Get in gear! Let’s have a Robot Party!

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Since I did a fairy themed party when my daughter turned 3… that meant it was my one opportunity to do a boy-themed party… whoohooo! Robot it was! For the centerpieces, I found these Valentine Boxes from Oriental Trading – which of course I bought after V-day for much cheaper. Came in a dozen, I only used 5 though. But they were super cute and easy to put together with adhesive foam. I put a small vase inside to weight it down and with a styrofoam piece inside the vase, I was able to make the toppers.

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I saw a robot from cardboard on Pinterest and thought… I could do that! The hardest part was finding all the pieces. More details on how this robot came to life here.

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A party is not a party without a watermelon carving! Saw this idea on Pinterest as well. 🙂

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We were hoping for a transformer pinata… but couldn’t find one… so Iron mad had to do!

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The bakery from Ranch Events did an amazing job as usual!

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For the crafts, I couldn’t resist these adorable little ceramic robot piggy banks! 12 for $20. I bought a set of Owls for any girls who didn’t want to paint a Robot. The kids enjoyed it.. but I think adults had more fun with them!

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Lastly, our lovely photobooth, designed by Snapshots Moments. Check out how I put together the backdrop here.

DIY Tablecover Backdrop

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I first saw this on Pinterest here and totally thought it would be the perfect way to backdrop the photobooth this year.

I bought a little bit more than I needed to start. … but ultimately used 3 table covers and two banners from Walmart. Didn’t cost more than a total of $7

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The longest part was probably the cutting. The strips were about 3 inches wide and the braids were maybe 3 inches down. I’m pretty good at braiding so that was easy, although my arms were sore from being in the upward position for so long. Haha.

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I have to admit. It looked pretty cool once it was all braided and the colors mixed together.

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Add the banners… and there you have it. I contemplated doing the fans at first…. but I didn’t want to take from the photobooth template.  So I kept the backdrop simple.

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Looks good! I’m definitely going to do this again! Different colors!

Party time: All things Disney

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For my daughter’s 5th birthday, we went for a “Disney” theme. It was good timing as she now has gone to Disneyland many times and familiar with all the stories and characters. Having a Disney theme was definitely due to come! Oh and I had so much planning this one!  Let’s go over the details:

Centerpieces: I found lots of versions on Pinterest and went for a pretty simple one. Went into detail about it on the blog here.

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I was able to find a HUGE lantern on Oriental Trading on clearance for $5. Didn’t realize how big it was until it arrived. But my dad was able to rig some ears to it out of a foam board, lots of tape, spray paint. It turned out pretty good. Could also be used for a Deadmau5 party for sure! 🙂

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For the fruit display, my mom carved Mickey into a watermelon and also used cookie cutters to skewer some as well.

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Cake: Again, we got our favorite marble and bavarian creme with fresh strawberries from Renaissance Bakery (Ranch Events Catering). Went for a simple Minnie Mouse patterned design with the ears and bow on top.

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We had our usual photobooth set- up with template designed by Snapshots Photobooth. The kids and adults always love the photobooth.

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For the goodie bags, I had one of my friends who is a passholder and lives in Anaheim, collect the “I’m celebrating” buttons for me for a couple months leading up to the party. So each bag got an authentic button from Disneyland. The girls got Minnie ear headbands that got for $1 a piece in the LA Fashion District, and the boys had gotten a Cars glider that I got for $1 a piece at Target’s after-Easter clearance. What else was in those bags…. crayons from Target’s after-Halloween sale, and little playing cards as well.

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More on the pinata from previous blog post here. It was HUGE! $13 in Tijuana baby!

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Lastly, I put several of the costumes myself and blogged about it here. All except for Mike from Monsters, Inc. – which was actually a children’s costume that I got on eBay for $17 and then sewed to a $3 t-shirt from Michaels. It was to match my son’s Sully costume which I got half off the day after Halloween at Target last year (always think ahead!)

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My new favorite Pinata filler! Knobby Balls!

This year, my nanny was able to head down to Tijuana and pick up this HUGE, and I mean, HUGE pinata for only $13. It looked amazing, but then I thought… crap. what am I going to fill it up with!?!?
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I always high up the after Easter sale at Target to pick up the candy for my kids’ parties (stock up for May and July no prob). But I thought this year, it would be good to do a larger filler for the pinata. I saw these balls filled up with a pinata before at a local store…. so I went on eBay and found a listing for 50 of these 4.5 inch “knobby” balls for $19.99! Had to pay $10 shipping… but still!
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Got a foot pump at our local Ace Hardware store for $10. Which I could probably use in long run for other things anyways.

It was total success! For a bunch of kids 6 and under… they were totally happy with all the balls that came bouncing out of the pinata unexpectedly.
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Definitely going to do that one again!

Check out pix of my lil guy helping to fill the pinata. Heehee.
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Our Mega Cousin Reunion

I love planning in general already…. so of course I welcome excuses to plan any type event!

There are a total of 13 cousins on my mom’s side – 10 of which were born consecutively one year after the other. So growing up, it was fun! I would say we have remained fairly close into our adult years, trying to get together when we can. I kinda nominated myself as the “Cousin Social Committee” and make sure that when someone is in town, we try to make an effort to get together. Well… when our furthest living cousin (London) was planning a trip to visit So Cal last summer, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to plan a Mega Cousin Reunion. The challenge: getting ALL 13 of us together. A photo with all of us had not been taken since 2000. Seriously. We were always missing someone! So it had been 12 years since we were ALL present and accounted for.

Anyhow… with some dates on hand and several emails and headcounts… it looked like we were going to make this happen! YIPPEE! And… even better… it landed on the weekend of our grandmother’s 82nd birthday…. so we added on inviting her as a surprise! She had NO CLUE that we were all going to be there. The photo of her with ALL the grandchildren was priceless.

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Outside of deciding on a date and getting everyone there…. I had this vision of what the logo for our event would be. When we were kids, we used to gather at my grandparent’s house every summer and in the backyard was always this old metal Radio Flyer wagon. We’d take turns pulling each other around in it. So it was the perfect iconic logo to use. I had a friend photoshop the title of the event into the logo and it looked perfect!!!!  For our shirt printing, I ended up going with UberPrints.  They were fantastic! The pricing was very reasonable, information on the website was clear, lots of different shirt/color options and the ordering process was very easy. For the backside of our shirts, one of my cousins and I came up with the brilliant idea of using the Words with Friends board and intertwining all of our names on there – including spouses. It was actually kinda fun to try and fit all the names in. Only took me 3 tries. Love how “cousins” is exactly the 7 letters needed for the letter board at the bottom. Look closely on the board and you will see two special tiles that my cousin and I hid on there in order to claim our work (ML and KT).

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I had shirts made for the little ones too.

 

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I also had a vision for doing a cupcake cake resembling the logo for the event. It turned out pretty good. However, with the heat in August, some of the frosting started to fall through the gaps later on. Boo!

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Of course… I’m all about presentation. So I combed the internet for some reasonably priced frames and then took the logo and put in each person’s name so they had their own custom version of the logo in a photo print, a frame to put our updated cousin photo in later… and tied the shirts to the back. Damn I’m good. For the Second-Gen (the little kids aka mine and some of my cousin’s kids) we got little beach buckets with all sorts of fun goodies.

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The swag table looked good!

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I thought it would be cool to do a big collage of us through the years. I mean… its been 35+ years of cousins in the making. Pulling the pictures weren’t hard because we try to get group photos at least yearly from some holiday or event. The hardest part was trying to fit them all into the poster board I bought! But it worked out! My grandma now has it framed and hung in her house.

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Here we are! My grandma with EVERYONE! All 13 of her grandchildren accounted for, plus spouses, plus 6 great-grandchildren. Whew!

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And this was the photo we’ve all been waiting for! YAY! All 13 of us! Finally!

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The second generation kiddos. My grandma is a happy great-grandma now!

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We always like some friendly competition…. so we ended the day with a little team relay. One of my cousins found some good ones for us… including this tennis ball in the panty hose one. hahaha. Funnier to watch than do!

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I wanted to close with a throwback of our Year 2000 Cousin photo. Crazy. 12 years between us all getting together! In this photo, our two youngest cousins weren’t even born yet! Sniff… this was back when there were only 11 of us. Wow.

I’m not sure when the next Mega Cousin Reunion will be, I’m hoping maybe 2014. But I’m happiest that we were able to accomplish this at a time where my grandma was able to attend, be surprised for her birthday, and enjoyed a new fun memory with all of us.

Happy Thanksgiving and Pre-Black Friday!

Happy Thanksgiving! I have much to be thankful for… especially my two lil’ bambinos. I know I’m a sleep-deprived workaholic whose brain never stops… BUT – at the end of the day, I have my health and my family to be grateful for.

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I always start off Thanksgiving morning with the Black Friday ads… heehee. But once the kids are done with breakfast, we then set up the Christmas tree! YAY. Let me state right now for the record that: I. LOVE. THE. HOLIDAYS.  My daughter has been pretty excited as well. She helped my mom with the tree over at her house. So this morning, she was all about it! She made sure we wore some fun holiday headbands and she was very helpful with getting the lil’ guy into the mood as well. I usually do a silver/red ornament look on the tree… but this year I’m feeling the Turquoise. In any case, my tree ALWAYS has disco balls as the main ornament style. I just can’t get away from them. Of all the styles that I see… I always gravitate to the disco balls. Must be the EDMer in me. It allows me to still be in touch with the side of me that would still dance the night away if I had the energy and youth to still do it. HAHAHA. Anyhow…. sorry for the trip down memory lane tangent. In any case, we got the tree up and I’m in the holiday spirit! After the kids finished putting all the ornaments up themselves… I went back and spread it all out a little more evenly during naptime. Hehe. Obviously, due to some height restrictions, my son found it more feasible to put multiple ornaments on the same branch.
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On another note… I was ecstatic about my first Black Friday deal today: $5 banner from Staples! These are normally $24.99! So I went ahead and designed three of them for the three birthday parties I’m hosting next year (my two kids and my mom’s big 60th shin-digg). It really helps to know ahead the themes and always have a chunk of my brain dedicated to keeping eye on on things related to those parties throughout the year. By the time we approach the party date – all the decor and goody bag stuff is taken care of. But yeah… $5 banner. 3ft x 1.6ft. Not bad! Whoooo. I’m a happy camper! What a good deal. And of course…. with any online shopping – gotta go through Ebates first! Staples was getting 4% cash back on Ebates today, then I used my Chase Ink business Credit Card which gets me another 5% cash back in rewards.  Happy! Happy!
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Whew. I better get to bed. Need to wake up in 4.5 hours to roam the mall and outlets for some fun Black Friday wandering. I already shop for Xmas all year long so most of my list is done. Tomorrow will mostly be for finishing up some people and random purchases on impulse. HA!

RAWRRR – It’s a Jungle out there!

With my son just turning 2, it was time to recycle back the safari theme we had 2 years ago. Ahhh, I love recycling themes – one less thing to have to creatively think about. Especially since that last Superhero party was a lot of prep work! This time around, I just brought down our “safari box” and most of the decor and crafts were already to go. I even had left over goody bag/pinata toys because I had bought one of the bulk sets from Oriental Trading last time. Yeehawww. More money saved.

Well… let’s just rewind here for a moment. In 2011 – when my daughter turned 2. We had a safari themed birthday party for her. In all honesty, the theme was selected around a cute tutu outfit that I had found for her 2 year photos. Hot pink zebra animal print!? YES! Ok – safari theme it is! 😉

Here is the outfit that inspired the whole theme:

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Centerpieces came mostly from the little tin buckets for $1 a piece at Target at the time, and I purchased a DIY Printable Party Pack for the paper decor items (being that I’m so photoshop-inclined… or kinda just lazy).VyBdayParty11-010

For the fruit display, I had my mom do an alligator head. This was her first try at it – not bad! (but for my son’s party this year, she scored a perfectly long watermelon that really suited the purpose – see further below).VyBdayParty11-019

For the kids crafts, we had: Design your own binoculars, Design your own safari hat, and Create a safari door hanger (foam with stickers)VyBdayParty11-017

For our “photo op” I found this standup jeep prop from BirthdayExpress.comVyBdayParty11-024

I went for just a simple pink animal print cake. We get our cakes from our favorite hidden gem: Renaissance Bakery (part of Ranch Events Catering)VyBdayParty11-003

I love that our family and friends like to get into the spirit of a “themed” birthday party! Makes it more fun for all!VyBdayParty11-074

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Fast forward to 2013 – it was time for the Safari, Round 2.

This year my mom went searching early for a long shaped watermelon for our alligator and she found one! She even added some legs this year. 🙂KhangBdayParty13-0001

I reuse my old glass vases a lot for my centerpieces (they were leftovers from my wedding and come at $2 a piece at Michaels). Why not use them? They get covered up by whatever theme we are doing anyways. Again, I got a Printable Party Pack from Etsy. Add in his birthday photo and some stickers and waaaaalaaa! KhangBdayParty13-0007

Eeek! When I saw these safari PJ’s from Old Navy – I immediately knew it would be his perfect outfit for the party! I had put in our invitation for guests to come dressed in their best animal print. So it was just right that he had on this shirt. And he loved wearing a pair of binoculars around that day as well.

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Since we started doing photobooths at our parties last year, I definitely wanted to incorporate the same Jeep standup prop. Then the photobooth template was designed to match his cake. I found some animal masks on clearance to use for props! Thank you Snapshot Moments for designing the template… it was a collabo with our Happy Endings Photography set-up. 🙂

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Speaking of the cake! I didn’t want to get lazy and just go for a blue animal print cake, so I combed Pinterest looking for ideas and came up with this:

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Crafts to keep the kids busy included Building your own compass, Magic Scratcher, Color your own binoculars, and Design your own Safari Hat. That hats were actually more like the ‘sailor’ hats – found them on clearance on Oriental Trading a while back for super cheap. Add some fabric markers from Walmart and we were good to go! The hats were probably the kids favorite of the crafts, along with the Magic Scratcher.

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All in all, I’d day both parties were a huge success. The kids had fun, the adults had fun, but most importantly, my guest of honor always had a huge smile on their face. And that my friend, makes all the planning and hard work worth it.

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Now, time to start brainstorming for next year! I’m thinking Disney for V’s 5th, and I’m just dying to do a robot theme for K’s 3rd! No recycling for him next year because we did “Fairies and Wizards” when V turned 3… and I don’t want to go the fairy route for my lil’ man. hehe.