A Berry Sweet 1st Birthday Party

Molly turned 1 at the end of May and we celebrated with a Berry Sweet Strawberry themed birthday party.  This theme came to me when I saw this outfit at Gymboree and just knew it had to be her birthday dress.

I decided to go with the colors in the dress for the decor….light blue and red.  Since Molly’s birthday was Memorial Day weekend we decided to go with a pool party barbecue.  We held the party at Ryan’s aunt’s house on Long Island.  She has a great pool and beautiful setting for a party.

I made most of the decorations myself.  Here are some of the details…

Everything on the cake/dessert table was either blue, red, white or strawberry flavored. We had white chocolate covered strawberries, strawberry licorice, jellybeans, m&ms, gumballs, cupcakes, and strawberry cookies.

The cake was from our favorite local bakery, Cornerstone Caterers.  They never disappoint!

I used these old-fashioned jars for some of the sweets…gumballs, m&ms and strawberry jellybeans.

Gotta have cupcakes…these were strawberry flavor.

Beverages…Skinny Girl Margarita with fresh strawberries for the adults and strawberry lemonade for the kiddos.

I wrapped the water bottles again!

Can’t have a Strawberry themed party without a  Make Your Own Strawberry Shortcake Bar!  Yum!

We served hamburgers, hotdogs, jambalaya, sausage, and strawberry salad.  I even jazzed up the condiments with themed labels.

I had strawberry cookies and strawberry cake pops as favors.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the cakepops, but they were adorable!  Sorry about the shadow.  I really need to learn how to use my camera.

My cousin Lindsey helped make these edible strawberry topiaries which were centerpieces for the tables.  Thanks, Linds!

Even the big sisters coordinated with the party!

I didn’t get a picture of Molly in her swimsuit, but she changed into this cute strawberry swimsuit from Gymboree when she went swimming.  A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E is all I can say.

And here is the birthday girl eating a strawberry…love her!

I hope your 1st Birthday was BERRY SWEET- just like you, Molly Kate!





A Nightmare Before Christmas Party

I threw this party for my nephew when he was turning 4.  When he told me he wanted a Nightmare Before Christmas party, I was stumped.  I had never seen a party with this theme on any of the blogs I read and I had never seen the movie, so I had no clue how I was going to pull it off.  But I wanted to make him happy so I set off to research A Nightmare Before Christmas.  I chose the main character, Jack Skellington as the focal point and the colors black, white and orange.  Now, this party was in May…springtime…so not much out there that time of year to do with skeltons and pumpkins.  Come to think of it, this would make a great theme for a Halloween Party as well.  I found a few things on ebay and created most of the party decorations myself.  Here is how it all turned out.

The invitation.

The sign welcoming guests to the party. 

I put some decorations in the plant next to the door.

The main attraction…the dessert table.  All of the treats were either black, white or orange to match the theme.

The dessert table included…


Clementines, Orange Twizzlers, and Mini Oreos

Apricots, mini-marshmallows and black M&Ms

Airheads (because skeletons have nothing but air up there) wrapped to match the decor.

I made cones to hold popcorn.  The kids loved these, when they were empty the would re-fill them with other treats from the table.

And last but not least an ice cream cake from Carvel (nephew’s request) that my husband decorated to look like Jack Skellington.  I think he did a great job!  Thanks babe!

Hanging above the dessert table were three white paper party lanterns from Party City that I decorated with black scrapbook paper and double sided tape to look like Jack Skellington’s head.

Favors for the guests were black and white cookies…from the Italian bakery in town.

Digging in…

Drinks were black and orange too…rootbeer and orange cream soda.  I also had orange mango fruit juice for the kids.

The table centerpieces…

I won an 8 pack Nightmare Before Christmas party set on Ebay.  These were perfect for the kid’s table.

The adult table place settings…

Everything gets decorated…even the utensils.

Blowing out his candles.

The birthday boy on his special day.  I hope you had a wonderful 4th birthday, Julian.


Aunt Shannon

Olivia The Pig Party

Morgan really loves Olivia the Pig (books by Ian Falconer and Nick Jr. Cartoon) so for her 3rd birthday we decided to throw an Olivia the Pig Party for her and 10 of her closest girlfriends.  I always said I would never do character parties but this is the 2nd year in a row for her…last year was Abby Cadabby.  I like to create the party decor rather than purchase the character supplies at the party store.  I usually choose two or three colors that match the character and go from there.  We went with black, red and white for Olivia the Pig.  The Olivia the Pig V-Day party on HWTM was a huge inspiration for this party.

I love creating a sweets or dessert table, although I’m not sure why I do it…I know the parents of the little guests don’t like all the sweets for their kiddos. I just think they are so beautiful and a great way to add flare to a party.  I am going to have to start thinking of some healthier foods for the next round of parties…I’m afraid people are going to stop coming with all the cupcakes, cookies, cake pops, candy, etc. that are served.

The party was in March and still cold outside.  I have an empty room in my basement (just haven’t gotten around to furnishing yet) so I decided to hold the party in there.  It was a little small but worked out well.  I planned a two hour party with a craft activity, a game and also a bounce house in the back yard.  We also had lunch and cake and desserts.  It was fun, but exhausting entertaining 10 little girls under the age of 5.

Here are the details…

The Party Room

The Cake Table

My favorite local bakery, Cornerstone Caterers, made the cake.

The topper was purchased on Amazon and is actually a bobble head doll.

I made the water bottle labels.  The water bottles were served with lunch.  I think it is always fun for the kids and the birthday girl to have customized water bottles.  It is also a great way to highlight the party theme.  I love the twist top water bottles from Poland Springs.  They are perfect for little kids and spill proof because the actual cap cannot be removed.  I take off the labels and replace with my own using scotch tape…super quick and easy.

I used red lunch bags that I found at Target to pack each guest a little lunch.  This made passing out lunch to each child super easy.  I served macaroni and cheese in individual containers.  I used ziploc containers from the supermarket.  I created a round label which fit perfectly on the top to tie in the theme.  The small red bags were leftover from V-Day treats and I used them to hold chicken nuggets.  Each lunch bag also had a small red apple as well but it didn’t make it into the picture.  The label on the bag said “Dinner with Morgan” after the book, Dinner with Olivia, which I read to the girls just before serving lunch.

I tried to serve treats that also coordinated with the party colors.  I included M&Ms in red, black and white, red strawberries, red heart peeps (from Valentine’s Day), and Red Twizzlers, cupcakes and custom cookies.  I designed the toppers for the cupcakes and the party circles used to dress up the jars I used to hold the treats.

Yummy #3 Cookies from Andrea’s Goodies on Etsy.

I made this feather boa wreath which I hung above the dessert table.  I used this tutorial on Heavenly Blooms to make the wreath.  It was super easy…but not super inexpensive.

This cluster of honeycomb balls and daisys hung on one wall in the party room.  I used party circles on the centers of the daisys.

I had a large Olivia the Pig in the corner of the room to serve double duty as a photo prop and for Pin the Bows on Olivia.  I bought the Olivia Giant Wall Decals from Birthday Express and put the large one on a large cardboard box.  I then cut around the decal with an exacto knife.  It worked out great and the kids loved posing with it.

I decorated the TV we have mounted in the room to resemble a theater and had Olivia playing throughout the party. 

I made party hats using heavy scrapbook paper and ribbon. I embellished the birthday girl’s party hat with red feather boa.

I set up a table in our living room as well and the kids colored Olivia coloring sheets that I printed off of the Nick Jr. Website as we waited for everyone to arrive.

Once everyone arrived, I read the book, Olivia by Ian Falconer, to the group. 

There is a part in the book where Olivia paints Picasso style on the wall using black and red paint.  For the craft, I bought a small canvas for each guest and gave them 5 minutes to paint Picasso style as Oliva did.  It was a very messy craft!

While a cleaned up the craft the kids went outside to jump in the bounce house and play for a bit.  Then it was back inside for Pin the Bows on Olivia.  I attached double stick craft dots to small red ribbons and let the kids try to pin the bows on Olivia’s ears.

After the game, I read another book Dinner With Olivia, before serving lunch with Morgan.

After lunch it was time for cake.  We sung Happy Birthday to the birthday girl!

When the party was over, each guest went home with an Olivia Activity Book and a Crayon Roll made using Olivia Fabric.  I got them custom made from My Kids Boutique on Etsy.  I placed both in a large celophane and tied it up with ribbon and a black and white swirl Lollipop.

The party was a success and Morgan had a blast.  She still talks about her Olivia party almost daily and it has been 4 months.




P.S. Morgan’s Outfit was a Custom Pillow Case Dress with fabric featuring images from vintage Olivia books.  It was made by Wonderfully Made on Etsy.  I paired it with black crop leggings and red Converse sneakers.  Super cute!

Sweet Shoppe Party

Today I’d like to share my daughter Madison’s 4th birthday party.  The theme we chose was a Sweet Shoppe theme.  I decided on this theme shortly after her 3rd birthday Ice Cream Shoppe party.  I had read an article in People Magazine that featured Trista Sutter’s (The Bachelorette) little boy Max’s 1st birthday party.  They did a CandyLand theme party and it was absolutely adorable.  I loved all of the ideas and just knew I had to incorporate them into Madison’s next party.  She loved candy so it didn’t take much convincing.  I found the site Hostess with the Mostess who helped plan little Max’s CandyLand party.  There was so much eye candy on there, I fell in love with the whole blog and was hooked.  Hostess with the Mostess led me from one blog to another and I saw so many beautiful Candy themed parties.  I didn’t realize it was such a popular theme!  I ended up coming across a blog called The TomKat Studio whose owner Kim had featured a cute little Lollipop Party for her daughter and to top it off, she was selling the items she created for that party on Etsy.  I am pretty handy on the computer but was running out of time so I ordered Kim’s Lollipop Party Package and it was so adorable.  The package I bought was a printable PDF file that included a banner, cupcake toppers, party circles, signs and the oh so cute invitation.  I was able to print everything at home and assemble it myself- the best part because I love crafty projects.  The party was a huge hit and the birthday girl had a fabulous time.  I’m going to try to give as much detail and credit as I can remember for the ideas I used.  The party was last June and I looked at so many blogs by crafty mommy’s who also used this theme and I tried to incorporate lots of those ideas, as well as my own into this party.  I had so much fun planning this one….  First up…the invitations.  Thanks Kim!  These were adorable. 

I made this photo booth using a large box that I wrapped in bright pink wrapping paper. I cut a circle for the kids to poke their face through, and made it look like a lollipop. The kids loved it! The back was open so the kids could go inside of it.  Something fun and different.

This is the cake table.  I made the banner hanging above…my first one ever!  I liked that the table was in the corner because we could stand behind it when blowing out the candles without it being in the way during the party.  The cake was from a local bakery (Corner Stone Caterers).  I made the cupcakes and used Kim’s party circles for toppers.  Super cute!  I also stuck a Dum Dum in some and used knotted twizzlers on a few.  The plates held the yummy cookies from The Fancy Lady Gourmet on Etsy.  Draping on the front of the table was colored lanterns that I found at CVS.  You could plug them in and they light up, but I didn’t do that.  I taped a lollipop stick to each of them to make them look like colorful lollipops.  This was a last minute up to 2 AM the night before add- thanks to my cousin Tanya for the idea..turned out super cute! 

I had a separate table for the “Sweet Shoppe.”

I set up the “Sweet Shoppe” table in my dining room using my dining room table.  The banner was recycled from my middle daughter’s 2nd birthday party which was Abby Cadabby themed.  I just changed out the picture of Abby and put on one of Kim’s sweet shoppe party circles in its place.  Love that I could use that banner again!  The colors were perfect.  The idea behind the Sweet Shoppe table was that the kids would get to visit it and fill up a bag with some candy to take home.  I tied up each bag with a toothbrush and as I handed it to the kids, I said:

  “Thank you for being sweet, but don’t forget to brush you teeth!” 

The table also included sweet Granny Smith apples which more than one child chose to put into their treat bag.  The parents were thankful I included healthy options on the table.  I made the cones from scrapbook paper and attached one of Kim’s party circles to the front. I filled the cones with cotton candy and caramel popcorn.  Other goodies on the table included lollipops, rock candy, m&ms, tropical twizzlers and gummy lifesavers.  All of the candy were in colors that coordinated with the party colors- bright pink, bright green and turquoise.  The letters on the table spelled out SWEETS.  They are large foam glittery letters that I found at Michael’s.  The candies hanging above the table are actually party lanterns that I covered in cellophane and tied the ends to look like wrapped candy.  Got the idea from for those from this fabulous candy party.



As the guests arrived to the party, they walked on the lollipop lined path.  Those lollipops were super easy to make.  I stuck a long lollipop stick into styrofoam disks (found at Michaels) that I wrapped with colored tissue paper.  Then I covered the disks with celophane wrap and gathered and tied with a ribbon around the lollipop stick. I saw these here and thought they were adorable.    

The welcome sign on the door greeted the guests as they came in.  Another cute idea from Kim!

As each guest arrived I tried to get a picture of them in the photo booth and then I had them guess how many jellybeans were in the jar. I found this site for games and they had free printables for some of the games and signs.  I used their sign for this game and for the signs on the photo booth as well. 

The majority of the party was held outside, so after the kids guessed how many jelly beans were in the jar they headed out to the backyard to make candy necklaces while waiting for the other guests arrived. 

Here is Madison making her candy necklace. 

The kids’ tables were set up outside.  I made the centerpieces using sandpails and large Whirly Pops.  I found these white tablecloths with colorful circles that reminded me of lollies at Target. I used them as a table runner over a turquoise tablecloth.  The clear cups in the picture held the candies and elastic for the candy necklaces. 

I decorated the fence with Kim’s printable happy birthday banner and more candy lanterns adorned the shrubs.

I attached empty wrapping paper tubes to these lanterns to resemble Dum Dums and stood them on either side of the steps leading up to the deck.

I didn’t hire entertainment for the party, so I was the one running the show.  Besides candy necklaces, the activities I planned were Pin the Stick on the Lollipop, Ring the Lollipop, Candy Shoppe Bingo and a pinata. 

 I made the Pin the Stick on the Lollipop Game. I glued a lollipop cutout onto a piece of green felt. I attached velcro to the lollipop sticks so they would stick on the felt when the kids tried to stick them on.

For the Ring the Lollipop game, I used the printables from here. I set them up in the back yard.  

I found a round pinata at Party City and attached a deflated mylar balloon to it.  I made it resemble a lollipop by attaching a wooden dowel.
 I made the cards for Sweet Shoppe Bingo and had them laminated.  The kids used Skittles to cover the space. I also made a set of calling cards to go with this.
After playing the games, I served a light lunch of peanut butter and jelly pinwheel sandwiches and fruit lollipops.  Thanks to Glory from Glorious Treats for the idea.  You can see her candy party here.
 After lunch, the kids visited the Sweet Shoppe and chose candy for their treat bags.  They each went home with a bag of sweets and the classic game Candy Land. 

The birthday girl wore an adorable candy custom set by Etsy seller Smockinglisa708.  Super cute!


I hope you had a wonderful 4th birthday my SWEET Madison Grace.  Mommy loves you!  XOXO!

Abby Cadabby Birthday Party

Morgan LOVED Sesame Street so for her 2nd birthday I wanted to throw a Sesame Street party, but of course wanted it to be all girly girl.  She liked the character Abby Cadabby- a cute little fairy- and I thought she was the perfect character to base the party around.  The colors we chose for the party were purple, pink and turquoise to match Abby of course.  Here are some of the details…


The birthday girl all dressed and ready to go to her party.

The party was held in a rec room…rather large but worked out well as it allowed plenty of space for the kids to run around with Abby Cadabby herself!

 I made up some wand centerpieces for the kids’ tables.

The dessert table held the cake and lots of yummy sweets and treats.   

The cake was made by my usual bakery…Cornerstone Caterers.

Guests were invited to fill up a treat bag with candy from the candy buffet.

Purple and pink lollipops from Birthday Express.  These were a hit, I just didn’t like that the wrappers were not clear unlike the picture on the website I ordered from.

The cupcakes were a huge hit too.

A close up of the favor boxes, cupcake toppers and water bottle labels.

As the guests arrived, they made a pit stop at the craft table to make fairy wands and get Abby Cadabby tattoos. 

You can’t see in the picture, but water and star shaped sponges were in the tattoo tub so the tattoos could be applied.

The favor boxes were displayed for the guests to take home.  I went with the boxes and favors from Birthday Express to make these easier for me.  They came with crayons, activity book, Abby Cadabby stickers, a stuffed wand and a lollipop

The highlight of the party was when Abby Cadabby arrived and danced, sang and played games with the kiddos.

I found an Abby Cadabby pull strign pinata at Party City and stuffed it with lots of goodies.

Happy Birthday my sweet Morgan Paige.  I hope it was a FAIRY MAGICAL day!



Ice Cream Shoppe Party

This next party that I am posting is actually the first one I did that I went all out on.  This was my daugther, Madison’s 3rd Birthday Party held in June 2009.  I hadn’t started reading the party blogs yet so my inspiration for this theme came from an article I found in Parent’s Magazine in 2006…the year Madison was born.  I saved the article for three years just waiting for the opportunity to throw an ice cream party of my own. Now that I read party blogs and am so much more into party planning than I was back then, I realize how ameteur this party actually is.  It is a “real” party though.

I started planning with the colors and decided to go with pink, brown and white (Neapolitan ice cream colors) and mint green.

The invitation was from Tiny Prints.

Madison wore this dressed that I  picked up at Gymboree in 2007 in anticipation of throwing an Ice Cream Party someday.


I didn’t do nearly as much decorating as I would have liked. I got as much up and out as I could before the party started. Here is a picture of one of the balloon bouquets. I found the big ice cream cone mylar balloons on ebay. Also a picture of the pavilion before too many people arrived. I have since learned to allow myself at least five hours to set up and drive around picking up balloons, food, cake etc. It was very hectic getting everything ready in time for this party since I only allowed two hours to get the park set up and myself dressed. A HUGE thank you to my wonderful husband who fought with getting the balloons untangled and keeping the cake from melting by running the AC in the car for an hour and also to my best friend Brigitte who helped with the set up.

I had the banner made at Party City. It was hung at the entrance to the pavilion.


The table decorations were made using a clear bucket that I found at Michaels. I cut pastel colored scrapbook paper to fit inside the buckets and stuffed them with tissue paper. I covered a bundle of lollipops with pink napkins to resemble a scoop of ice cream and I glued a red pom pom on top for a cherry. I placed these on top of sugar cones and put several of them inside of the buckets. Guests took them home after the party. I also attached pictures of ice cream cones to white boxes filled with Baskin Robbins ice cream flavored candies and Marshmallow candy sticks.


I also made these rice krispie treats and formed them into a fudgesicle shape and added a popsicle stick. I ran out of time to dip them in chocolate as I had planned. The kids loved them anyway!

I love to scrapbook so I created this picture frame mat out of scrapbook paper and embellished with stickers that fit the theme and a picture of the birthday girl. The mat was displayed on a table for guests to sign. It is now hanging in the kids’ ice cream themed bathroom! Perfect decoration.


At the party I set up an ice cream bar. I bought some fabric in pastel prints and colors from a local fabric store and made a banner by cutting half circles from the fabric and I hot glued them to a piece of ribbon. The banner served as a back drop for the ice cream bar. I also found pink and white striped fabric which I draped over the plastic table cloth to dress it up a little. I had four metal tins to hold the ice cream containers. I put a little ice inside each to keep it cold. On each tin was an image of the ice cream flavor inside. I had a bunch of toppings available including M&Ms, Gummy Bears, Rainbow Sprinkles, Chocolate Chips, Crushed Oreos, Cherries, Chocolate Sauce and Caramel Sauce. Here is a picture of the ice cream bar and a close up of the tins.

I dipped ice cream cones in melted chocolate and put colored sugar on them for the sundaes. Pink, Green, White and Brown bowls and spoons were also available as well.


I found the cups holding the toppings at Kmart. I used the pink and the clear ones.

I found cute spoons at Target that have little ice cream handles. They are adorable! We used them to spoon out the toppings.

And I found a special cup for the Birthday Girl at Kmart as well.

I found paper products that coordinated nicely with the colors and theme from Zurchers.

I had cupcakes made at my local bakery (Cornerstone Caterers). They were a HUGE hit! They are cupcakes baked inside ice cream cones and topped with icing to look like actual ice cream. They did an amazing job on those!

Cornerstone also made her cake. I did my best to explain to them what I wanted and I think they did a fabulous job turning my vision into reality!


After singing happy birthday and enjoying cake we were off to make ice cream sundaes.




I hired a local children’s entertainer, Ellen Watermelon, to entertain the kids for the first 40 min. of the party. She was wonderful and even customized her show to fit our Ice Cream Theme. How sweet!


I found an Ice Cream Cone Pinata at Party City.

I made a Pin the Cherry on the Ice Cream game. I attached fabric to a wooden dowel and made an ice cream cone from felt. I glued it to the fabric. I attached velcro to large red pom poms to use as cherries. The one who came closest to placing the cherry on top of the cone won an ice cream play set.


Since most of the kids were three and under I set up different stations for them to occupy themselves. One of them was a coloring station that included ice cream themed coloring sheets and these super cute crayons I found on Etsy.


I also had an ice cream parlor play set from Melissa and Doug and put that out for the kids to play with.


The party favors were placed in celophane bags and I made the topper for those that said “Thank you for coming to Madison’s Party.” Each bag included an ice cream bowl and spoon from Oriental Trading, an ice cream ball popper, an ice cream cone Krazy Straw, an ice cream cone bubble necklace and ice cream sundae stickers.

All in all it was a great party. This was the first one that I really went all out on. Now that I know a bit more about creating printables and things for parties and of course the infamous sweets tables, I would do things much differently.  I may have to reuse this theme in the future so I can go all out.

I hope you enjoyed your third birthday my SWEET Madison.  Mommy loves you! XOXO

Little Cupcake Theme Party

I wasn’t going to have a party for my daughter, Morgan’s 1st birthday.  Since her birthday is in March and it is still cold in NY I couldn’t have it at a park or playground and the condo I was living in was too small to host a birthday party so I was going to skip it all together…I mean she is one and won’t remember and she is my 2nd child so it wasn’t my first year to celebrate parenthood.  I was okay with my decision until 2 weeks before her birthday and then I started feeling really, really guilty about not planning anything for her. 

I woke up in the middle of the night sort of panicked and guilt ridden and just started planning a party.  I needed something in a hurry since her birthday was in two short weeks.  I found a theme on Birthday Express that I thought was cute and for the next two weeks I became obsessed with all things CUPCAKE!  I designed the invitiation, researched a place to hold the party and had everything in place before dawn.

I called the venue, Little Scoops, first thing the next morning and secured the date and I was set!  I mailed out the invitations by the afternoon.

I’m documenting some of the party ideas below but this party took place two years ago, before I was party obsessed, so I didn’t get great pictures of every little detail (who knew that was important!  LOL!) and it was before I was into making my own decorations.  I did however love a gorgeous cake!

The cake was beautifully done with a cupcake on top and mini cupcakes around the base by Corner Stone Caterers, my local bakery.

Little Scoops had party coordinators that ran the activities so I didn’t have to do much in that area.  One of the activites I brought in was Pin the Candle on the Cupcake . The owner ended up buying it from me after the party…she loved it so much!

I don’t have a great picture but you can see the aprons and cupcake boxes in this picture.  The kids decorated yummy cupcakes from Crumbs Bake Shop (a local gourmet cupcake company) and put them in Wilton Snappy Stripe Cupcake Boxes to take home.  I loved that I found boxes to coordinate with the colors of the party- Purple and Pink! I designed a round sticker that said “Thanks for coming to my party!” for the top of the boxes.  I bought plain white aprons for each guest and painted their names on them.  I also ironed on some cupcake appliques.  They wore the aprons while decorating and took those home as well.

And here is the cutie patootie birthday girl with mommy and daddy.  I bought her a dress with cupcakes smocked on it to wear to the party. 

Here she is eating her first cupcake.

Morgan is three now!  I can’t believe how big she has gotten.  She is still my little CUPCAKE and I’ll never forget her 1st birthday!  Mommy loves you, Morgan Paige!  XOXO!