Tag Archives: birthday

Rolling Into Double Digits ~ A Skating Party

Let me start off by saying, “Second post in as many days.”  It’s a miracle! We have a rainy afternoon and the kids got out early….that translates to perfect blogging conditions.

Last weekend we celebrated Elliott’s 10th birthday. I wanted to combine it with Mother’s Day weekend since my mom would already be in town {her actual birthday is May 29th}. We talked about what kind of party she’d like and since this was a milestone birthday we decided to go big! I suggested going to the roller rink since that’s what I did as a preteen/teen back in the 80s. At first she turned her nose up at the idea, but then seemed to warm up to it. I promised her that it would be FUN! Mind you, she had never roller skated before. She has ice skated several times and was pretty good at that, so I figured she’d catch on to roller skating quickly. I had intended to take her skating before the party, but that never happened. Oops!

I ordered her invites through Merriment Press on Etsy to make things simple…


These were formatted as 5X7s so they cost a little more to print {I did Target Photo, but had them sent to my home which was a lot less expensive than printing them to the store. If time permits, I suggest doing this!} and the envelopes were harder so source. I went the most economical route by grabbing some small manila envelopes at Dollar Tree and trying to pretty them up….


She wanted to do a little photo booth so I found these Kate Spade photo props at Home Goods…


The party was held at Northridge Skateland. We ended up doing a shared party which means that the rink was closed to the public, but there would be 2 other parties going on at the same time as ours. Turns out there was just one other party so that was great and made it less crowded.



We were allowed 50 skaters for our party and were given wristbands to hand out. Once the guests had their wristband, they were free to get their skate rentals and hit the floor {literally AND figuratively!!}




The party was from 5-7pm so I wanted to serve “dinner”. I was pleased to find out that you were able to bring in your own food. The only outside food not allowed was pizza. I went ahead and made things simple and ordered pizzas there and brought some snacks and drinks on my own. Elliott wanted to have her favorite, Chex Mix, and I made a couple trays of 7-layer dip for the adults to enjoy. I brought water bottles and 2-liter bottles of soda. They supplied ice which was great.




The birthday girl requested a Red Velvet Nothing Bundt cake…


She was afraid that everyone wouldn’t like red velvet so she asked for some mini 2-bite cupcakes, as well…




After we sang, she went into the birthday blaster and was able to grab little papers with numbers on them to trade for tickets and redeem for prizes.


Party favors were funky knee high socks that I found at Dollar Tree and 99¢ Only. My mom also made some cute patchwork boxes and I filled them with candy and a little note of thanks…



{I finished them off with pink and white baker’s twine.  😉 }


{selfie with the birthday girl}


I was extremely impressed with how the party flowed. I wish we could have had an extra 30 minutes because the crowd was just becoming more graceful on their skates and then all of a sudden it was time to go. LOL But everyone seemed to have a great time and couldn’t wait to go back. Our personal hostess, Christine, was awesome too. She helped set everything up, served the pizza, refilled the tortilla chips, cut the cake, bagged up the gifts and loaded the car with us.

Holden has asked to have HIS 10th birthday party there.


Many thanks to my friend Courtney and staff for an amazing evening celebrating our sweet Elliott!!


Right On Target ~ A Laser Tag Birthday Party

Last fall Holden went to a birthday party at the local laser tag place and immediately said he wanted his 8th birthday party there. This mama party planner still loves hosting a good themed party, but after almost 10 years of birthday parties, I’m more open to letting someone else do all the work and having it “off-site”, as I like to call it.

I usually have a good handle on his February party right after the new year, but this January was full of flag football, the flu and lots and lots of post soccer season soccer games so I found myself scrambling to get the invitations out and didn’t have time to make them on my own. I found a cute one on Etsy and went with that. The digital file was just $7 and I had them printed at Target {4X6} for 19 cents a piece.


I reserved the party and made a deposit on-line. Easy peasy. The words “absolutely NO outside food or drink permitted” are utter disappointment for control freak party planners, but I took a deep breath and channelled my inner Elsa and just LET IT GO. I even had to order the cake through them which was the hardest part for me. I can handle pizza and sodas, but the cake?? And I almost brought my own coordinating plates, cups and napkins, but decided to keep it simple and go with what they supply. I did grab an “8” candle for the “mystery cake” and some balloons at Party City for a festive touch.

The party package included 10 guests and came with 2 hours of play {3 games of laser tag and 10 tokens per guest}, 2 slices of pizza/person {3 pizzas} and unlimited soda refills. Our hostess, Eliza, was great and kept the party moving along nicely. We ended up getting out of there just in time….apparently this is the weekend hot spot for teenagers and they started to take over around 7:30 right when the party was wrapping up. We practically had the place to ourselves for the first hour, though.

As a $12 “add on” they have a party wheel that the birthday boy/girl can spin and win anything from a free pizza, to more tokens, to extra tickets, etc. Holden spun and landed on 1000 tickets which basically translates to a absurd amount of cheap little trinket toys or ONE big cheap toy which he chose in the form of a disc launcher ~ a $12 disc launcher which retails at your local Dollar Tree for well…a dollar! Ha!


About a month before the party I came across some lightning bolt pajamas on clearance at Target. I scooped up 10 pairs, discovered there was a Cartwheel savings for an additional 20%, used my Red Card for an additional 5% and BOOM the party favors were done!


 I also picked up some brown craft paper bags at Dollar Tree, took a Sharpie to them and created a target to fit with the theme. The manila mailing tags are from Staples and the chartreuse polka dot washi tape is from Joann’s.


 {Disclaimer: the generic Pop Rocks were not my first choice, but they were made in the USA and not China so I rolled with it! 😉 }




{Waiting for the guests}






{Holden hits the jackpot}



{Pizza from next door at Pizza Del Sardo}


{Pretend this is a red velvet Nothing Bundt Cake, K?}



{Please note the $12 disc launcher 😉 }


I must say that this party was right on target. The seven and eight year old boys were in their element and sweaty messes when all was said and done! Unfortunately, I didn’t get all 12 kids to sit still long enough for a group shot {yes, I actually thought that was going to happen}. I loved holding it on a Friday night because that left the whole weekend open.

The best part was that I did not stress at all. Not once. I even chaperoned a fourth grade field trip earlier that day and was still standing. Throwing cozy intimate parties at home is nice, but giving up the reins and letting someone else run things is sometimes nicer.

Many thanks to all the gamers who came out and helped Holden celebrate EIGHT! He sure did enjoy your generous gifts all weekend long.

We love you to the moon and back, Holdy! You’re a blast to be around and we pray you have many blessings, adventures and laughs on your way to NINE.


Daddy, Mommy, Sissy, Riggs & Rassy

Curbside Birthday ~ A Game Truck Party

This past Saturday we celebrated our PS3/Minecraft/Skylanders/Wii lovin’ little man with an early morning game truck pajama party. How’s that for a run-on theme? While doing my research on local game trucks, I noticed that the rates were lower if the party was held before noon. I was shooting for a 10am-12pm time slot, but only 9am-11am was available on the date that we wanted. I immediately said “yes!” and the breakfast menu/pajama party was born. What first grade boy wouldn’t want to roll out of bed on a Saturday morning and step into video game heaven for a couple hours? And then follow that up with some donuts & sugar cereal?

It was perfect.







Invitations were homespun and printed on brown paper blank notecards with which I mod-podged on a little mustache to tie in with Mario & Luigi of the Super Mario Bros. fame. I realize the mustache craze has been around for awhile, but I’m still drawn to the whimsy of it and thought it was perfect to weave into this party.


Each guest had a VIP access pass to claim upon arrival.



The game truck grub was simple and included both sweet & savory treats. The mini cereal boxes were a must as well as monkey bread, homemade Cinnamon Toast Crunch donuts and a sausage & hash brown casserole. In hindsight I could have grabbed two dozen bagels from Noah’s instead and called it a day, but……..












99¢ Only had cute mustache mugs which I picked up for the coffee bar and a little take home for the mamas.


Party favors were a pair of Skylanders socks, Mario Bros. fruit snacks and cinnamon red hots tucked into a glass mason jar with a lid. I’ve become obsessed with this little dollar store find since the holidays. I also included a little note to thank Holden’s guests and a recipe for his favorite smoothie {the girlies got a 3-pack of super cute dollar store neon mustache socks}.




I can’t say enough good things about the game truck company. Our game master, Jeff, was awesome and got the kids up and running in no time.







Two hours was PLENTY of time and Jay and I were actually surprised at how unrushed it seemed. Once the truck pulled away for the next party, we gathered around, sang and had “Skylanders Rice Krispie Treat cake” and Creeper cake pops!






This was the easiest party ever ~ curbside service and nobody had to come inside the house. Holding it in the garage was a great excuse to sweep and straighten up, too!

A HUGE thank you to all the little gamers that came out to celebrate with Holden. He had a fantastic time and told us this was the most epic party ever!

After over 4 years of blogging, these birthday party posts are my absolute favorite to write. I love reading other blogs and seeing how their parties come together and where they gather their inspiration and supplies.

Thanks to Jay for all the great pics. There are TONS more, but I’ll spare you. 😉 He rented a camera {Sony A7} to try out for the party and was pleased with the results. It’s a great way to try a certain model before you jump in and make the purchase. You can also rent lenses, too!

Here is a list of the vendors & services we used:

VIP Access Passes: instant download from luluCOLE on Etsy

Birthday Poster: CSSdesigns on Etsy

Creeper cake pops: Tickle Me Sweet

Game Truck: Game On Game Truck of Santa Clarita

Camera Rental: lensrentals.com

Camp Ocho ~ A Glamping Sleepover To Celebrate “8”

We cheated and celebrated Elliott’s birthday a little early this year {her actual birthday is May 29th} with a small sleepover {deep in the woods}!

She and I decided to do a girly campout by taking it up a notch and embracing all the joys of camping, but with all the benefits of home. I thought it’d be fun to get a huge tent and sleep out in the backyard, but after seeing a snake in the park at Holden’s soccer party the other afternoon and knowing that we have nocturnal critters that scamper around the backyard changed my mind real quick. We just went with the good ‘ol bring your sleeping bag, pillow and favorite stuffed animal and crash in the living room option.

As I’ve mentioned many times before, planning my kids’ parties is labor of love. I always have a theme in mind literally 12+ months in advance and pick up things here and there and stash them away until party time. I hit all the Target after holiday clearance sales and keep my eyes peeled for things at Dollar Tree and stuff throughout the year that fit with the theme.

For the invites, I just used some darling blank notecards that I got on clearance at Target for under $4. I spotted the camping stickers well over a year ago at the 99cent store anticipating a campout party in our future.


I’m loving the big chalkboard that I painted lately ~ it’s so fun to change up the message…this time it welcomed all glampers.


I was offered to take home a manzanita centerpiece with dangly crystals from our friends, Francis & Melissa’s, wedding about a month ago. I repurposed it in a little tin bucket and hung a couple hot pink paper lanterns in the corner of our great room.


After Easter I found some Spring-y decor marked down 75% at Target. I grabbed the last tablecloth and sort of worked off that color scheme. Oh and it didn’t hurt that we had her first holy communion party last weekend…I left up the balloons and hoops which coordinated well, I thought.



{cafeteria trays are from Target and collapsible camo water bottles are from 99cents Only…..and are BPA free!}


{banner is Spritz from Target and I added torn bandanas from Wal-mart}


I found matching jammies at Justice on super clearance and bagged them up in brown paper gift bags with glittered initials ~ just use a stencil or freehand your letter with a pencil, outline letter with school glue, fill in letter with small drops of glue, smooth around with a q-tip to cover the whole letter and then douse in glitter. Let sit for 10 minutes, shake off excess glitter and lay flat until completely dry. Gramma Kathy picked up the zebra peace sign tags ~ every second graders favorite combo. Thanks again, Mom!



{Moose Creek sign $1 @ Goodwill. Forest animal friends wrapping paper for photo booth back drop 90% off after Christmas at World Market}

I searched our three local Goodwill stores for some afghans for a granny chic vibe. It took a few months to settle on three that I really liked and that the price was right…


{to “disinfect” thrift store finds like these, just machine wash in warm water using your favorite detergent, add a little extra fabric softener than you normally would in your Downey ball, hang dry or dry in dryer and then spray with antibacterial Febreeze}

For the cake, I decided to do a DIY ice cream cake. I found the ice cream in a square box {at Wal-mart}, not a carton, and just tore open the box and cut layers of ice cream to stick in between the two layers of cake. I just baked the cake in a 9X13, cooled it, cut it in half before adding the layer of ice cream. I cheated and used Betty Crocker frosting ~ the smaller container covered this cake perfectly. Keep frozen, but let sit out 15-20 minutes before cutting and serving.



I sent Jay and Holden off to the movies and dinner and invited the mamas to come over and hang out for a bit. We ate chili and cornbread and the girls had biscuit pizzas, mac n cheese and Elliott’s favorite, cucumbers and ranch.


{cupcake liners and picks from Sur la Table}



{Goodie Bags are my fave ~ journals: free @ REI, mini notebooks: Target, branch pencils: TJMaxx, critter hair pins: Justice}



We went to the pool for a couple hours secretly trying to get them tired out!





The girls got all showered and in their jammies at the pool…



{lots of screaming and peace signs}

After dinner my friend Hollie set up her projector and they watched a movie in the backyard…


…followed by ice cream cake…


Then a few photo booth antics before hitting the sack…






They were all tucked in their sleeping bags by 11:00pm watching something on the Disney channel…then at a surprising 4:45am they were all up chatting with the lights on! I went down and started a pot of coffee and cleaned up the kitchen. By 6:00am most of them were asleep again only to be awoken by the smell of donuts and icing & sprinkles waiting to go atop.


{Hello Kitty was on her best behavior}



I had a big thing to attend at church yesterday, so the campers were packed up and ready to return to civilization around 8:30…



Needless to say, I was EXHAUSTED, but obviously it was well worth it!

EIGHT is a big year….halfway to a driver’s license! Yikes. How can that be.

There was lots of swimming, squealing, Justin Bieber-ing, running, jumping and laughing.

I think it was perfect.

Thanks for sticking around through this long post and all the details. I love reading party posts on other blogs and learning about how they all come together.

I use this blog as a sort of digital scrapbook for down the road so we can look back and remember all the milestones, birthdays, celebrations and day-to-day goings on.

As always, I thank you for your readership and for following along!


Birthday Safari ~ Holden Turns Six

When it comes to our kids’ birthday parties, I always have two things in mind….

Keep it simple.

Make it special.

This year we decided to have Holden’s party at the Wildlife Learning Center. We’d never been there, but learned that they do parties so I thought it’d be something different and educational at the same time.



To keep things extra easy, I scheduled the party in the mid-afternoon from 2pm-4pm so that I didn’t feel I had to serve a whole meal or heavy snacks since that would be harder to transport, keep cold, etc. I just made a huge batch of Safari Trail Mix for munching on and served two-bite cupcakes and mini ice cream sandwiches {the cutest & perfectly kid-sized ~ Ralphs/Kroger brand}. We had mini water bottles from Trader Joe’s that I covered in leopard print duct tape to keep with the theme.


{easiest party trick ever}

A big thank you to my talented friend, Richelle, who helped place and hang the decor as she is the event planning guru…


{embroidery hoops with remnant fabric purchased from Joann’s ~ all 3 hoops cost less than $5 to make}



{the “H” is just a piece of cardboard that I covered in yarn and the “6” is from the dollar bins at Michael’s}




The first 30 minutes of the party is a presentation of several animals with facts and a chance for all the kids to touch said critter.







{my fave, the porcupine}





After the live animal presentation, the kids went on a little tour of the grounds to meet more animal friends…










“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Holden, Happy Birthday to you!”



I really try to make the party favors useful {which probably translates to boring for the kids, but perfect for the parents!}

The kiddos went home with some safari band-aids and a little mini B&BW hand sanitizer for their backpacks or lunch boxes…



The 3 and under crowd took home fun little monkey melamine plates…


…and the under 1 year old guest went home with a pair of giraffe mittens…


{ok, so I don’t know how useful mittens are in So Cal, but they sure were cute!}



This non-profit was a pleasure to work with and the two ladies that ran the party were so great with the kids and very knowledgable. The only thing that bugged me was that the pavilion where the presentation and the party is held is right along the main thoroughfare and we had a few “party crashers”. I got irritated enough and kindly informed them that it was a private party and they went on their merry ways, but other than that, I think the safari-goers had a fantastic time and all seemed very engaged and interested.

The weather couldn’t have been more beautiful. I was a little worried since we had some rain and lots of wind earlier in the week. Holden showed up in shorts and flip flops. Cannot ask for more perfect February weather than that!

I am always reminded each year as we celebrate our kids birthdays of the special group of friends that we’re blessed with in our lives. I loved that this party was a gathering of old friends that have known Holden since before he was 2, new friends that he has made this year in kindergarten, sweet next door neighbors and friends & family that traveled all the way from Orange County and San Diego.

And then there are the same friends who, year after year, are my cupcake passer-outers, clean up crew and schlep-everything-to-the-car helpers. Thank you to my Stevenson Ranch ladies ~ Karen, Melissa & Janet for always lending a hand. We may no longer be able to meet at the park and chat once or twice a week, but I still love you, of course, and will always remember those times special times we spent together before school came and interrupted our social life! Darn it.

THANK YOU to all who came ~ we loved having you there to celebrate Holden’s special day with us.


Cannot believe our baby will turn SIX tomorrow…


It’s been a WILD 72 months, but we wouldn’t have it any other way!

We love you to pieces, Holdy, and hope you enjoyed your party and celebrating with your friends ~ both animal and human!

Splash ~ A Mermaid Party


Another birthday party down in the books…this makes party number twelve between the two kiddos. I LOVE planning their little parties ~ this year for Elliott we decided to do a small sleepover to celebrate turning SEVEN.

She decided on a mermaid theme and I was immediately on board! Give this mama a theme and she’s immediately in action…scouting out little goodies, trinkets and treasures.

I found the invites at Marshall’s for $3.99! They came with 8 invites and 8 thank you notes…since we were keeping party small this year, these totally worked.

Elliott wanted to go to the pool with her friends which totally made sense. The weather here had been HOT for weeks, but the day of her party was supposed to be in the high 60s/low 70s! I thought about canceling the pool, but the mermaids suited up and spent about 2 hours swimming, jumping, splashing and diving.

{Matching nightgowns from Target for 50% off were part of their goody bag…they showered, shampooed and got in their jammies before we headed home}

{I also found some cute shell bracelets at our local drug store for 75% off months ago}

{The seahorse bowls and plates were from a random Kmart visit ~ 75% off before Christmas. These also went home with each guest}

{Above the table, on a big branch, I hung some Dollar Tree paper lanterns and a few jellyfish made and handed down from my friend, Mia}

{my mom made these seashell jars last summer and I filled them with Dum Dums}

The food was fun and easy…

{eating sushi after the pool}

{my four-legged [octodogs] didn’t quite look like the ones on Pinterest}

I invited the mamas over for drinks and appetizers, too. I threw together a quick 7-layer dip and picked up a sushi platter at Trader Joe’s. My neighbor, Sun, brought some Korean BBQ on a skewer ~ yum!

The mama mermaids sipped what I called Mermaid Tail Martinis ~ Vodka, Malibu, pineapple juice, blue curacao {shake that in a cocktail shaker and pour into a martini glass} add a splash of Sprite and float a mango mochi on top. I premixed a pitcher of the drink and then shook it with ice as needed. Do not add the Sprite before shaking because of the carbonation. Ratio: 2 cups vodka, 2 cups Malibu, 2 8.45 ounce cans {or the equivalent} pineapple juice, 1 ounce blue curacao. Makes 8-10 servings. The mochi can be found at Trader Joe’s and is like a little ball of ice cream.

The mochi sort of melts into the drink and makes it creamy. One mochi lasts for about two drinks…there are only six mochi to a pack so I needed to stretch them out and it worked perfectly for each guest to have one.

The cake was just a four layer cake with vanilla cream cheese buttercream. The girls also had Elliott’s favorite cotton candy push pops.

{candy sushi made with halved powdered donuts and rice krispie treats topped with a Swedish fish and then wrapped with a strip of fruit by the foot [I used Market Pantry brand from Target]}

{they drank blue lemonade out of little plastic coconuts from Dollar Tree}

The mamas left around 9:00 or so and then we were on our own to get the girls to bed! I cleaned up the kitchen while they watched their favorite Disney Channel shows and all four were asleep by 11:00pm ~ I was shocked.

7:00am wake up call courtesy of Holden!

I told Elliott she could choose any cereal she wanted and she decided on Fruit Loops…a special birthday treat. She also wanted monkey bread, but wanted to call it {mermaid bread}.

After breakfast, they lined up and I did glitter nails with polish from her friend, Emilie…

I also borrowed a mermaid cardboard cutout that my friend Mia also did for her twins’ recent mermaid luau party and we took some fun pics before the girls headed home…


Not gonna lie…I was exhausted at 11:00am Sunday morning when the little mermaids swam back to their mamas!

But it was the perfect little homespun birthday celebration and I loved every minute of the planning.

Screaming/giggling/singing/dancing first graders are lots of fun.

Jay & I survived our first sleepover!

Tomorrow is the REAL birthday for my {almost} Memorial Day baby.

Where do the years go?

Stripes & Polka Dots

The circus came to town this past Saturday {Holden’s actual birthday} and it was nothing short of chaos ~ beautiful chaos.

We packed almost 60 {59 to be exact} clowns, big & little, into our circus tent and I think everyone had a grand time.

The day started off with Jay taking Holden to get donuts in the trailer…


The invites were just thank you notes that I flipped over so the {thank you} was on the back.

{The cards are from Target and the stickers from CVS}

I fell in love with the detail on the envelopes.

This theme was so fun to plan ~ stripes, polka dots and LOTS of color are right up my alley. About a year ago I found these little monkey flags at Kohl’s for like 49 cents and used them to start the circus craziness.

A huge orange star greeted the guests on the front door…

My friend, Hollie, made this cute “Happy Birthday” sign for the front yard.

If you’re local, you can rent it and have it personalized for your special birthday someone. Contact me and I can put you in touch with her! So fun.

Gramma threw together this “5” banner…

I picked up a rainbow of fabrics and made a little bunting to hang across the fireplace…

{just get 1/4 yard of fabric, rip into 1 inch strips, cut those strips in half, loop around a long piece of twine ~ voila!}

My mom found some polka dot paper lanterns at Pier 1 and I hung 2 of them above our big dining room table…

I love the way they look and want to get some solid colored ones to leave up permanently!

I filled my sconces with bubble gum and stuck rolls of tickets on top…

The large ticket sign is from Kohl’s for cheap…

Gramma Kathy got the clown piñata at Party City {this was the first piñata we’ve ever had!}

{I stuffed with Dum Dums, Smarties, Mott’s Medley gummies and Florida’s Natural Fruit Nuggets}

What’s a circus without popcorn?

Circus animals with sprinkles are also a must…

I made myself a gum ball necklace based on this tutorial.

Gramma schlepped her sewing machine up here to make this shirt for the birthday boy…

Of course we had to feed all the circus-goers…

I found Cotton Candy Liqueur and made this sangria…

I made a 5-layer ombre cake in cotton candy blue…

I found cotton candy sherbet push-ups at Target {Market Pantry} as modeled here by our darling neighbor Miss Nataliyah and her beautiful mama…


Making a wish and blowing out the candles…

I wanted to set up a photo booth backdrop in the backyard, but it was too windy…the kids bounced in the jumper, hit the piñata, played Wii and ate WAY too much sugar!

Our little clown friends were sent home with some practical party favors ~ socks! Striped for the boys and polka dots for the girls…

I also made little bow ties for all to take home…if you didn’t get one and would like one, please let me know and I will whip one up.

The bigger boys {that are too cool for striped socks} got to take home a box of Bottle Caps…

A huge THANK YOU to the following:

Mia for the props and photo booth stuff

Hollie for the Happy Birthday sign

Karen for the popcorn machine

Alina for the jump house

Sun for her face-painting services

Cheryl & Janet for being my sous chefs

Gramma for her sewing skills

Jay for his photography

Here was my {pin}spiration for this party.


I love putting these parties together for my babies ~ it truly is a labor of love.

Thank you to all who came and helped us celebrate our little clown. He loved having all his buddies there and is such a lucky boy!


This was my happy view from the couch the next morning…


I didn’t think I ever wanted to see another paper plate or plastic fork, but I’ve recovered.

When’s the next bash?

The Circus Is Coming To Town

Once Holden’s FORTH birthday was over, I immediately went into pick-a-theme mode for his FIFTH {coming up in about a month}.

Remember this post?

Well, since then I wondered if a circus/carnival theme was too overdone ~ if he was too old since most of the parties I saw were for one, two and three year olds…I toyed with coming up with more of an original theme.

But, ultimately I decided to stick with the {5} ring circus theme with a side of carnival and I am obsessed with pinning, googling, bargain hunting and menu planning.

I recently came across this soiree which is breath taking…honestly there are bajillions of carnival parties out there on the interwebs that are magazine material.


Does that not scream fun?

Well, I can say that I am certainly having fun jotting notes down in my journal and hunting for all things carnival related on my shopping travels.

Click here to see my board on Pinterest…if you dare.

{Just let me know if you’d like an invite and you could be pinning tonight!}

Easy Breezy Brunch

My Mom/Gramma celebrated her 70th birthday over Labor Day weekend.

We knew all along, obviously, that we wanted to do something extra special to celebrate and toyed with the idea of a surprise party, a gathering at a fun Mexican restaurant overlooking Lake Hodges, a formal dinner party or appetizers at sunset. We decided {just 2 weeks before the party} that it would be a beachy brunch.

I sprung into action and set out to find all things turquoise, blue and green! I picked up these simple seashell notecards at Michael’s for just 75¢ a pack, quickly drafted up the inside, printed them and popped them in the mail.

The same day I found the invites, I also picked up four colored glass bottles at Ross on clearance for $2.49 each…

You can see a couple of them in the pic above ~ the other two were perched on the mantel and in the entry way. I also found a cute, beachy sign that said “Sands Of Time” that I leaned up again the bottle that greeted the guests at the front door {unfortunately no pic, but that was also just $2.49}. The turquoise branches were recycled from Elliott’s party in May.

The tablecloth was just a huge piece of burlap that I bought at Home Depot thanks to the idea from my good friend and fellow party planner, Lisa! It was less than $4 and fit the table perfectly. I liked the fact that it was rustic and wrinkled and gave the impression of sand on the beach.

I tried to keep the menu easy and delicious, of course. I chose to do a couple of the breakfast casseroles that can be prepared the night before and taken from the fridge to the oven the next morning for stress-free entertaining. I did one with sourdough, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes and feta adapted from here. Then I did one with the hash browns, sausage, onions, red peppers and cheddar. {see how it comes together in the link above} They were both a huge hit. I named the menu items after San Diego beaches ~ Coronado Breakfast Casserole, Wind N Sea Breakfast Casserole, Fiesta Island Fruit Salad and Mission Beach Monkey Bread.

We sipped on champagne drinks ~ mimosas {OJ} and hibiscus {cranberry juice}

For desserts I made the cake batter blondies, picked up some mini cupcakes and a mini new york cheesecake…

I used some coordinating ribbon {75¢/roll} and made some little picks for the desserts.

It was great to see so many friends from throughout the years…

{Playing “Happy Birthday” on the maracas!}

Singing, making a wish and blowing out the candles…


I really did enjoy throwing this together at the {last minute}. I did what I could here at home like make the paint chip buntings, plan the menu, make the blondies and shop for a few decorations. I made my grocery list, shopped in San Diego and knocked that out the afternoon before the party via Trader Joe’s and Albertson’s. What I love about brunch is that it is extremely affordable ~ all the groceries for about 40 people were approximately $75. I decorated and prepped the casseroles the night before so all I had to do before the party {started at 11am} was put together the fruit salad {bought pre-chopped melon and added grapes} in the glass jar, make the monkey bread and plate the desserts.

Invites, paper plates, napkins, utensils, cups and decor were about $30…everything else I already had or utilized from my mom’s already beachy house!

It was the easiest, breeziest {to-go} party and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

Mom/Gramma, we hope you enjoyed visiting with all your precious friends and neighbors. Here’s to a wonderful, fresh new year ahead for you! We love you very much and are fortunate to have you in our lives.


I could never stay long enough on the shore, the tang of the untainted, fresh and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought. ~ Hellen Keller

The sea, once it casts it’s spell, holds one in it’s net of wonder forever. ~ Jacques Cousteau

Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson