Willy Wonka Party-FI

Dinah is five. FIVE! I just can’t believe it. We are only a few months away from Kindergarten of all things.

Anyway, we had to celebrate in style. I mean, FIVE is a big birthday.

On one of our pizza and a movie nights last year we introduced the girls to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and they were entranced.  It is hilarious how much they love it…even the boring parts at the beginning…even “Cheer Up, Charlie.” (!) Shortly after that Dinah decided that she wanted a Willy Wonka party for her fifth birthday…and I was happy to oblige. Dinah still has many friends of both genders, so we aren’t ready for all-girl parties just yet. That means that I am always on the prowl for good party themes that would be fun for boys too. Willy Wonka fit the bill.

Willy Wonka Party-8

(For more details about her Willy Wonka dress…please see this previous post.)

I prefer to have birthday parties at a park right now, so we keep things fairly simple. But there were lots of chocolate factory touches.

Over-sized lollipops, gumdrop towers, lots of candy, cupcakes, Fizzy-Lifting Drink, lollipop trees and golden chocolate eggs and more!

Christian, my “party minion” (his words, not mine!) was actually the one who actually made most of everything.  He’s the best!

Willy Wonka Party-7

For the favors I found glittery top hats for each kid and included a bag of chocolate factory treats. Fizzy-Lifting Bubbles, Chocolate River Milk, Lickable Wallpaper (candy buttons), Wonkavision Goggles (shutter shades), a golden egg filled with chocolate and, of course, a Wonka Bar with Golden Ticket. I made all my labels and thought I would share them with you. CLICK HERE for a printable pdf containing the labels to wrap Hershey bars as Wonka bars and to label the other favors.

Willy Wonka Party-10

I made two types of cupcakes: chocolate with chocolate frosting and orange with green-colored cream cheese frosting (you know, like Oompa Loompas).

Willy Wonka Party-16

Friends began to arrive and dug into snacks and favor bags. Park parties are the best because kids can just play and grown ups can chat…no pre-planned games or activities required!


Cupcake time! Everyone’s favorite time!


She’s got a golden ticket!

Golden Ticket

Thanks to all our friends and family who were able to come celebrate our big girl’s big day! It was a blast!


Dinah's Incredible Birthday-13

So, I had this post almost all ready to go and I was going to post it during the great baby hiatus of 2013, but you see how well that went!  But better late than never, right?…


Way back in March my Dinah turned four.  Four!  And we (of course) had a fun party for her.  My girls got really into The Incredibles in fall 2012 and Dinah said she wanted a superhero party for her birthday.  She actually stuck with this idea for several months, to my surprise.  I did lots of research on girly superhero parties and found some good ideas that I shamelessly replicated…no real original ideas here…just fun times!

Dinah's Birthday Invite

Okay, a few details…

We decided to go with our new party standard, which is to have it a local park.  I am in love with throwing parties at a park right now.  There is always plenty of room for all the people, the children have access to great playground equipment, and the trash from the party goes in the lovely large cans provided by the parks people.  And most important of all, my house does not need to be cleaned both before and after the party.  Win!

Dinah's Incredible Birthday-1

We invited/encouraged the guests to come dressed as superheroes and many did…including Dinah.  She had been talking about being “Elasti-girl” for forever, so I knew I had to comply.  Because I knew this was the costume she wanted to have for her party I knew to go ahead and grab some red tights and a red turtleneck shirt around Christmas-time.  She wore her dance leotard over her tights and I made an Incredibles logo out of felt and basted it onto her shirt.  And I created her thigh-high “boots” with a pair of old man compression socks that Christian had in his drawer.  She looks pretty good!

Dinah's Incredible Birthday-4 Dinah's Incredible Birthday-5

For party favors/activities I had a mask making station and the kids could decorate their own superhero masks.  And then I made superhero capes for the 25 little ones at the party.  I followed this tutorial at Jolly Mom that I found via Pinterest.  They were SUPER easy to do and it just took me one evening to crank out all 25.  I made pink ones for the girls and blue for the boys.  For the back I just did stars in a circle and used spray glue to attach them.  The kids all LOVED their capes.  It was so much fun to see them all running around the playground in them.  They were especially cool on  the swings.  Best.Favor.Ever…really.  AND because I bought the felt on sale each cape cost less than $2 each.  Can’t beat that!

Because this was just an afternoon party we just had snacks and cupcakes for food.

My favorites were the superhero blow-pops…so cute!

Dinah's Incredible Birthday-10

I made red velvet cupcakes with a cream cheese icing.  For a pop of color I used colored sugars on the top.  I also made cute little cake toppers using clip art that I found on Etsy.  It is by PeachPoPs Clip Art and they have such cute stuff!  I used the clip art for my invitations and all my decorations…including the cityscapes that I put around the serving bowls, etc.

Dinah's Incredible Birthday-9 Dinah's Incredible Birthday-8

We all had a great time out at the park celebrating Dinah and hanging out with friends.  I scheduled her party on what seemed like the one weekend of the year that everyone we knew was in town, so we had a TON of guests and it was awesome to have so many people out there.  The weather was beautiful and we had another party success!

Dinah's Incredible Birthday-26 Dinah's Incredible Birthday-22 Dinah's Incredible Birthday-23 Dinah's Incredible Birthday-24Dinah's Incredible Birthday-20 Dinah's Incredible Birthday-17

And now it is almost September and Esther’s birthday is right around the corner…time to get planning!




Cupcakes Close Up

Since Esther was only a few days old she has had the nickname of “Esther-Bear.”  She was a VERY vocal little baby and was always making growling noises.  I don’t know if that’s the reason, but she has always loved Winnie-the-Pooh.  As young as 18 months old she would “sing” the little Winnie-the-Pooh song.  So, I’ve known for a long time that we would do a Pooh theme for her Second Birthday.

Now, many of you know that Esther’s birthday is actually in December…so, why did we have her party in February?  Well, the week her party was originally scheduled for in December all three of us girls got nasty colds that developed into upper respiratory infections.  Sadly, the day before her party I just had to cancel.  I meant to reschedule for sometime in January, but there seemed to be a lot going on in January and it got pushed back to February.

Okay, first for some party details:

Party Space

This was our party space…we went to one of the smaller parks in the city so there was just the one pavilion with three tables.  But that was perfect for our little party.


I made a little pennant banner for our Esther-Bear.  I finally invested in some paper crafting tools, like a corner rounder and a scalloped punch.  Making decorations for this party was a breeze with those.

Food Table

And this was our food table…we served strawberry lemonade (which is one of our birthday party traditions) along with…


Veggies from Rabbit’s Garden and…

Silly Ole Bears

Silly Ole Bears (aka Gummy Bears) and…

Hunny Combs

Hunny Combs and…

Tigger Tails

some Tigger Tails.

These were really easy to make and you can find a bajillion tutorials online.  Basically I got those Wilton orange candy melts, melted them and dipped my pretzel rods in.  I let those cool and then I melted chocolate and drizzled that over the orange.  I will say this…I totally used the wrong kind of chocolate.  I mean, it was tasty, but it didn’t really set up hard like the orange did.  We had to keep them frozen/cold right up until the last minute because the chocolate got really sticky.  I just used some chocolate chips we had on hand, but apparently that was not the right kind of stuff to use.  I suppose I need to use some sort of candy making chocolate.  It didn’t really matter…they were a BIG hit.  Adults and children alike gobbled them up.  So, I declare them a success.

And of course there were cupcakes!


I will say that making these was my best baking endeavor ever.  I didn’t really do anything from scratch, but there were still really yummy.  I took two different batters (a butter yellow mix and a lemon cake mix) and blended them together.  The result was a tasty, moist cake with a slight lemon flavor.  For the icing we doctored up the canned butter cream icing with about a half a cup of creamed honey (we found ours at Trader Joe’s) and a quarter cup of cream cheese (just to cut the sweetness some).  These cupcakes were SOOO good.  They were light and sweet, but not too sweet.  Just perfect.

Cupcakes Close Up

Some other things that contributed to their success: 1) I actually measured out 1/4 cup for each cupcake, so they were nice and uniform. 2) I purchased appropriate tips for piping. 3) I researched some methods of frosting cupcakes so I could get the look I wanted. 4) I purchased the super cute bees from a confectioner on Etsy.  They were perfect and added just the right touch.

The other little cupcakes were a surprise from my mom.  She knew the theme and made those super-cute little cupcakes.  Basically they are little bears in a bathtub.  They were very yummy and had the surprise of ha Rolo candy hidden in the center.  Thanks, Mom!

For the favor bags, I just got regular red paper bags and I glued this image to the outside.

Pooh quote

At the dollar store I found Winnie-the-Pooh puzzles for the older kids and little Winnie-the-Pooh stamp sets for the little ones.  Each kid also got a couple lollipops, a bag of Teddy Grahams and a little bee magnet.  Of course, I neglected to get pictures of the magnets, but you can see a couple extras decorating the food table in the pictures above.

It actually ended up being a perfect day for a party.  We decided to have her party at a park and I am not sure I will ever go back to house parties again.  Even with transporting everything there and back, it was just so much easier!  We had wonderful weather (although a bit windy) and the kids had a great time playing on the playground and exploring the “Hundred Acre Wood.”

*Note…I feel kind of weird posting pictures of other people’s kids…so, you just get to see mostly mine.  But don’t worry…she did have friends there!

Waiting not-so-patiently for her party to begin.

Waiting not-so-patiently for her party to begin.





Swinging with her little cousin

Swinging with her little cousin

Just a girl and her bear.

Just a girl and her bear.

Dinah and her Granny off to explore.

Dinah and her Granny off to explore.

Getting ready to sing to our Bear.

Getting ready to sing to our Bear.

Digging into her cupcake

Digging into her cupcake

Post-cupcake frosting face

Post-cupcake frosting face

Dinah "helping" her sister open presents

Dinah “helping” her sister open presents


Happy (late) birthday, little Bear!

Birthday Bear

Thanks to everyone who was able to come!  We had a great time!