Monday, March 31, 2014

Charlotte's Candyland Birthday Bash

I have a habit of going overboard on parties - which means I'm running around crazy at the end. I can't help myself really; I love parties with themes and food that goes along with it all (case in point - strawberry shortcake party). For Charlotte's 5th birthday party, I decided to *try* and do less.

I decided to host the birthday party at 1:30pm, well after "lunchtime" and mentioned that we would be serving appetizers, snacks, and of course, cake.

To make things easier for myself, I did 3 crockpot dips. Set it and forget it - my kind of party prep:

  • Queso Dip with Chips - plus some sliced and quartered summer sausage on the side
  • Chili Grape Meatballs - for substance. Come to think of it, I always serve these because they are SO easy, and people like them to munch on
  • Franks Buffalo Chicken Dip (crockpot version) - VERY popular

well... the crockpots are in the background

However, my mother-in-law's biggest fear is running out of food. No joke. I think that is literally her biggest fear. SO.... she brought over some fruit salad and chicken salad with hawaiian rolls and commandeered the oven for pretzel dogs, corn dogs, and various other baked appetizers.

Phew. Clearly, we had more than enough food!

Oh and like EVERY party, I made knox blocks (ie firmer jello jigglers) and they were on the cake table along with some leftover candy and pretzels and munchies.

Life size Candy land game in play room - I spend a night prior to the party going through a package of construction paper and setting aside the purple, yellow, blue, orange, green, red pages.... in that order.  Then the morning of the party I laid out the "game spaces". I put the actual game cards from my game in a bucket for each player to select one. We didn't really think the actual game playing through - the kids never went in their original order. I just started with the person furthest along in the game and made my way backwards until all the kids selected their card and moved. Then I started that process over again until they reached the end of the board and they got to jump into the ball pit (birthday girls idea!)

The kids really got into it! One boy told his mom that night, "Mom, I can't BELIEVE we were ACTUALLY in Candyland today!!!".

Make your own snack necklace
Make your own snack necklace station
I saw this on Pinterest as a way to make snacks for a playdate; but I thought it was fitting for our party.
I used: fruit loops, apple jacks, these shortbread like flower looking cookies with a hole in the middle, pretzels, and gummy life savers.

I'm not dummy, I know that if a kid sees gummy life savers as an option for his "snack necklace", he's only going to use gummy life savers. And as the most expensive part of this activity, I decided to do a little prep work.

For the necklace itself, I used ribbon - present wrapping ribbon - pre cut to an appropriate length AND already started with a pretzel tied on at one end. I could just picture kids starting their necklaces and then picking one end up and everything falling off the bottom.  To save us from tears (and my floors from a HUGE mess) I tied a pretzel to one end of each ribbon.

I then set out as many plastic cups as kids we had and placed their "Starter necklace" in each cup. Also, in their cup, I divided out about 9 gummy life savers.  The rest of the snacks were in the center of the table in large bowls. That way, they knew they only have 9 gummies for their necklace, but as many of everything else that they wanted.

It worked well.

Candy Dot Punch Game
Ok, the kids really enjoyed this. I saw this idea (with instructions) online and knew I had to do it. Upon my mothers suggestion, I used foam board, so it would be sturdier than poster board .... holy cow that was a work out to cut it out. I don't have the handy circle cutter tool that she did in the instructions. I had LOTS of kids coming, so I used 2 foam boards and I taped them together in the middle (actually, I ended up making a 3rd that wasn't attached... but that's another story). Then I ran to lowes and got a piece of 1x2in board and taped that on either end so it was really sturdy.

Looking back I could have used the poster board with the wood... but oh well. It's done. Kids absolutely LOVED this.

Backyard Fun
To keep the kids entertained we set them loose in our backyard with the small trampoline, swing set, and several bouncy balls, soccer balls, and hoola hoops.

You know that night I spent selecting the purple, yellow, blue, orange, green, and red construction paper? Well, I used some extra to decorate the walls. I put them up with ticky tacky.

Construction paper game spaces
Also, I got some clear cellophane plastic wrap and wrapped some of the colored paper plates (which I was already using for the party) to look like pieces of candy. I stuck those on the walls too.
Cellophane candy on walls

I got 3 each of red, yellow, green, and blue balloons and set them by the front door (in and out) and the cake table. Oh yeah, I like using our easel and making a birthday welcome sign.
Balloons and easel

The thing that I just started doing (and LOVING) is using those rolls of crepe paper/streamers and tieing them to my horizontal blinds to make a back drop. I did it for Lizzie's 1st birthday party in all yellow and thought it looked super cute. So I got red, green, yellow, and blue and alternated them on the blinds in the kitchen and by the snack necklace station.  It took some time, but I started 4 days early and was really casual about it so it didn't stress me out.
streamers in blinds

Throw in a few dollar store plastic table cloths and I was done.

I love making my girls birthday cakes; It brings me joy. But for the past 2 years, I have cheated and gotten a publix bakery sheet cake to start with. My excuse last year was we had just moved into our house, like a week prior and i could not find my cake decorating stuff. This year... I did NOT want to make and ice a cake THAT BIG!

There's not much to say about the cake, the picture does a pretty good job describing it, although I will say you don't need as many starbursts as you think you do. I peeled WAY too many! If you have any questions about what we used, don't hesitate to ask me.

Favor Bag
I got my handy handy white lunch sacks, played around and made a "Thank you for coming" tag in photoshop, and glued it on.  The bags were filled with parents worst nightmares.... CANDY! I ordered the old school candy dots (you know the ones on paper), and then some pixie sticks, bubbles, gummies, suckers, a bouncy ball... etc. I figured it was only fitting for a CANDY land party, right?

Well, there you have it. Charlotte's 5th Candyland birthday party. The weather held off and everyone had a blast.  Contact me if you have any questions!

On a side note, I learned that I can manage about 80 people in my house for a party. Yikes!

Linking up: Keeping it SimpleCreating my way to SuccessOur Delightful Home , Marvelously Messy , CRAFT , Chef in Training , Blackberry Vine , Bowl Full of Lemons , Homework , Not just a Housewife , Romance on a Dime , Elizabeth and Co , Not Just a Housewife , Crafty Blog Stalker , DIY by Design , Marvelous Mommy , My Girlish Whims , Accidentally Wonderful , Sew Much Ado , Just a Little Creativity , Handyman Crafty Woman , Pieces by Polly  , Vintage GwenFive Little Chefs , Charm of Home , Bacontime , Sun Scholars , Peek a Boo Pattern ,


  1. Hey girl!! Such a cute party!! Thanks for sharing at Show & Share, such a nice surprise to see your link!

  2. What a cute party and cake! Thank you for sharing at the Anything Goes Bacon Time weekly linky. You are incredible.


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