Sunday, December 2, 2012

WBS Celebrations: A Boo-tiful Birthday!

Yes, I've been off the grid for quite some time now.  From September through the end of the year, Church, Work, and Home get extra busy and now that I have a happy, growing Bubba in my life, every year is a new experience, with new happy challenges, like how I can squeeze a few more hours out of the day when Bubba doesn't sleep until midnight sometimes, what new menus I need to put together to appeal to Bubba's ever-changing appetites and preferences, and the trillion other little things that we Super-Mom's happen upon.

In preparation for Bubba's first birthday, I was gathering and buying and planning in July for a celebration in October.  This time around, for his second birthday, so many things were happening in the months leading up to his birthday that I couldn't really get down to the nitty-gritty until a few weeks before the party. 

We didn't have a big celebration, but anyone who knows me knows that I. LOVE. PARTIES.  So, after begging the Mr. to have something more than just cake & ice cream, we had a small get-together with Bubba's grandparents, aunties, uncles, and cousins.  It looks like we invited a small town to this party, but it's just because my husband has a lot first-cousins with lots of kids. :)

Theme?  Well, that was easy.  Bubba's current obsession is the little red monster, Elmo (who we still love in spite of the recent not-so-nice things that have come up in the news about the man who puppets Elmo)!!! So...October birthday + Halloween + Elmo =

Yes, it was a SPOOKTACULAR, and with a Pinterest board devoted to Elmo parties and Halloween-themed fun, well, it was hard not to go overboard. :) 

Here are some of the highlights from Bubba's special day:

{Treat Buckets} the great thing about having a holiday-themed birthday party is that you can find a lot of great favors and party items for little cost.  I have a problem--but it's a problem I LOVE having...any party I throw/plan MUST have some cool favors and/or goodie bags. :)  Wal-Mart always has these cool trick-or-treat buckets for $1 and I wanted something more than just plastic treat bags that wouldn't hold much, so these were PERFECT.  Also, as you can tell by his invite, I went with an orange/green/purple color scheme so I scooped up a bunch of these babies. 

{Tags} I love tags. Tags on everything. Little ones.  Big ones.  Laminated ones. :)  At Bubba's first birthday, I had tags for the kids, and I think it's something I want to do at each birthday party if we have one.  Here are the ones we made for Bubba's party:
{Bucket contents & take-homes} When there's a character associated with the theme of the party I'm throwing, I make it my personal mission to find the perfect items for the treat buckets.  I helped with a Hulk party once and saw nothing but purple and green and ripply cartoon muscles for weeks because I had found everything HULK-themed within here and the Great Wall of China. :) Again, my personal mission. :)  So, for my son's party, I scoured the ebay listings and, and even craigslist to find Elmo themed halloween items.  I was at my mom's one day and noticed she had these on her desk:
I had been searching for the perfect coloring book for the kids' buckets and was contemplating just printing some pictures off and making my own, but when I saw the Elmo Halloween one with the same graphic I had used on his invite, I about died!  And then she said she had bought them somewhere LAST YEAR, I was sad again. :(  Later that week, I was couponing at Walgreens and happened to go down the Halloween Aisle and found TONS of the ELMO HALLOWEEN coloring book for 2/$1!  I almost {TMI WARNING} wet myself right there in the store, I was SO excited to have found them!  Here's a pic of the other goodies I put in their buckets.
Because we all know Elmo loves his crayons, I scooped up some Crayola boxes when they were super cheap at Wal-Mart during their Back-to-School sales, and also put in some Crayola toothbrushes--it was after all the weekend before Halloween and I knew the kids were going to tear it up when it came to the candy-eating. :) The toothbrushes were actually FREE with coupons, and the other goodies were from Wal-Mart for practically pennies because they were already marked down!  I also put bubbles in there with tags I had created on Photoshop.  I thought it would be super cute to put Elmo's eyes and nose on a jack-o-lantern and I think it turned out way fun!
I had put together some games for the kids to play during the party and gathered some cool prizes (which I didn't get pictures of because I'm a flake) so I didn't put A LOT in the buckets to start with.
{The Cake} While camping on Pinterest for ideas, I came across The. Cutest. Halloween cake  I knew I had to make it for Bubba's party and I did. :)  I didn't want to buy just any sheet cake from Sam's like we normally do.  Especially when the store-bought cake was $40-something bucks, and the homemade one would cost me around $10.  Yes, it took lots more T-I-M-E, but even though the colors weren't as bright as I wanted, the cake--ALL SIX LAYERS--came out pretty well and I was super pleased with it!  My sister carefully shook out the Halloween Sprinkles onto the homemade (yes, homemade) frosting, and then I topped it off with an Elmo figurine/cookie jar I got at a garage sale for $1!  It was SO cute.  We tied halloween ribbons around his neck so it matched the colors of the layers, and I think I'll continue to use him as a topper for other holiday cakes for as long as Bubba loves Elmo, and just change out the ribbon color. 
{DECOR}  Earlier in the year, I was in charge of decorating our church cultural hall for a party and had used white paper lanterns I ordered from the Mainland.  To get my money's worth, I promised myself I would re-use them.  They've been used in several events now, and were all used in different ways.  I wanted to do simple decorations because I was unsure about the weather. I was originally going to paint a bunch of lanterns orange and stick elmo faces on them so they looked like Elm-O-Lanterns (get it? lol), but I didn't have time.  I thought this up and liked the end result way better:
We had these babies hanging all over the place and they were a hit!
We also had centerpieces and balloon columns topped with these adorable Elmo mylars.  While searching for balloons for another project online, I came across these 38" mylars in the clearance bin of a balloon wholesale site.  They were like $1 a piece!!!  I found them back in August I think, and bought like 30 of them...when I saw them, I knew I had to have an Elmo Halloween Party to celebrate my Bubba's 2nd birthday.
(Bubba's Gramma and one of our columns.  Photography is SO not my forte.)
And finally, {The Treats Table} I love putting candy tables together and had so many more things I wanted to put on there for the kiddies, but they still went crazy over the goodies I did have out.  :)
I picked up flat white paper bags from GBC, our local packaging store, and personalized them with Bubba's party logo:
Some of the goodies:
Pumpkin Poop and Ghost Droppings (Cheese Balls!)

The entire spread:
{My 1/2 broken camera didn't do the spread justice. :( Good thing I scored a good one at Black Friday last week. lol)
In addition to eating candy until the wrappers were coming out of their ears, other party activities included a handful of games (pumpkin toss, coin drop, dorothy's fish pond, big bird bowling, and ring toss), pumpkin decorating (i scored a box of baby pumpkins for the kids to decorate with permanent markers and take home), and a costume contest.
It was a great time. :)