Friday, June 22, 2012

Ninja Party: Dessert Table (Party Part II)

To see the sneak peek of the party invitation, click here.
For Part I of the party (table decor), click here.
Every good party deserves a good dessert table right?   

 I LOVE a good dessert and/or snacks table at a party.  It really showcases the food, gives you more choices (for those that don't want cake) and in our case also give your guests a little something more to take home with them!
Since there aren't many "ninja specific" foods, I went with more of a red, black and white color scheme with the desserts.

Hand dipped fortune cookies, oreos, hershey kisses (with cute little party coordinated stickers on them)...
I displayed black and red Twizzlers in glass vases adorned with ribbon and paper pinwheels (meant to mimic Chinese throwing stars)...
Yogurt Covered Raisins, Strawberries (healthy option) and Swedish Fish - not pictured (mmm... Swedish Fish...).
My favorite dessert project however (and the favorite of the party guests) was the faux sushi:
Made with Rice Crispie treats, assorted gummy candies, fruit roll-ups and Fruit-By-The-Foot.  They turned out pretty cute (if I do say so myself).
Cole requested chocolate cake but I know not everyone likes chocolate cake, so I did white cake ninja cupcakes as well. (free printables from here)
I've learned from past experience that I can NOT frost a cake to save my life (and my sister-in-law who makes the most amazing cakes lives 4 hours away now) so I just ordered a cake from the local grocery store-- knowing I wanted a cake that was as plain as possible (and as inexpensive as possible). 
I ordered the cake-- just plain white-- no borders, no writing.  I got some weird looks both when I ordered it and when I picked it up and said "perfect!"-- but it really was just what I wanted.

Then since the whole reason we were doing a ninja party was because of my son's obsession with LEGO Ninjago (and the black ninja -- ninja Cole- which was essentially named after my son) I took four of his Ninjago mini-figures (washed them with soap and water) and placed them on top of the cake-- no need for fancy (or expensive) custom cake toppers when I already had the perfect solution right in our... toy box. (sounds weird I know, but it worked!)
We had so much dessert/snacky type food that I also bought some clear treat bags (20 for $1 at Walmart) and asked guests to fill a goodie bag before they left (in addition to the kids goodie boxes that they would get at the end of the party.)  I'm happy to report MOST of the candy/desserts went home with other people!

All in all, I was pretty happy with how it turned out and it was a big hit with kids and parents alike!
Oh and the reason that we had to have both a cake and cupcakes (besides the flavors) was this:
Cole got to cut his cake with a REAL Samuari Sword.   He was SO excited!   

And see the back of his shirt.  His birthday party shirt was my first project with my Silhouette Cameo.  I have never been so excited about a t-shirt before, but I LOVED it. (that's the Japanese symbol for the number five- for Cole's 5th birthday)

And a little "behind the scenes" look at the dessert table and the fabric backdrop I created for the dessert table.
So, do you do a dessert table at your parties?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ninja Party: Table Decor (Party Part I)

To see the sneak peek of the party invitation, click here.
For part II of the party (dessert table), click here.

I TRIED to convince Cole to want to have a superhero party or a rockstar party or even a pirate party, but what did he want? ... ninjas.   Ninjas!?  Let me tell you there's not a whole lot of ninja party inspiration out there.  Yes-- I found a few (check out my Ninja Party pinterest board) and yes I used some of their ideas, but there is just not a lot.  Especially when you're talking about ninjas for 5 year olds.

One thing I was sure of, I didn't want to go too heavily on the weapons.  I'd seen the tin foil throwing stars, the ninja sword fighting games and the chocolate swiss roll nunchucks, but I just didn't want to overplay the weapon thing.    I also didn't want to go TOO heavily with an asian theme and it's almost impossible to find kid-friendly dragons that are of the right level of appropriateness (not too child like, not too "adult").  

In the end, here's what I came up with.
Mostly just red white and black, but I added a couple of colorful dragon centerpieces.  

Using scrapbook paper that I got when it was on sale 6 for $1 at Michael's I brought the party theme together...

water bottle wraps, juice box wraps, pinwheels on the food table (to mimic throwing stars but in a "happier" way), and a Happy Birthday banner (seen way in the back of the photo below-- forgot to get a good photo of it on its own).
The blue, white and black color scheme of the karate studio itself wasn't EXACTLY what I would've liked but when you're working on a budget (and in a space that is not your own), you work with what you've got.  To cover some of the wall space I hung some red and white striped fabric (bought in the remant section at Walmart).  

The centerpieces were a total happy accident.  I was browsing the clearance section at Michael's and found these Ni Hao Ki-Lan paper dragon puppet kits.  They were on clearance for 1.99 so I bought 2. I bought the black rocks at the Dollar Store (2 bags at $1 ea.) and the white ceramic planters also from Michael's clearance (and purchased with a 20% off coupon) were $4.79 each.

At first I wasn't totally sold on the colors (as they weren't red, white and black) but in the end I think they ended up being a really good fit-- helping to make the party really kid friendly and adding a "touch of whimsy".  I didn't want to be too serious.
While trolling Pinterest a friend of mine noticed that I pinned directions for folding origami cranes and she offered to do them for me!  I gave her some pre-cut-to-the-right-size scrapbook paper and in a few days she handed me back 25 beautifully folded origami cranes.  Thanks Nicole!  (FYI-- scrapbook paper is slightly too thick for origami-- go with origami paper instead.  sorry Nicole) :)
The table runner idea also came from pinterest.  Can you guess what it is? Wrapping paper.  I got it in the Dollar spot at Target a long time ago simply because I thought it was fun.  Turns out its also the prefect width for a table runner! Score.

I also made some more DIY baker's twine in both red and black and wrapped individual serving size Pringles, used some black and white striped ribbon as napkin rings and purchased the paper straws on Amazon (best price I've found) to pull it all together.  I liked the "look" of the single serving size pringles containers but more importantly no hands in a giant chip bowl-- Hooray!!
And every birthday boy needs his own designated birthday chair right?
I cut a number 5 out of cardboard and wrapped it with yarn.  I think it's one of my favorite projects from the whole party.  I don't know why but I love it!  

In general, I'm really happy with how the table turned out!

Stay tuned because in another month or so (just kidding-- I hope!) I'll show you the food table and other miscellaneous details.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


I'm gonna just pretend that it hasn't been almost 2 months since my last post. :(

It's almost that time again.  I'm in the midst of party planning madness.  Next Saturday we are doing Cole's 5th birthday party!  I can't believe my little man is almost 5!!

Here's a sneak peek:

Cole's ninja obsession continues (thank you LEGO Ninjago) so the challenge is to make trained assassins appropriate for 5 year olds.   I can't wait to tell you about some of the awesome deals I've scored!

For Part I of the party (party table decor), click here.
For Part II (dessert table), click here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Part II

Two posts in one day?! And on a Saturday?! What the...???

The funniest part about this is that we don't usually do much to celebrate St. Patrick's Day (being that we are not Irish) except maybe wear green.  Today, we did all kinds of celebratory things, but none of us actually wore green!  Ha ha!

First thing you should know for this post -- we were not wearing green because we were instead wearing ORANGE to cheer on our Syracuse Orange Men's basketball team in the NCAA Tournament.  Go 'Cuse!  (we won-- on to the 'Sweet 16'! Hooray!!)

Secondly-- green food coloring makes EVERYTHING look completely un-appealing. That and the fact that food photography is hard and I don't have any REAL photography skills so all the pictures of food below look gross, but I promise you everything tasted just fine. :)

So, as you saw earlier today, we had an overnight visit from a leprechaun.  I love finding new traditions-- I can't wait to do this EVERY St. Patrick's Day!
Does anyone else throw all "rules" out the window on holidays and special occasions?  Cole ate 2 chocolate coins before BREAKFAST-- awesome mom or bad mom?  I guess it probably depends on who you ask.  :)
Then we had breakfast.  Green shamrock shaped pancakes and sausage for Cole and I.  And Tom had what I'm calling 'eggs-a-la-pinterest'.  (seriously if you're not on pinterest yet, what are you waiting for?  It's so awesome! Need an invite, leave me your e-mail address and I'll invite you!)


I had the table set in green and white.  
plastic table cloth:  Big Lots $1 (ps-- I LOVE it!  Its cheap, but it was pretty)
12" white paper doily:  Dollar Tree $1 for 18
green paper plates:  iparty  $3.79 for 24 -- makes clean up easy :)
and just our regular white paper napkins for everyday use.

I also put out my new milk glass footed bowl that I got at Goodwill for $1.  I LOVE it!  
I put some green apples in it (unfortunately the apples had seen better days at this point) and a couple of oranges since our day was going to be about both green AND orange!  

We played outside for a while because it was a gorgeous day!  And we got a package from my parents.
which promptly turned into this...
note: the addresses have been blurred for privacy reasons
 For dinner we had meatloaf with green mashed potatoes and green beans:
(warning-- I probably shouldn't even have put this picture up because it looks so unappetizing, but it really was delicious)

And for dessert (the best part of today in my opinion)-- Shamrock Shakes (using a recipe I had saved on pinterest!)
FYI-- we just used mint chocolate chip ice cream and milk and it was sooo good!

And to top it all off, there was a fireworks display in our neighborhood that we watched from Cole's bedroom window-- he was VERY excited about it.

All in all, a pretty good holiday (that we don't usually celebrate)! 

Hope you all had a great St. Patty's Day too!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I'm just going to pretend that it hasn't been more than a MONTH since my last post and just carry on as if I've been blogging right along.  If I just pretend I haven't been ignoring my blog then maybe its not true.  Right? :)

Aaaannnyyyy waaayyy....

Look who came to our house last night!
This little guy snuck in last night and left Cole a pot o' gold!!

He left 5 clues around the house that led Cole to his surprise.
Thanks to a last minute decision to use these awesome FREE printables from One Charming Party and a late night hunt for supplies, we had a lot of fun this morning.  Cole was SO excited about the whole thing.  Thanks One Charming Party for ANOTHER great idea!

 Hopefully I'll be back later today with MORE St. Patrick's Day fun!

ps-- those stinkin' Gold coins were hard to track down at this time of year!

source list:
Chocolate Gold Coins:  iparty   If you're thinking of doing this next year, I would consider buying them  
                                                   around Christmas when they seem to be in abundance (and cheaper)
                                                   -- $4.83
Ice Cream Cups:  I couldn't find these anywhere so I bought a small white tin at Michael's (with a 40%        
                            off coupon of course!) -- $1.20
Paper Easter Grass:  Five Below -- $1.00
Free Printable:     from One Charming Party-- FREE
LEGO minifigure:  LEGO  these are "luck of the draw" surprise packets so you don't know which one
                               you've gotten until you open the package but it can CERTAINLY be done without
                               the minifigure guy $2.00

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Cole's school Valentine's cards.  Idea and FREE printables from here

 Teacher gifts.  Idea/Inspiration from here.
Hope everyone had a great Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Let's Call It a Football Party (so I don't get sued)!

Sorry I'm skipping around a bit, but I just wanted to share my latest party while it's at least a little bit timely.  I'll be back with more details about the "girly party" soon.


#1.  You know the name for the big game that just happened?  It's copyrighted.  So...

#2. We had a "football" party for said big game.  It was a small party, but we had a blast!  (warning:  lots of photos taken with very little natural light ahead)
We kept the "menu" very simple with tailgate type foods (for the most part).  We served hot dogs --both in buns and cut up for the little one...

FYI my mustard and ketchup bottles made a come back.  That was one good $2.00 investment.   I kinda love them!

chili cheese (waffle) fries (which look disgusting in these photos but that were actually delish)...
hot pretzels...
rye boat (and carrots) with chip beef dip...
and pizza rolls.  These were kind of a joke-- we saw them in our local grocery ad (frozen foods).  They were called Cole's Pizza Rolls and since Cole LOVES pizza I bought them.  FYI:  They were gross.
For dessert we had football brownies...
OR if you REALLY wanted to go all out we had SuperBowl Sundaes (complete with green tinted coconut to look like turf).
also looks gross, but was sooo good!

Of course this party would've just been a run-of-the-mill tailgate party if it weren't for the AMAZING and FREE printables that I found all over blogland.  

The snack baskets, popcorn cups, pretzel bags and footballs (for the picks) were all designed by Jen St. Clair from Little Sprout Creations as seen on Hostess with the Mostess-- one of my all time favorite party sites.  They also have beverage labels as well with this collection.  Aren't these some of the best FREE ptintables you've ever seen?!

Oh, and the same cake stand that I used here, here and here (hiding under the green tutu) is back and coordinated well with the help of a scrapbook paper wrap.

The straw flags (for this year's game) and the cupcake wraps (that I used for baby carrots) were found at Living Locurto (whom I've been following for a long time).
how funny are those that say "I'm here for the commercials" ?
The banner and food tent card labels I found on Catch My Party (they are from 9 to 5 Mom).

We also played SuperBowl bingo and had football coloring pages and mazes to keep the 4 year old occupied during the game.  Oh, and the Giants won so we were happy campers here -- even though our REAL team is the Pittsburgh Steelers-- next year :) 

Add to these printable pieces a $1.97 tablecloth from Walmart, some solid green wrapping paper for the background (which I already had), some thin brown ribbon (on hand) and (2) $.20 (on sale) pieces of 12" X 12" brown scrapbooking paper (for contrast on the green tablecloth) and I put together this party (not including food costs) for around $2.50!   
Proof that if you're willing to do a little bit of work, you CAN throw an awesome party on VERY little money.