Do you have a favorite children’s book?
You know… that one you can recite from memory because you’ve read it so many times?
On Saturday morning, I hopped out of bed early with storybooks on my mind. I sorted through our shelves of books, pulling out all of the ones that were classics. I had teamed up with two of my friends, Jami and Sarah, to host a baby shower for our friend, Lindsay.
We had found tons of ideas for a storybook themed shower on Pinterest. Jami had planned out all of our themed foods, like a Hungry Caterpillar fruit salad, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs meatballs and If You Give a Mouse a Cookie cookie tray.
I designed and cut out banners with characters from classic children’s stories. And Sarah planned out some cute decorating touches…
But we needed just one thing more for our decor… books!
I set up children’s books all around the living room, entry and kitchen. When my kids saw them, they immediately sat down and started reading them to each other. I was amazed at what a flood of memories washed over me just looking through those books and hearing them read the words again.
Now that they are 17, 15, 13 and 8, and can read on their own, we don’t spend much time reading books together. But the words came right back, and I could recite many of them by heart.
- Dinosaur Roar
- Are You My Mother?
- The Bear Snored On
- Put Me in the Zoo
Oh, how I cherish those days of little kids snuggled up in my lap reading books together!
Anyway… Here are a few other details from the shower, which was SO fun to put together. I had been working super hard the month before to get ready for Easter at our church. (When you work for a church, Easter is pretty much the biggest day of the year!)
My husband saw me cutting and pasting together the banners and other decorations, and remarked at how happy I looked. There’s nothing like doing something creative to help me relax after a long few weeks! Somewhere in my secret dreamworld life, I imagine myself spending my days as a professional birthday party planner. (Is there such a thing?!?) I wonder if I would get bored designing and cutting out decorations for parties all day long.
I was in charge of creating the invitation for the shower. After searching the Internet for ideas, I came up with this one… an invitation designed to fold out like a little book. I Photoshopped characters from classic stories to create this simple, but cute invitation.
Jami did an amazing job planning out our spread of children’s book-themed food!
I used my Silhouette to print and cut the banners and signs for the food. Since I had already found a lot of storybook characters to create the invitations, it was easy to put together the other signs. I used the “registration” feature on my Silhouette to first print the characters on shiny cardstock, then cut out the circles on my Silhouette.
Sarah created this adorable wreath, using small books and stuffed animals she found in the $1 aisle at Target.
She added lots of other tassels and finishing touches…
We simply printed out one more themed cover for these little clipboard notebooks that we gave as party favors…
And then we added more books and quotes to finish off the decorating…
For our party games, we created a sheet with lines from classic children’s books and the guests had to guess which book they were from.
And then, we played the game, “Guess what’s in the diaper?” I loaded diapers with an assortment of candy, fruit and other foods, like melted cheese, mashed up Fig Newtons and my favorite, guacamole! I think this photo says it all!
As always, planning the party was almost as much fun as the party itself. But I especially loved my little stroll down memory lane through the pages of all of those books.
So what about you? What’s your favorite children’s book?
One of the advantages of being the youngest child in the family is that you get to see and experience life through the eyes of your older siblings.
A few years ago, our youngest daughter got to hang out with her big sister on her birthday when she hosted a “spa” party for her tween-aged friends. Since that day, our youngest has been begging to have a spa birthday party of her own. Each year, I’ve told her “no.” Her friends needed to at least be old enough to sit still long enough to have their nails painted or enjoy the relaxation of a paraffin wax treatment on their feet.
This year, after many persistent requests, I finally agreed that on her eighth birthday, she could host a spa-themed party.
We could have taken the girls to a real spa for pedicures or hosted a princess pamerping party somewhere. Bu, we’ve always loved the parties we’ve hosted at our house the most, and this seemed like a great opportunity to have a birthday party at home.
A quick search of “spa party” on Pinterest will bring up as many spa-themed DIY ideas as nail polish choices at the salon. I often joke that my favorite “hobby” is planning a themed party, and I couldn’t resist the urge to try as many spa party ideas as possible. With our daughter’s birthday on Dec. 1, I came home from a Black Friday shopping trip, not with Christmas gifts, but the ingredients and supplies to make our own neck wraps, bath bombs, lip balm, facial scrub and more.
Our daughter had picked out a color scheme for her party that included turquoise, minty green and purple. We immediately got to work sewing neck wraps and concocting bath salts in her party colors.
I love nothing better than a theme and a color scheme, so I immediately started thinking about how we could “brand” our DIY spa products for the party.
I had recently purchased a bracelet at a Fair Trade holiday bazaar that we host each year at our church. It wasn’t just the little bracelet on a leather strap that I loved, it was the cute packaging that I knew I wanted to use for inspiration. The bracelet was one in a series called, “Six Wishes.” Each bracelet included a different “wish” for the receiver.
This inspired me to think about birthday wishes, and the number 8. As I thought about the two circles of the 8, I loved the visual symbol of the “8” in the background of a circular label. Now, we just had to come up with my daughter’s “8 wishes” for her friends. We had tried to keep her guest list as small as possible by limiting it only to friends from school. I didn’t even realize until that moment, that of the girls we invited, it ended up being a list of eight who could attend.
My daughter and I brainstormed our list of eight wishes for a group of eight girls in their eighth year of life. Here’s what we came up with:
We used the idea of “8 wishes” throughout the party. I created “8 wishes” labels for the homemade spa products that would go in their goodie bags. And each girl made a bracelet with eight beads, representing each of the eight wishes.
When the girls arrived, they each received a “menu” of the spa services available to them.
They got to go to one of three stations, which kept things more manageable by dividing them up into groups of threes. My older daughter and her friend helped with hair, and my husband filled the foot soaking tubs with warm water.
Keeping with our theme of “8 wishes,” we also ended up with eight DIY projects for the party:
Each girl got to enjoy a homemade neck wrap, which also became part of her goodie bag.
We made homemade bath bombs for the party favor bags.
We made lip balm from coconut oil and Kool Aid.
We made our own facial masks that we used during the party. (The girls used clean paintbrushes to paint the masks on their faces.)
We wrapped a strand of each girl’s hair with embroidery floss.
We gave each girl a personalized mirror, which we bought at the dollar store. I used Oracle adhesive vinyl to cut each girl’s name on my Silhouette.
We made our own fizzy foot bath station, complete with paraffin wax treatment. (We used the same recipe for the fizzy bath salts as we had used for the bath bombs.) Above is a pic of my older daughter and her friend testing out the foot station before the guests arrived!
And each girl got to make her own “8 wishes” bracelet. Each bead represents one of the eight wishes.
I wasn’t sure what my daughter’s friends would think of the party. But several of them declared it was the “Best Party Ever”! They carried around their spa menu, and chatted excitedly about which station they planned to visit next. It also didn’t hurt that we were blessed with nearly 60 degree temps on the first Saturday in December. This allowed the girls to take breaks from all of their pampering to play on the trampoline and run around outside.
The party ended up being a lot of work, but I had a blast putting it all together. My favorite part of the whole party prep was thinking about those wishes for the next year for her and her friends. I would love to make this a tradition in our home for each person in our family to think of a list of birthday wishes for the coming year.
I’m not sure if they will remember any of the “8 wishes” we sent home with them that day. But who knows? Maybe their little bracelets or a fizzy bath will remind them of some of the more important things in life that we hope they get to experience this year!
Tucked in between Thanksgiving and Christmas and the last of our four children’s fall birthdays, it always seems that Jayda’s birthday sneaks up on me. While the other kids have been having birthday parties since they were 1, I haven’t managed to put together a birthday party for her YET!… Until this year.
Less than a week before her Dec. 1 birthday, I e-mailed a few friends to see if their daughters would be free to come over for a birthday playdate. Jayda has a really sweet collection of friends and if I had had my act together, I probably would have planned something for more guests. But in the end, it was really nice to have four little girls come over to celebrate My Little Pony style.
I had a blast decorating in rainbows, a la Rainbow Dash. I have never really been a fan of My Little Pony, but I will admit that after buying her presents and decorating in all things pony, I agree that my 4-year-old’s passion is adorable.
For the cake, I used Air Head Extremes to create rainbows on cupcakes.
I grabbed some My Little Pony images from the Internet to create labels for the water bottles. We emptied out more water bottles and created a rainbow of Skittles for one of the party favors.
The food included pizza, crackers and cheese cut in cute shapes, carrots, apples and marshmallows that I found in cute, colorful shapes.
The girls went home on a sugar high after the “drink” I served with the cupcakes. I cut open freeze pops and poured them in a bowl one color at a time to create a rainbow freeze. (Just make sure to allow each layer to freeze completely before pouring in the next color.)
We had a few planned activities, such as My Little Pony coloring sheets, temporary tattoos, and this Rainbow Dash game that I created throughout the house.
The game could not have been any simpler. The girls threw a large die that I had from another game. Each side was a different color. Whatever color it landed on is the square they had to go to. If they passed over a pink square, they had to shout out, “Happy Birthday, Jayda.”
At the end of the path, they came to a box wrapped in rainbow paper with prizes inside. Each child got to reach in and grab a My Little Pony figure. (They sell these in mystery bags, sort of like Lego mini figures so you don’t know which one you are getting.)
The girls were hilarious during this game! I thought they might get bored because it was so simple, but halfway through, one little girl announced , “This game is REALLY hard!”
The party was super fun both for the girls and for me! Happy birthday, sweetheart!