Goodie Bags

I am a crazy person on the topic of the goodie bag. For the last 8 years I have waxed on and on about how ridiculous I think it is that people give elaborate “gifts” for coming to a child’s birthday party. Isn’t it enough that we are entertaining and feeding the guests for hours? Shouldn’t children learn to give and not always receive?

I found myself in the company of one on this issue and have spent years cringing when my children get goodies that are fancier than the gift they’ve brought. I’ve also felt bad about not giving some cute trinkets over the years, but I worked around that by incorporating a take-home element from the party, such as an apron from an art party or a straw cowboy hat from a carousel party.

Now if you saw my post about my son’s Olympics party, you are probably thinking I am a total hypocrite. I know, I know… I finally broke down and despite the fact that the children were already taking home t-shirts and medals, I actually provided a pack of golden gumballs as they were all leaving.

I guess I just couldn’t resist golden gumballs, but I still hold firm with my belief that kids don’t need more candy and stuff after a lovely celebration of their friends. In my humble opinion, spending time and energy creating something magical is enough.

Of course, sometimes it is fun to have a reminder of the day. Here are some ideas that feel thoughtful and reminiscent of the event.

ART PARTY {spray-painted frames with child’s artwork; photo credit Ramona Trent}

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MONSTER PARTY {hand-made felt monster via onecharmingparty.com}

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GARDEN PARTY {DIY bird feeders via tipjunkie.com}

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{succulents via pinterest.com}

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SUMMER FUN PARTY {waxed paper wrapped chalk via mightygirl.com}

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Olympic Games 2013

I think there were a few moms giving me the stink-eye when they arrived at this party. Rest assured, fellow parents, this party took the better part of a month to plan, organize, and execute. It involved driving to multiple Targets looking for the right sizes of white t-shirts, carefully planning the movement of the teams around the activities only to throw the plan to the wind once it started and soccer took 5x as long as all the other sports, figuring out how to structure the awards so everyone got medals, but the individual winners also got acknowledged, building things, crafting galore, and of course watching the weather predictions for 10 days straight!

It was a little like child birth. Totally scary, super exciting, and slightly exhausting. My son is already asking for Olympics 2014, so hopefully in 11 months all that I will remember are these sweet moments.

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Parade of Nations (complete with downloaded National Anthems of all the countries as well as the Olympic theme song.)

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Events: Long Jump, Gymnastics (seat jumps/min), Basketball Around the World and Knock-out, Soccer Around the World

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Good Sportsmanship and Team Spirit were acknowledged with trophies

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Weddings and Anniversaries

The first real party that I ever threw was my wedding. We got married in Hollywood at a lovely little restaurant called Les Deux Cafe. The wedding was held in the garden, a gorgeous family style dinner was held in the courtyard, and then the garden became the sight of a massive dance party. “We are family…” you know the type.

We had all of our closest friends and family there and I worked for months on making sure every little detail was exactly how I wanted it. I splurged on the letterpress invitations, but I saved on the flowers. I splurged on the good food, but saved on the wedding cake. I splurged on the photographer and hair and make-up (because I seriously cannot do those things on my own!), but I saved on the handmade the votive place settings.

It really was a perfect night.

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I had the opportunity to recreate a little taste of our wedding last month in honor of our 10 year anniversary. We went to Mexico with a group of our closest friends- none of whom were at our wedding strangely enough.

I couldn’t do everything I wanted since all details needed to fit into a suitcase and make it through border control. But here are a few of my favorites: mint julep cups engraved with the saying inside our wedding bands “you are loved“, the same style votives from our wedding, pictures of our wedding to put on the table, and last but not least, I made up a questionnaire that got everything thinking about the early days of their relationship and their own weddings. It was a huge hit.

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Book Club Inspired by Bernadette

“Where’d You Go, Bernadette?” is a perfect book to bring on your spring break trip to Hawaii. It’s funny, it’s current, and it’s impossible to put down.

I host a sporadic book club with the intention of gathering my reading friends to pick their brains about what to add to my Kindle queue. Of course the wine and non-book talk is fun too.

I was inspired by Bernadette to throw a themed book club- something I’ve never done. There were so many great details in the book that I couldn’t resist bringing them to life.

Some of my favorite were: pots of mud with signs and funny quotes from the book, custom gnat labeled wine, take-out containers for the food, and of course no Seattle setting would be complete without rain.

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And last, but definitely not least… I hired a friend of mine to make an Antarctic dessert scape with edible ice flows (meringues) and penguins (chocolate truffles.) Not only was it about the cutest thing I have ever seen- the meringues were possibly the most delicious I have ever had and the penguins were divine.

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