Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Circus is in Town!

We had Happy Vee's Circus Party today. Although it was a hot and sticky 90-degree day, everyone had a great time and it was a HUGE success!  I'm also really happy that 90% of the decor can be reused-- the pinwheels, the garland, the table mats, the banners, the paper lanterns, even the tulle. The only thing we threw-out was the plastic table coverings. I wish we could've gotten away without using them at all, but the picnic tables definitely needed to be covered... if anything, to protect the partygoers from splinters! So without much further ado, I present....

Our Circus & Pinwheel Birthday Party!
The Invite - Inspired by Armelle's red ticket. I continued the red ticket theme throughout the party-- labels for food, labels for favor bags, labels for kids goodie bags. It's so easy to get carried away with the circus theme, but I find that it's always good to keep one thing constant from start to finish-- and for me, the one constant was the fun red ticket!:
Welcome to the Circus! - I didn't have a set plan for decorating the bridge. Luckily it just came together with little fuss and was very economical-- paper lanterns from Michael's dollar bin and yards of tulle... $5 for 100 yards.  I think it came out pretty darn festive! Just in front of the bridge are containers from the foodbank. They were awesome to work with, they dropped off the containers before the party began and picked them up at the end. In lieu of presents, we asked friends and family to bring canned and paper goods in Happy Vee's honor. I was so happy that we were able to completely fill the containers.

Watch Me Grow mobile - I created the cubes in Tabblo but couldn't figure out how I was going to display them. I finally came up with the mobile idea while taking an extra long shower-- the only place where I have a few moments to myself! I'm planning on hanging this in Happy Vee's new bedroom once we move.

Candy Bar-  I stocked the candy bar with my favorite candies-- sour straws, cotton candy, m&m's, twizzlers, skittles, starburst... you know, just in case there were any leftovers.  :)

Cupcake Table- The cupcake picks were heavily inspired by Polkadots and Pirates on Etsy (although not as cute since I created everything in MSWord).

Pinwheels - With the help of Grandma Tee, I made 20 large pinwheels and staked them around the picnic area and 50 small pinwheels to use in the centerpieces. It was nice to use up the scrapbook paper that I've had lying around for the past several years.

The Happy Birthday Banner - My first project using the Cricut. Knowing what I know now, I would've done it differently, but it was eye catching and served its purpose. I'm just happy that the guys were able to hang it up! Thank goodness for the "little giant" ladder, because that was an incredibly tall pavilion!
Here's the flag pennant that I meant to string on the picnic pavilion. We ran out of time (plus the pavilion was 20+ feet tall!), so we used it on the fence. I was a little bummed, but didn't have time to dwell on it too much.

Circus Signs - I made these simple signs out of Foam Board, Red Ribbon & Letters cut from my Cricut. An easy project with big impact.
The Spread -  On the menu... BBQ Beef Sandwiches, Santa Fe Chicken Sandwiches, BBQ Chopped Chicken salad (so good!), Mini hotdogs and Sliders,  Baked Beans, Mac and Cheese and Fruit Salad.

Games - I made most of the games out of recycleables and I think they came out pretty cute. Bottom line, the kids had a blast.

Clown Creation Station - This came out really cute, and I'm bummed I didn't get more pictures of the kids with their decorated clown hats, oversized ties and clown noses. To keep clean-up easy, I provided the kids with foam letters and shapes of all sizes & colors to decorate the hats and ties with. After they were done with their clown creations, they received a reuseable "green" bag with their name on it that they could collect all their prizes in.  Here's a cute picture of Grandma Tee and Aunty Jay modeling the hats and noses--

Clown Tumble (our version of Tin Can Toss)- Can you figure out what these fun pins are made out of? Yep, just some puff containers (filled by 1/4 with a little sand to weigh them down) decorated with foam shapes and googly eyes. I just taped the top to keep the sand in.

They took quite a pummeling-- I piled them up pyramid style and had the kids knock them down with some colorful juggling balls. They had 3 tries, and the more pins knocked down, the bigger the prize. Everyone got a prize just for trying. They still look great and Smarty Pants has been busy playing with them in our backyard.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of the rest of the games, but here's a photo of the signs I made and a description of the games. We had a wide range of ages, so I tried to have a few games that the little ones could participate in as well.

For the 3 and under crowd, I had Animal Bowl. I just placed a toddler friendly game of stuffed animal pins on a wrapping-paper-decorated foam board for the kids to knock down with oversized soft balls. They had 3 tries, and the more pins knocked down, the bigger the prize. Everyone got a prize just for trying.

The Ball Toss was an "everyone wins" game. I used baby food jars and cut color circles out of paper, numbered the circles (1 thru 5) and glued them on the bottom of the jar. I then placed the jars inside a decorated file folder box (my box fit 30 jars). The kids tossed a ping pong ball into the box and they received the corresponding prize to whatever number it landed in. I noticed that it was harder to get the ball into the jars toward the center of the box, so I put the 1's & 2's near the edges, and the 3's, 4's & 5's in the middle. The larger numbers got the bigger prizes.
photo via Martha Stewart

Frog Fling was geared toward the older kids. I bought these green rubber frogs from OTC for the kids to knock down the balls with. I used a pre-decorated file folder box and affixed these yogurt bottles to it with brads. Ping pong balls fit perfectly on the yogurt bottles and it was quite challenging for the kids to knock down the balls with the frogs.

Fish Squirt was geared toward the younger kids, but kids of all ages (including adults) enjoyed playing it. Using the same set-up as Frog Fling, the kids had to knock down ping pong balls off the yogurt bottles with a water-filled fish. They had 4 chances to squirt down 4 balls.

Using my kid's water table and 3 dozen weighted ducks, I easily put together the Duck Buck$ game. I numbered the ducks on the bottom to correspond with a prize. The little kids loved this game and, probably more so, enjoyed splashing in the water.

I bought the Ring Toss game, but in hindsight, I should've made it with bottles or puff containers. I created different levels-- clown (really close), acrobat (midway) and ringmaster (far away) to make it more challenging for the big kids. They had 3 rings to toss.

For the Tiger Toss game, I bought a beanbag target rug from OTC and used tiger beanie babies for the kids to toss. Obviously, the tigers that landed closest to the center got the bigger prizes. I also created 3 levels for this game-- kitten (really close), cat (midway), tiger (far away).

For the Entertainment, Eddie the Clown kept the kids and adults in stitches...

And Big Red, the mad-talented balloon twister, although eerily silent, created some AMAZING balloon art... I'm not kidding, check out the fish on the fishing pole that he's making!

Favors - Grandma Tee made the yummy "better than Cracker Jacks" mix to fill the favor bags.  I'll have to post the recipe one of these days. 

And last, but not least, Happy Vee drowsily enjoying his Carrot Cake Cupcake... Yum!

The End!

Now that the party is over, I'm ready to reclaim my dining & living rooms!!! I think that will be the last big party for a long while. It was fun, but I need to refocus my attention on the new house, all of our cra-zee remodeling projects, and the BIG M-O-V-E!