My sweet J turned seven last month. [And yes, I'm in total denial of how quickly my boys are growing up.] Every year we have a big celebration for J which satisfies my love for planning kids birthday parties. This year I gave him the choice of inviting all his classmates to his party or taking four of his closest buddies on a special outing. At first he liked the idea of a smaller party but then when it came time to making the guest list he proceeded to name all his classmates. What can I say, this boy is friends with everyone. So option #2 was nixed and we decided to invite his entire class [and teacher] to his birthday party. After deciding on the date, time and venue for the party it was time to pick a color palette. J chose green and black and I threw in the white. Have you noticed a black + white + [insert color] trend to our past few birthday parties? I also wanted to [minimally] incorporate J's love of lizards into the birthday party.
I designed a simple invitation with a few lizard-like critters. Designing + printing thank you cards at the same time as the invitations really helps me get them sent out in a timely manner. Using the same thank you card format from the past few years makes the thank you card writing process pretty easy.
I feel like for this party I recycled many ideas from previous birthday parties we've thrown for the boys. There is the standard fabric bunting which is so simple to make and instantly brings a festive feel to a party. Can you believe all this fabric was from my stash? And I used up the last of the black + white striped bias tape I picked up while living in Korea last year. I made a few simple signs out of card stock and attached them to dowels which I painted with white acrylic paint. The signs were placed in simple glass containers with little pebbles. I also printed out letters spelling "HAPPY BIRTHDAY J" and cut them out individually and affixed them to green textured cardstock circles cut out using this circle cutter [you could also use a die cut machine at your local craft store]. I like layers and texture in my decorations so I tend to do a lot of cutting and gluing but you could easily just print directly on to card stock and call it a day!
I also revisited the terrarium centerpiece idea from J's dinosaur birthday party. The boys picked out some succulents from our local nursery and helped me assemble three terrariums. Their favorite part was adding a few lizards in each terrarium. Since J's party was at a local park we opted not to have any organized games or entertainment. Instead we had a bin full of balls + bubbles, both of which got a lot of use. We also set out some paper and fun wood colored pencils [which I bought in Korea, but looks like this online store sells a few varieties] and I was pleasantly surprised that many children sat down and drew a picture or two. In the past we have always given party guests a box of goodies. And although I originally wanted to make some handmade goodies I decided this year to keep the favors really simple. I packaged up caramel corn in long clear envelopes, added a little lizard figurine and slapped on a label.
And for those of you who have planned kids birthday parties before you know how some things don't go according to as planned. I had set up a little photo booth at J's party which I thought would be really fun for the kids. I hung up some black + white gingham fabric [sewed a little pocket on the top and ran some ribbon through it] and placed a few stools in front along with a bucket of random signs. And guess what? I completely forgot to take any photographs at the party. Honestly the kids were running around the park the whole time and I was having so much fun playing hostess and chatting with all the parents who came to hang out I didn't even realize our neglect of the photo booth until after the party was over. Which affirms my belief that it is really a good idea to have someone designated to take photographs at a party, whether it be a professional photographer or maybe just a friend who is a good photographer. On the same note we have no photographs of the food from the party, but we served french bread with spinach artichoke dip, pita bread + hummus, veggies, fruit, water + freshly squeezed lemonade. Appah also fired up the grill and made sausages and his delicious teriyaki-style chicken which he served over rice along with a crisp cabbage salad with sesame-lemon dressing.
So although we didn't make use of the photo booth at J's birthday party we did set one up at home the next day and took photographs of our family. The boys had so much fun posing in their matching lizard fabric applique t-shirts that I made for them to wear to the birthday party. We even got some cute captures for J's thank you cards. All the work that goes into planning a birthday party is completely worth it in my book when my boy says, "Mommy, my birthday party was so much fun!"