This is going to be a lengthy post. So brace yourselves. As I’ve mentioned before we do preschool graduation big in this house. And my last preschool graduate would be no exception. In fact, this party was originally planned for spring time but then I couldn’t get my act together in time, so we turned it into a little graduation celebration. I decided to do a much smaller party this time than I’ve done for the boys in the past. However, I think it was 10 times as much work. But totally worth it. Since I started planning it for April, I began slowly acquiring all the items. Pretty much I have lived, eaten, and breathed this party for 4 months.
Jane is my go to invitation person. She is ridiculously talented and my vision is penned to paper perfectly. She came up with the most adorable invitations for this sweet party. The photo is blurry, I took it at night time. But you can see how utterly adorable it is.
In fact, the entire week before the party was spent every single day doing things revolving around it. Whether it was an afternoon at the party goods store picking out favors and paper goods, or a day putting all the gift bags together, or shopping for lanterns, or sewing the playing cards banner, or traveling to kinko’s to get the game board made, or shopping for and cooking all the food. This was the first time I cooked everything myself. I might add it also was the first time I baked cupcakes! I know. Unreal. But we aren’t huge cupcake eaters, and in the past I’ve bought our cupcakes at bakeries.
For the adults I served turkey sandwiches, sangria, the black bean and corn salsa that has become a staple in this house, fruit salad, and sparkling waters. The kiddies had sunflower seed butter (since I am too paranoid for kiddies and nut allergies) and honey sandwiches, string cheese, fruit salad, goldfish, and cupcakes. I also made a sparkling ‘mocktail’ for them from perrier and grapefruit juice.
The girls were directed by this sign to enter through our side gate to come to the backyard.
Once they came through the backyard we had little coloring pages I printed out with Alice in Wonderland figures on them, and then when all the girls arrived we began painting little tea cups and saucer planters. The tea cups are from Oriental Trading Co., and the paints are just acrylics from our local Blick Art store.
My sweet Alice’s costume was bought on our last trip to Disneyland.
For snacks while we were outside painting, the girls had water boxes from Amazon, and popcorn from our popcorn machine.
Once the painting was completed the girls cleaned up and our special surprise guest arrived. I hired an Alice in Wonderland character to come and attend the tea party. She walked through to the backyard and then all the girls followed her inside to see the table and find their seating assignment.
Lanterns are from Pier 1. The table setting is a paper table cloth from Party City and down the center I layered wrapping paper in the polka pattern for some fun contrast. Paper goods are also from Party City. I already owned all the platters. I purchased the clear dispenser for the drink with a chalkboard label from Pier 1. The glass drink bottles I ordered from Specialty Bottle Co., I ordered a lot and will use them for future parties.
My mom found the waffle cones where I placed the girls’ fruit salad at Gelson’s. And the goldfish was served in cupcake liners.
Alice helped serve all the girls their snacks and then read to them the story of Alice in Wonderland.
Once everyone was fed, Alice did face painting for all the girls, and then we played Pin the Grin on the Cheshire Cat. I searched for days for some kind of game or download for this and finally stumbled upon one on Etsy. I took the download and then printed it on glossy thick card stock and then mounted it on a larger board with japanese masking tape.
The morning of the party I sewed together a little banner of playing cards for some more decoration near the game.
The girls absolutely loved the game and kept doing it over and over again. And that was my sweet Alice’s party.
I really tried to multitask at the party as mama, host, photographer, and videographer. But these are all the photos I have, and the video is pretty short but it’s sweet. To watch it you’ll have to click on the post if you are using Google Reader.
Greta and I had a lot of fun putting together these little favors for the girls. I also used them as place settings for the tea table. The theme of the party was Alice in Wonderland and we ended up after illness and scheduling conflicts with 6 little girls (7 including Greta). Which was a nice number because I could really make each little setting something special. Here is what was in the little gift pails with links after the photo.
The pails were from Target, and the following items can be found at :
chinese toy- Party City or your local party store
deck of playing cards- Oriental Trading Company
Alice in Wonderland book- Scholastic Book Store
Polka Dot straw- Etsy
Twig Crayons- Acme Party Box
Rock Candy and Bubble Gum- Party City
Lipstick Lollipop- Bake it Pretty
Eat Me tag- Bake it Pretty
I realize as everyone is prepping for back to school, I really need to blog about a final field trip Sawyer’s first grade class took, before he starts the 2nd grade! Somewhere in the midst of end of year school parties and swim lessons I forgot to post this. The entire first grade took school buses up to Underwood Family Farms in Moorpark. I have taken the kids before and it’s a great fun place. The entire class had a ball. Here’s what we picked.
Sawyer and a very good buddy. They crack me up.
This past week has been busy with Greta’s last week of preschool sniff sniff. Last Sunday she graduated and then each day this week was kid’s choice. Monday was PJ day, Tuesday share day, etc. She was pretty sad on Friday that she was finished but we promised her we would return to visit her teachers she loves so much. We do preschool graduation big in this house and that’s what we did Saturday. I will do a separate post for her graduation day and one for her party this week.
Planning a tea party for little girls took more work than I think planning my entire wedding. I slept til almost 9am this morning. And I’m still tired. But she loved it and I hope she remembers it forever. I’m thinking her memories at 5 may be one of her earliest memories, and I hope this day was one of them.
My garden is peaking with tomatoes and we enjoy them nightly. The most delicious thing in the world is home grown tomatoes, still warm from the sun before they were picked.
We spent the day with my dad’s side of the family which is always nice. We don’t live far away but it seems we don’t see each other enough.
I haven’t updated my iPhone in awhile so I’m posting a few photos from it to catch up. I’ll work backwards. Two weeks ago I took the kids to another pool party and it was amazing. It’s annual, but this is the first year I got to go since I didn’t have to work. They had craft tables set up, tons of pool toys, a dress up table with masks and boas, a t-shirt crafting table, a stuffed animal section where you got to choose your own one to take home. They also had a DJ and served a delicious lunch and dessert. I think a few were a little nervous when they saw I wasn’t going to get in the pool for awhile, that is until they saw Greta swim. That girl, mermaid genes for sure.
This week she got to enjoy a graduation party for all the graduates at a place called Scooter’s Jungle, I want to say it’s in El Segundo or Hawthorne. I’ve never been to one of those bounce house places. The kids were in heaven. I could not keep up with her, thus the completely blurry shots.
I didn’t grab a photo but they had zip lines for the kids. They swing off a ledge and go zip lining into a bounce house wall, and if they let go beforehand, no worries, bouncy floor.
Indeed it has a been a full and fun week. The boys have their final week of camp starting tomorrow. And this week is all about me and my girl. We have a special lunch planned with Nanni and Tati, a whole lot of loving on Romeo planned, pedicures, and maybe we will squeeze in a movie and high tea. Then it’s the boys turn the following week. I am sad to think that in two and a half short weeks they are all off to school. sniff sniff
The kids had a blast, so did the adults. Thanks Peter and Heather for thinking of us! And remember, next time you house sit we are available.
How many kids can you fit in a jacuzzi?
Such an amazing backyard. Pool, jacuzzi, fire pit, tree house, outdoor shower. What more can you ask for..
Greta counting how long she can hold her breath.
Dare I say #1, because you know what that means, there will have to be a #2, #3, and so on. Awhile ago, maybe early July or end of June, I sent out an email to my closest girlfriends asking their opinion about an idea I had which was inspired by an invitation I stumbled upon on Pinterest. The idea was to have a girls’ night at my house where we could do a book swap while enjoying appetizers and cocktails. If you can believe I heard back from about 95% of them saying “we are there”, “what’s the date”, “tell me what to bring”. So the planning began. I had a lot of fun prepping for this party and I think all the girls loved it. They brought the yummiest treats. And I walked away with 4 new books to read. Everyone asked when the next one would be, but I think I need at least 2-3 months before I finish these books and can think of getting new ones. Thank you ladies to everyone who came! I think we had 18 there this night.
Once each person RSVP’d to the evite, I emailed them this attachment found here, and asked them to please print out the cards, cut them out and insert them inside their book covers with their name/number/address, to be sure the books all came back to their rightful owner. I printed a stack of them in heavy card stock and had them available in case anyone forgot.
I also used the cards as part of decorations, and sewed a little bunting to decorate the food area.
I served Sangria and a friend brought champagne. I also made this antipasto skewer platter.
This black bean and corn salsa was out of this world. I found the recipe on Pinterest and have made it several times since the book swap. It disappears every time in a matter of minutes. You can find the recipe here. However I substituted grape seed oil for vegetable oil.
Tanya made these AMAZING peanut butter and chocolate bars. When I say they were amazing, I mean I couldn’t STOP eating them. They were delicious. And how cute that she wrapped them in little book pages with twine!
Here’s a photo of the book table, I used little card stock printed out with categories to keep everything organized.
For little favors I had a table set up with book swap bags along with little bookmarks that I made for everyone.
There you have our little book swap party! It was really a lot of fun, and I think I may even open it up to any husbands next time that love to read. Aaron snuck a few of his books onto the table, and came away with one or two. He definitely thinks men should be invited next time so that he has more in the non-fiction, historical, section to browse through.
Last month a friend of ours put together a big group of about 25 to see Cars 2 at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood. Can you believe it was my first time to a movie there? My kids were pretty excited because there was a whole after experience in the back of the theatre set up. It was nothing short of A-Mazing.
You were able to build lego cars and race them, there were huge trampolines and harnesses set up for jumping and flipping, a car you could paint, a huge tire play structure for climbing and playing in, and my personal favorite was the huge slide.
The 3D movie and the whole after experience was less than the price of taking the kids to the 3D movie at the local movie theatre because of the group rate. And because we went for the 4pm show it was empty. There were no schools or camps or field trips, so we basically had the place to ourselves.
Before we left for Kauai I had to have my Jane fix so the kids and I drove down to Laguna for the day. We often refer to each other’s homes as still “home”. So this is our home away from home. Whenever the kids look out the windows of the car as we enter her neighborhood they start to lament that we live too far and we should live closeby. Agreed. They also are convinced that Jane’s house is twice the size of ours and why can’t we move in there. True story.
I forgot my real camera this day, so I just snapped some iphone pics. I assure you if we did indeed live there we would be at this community water park every. single. day. We spent the morning there, had lunch, and then spent the afternoon at the pool. On the corner of their street! Suburbia, how I love you sometimes. Thanks Jane and Alissa, we miss you already!