loved all the activities and bright colors. And it didn’t hurt that his buddy’s dad turned himself into a tiger for the day! Isn’t this the cutest party? Great job Linz! (And Marc! I am sure you were enlisted to help as well!)

Invitation :: “Thinka Zinka” Beach Bash Birthday Party

One of the more unique requests I’ve gotten lately was making an invite for a “Thinka Zinka” birthday party held at a local beach. Remember Zinka? That awesome neon sunscreen you’d put on your nose and cheeks in the 80s? How funky! I guess this cute 9 year old is really into 80s surf culture and loves neon and bright colors so that’s what he got! His mom is a blast to work with and I’m sure with all of her creativity, the party turned out fabulous!