WARNING: This post is packed full of ideas and activities for two different themed birthday parties...grab a cup of coffee (or some hot chocolate) and settle in for a great (but little longer than normal) read!
We’ve been partying it up here on Sycamore Sisters Lane! We’ve celebrated about 12 birthdays between our two families since the end of July. We were each “in charge” of two of these parties - a Labor Day Luau (celebrating Tyler’s and Lauryn’s birthdays) and a Loads of Legos party (celebrating Matthew’s birthday). We were able to get creative and had so much fun - we want to share some of our favorite things with you!
* Be sure to click on the underlined words (links) to be directed to a specific website and/or more information!
LABOR DAY LUAU
With Tyler turning 12 and Lauryn turning 1, we knew we needed to do something pretty special for these milestone birthdays (one more year before Tyler is a TEENAGER!). The timing of it being the end of summer, Labor Day, etc. seemed perfect for some good barbecue, salads and tropical punch...A LUAU!
I’ve often used Evite to create online invitations for our parties/gatherings, but I couldn’t find any templates I liked to fit my theme. I happened upon a site called PurpleTrail, where you can use their pre-made ecard/evite designs or custom make your own. I made my own little luau evite! By the way, it’s free to register for PurpleTrail and free to use (and I haven’t gotten any spam, etc. associated with it).
Once the invites were out, it was time to get busy finding some cool decorations, paper products, etc. With it being a luau for both a girl and a boy (and that boy needing to stay on the “cool” side), I decided to go with more of a “tiki” theme. I found most everything we needed for the luau online at Party City and Oriental Trading Company. I love these two companies and frequently purchase party supplies from both!
You can find some of the products I purchased/used from Party City HERE.
We used several banners and backdrops to decorate. Two summers ago we purchased an instant up canopy tent (after one too many baseball games in the hot sun!). We turned this into our “tiki” hut. The weather forecast for the day wasn’t the best, so we set up the hut INSIDE! We decorated it with lights (white Christmas lights) and a Hawaiian banner. We placed the food table under this - this was a favorite of many (we kept it up for a week after the party because the kids just liked having it!).
When all of our party-goers entered the door, they had to get a nametag with their Hawaiian name on it. You can find Hawaiian name translations at Aloha Friends. We wanted people to wear their nametags so we could call them by their Hawaiian names! The kids got a kick out of the letter/sound combinations used in Hawaii.
We also had some Luau bracelets to wear (with Luau sayings) and every person got to wear a lei (or two...or ten for a couple kiddos!).
Girls (or boys!) could choose a flower clip to wear in their hair, as well.
Party City had some great deals on Hawaiian hula skirts at the time (buy one, get one free!), so I purchased a couple adult skirts and a couple child skirts to wear (the kids skirts really didn’t get worn, tho!).
We had lots of kids to entertain, so we had to have some fun activities to keep them busy:
- We decided to have a bouncehouse, which was a huge hit...it so happened they had a palm tree bouncehouse that fit our theme perfectly!
- I ordered a bunch of glittery tropical tattoos for the kids (and adults!). I set them out in a little plastic fish tray and had a bucket with a little water in it (and a cloth) so people could tattoo themselves at their leisure.
- I also set up a little station where people could make their own hula skirts! This is a super fun activity (I used it for a wedding shower - luau - I hosted a few years ago)...and it’s easy! All you need is some plastic white trash bags (with ties) and some sticky back foam shapes (or stickers). Unfold and lay out the trash bag and cut off the bottom crease. Then cut strips (however wide you’d like) about ⅔ of the way up (leave room between the top opening and where the strips stop). Use sticky back foam shapes or stickers to decorate the skirts. Step into the skirt and use the ties to tighten (adjustable waistbands!).
With people coming and going, we had to keep our food simple and make things that could sit out for awhile. I looked up the Hawaiian words for items we served (the ones I could find, anyway) and made little cards describing each item.
Our menu consisted of:
- MEA INU HO’OHU’IHU’I (iced or chilled drinks) - Tropical punch (pineapple juice and sprite), Wa lemi (Lemonade), and Bia (beer)
- ‘AI MAMA (Snacks) and PUPU (Appetizers) - Twigs and Fish (pretzels and colored Goldfish), Seashell Lau ‘ai (salad), Pigs in a Beach Blanket (mini corndogs), BBQ Pulled Pua’a (pork), Tropical Hua’ai (fruit) Salad, Hua’ai (fruit) Kabobs, Kulina Pohapoha (popcorn), BBQ Pipi ho’opoe (meatballs), BBQ Moa (chicken) Wings, Lau’ai (vegetables...and dip), and Pa’akai (salty), Mamala (chips)
- MEA ‘AI MOMONA (Dessert) - Mea’ono (cake and cupcakes) - I purchased Hawaiian cupcake liners and a cupcake tree (from Meijers!) for Luau Cupcakes. We also had a cake that was purchased at Meijer (see end of post for picture)...
Before families left, we asked them to get a Luau Photo! We put up a backdrop and a couple decorations for the “picture area”. I plan to send the pictures with Thank You notes (I AM WORKING ON THEM!) as a souvenir from the fun day! (see end of post for more pictures of many of the families that attended)
On their way out, guests could get a favor that included a magnetic photo frame (for the pictures we took!), a little Hawaiian favor bag and a couple tropical notepads.
It was a kupanaha (wonderful) day for all!
* An additional great thing from this party is that I was able to keep pretty much everything...for when we decide to host another Luau! :)
If you are a mom to boys, you likely know Legos. If you are like us, you have them all over your house. You have stepped on them (OUCH!). You have very carefully moved a creation from one room to the next. You have agonized about how to organize them so they don’t take over every room in your house. You have probably heard that horrible sound when you have accidentally swept one up in your vacuum. Crawling on your hands and knees in the back of your van searching for Darth Vader’s helmet is not out of the ordinary for you. You have watched in amazement while your boys create these incredible buildings, castles, and star fighters out of those multi-colored bricks.
All in all, I have to say I love Legos. I love how they don’t take batteries in this “plugged in world.” I love how they promote creativity and teamwork, encouraging my boys to work together to build something. I am a “Lego Mom” and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
So...it was not a big surprise when our oldest, Matthew, decided he wanted a Lego party for his birthday this year. He requested a Lego cake and Lego activities for the party.
First things first...let’s talk cake! It is what the kids care about the most, anyway! Over the years, I have made the kids’ cakes, purchased them at a bakery or grocery store, or ordered them at the restaurant we ate at to celebrate the birthday. Making their cakes is the most fun for me though. So, I looked all over Pinterest for ideas! I decided on making four Lego bricks and using rolled fondant icing (purchased at Meijer) to make a smooth look.
It was pretty easy to make, actually. I used small loaf pans to bake the four bricks. It only took one cake mix to fill the four pans. I turned them upside down to have a more finished look on the tops to work with. Then, I took the prepacked rolled fondant (that was already colored red, blue, green, & yellow) and rolled it out between two sheets of wax paper. I carefully laid the fondant over the four bricks. With the remaining fondant, I poked out the 8 brick toppers. I actually used a Playdoh rolling pin to poke them out. Claire asked, “Mommy, why are you making Matthew’s cake out of Playdoh???” Finally, I built a tower of my own out of the four colors of Legos and attached a “Happy Birthday Matthew” banner for the top.
For the activities, we went easy - nothing too elaborate. First we had the kiddos guess how many Legos were in the vase! Any guesses from you guys???
Next, each kiddo had a cup full of Legos and they had to build something out of the Legos in the cup while being timed. They had two minutes to complete their project. We then voted on the best one.
Finally for prizes, we gave everyone little “Lego pretzel treats” that we built using pretzels, Legos, and M & M candies. I only used the red, yellow, green, & blue M & Ms and I put them in paper cupcake cups with those same colors. The boys loved them!
A few years ago, I started making my kiddos “thank you cards” on snapfish.com. I include a small thank you message and have the birthday boy or girl help me pick out the pictures from their party that they want to include. I like this because my family that are far away get to feel like they were part of the party and they get an updated picture of our child. So, this year, I picked a card that had the same bold Lego colors and Matthew help me pick out the pictures.
All in all it was a great party and the kids had a blast!!! We had a great time coming up with these ideas together. It is fun when your kids are at the age when they really want to help with their parties. I hope that you can use some of the ideas that we came up with for your next Lego party.
We mentioned we celebrated 12 birthdays between us over the last few weeks. We sure are blessed to have so many loved ones in which to celebrate. We had so much fun celebrating with all of them. Here are some of the highlights from all these parties!
SOME LUAU FAMILIES