Suburban Soiree

Party

Royal Wedding Pajama Watch Party

Something to Celebrate, HostingAmy Wiley4 Comments

I'm still floating around in a fairy tale dream after this weekend's royal wedding.  It was just splendid!  A few ladies came over to watch with me and my daughter and it made it all the more fun.  Today I'm sharing the details of our little watch party.

Dessert first!  I ordered a simple cake from our grocer that read "Sparkle like Markle."  It was delicious and completely worth the odd look I got while ordering... ha!  I had leftover napkins from Prince William's wedding to Kate so I figured this was the day to use them.  I put everything on a commemorative tea towel celebrating Harry and Meghan.

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Speaking of tea towels, my little display was made for this day!

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 I had a whole box full of items from my last royal wedding party, so I had a great time pulling all those out and added some Amazon finds like this Harry and Meghan bunting and life-sized cutout of the queen.

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My Mother's Day flowers, a British tray, and some cookie tins decorated the breakfast nook.

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The early morning hour was perfect for a pajama party.  My husband found these for me and I just love them so much.

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Guests were offered tea, naturally, along with orange juice and water.

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Of course I had the good old American coffee bar stocked as well.

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Breakfast included a variety of scones, raspberry French toast, breakfast casserole and fruit.

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I tucked some Trader Joe's flowers into teapots and had them throughout the party.

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I've had this carriage for years and sometimes take it to the florist so they can create an arrangment inside.  I didn't get this done with my busy schedule, but a rose bowl full of flowers worked nicely.

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 A little bunting added some Union Jacks to the viewing area.

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My pantry door was in on the action as well.

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I even decorated the fridge.

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This was an obvious occassion to wear my replica of Duchess Catherine's ring.  I couldn't resist wearing it all weekend!

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We did a little bingo game during the viewing and the winner took home this book on the happy couple.

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I loved the wedding so much and it was the perfect occasion to entertain some sweet ladies in my life.   I'm already looking forward to the day we celebrate another royal event!

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Unicorn Birthday Party!

Hosting, BirthdayAmy WileyComment

Eight is a magical age, deserving of a magical party.  My daughter picked unicorns for her birthday theme this year and it was too fun!

(This post contains affiliate links.)

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We had no shortage of sparkles, darling friends, and enchantment.  I LOVE planning birthday celebrations for my children.

Today I'm sharing the details of this sweet party, broken down by category.

Decor

It was all kinds of pink, purple and sparkly for this party... too fun!  I found the little signs at Zulily and Prep Obsessed.

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I picked up the little unicorn cake plates at Walmart.

I adore these floral arrangments from Costco.  For $19.99, they are beautiful and easy!

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I always do custom napkins for my kids' birthday parties.

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Unicorns everywhere!

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Food and Drink

The party took place after lunch time, so we just did some simple snacks, lemonade, and of course birthday cake.

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I found the napkins at Homegoods and the plates at Target.

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The cake is from Sugar Bakeshop in Denver and was absolutely gorgeous.  It was vanilla with caramel filling and so delicious!

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These unicorn straws make me so happy!

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Activities

We had about two dozen kids for this party so I had several activities to keep them entertained.  Of course we HAD to have a unicorn bounce house!

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These little unicorn wand kits are from Oriental Trading and proved to be an enjoyable craft.

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Second grade girls LOVE to color, so I found this free image on Pinterest and we printed them on cardstock.

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Favors

I've learned to keep party favors simple because no one likes their kid coming home with a bag full of tons of tiny junk.  Am I right?!?

When the guests walked in they could choose a unicorn horn.

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Each child left with a favor bag holding a little plush unicorn and either a pen or necklace.

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I found the custom labels here.

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It's always a joy to choose and birthday theme with my children and plan their parties.  When else in life can you wear a unicorn headband and eat cake?

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I hope you have a magical day!

How to Throw a Kids' Halloween Party Without Turning Into a Witch

HalloweenAmy WileyComment

You planned the cutest costumes for your kids to wear for Halloween, so why not come up with reasons for them to wear them other than the big night?  When my kids were preschool-aged we hosted an annual "Batty Bash" for all their little friends.  All the moms would make themed food to share and we let them run around in their costumes.  We made lots of memories.  This was always on a random October weekday before we had "real school" tying us down... those were the days!

Now that the kids are older this has given way to cousin parties.  My kids have 7 cousins here locally plus 4 out of state.  It's the perfect number of kids and there's just a comfort that comes with a family gathering like this.  I offered to host this year and since some of the parents were traveling, I took the easy route.  While none of this rocket science, I thought I would share how I do these little parties.  Having a bunch of crazy kids over isn't as scary as you think.

First off, the invitation.  I can't believe this is the first invite I'm showing on the blog because I am ALL ABOUT some paper invitations delivered by the trusty old USPS.  However, this time around I went with one of my favorite apps, Red Stamp.  Do y'all know Red Stamp?  I love to use it to spruce up a "Happy Birthday" or "Thanks for having me" text.  

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This sparked a silly text conversation all in rhyme so, mission accomplished.  So first tip would be...

  • Keep the guest list manageable 

I used to think if I was going to go to all the trouble to make a cute party I should invite everyone I know.  I do love a big party, but now I tend to do smaller groups.  I think you can add better touches and enjoy yourself more.  So whether it's your Bible study group, your family, or your two favorite neighbors, round up a little group of fun people and don't feel guilty about not inviting the whole school directory.

  • Make it cute, but also disposable

While I'm a confessed dish and linens hoarder, some days just call for paper plates.  That doesn't have to take away from the look of your party by any means, especially kids' parties.  Plus, I personally get a little rush at the end of the evening when I know things are going in the trash and not the laundry or dishwasher.  Sorry environmentalists.

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I love, love beautiful fabric tablecloths but I LOATHE ironing them.  When I use plastic ones, I tend to double up so that the color is more vibrant and not translucent.

I adore these Meri Meri ghost napkins!  The spider confetti is from Hob Lob.  

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I also found the Frankenstein vases at Hobby Lobby and put them with one of the mummies I had.  The kids and I picked up flowers and we always tend to go for color, but I think white flowers would have been cute in the "Franks" too.  Every time I walk by these I smile!

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Ok, now for the food because as my friend used to say about bad dates, "Well, a girls' gotta eat."  So... wait for it...

  • Don't make everything yourself

I chose to make a fun punch, a cute dessert and then... order pizza.

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I sat at my son's soccer game right before the party and ordered on my phone.  I literally "phoned it in."  It arrived right along with my guests.  Plus, everyone loves pizza.  If someone acts like they are too cool for pizza they are lying.  As I was writing this post I got an email that told me by ordering all this pizza I've now earned a free pizza.  I believe that's what the great philosopher Charlie Sheen would call, "WINNING."

For all of you who are worried I was promoting childhood obesity, I asked my sister to bring a salad and some fruit.  Don't tell her but she kind of did all the hard work for this party.

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I made the tried-and-true punch recipe of orange sherbet and 7UP.  This was just a vehicle for my eyeball ice cubes.  I left the punch for a while and came back to find this...

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Ha!  

For dessert, I made a trifle recipe a friend gave me years ago.  It's basically brownies, chocolate pudding, Heath bits and whipped cream.  I saw a photo on Pinterest that inspired the chocolate syrup spider web on top.  It's not perfect, but it's festive and I loved that I could make it in the morning before the rush of the day.

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  • Corral the kids

One of the downsides of having a bunch of kids over is of course the potential mess. You clean your house top to bottom only to have it trashed in a couple of hours.  I like to think of myself as a delightful mix of both laid-back and uptight about these things.  (Somewhere my husband and kids are rolling their eyes.)  One way I reduce the stress of this is to keep kids from having the run of the whole house. I either let them play in the basement or the kids' rooms, but not both. That way at least some place is spared the toy tornado.  I communicate this to my kids beforehand and they are good to say, "My mom doesn't want us upstairs."  I try to be super casual about it while keeping the place from feeling like an elementary school version of a frat house.  

Organizing crafts and activities helps too.  For this party I made a little game out of the new Six Sisters book.  The kids were blindfolded and put their hands in different bowls of items that are supposed to gross them out.  Well, they were all too smart and when I said, "Does it feel like eyeballs?!?!?" They were just like, "Um, these are peeled grapes."  So that was kind of a fail but I tried.  Fortunately they are all too happy to play together and occupy themselves.  I was a fun night nonetheless and that leads to me to my final tip.

  • Party favors are a must!

This is just my personal philosophy.  Everyone loves a treat.  I try to always to have a favor for guests to take home.  That said, it's not my favorite when my kids get a bag of party store junk.  I'd rather give one or two quality items.  For this party I did Halloween bath fizzies from Bath and Body Works.

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I threw in some vampire fangs because my kids love them.  I wrapped these up in some cello bags I had in my stash.  Favors are always a nice touch, and you can make them ahead of time so they don't add stress on the day of your party.

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Of course I couldn't leave out my sweet baby niece, so she got pumpkin baby food.

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I encourage you to round up some kids (and parents) you enjoy and throw a little Halloween bash.  Trot out those costumes as much as you can!  The memories are worth it.