07 August 2011

a polka dot 2nd birthday party

my daughter is officially 2! she had a wonderful birthday weekend... her actual birthday was on a friday. my husband took the day off and we planned a day around a visit to southwick's zoo in mendon, ma. she LOVES animals so i thought this would be perfect. my husband did some research and picked this particular zoo because it also has rides. of course, after we got there and bought $20 worth of tickets, we realized our daughter was a little small for pretty much all of the rides - most of them had a height requirement (she's very petite) and didn't allow parents to ride with them. so, she was able to do the pony ride, we all went on a train ride "safari" and then we gave the rest of our tickets away to a random family on the way out.

look, a monkey!

her birthday party was on a saturday. here were the details...

the indoor playground in watertown, ma. our family lives in a small 2-bedroom condo and we didn't want to impose on our in-law's again (we had her 1st birthday there and they are gracious hosts and have the best yard for a BBQ) or worry about the weather for an outdoor party so the indoor playground was perfect. it's 5 minutes away from our house, has a MILLION toys for all ages (including a bouncy house), it's pretty affordable (with several ad-on options like face-painting or having a character, etc...) and they allow you to bring in whatever you want for outside food (of course we ordered pizzas and calzones from the italian restaurant i work at). 

last year it was a sock monkey theme. this year, i kept it simple - i just chose a color palette and based everything around that. i chose my current color obsession - navy blue (just take a peek in my closet) and to make it more girly, paired with hot pink. then, since it's me, LOTS of polka dots...

after it rained for weeks and weeks (it felt like!), the sun finally came out. so i put luciana in a hot pink dress and took her outside for a photo shoot. there were so many great shots that i had to make the invite 2-sided!



i knew i wanted the birthday girl to be comfortable and i knew i wanted her to wear a shirt with a 2 on it. i just happened to go into carters and for the first time ever, found exactly what i was looking for. the perfect skirt - navy with hot pink polka dots. just like the invites! i swear, i didn't subconsciously see this before i did the invitation design...

i wasn't finding a shirt for her that i liked so i ended up making my own. i used a plain white t-shirt and printable iron-on transfer paper to add my design. (i LOVE iron-on transfer paper - stay tuned for a post just on that!). i even made one for my husband and me.


 you can kind of see the whole ensemble here. this is when she realized everyone was singing to HER...

also, this was the dress she wore on her actual birthday (from target) for her trip to the zoo.

i don't know how i found 2 outfits that were within the theme (and again, matched her invites!) but i really lucked out!

i guess the end of july is the height of school supply shopping season so i decided on art supplies. everything was on sale! the sketchbooks were the splurge (at $2.20 each) but all of the other items included (package of crayons, watercolor paint, stickers) were $1.00 or less each. then i wrapped them in cellophane bags meant for wrapping baskets (from a local party supply store) and secured them using 2 1/2 inch round stickers i designed and printed (sticker sheets from paper source).


yeah, i caved and gave away candy too. in small, separate packages so parents could chose whether or not to take them.

the (cup)cake:
i was having a hard time deciding between a cake, cupcakes or cake pops (super trendy and super hard to make). so i left it up to my husband. he (very decisively) picked cupcakes. so, that's what we went with. 

i didn't want to make myself crazy with fondant, etc... so i just went simple - chocolate cake with chocolate frosting or fun-fetti cake with vanilla frosting, both with rainbow sprinkles (the itsy-bitsy ball ones, i forget what they're called). i did find cupcake wrappers in navy blue and hot pink with white polka dots - i couldn't resist. the stand is the 4-tier stacked dessert tower by wilton. for only $20 it was probably cheaper than making my own and cost the same as those flimsy, decorate-your-own, one-use paper ones. i had brought ribbon to decorate the edges (with double-sided tape so i could easily take it off), but i got to the party and had to set up the stand with the cupcakes as quickly as possible so i left it off. 

i created "happy birthday luciana" using 1 1/4 inch circle stickers (sheets also from paper source) and popsicle sticks (from any arts and craft or party supply store). i made a bunch with just the number 2 and stuck them on the cupcakes in the back.

we also had hoodsies (no ice cream scoops required - yay!). 

detail (notice how even the candles are coordinated!):

miscellaneous decor
i mixed and matched navy blue and hot pink plates and napkins.

i had bought sheets of 1 1/4 circle stickers in navy and hot pink and never used them for anything so i ended up decorating the plain cups i had purchased to make them polka dot!

the after party
the immediate family ended up back at my in-law's house for a BBQ. water toys were set up for the kids (kiddie pool, slip-n-slide, sprinkler) and the adults were able to relax a little while watching the kids play.

this is me with the birthday girl (pic taken by me):

this is us from her birthday party last year (photos from my SUPER talented cousin, alyssa):

it's crazy how the time just flies! before i know it, i'm going to be planning her 3rd birthday!