Every year, I swear that I'm not going to go all out for Audrey's birthday party. And every year, I lie. In fact, every intro to every birthday post begins with that very sentence (click here to see her 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th). That said, I'm a true blood glutton for punishment and secretly love every last minute of it. And this year, I'm happy to report that there was only a little bit of sweat involved and I definitely didn't shed any blood or tears so it felt like a win all round. And of course, we had the fabulous Ruth Eileen on hand to snap some of the smiles.
Pancakes & Pajamas. Code for a sleepover where we ate nothing but junk.
The invitation for this year's party was cute because it also served as a party favor and something that bonded all of the little girls together with a cute "samesies" T. I found small, lidded boxes at the Container Store, then filled with pink paper shred and a t-shirt I found on sale for $3 at Khols. Finally, I printed up a quickie invite on label paper and stuck it right on the top. Since there were only a 8 little girls that all live in our neighborhood, we hand delivered them and asked that the girls wear the T-shirt inside to the party.
My entry way chest served as the focal point for the party. It was nice because it was the very first thing guests saw so it was an insta-smile. I had our girl, Jess (who used to do DIY for SMP but is now kicking butt with her own brand) create the Pancakes & Pajamas sign then I filled the table with fun, SUPER easy to make treats. The girls ate Breakfast for Dinner (silver dollar pancakes, eggs, bacon and fruit) at our kitchen table where we had a cute, easy honey comb tissue ball table runner, gold striped plates, YAY! Napkins and a miniature bottle of syrup that I wrote each of the girls' names on. I wrapped bamboo flatware with some ribbons and dunked our every day glasses in pink chocolate melts + sprinkles.
Food! Eating was a major activity. The girls had a seated dinner with all the fixins. Pancakes, Eggs, Bacon and Fruit.
Karaoke. One of our gifts to Audrey was an inexpensive Karaoke machine and the girls spent a good hour (and could have gone on for longer) singing and dancing. I'm pretty sure this will be a party staple from here on out.
Movie + Popcorn Bar. We featured a Pop It Like It's Hot Popcorn bar with all different flavors for the girls like s'mores, birthday cake, white cheddar, fruit loop and caramel! The containers and the labels being one of the many props that I end up using over and over again at birthday parties.
Snuggle Station. I gathered all of the random stuffed animals we had in old storage bins and around the house, lined them up on some shelves and had Jess make a "Snuggle Up Buttercup" sign.
I loooooved the favors for this party. I think the best thing about having a small get together is that you can splurge a little on the favors. That said, I looked for bargains and I didn't waste money on any filler toys that would go in the garbage. I found clear makeup bags from papermart. Then filled with tiny donut erasers, donut lip gloss from dylan's candy bar, a cute eye mask from H&M, chapstick that I found at Khols, and the big win was a teeny tiny nail polish that the amazing peeps at Gifts for the Good Life sent me as they had a few leftover from a big wedding conference they did.
Party Cheat Cuts!
-Having had a million parties at the house, most of which are pink and sparkly, I was able to re-use decor from parties past which saved a bundle. If you aren't a nut like I am, ask around as friends often have extra paper plates, ribbon, tissue balls, etc that they are willing to part with.
-For favors, look for small items that come packaged together - I found a set of 6 chapsticks for $3 and donut erasers that came in groups of 3. Saved a mini-bundle.
-For signage, you can hire a calligrapher OR you can cheat calligraphy which is what I did on the tiny syrup bottles. Just write your text in a light pencil in your best cursive. Then pull up your favorite font online and follow the thickness of the letters on top of your already created cursive. You'll add weight to the sides of the letters, then fill in with paint pen.
-Make your food in advance. I baked the cake layers the week before and popped them in the freezer. Same with the waffle sugar cookies. The day of the party, I made "breakfast for dinner" about 2 hours ahead and kept it in a warming drawer. Meant that I wasn't scrambling at all when the girls arrived.
-Think about how store bought can translate into amazing...
We bought bagged white popcorn and then dressed it up with different toppings for our popcorn bar. In doing this, we could make the popcorn ahead of time as opposed to popping it at home and then watching it go stale.
We made Donuts & Milk glasses by slicing a small piece out of a mini chocolate donut and sliding it on the edge of the glass. Felt chic and unique but was a total cinch.
Our pancake "cake" was actually just boxed white cake that I baked in really thin layers. It used 2 boxes of mix to create the cake itself - though I did have leftovers (which was great because I used the extra layers for the cake that we enjoyed at Audrey's family party).
-Dunkin Donuts came in for the dessert table clutch as I used a bunch of sprinkled glazed donuts to really fill up the table and make it look more impressive than it actually was.