Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Baby Jam: A Music-inspired 1st Birthday Party

My, how time flies! My daughter is already one! (And I'm almost a year behind in posting this!)

My 1-year old daughter LOVES music! The highlight of her week is her Music Together class with Ms. Becca on Saturday mornings. She just lights up when we take her to music class and she bops to the beat throughout the class. 

With that in mind, I wanted to celebrate her 1st birthday with a baby-friendly, music-themed party. I opted for bold, primary colors and simple, musical instrument graphics to appeal to all the babies. Bird’s Party created a set of custom printables for the theme. 

I wanted to gear the party to the babies so I made sure we had plenty of baby-friendly activities and food, as well activities and food for the older children at the party.


The invitations for the party were small tambourines. I found the tambourines online and added custom printable labels with the party details. 


All the guests were excited to receive the tambourines, which I sent/hand delivered in little gift bags.

Dessert Table:

My vision for the dessert table was for any many desserts as possible to resemble musical instruments. In addition to the cake, which I decorated myself with fondant toppers and fondant embellishment from MJ Taboush, we had a drum smash cake for the birthday girl to enjoy all to herself. I made a chocolate-bar piano with Kit Kat and Hershey’s Cookies and Creme chocolate bars, drum marshmallow pops and a gumball guitar mosaic. Other treats included xylophone cookies, musical instrument cake pops including guitar cake pops, cupcakes with musical instrument toppers, jammin’ jelly beans”, rock candy and twirly pops. Yes, lots of sugar! 

Baby Finger Food Buffet:

We had a lot of older children (and adults!) at the party that really enjoyed the dessert table; but, since the babies were too young to enjoy all the sweets, I had a separate baby finger-food buffet table for the babies. I used appetizer cups from Party City to serve baby-friendly snacks: fruit, cottage cheese, baby yogurt, cubes of cheddar cheese, Gerber puffs…and of course Cheerios, which every baby loves! 

Party Games and Activities:

Since my daughter loves Music Together, we invited her teacher from Music Together, Ms. Becca, to come and hold a mixed-age class for the children. All of the children and babies, regardless of age, had a blast singing, dancing and playing instruments with Ms. Becca. In addition, I made a “musical wall” with various pots and pans and kitchen utensils for the babies to play on; most babies love playing in the kitchen! For the older children, we put out a “Big” piano (like the one in the movie) for them to play on. We also set up a “build a band” workshop, where they could make their own instruments using various boxes, tins and craft supplies. They also all got to design their own fish shaker to take home. A photo booth has become somewhat of a staple for all my parties because they are just so much fun; here I set up a photo booth with a drum set and small guitar for the children to both play and pose with. We used a Fuji Instax camera to take instant photos, so the guests could have the immediate gratification of taking their photo booth photos home. We also had a guitar piñata from Party City. I filled the piñata with wrist bells, rather than candy, because we already had so much candy on the dessert table. Before we had cake and sang Happy Birthday, big brother Sohan played Happy Birthday on the piano for his little sister. It was so touching. We concluded the party with a butterfly release. The butterfly release had nothing to do with the music theme, but we did the same thing at the end of my son’s 1st birthday party (Very Hungry Caterpillar-themed), so I thought it would make a fitting rite of passage to repeat for my daughter. 

Food and Drinks; Table Settings, T-Shirts, Décor, Favors 

I tried to incorporate the music theme into the food and drinks wherever I could. For example, we served “jammin’ cocktails” (in jam jars) for the adults and milk “shakes” for the children. I made “rocking” T-shirts for the birthday girl, big brother Sohan and all of my family that helped out at the party. Throughout the décor, I used vinyl records and silver bells to embellish. I made “drum” centerpieces out of formula cans. The drumsticks were made with paper straws and gumballs. The wreath was made with cupcake wrappers, gumballs and vinyl records. Party favors included egg shakers, coloring books and CDs with our favorite Music Together songs. 

 Vendor Credits: 

 Party Styling by The Party Wall 
 Party Printables by Bird’s Party
  Music Together 
 Photography by Abby Kennan 
 Cupcake and Cake Toppers, and Sugar Cookies by MJ Tabush Sweet Designs 
 Cake Pops by Fayes Cake Pops 
 Gumballs, candy, appetizer cups, plastic tableware from Party City 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Nutcracker-inspired Christmas Party

This party, which I organized for my son's Kindergarten class, was inspired by the classic Christmas story of The Nutcracker. The party coincided with the class's study of the story of The Nutcracker and Tchaikovsky's ballet, which made it even more fun--and educational--for the kids. The party was also very budget-friendly-the entire party cost under $100! Take a look.

I kept to a traditional Christmas color palette of red, green and white and created some Nutcracker-inspired printable bottle wraps to dress up the milk bottles and water bottles. 

For snack, we served fruit and a homemade "mouse king cookie". 

The cookie is a white chocolate dipped Oreo topped with chocolate mouse. The mouse body is a chocolate dipped cherry. The head is a Hershey's Kiss. The ears are slices almonds and the eyes are white sprinkles, with the pupils drawn on with edible marker.

For the activities and games, we divided the children into three groups and gave each group different colored jingle bell necklaces to wear. We then rotated the groups through 3 activity stations. The necklaces helped to keep things organized when rotating through activities.

The first station was a story telling station where the teacher read the Nutcracker story to the group.

The second station was Christmas-themed Bingo. We used jelly beans for markers00many were eaten along the way, but we did eventually hit a few "bingos"!

The third station was the most fun--the children created their own Nutcracker-themed snow globes. They had a great time making them and the finished snow globes made a cute keepsake for them to take home.

 We decorated with Nutcrackers brought in by the teachers. I would have loved to have Nutcrackers at each table as centerpieces, but it simply wasn't in the budget....

 So I improvised by using Nutcracker-themed wine bottle bags as centerpieces instead! It still gave the effect of having nutcrackers as a centerpieces, but at a fraction of the cost.

We also hung the extra bags for hanging decor throughout the room!

For favors, I dressed up some candy canes with cardstock to create 
little "mouse king" candy cane holders. 

To set the mood, we also had Tchaikovsky's ballet music playing and also had excerpts of the ballet playing on a TV. 

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Thanksgiving Food Fun with Kids...and a Blog Hop!

Get the kids involved in the kitchen this fall with some quick, tasty and eye-catching snacks and treats! Here are some ideas we road tested...and had great fun putting together! Most of these required little to no baking and minimal use of knives so your little helpers will need minimal supervision. 

Then check out our blog hop with our blogging friends for more fantastic Thanksgiving ideas and FREE Thanksgiving printables!

This fruit kabob turkey is super cute and super easy to make. 
We used watermelon, pineapple, grapes, strawberries and cantaloupe, but you could use any fruits you like. We used a leaf-shaped cookie cutter to make the watermelon "feathers". 
The body of the turkey is a butternut squash.

This "bread basket" turkey would made a great side for Thanksgiving, which the kids can help to make. The feathers are cheesy biscuits rolled and cut with a cookie cutter before baking. We sprinkled them with paprika and oregano to add some fall hues! The body, wings and beak are bread rolls. We used dried cranberries for the eyes. 

...or you could make a fall tree with the same biscuits!

This fruit cornucopia (or rather cone-e-copia!) is a whimsical way to serve up some healthy fruit. 
The waffle cone adds a great crunch too...just be sure to serve right away as the cone does get soggy after a while. 

Add piped-on chocolate stems to chocolate-dipped pretzels and they become pumpkins...! We used orange and green candy melts that melt in the microwave, so no double boiler required!

And the kids will love to make these acorns. All you need is mini nutter butter cookies, kisses and chocolate chips. Use melted chocolate to "glue" the cookies and kisses together. No baking required! 

For more Thanksgiving Ideas and FREE Thanksgiving printables, check out all the awesome ideas in our blog hop below, in conjunction with the awesome blogs listed below.

From top to bottom, left to right: 
Pecan Pie Muffins - Creative Juice
Salted Caramel Apple Recipe + Favor Idea - Bird's Party
Thanksgiving Cookie Favors - Haniela's
Colored Thanksgiving Popcorn Jar Favors - Play. Party. Pin.
Handmade Hostess Gift - Crissy's Crafts
Kid's Bread Basket Turkey - The Party Wall
Free Thanksgiving printable cupcake toppers - Bird's Party
Turkey Feather Place Card Cookie - Frog Prince Cake and Cookie Design

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