Grill marks and al fresco introduced themselves nicely as the order of the day. For me that means a nice burn on the toes until the turning of the leaves.
Shaking off the horror that was our New England winter I planned on throwing a party. One that everyone could have fun at, not just the grown-ups. Instead of relegating the kids to a no-mans land, I created an oasis to keep kiddies and mommies happy. I knew about 15 people were coming and an adorable group of girls I affectionately call "my mommas" were to attend.
First thought was more than a gift bag but nothing over the top expensive. Kids like trinkets but they have to make sense to them and be useful beyond the party. I've got it! I candy bar with little "to-do's". My budget gained some strength. I researched the best dollar stores for quality goods and quantity. A dollar is a bit much to pay for two lollipops or 5 gummy bears in a bag-am I right?!. Setting off for my local Dollar Tree, I rounded up the usual girlie suspects: Ring-Pops, Swizel Sticks, and Smarties. Pretty pastels and yummy confections-you can't go wrong. I found gourmet flavored gumballs which were delish! Only two bags were needed to fill the globe shaped bowl I keep in my glass collection. My local party store had 15 for $1.00 on about thirty types of loose candies and chocolates. (more pictures are below)
After finding a pink faux-fur rimmed basket for $.50, (an after season special), one box of crayons to share, which gave the girls a chance to test out their sharing skills and offered an easy way to make new friends. I did the same for the activity book. The dollar store had ginormous books that I tore out, trimmed down and made into a fan-like pattern. lining them in a pottery planter with white shred paper and the boxed sections of crayons finishing the look.
At night's end, the girls barely touched a quarter of the sheets because they had so much fun talking and cooing over the candy bar. Another summer staple: bubbles, three packs were you guessed it, $1.00. A party's not a party without balloons: quantity 6 at my party store, also $1 each, in the girls' favorite colors. Add a few polka-dotted favor boxes from the same dollar store and the candy bar was complete and for around $20.00!
By doubling two plastic table cloths, rectangular in size, one pink, the other white, I created the look of a ball gown. To secure the candy bags, utilizing the glue gun to affix the silk purple flowers to each, I made a small white band making a floral bouquet to hold the bags onto the table. The bags were 3 for $1 and the stickers were left over from the afro favors, on sale at the craft store for $.74. The flowers I had already but they are not pricey if you need to buy them.
The menu was kid-friendly too: corn on the cob, baked beans, my chicken bake-roast, rice and peas. Some of my friends added more delights with a cranberry-sunflower salad, great rolls and an over-the-moon seven layer chocolate mousse cake. A darling addition were lemon cupcakes and sugar cookies. Just enough since we did not want the girls spinning out on a sugar rush. All in all, the evening including squared paper plates and cups, candy bar and dinner menu: $70.00. Not bad at all and I never broke a sweat.
I generally keep the same budget for all of my themed parties. This one had an afro-centric theme including silhouetted afro styles hot glued to bags of hard candy for the "grownies". I accented each "hairdo" with a small floral craft sticker for affect to match the new product introduction by my dear friend Elaine Williams of Olivia's Natural Essentials. I hope to have an interview with her soon, so remember you heard it here first because the product goes beyond working, it is AMAZING!
Stay tuned and enjoy the warm hues, smells, sights and sounds of summer.