I really ♥ birthday parties..I really do! Good thing I now get to plan 5 a year (yes that includes me - I even plan my own parties :)) This one was especially fun. Mary James has always loved the attention a party brings, but this year she really understood that it was getting closer and waiting and planning was so fun! I have had to tell her (for the past month) how many times she would have to go to sleep and wake up before the real day, but it was worth seeing the excitement on her face! I think it's fair to say that everyone was pleased and so was my wallet! We did lots of borrowing, creating, cooking, and planning to pull it off for only $78, but we did it! I have to say it was the easiest party I have planned!
Here's your "how to" on the perfect (in my and mj's opinion) princess tea party...
We started about a month out (now, I do realize this isn't feasible for many people, but it's fun so really..why not?!) You know the date, so get it going early. First we started with hand made invitations ($0)- this is the real $$ saver for me.
I already had card stock on hand, so we used that, printed out the info on the computer, punched 2 holes in it, and stamped mj's name on a ribbon and poked (and taped on the back) the ends of the ribbon through the holes.
MJ was creating her own card one day and wrote her name (which she very recently learned) at the top instead of stamping and it was just as adorable (if not more so). So...if you don't have stamps, have your child write their name at the top (backwards letters and all) and chances are, they will want to color in all the circles too!
Next we cut hearts($0)....lots of hearts. I know if you have kids, you have a stack of construction paper around, so pull it out! While I cut, she and molly colored some of the hearts.
I also happened to have a really big roll of this pink ribbon and used every last bit of it on decorations and invitations. This actually provided at least a week's worth of arts & crafts time to get it all done. When I cut the hearts out (the way we all know how to cut hearts..fold the piece of paper in half and cut) I also added two slits in the paper (for the ribbon to run through) and taped the heart to the ribbon.
A couple of weeks later, I went to hobby lobby and picked up dowels ($1.99) & wooden dowel caps($1.47), pink balloons, white candles (for cupcakes), pink candles for the chandelier($6 50% off), paper for party hats($13 you could probably do this for much less)- & 30 yards of tulle ($30 on sale). all for $58. Really, this was my main expense... the tulle will be reused for years to come - having 3 girls, I can't tell you how many times I have thought - only if i had some pink tulle! :) Now I do!
Once I arrived home and dumped it all on my dining room table... we made the wands!
the table cloth was not on my dining room table, but on the actual tables used for the party - it was one my great grandmother made!
I fit a wooden caps onto the top of the dowel. I save ribbon from gifts the girls get and i have a LOT! I always wondered if I would ever need it...in comes the princess party - i cut 3 pieces of ribbon about the length of the dowel and just tied them onto the end. voila! princess wand!
2 weeks out: (until a couple days before the party, I just took my time on this one): i made the hats...I found this template on the internet, printed it out, and put it on my 20" square paper i bought at hobby lobby and traced around it (but made it as big as could fit on my paper). cut it out, then stapled the toole at the top corner, wrapped it into a cone shape, stapled, then stapled elastic to the insides to hold the hats on the kid's heads. I tore some kraft paper in a strip and stamped each princess's name on it, glued it on.
1 1/2 weeks out: decorate!! I hung the tulle just because I had time that day- of course, you can do this whenever..but it makes the day of - much less stressful and who doesn't want hot pink tulle hanging in your living room for a week?! (jim for one)
One week out: I made the cupcakes (Betty Crocker in the box) and froze them. I have always done this for birthdays (with cakes too) and no one is any the wiser! I just wrap them in plastic wrap and freezer bags really well. MJ and I then mixed red food coloring in our store bought frosting to make the "perfect" pink and stuck it back in it's container in the fridge. The next day (because I can only handle so much baking in 1 day), we made the thumbprint cookies and froze them.
This is the first time I had ever frozen these cookies and they were delish! (if anyone wants recipe ask - but it's just your basic thumbprint recipe and icing is powdered sugar, vanilla, milk, light corn syrup)
5 days out: we bought 4 loaves of bread and used a heart cookie cutter and cut the bread - stored it in ziplocs. This made 40 (20 pimento cheese, 20 peanut butter & jelly) sandwiches which is a little over the top, but who wants to run out?! (sandwiches were assembled morning of the party) And it's great to have leftover sandwiches on hand - which, surprisingly, we only had 6 leftover!! Hungry bunch...
3 days out: pimento cheese (while I do realize that most kids don't love pimento cheese.. MJ does... so I made them and mostly, the moms (and mj) ate them. I love this recipe...easy and yummy.. (also makes a good dip)
~1 8oz. block cream cheese
~4 cups shredded sharp cheese
~1 teaspoon garlic salt
~1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
~3/4 cup duke's mayo
~7 oz. jar (drained) diced pimentos
Also-set up table and chairs (borrowed from our church) and practiced a table setting (for the fun of it)
tea cup sets are handed down from my grandmother & great grandmother..thank goodness because i own exactly 1 tea cup from my china set.
I cut about 1/2 a yard square of tulle for these chairs..wrapped it around the chair, and put one of the girls' small pony tail holders to hold it in the back
1 day out: blew up balloons all throughout the day (there were 35 so it took me a while) and tied ribbon on them. The girls loved it - I had no idea that balloons were such entertainment, even Mills smiled, gurgled, & stared while I blew them up. That night I took the cookies & cupcakes out of the freezer to thaw.
morning of party: woke up in princess costume because the excitement was just too much!
-tied balloons to rails on the front steps
the party was in the morning, had it not been - these balloons would have been long gone! The party was over by 11:30 a.m. and half had popped by the end because of the sun (i guess!) but they looked cute when everyone arrived!
-Took mother-in-law up on idea to take the girls in the morning while i got ready..
-Iced cupcakes, made all sandwiches, set them out on pretty tiered trays.
all cupcakes had a candle in them per mary james' request for everyone to blow out a candleSet the table, iced down waters, cokes, diet cokes (for mamas) and had time to sit down for 20 minutes.
- party time!
these hearts were hung a few days early, but I threw them over the rope just out of molly's reach until party time
here come the princesses
If awards were handed out, Annabelle would've one most adorable..by far!
love it! this isn't molly's cup of tea - pardon the pun
photo by s.scott
post by kristen