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PARTY-OF-FIVE

My daughter Eden turned 5 last week and we threw her a little PARTY OF FIVE.  We didn't really have a "theme" but chose to simply celebrate  the No. 5.  FIVE is a big deal!  I asked Eden to choose the colors  (she loved that) and asked her to choose 6 or 7 of her closest friends (my son, Tristan was welcome to invite a few companions as well).

We don't throw a big bash every year, we switch off between a low key family celebration and a party.  It works for us, it gives us a break and every other year we can plan for a big gift or travel in lieu of a party.   When planning a party, I have all intentions of keeping it small and manageable , but since it so happened that the friends on Eden's guest list had parents that were our good friends, it was expected to evolve into an ALL-day party despite the 3-6 time listed on the invitation.   Eden's 5th birthday party ended at 11 pm, an hour earlier than her 3rd Birthday party (we're either getting better, or getting older).  We had anticipated this so we stocked the refer with food and drink  and the hubby even hung this spactacular IKEA disco ball from the garage ceiling so the kids danced almost all night.  (Five and six year olds  in a conga line  is quite hilarious, even moreso since it was independently organized!)  The disco ball light is a plug-in, lights up and spins colorful dots all over the ceiling and walls. How cool is that," anytime disco" in the garage!?  It is staying up all year-it adds a little excitement while on the eliptical exercise machine. 

I now have a few birthday parties under my belt so I have learned my lessons and figured out ways to keep it on the simple side despite the large crowd.

Here's where I started:

Pick an interest (call it a "theme",  color palette,  jumping off point) just start.

I had spied this really cute FREE printable download on Pinterst and that is where it all started for us. I used this as her invitation, customized the color a little bit on my computer and added the information with various fonts and graphics.  

The popsicle itself gave me the idea to serve all I could on a stick since it wasn't yet summer and couldn't run with a summer popsicle type theme.

Food:  Serving food on a stick, cuts down the table hovering, and it was easier for little ones to serve themselves (because at age 4/5 it's all about gaining independence.    The only reason I had forks present was for my husband, because in his native country you just don't eat with your hands (I proudly announce he does eat a burger with his hands now).  

We started with healthier fixings first and the tater tots, chicken nuggets and corn dogs came later.  Even later came pizzas, pasta and salad.  I meant to put the tater tots and nuggets on skewers as well (presoaking the bamboo skewers and baking them right on the stick), however, the little adorable children started running at me in hunger and there was just no time for fancy dispay at this point. Dumped they were on the pan and in the oven they went (the food not the children).

Games:  We had a few simple games like throw the penny on the Twister Mat (attempting to get it on the colored dot) and drop the straw in one of three bottles from standing above them.   They liked the games but soon got hungry again and seemed to have lost interest in the games. CAKE!  It was time for cake.

Cake: Ahh the cake.  I have a love-hate relationship with this cake.  I did a three layer multiclored cake in our birthday colors.  Dying the batter (white-not yellow- cake batter) was the easy part.  I am great with color, but the frosting application was challenging.  See the link below for what the cake COULD  have looked like.  The frosting was made of buttercream, and the tutorial was very easy in concept. HOWEVER, for it to be very easy, this buttercream needs to be on the dry side, and my version would heat up in my hand and get drippy I think because I added too much milk and I used thin sandwich bags.  After 45 minutes of squeezing out frosting balls and pressing with a spoon, I found myself just scraping and scooping the frosting on the cake with the back of the spoon which still looked cool, but not the same as the other side of the cake (the side when I was careful and rested).   Frosting ended up everywhere and alot of waste occurred-but hey you get a pretty cake.  Well, sort of.  What I learned:  Make twice the amount of frosting for a cake of this size.  Use a THICK ziplock freezer bag-it will help insulate the temperature (I think), and if the frosting starts to liquify, cool it in the refer for 10 minutes-or just do away with the zip lock all together and simply "wipe' the frosting on, wiping the spoon in between colors. If you read the link, you will understand what I am referring to.  The cake reminded my friend and I of the "Rainbow Fish" , so if you want a fish or a mermaid themed party, here's a cake for you!  The important thing was, my daughter loved it, she felt special and she had a great Birthday with her good friends.

Decorations: I decorated the kitchen nook with balloons I had collected over the years and the plates and napkins wereof  simple white and mint  from Target (Spritz Co.) 

Luckily I am close to finishing a boys room (next week) and had so much cardboard to use  I cut out a giant "5" and used scotch tape to finish the edges.  Then I sprayed it gold and hung it on the front door.  

I also made a very rustic garland out of scrap material - except for the pink strands; they came from an inexpensive pack of flower sack towels, I dyed and then ripped.  I simply hung them necktie style on a some pretty packaging string along with box letters that spelled "F-I-V-E" that I purchased at Joann Fabrics on sale!  I also sprayed them gold for a glam effect.  Eden likes fancy things.  

Since I could not find a tablecloth I liked, I made one myself.  You can buy a twin sized sheet from Walmart for $2.99 and I had some RIT dye, so I tie-dyed it to look like the frwozen popsicle on her invite.  Done and done.After not finding party hats that I liked, I made the crazy last minute decision to make my own.  We had outstanding weather that week, so some of these outside projects were doable and who doesn't love a good hat, right?  To me, if I could get one good photo it would all be worth it, besides, a kid will wear a hat for 3 minutes for cake (evil laugh).  I had most of the materials around the house, so to work I went.  (cue: hot glue gun, see caption under photo for details).  

Parting gifts:  I used the cute little tags again and hand wrote names on each.  I try not to put things from the dollar store or too much candy because they just end up breaking and frustrating kids not to mention cluttering the house!  I put a few sweets (since Easter was right around the corner), a silly straw, nailpolish mini's, superballs, stickers and tatoos and a mini bubble wand.  Since I knew we would be disco dancing in the dark, each received a few glow-in-the-dark bracelets.

We had a really fun evening with the grown ups and now I am off to pulling the carpet off of my stairs and refacing with wood - the stain is being customized right now and we're starting that tomorrow!  We're also getting white doors.  We had been saving this alteration for last and hubby and I have grown incredibly tired of pecan orange stain on builder grade flat doors.  It's time!  

There are more projects (and my son's birthday party to plan for June) coming and a reveal sometime next week so stay tuned! 

Until then here are the resources for the loot and Party of Five projects!  

  1. Popsicle Party Free Printables
  2. Spritz Straws - these are out of stock online, but can found within this section in stores
  3. The Cake Blog - Find out how to do this cake (the right way) here
  4. 100 things you can serve on a stick ideas
  5. Drink Dispensers - I found mine in store at a local Walmart, but Target has a large selection 
  6. Wiltons Candy Melts - used for rice krispies
  7. Wiltons Icing Gel

XO

Kari

The Invitation
The Invitation
Party of Five
Party of Five
Party garland!
Party garland!
Gift bags with custom tags
Gift bags with custom tags
I found striped straws at Target by Spritz, and used left over ribbon to decorate mason jars.  SInce this age group is starting to spell, I spelled some things with some sticky typeface letters I found in the $1 bin at Target.  These are still available there, so if you go, you can find them. I thought it was funny that the mason jar I used for straws happen to say  big mouth  on it...ha.
I found striped straws at Target by Spritz, and used left over ribbon to decorate mason jars. SInce this age group is starting to spell, I spelled some things with some sticky typeface letters I found in the $1 bin at Target. These are still available there, so if you go, you can find them. I thought it was funny that the mason jar I used for straws happen to say "big mouth" on it...ha.
If there were one thing I would strongly recommend for all parties it is this.  A  drink cooler  station.  Kids will ask the host to fill up their glass 1000 times at a birthday party, or when attempting it themselves, a huge unwelcome spill can occur and someone s dress gets ruined.  For $8.00 you can avoid all that.  You can find these everywhere now, Target, Walmart,  Pottery Barn...I got a glass one with a plastic screw top since I figured it would be easier to screw off with sticky juices.  Besides, it was $8.00!  

Place either off the counter inside (have a towel on the floor just in case) or better yet outside for true peace of mind.  The kids loved filling up their own glasses and snicker snicker-it was V8 s vegetable fusion juice.  Bwahahahah.
If there were one thing I would strongly recommend for all parties it is this. A "drink cooler" station. Kids will ask the host to fill up their glass 1000 times at a birthday party, or when attempting it themselves, a huge unwelcome spill can occur and someone's dress gets ruined. For $8.00 you can avoid all that. You can find these everywhere now, Target, Walmart, Pottery Barn...I got a glass one with a plastic screw top since I figured it would be easier to screw off with sticky juices. Besides, it was $8.00! Place either off the counter inside (have a towel on the floor just in case) or better yet outside for true peace of mind. The kids loved filling up their own glasses and snicker snicker-it was V8's vegetable fusion juice. Bwahahahah.
I made rice krispie bars and dipped them diagonally in custom Wilton Candy melts that I had mixed to the raspberry pink color.   See resource list for the link to the melts and edible gel dye.
I made rice krispie bars and dipped them diagonally in custom Wilton Candy melts that I had mixed to the raspberry pink color. See resource list for the link to the melts and edible gel dye.
I used white cardstock, a round sponge on a stick (available in those affordable brush sets at craft stores) some navy left over yarn and wrote names on each. I used very thin elastic cord (no one likes a pinched chin, or double one for that matter) and simply made a slit, knotted, glued with hot glue in place.  Voila, repeat 10 times.  I literally shoved a very thin version of a pom pom at the top point - which was left open,  and hot glued in place.
I used white cardstock, a round sponge on a stick (available in those affordable brush sets at craft stores) some navy left over yarn and wrote names on each. I used very thin elastic cord (no one likes a pinched chin, or double one for that matter) and simply made a slit, knotted, glued with hot glue in place. Voila, repeat 10 times. I literally shoved a very thin version of a pom pom at the top point - which was left open, and hot glued in place.
While making these I kept saying to myself   Really, Kari?  You had to make your own party hats?  I am so glad I did, which made me forego the striped popsicles...the hats last longer.
While making these I kept saying to myself "Really, Kari? You had to make your own party hats? I am so glad I did, which made me forego the striped popsicles...the hats last longer.
Serving things on a stick really frees up the hands (mine and the guests).
Serving things on a stick really frees up the hands (mine and the guests).
Healthier versions were served first so we knew something good got in the tummies before tater tots and corn dog were served.   I was happily surprised how much the kids ate, eating off the stick is like sport.  Although fencing with them in the back yard had to be managed afterwards...
Healthier versions were served first so we knew something good got in the tummies before tater tots and corn dog were served. I was happily surprised how much the kids ate, eating off the stick is like sport. Although fencing with them in the back yard had to be managed afterwards...
The lilacs were alllmost ready to  open, so I placed them in warm water to speed things up and a few were blossoming by afternoon.  I love a good non-store bought flower!
The lilacs were alllmost ready to open, so I placed them in warm water to speed things up and a few were blossoming by afternoon. I love a good non-store bought flower!
So the cake...not my best, and although colorful and pretty, it was kind of a hot mess.    When I look at it, I think of the number 1.  That is what the clock read when I finished it (that would be AM).
So the cake...not my best, and although colorful and pretty, it was kind of a hot mess. When I look at it, I think of the number 1. That is what the clock read when I finished it (that would be AM).
This great photo was captured by none other than Michelle Thomas www.michellethomasphoto.com
This great photo was captured by none other than Michelle Thomas www.michellethomasphoto.com
I did earn some ooh and ahhs upon cake cutting.  This was fun, you don t quite know what you are going to get until you cut it.

Photo by Michelle Thomas www.michellethomasphoto.com
I did earn some ooh and ahhs upon cake cutting. This was fun, you don't quite know what you are going to get until you cut it. Photo by Michelle Thomas www.michellethomasphoto.com
What they ll do for cake...silly faces.
Photo by Michelle Thomas
What they'll do for cake...silly faces. Photo by Michelle Thomas

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