Saturday, March 2, 2013

Dr. Seuss Summer Celebration

My friend Kimberly and I wanted to have an ice cream and pool party to celebrate the first day of summer.  We are both huge Dr. Seuss fans so we thought that would be a fun theme for our party. 

The party was at Kimberly's house.
She decorated the walkway to her door with some really cute chalk drawings.

Since Dr. Seuss books are so bright and colorful they made the perfect decorations.  We also decorated with some stuffed animals I have collected over the years. 

We had a little craft for the kids to do before we headed outside for ice cream and swimming.  They each decorated a drink koozie with their name.  We were serving bottled water so we thought this was a great way to keep track of the bottles and make a craft at the same time.

I found a really cute free Dr. Seuss printable party on WC Designs
I used some of it to make this banner.

We served chocolate and vanilla ice cream with all the topping.  Instead of bowls we used cups that Kimberly decorated with tape to look the the Cat in the Hat's hat.  They we much easier than bowls for little hands to hold.  We also had snack mix with "one fish two fish red fish blue fish" crackers.

We had more books and stuffed animals outside on the deck.

The kids loved the bubble machine.  

We made lots of cute signs with cardstock and pages of Dr. Seuss' books.  We also used some clipart .

 This was my favorite sign.  It was hanging on the door as people left at the end of the party.

We all had so much fun.  After the kids ate their ice cream and got all sticky they got to jump in the pool.  They swam and played for hours which was great considering that they had just filled up on ice cream!

Dad's 60th

My dad's 60th birthday party was a joint effort between my sister Katie and I.  It wasn't an easy feat considering that I live in TX and she lives in MA where the party was going to be held.  Trying to find a party theme for an adult male was kind of hard.  Everything we found was about wine or hot pink.  We finally came up with black and white with a little lime green and zebra mixed in.  In the end we loved the colors.

We started months in advance.  We had this bright idea to make 8 flavors of cupcakes.  I mean we can bake pretty well, but we are in no way professionals and had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  We tried to think of my dad's favorite flavors and somehow incorporate them into a cupcake.  After some trial and error with cupcake, filling and icing recipes we came up with some pretty good cupcakes. 

Katie tested and perfected the Maple Walnut, Pina Colada, Margarita and Chocolate Amaretto.  I don't have any photos of hers.  Here are some pictures of my test subjects...  The party was two years ago so I'm not sure of the recipes that we used.  If I find them I'll add them to the post.  I am pretty sure I gained 5 pounds during the cupcake trials!

Chocolate espresso cake with espresso mascarpone filling and chocolate espresso frosting.  These will keep you up all night!

Yellow cake mixed with cranberries and pistachios topped with white chocolate liquor frosting dipped in chopped pistachios.  I made a cranberry simple syrup and brushed it over the cupcake to keep it moist and add flavor before icing them.

Coconut cake with bits of chocolate and almonds, topped with marshmallow frosting.  The frosting was a mess, but with a little tweaking we found a way to make these for the party.

My favorite!  Tiramisu.  These were so good.  They look kind of flat, but that's how they are supposed to be.  There isn't that much frosting.  The cake is the star.

 Here is my total disaster...  I think they were supposed to be butter pecan.  They tasted good, but they were a sticky mess.  They didn't make it to the party.

Here are my finished trial cupcakes.  The ones with the coconut on top were the same almond joy ones but with coconut instead of chocolate.

My next project was a giant ribbon backdrop.  We hung pictures of my dad though the years all over it and hung it behind the food table.  It took a lot of ribbon.  I pinned all the hanging pieces to the top piece and then sewed all the way across 3 times.

We collected lots of pictures of our dad to add to the ribbon.  We also filled in some spaces with some sayings and 60's printed on cardstock

I bought this thin paper photo album at Hobby Lobby.  I removed the pink ribbon and all the pages.  I made a template on photoshop and printed it on all the pages to make it into a guest book.  When I put it all back together I used lime green ribbon instead.

Here are the pages.  It was fill in the blank with their name and memories with my dad.  We left a box in the center of the page.  At the party we took pictures of each person with my dad.  Katie had the pictures printed and put the final book together for him.  It was a great keepsake.

While I worked on a few of the craft projects in TX Katie was in MA planning, shopping for the food and getting her house ready for the party. 

I flew to MA with my husband and two boys.  They spent the first day at a hotel hiding so that my dad didn't happen to see them.  Us being there was part of the surprise.  I got to her house late 2 nights before the party.  We worked on a few things and then slept for a few hours.  We got up early in the morning, baked cupcakes all day and made the cake.  We wanted to put a small zebra cake on top of the cupcake display. We managed to fit 60 candles in top.  It turned out really cute.
We had lots of guests so we made lots of food.  The hit of the night was our trio of skewers.  The first were caprese skewers with tomato, basil, fresh mozzarella and balsamic vinaigrette   The second ones were pasta salad skewers with tortellini, jack cheese, salami, black olives, green peppers and pesto sauce.  The final ones were Antipasto with marinated artichokes and mushrooms, green olives stuffed with blue cheese, capricola and roasted red peppers.  The other dishes were shrimp cocktail sweet and sour smoked sausage, marmalade meatballs, marinated olives, baked feta with pita and crackers and a veggie platter with dip.  
We also had Brie and raspberry rolls, filet minon bites, scallops in bacon, mini crabcakes, southwest eggrolls, We decided not to do any additional desserts to make sure that everyone ate the cupcakes.

Along with soda and water we served Sangria and Moscow Mule.

We wanted out guest to know exactly what was in each cupcake. We made sticks with paper circles to put on each one. The front had birthday sayings and the back had the flavor.  We had a sign on the table that gave a description of the flavors.  We also noted which flavors contained alcohol.  Then we made this frame that described each one.  This isn't the best picture, but the frame said Life is Sweeter at 60.

Our cupcake flavors were Almond Joy, Tirami-pseudo, Espresso, Pistachio,
Maple Walnut, Pina Colada, Margarita and Chocolate Amaretto.

We found some cute zebra print paper bags to use for the favors.  We made homemade caramel corn with chocolate drizzle and almonds.

Our dad was so surprised, and he loved everything.   All of his family
and friends came to celebrate, and it was a great night.

  We were so exhausted when it was over, but glad that it all turned out ok.