Patriotic 4th Picnic Party

The Independence Day holiday is a great time to get outdoors and enjoy the warm weather. Planning a Fourth of July Picnic is a perfect excuse to get everybody together. A cute invitation idea is to mail paper lunch bags with the party details written on them. Ask each guest to decorate the bag with a “patriotic” theme and fill it with some favorite munchies to share at the party.

Decorating in customary Red, White and Blue you can make an inexpensive garland out of plastic table covers; simply cut into strips, and tie them to a string of lights, ribbon or rope. Another great fence decoration is Organic Balloon Garlands, you can hire someone to create these or try it on your own (search You-tube for some DIY videos). Create a classy canopy and mood lighting by tying Red, White and Blue streamers onto big-bulb outdoor lights; hang this above a picnic area or a grassy dance space. Make sure you buy plenty of assorted sized American flags to decorate with and to pass out to guests.

Use Red, White and Blue Bandanas for Place Mats or Napkins. You can wrap the cutlery in Bandanas, ready for guests. Use two colors and sizes of paper plates (Red and Blue). Nest the smaller inside the larger like a charger. The 4th screams BBQ! Make up a Hot Dog and/or Hamburger Bar with a wide array of toppings so guests can customize their own “Bodacious Burgers” or “Humungous Hot Dogs”. Sprinkle Red and Blue Tootsie Pops on the buffet table for a Patriotic Treat! And this is the most patriotic drink I have ever seen! A mix of Cranberry Juice, Blue Gatorade and 7-up over ice cubes – see the recipe here https://www.bigbearswife.com/independence-punch

Play a John Philip Sousa marching CD for background music. Have your guests share what they like about living in America. Have each person talk about some unusual or out-of-the-way place in America he or she has visited. Place Picture books around for guests to browse through, one’s that show scenic areas of the country. Book’s like “The Most Scenic Drives in America”, “Off the Beaten Path” or “Roadside Americana”; If you don’t own any, check them out from your local library. You might consider buying a couple books to use for Door Prizes.Whatever your plans this Holiday, remember to say a quiet thankful prayer for our “Freedom”!

Favorite Stuffed Animal Party

Stuffed Animal Party

All children love stuffed animals, and all adults have had one when they were kids. We can all relate to the comfort and even support these animals gave us. So, having a themed party (birthday or just because) around the idea of stuffed animals is a great way to celebrate.

On your party invitations, invite your guests to choose their favorite stuffed animal to come with them. This gives each child a sense of participation even before the party.

When your guests arrive, sit them all down in a circle and ask each child to introduce his or her stuffed animal. Ask them to share a story about their favorite Stuffed Animal. My daughter lost her “Bear-Bear” when we were out shopping one day and we made up “Lost Posters with a Reward” and put them up all around the area we lived. We put an ad in the paper and posted notices up at all the stores in the mall. She was finally reunited with her Favorite Stuffed Animal. Stories like this will bond the children and let them share something very special.

Then get the kids to make name tags (ID Tags) to tie around the animal’s neck with a ribbon. Have the children cut shapes from poster board in different colors and give the kids crayons or fine-tipped Sharpies to decorate the tags and write their animal’s name.

Another craft can be making sleeping bags for their Favorite Stuffed Animal. Before the party prepare several different sizes of bags. Make them from a simple muslin or felt fabric for decorating. At the party have all sorts of paints, buttons, glitter, sequins, patterned duct tape, etc. so the children can personalize the sleeping bag.

Set up a place with a collection of doll clothes and accessories. Let kids dress up their animals and then show them off in a fashion show.  Award prizes for things like cutest, funniest, prettiest, silliest etc. Make sure you have enough categories so everyone can win a prize.

You can either make a cake in the shape of an animal or buy one and place tiny plastic animals on it. After the cake eating, let each child choose one of the little animals. Or consider making cupcakes with an animal on top each cake, and the choosing will be done right away!

The love of stuffed animals brings children together. It is one of childhood’s great common denominators. And a party like this one involves all the guests in participating to make the party fun and creative.

Have a Doll Shower Birthday!

Many little girls love their dolls, and if your daughter happens to be in the stage (eating, sleeping and talking dolls), organize a doll shower for her next birthday party. Invite her friends to bring their favorite dolls for lunch where the “moms” and their “babies” share the party. If the little mothers come dressed up like their moms, this role-playing party will be even more fun.

Make the invitations in a baby bottle shape and attach to a rattle. Announce that: We’re having a shower for all our dolls to celebrate…….. add to come dressed as your mom! Rent child size tables and chairs if you don’t have some already. Set up tables for guests and for the dolls. Decorate with bright colored table covers, doilies, Tea Sets, Mini Baby Bottles filled with jelly beans, Candy Necklaces for the children and Doll Jewelry for the dolls. Have a basket filled with baby toys (pacifiers, teething rings, rattles etc.). As the children arrive, have them choose an item from the basket. Have that matching item at the place setting on the table (for guest and doll), this will be where they sit. Decorate with colorful Baby Shower balloons. Tie a balloon to each chair or create centerpieces. Build or hire someone to build a Pacifier Arch as the guests enter.

As a craft and take-away item have the children make a Yarn Doll. Fill the craft table with assorted colored yarns, cardboard for building, child scissors, glue or double-back tape for gluing on eyes and other additions. Fill a basket with Buttons, Beads, Google Eyes, Felt pieces and Cloth pieces for making eyes, facial features and clothing. You can see instructions for this project here https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=qoqbsMeMQ8Q

The menu can include Tea Sandwiches (kid friendly Peanut Butter, Tuna Salad, Cheese, Ham and/or Turkey), Blueberry Scones with Whipped Cream, Cupcake Cups filled with Goldfish Crackers, Fresh Strawberries, Punch or Hot Chocolate.

Send your Graduate off with “Aloha”

GradAlohaCollage

Graduation season is upon us. A cool way to send off your graduate to college is with a Luau party to say “Aloha”! With the warmer temps take your party outdoors! Have your local Balloon Décor company decorate with some awesome creations like the Palm Tree above and the cute Flower Centerpieces. If you have a pool or the venue you are using has a pool party area hang large letters “ALOHA” along the fence banked by lots of air-filled colorful balloons flowers. You can do this to a backyard fence too! If you have a tent or rent a tent hang colorful paper lanterns around and use luau colored tablecovers. Make sure you decorate the cake or gift table in the new college colors! If you are looking for some games the classic limbo will always make for some laughter. Enjoy the celebration and send off your graduate with an event to remember!

Cinco De Mayo/Fiesta Party

It’s always our goal to celebrate life to the fullest, but sometimes life gets so crazy we let the little opportunities for celebrations pass right by.  Cinco de Mayo is one of those holidays we always talk about celebrating but our busy lives get in the way–well…no more!  This is the year to slap on our sombreros, grab the chips and salsa and get ready for a fiesta to remember.  With so many fun Mexican themed party ideas, it will be a cinch to plan a Cinco de Mayo party to remember.

Make your own Papel Picado a traditional Mexican craft that features colorful paper sheets with intricate cut-out details. You can easily make your own Papel Picado by layering sheets of tissue paper and using scissors. Fold a piece of tissue paper (lengthwise) in half and then in half again. Make sure one side consist only of folds. Fold the long-folded sheet in half. Mark a dot in the corner that is made up of folds. This reminds you where not to cut. Just like cutting a snowflake, cut shapes along all four sides avoiding the area with the dot. To cut a shape from the middle of the rectangle, fold the paper in half again, and cut a shape into the fold. Unfold carefully and tape tissue paper to a long string of yarn. You can also easily make Mexican Flowers from colored tissue paper. These can go a long way in decorating all areas of the party. You will need to take three different color sheets of tissue paper and lay them on top of each other. Fold over about two-inch pieces one in front then fold behind and repeat until the entire sheet is folded. Then cut a small triangle on each side of the middle. Tie a piece of ribbon around the middle, I just used curling ribbon. Pull each sheet up gently starting with the top sheet. When they are spread out flip it over and twist the bottom piece together. Tie a ribbon around the bottom. This gives them a tighter look. If you want them bigger you can use two sheets of tissue paper in each color then just skip the tie underneath. That’s all there is to it! Balloons are also an amazing way to fill space with color. Call your local Balloon Decorating Company to make up some of these great Air-filled centerpieces. Have them make up colorful Air-filled Balloon Garlands to bank your food table, doorways and/or windows.

Setting a Taco Bar is so easy, just put together your favorite ingredients, that simple! Your guests and family will love the taco building experience because they will fill their tacos and make them whatever they like! Another thing I really like about the idea of a Taco Bar is that you can accommodate a variety of diets, from meat lovers to vegans, and let’s not forget those picky eaters! This also frees you up, so you can spend more time with your guests and family, and of course, enjoy a few tacos yourself! Include Beef, Chicken and fish for fillings along with an assortment of salsas and chips. Rent a Margarita Machine for the day. You can get standard or special flavored margaritas. Whatever you do, make sure you OLE and ENJOY!

Invite the Girls for a Book Party!

Whether it’s your turn to host book club, you want to discuss your new favorite read or want a book swap, this easy-on-you get-together is sure to win rave reviews! Invite the girls to B.Y.O.B. Bring your own book with a homemade evite. Set the mood with the easy focal point using old book pages as the backdrop. Use painters’ tape to tape the sheets to the wall without damage. Hang a thrift store frame and spell out a book-themed message using craft-store letters. Place books, flowers and more pages on the table. Create cute banners using yarn and store-bought cocktail napkins in polka dots, stripes or chevrons and hang them around the room. Make flower vases out of old books. Hollow out the pages of the book, use hot glue to keep it together. Stuff a plastic bag down into to book to fill with water and flowers. The star of the table will be your awesome Book Cake! To Do: Bake 3 layers of boxed cake mix in 9” x 13” pans. Cool. Trim ½” off the short side of one layer and ¼” off another. Drop pre-rolled colored fondant over each layer, trim to fit. Stack layers; use edible pens and extra fondant to create a spine on each book. Adorn the cake with edible flowers.

Since this is an adult party a fun addition is a Bubbly Bar! This DIY champagne bar allows guests to create their own champagne cocktails. Have orange juice, raspberry lemonade, and grapefruit juice along with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and blackberries as the fruit mix-ins. Then to continue with the book theme, make a “Bubbly Bar” sign as well as the library card labels for the fruits. Offer up bites size eats like tea sandwiches, puff pastry appetizers, mini quiches or a cheese and cracker board.

If you are having a book swap, which I adore, make sure you have a table to spread out everyone’s books for examination. Rent some extra chairs for guests to sit and peruse through the novels. Before the party, create a bunch of book related questions and write them down on slips of paper. For example: What is the last book that made you cry? What book do you most recommend to friends? As friends come in, have everyone draw a question and place their books on the table. Once folks have arrived and settled in, go around the room and have everyone take a turn to answer their chosen question. They can also pitch the book they brought, telling the genre and why they loved reading it. You would think that this might be awkward some, but it is amazing to see how the common love of books inspires even the most introverted people to share with other readers. It’s the coolest thing ever.

Spring/Easter Get Together

Easter-SpringParty

Now that the weather has finally settled into warmer Spring temperatures it is a great time to invite friends and family over for a “It’s a Spring Thing Party”! Or basically an excuse to play outside, put together gorgeous flower arrangements, and eat yummy spring treats. The beauty of the generic spring party theme is that you can have one at the beginning of the season to welcome spring, have one in the middle of May when all of the blossoms are in full bloom, or even in June as a goodbye, we’ll miss you spring party!

Decorate with bunches of bright latex balloons around the party area to chase away the drab colors of winter. If you have an entertainment area in your yard consider air-filled balloon garland with linking balloons and 5” balloon collars to wrap around poles. This can be purchased from a local balloon decorating company. Make a bright, seasonal vase using only paper straws, a container and hot glue. Glue the straws on a metal can or other container until completely covered. Fill with spring flowers to create a budget-friendly Spring centerpiece. You can make your own Spring theme Pennant Banner with scrap fabric, which you can find plenty of at the sewing store. Hang the banner around the party area. You can find directions at https://thehappyhousie.porch.com/how-to-sew-a-simple-double-sided-diy-pennant-banner/.

For a great take-away for guests make seasonal pots filled with gardening goodies. Apply chalkboard paint to a terra cotta pot. Once dry, rub with chalk, lightly coating entire pot to cure the paint. Wipe off excess and write or draw Spring messages with chalk or a chalkboard pen.

If your Spring party is to celebrate the Easter holiday let the kids wear Bunny Hats. You can find instructions on how to make them here http://thehousethatlarsbuilt.com/2015/03/diy-bunny-party-hats.html/

Plan your get-together early in the afternoon and take advantage of a brunch menu; I love a Waffle Bar. There are so many options you can put out to adorn your waffles and kids love them too! Serve the adults Mimosas and the children Sparkling Fruit Punch.

There’s a Helium Shortage?

Helium supply has always been a little up in the air (pun intended). With only three sources producing 75% of the world’s helium, any disruption causes a significant impact. Currently, helium supply is very low while demand is growing. Because of this global helium shortage, fulfillment of helium balloon orders will be affected. We’re working to replenish the helium as more supply becomes available. Despite this helium hiccup, we can show you how to use air filled alternative decorations that can still make your party one to remember!

Balloon Columns have always been an air-filled creation. Whether it be on a disposable frame structure or one that needs to be returned there are many variations of columns that can be made. Balloon Arches can be placed on a frame structure too and be air-filled. We have several air-filled centerpieces that can be any theme you choose. They are usually built on a disposable system and weight. The foils can be filled with air and put on a stick. If you are doing this at home you can fill them with a straw inserted in the valve at the bottom of the balloon. We can air-fill linking balloons for you, or you can do that yourself, and you can hang strings of them from the ceiling. Most of the new Organic Balloon décor is all air-filled. Some pieces are on structures other are on disposable framework. If you are adventurous you can find many YouTube videos on how the make garlands and swags. It is very time consuming but worth it in the end. Make sure you purchase a hand or electric pump if venturing on your own, otherwise you may not have much breath left after blowing up a boat load of balloons!

Whatever happens imagination will win in the Balloon Industry, the ideas are limitless!

BOHO Dream Big Baby Shower

DreamShowerCollage

“Dream Big Little One” baby shower theme is becoming more popular. It is developed from a Bohemian design influence. This is associated with people who are unconventional, usually artistic. Many call it a Hippie – Free Spirited style. It is common for Weddings too. Dream Catchers are the focus of this theme and color schemes are very flexible. Focus on Pink or Blue or a non-gender color pallet. There are lots of invitations available online for this idea. I found some cute ones on “Zazzle”. Hang Dream Catchers from the ceiling and offer them as prizes for the winner of shower games. Decorate the cake table with a Dream Big sign and Dream Catchers. Incorporate the feathers in the cake design. Make a tee pee for the gift table out of fabric and dowels, use flowers to match. Tie lots of extra ribbon on balloon arrangements to mimic the hanging feathers of a dream catcher. If you have some extra feathers tie them to the ribbons too! Spell out the baby name (if known) with large 3ft foil balloons and use it to decorate a mantle or a gift/cake table. A fun game to play is “Who’s the Baby”? Ask guests to bring baby photos of themselves. Collect the photos and stash them until everyone arrives. Give each guests a copy of the guests list with a blank next to each name. Number the photos and display them in an album or on poster board. Have guests fill out their forms, guessing who’s who. The person guessing the most photos wins a prize. Enjoy this casual style event and “Dream Big”!

Get Your Green ON!

What better celebration than St. Patrick’s Day! Fun food and lots of Rainbows and Gold! Buy or make your invitations and include a Lottery ticket in each invite! Get your “Lucky” on and come visit us for St. Patrick’s Day! Decorate with Green Shamrocks and use plastic table covers in rainbow colors to cover the walls. Pick up brochures and maps from a travel agency of Ireland. Use them for wall decorations. Make up a great buffet table centerpiece using potatoes, shamrocks on picks and surround it with Gold Chocolate Coins. Add a large smooth stone covered with kisses made by you and some real red lipstick. Mark this stone the “Blarney Stone”. Use two colors of plastic table covers to create an Irish flag on this table. Create or hire someone to build a table Balloon Rainbow Arch. Serve all the food in pots. Crock Pots, Copper Pots and Kitchen Pots. The theme for the table? The “Pots of Gold” at the end of the rainbow. Create another “sweets table” with all sorts of green and rainbow-colored candy. Make a green colored punch. You can find a recipe on FoodNetwork.com (called “Green Punch” by Trisha Yearwood). Use green food color to tint beer or any clear beverage like 7up. Serve all the beverages (no matter what it is) in beer mugs. A great “Photo Area” is the balloon clover backdrop, made with cardboard covered with green paper, latex balloons blown to different sizes: you can find instructions at thehousethatlarsbuilt.com. Here are a couple games that you can play. The first is a timed challenge: Give everyone a spoon and see who can use them to pick out the most marshmallow pieces from Lucky Charms cereal and put them in a bowl. For older kids or adults, make it harder and assign a different amount of points to the different marshmallow shapes. Another game is an easy coin-toss game, with colorful cups made out of construction paper or plastic cups in different colors. Each color earns different points! It’s as exciting as finding a pot of gold. Make sure you wear your green and enjoy!