Spa Themed Birthday Party

I’ve never had a birthday party….and I don’t say that in a sad, woe is me kind of way.  I say it so you could understand why having a special birthday moment for the people I love most is so important to me.  I want them to feel so so special, and to feel how important they are to me.  So in my first years of motherhood, I planned the little people’s birthday parties for weeks and sometimes months in advance.  Laboring over each of the smallest details.   I took so much time and care and pride in each of their special days, and I loved the final results, and the look on their faces….but I would be busy and sidelined with the production of it all, and I placed a lot of pressure on myself to do it ALL myself…as though the actual labor was the love.  The reality is that the details of the party truly don’t matter to either of them….and I started abandoning the BIG party last year by seriously shrinking both of their guest lists for her Tea Party Birthday and also by hosting his Lightning McQueen Birthday at an outside venue.  And I gotta tell ya, scaling back was….delightful.

This year, our little lady requested a spa themed birthday party…and I thought about putting it on at home…and then I pictured six little girls running around my house with wet nail polish and sparkly makeup all over the…..NO.  About that time, Whimsy and Wonder popped up in my Facebook feed.  I took R with me to check it out, and as she twirled and whirled around the absolutely precious space, I met with Kelly Catron, the owner of this venue as well as Gigi Noelle Events.  Within twenty minutes the entire party was planned.  BOOM.

Spa Birthday Party Decorations

All of that goodness right there…I took care of a small detail or two, a cake, and some snacks for our girl and her sweet friends….but the rest was all put together and provided by the Whimsy and Wonder staff.  In addition to the space, the beautiful decorations, favors, activities, and set up, the package included two party hosts to guide and entertain the girls, all while I roamed and snapped photos and Daddy watched the chaos in comfort.  They got mani’s and pedi’s and made their own chapstick…

Spa Party Manicures
They took their time getting their hair done, sparkly make up, and chocolate facials.

Spa Theme Birthday Party
And that’s when the sweetest part of the whole day happened.  These two have a bond like only a girl and her father can have, and when she declined the chocolate facial for herself, he offered to do it in her place if she was the one to apply it.  She was THRILLED.

Spa Birthday Party
After the girls were pampered, they sat together at the table giggling and laughing and blowing their noise makers.  A lot.

Spa Birthday Cake Time
It was the loudest “spa” I have ever been to.  And then it somehow became a dance/karaoke party.  These girls were “Let It Go”ing and “Whip and Nae Nae”ing all over that stage.

Spa Birthday Party
I am so tickled to have found Whimsy and Wonder, and had such an amazing experience.  A huge thank you to those lovely ladies!  Like their Facebook page, they have tons of events like Parents Night Out, Daddy Daughter Date Night, and Mommy and Me activities, as well as hosting several packaged parties.  The birthday girl and her girlfriends had an amazing afternoon.  The expense was comparable to what I spend on their celebrations when I have my hands on every detail, and I could not have been less stressed.  Which is actually getting MORE than I’m paying for….

It’s definitely our busiest time of the year now, and we’re adding lots of projects and excitement to an already crazy time.  I am hopeful to get some posts finalized for publishing, including a summer trip to New York City, the kids first football tail gate, Halloween, and a certain little boy’s fourth birthday party.  All while we prep for Thanksgiving travel and the Christmas season.  So until the next post….cheers!

Back To School!

This was the first year since they started preschool that come mid-July I wasn’t counting the days until school started…ready for the two hour respite and the structure that comes from having a routine.  Not this year.  While I was excited for them to go to school, I enjoyed so very much this summer of leisure.  They are in this incredible sweet spot that I’m certain will end soon.  They are still young enough that they are still our little ones, they still love to snug, they still want to play with Jeff and I, they don’t shy away from holding my hand, but they are growing and developing more as individuals each day.

It is a big year for our girl, kindergarten!  There were no tears, no fear, no real trepidation for any of us.  We all knew since the end of last year that she was absolutely ready.  The only anxiousness came from the excitement and curiosity we felt when she was gone for seven hours, wondering….what is she doing???  We were all so excited to see her face, to hear all about her day, and to be reunited again that we all piled in the car to pick her up as a family!

Back To School
The boy didn’t start back to preschool until almost three weeks later.  Starting with our very first day at home “alone” together, two things happened.  We had about 75% less tantrums, and about 100% more talking.  Clearly without my attention divided in half, he calmed down enough to start communicating without losing his mind.  To the tune of about 7,000 words a minute.  The kid tells me EVERYTHING.  And I love to hear him chatter on.  Heaven help me though if he thinks I’m not listening, or if I try to finish a sentence for him (for the sake of time)…if I do I’m certain to get a big ‘ole “ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh mommy I was TALK.ING.” (Pictured below on the right.) While we loved all the one on one time, he was thrilled to get back to school, to see the teachers and the buddies he loves, and to have a break from the hovering mother who won’t let him jump off of allllll high things.

Back to School 2
It was a fantastic start back to the school year. Even in the weeks and days that they have been back, we are all gaining a little more independence. They are becoming such confident children, more assertive, more responsible, and they are constantly surprising us with the funny things they have to say. I’m learning that they don’t need me to put their shoes and socks on for them, even if it takes so long for them to do it that I know we are going to be late if I don’t help….I’m learning. They are taking their school days in with excitement and confidence, crushing their first days back.

Back to School 3
We are tickled with both of their schools, and we know they are loved by their teachers. We are super lucky. If you’re local to the Myrtle Beach area and you are looking for information on where they go, please let me know! I’m happy to share our experiences in their preschool and elementary school selections privately. Here’s some more first day photos.

Back to School 4
My kids have lots of big plans for dance parties, some beach time, and showing property with Daddy this weekend. I have a suspicion that some college football will be sprinkled in there somewhere too. I’m off to Charlotte to see my dearest and her family, meeting her newest addition. I just received a text that there is to be mimosas, bloody mary’s, a toddler, and a baby by the pool tomorrow. Baaahaaaaa….don’t you love the second kid?? Cheers to the weekend yall!

Disney Cars Lightning McQueen Birthday: {Re}Collected Moments Series

Broadway Grand Prix Birthday Party
As with most boys, ours has had an obsession with Disney Cars, most specifically Lightning McQueen, since he first saw the movie when he was two years old.  When it came time to plan his third birthday party, it was a no brainer.  Faced with all the Pinterest photos of the elaborate games and decorations I could “totally make” to pull off the best Lightning McQueen party ever….the stress induced eye twitching began immediately.  We quickly made the move to host H and three of his best buds at the local go kart track.

The beauty of Broadway Grand Prix is that the entire park and party room are decorated in a racing theme, they have locked in food and party packs, a full arcade, miniature golf, seven kart tracks as well as plenty of rides for toddlers….so that means no cooking or even planning for the food, minimal decorations needed, and the kids would have way more fun than any game or bouncy house I could put in the back yard. Plus, THEY DO THE CLEAN UP. Sold.

Broadway Grand Prix Toddler Rides
The more popular a character is, the more free printables and party goodies at affordable prices are available, and you can easily put your own stamp on them.  His table decorations were a combination of free Disney Cars printables I found on HWTM, packaged Disney Cars table top party decorations and customized signs that I cut and mounted onto various backgrounds.  I made his table runner from $5 a yard Lightning McQueen fabric from Wal-Mart.  {And by “made” I mean by cutting the fabric to 18″ wide then folding the edges under an inch or two and ironing the folded edge.}

Lightning McQueen Birthday Party Table Top Decorations
Finding Lightning McQueen party favors was a breeze.  Painting and coloring books from the Target $1 section, and the rest of the loot I found at The Dollar Store! (Yep, The Dollar Store.)

Lightning McQueen Birthday Party Decoration
I trimmed the cake plates with ribbon and made the cupcake flags from toothpicks and decorative tape.  I made his miniature garland cake topper with bakers twine, lollipop sticks, and decorative tape.  Clearly, he was more interested in his own handy work than mine…

Disney Cars Lightning McQueen Birthday Cake
I customized the VIP lanyards for the Crew Chief and Pit Crew, added a Lightning McQueen sticker, and mounted them to checkered flag paper as a background.  I found the digital file for the background on Etsy and simply changed the scale using my printer properties.

Disney Cars Lightning McQueen Birthday Party
The boy’s party outfit came together easily, I found the checkered suspenders on Etsy, and the rest was already in his wardrobe.

I do have some tips to consider if you are planning a party at your local favorite party place.  Keep the number of guests low for two reasons.  They have a lot more fun if there is just a handful of them.  There is an age/number of guests ratio out there but I don’t know what it is. Secondly, at this age one parent will be staying with each guest and most packages will include each body in the room.  Our package was for twelve, and the birthday boy was free.  We had four children, with one parent each, plus myself, Jeff, and a Nana.   If we hadn’t counted the parents as guests we would have lots of parents standing around not eating (rude) or would have paid a much higher rate for each extra person.

Negotiate the party pack you purchase in order to best fit your guests.  Because of the height requirements, the birthday boy and his crew were not able to ride the big go karts.  The staff gladly increased the number of arcade tokens per guest to accommodate us, maximizing the package we purchased.

Height Requirements 2
Plan the party to start early so the venue will not be as busy, but not too early…I planned the party to start when the doors opened to the park.  So I was standing there with all the decorations, balloons, cake, cupcakes, etc., as well as all the guests when the doors opened.  No one else seemed to mind though.  We had the entire park to ourselves before we moved to the party room.

We had an amazing time with the crew celebrating his third birthday party.  Such an amazing time that he continues to ask for the same birthday party again!

Disney Cars Birthday

I just noticed that I am taking turns in this {Re}Collected Moments Series…first his nursery, then her Tea Party Birthday, now back to the boy for a Disney Cars Lightning McQueen party. {Can you tell I’m a Libra?} Looking forward to another season of birthdays and all the fun fall events.  Cheers!

Tea Party Birthday: {Re}Collected Moments Series

We do most of the prep and planning for the little people’s birthday parties in the summer because they are three weeks apart…in the fall….when there are about a gajillion other things we have going on.  Although neither kid has settled on a firm idea for this year, it’s definitely on the brain.  So it’s the perfect time to {re}collect a past party moment for this series!

Tea Party Birthday
R wanted to celebrate her fifth birthday with “just girls” and asked for a Tea Party at home.  I pitched her the idea of sitting together with five of her friends in little white gloves, dripping with pearls and wearing their favorite dresses, sipping on “tea” from delicate tea cups and eating little tea sandwiches with their pinkies in the air.  She approved of my proposal and promptly set me about making it happen.

The party decorations were simple, I found the perfect little tea party printables from Designed by Maria on Etsy.  Maria was amazing to work with and customized R’s banner for me, as well as made minor tweaks to color and font.  I made tissue paper garland, used lace for the sweet pennant flags, and of lots of roses of course!  (If you missed it, here are my tips for flowers.)

Tea Party Birthday Decor
As her guests arrived, they decorated porcelain tea cups and saucers with markers.  I baked them in the oven at 350 degrees for thirty minutes for the color to set, and had them cool during the party so they were ready to take home with each guest.

Tea Party Birthday, Tea Cup Decorating
They made jewelry and decorated little hand bag totes.  I found all the supplies at Michaels and AC Moore.

Tea Party Birthday Activity
I made each girl a little feather and flower hair piece, then gathered hand fans, rings, necklaces, bracelets and gloves for each little lady.

Tea Party Birthday Dress Up
Once they were all dressed and ready for tea time, they sat like big girls drinking “tea” (strawberry or chocolate milk) from mismatched teacups and saucers I found for a steal on Ebay.  They jabbered on while nibbling sugar laden goodies from macarons to jam filled tea sandwiches off of dessert plates passed down from Jeff’s grandparents.  They consumed so much sugar I was genuinely surprised they stayed seated as long as they did.  I can still hear their sugar induced little giggles!

Tea Party Birthday Table Reduced
They moved on to cake time, and her cake was exactly as I’d pictured it – simple and sweet and girly and pink. And the various size cupcakes with roses on top were equally enjoyed as part of the decor as well as a delicious treat.

Tea Party Birthday Cake
Such a sweet time she and her little friends had. And such a sweet moment to {re}collect!

Tea Party Birthday Hugs
Cheers you guys…pinkies out of course!