Our Water-Fairy Themed 6th Birthday Party

Our Water-Fairy Themed 6th Birthday Party

This was a fun one to plan, albeit a new challenge! Last year was the first time my eldest daughter (my middle child) joined in on the party prep. This time, she was ready to be involved in some of the actual planning! It was new version of mother-daughter bonding and a sweet glimpse into the fun ahead of us as she continues to grow and develop her own creative personality.

This year, she has been very much into fairies. It was one of her favorite themes during pretend play this year, and trust me when I say we’ve role-played all iterations (mother-daughter, big sister-little sister, mother-baby, big sister-baby, twin sisters, etc! 😆)! So naturally, she wanted her birthday theme to be fairies. She had also been playing “afternoon tea” with her nanny regularly, as it was their favorite go-to theme while waiting for her brother during his extra-curriculars (over snacks of course). This would work out well, I thought, as a garden tea party fit in easily with a fairy theme!

The planning was going easy, until she had a change of heart at the end of the summer and wanted to pivot to a pool party. That shouldn’t be a problem, I thought. But she didn’t mean to change the theme; just that she wanted it to be a pool party also. When I mentioned that swimming would be hard to fit in with fairies or a tea party, she exclaimed, “I know, we can be water fairies! Pleeeease!” 😭

Well, I couldn’t say no to my sweet girl who has the biggest heart. So, water fairies it would be! 💗

In case you’re wondering, to my knowledge, I’m not sure anyone has ever planned a water fairy party before. Pinterest and google turned up dry for “water fairy party” and “fairy pool party”. So I had to come up with something fresh. I was a bit stuck for a while. Finally, I did some exploration on what water fairies might even look like. These two images stood out to me and ended up inspiring the party concept.

The water lilies, lily pads, and the blue and purple tones of this image stood out to me as ways to cue the water concept.
Similarly, the blue and purple tones and the cross between a butterfly and some mermaid vibes seemed to cue more “water fairy”. I figured the butterfly elements would also be a way to tie it back to a pseudo garden theme.

With that, I landed on purples and blues with a hint of wet mossy green being the key theme colors. The main florals would be water lilies, with small accents of pink and white like there are in the bushes of that first image (and to help tie back to the garden party concept we were still trying to weave in). I also thought blue or purple butterfly wings could be a nice way to merge together the garden and river/water idea.

For the florals, I went with the concept of floating lilies in glass bowls. I incorporated blues and purples into the flower design of the cupcakes. The long runner down the middle of the tea party setup was meant to feel like a river where the flowers and wood pieces were floating, with the mushrooms growing along the bank.
A better view of the floating lilies, which were purple and white. I also incorporated real moss into some of the other centerpiece decor and wildflowers, to cue being by a river or a pond.
One of my favorite details were the little metallic butterflies on the sides of the glass domes and other decor pieces. I came across them purely as I was browsing Amazon for butterfly decorations. They were so dainty and pretty and added an ethereal touch!
Our tea party table setting. Plates and napkins by Kate Aspen and cups from Talking Tables.
We had a second table in the kitchen as well as we needed some extra seating.
Outside, we carried on the theme with floating water lily centerpieces. We added some festive green and mauve pom poms to keep with the color scheme.

For food, we were keen on still going for the afternoon tea theme. Since we wanted to keep it kid friendly, we used non-caffeinated herbal iced tea and also had a sparkling lemonade option. We did also set out some hot tea options for the grown-ups as well.

The morning of the party was a tea sandwich factory day! Luckily, I had some help from my mom, sister- and brother-in-law while hubby helped hang up the decor outside.

To keep it kid friendly (and safe for my gluten and dairy allergic son, who was the birthday girl’s older brother), the menu consisted of chicken salad, cucumber and vegan cream cheese, sunbutter and jelly, and the ham and swiss (made a ham and vegan cheese one separately for him). I didn’t think the kids would love the cucumber ones, but the fact that they were the cute circle ones seemed to make the difference! Cookie cutters for the win!

As for activities, I always try to think of at least one craft or have a couple stations that could keep the kids occupied. In this case, I set up two stations that would be a little easier and encourage more independent crafting, and one station that would be more involved.

To keep with the theme of fairies, one of the easy stations was a “make your own magic wand” station. I didn’t want to have to man this station so I kept it neat and simple with gem stickers, pre-cut ribbons, and pre-glued wands.

I printed and framed the instructions and also made an example with the wands and gem stickers to give the kids an idea of what to do.

The other self-directed station was a fairy-themed coloring table runner. My daughter is super into coloring, so I figured her friends would be as well. And the novelty of getting to do it on a huge table-length coloring sheet kept them interested!

This is the second time I have purchased one of these coloring table runners from this wonderful Etsy seller.

The featured craft was definitely more involved. I came across this concept when initially browsing for fairy themed party favors on Etsy. It was pretty unaffordable to buy a fairy night light for each child. It didn’t look overly difficult to make, and I began wondering if we could just do it on our own.

It did take quite some research on different ways folks have made these. The kids in attendance were mostly ages 6 and 7, and I didn’t want the craft to take up the entire time. Being only one person, I also had to somehow make it simple enough that the kids could do most of it on their own.

I ended up landing on a simplified adaptation of this version for the craft. To make it easier, I pre-wrapped and glued twine around all of the mason jar lids, and only had the kids do one layer of mod podge.

I printed out the instructions and also pre-made a full version to give the kids a vision of the finished product. Laying out all the cutouts made them excited to choose their fairies.
I lay out plenty of mini plastic flowers and twine along the table. Part of getting the kids to be interested is making the table feel inviting and accessible.

The main activity of the party was swimming. I got a couple fairy-themed floaties (basically a ring floaty with wings) for the kids to play with in the pool.

Now, the week leading up to the party, we suddenly heard there was going to be a downpour that day. That was definitely going to throw a wrench in the plans, as one main craft was not going to be enough to entertain so many kids on its own. As a last minute contingency, the hubby thought we should maybe hire an entertainer to help lead the kids in some games. Amazingly, I was able to find a “purple fairy” character with only two days notice who would come do face painting, magic tricks, and singing and dancing.

We were so blessed that on the day of, our prayers were answered and it ended up being a clear day! It was too late to cancel the fairy, so we ended up having extra support. The kids were thrilled to get to do ALL of the activities!

The fairy arrives while the kids are swimming!
We provided wings for each child, and they got to dress up and dance with the fairy! Some of them are still in the swimsuits so I guess the water fairy theme worked 😆

Finally, as a take home, I found these adorable little butterfly favor boxes on Amazon. I got the purple ones to go with our theme, and filled them with some butterfly gummies, a non-toxic kids nail polish, and a little butterfly friendship bracelet.

In the end, it was an action-packed and memorable afternoon. What was extra sweet was that it seemed that the parents all enjoyed the party as much as the kids, as many of them stayed and were able to relax. But the sweetest part of all was at night, when I asked my daughter if it was everything she dreamed of. As she was drifting off to sleep, she snuggled in close, smiled, and said, “yes mama, it was so much more.”

Our Teddy-Bear Themed 1st Birthday for our Sweet Baby Bear

Our Teddy-Bear Themed 1st Birthday for our Sweet Baby Bear

This was a special one. She’s our third and probably last baby. I remember when we found out her due date – which was the same month as my other daughter – one of my first thoughts (embarrassingly) was how daunting it would be to have to plan two birthday parties in the same month. Yet when the time came, it wasn’t daunting at all. It came easily, for the planning process and making it special for her was just was a natural expression of my heart!

While every birthday is special, the 1st is unique in that it is a marker of such a meaningful milestone in our lives. It is the first full cycle around the sun, the first full course through all the seasons, the first full year of getting to know our baby; the only year she is a baby. We get to pause in gratitude for the immense joy she has added to our family and celebrate this little person that we’ve gotten to know – who she is and who she’s becoming.

With each of my kids, I wanted their 1st birthday party to reflect an element of who they were. For my son, it was his big personality and his love for music. For my other daughter, it was the light she brought and how she reflected the sunshine. For this precious one, I wanted to reflect her sincerity, her sweetness, and for lack of a better word, her cuteness.

While she was still in utero, the kids had begun calling her “Jellybean”. The name stuck, and we expanded on it as we got to know her. Her sweet nature lent itself to many nicknames along the way, including “Pumpkin,” “Little Strawberry”, “Baby Bear,” “Josiebear,” and more. As I thought about how to bring this to life, the concept of a dessert bar that reflected her sweetness as well as her many names came about. And since one of her primary nicknames was “Josiebear” due to her cute, round, pudgy self, I decided to wrap the whole theme around teddy bears.

I started by browsing some inspiration online from all the usual sources. However, teddy bears wasn’t as common of a theme relative to the more widely used “woodland” theme for bears. When teddy bears were used, it was typically for little boys. I decided to make the color scheme tie to her nursery colors, which was a mint sage and dusty blush, while weaving in some colors to tie to the concept of bears.

Images from some of her custom nursery decor, which include sage, blush, and gold

The welcome sign had her nursery colors in the balloons, and I incorporated the colors as well as greenery into the decor elements, including these frames which we will use in her nursery after the party
Macarons in her theme colors
I also commissioned a custom cake design that featured a watercolor pattern of her colors with flakes of gold foil. To connect it to the bear theme, I separately commissioned a teddy bear fondant figure with balloons also in her theme colors.

One thing I also like to do sometimes is repurpose some party decorations as actual decor pieces for my kid’s room or for the house, so keeping it consistent with her nursery colors makes that seamless.

DIY’d this monthly milestone photoboard by distressing the wood with sage mint chalk paint.
See this making of video here.

To keep with the general feel of the more natural muted green tones, I wanted the decor to feel feminine, a bit organic and natural, and also tie to the teddy bear theme. I landed on a mix of incorporating the cuteness and fun with an elegant feel.

Found these adorable minimalist bear plates that matched our muted theme
Teddy bear macarons I ordered on Etsy
Our cake table. The wood textures and platters provided a nod to a woodland type of theme while keeping it to our modern rustic feel.

As I mentioned, a key element of the party would be the dessert bar inspired by all of her nicknames. This was a fun challenge, as there were so many discrete nicknames to bring together and somehow still tie in with the overall theme. Here is how it turned out!

The banner introduces the theme and purpose of this area, which I interspersed with her photos and milestone charts to keep it personalized.
Filled these honey bear containers with organic gummy bears to keep with the bear theme
Her very first nickname was “Jellybean” with these other variations! For this, I ordered color themed jellybeans from the Jelly Belly website directly.
Hand dipped these chocolate covered strawberries with dairy-free chocolate
Pumpkin flavored cupcakes with these cute toppers to go with her nickname “Pumpkin”
My baby has a TON of hair that looks like a little bob, so we often called her “Shirley Temple”

For the food area, this was harder to keep themed as I wanted to make sure folks were fed. The only little touch I made here was to incorporate a couple of items that felt woodland “camp” related – namely a teddy bear trail mix as well as hot dogs on a stick (which were really just corn dogs).

Our full spread. The trail mixes were met to cue s’mores and consisted of pretzels, chex, animal crackers, and marshmallows, while the hot dogs on a stick were met to be reminiscent of roasting hot dogs around a campfire. The rest was just for everyone’s enjoyment! My charcuterie board items were all from good ol’ Trader Joes!

All of this set the scene for the party, so next was ensuring there was a flow to the party that would keep our guests (especially the kids) engaged. Since our baby is a lot younger than our other kids, one interesting challenge was that we had quite the range of ages in attendance, with some kids as young as 18-24 months all the way up to kids who were 12 years old.

I started off with a craft that I hoped kids of all ages could enjoy. I set up a painting project where the kids could paint a wood round. They could paint their own design, use stencils, or they could use paint markers. It turned out that guests of all ages really did enjoy this, as we even had some adults join in!

These wood slices were super affordable and great quality, and these paint sets made it easy and mess-free for each kid. I’ve used the bigger jars in the past, but those usually ended up making a huge mess as the colors got mixed up.
These stencils made it easy for the kids to create their keepsakes

Once the kids got settled in, I had an entertainer arrive. It was not easy to find someone who could tie to a teddy bear theme. The closest I got was this Safari Ranger that I told the kids was a “park ranger.” I had her engage the kids with some fun magic tricks before she sat them down to read a book. I selected a heartfelt story about a boy who shares the love of his bear called The Teddy Bear. She then transitioned to making balloon bears and bunnies for the kids (although in most cases, it ended up being swords).

Finally it was time for the birthday song and cake! We gathered the kids around the kids table to sing for our guest of honor. I had purchased this adorable little hat from Etsy to go with her theme.

Lastly, as a token to take home, I put together these themed goody bags which contained a teddy bear keychain, a honey bear jar of gummy bears, these organic bear fruit snacks, and some teddy bear vinyl stickers.

The favor bags contained teddy bear keychains, organic fruit snacks, the gummy bears in the honey bear containers, and these bear stickers, which I split up among all the bags.

So there you have it! We pulled together our last first birthday party for our sweet precious baby bear. It truly was such a sweet day. Many people may never understand, but for me, these moments that commemorate, celebrate, and seal such seasons of significance create such beautiful memories for our family that will last us a lifetime – and in turn, are so worth it.

Pokémon GX themed 7th Birthday

Pokémon GX themed 7th Birthday

It’s one thing to design a party around a theme you are familiar with, and another around one you don’t know anything about. Pokémon is all the rage at my son’s school these days. I’ve never been into it, so this was a world I had to learn and quickly try to immerse myself in.

To make it slightly more complex, he requested not just a Pokémon party but a “Pokémon GX” theme. From what I could gather, the GX isn’t so much part of the show but refers to a specific type of Pokémon card 🤷‍♀️ that is further along in “evolution” and more powerful (but mainly just more shiny, holographic, and therefore fun 😄).

To my knowledge, there hasn’t really been a Pokémon GX party planned before so there wasn’t much to go on. After brainstorming, I decided to keep the overall colors close to some of the original popular Pokémon characters.

I decided to base our color scheme off these three classic Pokémon characters. I leaned a little more pastel to try to bring the colors a little closer together and less contrasted.

To make it a “GX” party, I came up with a craft idea of making their own GX Pokémon cards. I figured they would get a kick out of seeing themselves as a Pokémon card.

To make the craft a reality, I would need a way to print each child’s photos on the spot. After doing some research, I decided on the Canon Ivy instant iPhone printer. It didn’t require any ink as the ink was already embedded in the paper, and the paper itself had an adhesive backer. While the print quality could only be as expected for a small portable printer, it seemed that the colors were a little more true than some of the other competitors on the market. I’m happy to say that we were pleased with the results, and the kids all got a great kick out of seeing their photos print out immediately.

The holographic lamination would be key. I found these self-adhesive ones on Amazon. To make it feel more like a craft, I wanted them to have something to do to make it their own. I ended up designing my own GX card template in Photoshop, customized with each child’s name on it, and printed it on an inkjet printer on clear adhesive vinyl. I also printed the Pokémon card back design on some cardstock via Kinkos.

Transparent vinyl and clear holographic lamination paper, both self-adhesive. Purchased off of Amazon.
I used Photoshop to design the templates, which were printed on clear vinyl. Since these could take on the ink from inkjet printers, they would also be able to be colored on with the right type of markers.

For the holographic laminate, I also cut them down to size, and then made these into little packs that I clipped together for each child.

All of this would go on top of photo, and voila, a Pokemon GX card! This is how the station and craft turned out.

Instructions. Lettering by my hubby since my penmanship is terrible.
The kids were so intrigued they went straight for the craft station even before the bouncy house.
My little ham striking a pose for his card photo
Adhering the clear vinyl template on top of the photo and backer card
The kids could color the vinyls with metallic paint markers
Example of a finished card

The only drawback of the craft was it did require a bit more parental involvement than I liked, as the kids (ages 5-7) needed some help with the different steps, so I did get a little stressed! But overall, it was a hit and took up the perfect amount of time before the rest of the party festivities.

For other activities, I had a bounce house (can’t go wrong) and also hired a Pokémon trainer through Royal Entertainers. The kids, having already made their cards, naturally assumed their roles as GX pokemon characters during the Pokémon training that “Ash” led them through!

Themed food was a little more challenging, especially with the multiple restrictions my poor food-allergic son has. Plus, we still wanted to try to be COVID cautious. I ended up not pushing myself too hard on making the food themed, and just based it off of key colors of some of the characters.

Individually wrapped allergy-safe snacks tied to Pokémon character colors. I made the cutouts from printing them on foam boards and cutting out using an exacto knife.

Here is how the full party came together!

My first time making a paper fan backdrop. The County doesn’t allow balloon decorations at the park, so I took the same concepts as making a balloon garland with all the various sizes and applied it to tissue paper fans. These are secured on a metal frame using 3M plastic hangers and double sided tape.
Gluten-free vegan fondant characters. I had them add Mew Two, Rayquaza, and Evee.
Allergy-free Pokeball sugar cookies
Snacks and favor bags
Our favorite bags included Pokémon character PEZ dispensers (which were very difficult to find…had to piece them together from four different shops!), Pokemon bracelets, a pack of Pokémon cards (split from a large pack and packed into little cellophane snack bags), and Pokémon stickers.
The Pokémon trainer also did balloon art for the kids after the obstacle course.
Balloon swords
Birthday cake time

And there you have it! Our Pokémon GX party. Happy birthday, my sweet son. We love you so much.

A Unicorn-themed 5th birthday for my unicorn-obsessed girl

A Unicorn-themed 5th birthday for my unicorn-obsessed girl

I’m not sure what it is about these magical, mystical creatures but sure enough, like so many other little girls out there, my daughter just can’t get enough of them! Unicorn stuffys, unicorn toys, unicorn dresses – she is obsessed. So when it came to picking a theme for her 5th birthday party, it was a no-brainer!

I initially wanted to see if there was any way to bring a unicorn to our home, but it turns out unicorns don’t really come that readily for hire. I found a couple of places that did something like that but they were very far away, extremely expensive, and did not travel to you.

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Our “Breaking Bad” Finale Party

Our “Breaking Bad” Finale Party

Just yesterday, upon discovering my blog, my friend reminded me of the Breaking Bad finale gathering I planned way back in the day before we had kids, which I had completely forgotten about. Well, lo and behold, thanks to facebook memories, the photos popped up on my feed today – apparently, it was exactly eight years ago that the Breaking Bad finale aired! I suppose before I had kids, I had to take any other opportunities toward which I could channel my party planning passion. 😝 So today, we’re taking a little journey into the past!

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“Twinkle Little Rockstar” 1st Birthday Party

“Twinkle Little Rockstar” 1st Birthday Party

For our son’s first birthday, we did a twist on Twinkle Little Star for my music-loving baby!

When my firstborn turned one, I absolutely wanted to make it special. I know it sounds kind of silly, but as a child, I already loved planning birthday parties, and it was always one of the things I was looking forward to be able to do as a parent! And here I was, finally getting to planning my first one!

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