Tag Archives: party

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!!


Anchored In Christ ~ A First Communion Celebration

Two weekends ago Holden made his first holy communion. Two years of CCD brought him to this point and he was looking forward to this sacrament….tired of “just” getting a blessing at communion and ready to receive the body & blood of Christ.

We worked on his banner together over Spring Break…he did the layout and I did the hot gluing.


I spent months looking for the right dress pants, shoes and tie. One day while killing time I popped into Janie & Jack and found some brown trousers on the clearance rack for under $20. And while we were enjoying a holiday stroll through The Grove back in December, again, I ran into J & J and found some darling brown wing tip boots for half price. Once we settled on the anchor icon, I knew I needed to locate a tie with said symbol and found one in navy blue from Hobo Ties on Etsy.


No photos were allowed during the ceremony, but here he is with Father Albert after mass…



{Jay just happened to already have a dress shirt with anchors on it! I found Elliott’s sailor inspired dress at nautica.com for under $20. My skirt is Lauren Conrad from Kohl’s, top from Old Navy, pearl & gold statement necklace is from Target and fedora from Kmart!}

Holden had team pictures and a baseball game later that afternoon so we had a quick lunch at In N Out and shifted gears. For his special dinner, later that evening, he chose Lucille’s for ribs.


We hosted a brunch the following morning to celebrate our sweet communicant.

I found some simple little anchor notecards at Target for the invitations and that quickly became the theme of his celebration brunch ~ a nautical nod to this very big faith milestone.


I had a couple pieces of wood laying around in the garage and decided to make a sign with the Hebrews verse that prompted me to go with the anchor icon for this special occasion…


I put a light coat of white on it to give it a beachy, white-washed look, hand wrote the design in pencil and then pained over it with metallic gold and navy blue paints.


I don’t have a good picture of them, but the party favors were a faux succulent pictured on the mantel to the right of the sign and a little bag of peppermint Lifesavers. The succulents were a huge hit. Everyone couldn’t believe they were artificial and was glad they required absolutely NO water!


I saw the Lifesaver idea on Pinterest for a nautical baby shower and had the little paper treat bags, but wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them. The mints were perfect and I added a little label with the verse Jeremiah 31:24 ~ “I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint”.

We have a huge vintage Cinzano poster in our dining area that I covered with wrapping paper to give this space a more cohesive and festive look…


I also hung 2 of these navy paper lanterns over our huge dining table.

The paper plates, napkins, straws & cups are all from either Target or Home Goods. I picked these up months ago knowing I’d most likely go with navy blue & some shade of green.


Fortunately being close to summer, it was easy to find anchor goodies!


{large anchor from Marshalls and “Let’s Set Sail” sign from Home Goods}


For the brunch, I tried to keep things simple. We had a couple baked egg casseroles {one with sausage, cheese & sourdough bread and one with artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, feta cheese and hash browns as the base} They were both a hit, however, I think most of the guests enjoyed the Mediterranean one a little more.


I also made Monkey Bread and should have made two as this stuff is ALWAYS popular and the first to go…


Fruit salad and mimosas are always a must for brunch…


Lolo & Lola ordered a 10″ marble Nothing Bundt Cake and there wasn’t a crumb left!


Holden was blessed with so many wonderful keepsake gifts of his faith, gift cards and a telescope from Gramma Kathy to look into the heavens!

It was another wonderful milestone on his faith journey and I am sad that it’s over. The next big one is confirmation in high school!

In the meantime, we’ll continue religious education and faith formation.

Glory to God in the highest.


Over Spring Break it hit me that Holden’s First Holy Communion was less than a month away and I hadn’t given much thought to his reception and invitations!

I had a color scheme in mind {mostly navy & green}, but not really a “theme”. As I was strolling through Target last week, I spotted these Mara Mi notecards and immediately knew that an anchor was going to be the icon for this big milestone in Holden’s faith journey.


“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” ~ Hebrews 6:19


I’ve also been on the hunt for a tie to complete his outfit for the big day. I immediately searched on-line for an anchor tie and settled on this one via Etsy…



Trying to keep the decor simple and use things I already have. Did a search for FREE anchor printables and found this one that I adore and ties in with everything…



Moving right along…..

Following this very special weekend is Elliott’s big double digit birthday celebration so I am in full swing with the party planning. There is nothing that makes me happier than seeing our kiddos at their parties & celebrations with friends and family.

Feeling anchored and extremely blessed.


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!


Tulle Time ~ A First Holy Communion Celebration

This past weekend Elliott celebrated her first holy communion.

When given two dates to choose from, I decided to go with Saturday the 11th of May so that it would fall on Mother’s Day weekend. My in-laws and mom would be in town and we’d all be able to celebrate Mother’s Day together for the first time, as well.

But honestly the focus was on our sweet, sweet almost 8-year old and her special day.

I really can’t put into words the pride and joy I felt. We were given several blank cards to choose from at the communion retreat and instructed to write our child a note and give it to them the morning of their mass. I tuned out the hustle and bustle, sat and wrote her words from my heart, took her aside and had her read it. She immediately gave me a hug and said, “Thank you, mommy!”

She was confident. She was ready.

Some days she fights me when it’s time to go to CCD, but I’ve never backed down and every time we arrive and I walk her to her room, she runs in and doesn’t even say goodbye. I’m OK with that.

She’s memorized all her prayers and even got 100% on her cumulative quiz. She performed her first reconciliation like a {pro} in early February. I had NO doubt that she was going to make us just as proud as she received her first eucharist.

And proud we were….




{We found her dress at Nordstrom. It’s actually an Easter dress and was a fraction of the cost of their communion dresses sold on-line. I wanted simple and classic, yet with a twist and I think this was perfect. Her little shoes are from Payless and her veil is from the parish gift shop. ~ Thank you to Lolo & Lola for her dress and Gramma Kathy for her cross earrings and matching necklace! XO}

Jay and I hosted a little dessert celebration that evening and I had so much fun planning and preparing for that. Obviously.

I found some sweet notecards at TJ Maxx and used those for the invites. Again, I just format the text and run them through the printer for a “professional” look.


Of course the main color of the day was WHITE so I tried my hardest to stray away from the bright, vibrant colors that I love so much. I knew there was going to be some tulle involved since, to me, that is so light and delicate and reminiscent of the veils worn by the little girls.

I covered our huge Cinzano picture in brown mailing paper and then hung a few embroidery hoops from the tulle. I found a small remnant of while polka dot fabric at Joann’s as it complemented the little dots on her dress.


I’d also seen a balloon chandelier on Pinterest and went off memory when putting that up…


I had no idea what I was doing…just picked up a bag of 10 gold {accent color} balloons and some white iridescent curling ribbon, blew up the balloons, cut a long piece of ribbon, curled the bottom half of it and hung it with tape on the ceiling so that the curly part hung down. Simple as that. I hung all 10 balloons over the center of our big table.


We decided to just do desserts and drinks and I wanted everything to be white. I went with my favorite sugar cookie bars, white chocolate covered strawberries, white chocolate covered pretzel rods, TJ’s vanilla meringues and at the last minute we picked up an ice cream cake for the kids.





It was just lemonade for the kids and beer and wine for the adults…


I finally picked up the stemless wine glasses I’ve been wanting for years for the occasion.


I wanted all the families to go home with a little something so I found some small wall plaques at Dollar Tree, swapped out the ugly ribbon and repackaged them. I think we all can benefit from a little reminder of FaItH & hOpE once in awhile.


FAITH is inspiration for the future.

HOPE never falters or gives up.






The kids chalked up our court with the help of the street lights. Elliott desperately wanted me to take a picture at 10:30pm, but I had to wait until daylight to best capture her work…


Here are some other favorites from the day…









Thank you to all who came to the church for the mass and to our home to celebrate and for all her precious gifts ~ perfect reminders for her down the road of this special day and tokens of our faith.

It was a truly blessed day.

Can’t wait to do it again in two years with Holden.

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!

Snack On This

Holden’s party is just 3 days away and I’m doing as much as I can now to alleviate stress and extra running around in the next couple days. The fact that the party is NOT at our house helps A LOT!

But, there are still little things that need to be done like packaging party favors, picking up plates and napkins and adding a little something extra to plain water bottles.

 The party is mid-afternoon so I figured a light snack along with cake & ice cream would be enough. Elliott had her 6th birthday party at a local state park and the guests created their own trail mix. They really seemed to enjoy it, but it meant packing and hauling lots of extra containers to hold all the items. I decided this time around to pre-make the mix and serve it out of big glass canisters with a huge serving spoon.

: Safari Snack Mix :


This is the perfect thing to toss together to feed a crowd and can be tailored to easily fit with any theme.

Here is what I used…

2-6.75 ounce boxes of Annie’s Ginger Snap Bunny Cookies

2-12 ounce bags of Jungle Animal Cookies {same brand as the pink & white Circus ones}

1-16 ounce bag of Snyder’s pretzel twists

2-4.5 ounce bags yogurt raisins

2-5.5 bags dried pineapple

2-6 ounce bags banana chips

1-12 ounce carton Whoppers

1-11.8 ounce bag coconut m&m’s

2-3.1 ounce boxes of cupcake bites

1-10 ounce bag mini marshmallows

1-20 ounce jar of lightly salted peanuts {served in a separate container on the side in case of allergies}

I just mixed it up in two batches in a large bowl and divided into gallon ziploc bags to keep it fresh until party time!

There are so many other things that you could add and/or substitute into this mix…

Goldfish crackers {I’m not a big fan of the rainbow variety, but they would add lots of color to the mix}

Almonds, cashews or any other nut

Dried cranberries {or any dried fruit}

Any dry cereal {Fruit Loops, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, etc.}

Pirate’s Booty

Teddy Grahams


Bits of granola

Caramel corn or popcorn

Milk Duds

Fritos or Cheetos


Have fun creating your own sweet & salty combination!


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?