Posted in Party Time!

Let’s Fiesta!!

Hello Everyone!

This Saturday we celebrated our daughters’ birthdays.  The theme this year if you can’t guess from the blog title was…a …. FIESTA! Olé!  

Every year we throw a themed party, of our kids’ choosing, and we try very hard to make sure it is not just a theme thrown together, but one that is a special escape for our guests.  Like a few parties of our past that I blogged about before … the Circus, Paris, Japan and Harry Potter.

We are huge admirers of the Mexican culture, all of us but namely me, so I am sort of surprised this theme hadn’t come up before. My thought process to execute this party was to keep with the authenticity of the culture. The heartfelt music, the vibrant colors, the flowers, the rustic street food, the folk art, and the overall natural beauty that we love in Mexico.  It all sounds amazing, and that is because Mexico is amazing!

Let me get started with the details.

We sat down one night to talk about what we could put together to convey the fun of a fiesta in an invitation…and we came up with this!

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The Food was my favorite part of this whole gathering.  I LOVE MEXICAN FOOD.  We ordered catering from Three Amigos in a town nearby.  Our good friends had introduced us to this place through their parties, and it was just a no brainer for this themed one.  and A big thank you to my sister-in-law who went to pick up this for us on her way over!  YOU ROCK!

Our menu selection was simple Mexican street food; it was loved by everyone.  We ordered chips, salsa, guacamole, chicken tacos, beef fajitas, rice, beans and all the accompanying items like lettuce, tomatoes, more salsa and guacamole, sour cream and cheese.  There was a lot of food!!

Then I worked on what to do for the Cake.  At first, I had talked about getting the cake from our bakery, but for some reason my husband and I talked ourselves out of that and made it ourselves.  We loosely designed a cake, then went from there.

Friday before the party I woke up early to bake the cakes (and cupcakes, and brownies, and cookies!).  The cake and cupcakes were a rich chocolate cake.  The brownies were fudge chocolate with a hint of cinnamon, Mexican Chocolate (which is my favorite!) and I made Mexican chocolate chip cookies.  *drool*   As everything was cooling my mother showed up, and we made different color marshmallow fondant for the cake.  We had a lot of fun making a mess in the kitchen, lots of powdered sugar everywhere!  Then I layered the cake with chocolate frosting, then crumb coated it with a vanilla frosting.  It was a pretty tall cake!

Saturday morning my husband, who is the artist, took the cake and layered all the fondant as I stuck on the FIESTA bunting I had made a week prior.

I think it came out pretty great!  Especially for a cake made with so much love from my family.  🙂

The cake was set up with all the treats that I made but also zeppole that my mom made, donuts, butter cookies sent over from my good friend’s mother (huge surprise!), oreos and candies.  The cake table looked like a kids fantasy!

Another one of my favorite crafty things to put together is the photo backdrop for every party.  I think it is a lot of fun and adds another element to the party.  For this I grabbed a serape, an extra-large hay bale, a cactus cut out and some plastic clothes with a printed image of the national eagle to create the Mexican flag.  We ended up having a few sombrero from past parties we have attended, and boom…cute backdrop!  Oh, and mustaches!!

The decorations was an aspect of the party that I wanted to get right.  The one thing that you will see everywhere there is a Mexican fiesta is the colors.  Everything is colorfully bright and cheerful.  I made tissue paper flowers, about twenty of them, to decorate the entrance of the yard along with colorful draping cloths.

Then I hung extra-large papel picado above the patio from the second floor windows.  Which are pretty high, but I didn’t take a shot of them but you can see some of the papers hovering above the heads of our guests.

The tables were set in colorful cloths and as the centerpiece I had fashioned mini serapes with a pair of maracas, a colorful glass vase filled with an array of colored tissue flowers and a Virgin of Guadalupe candle.  It all came together real well.

Then along the back fence I had hung Mexican folk art every few feet.

The party favor came to me totally by luck.  I was walking in a store when I happened to see these pineapple glass jar cups in a set of four.  After a quick hunt in the store, my daughter and I gathered together 24 cups! Yes for 24 kids!  (ay dios mio..I know)   After slipping a piece of colorful tissue inside, and topping the cups with construction paper leaves and handwritten Gracias notes, it was the cutest addition to the day.

Our kids and I decided to dress up for the occasion together.  Usually it is just them, but they love when I put my hair up with flowers, and I think it made our guests and their parents happy to see us all dolled up.  I got a lot of compliments.

We filled the air with Mariachi music, and the party started!  Here are the photos I had taken of the day’s fun:

Posted in Party Time!

Unicorn Birthday

Unicorn Birthday!

Happy birthday to my September girls!

We celebrated our daughters’ birthdays Saturday with an Unicorn theme party.  Our daughters are obsessed with unicorns and rainbows, so when I suggested some options for a birthday theme this year (between a unicorn theme, Just Add Magic theme, or an emoji theme) they jumped at the idea of an unicorn party.

So.. where to begin with creating such a colorful party?..

 

The Invitation

Making the invitation ourselves is always a fun part of the party brainstorming.  As I have mentioned before, having an artist in the family makes creating things like invitations or decorations a lot easier.  I have a lot of ideas swirling in my mind but am not talented enough to do them on my own, so something that would take me days or cost me a lot, ends up being made in an hour and basically costs pennies using our printer.

We knew this invite had to have at least one unicorn on it and the kids caricatures.  I always like to incorporate them into the invite, it brings me joy and giggles. So this is what we came up with. The kids LOVED IT!

 

The Cake and Sweets Table

The first thing I bought for the party was the Unicorns are Real cake topper by Meri Meri.  Their designs are swoon worthy.  So when I found the cake topper at Marshall’s for $3.99 at the beginning of the Summer, it was just too good to pass up and became the theme of the party.  It was a huge score because that brand is uber expensive.   The pack was perfect, it had two unicorns, a rainbow and a sunshine, it was literally the party theme all in one packet.  The best was the following week when I swooped up the same theme Meri Meri party supplies at Homegoods…cupcake kit ($5.99), paper dinner plates ($3.99ea) and dessert plates ($3), gift bags ($5.99 for 8) and lunch napkins (2.99) and dessert napkins (same).  I had looked online to see if anything else was part of this collection and bought the I Believe in Unicorns banner to match off Ebay for $15.  I paired everything with coral/orange colored paper cups and rainbow striped table covers.

The cake itself was real pretty with the theme.  I ordered the cake from our go to bakery, Modern Pastry in Boston, and had it shipped to Medford to pick it up easily.  I ordered a chocolate cake with chantilly cream center draped in a light yellow whipped cream frosting that had a lavender ganache drip.  It matched the cake topper kit perfectly.  I did use the sunshine pick from the kit for the cupcake holder, it all worked out great.

Along with the cake, I had made some unicorn colored chocolate pretzels, fudge and ordered colorful donuts for those with food allergies. After we served cake (I don’t have any photos of it) I set up the table full of colorful candies.  You can see a few of them behind the cake, but the table was insanely stacked with candy.  I think I went a bit overboard with the candy this year.  Noted not to do that for the next one.

The girls (and their friends) loved it all.  The tables were wrecked in minutes, and snacked off of for a long time.

 

 

 

 

The Craft

The party craft idea came to me when my kids were watching YouTube videos on making slime at the start of Summer.  It made sense to incorporate that into the birthday, it’s glittery, colorful and can be played with over and over.

The girls and I started by making sample slimes to see what recipe made the best one in a group setting. We tried the fluffy kind with shaving cream (smelled great but the color wasn’t pretty), the adding glitter to white glue kind (the glitter kept flaking off during play), and the glitter glue kind (color was vibrant). We found that the simplest one using three ingredients (glitter glue, baking soda and contact solution) was the best one to make.  And once I saw how much slime we would be making per child, I got to work on what type of container could cart it home…jelly jars!

 

Decorations and Photo Background

For some reason when they decided on the party theme fluffy clouds were on my mind.  Idk why.  But I ran with it and started crafting fluffy cotton clouds for the main entrance and the photo booth/background.  Making the clouds was so much fun and so easy.  I bought foam boards from my local dollar store, along with cotton and crafting paper.  The clouds were drawn free hand (by me) and then cut out with a utility knife.  While watching some TV one night I glued on all the cotton balls in as uniform a way as possible..starting at the outside and lining them up and down on the inside.  After it dried, I cut out some fun Kawaii inspired faces to glue on top.

For the photo background I wanted it to be shiny and cheerful, and I also wanted to make one unicorn because I didn’t have one anywhere yet!  My husband traced out the unicorn form for me on foam board and I took the reigns for the transformation. With various paints, glitter and tissue paper the unicorn turned out pretty cute.  I bought two lavender plastic table covers and two opalescent door curtains for the background.  Then I painted a foam board with a rainbow and their names. My husband assisted me in tacking up a huge scrap bead-board panel to the fence.  We adorned it with the covers and screwed it all together, which worked out real great.

This annual birthday bash is a pretty big one. With it celebrating two kids at once, it has to be!  It is an all day affair with a ton of food, drinks and alcohol, foods and sweets, AND PEOPLE.  This year we had 24 kids and 21 adults, which can be overwhelming at times, especially with all those little hands and feet everywhere.

My top recommendations for parties large like this is:

  • set up variety of hands on food and drinks; things they can grab and go and can easily dispose
  • stage the party as spread out as you possibly can; space out games or jumpy house locations so there is a clear grouping around each activity
  • play games or activities that are easy to make and fun for all age groups
  • remember people roam around your house and yard when they are free to, so remove anything you cherish from around the house/yard that you don’t want broken or are easy to grab with tiny hands
  • plan for anything and everything; have band aids on hand, ice packs too, and make sure there are boundaries for the kids..like no wee lil ones in the bouncy house at the same time as the bigger kids
  • lastly, JUST HAVE FUN!

Having fun is key! 🙂

——

We had a wonderful day celebrating these two cute kids Saturday, and I am so thankful the weather cooperated better than we had figured, the food was super good and the cake was delicious.  I’d say that it all went off without a hitch.  Which is always a good time!

Here are some random photos of the day!

 

I still can’t believe I now have a ten and almost twelve-year-old here. These girls are the best part of my life, and I love them more than anything in this world.   Happy Birthday, girls!  🙂

 

Thank you for reading!

xoxoxox

Posted in My Recipes

Candy Sushi

The ingredients!
The ingredients!

Candy Sushi

You will need to make a batch of Rice Krispies Treats.

The recipe is as follows:
3 tbsp butter
1 10oz package of marshmallows
6 cups of dry Rice Krispies

In a large sauce pan, melt the butter slowly, add in the marshmallows, and melt completely. Add in the cereal and mix well.

Then you need to have a lightly greased wax paper covered baking sheet to spread out the mixture to cool. I used my hands, greased with cooking spray, to flatten and mold the cereal across the sheet.

To make the Nigiri style sushi, the fish on top of the rice, start by taking a handful of the cereal mixture and molding it into shape.

After making the Rice Krispie Treats lay them out onto a lightly oiled parchment sheet and spread out with hands. Let cool a bit and start making sushi! Shown here are the Nigiri Style sushi, fish over rice.  :)
After making the Rice Krispie Treats lay them out onto a lightly oiled parchment sheet and spread out with hands. Let cool a bit and start making sushi! Shown here are the Nigiri Style sushi, fish over rice. 🙂
The Nigiri coming along quite nice!
The Nigiri coming along quite nice!

Once the shapes are formed, take a candy fish and place on top.  Taking a fruit roll up, cut into strips, surround the fish to keep it in place.

Lay a swedish fish on top and then wrap with a strip of a roll up. DONE!
Lay a swedish fish on top and then wrap with a strip of a roll up. DONE!

To make the Maki Roll type of sushi, the wrapped roll, take some cereal in your hand and shape it into a marshmallow puff..not a circle and not a square.  Make sure these pieces are bite sized.  Once shaped, cover the outside with the fruit roll up and then add in the jellied candies in by pressing them firmly into the center while holding the whole treat in your hand.

With these, I rolled the treats and placed Mike and Ikes in the center, then covered with a strip of rollup on the outer edge to mimic Maki Rolls.  Super cute! And yum!
With these, I rolled the treats and placed Mike and Ikes in the center, then covered with a strip of rollup on the outer edge to mimic Maki Rolls. Super cute! And yum!
Another shot
Another shot
All set up on a Japanese styled plate separated with sushi grass.
All set up on a Japanese styled plate separated with sushi grass.
Close up
Close up
Another shot
Another shot
Close up
Close up

I saved a few date night’s worth of sushi grass for this project, which is where I got what you are seeing in these photos. Real easy to wash!

For those that are dairy intolerant, I made marshmallow sushi bites in both the Nigiri and Maki roll style.  Same application of the candy, just on a marshmallow!

These were for our dairy intolerant friends, all candy sushi made with marshmallows. Real cute!
These were for our dairy intolerant friends, all candy sushi made with marshmallows. Real cute!

To complete the look of sushi, for my daughters’ birthday, where we used the candy sushi, I added a touch of more whimsy by using packaged cake snacks cut into thirds to mimic more Maki Rolls.

Cut up some premade cake rolls to make it look like a mix of sushi. Super cute!
Cut up some premade cake rolls to make it look like a mix of sushi. Super cute!
Up close
Up close
All set out on the table.
All set out on the table.

This project was so much fun to do and everyone really enjoyed it!

Posted in Party Time!

A Kokeshi Birthday

Happy birthday to my September girls!

We celebrated the girls this weekend with a super fun birthday theme, a Kokeshi Birthday!

The Kokeshi dolls my husband bought me in Japan. I love these girls! And MY GIRLS!
The inspiration for this party. The Kokeshi dolls my husband bought me in Japan. I love these girls! And MY GIRLS!

The girls had one request for their birthday party this year, well two. One was that they wanted a jumpy house, and the other was to have Chinese food! Which is how I came up with the Kokeshi theme. I know, Chinese food is clearly not Japanese, but I claimed the day Asian to make it work! Which for those that know me, know this party theme is right up my alley! I was happy the girls were as excited about the theme I came up with as I was!

A Kokeshi Theme Birthday

The Invitation: Luckily, as I’ve mentioned before, my husband is an artist and we have been making the girls’ birthday invitations for them since their very first one. It is a treat for us and for them, since I save them as a a memento for them every year. I love looking back at the invitations past.

So the invitation. I gave my husband very little instruction. I said, “the girls need to look like Kokeshi dolls” and this is what he came up with:

Then before sending them off I had stamped a Geisha on the envelopes!

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The Decor: The basis for the decor was to keep it simple. The color scheme was blue and green with natural bamboo accents. For the tables I chose white table covers topping them with bamboo mats. Then on top of the tables, I chose to fill large glasses vase we already owned with raw Thai rice (smells good!) and a colorful paper parasol stuck in the rice to keep it secure; and also, to give some shade if needed for the guests at the tables without an umbrella.

Decor outside, the rice filled vases with a paper parasol embedded, all on top of a table dressed with a wooden woven mat.
Decor outside, the rice filled vases with a paper parasol embedded, all on top of a table dressed with a wooden woven mat.
Close up
Close up
Another view
Another view
Up close with Duck Sauce in vintage bowls
Up close with Duck Sauce in vintage bowls

On the beverage table I used a white cover as well, then placed a colorful parasol laying on its side to decorate the space and to shade the beverages. It worked out real well.

The drinks table, below were coolers and on top of the table was iced pink lemonade, sangria, sodas, and a parasol to keep it shaded.
The drinks table, below were coolers and on top of the table was iced pink lemonade, sangria, sodas, and a parasol to keep it shaded.

For hanging decor, I reused some paper fans from Easter that were colorful and got a few white tissue balls and tissue streamers to decorate the house and the fence. My husband made signs and enlarged Kokeshi daughters for me to hang up as well. It came out great, and the yard was perfect!

As the party was unwinding.
As the party was unwinding. You can see a guest using the parasol for shade.

The Food: The girls one big desire for this party was Chinese food. So my husband and I thought putting a Chinese Buffet together would be great, and easy! Which is what we did. We ordered all the great appetizer/finger foods we could think of: Chicken wings, Chicken fingers, Spare ribs, Peking raviolis, Fried shrimp, Veg Fried Rice, Veg Lo Mein, Crab rangoon, hu siang Broccoli, and a bunch of other things that I can’t think of right now. The restaurant supplied us with fortune cookies, all the sauces, and chopsticks.

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Chinese Buffet

The Cake and Treats!: This is where I had a lot of fun! We made Candy Sushi (click link to find out how we did that) of all types and it was a blast making them.

Lay a swedish fish on top and then wrap with a strip of a roll up. DONE!
Lay a swedish fish on top and then wrap with a strip of a roll up. DONE!
Close up
Close up
These were for our dairy intolerant friends, all candy sushi made with marshmallows. Real cute!
These were for our dairy intolerant friends, all candy sushi made with marshmallows. Real cute!
All set up on a Japanese styled plate separated with sushi grass.
All set up on a Japanese styled plate separated with sushi grass.

Then we figured instead of buying a massive cake like we have in the past, which we end up having around the house for a week, that I would make cupcakes. Which is what I did. One daughter wanted vanilla and the other chocolate. Then I decorated them simply with a little of my vanilla frosting and then topped them with a colorful cocktail umbrella. Keeping with an Asian feel. They came out great!

All the cupcakes done!
All the cupcakes done!
I am not a talented cake decorator, but they were real cute!
I am not a talented cake decorator, but they were real cute!
The Cupcakes!
The Cupcakes!

The Girls’ Outfits: For the start of the party, I had the girls wear Geisha styled / Asian styled costumes. It was a great way to tie in the theme and make the girls feel special.

My oldest Kokeshi girl!
My oldest Kokeshi girl!
My baby Kokeshi!
My baby Kokeshi!
The girls together dressed in their outfits
The girls together dressed in their outfits

Pinata Time: The best part of the day was the pinata, ONLY because a sledgehammer made an appearance. YES, sledgehammer. The pinata was made so well that no child nor adult could crack it open..and we all tried! But we had a great time trying! Here are some pics of the event.

The asian take out containers we used for the pinata goody bags.
The asian take out containers we used for the pinata goody bags.
The Pinata and newly decorated bat! We had a fun crafting afternoon making the bat.
The Pinata and newly decorated bat! We had a fun crafting afternoon making the bat.
Pinata Time!
Pinata Time!
The kids tried so hard to break it...
The kids tried so hard to break it…
but we had to intervine..here is my sister in law showing the pinata who is boss.  ha!
but we had to intervine..here is my sister-in-law showing the pinata who is boss. ha!
didn't have a chance!
didn’t have a chance!
finally candy!!!!!!!!!!111
finally candy!!!!!!!!!!111

Pinata

Face Painting and Geisha Hair dos: This year I opted out of doing a craft, only because a jumpy house was going to be the focal point of all the children, but my mother in law offered to face paint. She is amazing, and I definitely recommend her for your party too. Look her up here.

Then I made a small station for hair and makeup. I had made chopsticks for the updos and had a lipliner and eyeliner for makeup. The girls could choose to put their hair up, and if they didn’t get face painted, I painted on eyes and lips to mimic the Geisha style. It was cute and fun for the girls of all ages.

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I took take out chopsticks and dipped the ends in craft glue, glittered then and had them ready to use in the girls’ hair to pin up a Geisha style bun. Super cheap and easy to do! The kids loved picking out the colors and wearing them.

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Cute Chloe getting her face done
Cute Chloe getting her face done
Painted Nephew!
Painted Nephew!
Freshly Geisha'd! Hair up and painted eyes and lips.
Freshly Geisha’d! Hair up and painted eyes and lips.
My niece wanted a half up Geisha do.  Cute Belle!
My niece wanted a half up Geisha do. Cute Belle!
A Geisha!
A Geisha!
Just finished up doing my girl.
Just finished up doing my girl.
My niece all Geisha'd and painted.
My niece all Geisha’d and painted.
Even my Mom got tatted, I mean painted.
Even my Mom got tatted, I mean painted.

All the fun we had! I love my family and friends tremendously, and thank each and every one of you guys for a fantastic day! xoxoxo!

What happens when the old footballers get together?  FOOZBALL :\
What happens when the old footballers get together? FOOZBALL :\

Kokeshi Kokeshi Kokeshi Kokeshi kokeshi kokeshi kokeshi

And they tackle uncle Mike!
And they tackle uncle Mike!
My Family
My Family

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best friends
best friends

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Here with my Aunt (who is now living with my family), my older sister and my beautiful Mom.  :)
Here with my Aunt (who is now living with my family), my older sister and my beautiful Mom. 🙂

 

aren't we pretty?  :)
aren’t we pretty? 🙂
sisters (and I look horrid!) baaah
sisters (and I look horrid!) baaah
I dont know who was having more fun, my dad or adi?!  lol
I dont know who was having more fun, my dad or adi?! lol
My niece and I
My niece and I

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And..the coolest candy jumpy house!
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xoxoxox thanks for reading!