Friday night was Gigi's birthday party-- her first drop-off party with a slew of little girls . It was lovely. Having only done parties where the whole family was invited in the past, I wasn't sure what to expect.
But with only my two little ones to get in the way of the big girls, the 5-7-year old crowd was remarkably easy to coordinate. The girls had a blast. My next-door neighbors were the only adults to stay and hang out and we had a great time with them-- and I enjoyed passing off my camera to one of them who offered to photograph the event.
I love photography, but it was so refreshing to not have to be the one doing all documenting. He took dozens of photos (including ones of me-- shocking!) and I got to focus on Gigi and the girls instead of my camera.
When I saw this party on a friend's blog, I knew it would be the perfect way to sway Gigi away from a character-themed party (gag me!) and it was true. She loves camping, and well, I had her at s'mores for dessert (and hey, we still had a Frozen sing-along around the campfire).
The meat of the party consisted of a "tent"-- an EZ-up with sheets tucked in and clothes-pinned around the sides. Inside were blankets to sit on, and the girls got to do finger-style rainbow looming, decorate wooden clipboards with camping-themed stickers and then use those for coloring printable coloring sheets that I found on Pinterest. The clipboards were their party favors.
Gigi was dying for face painting, so while the girls (+ Brody) worked on their art projects and snacked (see below), I also painted their cheeks. They all looked loved.
The kids also did a backyard scavenger hung -- finding a bug was the big challenge there. ;)
For food, we served up organic hot dogs, caesar salad (Gigi's favorite), watermelon, chips & dip, carrot sticks and juice boxes, along with the super fun build-your-own trail mix bar (honey roasted peanuts, dried cranberries, chocolate-covered sunflower seeds, almonds & raisins), which was a hit.
Gigi opened her presents around the fire pit, and then we lit the fire for dessert. While I ran inside to grab the sweets, the girls were getting a bit restless. "Why don't you guys sing Let it Go" was enough to send them into a contented singing frenzy. When I returned, I took a moment to pray for dear Gigi before we got to roasting.
Dessert couldn't have been easier-- s'mores around the "campfire" and of course, we sang to Gigi over a flaming marshmallow instead of candle.
She had a wonderful time, and I loved seeing my big girl so happy. Her actual birthday is May 7, so I'm looking forward to another special day of simple celebrating. Special thanks to my parents for letting us have the party in their backyard.
And now for a little DIY.
Being the classic ENFP that I am, I had great visions (and lots of inspiring pins) for this party, but of course, I waited till the last minute to do everything. So there I was, the morning of the party, trying to create a cute paper bunting by Gigi's request, and naturally, my Cricut wouldn't work. I threw in the towel, disappointed.
It was later, that I came up with an even better solution. I cut off the tops of some brown paper lunch bags to make little snack bags, and when I looked at the top halves sitting in a pile, I wondered what we could do with them. Inspiration struck and sure enough, they made a perfectly rustic bunting that Gigi loved (and got to help make).
2 ways to use paper lunch bags for rustic party décor
These are fun projects to do with your child!
Trail mix bags for a build-your-own trail mix bar
The first thing we made was the snack backs. I cut off the tops of the bags leaving a short bag about 3-4" tall. Gigi labeled them for "trail mix" and then I hole punched two holes in the front side to tie a little baker's twine bow through for a dash of cuteness.Voilà!
Take the paper bag tops and gently fold them in half where their seam is and trim off a diagonal piece leaving you with a slightly triangular bottom.
Have your kid label each one with a letter (on the side without the seam)-- ours said "CAMP GIGI!" on it in two colors.
Punch two holes in each pennant and then lay them out on the ground. Measure a piece of raffia and a piece of baker's twine long enough to span the pennants and have about a foot of extra on each end. Thread twine/raffia through the pennants.
Hang to display! Ours went on the front of our art "tent" and then we saved it to hang over Gigi's bed. I love simple these projects were and that Gigi could get involved. Sometimes when technology doesn't cooperate, we all win.