Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Big Sister's Semi-Homemade "Nutcracker 'Sweet'" Birthday Party

Say that FOUR times fast! :)

Big Sis and I had so much fun planning her 4th birthday party together! This was a first in several ways.... first time she got to invite her own friends (instead of the kiddos of OUR friends!)... first time she had a say in what we'd DO at her party and WHERE we'd have it....
the inspiration: practically the day after she turned 3, she told me that at her next party, she wanted to have her friends over to decorate cookies. there are so many ways you can go with that, but in the end.... I decided to embrace the time of year (which makes it soo much more difficult in party planning, btw!) and go with a nutcracker theme.... Big Sister's Nutcracker 'Sweet.'

the sweets: I'll tell you this much.... once you do one dessert bar (like my spooky Halloween one!), you're hooked - it's addicting!

My favorite new addition (addiction?) to the sweet bar is this fun colored popcorn! It's from this super cool nearby little shop.... Mom and Popcorn Co. They have 45+ favors and ANY color in the rainbow! They make it so easy - I told them I needed a mix of red (strawberry), pink (watermelon), and green (green apple) popcorn, and I had an instant centerpiece that was as yummy as it was cute & coordinating! (Don't worry if you don't live in TX - you can order it and they'll ship it to you!)

All the sweets had fun little names.... like elf ears (ignore that these red & green marshmallos are still in the bag - this was obviously taken pre-party!).... santa stir sticks (choc-dipped peppermint sticks for stirring your hot chocolate!)...... And the hot chocolate was a huge hit! I had a crock pot full of it, along with the Santa sticks and marshmallows. I served hot toddies for the moms (and they were an even bigger hit! We drained an entire crock pot of the stuff!)

.....reindeer food (mnm's! decorated with tulle, of course!) And I love, love these new cannisters that my siblings got me as an early, early birthday present!.....

.... and north poles (red, green & white marshmallow sticks - kids love 'em!)

Big Sis's ballet shoes added that girly nutcracker ballet feel we were going for! And don't you love the little nutcracker embellishments I used? Where else can you get ANYTHING you'd ever want? Etsy, of course! I worked with Debbie at Paper Quick. She can literally do anything (in any color!) and super fast! And at $3 for 8 little toy soldiers.... I was able to decorate everything for cheap!

The centerpiece of the whole set up was this girly tree - decorated in pink & green ornaments with a pink tulle bow and green tiara topper!

And, of course, we must have a nutcracker keep watch over the goodies!

the land of sweets: in the ballet, the prince escorts Clara to the Land of the Sweets, where they are greeted by the Sugar Plum Fairy. At the Semi-Homemade house, I escorted tons of hyper 4-year-olds to Big Sis's land of sweets (the dining room) for cookie decorating!

Store bought frosting, a mixture of homemade and store baked cookies, and sprinkles everywhere!!

This cute sign announced that you'd entered the Land of Sweets. Cathie from Custom Parties to go (who did G-man's fab pirate party items!) worked with me on some of the custom, creative touches.

Here's a pic of some of the action.... Big Sis and a few of her pals, making a mess (I mean, decorating cookies!)

Miss Priss is sampling some yummy choc chip cookies while Mrs. Everything supervises!

The intent of these cute lil boxes was for the party animals to box up their cookie creations and take 'em home! But..... most of their artwork was eaten by the time they left the Land of Sweets!

the land of dolls: in the ballet, Clara dances with the Nutcracker in the Land of Dolls. He wants her to stay there forever with him! For Big Sis's birthday party, kiddos got to paint (yes, paint! in my house!) wooden nutcrackers. Each one was so unique and cool!

The Land of Dolls sign is another of Cathie's creations! And I love that these nutcracker ornaments are something we can hang on our tree every year and remember this special party!

the cake: because, really... isn't it all about the cake? Cupcakes were so easy at G-man's party that we did it again! (I love that you don't need forks or even plates!) If Big Sis had her way, they'd have all been chocolate with pink frosting. But in the interest of different tastes.... and party planning... we had a mix of choc and white cake.... with pink, red, and green frosting!

The toppers are from Cathie at Custom Parties to Go! The beauty of these great toppers is that you can order super simple, super cheap cupcakes ($12 for 30 at Sam's!)

Happy Birthday to you.... happy birthday to you... happy birthday, Big Sis!!

She may be all grown up (at 4!), but she needed momma's help with the candles!

the preparation: I created a custom list for each child, so they could get prepared for their visit with the big guy.

And this 'lil Santa kept watch over the party.... reminding kids they only had 13 days left to impress (and reminding parents that they were running out of time!)

the surprise: the looks on their faces.... this exact moment was what I was waiting for. And it was incredible. Santa has arrived!

the visit from the big man: the chaos of a crowd of 12 4-year-olds and a few kids of assorted other ages... and their parents.... settled as Santa took a seat. He had a scrapbook, filled with pictures and explanations of kids' most common questions. (Where are the reindeer? Where's your sleigh and how did you get here today? What's the North Pole look like?)

Each kiddo got a turn on the big guy's lap. It was so cute to hear what they wanted! G-man.... was not having it. Big stranger in a red suit? Uh, no. So... this was as close as he was willing to get!

the goodies: here are the favors in their nutcracker bags!
Inside: a winter-themed ring pop, a cookie cutter (tied with red tulle!), playdough, candy canes, and a nutcracker soap and ballet slipper soap from Mommy's Little Critters. Heather will work with you on themes and designs - she can really do anything! Check out her classroom sets (25 soaps at a deal!)

The bags had custom stickers (Custom Parties To Go - again!) Each said:
Thank you for making my party so sweet!
and had details like her monogram or her new age (4), etc....

the birthday girl: here she is with Santa! He had a special gift for her (and gifts for all the children, of course!) and even sent her a postcard the wk after her party. When she got mail from Santa, she said to me (in a Southern drawl):
Mommy, I loooooove Santa!

And here she is with her line up of nutcrackers! After the party, she painted every.single.nutcracker that was left! ;) And I let her. Because she's the birthday girl!

the thank yous: I love being creative (and I have a bad habit of overcommiting!) so I created custom thank you notes for each child, featuring a picture of them with Santa. This is the one I did for Big Sis's bff:

Big Sis celebrated her birthday at school today with cupcakes with her class. Saturday we'll have her Oklahoma birthday, as we celebrate with family. And in 7 days..... we'll celebrate her actual birthday (if there's anything good to come of a Dec birthday, maybe it's that you celebrate it all month long!) And then I'll be the momma of a 4yr old!

Happy Birthday, sweet girl!


Sandra said...

That's precious! I wish I'd thought of this the 4 years my children were actually in the Nutcracker ballet!!! Cute idea!

Tiffany said...

Elaine you're AWESOME!!!!

Sasha said...

You are so talented! You should seriously consider being a party planner! What a fun job that would be!

MissBliss said...

Elaine, you truly outdid yourself! What an amazing party... I love the shot of the kids when they saw Santa... such joy and excitement!

"Reindeer food"... how cute is that!

Cupcakes and painting and Santa...what a great birthday party!!!

Glad you had the crockpot of grown-up hot chocolate ;)

BTW, thought of you as I was in Texas for the first time! (layover in Houston on the way to Colorado... does that count?)

Merry Christmas to you and the Semi-Homemade gang!!!

cyndi said...

Adorable as always!!! I love it!

Anonymous said...

What an incredible party! And a visit from Santa! I don't know how you pull it off...you crazy, lady! :)

Thecitycradle said...

Hi. I saw your party on the creative hostess, how lovely! Just wanted to let you know I am running a contest where you can win $100 gift card to Anthroplogie- I think your party would be a great addition- http://thecitycradle.com/throw-an-imperfect-party-win


DanceTeacher said...

Where did you purchase the nutcracker bags and paintable ornaments that you used for your Nutcracker theme party? I am a ballet teacher and would love to use these ideas for my children.
You are so creative!!!!!
Thank you,

DanceTeacher said...

I saw your blog about the Nutcracker theme party for your little girl. You are so creative!
I would like to use some of the ideas for my ballet students. Where did you purchase the Nutcracker goodie bags and the paintable Nutcracker ornaments?
Thank you,

ARUN said...

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Big Sister Gifts

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