August 21st, 2009 |

Owl Themed Child’s Birthday Party

owl themed birthday party

Don’t you just love those first signs of Fall?!  The rich autumn colors, the chunky sweaters, and a whole new season worth of parties to plan!

Let’s kick this season off with an owl-themed birthday party, perfect for a little boy or girl.  Invite your guests with this cheerful invitation from Tiny Prints, and decorate your party space with bright, autumn colors.

When you are entertaining a bunch of children for a couple hours, activities and crafts are an absolute must!  Since it is back-to-school time, this is a fun craft that the kids will enjoy using at school:  Set up a craft table with pre-cut felt shapes, pencils, glue and tiny buttons (for the owl’s eyes).  Have each child glue together 3 different pencil toppers – an owl, a mushroom and an acorn – and tie them together with a cute ribbon for them to take home.  (You could also attach these felt shapes onto toothpicks and use them as cupcake toppers) For a more detailed tutorial, check out Whimsy-Girl.

The highlight of the party will definitely be these charming owl cupcakes!  Start with a chocolate iced cupcake, add a couple of oreo halves cream side up, two junior mints for eyes, and a Runts banana candy for the nose.  So cute, and perfect for our Fall theme!

When the party comes to an end, send the kids home with their “bouquet” of pencils and a goodie bag!  Dress up cellophane bags full of candy with scrapbook paper to look like owls.  For a more details idea, check out 2stampis2be.com.

Images: owl invitation (tinyprints.com), kids (ba-reps.com), cupcakes (realsimple.com), dishes (save-on-crafts.com)

August 21st, 2009 |

Kid-Friendly, Party-Ready Snacks

kid friendly snacks

Whether you are planning the menu for a kid’s birthday party, or coming up with a creative snack for a playdate….finding snack ideas that are not only healthy, but that your kids are going to want to eat….it’s not easy!

Parent’s Magazine came up with these 4 ideas….and they are sure to get rave reviews from all of your little critics!

Back to School at The Land of Nod

August 17th, 2009 |

Baby Shower: Pretty Pink Polka Dots

baby shower pretty pink polka dots

If you are throwing a baby shower for a woman that is ALL girl – this idea is for you!  Pretty, pink, and full of polka dots and flowers!

I love this invitation from Minted!  It fits in perfectly with our girly pink theme….but would also be adorable for a cupcake theme shower.  Instead of decorating with your typical baby shower items, such as baby shoes, bottles and pacifiers….I’m going to go a different route….a more sophisticated route, if you will!  Take away a couple of “baby” details, and this party idea could be a beautiful brunch or birthday party!

I want flowers to be a part of all of my decorations.  Centerpieces of pink and orange blooms, and even a floral topper on top of the diaper cake.  (Ever wonder how to make a diaper cake?!  Click here for detailed instructions). Beautiful flower wreaths on doors or hanging in front of windows.  Wreaths can be a stunning addition to any room or party.  Fresh flower versions are wonderful, but if you make the wreaths yourself using faux flowers, you can really customize the wreath to your specific theme (and re-use them!).  Save-on-Crafts has a great selection of both Styrofoam and wire wreath forms to get you started….

When it comes to setting the table, use shades of pink to create this festive table.  Finding the perfect pattern tablecloth is not always easy.  So, pull out that sewing machine and make your own!  Your local craft store is a great resource for patterned fabrics.  Don’t have a sewing machine?!  There is a no-sew option…use pinking shears to give the edge a decorative look.  Pink cloth napkins, champagne glasses and a darling placecard…..it’s all you need to wow your guests.

Try something new for your dessert….these tiny square cakes are cute and preppy and so easy to do!  Make individual cupcakes for your guests using a square muffin pan.  If you want to make them taller, you can always use two layers of cake.  Decorate them with a couple of different colors and patterns that coordinate with your theme.  If you plan on serving a different dessert during the party, these square cupcakes could make a darling party favor too!

Images: floral wreath (eventjubilee.com), diaper cake (flickr.com), baby shower invitation (minted.com), square cakes (amyatlas.com), green lanterns (flickr.com), pink polka dot table setting (brides.com)

August 13th, 2009 |

Two by Two: A Noah’s Arc Baby Shower

noahs arc baby shower

This baby shower was featured yesterday over at the F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S Project Nursery….it was my first “contributor” post for them!  So exciting!  But, this baby shower turned out so cute….I had to share it with you too!

When throwing a baby shower for a woman expecting twins, take inspiration from Noah’s Arc! Baby showers tend to get a little cheesy and cutesy for my taste.  But modern animal silhouettes and a sophisticated color palette will create an updated-looking event full of style.

Invite your guests with this darling invitation from Tiny Prints.  Darling for 1 baby or 2 – but if you are throwing the party for twins, don’t forget to tell your guests to bring gifts “two by two!”

Decorate your space in shades of green, with pops of melon, pale blue and mustard yellow.  Hang colored lanterns above your food table in all of your pop colors….throw in a green polka dot lantern or two for a touch of pattern.  Use a solid colored table cloth, white plates and napkins.  For a modern place setting, create a silverware envelope with your napkin, place on your plate and tie together with a skinny pattern ribbon.   Use a few small, potted grass plants for your centerpiece on the table, and scattered throughout the party space.  If you want to dress them up a bit, add a ring of daisies around the grass.  To do this, simply snip the daisy head from the stem (leaving approximately a 1″ stem), and place a long pin thru the head of the flower (this will make it stronger when you stick it into the plant).  Add a playful touch to your centerpiece by placing a few plush animals in between your grass plants.  These darling animals from Land of Nod are perfect for the party, and will be a welcome addition to the baby’s nursery after the party (monkey, giraffe, lion).

A few ideas for your food: Ladies like to chat at these parties, not eat a heavy meal!  Keep your menu light, but throw in a couple of small touches to carry out your theme.  If you plan on having a cheese plate, arrange some crackers and fruit as you typically would….but then use mini cookie cutters to cut your cheese slices into the  shapes of animals.  For dessert, serve mini cupcakes with animal silhouettes made out of chocolate on top.  You can buy chocolate in different colors at your local craft store to make your animals coordinate with your color palette.

For a cute party favor, try buying a pack of animal cookie cutters and give each guest one tied with a bow.

I love this party for it’s clean animal silhouettes and modern color palette!

Images: invitation (tinyprints.com), cupcakes (flickr.com), place setting (realsimple.com), grass plant centerpiece (nancyliuchin.com), plush animals (landofnod.com)

August 11th, 2009 |

Princess Tea Party

princess tea party

Ah, to be “princess” for a day…..what could be better?!  To be the “princess” hosting the “tea party”, that’s what!

A tea party is the perfect theme for a little girl’s birthday party.  It’s pink, it’s whimsical, and it’s oh, so easy to do….

Invite your guests to the royal tea party with this darling invitation from Minted.  Decorate with pink balloons, a polka dotted cake and plan a couple great activities.  Start with “decorate-your-own-tiara“.  I found this great kit thru Birthday in a Box.  It includes foam tiaras and rhinestones – so the kids can go to town decorating.  Oh, don’t forget to have princess wands for each of your guests!  Have the kids hit this castle pinata to see what comes out – instead of just candy, add in some small toys such as little bracelets, hair bows, and candy necklaces.

After you sing “Happy Birthday” and have your cake and ice cream, send the kids home with this adorable goodie bag.   It includes a flower straw, a pearl necklace, bubbles, body glitter and tea party stickers.

Princess Tea Party Activity

Images: candy (inmagine.com), invitation (minted.com), tea party goodie bag (birthdayinabox.com), magic wands (amazon.com), cake (pbkids.com), tea party (divinepartyconcepts.com)

August 5th, 2009 |

Back-to-School Kid-Friendly Bash

Back to school bash (small)Summer is going to end before we know it and soon you will be back into your school year schedule.  Host one last backyard bash before school starts to celebrate the end of summer with your kids.  The kids will be thrilled with just a table full of goodies and a yard to run around in.  So while the kids are occupied, entertain the parents with a casual dinner.

Use the back-to-school theme and run with it!  Cover your table with a long piece of black butcher block paper, and draw on placemats with a white pencil or paint pen.  Or cut out individual placemats from the black paper.  It will look like a chalkboard!  And if you add in each person’s name….it will double as your placecard, too.  Keep your centerpiece simple, line the center of the table with simple flowers such as daisies and tulips.  Use different types of vases – bowls, small vases, even glass mason jars, or glass milk bottles – to keep the look casual.

If you are looking for ideas for a menu – try a bread salad with tomatoes, lemon and cucumbers, buttermilk fried chicken, grilled corn-on-the-cob, and an old-fashioned latticed cherry pie.

Back to school bash food
Set up a kids table using the same black paper as a topper.  Instead of drawing on placemats, draw out ruled lines and letters to make it look like a handwriting lesson.  Provide the kids with plenty of easy-to-eat snacks….something they can grab on the run.  My vote would be for mini hot dogs, pb & j sandwiches (cut out in a cute shape, of course), cookies and rice crispy treats.

Casual, cheery, and fun for all….this back-to-school backyard bash is the perfect send-off to summer!

Images: kids (ba-reps.com), table (realsimple.com), cookies and rice crispy treats (inmagine.com), mini hot dogs (horchow.com)

The Land of Nod Back to School 468x60

August 5th, 2009 |

Playdate Playdough

playdate playdough

Playdate activities….it’s always an endless search for something new and exciting that will keep the children occupied long enough for the mothers to enjoy a cup of coffee!

Playdough.  It’s an activity that all kids enjoy.  But spice it up a bit.  Make playdough cookies!

Same concept: make a batch of dough, dye it different colors, and let the kids build shapes with it.  The only difference, is that you bake the shapes and voila!  Not only did the kids have fun, but you have colorful cookies to enjoy as a treat!

This would make a great activity for a child’s birthday party, too!

Play Dough Cookies

The original recipe proposes cookies in lollipop form, but have your kids get creative and create cookies in all different shapes. Just be careful to bake similar sized cookies at a time. Besides their super cute looks, these really delivered tastewise – they are sugar cookies after all, with a pleasent crumbly texture from the cream cheese.

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 3 ounces cream cheese
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • assorted colors of paste food coloring
  • 24 lollipop sticks (optional)

  1. In the electric mixer, cream butter, cream cheese and sugar until  light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  2. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture. Stir till soft dough forms. Divide dough into fourths. Tint each with a different food color. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Working with half of each color, shape dough into 3/4 inch balls and for each cookie place 1 pink, 1 green, 1 blue and 1 orange (I used red, yellow, blue and green) ball together to make 1 large ball. Shape into a 12 inch long roll (like a snake), starting at one end, coil roll to make a 2 3/4 inch round cookie. Place cookies 3 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Carefully insert lollipop sticks into bottoms of cookies.
  4. Bake cookies for 8 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and store in an airtight container.

Recipe via The Cookieshop in English

Back to School at The Land of Nod

July 28th, 2009 |

Tee Off! Children’s Birthday Party

Tee Off Boys Party (small)

Kids are natural pros when it comes to mini golf!

Part skill, part luck, and a whole lot of fun makes it the perfect activity for a child’s birthday party.

Invite your guests with an invitation far above par from Tiny Prints.  Create an obstacle course for your mini-golf course.  Martha Stewart has created a plan to transform your backyard into a one-of-a-kind putt-putt course (with no damage to the lawn):

Tools and Materials

Baking sheet and play sand: Makes a fine sand trap
Two-by-fours: Erect barriers for runaway balls with painted two-by-fours (see diagram below for placement).
Cardboard: Used is the foundation for the gopher and windmill
Acrylic paint and Mylar pinwheels: To dress up gopher and windmill (You can also even out a bumpy lawn or make a ramp to a hole by placing cardboard under the turf.)
Electrical tape: To create trimmings, like the flags on the croquet wickets
Colorful golf balls and kid-size clubs: Available online, they double as party favors
Golf tees: Get plenty, and use some to secure the turf edges
A xylophone: This instrument forms part of an obstacle.
Artificial turf: We used 200 square feet of this turf for the greens, and simply cut out rounds for the “holes.”
Plaid fabric and dowel: To make flags, photocopy plaid fabric, cut out, tape to a dowel, and affix a number sticker.

Backyard Nine-Hole Course Ideas (you may want to make fewer holes for younger children)

We laid out the greens (all artificial turf) as shown in the diagram (click here for printable version); they are each between 5 and 10 feet long.
No place like gnome: A wily creature tries his best to block a shot.
Picnic area: The table is both an obstacle and a spot to wait for a turn — just keep feet clear of balls in play!
Sand trap: In a piece of artificial turf, cut a rectangle slightly smaller than a rimmed baking sheet. Fill pan with sand; position rectangle over it.
Waterfall: It’s not exactly a water hazard, but a sprinkler will leave the turf nice and slippery.
Perfect pitch: Golfers can hammer out a tune as they try for the hole (a roll of tape) up a ramp to a xylophone set between two angled two-by-fours.
Sitting pretty: Two folding chairs form a tunnel and provide another comfy spot for a break.
Pinwheel windmill: To make, cut an arch in two sides of a cardboard box and trim the edges with electrical tape. Insert plastic pinwheels into the top of box. Secure handles underneath with duct tape. Affix more pinwheels to the front with tape.
Ruff!: It takes nerves of steel to tap a ball straight through the croquet wickets — they’re embellished with electrical-tape flags — and into the doghouse.
Gopher the gold: Create a cardboard gofer to greet players at the final challenge. Try taping him to a box with a hole cut out of the bottom for catching golf balls.

Carry the traditional golf theme thru your food, decorations and party favors.  Set up a food table using metal buckets as a centerpiece.  Fill these buckets with treats for the kids, such as popcorn balls, powdered-sugar donut holes, and white chocolate malt balls.  Serve juice boxes and sandwiches for lunch….wrap sandwiches in plaid paper for a decorative touch!

Send the kids home with a plaid box of golf-themed goodies.  A TY Beanie Baby – CHARITEE the PGA Golf Bear, a Mini Golf Play Set, and chocolate golf ball candy.  I found these great green, plaid boxes at Plum Party Supplies.

Images: invitation (tinyprints.com), grass centerpiece (hostessblog.com), golf ball cookies (whippedbakeshop.com)

July 24th, 2009 |

Children’s Birthday Party: Decorate with Candy!

Candy Party (small)

If you ask a child what their favorite food is….my bet is that 90% of them say “Candy!”  So why not spoil your child rotten on their birthday and host a party decorated to the nines with candy?!  Invite your child’s friends with this adorable invitation from Tiny Prints.

Take your color inspiration straight from the source – candy brights, such as hot pink, turquoise blue, yellow, orange and lime green.  Use solid colored plates and napkins, maybe throw in a stripe here and there…..simple enough!  Use real candy for your decorations.  Buy life savers in bulk and string together on ribbon or wire.  You can drape them along the sides of tables, on a fireplace mantel, around a doorway, etc.  Another easy idea is to dress up your napkins with a lollipop.  Cute, colorful and the kids get an extra treat to bring home with them!

If you are planning this party for an older child, or even for adults – you may want to present a candy buffet.  Check out this past post for inspiration.

I have two really cute activities for you for younger children….

  • Fill up a large bowl with gumballs (you can buy them in bulk at Candy Warehouse) and ask the kids to guess how many gumballs are in there.  Have a couple of prizes for the kids that come the closest to the actual number.
  • Instead of a purchasing a decorated birthday cake, bake a large sheet cake and cover in plain white frosting.  Provide the kids with bowls of candy and let them go to town decorating it!

Send your guests home with this charming mini gumball machine as a party favor from Beau-Coup.  You can attach a personalized tag that says “Thanks for coming to my party! Love, Bella”.  It’s the perfect reminder of an afternoon full of sweets and treats!

Images: table (via A Passion for Parties by Carolyne Roehm), invitation (tinyprints.com), napkins with suckers (familycircle.com), gumball machine party favor (beau-coup.com), cupcake, party decorations and candy (inmagine.com)

July 21st, 2009 |

Sailboat Cupcakes

Sailboat Cupcakes

We celebrated my sister’s boyfriend’s birthday Saturday night by cruising around Chicago on a boat.  Since the party had a boating theme, the sailboat cupcake seemed to be the perfect dessert!  They turned out so cute, I just had to share them with you!

These would be perfect for the Sail Away children’s birthday party theme I posted a couple of weeks ago!

If anyone is interested in the template for the sails, send me over an e-mail and I will happily give it to you!

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