Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Want to go camping?

I am currently in the planning process for a big birthday party.  Dallas is now FIVE and Liam will be THREE in a few short weeks.  Last year we started hosting their party together and it went great. Part of that was because neither of them really cared what the theme of their party was.  I threw some ideas out there and they both agreed.  A camping party was what they wanted, a camping party is what they got. This year is proving to be a little more difficult because they are each opinionated and they each want their own theme.  I have the tough job of incorporating two themes into one party. Yeah, so fun for the type A personality I have! Can you hear the sarcasm?  I never blogged about their 2014 party. I actually haven't blogged in a REALLY long time. But I'm back because planning their 2015 party got me to thinking about last year's party and how fun it was.  I wanted to share all the details here for my memory and for my family/friends to enjoy it once more before we celebrate these two little dudes again.  Happy Camping!

It ALL started once I found the perfect invites over on etsy at Creative Union Design.  They were totally customizable and so fun to make with the shop owner, Roberta.  She was so helpful and patient. The invite was made for a single birthday kiddo, so we had to make it into something that fit two kids.  It turned out perfect.  I had it printed front/back on heavy card stock and cut at Kinko's, that was a small fortune.  But it saved me time and ink. I also used my corner rounder to make the corners...well..round!  Ha! Take a look:


Then, came the party day.  For food we had all sorts of camping style goodies.  Hot dogs and burgers with all the toppings including homemade slaw and few different types of sauces, chips, beans, fruit salad, ants on a log and a trail mix bar.  We invited our guests to make their own mix to either take home or snack on during the party.  I just purchased a bunch of different plastic and glass containers to fill along with small brown paper bags. I also decorated the trail mix table with a few types of lanterns and a cute banner. I labeled all the food and snacks by writing on some black stones with a white chalk marker.  I'm all about the details, in case you couldn't tell. 

Someone is hungry!

Our fishing poles made the perfect backdrop for the food tables!

I always try to have a few different drink options at our parties.  This year I had some flavored waters, watermelon sangria and of course your usual beer and soda.  We made cucumber water, strawberry water and a mint/lemon/lime water. I also try to have a way for people to label their drinks.  Is it just me or does it seem like there are a TON of half empty drinks at the end of a party? As you may notice by now I try to put lots of signs around the party so guests can help themselves.  We label the coolers and mini fridge with which drinks can be found inside and the tables for the food and other drink items.  (If you look back at the trial mix table you'll see what I mean too.) 

(Peek of the awesome cakes my friend made, more on those later.)

As for the activities, we had a pinata because Dallas seems to think that it's not a birthday party without a pinata.  We also had a bounce house.  This is a tradition in our family.  Michael's little brothers have had one at their birthdays for as long as we can remember so it's just something the Jeffers Family does!  We also set up tents all around the yard for the kids to play in.  We had one and borrowed the rest.  It was a great way to "decorate" on the cheap and we so appreciate our friends and family who loaned out their tents.  

The bounce house was really cool this year, it had room to jump, a slide inside and a basketball hoop inside as well!

We spray painted the tops of tree stumps with glow in the dark paint.  They never worked:(  They didn't glow in the dark at all!  I have no clue what happened but Lowe's let us return the EMPTY spray cans. The tree stumps came all the way from up north on my mom's husband's land up there.  My cousin was kind enough to drop them off on his way back from one of his trips up there.  Thanks James!

Onto one of the major highlights of the party.  THE CAKE!!!  My friend, Sam, has got to be one of the most talented people I know.  She's crazy crafty, very detailed orientated, a fantastic photographer and most of all, so kind to offer to make the cakes for the boys.  Okay, maybe she didn't just offer, I may have begged her.  And bribed her. Ha! I absolutely loved every single detail about the cakes. Want to know just how detailed she is?  She even took the time to make the eyes of the campers on the cake the same color eyes as Dallas and Liam. Yeah, I told you. Just look at these pictures. They will show you just how lucky the boys are to have Sam in their lives! :) Thanks friend! I purchased the tree stump bases at Michael's Craft Store.

Later on in the night we made s'mores.  Dallas is obsessed with them.  As you can see in some of the pictures, we all had camping themed shirts.  Mine was an old style trailer, Michael's said "camping, it's in-tents", Liam had a cute fox because to me camping in the woods = a few foxes running around and Dallas had a shirt on that said "I want s'mores".  I put together s'more kits to make it easier for people to make their own.  I put all the ingredients into plastic sandwich baggies and put them into red and white checkered fabric.  I set most of them on a tiered stand and the rest were tied onto roasting sticks. Some guests left before we roasted them so they grabbed a kit for the road.  One of my best ideas yet! 
Again, the white painted stump is supposed to be glow in the dark.

This is so them...Liam dancing and Dallas eating sweets.

Inside the fabric.

The last little detail, the kids thank you gift bags.  With the purchase of the invitations, Roberta also sent me personalized thank you notes.  I had those printed as well and taped them to the front of brown gift bags, then I just punched holes in the bags and tied them shut with red and white twine.  I can't even remember what was all in them but I know we put glow in the dark necklaces and bracelets, glow in the dark bubbles and some candy inside.  

A few more pictures from the party because, you know, this post doesn't have enough pictures yet:)
My big four year old best buddy!

It's your party and you can wear a diaper if you want to...Liam, not Michael!

Some guests relaxing

So lucky, these boys are...

All the kids

All the guests..the best picture we got!  Next time maybe they'll all look at the camera?

Ella got some candy

Liam enjoying his s'more

Dallas and Michael ready for bed in the tent

My brother-in-law and niece ready for bed too!

Thank you to everyone who celebrated our two sweet boys last year.  I can't believe we will be doing this again in a few weeks.  

Dear Dallas and Liam, 

I love you two more than I can put into words.  I live for your smiles, your hugs, your need for your mama and even your fart jokes.  You two make me feel so lucky.  How did I get to be your mom?  I don't know, but I'm forever grateful. You both have such different personalities, yet you are both so sweet, strong, loving, silly, energetic and smart.  Dallas you look just like your daddy but you have so many of my characteristics.  Liam you are just the opposite, you look like me and you act just like your dad. I hope you both always know how loved you are.  Birthday's have been huge celebrations in our house for the past five years and your daddy and I fully intent to continue that.  It is, after all, a celebration of your life.  I hope your parties are something you never forget and can look back on and say, those were the best days of my life.  I know that the day each of you were born was by far the best day of my life.  I celebrate you every day, but I will celebrate even more on your special days. I love you more than all the stars in the sky.  Please always stay little and remember to love your mom tomorrow and the next day as much as you do today.