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golden masquerade party for golden halloween birthday

Golden Masquerade Birthday Party

On my 30th birthday, I was taking care of a newborn baby and not really up for a big celebration. I was just impressed that we were able to leave the kids with my parents and get out for a sushi dinner. The following year, I turned 31 on the 31st, which means it was my golden birthday. I decided that I needed to have a party since I didn’t do much for my 30th. Since my birthday is on Halloween, I went with a Golden Masquerade theme. Everyone came in masks, which was so much fun. Since I was planning the party for myself, and Nic and I went out of town the week before, I kept this party simpler than the ones I throw for the kids. It was nice not to put as much work in and hire more vendors instead. It turned out great and I got to relax and enjoy it more. Here are some of the details.

golden masquerade party for a halloween golden birthday

golden masquerade party for a halloween golden birthday

golden masquerade party for a halloween golden birthday

Dessert Bar

We got desserts from Sweet and Saucy Shop and they did an amazing job. We had a 6″ round white buttercream, red velvet cake with gold sprinkles cascading down the cake.

golden masquerade party for a halloween golden birthday - dessert bar

We had salted caramel white shell macarons with gold glitter painted stripes on them. We had oreo flavored white chocolate dipped cake pops with gold sprinkles. We had white chocolate dipped rice crispy bars. We had the most gorgeous s’mores tarts and candy bar flavored mini cupcakes. We also had some gold candies for a favor – we even had beer flavored jelly beans.

golden masquerade halloween birthday party - cake from sweet n saucy shop

Drinks

We offered two specialty drinks in addition to beer and wine.

golden masquerade party beer drinking

The first specialty drink was the Masked Margarita which had Cuervo, triple sec, and sweet n’ sour with fresh squeezed lime and a gold salt rim.

Masked Margarita - with a gold salted rim for a Golden Masquerade Party

The second specialty drink was a Golden Raspberry Lemonade which had Raspberry lemonade, seagrams vodka and a gold sugar rim.
Golden Raspberry Lemonade with gold sugar rim - perfect for a Golden Masquerade Party

Photo Booth

Everyone had so much fun in the photobooth. They have become a staple at all of our parties. For more info on my DIY photobooth, check out this post.

golden masquerade party for a halloween golden birthday - photobooth

golden masquerade party for a halloween golden birthday - photo booth

Food

For food we had sliders, southwest egg rolls, phyllo puffs with chicken, an imported and domestic cheese display, seared ahi tuna canapé, and meatballs.

golden masquerade party for a halloween golden birthday

golden masquerade party for a halloween golden birthday - appetizer

Flowers/Centerpieces

Erin from White Fig Designs did the flower centerpieces and she did a fabulous job. She used white flowers with touches of dark accents and feathers.

centerpieces for a golden masquerade birthday party

Photography

All photos were taken by Jennifer Calderon.

This party was so much fun and everyone really enjoyed the theme. Especially being so close to Halloween, I think the adults really enjoyed a night out to get dressed up. I had a pretty awesome Golden Birthday and had a lot of fun watching this idea come to life.

golden masquerade party for a halloween golden birthday

let's get wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

Let’s Get Wild! Party Animals Birthday Party

We threw the boys a combined birthday party last weekend (this was their second combined party – last year they had a Finding Dory Party) to celebrate Hudson turning 5 and Luc turning 3. Since the boys’ birthdays are only two weeks apart and they are so close in age, it just makes sense to combine their parties. It saves me a lot of money and effort and they love it, so it’s a win-win. This year, we had the party at Scooter’s Jungle, an awesome indoor play place, which made the event even less stressful. I went with a wild/party animals/jungle theme because I knew the party room would already be decorated for that theme so I figured why fight it?

let's get wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party - dessert table

I had invitations made by Cute Party Dash.

wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

I then used the same images, which can be purchased from Paper Sphinx to make a Watering Hole drink station sign and a thank you sign to put next to our favors.

let's get wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party - watering hole - jungle juice (jamba juice smoothies), water with zebra duct dape, coffee

wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

While looking through Pinterest, I came across a party image and became obsessed with it. Normally, I pin hundreds of images and sort of take my favorite aspects of each party and create my own thing, but I just couldn’t get this party out of my head, so I copied it. It was a bit challenging because the pinned image didn’t link to anything, but after some detective work, I found the original post. You can check it out here for some beautiful party inspiration.

let's get wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

One of the biggest challenges of hosting a party at a venue instead of at home is that I had limited time for set-up (only 15 minutes before the guests entered) and quite a few rules and restrictions to follow. In order to make my dessert table vision come to life, I had to get creative. I bought two 28 x 40 tri-fold poster boards and overlapped them to make a large backdrop. I used this template and this template for the leaves. I folded a lot of the leaves in half and lightly taped them on so they would have some dimension. I bought the WILD balloons from Amazon (thank goodness for 2 day shipping and good customer service because the first order I received a V instead of an L!). This backdrop was surprisingly easy to put together, it was easy to transport and it was the best way to achieve the look I was going for given the restrictions I had.

wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

Another challenge was that the venue didn’t allow any glass. All of my cake stands and serving platters are glass, so I had to do a little shopping. I found the white cakestand on Amazon. The gold cakestand was from Kirkland’s. The large white trays were from Ikea (I already had them) and the clear candy jar type dishes were from Walmart (They might be an in store only purchase because I couldn’t find them on-line).

wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

Our party started at 9am, so we decided to serve Luc’s favorite food: donuts. We also got our go-to party food/drink: Jamba Juice smoothies (Jungle Juice). We had two large travel containers of coffee from Starbucks, mini water bottles with zebra print duct tape on them, a veggie tray, a fruit tray, and animal crackers.

wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

For dessert, my very talented friend, Jessica Soumah, made delicious cupcakes and the most gorgeous cake! I ordered cupcake wrappers from Amazon, which were perfect. I also ordered gold glittery candles from Amazon. I cut way back on my dessert making this year and only made rice krispy treats, but even with those, I cheated and used store bought treats. I cut some straws in half, stuck them in the treats and dipped them in candy melts. I did half of them in white with a black drizzle to look like zebras and the other half I dipped in green then sprayed with gold mist to match the cake. (*tip – to get the streaks of gold instead of an all over mist, spray the gold Color Mist onto wax paper then use your finger to apply).

wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

I got plain white table cloths from Walmart, Striped and Tropical Leaf plates from Amazon, decorated the tables with palm leaves from Amazon.

wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

For favors, I just ordered adorable monkeys from Scooter’s Jungle.

let's get wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party - monkey favors

It was so much fun (even us adults were having a blast riding the jumbo slide). All the decorations, food and drinks were relatively easy, but still looked so cute. The kids had a great time and I would definitely consider the party a success!

wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

let's get wild party animals birthday party. Lots of great diy ideas for a safari or jungle themed party

shark week playdate - free banner printable, chumming for sharks yogurt recipe, shark bait recipe, link to popcorn bucket printable and tons of other shark week ideas

Shark Week Playdate and Free Printables

We had our friends over for a playdate during shark week, so I of course used it as an excuse to have a fun, shark themed get together. I love little events like this because it allows me to be crafty and creative without all the work and stress of a full-blown party. I didn’t start making stuff or preparing until Monday (our friends came over on Wednesday) so this is totally do-able for busy or last-minute moms. 🙂

DECORATIONS

I started out like I always do, searching Pinterest for ideas and free printables. I found some really cute stuff to use as well as some fun ideas. I didn’t see anything I could use for a banner though, so I made one myself. I think it turned out really cute and I always feel like a banner makes the table look complete. You can download the free banner printable by clicking HERE. Just cut it out, punch holes in the corners and run string through it. Lately I have been using blue painters tape to hang up my banners then covering the tape up with cute washi.

shark week letterboard idea

I also used my letterboard for the occasion. It was a bit of a challenge creating the shark fin, but I love how it turned out.

SNACKS

Chumming for Sharks Yogurt

chumming for sharks yogurt - perfect healthy snack or breakfast for shark week or a shark birthday

I wanted to have a few snacks with at least one healthy option, but most of the ideas on Pinterest were not very healthy. Usually I am all about desserts, but we have been making an effort to eat healthier lately so I came up with my own snack idea by combining a few ideas from Pinterest. We ended up making chumming for sharks yogurt. The kids helped me make these, which was a lot of fun. To make these you will need the following:

  • Granola (optional)
  • Greek Yogurt (we used vanilla)
  • Blue food coloring (you only need a few drops)
  • Frozen Strawberries in Sugar (we bought this from the frozen section of the grocery store)
  • Plastic Cups
  • Mini spoons
  • Grey construction paper (to make shark fins)
  • Glue gun

We added a little bit of granola to the bottom of the cups, put a few drops of blue food coloring into the yogurt, scooped the yogurt into the cup, then topped it with the chum (the frozen strawberries). I explained to the boys that chum is what they dump in the water to attract sharks and then what do you know, a few sharks showed up and jumped right into our bowls. 😉 The kids loved it! I free hand cut out shark fins out of grey construction paper and glued them onto mini spoons. I also used a few sharks left over from the adorable popcorn buckets I made using a printable from My Printly.

Shark Bait

shark bait popcorn snack is easy, delicious, and perfect for shark week or a shark party

Of course, I had to do one sweet treat, so I made shark bait. It was so delicious and all the little sharks ate it up super fast! I spent Tuesday night driving from store to store searching for shark gummies. I feel like I always see them until the time I need them, then they vanished. I found gummy bears, worms, snakes, octopus, frogs, dinosaurs, alligators and lions! Literally every gummy animal ever made except sharks! Then I thought, why would sharks want to eat sharks, and decided that putting them in my shark bait didn’t make sense anyways. That is when I came up with the goldfish idea. Sharks love eating fish, especially delicious sweet ones. They have so many fun flavors now too that you could use, but I must say, the s’mores goldfish were perfect in this recipe. To make the shark bait you will need the following:

  • Sea Salt Air Popped Popcorn
  • Ghiradelli White Chocolate Chips
  • Blue M&Ms
  • S’mores Goldfish Crackers

I put wax paper on a cookie sheet, spread out my popcorn, sprinkled in goldfish and m&ms, then drizzled the melted white chocolate over it. I put it in the fridge until it cooled then broke it apart and put it in the cutest popcorn buckets from My Printly. These were so perfect for our playdate and I have been refilling the containers with shark bait all week so the boys can munch on it while watching Shark Week.

Ocean Water

ocean water - blue gatorade with a swedish fish makes an easy and fun drink for shark week or a shark party

For drinks, I kept it simple with blue Gatorade and a swedish fish on each straw.

ACTIVITIES

Shark Sensory Bin

shark sensory bin

I set up a shark sensory bin. What I love most about sensory bins is that they don’t always have to be fancy. I didn’t have time to buy anything (and to be honest didn’t really want to spend a bunch of money) so I just used what we already had. A bag of glass circle vase fillers, water and plastic sharks. That’s it! And you know what, the kids loved it and played with it for quite a while. Sometimes, I think we as moms get caught up in making everything Pinterest worthy, but kids don’t need much to have fun. They were getting so creative and having the best time! When you give kids water activities, you usually can’t go wrong.

Shark Slime

shark slime - perfect activity for shark week

We also made shark slime. For our first attempt, the day before the playdate, we tried to use a non-borax recipe, but the slime was so sticky. I watched a bunch of you tube videos and started adding everything they recommended for sticky slime, but nothing helped. So my hubby bought borax and like magic our sticky bowl of blue goop turned into slime. When our friends came over, we made a second batch using the borax recipe and it worked great. The kids loved playing with their sharks in the slime! I used this recipe to make the slime.

Shark Play Doh Mats

shark week playdoh mats free printables

I also had a little play doh station with our shark week playdoh mats, some playdoh and some cutters. My boys had already done this activity earlier in the week and the kids were all having so much fun with the other activities that we didn’t get to this. You can check the play doh mats out here.

Shark Cutting and Tracing Activity

free printable - shark cutting and tracing practice

I also made a fun little printable for Hudson. I printed one out and had it laminated so it could be used as a tracing exercise. Both boys had fun with that. Then I printed one out on regular paper so Hudson could also use it for cutting. Hudson loves cutting so this was perfect for him. You can get the printable HERE. *Graphics were purchased from Prettygrafik Design.

CRAFTS

I had a few crafts to do that I found on Pinterest, but we didn’t get to those either. Good thing shark week lasts an entire week so we can fit in all the fun we planned.

Clothespin Sharks

clothespin shark craft for shark week

I let each of the kids select one craft from Pinterest. Hudson chose clothespin sharks from Kix. This wasn’t an ideal craft for my kids’ ages so I pretty much ended up making these, but the kids did love playing with them.

Toilet Paper Roll Sharks and Paper Towel Roll Hammerhead Sharks

Luc chose to make paper toilet roll sharks. The one he selected was a regular shark, but his favorite shark is the hammerhead so I got really excited when I found a paper towel roll hammerhead shark on Pinterest. We are planning to make both, but so far have only completed phase one. I will update this once we finish the project.

Shark Hats

shark hats perfect for shark week

I was also planning to make shark hats, but the hats we selected required an obscure paper size in numerous colors that was not readily available (please tell me I am not the only one who spends tons of time driving from store to store looking for seemingly basic craft supplies that are actually impossible to find). Luckily, one of my friends, Danielle, from Mama Life Inspiration, who is an awesome blogger, posted an adorable shark hat idea. So we ended up making those instead and the boys had tons of fun finger painting their shark fins and tails. Of course they also loved running around in their shark hats. For more details on the hats and for the link to the shark fin hat template click here. Danielle also has a bunch of other fun shark week ideas on her blog so be sure to take a look.

As you can see, we squeezed a whole lot of Shark Fun into one week. My boys just love sharks so much that I couldn’t help myself and went a little overboard. You could easily pick just a few of these ideas to make your shark week a bit more fun.

I hope you have a fin-tastic Shark Week!!

Hudson’s 1st Birthday Party

To me, a first birthday party is just as much about the parents as it is the birthday kid. Let’s be honest, that first year is tough and I kind of think of that first birthday party as a “congratulations parents you survived” just as much as I see it as a celebration of your child’s first year of life. So, I kept that in mind when creating this party and theme. I was inspired by all of Hudson’s favorite things, which all happened to start with the letter B: Balls, Balloons and Bowties and threw in a few of mommy’s favorites too like a Bubble Bar. 😉  I liked this because it gave me direction without being too specific. I decided on the colors blue, yellow and green and had so much fun with it. I love that the theme incorporated all of Hudson’s favorite things, but wasn’t such an overbearing theme that I can look back on it three years later and still be totally in love with it. I mean, it really is the only party for your kids where you get complete control so you might as well create a party you love!

first birthday family photo

I made a guestbook showcasing the highlights from the past year with space for guests to write Hudson messages like where he will be in 20 years and his best trait. I used the wedding guestbook template on Shutterfly, then changed it up to make it work for a 1st Birthday Party and absolutely love how it turned out.

hudson's bowtie first birthday party guestbook

I printed out Hudson’s weekly photos and hung them to the shutters above the welcome table using clothespins I had dyed blue, green and yellow using this tutorial.

first birthday guestbook bowtie display table with weekly photos hanging

I made bowties for all the guests to wear. You can find instructions here.

first birthday diy no-sew bowties

We had a photo booth with tons of fun props. You can get the details for my DIY Photobooth here.

first birthday party diy photobooth

I bought a few of those funny mustache and lip pacifiers and set those in a bowl along with paci wipes so our littlest guests could get in on the photo booth action too.

hudson's bowtie first birthday party photobooth strip

We had a ball pit using an inflatable kid pool, which was a huge hit with the kids.

diy ball pit is a great idea for a first birthday party

We had a bubble pool with tons of wands for the kids to play with. I think the big kids enjoyed this one more than the little kids. 🙂

first birthday party bubble pool

We had a bubbly bar for the adults. 😉 I bought the buckets from Joanns and added a “shelf” to two of them so I could stack mason jars.I tied ribbons around each jar and bought straws from shop sweet lulu to make them more festive.

bubbly bar for bowtie first birthday party with mimosa bar

We served lemonade, iced tea, water bottles with wet your whiskers labels on them, champagne and juices for making mimosas.

hudson's bowtie first birthday party mimosa bar

For food we had: manwhiches (sandwiches from Subway), fruit cups, bowtie pasta, veggie cups and puffs. I know how hard it is to eat as a mom running after your little one, so I tried to serve the food in small portions that could be eaten on the move. This approach  worked well for the kids too. Above the food table I hung a banner I made showcasing Hudson’s monthly photos. I also made labels for the veggie and pasta containers and made flags for the sandwiches using Bella Blvd washi tape.

bowtie first birthday party food table with manwiches and bowtie pasta

Cakegoodness created an amazing dessert bar consisting of tons of candy, cake pops, mini cupcakes, #1 rice krispie treats and Hudson’s gorgeous vegan cake. I made the banner and treat bags and ordered bowtie and #1 cookies from the RP Confections on Etsy.

bowtie first birthday party dessert table

bowtie ruffle cake for first birthday party

real men eat dessert bowtie cupcakes for first birthday party

bowtie first birthday party dessert details-bowtie cupcakes, one rice krispy treats, one cookies and candy

For the centerpieces, I bought buckets from Party City, filled them with hydrangeas from Costco, and stuck homemade bowtie sticks in them. For a last minute centerpiece idea, I thought they came out looking really cute.

bowtie first birthday flower centerpiece using bucket and hydrangeas

For favors, each kid took home a bottle of bubbles with a personalized label to match the theme.

bowtie first birthdya party bubble favors

I also found Hudson’s vintage highchair on-line, sanded it, then Nic spray painted it. I made the ONE banner and ordered the hat, Hudson’s onesie and his special bowtie from Etsy shops.

bowtie first birthday party vintage high chair, candy bar sign, hat and diy i am one banner

We sang Hudson happy birthday and watched him dig into his cake.

first birthday party cake smash

The best part of the day though was sharing it with all of our favorite people. Our families and friends helped us get through a challenging and extremely rewarding first year and it was so fun to celebrate Hudson’s big day with everyone. We are so blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives.

hudson first birthday party ideas collage


Starfish Crispy Treats Cereal

These are so easy to make and oh so cute! I made rice crispy treats using a slightly non-traditional recipe because of my son’s dairy allergy (I have also convinced myself that these are healthier because they don’t have butter), but feel free to use your favorite crispy treat recipe.

Starfish Crispy Cereal Treats - simple and fun treats perfect for an ocean, nemo, dory or ariel the little mermaid themed party

Supplies
– 3 tablespoons canola oil
– 4 cups marshmallows
– 5 cups rice krispies cereal
– Dash of vanilla
– Star shaped cookie cutter
– Orange Candy melts
– Candy eyes
– Parchment or wax paper

Steps
1. Microwave oil and marshmallows in 30 second increments until melted.
2. Add a dash of vanilla then stir until well combined (the oil doesn’t incorporate as well as butter does, but if you keep stirring it will combine)
3. Add cereal and mix well.
4. Press into greased pan (when we were avoiding soy I used a bit of canola oil and rubbed it all over the pan. Now we just use Pam Spray)
5. Let cool slightly, you don’t want them to cool completely, then use a cookie cutter to cut out shape. (I usually take all the extra and smash it together to get a few extra treats- then I snack on the rest.
6. Melt candy melts according to package instructions in a medium bowl (I used microwave safe cereal bowls)
7. Press each treat into the liquid covering about 1/3rd of it.
8. Remove and place on the wax paper (If they don’t look perfect, no worries. I thought the slight swirl I made flipping each one over made the starfish look more realistic)
9. Before the candy coating hardens, place the eyes on.

Viola! So easy, right? These are so delicious and way too simple and they would be perfect for so many birthday party themes. Not to mention, you could easily use a different candy melt color and cookie cutter to fit your party. The options are endless.

Finding Dory Birthday Party

tons of fun ideas for a finding dory, finding nemo, little mermaid or ocean themed party

My boys are very into ocean animals and love the Disney movie Finding Nemo so when they saw Finding Dory this summer and loved it, I knew we had found the perfect birthday party theme. Since my boys’ birthdays are two weeks apart we decided to do a combined party this year, which worked out great. I promised myself I was going to keep things low key, then after weeks of restraint,  I gave in and went crazy buying and making as many things as possible.

Once the boys had nailed down that they wanted a bounce house in the backyard, I started off my party planning like I always do-with a search on pinterest. There were tons of cute ideas, many of which I ended up copying at the last minute.I ordered very cute invitations from Party Door. I also ordered t-shirts for myself (Amazon), Hudson (Shop Disney Parks) and Luc (CrazyCorgiLadyDesign). My hubby, who is very helpful when it comes to parties and puts up with all my over the top party planning, draws the line at wearing party theme t-shirts.

family photo nemo dory birthday party

I absolutely love desserts and tend to make that the focal point of parties I throw, so let me start by showing you that. For kid parties, I am a huge fan of cupcakes instead of cake. For one, I can make them myself, which saves a lot of money. They are also so much easier during the party. No cutting, no wasting (am I the only one who dreads cutting cakes because they are always too pretty to eat?) and they can still be themed and cute. I bought these adorable cupcake wrappers from EasyPeasybyAlison on etsy and love how they turned out.

nemo bailey destiny hank dory marlin cupcake wrappers

I make rice krispy treats for every party because they are easy and I have a recipe that makes this one of few desserts my oldest son, who has food allergies to dairy, eggs and nuts, can eat.  At about 11pm the night before the party, a lightbulb went off and I quickly sprung into action. I turned my rice crispy treats into starfish. I was so happy with how they turned out and the best part is they were so easy to make. You can find my allergy-friendly rice crispy recipe here along with details on how to make the starfish rice crispy treats.

starfish-crispy-cereal-treats

I saw this great idea from Oh my! Creative and knew I had to copy it. My oldest son is obsessed with sharks and by leaving the cool whip off a few he was able to have a second dessert option. They didn’t have grey foam at any of my local craft stores so I just used grey cardstock and it worked great. You just make blue jello in clear cups according to packaging instructions. Cut out shark fins from grey paper and glue onto mini spoons. *Check the height so the shark fins are start at the top of the cups. Place spoons into cups. Then add whipped cream or cool whip.

shark jello cups

Bucket of sand was one of my favorite desserts to make as a child so I made some mini sand parfaits and stuck umbrellas in the top. Sadly, I couldn’t find the recipe I used as a child and did’t love the way these tasted so I won’t share a link, but I’m sure if you look on pinterest tons of recipes will show up. They look so cute and you could even keep it super simple by alternating vanilla pudding and crushed up nilla wafers.

sand parfait

I always make oreo truffles, but in my attempt to simplify this year I decided to skip them. That is until midnight, when I realized that a few of my friend’s husbands come solely for those and I’m a people pleaser, so I got to work making fish bowl pops. I always make oreo truffles using this recipe from Bakerella because they are way quicker than cake pops, oreos are my favorite and I love the way these taste. Cake pops are a pretty long and tedious process as it is, so if you can cut the time down and focus more on the decorating you will be happy you did. Anyways, I got to the part where I needed to adhere my fish sprinkles and they were too heavy and kept sliding off. 🙁 I then tried fish candies from the pinata candy bag with no luck before settling on hand drawn fish using edible markers. When the markers started acting up two pops in I decided to call it quits and head to bed (it was extremely late at this point and my brain was shutting down). I was disappointed that my pops didn’t turn out how I envisioned, but everyone else thought they were adorable and loved them. After the party ended, I remembered that I had bought two boxes of Dory cereal specifically for the cake pops. Of course, the marshmallows worked perfectly.

fish bowl oreo truffle

One of Hudson’s favorite parts of the dessert bar was the Goldfish Bar. We filled fish bowls with different flavors of pepperidge farms goldfish, filled a glass with swedish fish and another with candy worms. This was a big hit!

nemo goldfish bar

Another highlight of the dessert bar was a last minute impulse buy from Amazon. I had been searching for a coffee pot similar to the one in the Finding Dory movie and by luck a few nights before the party I came across this toy coffee pot with a swimming dory. Thanks to Amazon Prime, it arrived just in time for the party and was so cute! We still have it out and treat Dory like a real fish.

I normally make party banners myself, but again, in my quest to simplify, I outsourced and I am so glad I did. The details on this banner from TwoEarlyBirds were beautiful and from experience I know I saved myself a lot of time (and maybe even a bit of money) by ordering one instead.

We also set up a drink table. I made a few jellyfish to hang from the ceiling. The jellyfish were made loosely following these instructions from Party City. I bought a few of those white crates they sell at craft stores before Hudson’s first birthday and tweaked one by adding a “shelf”. I also bought a few boxes of mason jars. I use this display at every party and just tie different colored ribbons around them depending on my theme.

dory party drink table

I also always offer beer and mimosas. People don’t drink a ton at kiddie parties in the middle of the day, but they always appreciate the option and seem to enjoy a little indulgence. This time around I kept my mimosa bar simple by just offering Freixnet and orange juice.

bubbles-mimosas

I put blue Hawaiian punch in a dispenser that I transformed into Dory using these instructions. This was really easy to make and everyone loved it! Both boys shouted DORY! as soon as they saw it. 🙂

dory drink dispenser

Last year, we got jamba juice for Hudson’s birthday party and it was such a huge success that we got them again. They are such a great allergy friendly option, they are easy for kids to drink, perfect on a hot day, and lets face it, who doesn’t love fruit smoothies?

squirt strawberry whirl smoothie

As a few final touches, I added a fish bowl with a bath toy in it and another fish bowl filled with blue m&ms and a few goldfish crackers.

For food, we had subway “submarine” sandwiches with some fun and festive sides. My husband carved an awesome shark out of a watermelon for Bruce’s fruit salad. Both of our boys went crazy over it! For directions, check out Popsugar Food’s You Tube video.

bruce shark watermelon fruit bowl

I made our go to pasta salad using shell pasta.

pearls pasta salad

We had veggies and ranch dip with Hank as the centerpiece. We also had submarine sandwiches from Subway. I made the food labels and whenever possible I stuck a matching bath squirter character by the label.

hank veggie dip

For favors, I bought Finding Dory bath squirters from Walmart. Both of my boys are obsessed with these. I filled our popcorn buckets from the movie with the favors and made a thank you sign to go with it.

dory bath squirter party favors

In addition to the bounce house, we had a pinata. I made bags using an idea and printable from Any Tots. We filled the pinata with a Dory Pinata Candy Mix from Walmart.

dory pinata treats

The photobooth has become a signature at all of our parties. It is so much fun and the best part is we always end up with photos of all our guests. I bought the cutest downloadable photobooth props from SimplyMadeWithSam. You can check out all our diy photobooth recommendations here.

dory party themed photo booth

The party was a blast! I just love the whole experience with my boys. The planning, the build-up of excitement, and the joy on their faces the day of. Hudson ran to the door every time someone arrived to welcome them to his birthday party. Then he excitedly showed them all the fun details. It was so rewarding to see how much he loved and appreciated all my hard work. Luc, showed his appreciation in his own way, with excited shrieks of “Dory” “Marlin” and “Bailey” I know they both had such an amazing day!