Category: Parties

Sesame Street Birthday Party

To celebrate our baby girl’s first birthday I wanted to do something Sarah was interested in. After all it was her special day. Hubby mentioned how much she’s been enjoying watching Sesame Street and how she smiles in delight when sees the main characters in plush.

With the show in mind, Sarah’s 1st birthday party was in the works.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted the party centered around Sarah’s 3rd word and main character, Aa-ee (Abby) or the full cast. After some Pinterest searching I came up with a theme. The theme would be based on Elmo and friends but Elmo would be the focus.

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The Venue and Decorations

Being that our place is small and the month of March has unpredictable weather we were in search for an indoor facility. After talking to some of my mommy friends, I found a clubhouse for rent. Since my friend Erin had also decided to rent out the club house the day before me, we were given a great discount. Score!

To bring a boring clubhouse to life I brought some of our things from home. I brought Sarah’s foam floor mat and a few toys for the kids to play with.

414985_3450708074035_1153978778_o Then I filled a plastic pool with balls for a homemade ball pit for the kids (thanks for letting us borrow your stuff, Erin!).

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I made a banner of Sarah’s monthly pictures.

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I made a welcome sign that consisted of foam letters and foam sheets from the Dollar Tree.

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To add color to the room and decorate the tables at the same time, I made each table a different character. Some of the tables even had activities to for the kids to do.

Ernie cookie monster big bird ElmoWhat’s a first birthday party with out a smash cake? Here are the decorations before her high chair arrived.

IMG_1327The Food

If I learned one thing from Pinterest, it’s that the food table is like a piece of decoration. Here is my version.

tablesacpeThe table consisted of cupcakes with Elmo picks, giant whoopie pies with colorful sprinkles, goldfish in mini cups, Sarah’s smash cake and 3 fruit and veggie character platters.

cookie elmo oscar1st smash cakeThe other table consisted of decorate your own cookie station, Sesame Street brand toddler snacks (granola bars and cookies) and drinks.

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For dinner we served pizza from Pizza Nosh.

The Cake

The cake was a labor of love. A few months before her birthday I decided I wanted to make her cake. To accomplish this task, I signed up for a class at Michael’s. Wilton was offering a basic 2 week cake decorating class. After completing the class I was much more confident with the idea of making her cake. Here was the process.

IMG_1311 IMG_1313 IMG_1315IMG_1320 IMG_1318 I’m not a pro to say the least, but it was fun making her smash cake.

The Favors

I kept the favors simple. First hubby bought personalized stickers on eBay. Then I adhered each sticker to chocolate kisses and peanut butter cups. The boxes came from my friend Chana gave who had some extra after her event. Then I used stencil to personalized each box with the kids name. Along with the kisses I added bubbles to each box. I placed the boxes near the handmade wooden Sesame Street sign my hubby friend’s Matt made and voila my table was completed.

IMG_1245IMG_1250IMG_1364IMG_1354The party was a lot of fun! As a first time mom I learned a lot about birthday party planning that day.

Here are some of our memorable moments from the day.

Sarah’s first bite of cheese pizza.

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Checking out her cake!

IMG_0130A little water break after all that sugar.

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Happy 1st birthday my love! Love you, ema and daddy!

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Minnie Mouse Birthday Party

By now you’ve seen Sarah’s Minnie Mouse Birthday Party on Facebook and Pinterest, and now here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how it all came together!

The Venue & Setting Up

I would love one day to have Sarah’s birthday party in our house or even in our backyard, but for now we have to rent spaces to accommodate our guests. I went scouting for venues one afternoon while my MIL was hanging out with Sarah. We finally settled on a club house less than a mile away from home.

Two days before the party, my youngest sister, Sarah and I went to pick up my mom from the airport. As I’m driving on the 405, I feel my car having a hard time accelerating. I quickly pull over and get off of at the nearest exit, call my hubby and AAA. Since we had more than their regular two-passenger limit plus a car seat, it took them a while to get to us. Four hours later we were towed from near LAX to our mechanic’s shop which is close to home. Later we were shuttled home. What a long and exhausting adventure!

Normally hubby and I can deal with one car over the weekend, but without my SUV in working condition all we had was hubby’s 4-door.

Then Saturday came and I stubbed my toe on the bathroom door. With a bloody and peeled toe nail, I was really behind in prepping for the party. Sunday rolled around and I was scared a third thing would happen as bad things tend to happen in threes.

My mom, sister and I woke up at 7 a.m. to set up the room and we took many trips back and forth to our home. Not too long after, my MIL and SIL came early to help set up. I also called upon my friend Nikki to come help with some last minute things. Everyone hustled and got things done.

I was a few minutes late to the party as I needed to head back home and quickly change. We also needed to get the birthday girl to her party and with one car that took a while.

Decorations

As a Pinterest addict, I searched and pinned items onto my board for many months prior to the birthday party, but with a limited budget I knew I had to let a lot of ideas go. Since Minnie Mouse was the main focal point of the party, I came up with the colors hot pink, light pink and black. From the balloons to the plates, everything coordinated with my color theme.

I took three black paper fans and made a Minnie Mouse head. My friend Nikki made the bow and with some hot glue we made a cute and simple wall decoration.

I bought some crepe paper to decorate above the buffet table.

523969_10152688289620571_1426806167_nI bought some polka dot balloons that hung on the walls and in the entrance.

306023_10152688281095571_1062015595_nI bought a scene setter that became my photo booth backdrop.

Screen Shot 2013-05-03 at 12.58.33 PMMy friend Nikki handmade pom pom balls that hung throughout the clubhouse.

526912_10152688289785571_701980020_nMy friend Erin C. made this lovely subway art that I framed and placed on the shelf.

signCenterpieces

My centerpieces were once again an inspiration from Pinterest. I worked on them little by little during Sarah’s nap time and bed time. I bought tin pails at Target, foam balls, Easter basket filler, colored foam sheets and dowels at Michael’s. I made a number two from pink foam paper, Minnie Mouse heads from black foam paper along with polka dot ribbon for the bow and finally a print out of Minnie Mouse’s bow from Disneyjr.com.

My printed bow started to fold over so as a last minute decision, I cut out pink foam bows and adhered them to the back. Unfortunately the glue I chose seeped through the print out and made smudges, but I was so done working on these centerpieces that I just left them as is.

253655_10152688283060571_1647769640_nFood

I really wanted to capture Minnie Mouse and my color theme in the food. So I thought about it and searched for a while. First I purchased Mickey Mouse cookie cutters and chocolate bow sheets. Then my menu came together!

I made Minnie Mouse sandwiches from whole wheat bread and strawberry cream cheese.

IMG_9198I made homemade mixed berry fruit snacks which Sarah and I are obsessed with!

581355_10152688280295571_1445487716_nI made homemade goldfish that didn’t quite turn out right.

602035_10152688280225571_90779488_nI made two different salads and two different pastas.picstitchI also cut up cheese cubes and stuck Minnie and Daisy toothpicks in several cubes.

I bought berry-flavored, yogurt-covered rice cakes, and honey wheat pretzels (however, the pretzels never made it to the party).

480764_10152682664140571_1382166811_nFinally, I bought four different kinds of bagels and four different kinds of shmears for those who wanted something more breakfasty.

For drinks, I made Minnie-Ade and Iced Coffee and placed them in drinking dispensers.

429478_10152688284490571_1884280494_nFavors

I’m not a big fan of favors. If it’s not something edible or useful, it will probably end up at the bottom of Sarah’s toy bin. So after making Sarah’s school Valentines, I knew I wanted to make Sarah’s favors just like them. I bought a printables Etsy file to make bag toppers. I already had snack size Ziploc bags. All I needed was my toddler mix of Cheerios, yogurt melts and craisins. The idea was great, but after sampling a bag at the party, I found that the yogurt melts had become mushy.

IMG_9203Sarah’s Outfit

I really wanted to buy an Etsy original outfit for Sarah’s birthday, but with my budget that was just not an option. I instead chose a Minnie Mouse costume that I hope she will use again for Halloween or maybe even Purim!

Dessert

With the help of my family in town, we handcrafted 4 dozen cupcakes! First we melted white chocolate in a bow molds, froze it and trimmed it. Then we baked Duncan Hines strawberry flavored cupcakes in pink polka dot cupcake liners. Then I frosted each cupcake with pink frosting. Placed 2 mini Oreo’s on each cupcakes as ears. Placed a few white candy pearls along with a chocolate bow to form Minnie Mouse birthday cupcakes. I had planned to make a big cupcake for Sarah to blow out her candles, but with all the set backs few days before the party there just wasn’t any time.

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Sarah decided to have her occasional mommy only moment at the party. Therefore I didn’t get any time for last minutes touch ups. Looking at the pictures now, I would have loved to take a few extra minutes and finalize some things. Oh well, that’s life and Sarah needed her mama!

Overall, my goal for Sarah’s birthday party was to celebrate Sarah’s life with all of her favorite things, surrounded by all of her favorite people. I think there is something absolutely special about celebrating your date of birth. It’s a celebration of life!

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Thank you to the many people who created, prepared, set up, cooked, baked and helped me with Sarah’s 2nd birthday party! I would not have been able to pull this off without your help! THANK YOU!!!

Special thank you to my ema and sister for traveling to west coast to celebrate Sarah’s 2nd birthday. It means so much to me that you were able to celebrate with us!

Any questions about Sarah’s birthday party? Please comment below.

Birthday Card Keepsake Tutorial

I follow many wonderful blogs, but my favorite type of blogs to follow are those of my friends!

Not to long ago my friend, Melissa of Don’t Underestimate Mommy posted how she figured out a way to keep her Holidays cards in a cute and simple way that didn’t cost too much money. After keeping Sarah’s first birthday cards in a gift bag for the past year, I was really to happy to read her post. Here is my version of a Birthday Card Keepsake Booklet.

Birthday Card Keepsake Tutorial

I to had all the supplies at home. I simply punched 3 wholes in each card, looped each ring and voila! I’m really happy with this cute and simple way of keeping Sarah’s first birthday cards organized.

Do you keep birthday cards too? How do organize them?

Dr. Seuss’ Birthday {2013}

I had all these plans last week for Dr. Seuss’ birthday, but then Sarah got really sick and then I got sick and well I gave up on it.

A few days ago I took Sarah with me to Trader Joe’s. I normally don’t take her with me, but I only needed a few things. After picking up a few things in the produce area we passed by the sample counter. Not only do we get to try new foods, they also give you the recipe! I have put together great dinners from their sample counter.

This time they were sampling pesto cheese. I didn’t think Sarah was interested, but she gobbled up my sample and asked for more. As soon as I grabbed the second sample, my Dr. Seuss’ birthday ideas came back into the picture.

I grabbed a few more things and headed home. My Dr. Seuss Sunday brunch was in the works. I planned on making his famous green eggs and ham, but with a twist.

Since we keep a Kosher kitchen, I was not going to make ham. Instead I bought a package of frozen shredded hash browns.

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Then I grabbed a handful on spinach, two eggs and pureed it in my Bullet (best little gadget ever! Thanks MIL!).

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I planned on making scrambled eggs, but as I poured the mixture in Sarah was calling my attention. Omelet it is!

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It was delish! All three of us really enjoyed breakfast. You could barely taste the spinach! Definitely planning on making this whacky looking breakfast again.

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Happy birthday Dr. Seuss! Thank you for your interesting books. Even though I didn’t read your books when I was young, Sarah is enjoying them. Her favorite Dr. Seuss book is Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?

0978067988282_500X500What’s your favorite Dr. Seuss book?

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Green Birthdays

Last month was filled with a lot of reasons to celebrate. From Tu Bishvat to our jammed packed weekends, Sarah was also invited to 6 birthdays, just this month!! Thanks to our mommy group, Sarah has become quite the social butterfly. Between buying gifts, greeting cards and gift bags or wrapping paper things have gotten quite expensive!

After attending a few birthdays I noticed most of us mamas placed our gifts in gift bags. As I was rushing through a store one afternoon, Sarah grabbed a reusable bag. As I walked back to put it away I thought of an idea! My plan was to place the kids birthday gifts in the reusable tote. I picked up a few neutral bags and went home. Not only did I think it was a cute idea, but it’s also economical! That way both mommy and kid get a gift! Most reusable bags range from $1-$2 and most gift bags range from $3-$5. I was saving money and being green!

Thanks to my friend Nikki for starting my love with reusable bags. After eying her bag last summer she bought me a bag as a gift. Thanks for for being so thoughtful Nikki!

I hope this trend sticks and that my mommy friends now understand why they received a reusable bag along with a gift for their toddler :)

My Birthday {2012}

December is a really busy month in general, but especially busy for me! There is a lot going on. Between Chanukah, my birthday, Christmas and New Years we are all running around trying to get things done.

I wholeheartedly believe in celebrating the little joys in life. Therefore I’ve always enjoyed celebrating events (no event is too big or too small for me), but celebrating my birthday has not always been easy. Most of the time my birthday falls on Chanukah. I’m more than happy to share my birthday with the miracle of light, except people like to lump my birthday and Chanukah into one occasion. If it’s a card or a birthday gift I always just get one. But material objects aren’t what disappoint me, it’s the timing.

For example, last year I decided to host a tea party for my 30th birthday at a local tea house. I figured I only turn 30 once and I’ve always loved the tea party theme. I gathered a list of family and friends, booked a venue and sent out invitations. That’s right, I created, printed, decorated, put a stamp and dropped them off at the mailbox (things people don’t do often enough in my opinion). Then I waited for responses to come in. After a few of, “I’ll be out of town”, “I already committed to going to hubby’s holiday party”, or “My family is in town” I got pretty bummed. It happens every year, but I hoped turning 30 would be different. After a few more days of disappointing responses my mom called to tell me she would be coming to celebrate my birthday. Thank you so much ema (mom in Hebrew) for coming all the way out here for my birthday!! It means a lot to me that you could be a part of my celebration.

The day of my party I started getting more disappointing phone calls: “I’m sorry, something came up!”, “I’m having car trouble”, “I have a cold”, etc. Sure everyone is busy and has the right to cancel, but this time it was a bit different. You see, I had gone ahead and prepaid for all my guests. So here I was sitting at my beautiful tea table with a whole bunch of no shows. Sure I had a really nice afternoon with my family and friends who did attend, but that would be the last time I would host a birthday for myself.

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So as my 31st birthday was quickly approaching, I started to panic. How do I celebrate and not end up disappointed? After a conversation with hubby we decided I would attend a casual dinner during the week with some mommy friends and celebrate at home with him on the weekend. No hype, just simple fun!

I’m happy to report that everything was fine! I was surrounded by a fun and loving group of friends at dinner, went out dancing, and spent the weekend with my family (including my MIL). When it came time to make a wish on my birthday cake, I couldn’t help but pause. I have everything I needed. I’m married to a handsome man, I have a yummy daughter who I can’t stop kissing, loving parents and sisters (and a lot more family who loves me), a supportive group of friends and most of all I have my health!

Thanks to all who called, texted, emailed, Facebook messaged, and sent me cards and gifts. You made me feel special in a way that made last year’s shortcomings a distant memory!

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Shabbat 1000 {2012}

Prior to moving to LA I researched different local Jewish programs. Raised in a very active Jewish city I craved my type of people. Therefore I signed up to as many organizations lists as possible.

So when I received an email last year about being a part of the Jewish Federation’s “The Night of 100 Shabbat Celebrations”, I was very excited! I was told it would be a community wide event to commemorate the Federation’s 100 years of service to the Los Angeles Jewish community. I quickly signed up and waited to host my meal. Each participant was given a book of selected blessings and readings. They also asked us if we could take a picture of our pre-candle lighting Shabbat table to share with the community. It was a fun experience and I was proud to be one of the 100 participants!

A few weeks ago I once again received an email inviting me to participate in the community wide event. This time it was “1,000 Shabbat Celebrations” and we were to receive a Federation Shabbat in a Box. I quickly signed up and waited for my box of goodies. The contents included an artsy challah cover, candles, a book of Shabbat prayers, recipes, inspirational writings and a tzedakah box. I was once again proud to be a part of this community wide event this year. It makes me so happy to know we have a community who wants us together for Shabbat. I plan on giving my filled tzedakah box to the Jewish Federation this year. They have done nothing but shine the light on the Jewish People of LA.

My Shabbat Box
My Shabbat Box

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