Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Then comes a yellow day...

(don't know what's going on over the next two weeks?  Read the intro here, read about our experts here and join the party here!)

and wheee!  I'm a busy, BUZZZZZZZZZY bee!
(have you read "My Many Colored Days" by Dr. Seuss?  You really should.)
This one page was, essentially, the entire basis for our Busy Bee party.

You see, ever since mini's first birthday, at which she received this pillow pet from Oma, 
she has been IN LOVE with bees.  She sees any flying creature and immediately yells: BEE!  BEE!  She sleeps with this pillow pet and what she calls her "baby bee" pillow pet every night.
Plus, she really IS a busy bee.  So the party was all too appropriate.

I should probably mention at this juncture, that birthday parties around here are very low key things.  We invite family over and that's pretty much it.  When I was younger, there were a few "special" birthdays at which we had larger gatherings of friends as well - 8, 12, 16, 18... and our "golden" birthday.  And that suits the mr and I just fine as well.  Actually, the mr would be just fine with a piece of cake and that's it.  But he's not getting off that easy...
So, it stands to reason then, that you will not find incredible birthday parties like this at my house.  Nor will you find parties like this.  Or this.  Or this.  They are beautiful and amazing and completely over the top.  My parties are frugal and simple and mostly handmade.  Maybe that means they're lame?  If you're looking for ideas on a budget, though, you've come to the right place.

It began with an invitation.

I made this in picnik.  I used the collage and only one picture on the bottom half.  Then I just filled the text in the top using a few different fonts.  I created each bee individually with the different shape stickers - each one is one big oval, three skinny rectangles for the lines, and two little ovals for the wings.  That's a whole lot of shapes to manipulate into six different bees... like 36 shapes.  Anyway, it took a while even using the handy "duplicate shape" trick.  But look at that adorable mug.

Next up.  Decor.

The way I see it, the food and treats pull double duty as decor, too, so if you play your cards right, you don't need too much else!  This was my "treats" table.  (Keep in mind that there were only a total of 8 other people at our home aside from the four of us who live here... so I don't have mass quantities of anything, really.  If it looks sparse, that's why.)

So, I covered the table in a plain white sheet I use for photos and backdrops and such.  Then I found that great yellow and white striped light cotton fabric in my stash and layered it over the table and the piano bench.  I wanted to give the table a lot of texture and detail, and I know adding varied heights and such can add interest.  On top of the striped fabric, I layered some smaller fabric pieces of white/yellow/black/gray patterns.  Behind the cake I fluffed up some white tulle for whimsy.  That amazing layered cake?  I wish I could take credit for that. As I was bemoaning the fact that I really wanted a bee hive cake but knew it was beyond my abilities (don't believe me?  Have you SEEN this??), my sister IL valiantly jumped in with her incredible cake decorating services.  Thank you, S!  Also, there are zig-zag flowers, cupcakes, and a large jar of lemonheads.

I made several accordion style flowers, following the same method as I did here.  In the center of each I glued a yellow circle so they'd look like daisies.  Then I made a BUNCH more of these fun zig-zag type flowers using different patterned paper - dots, stripes, diamonds, damask:

1.  I covered our patio door with this large piece of soft cotton in black with yellow polka dots that I had in my stash.  Then, using the accordion flowers and the zig-zag flowers, I made a few garlands of varying lengths out of fishing line and taped them up over the fabric.  Also, you can't really see them at all, but I made bees out of clothespins and coffee filters.  I drew yellow and black lines on the clothespins and then squinched up a coffee filter and clipped it in the middle.  See here for actual instructions. (mine didn't have a face or antennae.)
(As a side note, I'm really sorry about the outcome of these photos - but it's impossible to get decent ones at night in winter.)
2. I set our peninsula up with the dinner portion of our food.  I covered it first with a black with white striped satin-esque fabric (also from my stash).  I layered a white and yellow gingham cotton in the middle where I put our piece de resistance - the casserole.  Also notice the zig-zag flowers scattered around everywhere.  I had a few of these circular straw placemats that I got at the dollar store many moons ago with the intention of turning them into something awesome and then never getting around to it... so I layered those on top of the fabric as well for a place to put our plates, utensils in a glass jar, napkins, cups, water bottles and individual packets of lemonade.  All of which were - you guessed it - yellow black and white. Except the water bottles.  I had big plans of making those all pretty but procrastination got the best of me so they were just clear.
3. I "made" several "garlands" out of fabric in my stash.  I use the term "made" loosely because all I did was rip the fabric scraps into strips and then tie them together.  Also, "garland" is used loosely as well.  But I think they're kind of cute in a shabby way.
4.  A closer look at the piano bench portion of the treat table: Another circular straw placemat, cotton fabric, yellow plate, glass dish with colorful candy, and yellow cups filled with caramel corn.

I set the favors out on our piano as kind of "decor" ish elements as well.  Here they are in their yellow take-out boxes.  (notice also that we had our Christmas decorations up, too... kind of didn't really go with the bumble bee theme, but it was December 4th, what are you going to do?)

Also, I don't have a picture of this, but thought I'd pass the idea along.  I didn't know you could blow up a balloon INSIDE another balloon!  We had a bunch of "Double" balloons as decor, too.  Basically, you stick a balloon inside another balloon.  You blow up the outside one a bit, then stick the hole of the INSIDE balloon out of the outside balloon hole and blow that one up all the way, tie it off and push it down inside, then finish blowing up the outside balloon and tie it off.  It looks so fun!

Alright, so dinner didn't really go with the theme.  But it was delicious, if I do say so myself.  I made my original Taco Dip Casserole, which you can find here.

1.  The taco dip casserole (in its place of honor).  
2.  The incredible cake.  It was chocolate with white frosting (yellow food coloring).  My sister in law even made chocolate lines around the "hive" and a little chocolate doorway and tiny little chocolate bees piped on. I don't know how she got the frosting so smooth!  Something to do with water??
3.  Little cupcakes for the littles.  I found the PERFECT cupcake "decals" at Walmart, of all places.  They are in the baking aisle by all the candles and decorations.  All you do is peel it off of the plastic, place it on the cupcake top and pat around the edges gently.  You can NOT tell it's only a decal, I thought they looked awesome!  It helps if the frosting is really smooth.
4.  I made "rice krispie pops".  I didn't make the rice krispie treats myself, but my mom had bought a big box.  I just cut each square in half, rolled each half into a ball, stuck a (long) lollipop stick in it (can find these in the party aisle), and then made a chocolate frosting/glaze to drizzle over them, finishing up by sprinkling little yellow sprinkles on top.  The glaze turned out to be too thick, and looks a little lumpy, but the kids loved them.  I just stuck them in a vase with yellow paper grass stuff in it so they looked like flowers.

Here you can see the food "spread" - essentially just casserole, chips, homemade salsa and lemonade/water to drink.  Back in the corner, I labeled those individual clear plastic cups with crayons because it worked like a charm... an obvious idea which is NOT original in any way that I stole from the restaurant circuit.  Give each kid their own cup with crayons, set them up with a bee to color on, NO FIGHTING OVER CRAYONS!  And it keeps them occupied.  For like TWO WHOLE MINUTES.

I made mini a little "tutu" for the occasion.  Unfortunately, pretty much ALL of the pictures of her look like this:

Because she WILL NOT sit still EVER.  (Unless Blue's Clues is on)

But here's a not super attractive one I managed to snap while mr was holding her.  It's one of those fabric tutu's - You've seen them and they are so cute right?  I don't know what I did wrong, but when it was all done and the strips were tied to the elastic, the elastic had stretched so much that it was about TWICE the size I'd started with!  I sewed a little lace trim sash to the sides and we used that to tie it in the back... but it didn't work out quite the way I'd envisioned.  Any tips?

And although we've already discussed the cake, I had to show you the candle pictures.

She tried so hard to blow them out on her own,

but in the end, needed a little help.  

My gosh, she's getting big.

I think this is a pretty good representation of my methods:
1.  I think of a theme and make sure it's represented in the invites.
2.  I decide what kind of decor will match the theme that I can MAKE with my own two hands.
3.  I figure out what things I have stashed away that would work with the theme/decor.  Mostly, I pull out a lot of my fabric stash - and try to stick to fabrics that can be easily washed.
4.  I decide on easy food - and since I only have to feed 12 of us, I try not to go overboard.
5.  I buy only the necessities - generally.
6.  I plan one or two activities knowing full well that the cousins are just going to want to run around like crazed lunatics instead of doing anything organized.  (for instance, the bee coloring page)

So, you CAN make a cute party - albeit SIMPLE - with things you have on hand.  For mini's party, I only bought:
napkins - $1.99, walmart
plastic utensils - $1.99, walmart
black balloons - $2.30, walmart
lemonheads - $1, dollar store
cake mix - $1, (pillsbury) walmart
candles - $1.99, (cakemate) walmart
decals for the cupcakes - $2.99, walmart (I know, I went all out for those...)

Everything else I had on hand, in my stash or just around the house.  Even the favors were made by me or down in my stash.

So, I spent a grand total of $13.26... which would be different for a larger party or with more kids there, I know, but still.  $13.26?  Even mr can't shake a stick at that.

And in case you aren't familiar:
(Although I think I do better voices when I read it.)

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ask the Experts #2

(don't know what's going on over the next two weeks?  Read the intro here, read about our experts here and join the party here!)

I don't know about you, but I could definitely use some help when it comes to party planning.   I've asked several of my blogging friends:
What tips, tricks and advice do have for making your parties successful and (potentially) less stressful?
And now I'm going to share their answers with YOU!  You better pay attention too, because these guys are good.  

As if she needed an introduction...  Kimbo from A Girl and a Glue Gun is kind of a staple around the craft blog circuit.  She has amazing felt crafts.    She has frugal decorating ideas, like these cute cup pom poms.  She has cute favor ideas (can you imagine handing out these Fancy Nancy Pens at a Fancy Nancy Party??  She sews like the dickens (having a beach themed party this summer?  How about a cute cover up?)  And you can wrap your birthday presents up cute, thanks to her.  You know, along with the 50 billion other really cool things you can find over there.

(The yellow birthday box.  The rainbow-colored felt happy birthday banner.  The paper happy birthday banner)
i have a birthday box...I have made cute reusable (felt) birthday banners...and i store them in a box along with leftover balloons, blow horns, hats even party plates and tableclothes...any kinda extra party each birthday i don't have to spend a fortune on the basic decor and get to spend it on the fun part like presents, food and party favors!!!!  The box is just a huge shoebox wrapped in yellow wrapping paper.
Also, there's a great pin on pinterest where some brilliant lady prescooped the ice cream into muffin tins so when it was time to eat you just pull them out of the freezer and pass them around!

(and this is a great idea for so many reasons... first - you don't have to re-buy the same things every time, saving you money, also, it's all in one spot, ready and waiting for you, and three, it's perfect for impromptu parties or events that you - for one reason or another - just didn't have a ton of time to plan for!  And I pinned that pin she mentioned.  Right here.)

Hani's blog, Craftionary, is full of creative ideas.  There are her DIY felt hair clips, cute yarn rosettes, frugal mini jar banks from baby food jars (all of which would make fun favors, by the way...) and a whole lot more! 

I am so excited to be invited by my friend Kimberly to share a few tips and ideas on hosting a party at home. 
I love decorating and entertaining friends and family on special occasions, in my past experiences I have learned the following things you should do to have a perfect party with everything you have in your mind.
  1. Make a list of all important things
    The most important part is not to forget anything you've planned for the party. With busy everyday life, I believe we should start working small at least 2 months before the party. 
    2 months earlier
     Make a creative plan about the party, the theme and start listing important points that come into your mind.
    This helps keep your idea-flooded mind from mixing up old plans with new ones.
    1 month earlier
    When you get one month closer to the party, you will be glad and tension free. Why?
    Because you already have a fore-plan to work on. And have plenty of time to make and create what you want.
    Start first by listing the menu, that's the biggest decision, right? Once you are done with it, think about the party decorations and food serving things you need to buy and bring them first. I like to use disposable plates and cutlery, it helps keep the later work (unloaded and cleaning) easier.
    Party City is my favorite place to buy all the stuff. But I usually go buy random things from random places that match my theme that I can find for a good price, because I have my theme decided way earlier, right?
  2. Have a bright photo booth
    We all love beautiful pictures. We are so busy arranging the party that we sometimes forget this part. Happens with me all the time, so now I have learned my lesson and have kept this important part as the 2nd most important rank - before decorations.
    You can see my baby boy's race car themed first birthday party here and see the mistake of not having a bright photo booth and a few special ideas I had for his party that I was happy to make.
    Make sure you make a beautiful background in the most bright area of Your party location. So, you are done with worrying about not getting good pictures after a wonderful party that everyone enjoyed.
  3. Finally: Start Making Your own Creations
    Now all the less time consuming work is done and food can only be prepared at the last moment.
    You need to start making and customizing your party your way. I know we can not throw a party without that creative touch of handmade stuff you can't find elsewhere.
  4. Have fun entertaining. An organized and well-planned party always saves your time and keeps you tension-free. :)
A Tip for a last minute party:
If you do the same things I stated above on a fast forward switch for a last minute party you can get good results too.
Just remember listing and prioritizing the importance of tasks is the key.

Have fun partying.
P.S: I will be sharing my son's sports fun party this week on my blog. If You are interested please do come and see what I did.

(Hani's tips about planning ahead, prioritizing and paying attention to details doesn't really surprise me.  If you read her blog you'll see she's detail-oriented :)  I can't wait to set up a better photo area for my next party!)

The T-Shirt Diaries is home to the Stashbust series' along with a new competition going on now called Project Recycled.  Oh, and Robin.  It's home to Robin, of course!  Robin's the queen of Upcycle/Recycle/Stashbust.  She's the queen of frugal and "making it work."  She's got ideas for her ideas, there're so many ideas.

I don't have any grand ideas but I do have a few tips: 
1. Make a folder in pintrest of ideas that you like
2. Scour the blogging world to see who has done similar themes.
3. Always give credit to whomever you got the idea from
4. I always made graphics for cupcake toppers with picnik, and now that it is gone I have no clue what to do?? **
5. Cupcakes are easy and fun
6. No party will ever be perfect
7. Set up a prop area for fun memorable photos. For my daughters cat in the hat party I took an old frame, spray painted it aqua and took all the guests pictures while they were holding the frame and wearing a cat in the hat hat.

(I love the gentle reminders to give credit where it's due - don'tcha hate that?? - and that no party will ever be "perfect."  I have a significant issue with PPD - Post PARTY Depression - mostly because I hype it up too much.)

**And now, a note about picnik (since Robin brought it up):  You know how I feel about the whole thing already.  However, I've decided to quit living in denial and bemoaning the fate of my photos and instead do some serious comparisons.  I am going to give a longer explanation with my opinions, etc at a later date, but since Robin brought it up, you should know that I'm working on some options for us all!  Which means I'm doing a mad amount of "research."  There are a lot of free photo editing sites out there and if you stay tuned I'll show you the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Promise.

Let's here it for today's experts!  I'm getting excited to implement ideas already!

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The best part of any birthday party

(don't know what's going on over the next two weeks?  Read the intro here, and join the party here!)

Is the cake, of course.

Do you like to procrastinate your birthday bash to-do list until the last minute like I do?
Do you like things to be nice and easy?
Do you hate baking and try to stick with the bare essentials?
Do you like chocolate?
If you answered yes to any (or all) of the above, then this birthday cake is for YOU.

This week for Yummy Monday I'm sharing my family's:

It's easy.  It's fast.  It's yummy.  And did I mention it's easy?  So easy even the mr makes it.  In fact, on more than one occasion I've mentioned I have a craving for chocolate cake and he has had no qualms about baking this baby up for me.   The best part about this cake is that you can whip it up easy shmeezy (in ONE pan!) and then tell everyone you MADE IT FROM SCRATCH - frosting included! - and they'll be in awe.

Ready for it?  This recipe is alternatively known as "Crazy Cake" but I like my run-on sentence title better.

Crazy Cake


3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups cold water
Sift flour, sugar, salt, soda, and cocoa together into a 9 x 13 inch ungreased cake pan. Make three wells. Pour oil into one well, vinegar into second, and vanilla into third well. Pour cold water over all, and stir well with fork.
**(Sometimes I will mix the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl and follow the directions above IN THE BOWL, THEN pour the whole thing, mixed well, into the ungreased pan.  It’s a little easier to mix it well without slopping all over.  But sometimes the slop is worth it to not have to wash the bowl.  It comes out great in the end either way.)**
Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 to 40 minutes, or until tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Frost with your favorite icing.

Creamy Chocolate Frosting Recipe
2 1/2 cups Confectioners Sugar
1/2 cup Butter -- Softened
2 ounces Unsweetened Chocolate -- melted & cooled
1 teaspoon Vanilla
2 tablespoons Milk
Cream the butter with a mixer.  Add the sugar and mix well.  Add the rest of the ingredients on medium until smooth.  Add more milk as necessary.

For the record, the frosting is not usually quite as runny as it is in these pictures.  We had a small frosting issue when we last made this cake, but the good news is it tasted delicious anyway.

It's lick the plate good.  Which is more than I can say for my other forays into birthday cake making.

And, just in case, I'm leaving you with a few other deliciously delectable sweet treats - all of which would be yummy for a birthday party.  Or any day, really.  

Lemon Lava Cakes  (A nice alternative for those poor, poor souls who are allergic to chocolate)
Chocolate Pudding Cakes with Caramel Sauce and Homemade Whipped Cream (horrible picture, crazy good dessert.)
Pumpkin Pie Cake  (It's not just for Thanksgiving)
Peach Kuchen

Surprise! Pie  (I'd tell you what's in it, but it's a surprise!)
Best Flan Ever  (Cinco De Mayo themed birthday?)
Lemon Cake Pie  (again with the lemon!  I'll admit: in my book, it's second only to chocolate)
Buttermilk Pie (don't let the scary picture fool you.  It's amazingly delicious.)

Because we all know my motto: Dessert is the most important meal of the day.

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Ask the Experts #1

(don't know what's going on over the next two weeks?  Read the intro here, and join the party here!

I don't know about you, but I could definitely use some help when it comes to party planning.  My parties are never anything big and elaborate, and even though I actually like keeping them small and intimate, a little advice from those who know better than I never hurts!  Therefore, I've asked some of my blog buds to help me out.  I asked each of them:
What tips, tricks and advice do have for making your parties successful and (potentially) less stressful?
And now I'm going to share their answers with YOU!  You better pay attention too, because these guys are good.  

Periodically throughout the next two weeks I'll share a post with party advice from three different "experts" along with my introduction and any notes or thoughts I've got (which you'll find in italics)- not that those are super important but it IS my blog after all and you know I've got to put my two cents in...  (on a side note, in every response I got to my inquiry, the very first thing every one of these bloggers said was 'I'm no expert, but...' which means they are either a) lying, b) very modest, or c) actually not experts, but I think they are.  Just wanted to clarify)  


Today I am pleased to introduce you to Jessica Sykes, Ashley Sisk and Athena!

Jessica blogs over on Two Shades of Pink.  She's kind of a regular here on bugaboo, mini, mr & me.  She is my go to source for DIY parties.  She's creative, frugal and detail-oriented.  Her style is pretty, somewhat vintage, and delicate.  If you check out her blog, you'll stay for hours.  Guaranteed.  

(My favorite party from Jessica's blog.  It's a Picnic birthday party for her two girls!  Everything is DIY, and adorable AND she shares all the tutorials.)

I love, love, love planning parties.  But one thing I have learned is that what is in my head is never what is executed.  So a few things I have learned over the years have helped me immensely in making party planning easier.
1.  DIY and use what you have or what you can get on the cheap. I find that DIY parties are less expensive if you do it right! For example:  for a table centerpiece I've used a row of metal cans (crushed tomatoes), painted them and used baby's breath and greenery.  Simple and so pretty.
2.  A thoughtful touch is to always individually wrap utensils.  Just tie them together with pretty ribbon.  It makes such a difference!
3.  Create a checklist as soon as you send invites out to keep you on track. Menu, names, emails and numbers of people who want to help, Favors, Decorations, Activities, etc.  And under each category, list what still needs to be purchased or borrowed.  I like to put stores next to each item where I know I can pick it up so if I can pick a few from each category at the same store, I already have it on my list. And a schedule of events. Don't make it too rigid but at least know when food will be served, activities, gifts, etc will happen.  It will run much smoother with even a rough schedule.
4.  I am an old fashioned girl and love paper invitations.  But our world is changing so fast with technology that it is hard not to use a great resource like evite or punchbowl.  But you can use both: use a paper invitation but then send a reminder email to all invitees about an RSVP.  That way your guests can respond immediately if the pretty invitation got stuck under a pile of junk mail.
5.  Buy your food and make it LOOK homemade.  You can buy a veggie platter but make a homemade dip. Buy a fruit platter but put them on skewers.   Artful presentation is everything!
6.  Individual servings make all things cute. I have been doing this for awhile (and it makes me sad that pinterest makes me feel less original (boo)) but think ice cream in mason jars, french toast sticks in cups of syrup, yogurt parfaits, mini kabobs, fruit on a stick.  And you can make a "bar" out of anything.  Popcorn bar, pancake bar, sundae bar, cupcake bar, pizza bar.  You name can make a "build your own" bar out of it.  It makes a party super fun.
7. Make your printer your BFF.  There are so many free or inexpensive printables out there and you can sometimes find free complete party kits like cupcake wrappers, cupcake picks, labels, etc. It makes a party look custom and thoughtfully planned.  
8.  A DIY photobooth is so trendy right now but so EASY.  Just a sheet or tablecloth backdrop and a digital camera and some fun props.  Perfect for any party and you can always designate someone as your photographer.
9.  Set a budget, shop your house, and borrow as much as possible!  Oh, Jane has a beverage dispenser!  Mike has a tripod! Aunt Bea has those serving dishes that would be perfect!  You get the idea. ;)
10.  KIDS! I have thrown several kid's parties and here are some of my themes where every activity centered around the theme...Ice Cream Social (build your own sundae), a Bake & Make Party (decorated their own personalized aprons, decorated sugar cookies, and made candy jewelry), Picnic Party (Pack your own picnic basket), A Fairy and Pirate Party (scavenger hunt for fairy houses that had treasures in them).

(Favors from the Fairy and Pirate Party)
(What did I tell you?  Amazing, right?  I love it all, but I really love number 5.  I mean, duh, right?  How often do I stress over making all my food and then trying to get it all done and set up and looking perfect?  I probably spend as much money on all the ingredients to do everything myself as I would just buying a tray of sandwiches and then inserting my own cute sandwich picks and setting them out on an adorable tray. This is why I need Jessica - so she can open my eyes to the easy, cute and DOABLE.  She JUST posted ideas from a baby shower too!)

Next up, Ashley Sisk.  Ashley has one of the prettiest and most fun photography blog around, Ramblings and Photos.  I've been following her for almost as long as I've been blogging, and I love to join in her Scavenger Hunt Sundays.  She also keeps a running list with many other photo challenges you can join in on.  It was definitely her blog that made my own photography better, so you should probably thank her since you are no longer subjected to the horrid photos you see in my earliest posts.

(There's a lot of eye candy on Ramblings and Photos.  I just picked a few of my recent favorites!)
The only experience I have is planning my wedding a few years ago. At the time, I found that building a spreadsheet to keep up with all the details was really useful. I could track guests, addresses and gifts received in a neat and organized fashion. The other advice I can offer is to recognize your own limitations and outsource the rest. I've watched other people try their best to do it all and they get extremely overwhelmed. If you have the resources, hire someone to prepare food or ask a friend/family member to help. Very few people will offer help unless they've asked, so just ask. 

(Another vote for keeping a spreadsheet!  I'm definitely doing that next time.  Also, what a good reminder to just ask when we need something... no one can do it all!)

And finally, Athena.  Athena blogs at The Stuff of Success and has great posts about everything from cute everyday life moments, to craft with kids, to clever solutions and ideas.  You'll see what I mean below.

I would by no means consider myself a party planner.  But here are some things that I have done:

I've done party favors with toilet paper tubes.
I make paper flower centerpieces or paper hats with the paper flowers attached to them.
When I would have parties for little girls I would make a bunch of tulle tutus - nice and easy and relatively quick.  Use them as a theme for a princess party!
I often make these for spill proof drinking and allow the children to each bring their own home.
Pipe Cleaner Lollipops - used as centerpieces or just to entertain the kids. 

(I can't believe those are TP tubes!  They'd be cute party favors for ANY party - not just for kids. Or even just gift wrap!  The flowers don't require any glue or anything!  That's super exciting, what could be easier?  I've seen a lot of "Sweet Shop" themed kids' parties lately and wouldn't this make a cute decoration or even craft for the kids to do and then take home?)

Hope you've picked up some inspiration and ideas for your next soiree! 

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!
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