Campbell turned seven last friday. We celebrated with dinner and presents. On Saturday, everyone had ski team (except for me and my shoulder) and in the evening we celebrated again but with Grandma D and Grandpa D! They drove into town just in time for dinner and more presents.
Many people I know also celebrate a birthday around January 20th. Besides my local and not-so-local Facebook friends, I have enjoyed watching Nella and Smith grow up “alongside” Campbell in the blogosphere. It’s always exciting to celebrate alongside of these two families, and I have been doing so for many, many years.
On Sunday, we had Campbell’s actual friend birthday party. Thanks to a collaborative effort between Campbell and myself, we have had Valentine’s parties, Rainbow parties, Umbrella parties, Butterfly parties, Hello Kitty parties and Kitty parties throughout the last six years.
This year, she requested a snowflake party. I tried to steer her towards a painting party, but she kept coming back to snowflakes. Snowflakes or Shopkins, and I most certainly wasn’t going to create a Shopkins party (say what you will, I just couldn’t make myself do it). I love Campbell’s ideas for her birthdays, and always look forward to taking her idea and running with it. I was able to get a little creative to meld both painting and snowflakes together in a really fun way!
Our theme was snowflake throughout the house. There are some fantastic ideas out there in Pinterest-world, and also in Google Images. I didn’t have a clear idea when we set out to put this party together, but I knew I wanted it simple, with a plain white and blue color theme.
I wanted easy finger-food snacks that would appeal to all ages, and Campbell wanted an ice cream bar again, no cake or cupcakes.
We spent a few fun evenings cutting snowflakes.
I found a great tutorial on how to make giant snowflakes out of craft sticks. This was so simple and so much fun. Finley helped me plan the designs and hot glue the sticks together. Rowen and his friend that was spending the night spent their time creating ‘wooden stick bombs’ that they threw all throughout the house. Seriously not a huge help, but they had fun and stayed out of the way. I spray painted them the next day while everyone was in school. I’m excited to keep them around for decorating next holiday season!
My plan to add the painting party aspect to the snowflake theme was to do a major painting project, like those drink and paint parties people attend. I found a great company, Social Artworking, that had everything I was looking for! Social Artworking didn’t pay me to provide this review (but they should have!). You can either host your own party, have a consultant come to you and lead the party so that you can just sit back and enjoy the time with your friends, or even search for a class being offered near you.
Here’s what the company had to say about themselves:
Social Artworking® is a program created by DecoArt to make learning to paint on canvas and hosting a canvas painting party easy and fun. Our patterns and step-by-step instructions make it easy for the first-time painter to have 100% success. You will be amazed at how well your painting will turn out! Consumers can purchase all the supplies, including complete pattern packs, for hosting at-home parties. You can also become a consultant or retailer to create a new, fun, and profitable business.
It seriously couldn’t have been easier planning for this part of our party. I chose the design, told their website how many people were planning on attending, and they calculated what and how much of everything I needed to make it happen! The really neat thing is that they have a junior section, which includes designs that have simpler steps for the younger crowd. We choose a picture of two penguins hugging for Campbell’s friends and a winter bear for the older kids/adults that wanted to participate. We set up the bear canvases in the playroom and the penguin canvases in the dining room.
I bought the pattern pack for each design. This included the complete design instructions, a reusable pattern and transfer paper. In hindsight, I should have bought more than one of each since the pattern and transfer paper really was in rough shape after tracing the design eight times. I also transferred the images myself onto the canvases to save time on the day of the party. If you were hosting an adult party, they can trace the image themselves. I’m glad I took an evening and did this step ahead of time!
Again, food was as simple as I can do. And if you know me personally, you know that the food part of a party is never a simple affair! We stuck to a fruit plate, a veggie plate, and a meat/cheese/cracker spread with some pickles, nuts, and olives tossed into the mix. I was up at 4 that morning getting a batch of beef/turkey chili and quinoa chili into crock pots to simmer for the day. I wanted something for any adults sticking around, especially since Greg’s parents were going to be driving home that evening. I wanted to make sure they were able to eat something substantial for lunch/dinner before they hit the road.
Happily, everyone loved the chili, many kids sat down to eat a bowl of it as well, and I even sent containers of it home with families as they were leaving.
Having a party from 1-4 in the afternoon is great if you want to not have to feel like feeding a bunch of kids lunch that they won’t sit down and eat.
But waiting for 1:00 to arrive is horrible!
Painting was an absolute success! I was in charge of the 6-year olds and Greg agreed to help out with the bigger kids and adults that were painting down in the playroom. My age group was just old enough to be able to focus on the whole project (We did have a 2 1/2-year old sister that we just let go to town with some paint and brush. She was happy. It worked.). They were great with sharing (we didn’t quite have enough of some things), took turns, waited patiently, and loved that I helped wash out their brushes when needed. It became somewhat of a game to raise their brushes high in the air for me to swoop over to collect them.
The really focused throughout all of the instructions, and when it was time for a part of the canvas to dry before moving on to another step, they happily rolled around on the floor, ran up to play in Campbell’s bedroom, and grabbed some food. When it was time to get back to painting, they had gotten enough wiggles out to continue.
We set up a small photo booth with some fun props that I found at Oriental Trading Company. I left my small camera in that area, and told Finley and Rowen that it was for everyone’s use to take pictures with. I was happy to see that some cute pictures did get taken, as I never once was in charge of that area or suggested that everyone get their pictures taken. I did wish that I would have mentioned to everyone to get at least one picture taken, or given some directions the grandparents to help out in that area. Although, I haven’t seen any of the pictures taken by Greg’s parents, so maybe they were able to get some.
This has nothing to do with the party, but Franklin and Pumpkin officially met during that time and I was bale to snap a few cute pictures.
Campbell has no real interest in cake or cupcakes. She will lick some of the frosting off, but otherwise anything bread-like isn’t her favorite.
How I wish I felt the same way!
Last year we did an ice cream sundae bar and it was a hit! We had seven million toppings and let the kids have at it. It was a mess, they pilled up more toppings than they were able to actually eat, and we couldn’t wait to do it again this year.
Again, I hope that the grandparents got more pictures of this time than I did. I was busy scooping ice cream, so I never got my camera out, except to snap a few pictures once everyone was seated.
After gorging themselves on ice cream, it was on to presents. I love this age, because the grown ups can be very hands off and just watch from a distance. Campbell kept moving around because the crowd of kids swarmed closer and closer, but it was also fun to watch. I love how proud kids are of their gifts to someone else, and I love the joy that everyone has when they get to see what gets opened! We were reminiscing about the 2- and 3-year old years where opening presents was miserable for everyone because it always ended up in a crying melt-down. We had some years where we didn’t even open any of the gifts until everyone left. It was a bit confusing for some, but at that age, keeping the peace was better than a knock-down brawl over a toy.
The party was a success and it was so fun having all of Campbell’s friends over for the afternoon. Some parents stuck around or stayed and visited for awhile while dropping off/picking up. This rental house is so hard to have lots of people in. It’s huge, but sooooooo old, the rooms are a bit awkward when a handful of people are in them. It worked this time, and I just enjoyed the day instead of worrying about our house, or the room, or what people thought. Soon enough, I’ll have a fancy house with a huge Great Room, perfect for entertaining. But until then, I’ll get to think back to the snowflake party that Campbell had when she was seven. I’ll think back to the late nights painting the walls of the living room, days before the party. I’ll think back to Franklin, being such a good boy, even with all of the commotion. I’ll think back to the success of some great artwork that everyone was able to take home, and I remember the evening spent cleaning up all together while blasting Phish on Spotify.
Those memories might not include the big, fancy house, but I’ll be glad we made those memories anyway!