Saturday, August 31, 2013

Sunshine & Lemonade - The Credits.

Would you look at that?!  I'm posting on a SATURDAY! OMG.  It's like when I was younger and I saw my teacher out in normal clothes lookin' like a normal person.  Weird.  Really weird.
Anyhoo, I just want to wrap up the birthday series by answering some of the questions I received... We'll revisit some lemonade recipes later but, for now, we're done!
The party was a success!  Now, as with the end of any great show, it's time for the credits.
I also want to take time to thank the PEOPLE who helped make it happen.
I talked about what Munch wore (here).  I didn't, however, share that she made a request of the family.  She had me call her grandparents, aunts and uncles to tell them the party uniform, lol.
"Grandma, girls are wearing yellow and the guys are wearing pink!"
Everyone thought she was confused and quickly flipped the colors so the girls wore pink but she was very clear:
"No, no.  The girls wear yellow and the guys wear pink!"
Let me just say the word spread like wildfire.  The family showed up ALL wearing the uniform.

Mom, Sheena, Devona, Deb and Tati I can't thank you ladies enough.  Devona, you saved my life the day before and day-of.  Thanks a million!

Other Supporting Cast Members include:

- Cupcakes and Cake Pops: Chef Joy
- Dessert Stands: Pick Your Plum
- Mason Jar Lids: Pick Your Plum
- Table Linen: Smarty Had A Party
- Lemon Favor Cookies: Crows Custom Cookies
- Party Printables: Stock Berry Studio
- Favor Buckets: Party City
- Custom Lemon Sugar Chapsticks: Amber Glow Creations
- Lemonade Stand (cardboard store): Ikea

I think that answers all of the where-to-go questions.  Please feel free to comment with additional questions.  I'm happy to help!
With the birthday party out of the way, we're ready to go back to school :)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Sunshine & Lemonade - Fun & Favors

I've already mentioned that I was set-up 20 minutes before the party time, right? 

Well, that's all thanks to Devona. 
She was a blur day-of so this is one of the only pics of her, lol.
While I was awaiting our guests to arrive, Devona was at the grocery store picking up supplies, at the house making sandwiches and grabbing the food to bring back to the venue.  She came the day before too but we'll talk about that soon enough. 
Anyhoo, I had help... That's a major deal for me, Islanders!  Mom brought the food with her, Hubbs ran to the store for more drinks and, what made it EXTRA great, people were still on their way when the party started.
There is an old me who would have a panic attack at the thought of my buffet NOT being set-up on time.  The new Better Me (remember? read about her here), however, was cool.  We were dressed, set-up and ready for fun on time.  The food would be outside, it's probably better that it arrive a little later.  No worries. 
About 30 minutes in, we were ready to start.
I announced that we were celebrating Munch's birthday with o-LEM-pic events.  Some events would have prizes, some would be group competitions but all would be fun.
The first event of the o-LEM-pics was the coloring contest.  I gave the kids 5 minutes to color.  The person with the most completed and all-around best picture won:

While the judges deliberated, the kids and I moved to the dock for event #2. 
The Lemon Drop
I purchased the large bouncy balls (on clearance at Target) and had each competitor try to bounce the ball on their head.  The person with the most bounces won a prize.  It wasn't easy at all but they had fun trying!

I chose a winner and promised a prize right after the next event.

The Lemon Squeeze
I divided the group into 2 teams.  Each team had a daddy on the team.  They had to place the large ball between their legs and carry it to the water and back, then hand it off to the next person in line to do the same.  The first team who finished won.
They had a blast and had even more fun cheering the dads on when they ran to the water!
We finished the relays and headed over to collect the prizes.  The judges announced the Coloring Contest winner:
It was Chazzy!
Can you see her prize?

I purchased everything from the Dollar Tree.  The pitcher held a box of lemonade gummies, a box of Lemon Heads, and a silicone change purse. They were only $4/each and I loved the idea of a pitcher holding the goodies!

The final event is a tradition at Munch's birthday parties.

The Dance Contest 
I played a snippet of a song for each child who wanted to participate.  We had high kicks, wiggling, Ho Down Thrown line dances and more...  While the judges deliberated, the kids got to do The Wobble line dance, it's Munch's fave:
Cousin Jayla won the dance contest (she did gymnastics and everything)!  After the dance contest, Hubbs passed out the favors:
The kids were ready to play in the sand...
O, wait.  You haven't seen the favors yet!
Here are the lemon sugar chapsticks and bubble inserts:

I used paper shred to hold them in the buckets and placed them, along with the prize pitchers, on a small round table (thanks, Devona, for letting me borrow your table):

The kids quickly dumped out the paper shred and headed for the sand. 
We concluded the afternoon with the water bomb fun I told you about earlier (here).
It was a great day full of great fun!
Munch being carried to the car by Uncle L. because she "didn't have shoes."
*Rolling my eyes AGAIN* 
The party was so much fun that people didn't want to leave.  We transferred the fun back to our home and folks hung out until close to midnight.
I guess that is my proof that we had a great event; people didn't want to go HOME!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Sunshine & Lemonade - The Sweets Buffet.

Over the years, Munch's birthday cakes have become a focus of her birthday parties.  I spend a lot of time finding a design I love for her birthday cake.  This year was no exception.  I found 2 cakes I loved:

I gave Misty the color scheme and asked that she come up with a cake that was perfect for the theme.  The thing about fostering a great relationship with great vendors is that they learn your taste and, over time, can do the work with minimal supervision.
Misty and I have that kind of relationship.  She is an AMAZING baker.  Super talented and super sweet.  We have more than a client-vendor relationship; we're friends.
I love hugging her - what?! The chick smells like cake alllll the time.  She crafts and bakes and sews and is amazing.  Like, at her core.
If you want a good cake made by a good person, you must check her out and tell her I sent you.
Anyhoo, she is willing to go to the moon for me.  On her busiest of days, I know Misty will do anything for me.  Anything.
Munch and I arrived at 8:30 pick up the birthday cake.  I just LOVED it.
On my way out, I reminded her to send me the Paypal info for payment and she said, "what if I don't want you to do that?"
I stopped in my tracks and glared at her saying, "ok, cash then?  I'll go get cash."
"Listen, you're my favorite client and this is my gift to Zion. " *turns to Munch* "Z, you look beautiful today, sweetie.  Happy Birthday!"
Hugs.  Kisses. Squeals.
See?! Toldya, she's amazing.  O and so was the cake:
Misty put a lemonade stand on the cake!  She made a mini Munch and even put $.07 as the price.  I just love everything about it!
It was a great focal point on the dessert display.
Because the party was outside, I decided to keep the cupcakes and cake in my car until it was time to eat them.  This beach was awesome because there were NO bugs... but still... I just didn't want the ONE bug on the beach to land on my pretty desserts so I chose to play it safe.  Here's the layout:

Chef Joy made her yummy cake pops.  The pink were strawberry and the yellow were lemon.  They were a hit!
Chef Joy also made from-scratch pink lemonade cupcakes and they were amazing! 
One of the challenges of our venue was the fact that there were no walls.  I had pennant banners and signage that would NORMALLY be placed on walls.  In this case, I had to get creative.  I hung them on the front of tables - the food table had a triangle pennant banner, the lemonade stand got a banner, etc.  For the dessert buffet, I knew I wanted to hang 'Happy Birthday' somewhere.  I decided to use 2 of my tall jars to create an anchoring centerpiece:
I tied the 'Happy' banner around the jars and anchored the poms on top by tying a string around a lemon (inside the jar). 
It worked out perfectly!
I was able to create the illusion of wall space in an open park setting - woot!
Just before the birthday song, Ryan and I ran to my car, grabbed the desserts and placed them on the table.  A few quick pics:

... and it was time for the birthday song! Sure, we re-lit the candle *like* 3 times to make sure we got the pic but who's judging?  Not my sweet Islanders :)
Tati and I cut/served the cake.  The top tier was strawberry and the bottom was lemon. We wanted to be sure we cut both tiers so I moved the remaining chunk of the top to the side.  I didn't realize it would become Munch's piece of choice.
Tati said it was Munch's birthday so she could have whatever she wanted with no judgment.
*rolling my eyes*
See you tomorrow for more party fun!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sunshine & Lemonade - The Set-Up.

The beach I reserved for Munch's birthday party had five large picnic tables.
I decided to designate three of the picnic tables for kid's activity tables, one for adults and one for food.

The kids' tables had hot pink linen and coloring pages:

The adult and food tables had white linen. I tied it all together with yellow table runners.
Of course, after the coloring contest, all tables were freed up for adults because the kids were too busy running around :)

Mom brought pink and yellow fabric flags (I hung on the playground fort) and a cute beach umbrella.  Please note while Darren was trying to set the umbrella up, it inverted but was still very cute:

Photo Courtesy of Tati.

I placed a few simple centerpieces throughout the party area:
Mason jars + ribbon + flowers + lemon slices + straws with drink flags = FAB AND EASY CENTERPIECES. 

These arrangements fit the theme perfectly!

The food table was on a slight incline so the bench for sitting made a perfect drink station while the table top was great for the food (hot dogs, chicken, pasta salad, summer berry salad, fruit salad, mini mac-n-cheese).  I also loved the buffet labels:

My mommy wrote in the frames!  She also made 90% of the food - love her!

I found the small frames at Michael's.  They are usually $6/6 and sold in the baby shower décor section.  I found these in the clearance aisle for $.50/6!!!  We added scrap book paper to create simple buffet labels (thanks, Deb)!  You'll def see these again :)

In case you're wondering, I packed lunches for the kids in yellow paper favor bags:

Pringles, lemon sandwich cookies and turkey sandwiches (thanks, Devona)!

For drinks, I purchased lemonade juice boxes for the kids and had a variety of lemonade flavors for adults (berry blend lemonade, pineapple lemonade, homemade lemonade and strawberry lemonade) and bottled waters:

Do you see the water mixers? 

I used a Target candle jar (lemonade-scented) to hold them!

Thanks, Deb for gluing the water bottle labels!

These adorable mason jar lids were the perfect drink topper.  I've always seen them online but they are very expensive (like $18-$24 for 6!).  I was so pleased to find them on a Pick Your Plum daily deal for only $6/dozen. 

'Queda and I rolled the cutlery well in advance:

Party City had yellow napkins but I found mine at Ikea.  The difference in price?  A total of $6.  I got 250 quality napkins for $3.  WHICH reminds me, I still have Party City napkins that must go back to the store...

All in all, I kept the decor simple and I loved how doing so allowed guests to focus on the beautiful venue and the wonderful time.

I'll share the dessert buffet and favor table soon enough.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Sunshine & Lemonade - The Stand.

What's a lemonade party without a lemonade stand? 

I struggled with how I'd recreate a lemonade stand for Munch's party.
Would Uncle L. build one?
Too much to ask...
Would I order one from eBay?
Too much to pay...
Could I add 2 poles to the sides of tables and hang a banner in between to recreate the wooden lemonade stand look?
Too much to do...
While picking up the wedding cake for Deb and Chaz from Misty (my sweet friend and fave baker), I saw it.  In her playroom was a fabulous cardboard store.  She told me that it was purchased from Ikea and only cost her $14.
I was sold.  That was it.
I right-clicked-and-saved the information into my brain's birthday file.  Two weeks before the party, I purchased the "store" and solicited Hubbs to put it together.

Something about Ikea always puts the man in a bad mood.

There's grumbling and fussing, an occasional curse word mixed in with the question, "WHY DID YOU HAVE TO GO TO IKEA FOR THIS?!"
He loves the prices but hates the instructions (or lack thereof in some cases).
Eventually, after a mere 5 minutes of complaining, we had a lemonade stand.  Once it was together I took a few steps to make it fit our theme and now I'm going to show you how to do the same...
Did you read that last part in *like* a game show host's voice? I totally typed it thinking you would.  NO?!  Whatever.
Lemonade Stand Tutorial
- Paint
-Painter's Tape
- Poster Board
- Embellishments (coordinating paper, ribbon, signage, etc.)
- Knife
1.  Tape off the stripes.  I wanted to keep the white stripes so I placed my tape in the center of the white stripe; the painter's tape was thinner than the white stripe but I was okay with having slightly larger pink stripes.
2.  Paint over the red stripes.
3.  Carefully remove the tape.  Learn from my mistake! I rushed to remove the first piece of tape.  It took the card board with it and left behind an awful little tear.
I had to convince myself that it was just a party prop and I should not cry... Yes, you read correctly, I said cry (no sleep makes me sensitive and less-than perfect gives me hives).
4.  Lay your choice of poster board over the front to determine how much you will need to cut.  I bought my yellow board from the Dollar Tree for $.50. 
5. Cut the poster board to fit. It was almost a perfect fit for the height and width of the bottom portion of the lemonade stand.  I just needed to cut 3" off of the width.
6. Glue the poster board to the front of the stand.
7.  From the back of the assembled stand, recreate the slits for the sign by using the knife to slice through the poster board.
8.  Add your own sign to the holder that came with the cardboard store.  Note: It is larger than the standard piece of paper; I used pieces of scrap book paper to create a border.
9.  Adhere the sign to the stand per the directions.
10.  Embellish as you desire.
I added a pennant banner.  I thought it was perfect.  Deb, however, felt like it needed a little whimsy and added the polka dots and curly ribbons.  It was more than I would've done but it was her little signature on the stand - a collaborative effort, if you will.

At the party, I placed the table at the end of a path for guests to drop off their gifts for Munch.  She hung out by the lemonade stand to greet the first few who arrived. I know, I didn't get the picture of her greeting guests from behind the lemonade stand and I totally regret that... But this me.  NOT crying. I did, however, move the lemonade stand around to get pics throughout the party.
Water Bomb fun:
The group shot:
Of course, by my side was Hubbs' best friend and Munch's Uncle, Nunn.  He wanted the kids to take a photo with a silly face.  I thought I was done torturing the kids with photos when this dude starts hollering in my ear for the kids to make a funny face *click*
They weren't really feeling it...

...the birthday girl, however, will do anything for her Uncle Nunn.  When I saw her silly face, I had to get a close-up:
Looks like the lemonade stand helped to bring the party vision to reality and made for a great frame around an AWESOME pic of the birthday girl:)
This mama's mission was accomplished!

Goodwill Finds: The Magnolia Wreath

Happy Friday, Islanders. I wanted to share a thrifty find from a while back.  Ugh, I love my local Goodwill Outlet.  Oh, and yes, you saw ...

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