Friday, July 16, 2010

Old School Superhero Party

This is an idea I have to give my aunt credit for. Her idea is a retro/vintage superhero comic book party. How fun is that?! Well, here it goes...


Using "Autoshapes" in Microsoft Word, create an "Explosion" and put text such as "Wow!" or "Zam!" inside, then add party details below. This would be a very easy way to create a fun invitation.

You could also purchase an old comic book and scan the images into your computer, then use them as part of the invite.


  • Find old comic books at a thrift store (or in the attic) and use the pages as place mats, to decorate walls, or as part of a birthday banner. Images could also be used for invitations.
  • After Halloween, you should be able to find spider web decorations on sale- these would be perfect for a cool party decoration!
  • Cut jagged "explosion" bubbles out of posterboard and write exclamations such as "Bam!" or "Pow!" on them- hang them on the walls, or stick them in the front yard.


Comic Strip Creator

Print a copy for each child of this comic strip template I've created (click to enlarge). Provide art materials such as crayons, markers, pens, and colored pencils, and let the children express their creativity by designing their own comic strip!

Superhero Relay Race

Divide players into two equal teams and provide each team with a pile of "superhero gear" - capes, tights, masks, gloves, boots, etc.

Line up each team behind a cone, and put the team's gear at another cone several yards away. At the signal, the first person from each team will race to the other cone, put on all the superhero gear, then race back to start, and take it off. The next player will put it on, race down, take it off, then come back. This continues until each teammate has had a chance to complete the relay. Whichever team completes first wins!

Mr. Freeze Dance

This activity is a twist on the classic party game of Freeze Dance. Click here for instructions.

The Riddler Scavenger Hunt

Create a fun and simple scavenger hunt- but instead of simple clues, provide confusing riddles for the guests to decode.

Target Practice

This game is always so fun! Draw targets (or Supervillains) with chalk on an outdoor surface that can get wet (fence, sidewalk, etc). Then, let guests line up to make the targets or villains disappear with water balloon bombs! (Each guest gets three tries.)


Make your cupcakes "Pop!" "Pow!" and "Zam!" with homemade picks, made to look like the sound effect bubbles in old comic strips.

Serve your guests "Power Packs" - this could include Caprisuns, juice boxes, etc.

Bomb Pops will surely prove to be SUPER treats, especially during the hot summer months.

Serve "Lava Chips" - spicy Doritos, or nachos.

Spiderman's Spider Webs (Cotton Candy)


Make each guest their very own superhero cape using this 6 Minute Superhero Cape tutorial.

Other ideas:

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Sometimes it can be difficult to find the "perfect" theme for your child's party. For me as a child, this was always because I had so many interests that it was hard to choose just one. For others children, they may have more trouble thinking of what they really enjoy. Whatever the challenge, there are some easy questions for you  and your child to think about that will hopefully lead to a very special day that reflects your child's personality and style!

Question 1: What are your hobbies? This is a bit of an obvious question, and will hopefully result in an easy answer. Hobbies can include sports, crafts, games, etc. Does your child love painting? Can't get enough of the game Candyland?

Maybe he or she simply enjoys a day at the beach. If so, this retro surf party is sure to be inspirational.

Question 2: What are your favorite books, movies, or television shows? One little girl loved Strawberry Shortcake...

Question 3: What is your favorite color? How about pink? This has to be one of my absolute favorite parties ever!

Question 4: If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Italy? Paris? Or maybe just the circus?

Ooh! La! La! What a lovely Pink Parisian Poodle Party!

Question 5: What is your favorite food? Yes, believe it or not, a whole party really can revolve around food! One of my favorite examples is a "Sweet Shop" party featured on Kara's Party Ideas:

Question 6: What do you want to be when you grow up? The possibilities are endless. Maybe your little girl wants to become a zoologist, or your son dreams of becoming a firefighter.

A racecar party would be perfect for any little boy who can't get enough of cars, trucks, and...anything that has wheels!

P.S. As you can tell, I absolutely love Kara's Party Ideas. I also use Birthday Party Ideas as a resource for party inspiration. Both sites are helpful and very inspirational and I highly recommend them if you're having trouble with ideas.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Budget Friendly D.I.Y. Party Ideas

Love tissue paper party poms? (Me too!) Make your own with Martha Stewart's step-by-step instructions! 

Vintage-inspired pennant banners are sweet and fun, but it can be hard to find one that's cute and affordable. So instead...


Follow the tutorial on Pink Paper Peppermints to make your own with scrapbooking paper!

Tutus seem to be quite a trend for birthday girls right now. The really cute ones you can find on Etsy can cost more than $50! Even if you're not a seamstress, you'll be able to make your daughter (and her friends) tutus at a fraction of the price, following the instructions for a "No-Sew Tutu" from FamilyFun.


Cupcake picks are too cute, and can add a lot to your dessert table, but even the printable ones can cost a lot (because of ink). Instead, invest in a circle paper punch (I recommend one that goes straight down instead of using a lever) that will last you a long time and make your own. For the numbers/letters, either purchase a set of punches or stamps. Or buy a Cricut. Really, I love mine and it has saved me so much money. If you can, buy one!

For the tutorial, click here.

Almost every birthday party these days seems to have a candy buffet. The problem with this is that they are expensive! First of all, a nice jar, even a small one, is pricey. To fill it with candy...ouch! That will leave a major dent in your party budget. So...instead of trying to fill huge, fancy jars, fill mason jars! They are practical, relatively inexpensive, and take a lot less candy to fill. In addition, it will add some shabby chic flair to your party.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Monster Truck Party

1. Put snacks/drinks in the beds of toy monster trucks - Darling Darleen
2. Make monster truck costumes out of cardboard boxes - Darling Darleen
3. Checkered flag pennant banner - Oriental Trading Company - $7.99/100 ft.
4. Checkered flag cupcake picks - Amazon - $4.00/24
5. Monster truck applique t-shirt - Etsy - $20.00
6. Monster Jam stickers - Amazon - $1.75/2 sheets of 10
7. Monster truck cake/cupcakes idea - Flickr
8. Monster Jam Hot Wheels - Walgreens - $4.99
9. Monster Truck Cookie Cutter - Karen's Cookies - $1.99
10. Monster jam wall stickers - Amazon - $14.99

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pink Princess Party

In June, I got the opportunity to plan my first real event- a princess party for a sweet little girl I know! My budget was up to $100 (I ended up spending just $50!) and it was a fun challenge to try to stretch the allowance I'd been given. I can't wait to share what I learned through this experience. The party was so fun!


I used Bazzill Dotted Swiss paper, which I love because of its beautiful quality and the fact that the dots on the paper are raised for an embossed look.

Using my Cricut, I cut 1.5" crowns from DCVW textured cardstock, then embellished them with a clear gel pen and mini jewels. I adhered brown ribbon the the cards, then used 3D adhesive dots to attach the crowns.


I took this great party garland idea from Project Nursery and turned it into hanging decorations for the chandelier!

I also created several paper garlands with circles cut from my Cricut and a flower punch. I strung the circles together with hemp. I figured out a very easy way for me to make the garland, which is illustrated in the picture below. I strung the hemp through the circles with an embroidery needle, then stuck another circle of the same size on top with my K & Company tape runner.

Another thing I made was a garland sign for the "Princess Boutique." I used my Printing Press Cricut cartridge for the letters and cut them in a variety of pink papers. I adhered the letters to card stock, then tied the white circles together with ribbon scraps.


While guests arrived, they were invited to decorate the Princess' castle- a cardboard playhouse we got at Hobby Lobby for about $12 with a coupon! The birthday girl said she wanted to keep it until she was a teenager. =)

As soon as all the princesses were ready, we head off to the "Princess Boutique" where the girls got to decorate their own princess crown, try on some jewelry, and get their nails and makeup done.

Princess Amnesia was the next game on the schedule. The girls took turns getting a popular princess' picture taped on their back. Then, they would walk around the circle so all the girls could see. They asked questions about themselves (e.g. "What color is my hair?") until they could guess who they were.

After the girls were filled with sugar and needed to work off some of their energy, we moved on to the active games. First came "Pass the Slipper." The girls all got to try on Cinderella's slipper before we began. This game is played just like hot potato. I played classical music in the background. If the music stopped when you were holding the slipper, you would be banished the the palace dungeon!
Next we went to the "Ball" where we played freeze dance. This got very silly!

The girls were still full of energy after a quick break at the Princess Design Studio. I printed a dress template from the internet, then gathered a bunch of art supplies- bits of fabric and paper, ribbon, sequins, markers, stamps, etc. We had some very...creative designs by the girls. I never thought that decorating a piece of paper could be as fun as this activity turned out to be.

Our final activity was a treasure hunt. Oh my! The girls just loved this. I could tell because they just swarmed from place to place. To make it easy for those who couldn't read, I just printed images from Microsoft Clipart for the different locations. To make the paper look aged, I used a Distress Ink stamp pad. I also sealed the clues with stickers for a sweet touch. I hid the treasure in a whimsical little nook in between two bushes outside. I hadn't planned it this way, but the birthday girl was the one to discover the treasure. It was such a Kodak moment- too bad I didn't have my camera! Inside the treasure chest, the girls found their favor bags, which was the best way to do it since we didn't have to worry about dividing everything evenly- it was already done!

To keep it simple, we just served cupcakes, ice cream, and pink lemonade. If you are planning a birthday on a budget this is the best way to go!

It was my first time making cupcakes, and I used the Wilton buttercream recipe, which was perfect for what I needed. However, I didn't use Crisco because I try not to eat or bake with transfats, so I substituted it with butter. It wasn't quite as creamy as it would be with Crisco, but a little bit of extra mixing fixed that and it tasted so delicious and homemade!


Favor bags posed a bit of a problem for me. I wanted something really sweet. I had seen little purse bags, but they were too expensive for the budget I was working with. So, instead I just got some little pink paper bags at Michael's. But, I dressed them up! I cut the girls' names with the Printing Press Cricut cartridge. Then, I tied a pink ribbon above it. They turned out very cute, although it took some work to find out the best way to keep the ribbons attached. I filled the bags with a ring and mini wand (from Hobby Lobby) and some old fashioned candy sticks. The girls also got to keep their crowns.
It was such a fabulous opportunity to plan this as my first event and I had a blast. Happy Birthday Princess!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Giraffe Party Inspiration

  1. Giraffe print dress - Gymboree - $27.49

  2. Giraffe hair bows - Gymboree - $3.99

  3. Giraffe cookie cutter - Layer Cake Shop - $2.50

  4. Clip-on giraffe tails - Available at Michael's Craft Store

  5. Giraffe print paper lantern - World Market - $3.98

  6. Giraffe print beverage napkins - Hobby Lobby - $2.99 (Walmart has cool square-shaped plates...I was thinking light pink or lavender might be cool with the giraffe print. Unfortunately, they don't have any pics online...just thought I'd share anyway!)

  7. Giraffe ribbon - Hobby Lobby - $0.99

  8. What's for Lunch? Giraffe Sandwich - Hostess With the Mostess

  9. Giraffe party hat - atozebracelebrations ( - $14.95

  10. Giraffe print plates - Amazon - $21.99 for 4 (maybe these would be good for serving trays)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Birthday Gift Ideas ($25 and under!)

Finding good toys for children (either your own or their friends) can be tough- especially if you are on a budget. I challenged myself to find cool toys $25 and under and was suprised by the amount I found. I had to stop myself from adding more because these toys are just too cute. My favorite companies are Melissa and Doug, Hearth Song and IKEA, as well as Amazon for a variety of fun toys (and sometimes free shipping too!) I love these stores because they provide high quality, creativity-enriching toys at really great prices. If you can't find what your'e looking for here, I really encourage you to check out their websites. I just can't get enough!
 Pretend Play Toys
 Melissa & Doug Stamp and Sort Mailbox (New)

Melissa and Doug Stamp and Sort Mailbox - $23.46

I remember playing post office when I was little. It was always so fun and made me feel so big! Another way to use this box- put special letters from you to your child in the box for them to discover!

IKEA Duktig Tea/Coffee Set- $9.99

IKEA Bygga Tool Set- $9.99

Tinkertoy Classic Mini Set- $14.81

Playmobil Fireman Carrying Case- $8.04
(Also comes in Police, Pirate, Knight, Farm)

Playmobil toys have been some of our favorites. We own a castle, palace, pirate kit, school set, hospital, cafe, and camper! My brother also has a few of these carrying cases and they have some really neat stuff inside- a good deal for the contents.

Outdoor Toys

Hearthsong Pocket Kite- $8.98

Hearthsong Lightning Bug Lantern- $12.98

Chasing lightning bugs on summer nights is magical. What a perfect place to put them! This lantern would be cute along with Eric Carle's The Very Lonely Firefly.

See-Me Tent- $19.99

For just twenty dollars, give a gift that will provide lots of entertainment!

Stomp Rocket- $13.95

Obviously a cool toy for boys. Ours lasted several years- a bit hard to figure out, but once the "techinque" is mastered, the rockets can shoot pretty high!


Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day- $5.97

Oh, my! This was one of my favorite books for my mom to read aloud to me when I was little. This would make a great gift along with some other paperbacks.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Pop-up Book- $19.79

One of the best illustrated children's books of all times now comes in pop-up version- this would make a beautiful gift.

All About Me- A Keepsake Journal for Kids- $9.32

For a child who loves to write, this is the perfect gift to inspire creativity.

 DK Play Shop- An Interactive Book- $13.57

This book has always been a favorite of mine. It unfolds to reveal a toy store, market stand, bakery, grocery store, and hardware store. Paper cutouts can be inserted into small spaces in the stores. Very fun!

Arts and Crafts

Hearthsong Fashion Design Kit- $24.98
(Also comes in car design, interior design, equestrian design, and more)

I received this kit for a birthday and it is so much fun! It is definitely a great toy to inspire creative minds. This is something that is also fun for moms to do with their little girls.

Meliss and Doug Mighty Builders Race Car- $24.99
(Also comes in firetruck, towtruck, garbage truck, and airplane)

Melissa and Doug Girls Sticker Pad/Coloring Books Bundle- $14.88
(Also comes in boy version)

I recently purchased one of these sticker kits for my cousin who loves stickers and was so surprised by the great price! There are tons of stickers that she can create scenes with- her favorites were the tea party stickers and the dressup stickers.