Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Jillian’s "Under the Big Top” 3rd Birthday Party

Last Wednesday we celebrated Jillian’s 3rd birthday, and on Sunday we partied it up and celebrated her birthday with friends and family.  

Every December, while everyone is stressing about holiday shopping and everything Christmas, I am stressing about all of that AND what the heck I’m going to do for Jillian’s birthday, which is dangerously close to the holidays.

This year (or, I guess last year) as of December 18th, I had no clue what I was going to do - house party or go somewhere, what will the theme be, what will the kids do, etc etc.  I knew I needed to get the invites out soon after Christmas, so I needed to get on the ball and at least start looking at invitations on my favorite go-to place for invitations, holiday cards, etc: Vistaprint.  

I love Vistaprint because they have a million different options for invites, cards, etc.  And they are cheap and there’s usually a coupon or a Groupon where you can get an obscene amount of stuff for a little amount of money.  And no, I’m not being compensated to say this, I just really like Vistaprint.  

Anywho...  I went to Vistaprint and went to birthday invitations and started looking.  I quickly found one that sparked my interest and literally started the wheels in my head turning.  

A circus theme!  How fun would that be?  Oh the ideas, the food choices, the decor!  I quickly went over to Pinterest and typed in “circus themed kids birthday” and now I wish I hadn’t because OMG, there was so much amazingness and I wanted to do it all.  And I did.

My inspiration (just a small piece of the inspiration that I found on Pinterest, but this got the wheels turning):

So over the next few weeks I planned out menu, decor, games, favor bags, etc. was my best friend as was the dollar store to make my visions come alive.  

Menu:  Since it was a circus theme I wanted to do circus/carnival food, so we had corn dogs, boxes of popcorn, soft pretzels, chips, popcorn chicken (for those who aren’t hot dog fans) and some fruit for balance.

For sweets I had little boxes of animal crackers, marshmallow “dumbbells” and cupcakes.  Super bummed I didn't take any pics of the sweets presentation. I'm trying to see if someone else did. If yes, I will share later 

Yum yum yum.  The food was a hit.

Decor:  Circuses and carnivals are synonymous with red and white stripes, so this was my color palette.  I knew I had to have a big top in our dining room, so that was an undertaking that I wasn’t sure how we were going to make a reality, but thankfully my in-laws did.  We made it work with 12 dollar store plastic tablecloths in red and white, a hula hoop and some fishing wire.  I’m still astounded by how awesome it turned out.

The big top is staying up in our dining room as long as possible.  I’m shooting for Valentine’s Day.

And then balloons.  Oh, the balloons.  I found the cutest red and white polka dot balloons on Amazon and bought a helium tank so that we could have them floating.  It was balloon heaven.

Games:  I wanted to do something with the kids because we had a wide range of ages and I didn’t want anyone to be bored.  Jillian was one of the youngest, so she really wasn’t into the games, but the others loved them.  We did old fashioned party/carnival games like the ball toss, ring toss and pin the nose on the clown.  They were all a hit!  

Favor bags:  The kids favor bags were probably my favorite thing to do.  I got plain white gift bags at the dollar store (2 for $1) and found a cute circus graphic online (yay Pinterest for free printables!) and glued it onto the bags.  Then I stuffed them with fun carnival fare like cotton candy, a box of Barnum Animal Crackers, Cracker Jack, bubbles, a crazy straw, circus stickers, a clown nose and a cute note from Jillian.  And then I tied one of the helium balloons to their bag as they left (because we had a zillion).  So cute and fun to do!  

All in all the party was a hit.  Everyone had fun and oohed and aahed over the decor and theme.  Despite getting most of the party stuff inexpensively through Amazon and at the dollar store I still ended up spending an obscene amount of money on this party.  But it was all worth it.  I never thought I’d have it in my to put on a full blown, fully detailed “Pinterest” party, but I did and it was great!  Although, I will probably never go that full out again.  Party plannin’ ain’t easy!  

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