possible ahead of time. This is our 3rd time hosting a party of this scale and by this time, I got a few things down pat. I also wanted this year to go as seamless as possible so I decided to order food
rather than making everything or having my husband stand at the grill the entire day. It was a bit more money, but it was worth keeping our sanity and at the end of the day, I think we spent roughly $100.00 more on the food than we would have if we cooked ourselves. We also decided to rent tables and chairs so we wouldn’t be calling everyone and there mother to borrow their tables and chairs (we
invited 60 people) and this proved to be a smart move as well because we organized the lay out the night before.
I also decided I wanted to make balloon garland and I was able to do that the day before. The balloons I got were from Party City for about $9.00 (think there were about 50 balloons in the package) and I used twine from Michael’s that was about $3.00. I also bought a balloon pump from the Dollar Store for $1.00 and got to work. The hardest part was keeping the twine from getting tangled but as you can see it turned out really cute and I made a pattern with the colors instead of going the haphazard way.
BERENSTAIN BEARS GARLAND:
I was unsure about the main force of decorations that I wanted to do for the overall feel of the party, so I was able to take to Pinterest and find an idea basically about additional garland. I asked a family member who worked at the library to color copy Berenstain Bear book pages. She did the printing both front and back. I used a serrated scissor and cut multiple squares into the pages. I hole punched two holes in the tops of each square and then stringed them through with more twine. Again something I did way in advance. This cost nothing since I had an insider at the library and
had already bought the necessary twine for the balloon garland. I didn’t really know where I was going with this garland, but I made 3 very, very long garlands so I would have plenty to work with when I started decorating. My family member also give me some extra full sheets of regular sized paper with some book covers which ended up coming in handy when I started to think about the execution of decorations for the day off.
BOOK COVERED FOAM RECTANGLES:
I wanted to use the BB garland on the two main tables, the photo table and the food table. I got wooden dowels again from Michael’s- 6 dowels for 2 or 3 dollars and I also got green foam rectangles from Michael’s for about 3 or 4 dollars. I covered the foam rectangles with the full sheet of BB covers like I was wrapping a birthday gift (actually my mom helped with this, and was very nice and neat, something I am absolutely not good at). We put the dowels into the BB covered foam rectangles and strung the BB garland from one to the next in the length of the two tables. Then! Alas! A foil in the
plan! The foam rectangles could not hold up the garland and the dowels. We tossed around multiple ideas to make it work and in retrospect I think I might have used sand filled mason jars to hold the dowels up, but at this point the day before I couldn’t fathom going out again and starting over (down side to the mason jars was if someone bumped into the table it could become quite a spill!).
So we decided we would have to tape the rectangles to the tablecloths. Basically we taped them down and pulled tape from the rectangles to the bottoms of the tables. Yes it wasn’t the greatest look I was going for, but it got the job done! I also strung the BB garland in front of the two tables for another cute look. I also lined the tables our guest were sitting at with the BB garland on 2 tables and rainbow streamer on the other 2 tables for a unique look.
HONEY POT CENTERPIECES & BEEHIVE PINATA:
For the table centerpieces I had to get creative as well. I was able to find little brown buckets from Michael’s that were about 5 bucks each (I purchased 5) and used foam colorful letters to put on
the buckets that said “HONEY” (ya know bears eat honey, ok I stole the idea from a little bit of Pooh but I was pulling at straws here!) Then I decided to fill each bucket with yellow popcorn to signify the honey. Some people got it, some not, but I thought it was cute. I put each bucket on top of honeycomb scrap book sheets and decorated with bumble bees and bear foot prints. I attached a helium balloon to each bucket. To further the whole honey/bee theme I also bought a bee hive piñata off Esty.com. It cost about $30. I could have made it but again with keeping with the easy mentality, I just wanted to leave that effort to someone who knows how to do it.
"WELCOME TO BEAR COUNTRY" SIGN:
My final project was a sign that said, “Welcome to Bear Country.” I bought a flat tree slab with bark edging from Michael’s for around $9.00. The actual title of it is, “walnut hollow® basswood country round®” I also used my foam lettering from Michael’s to spell out the wording. Again I used the bear foot prints to decorate around the sign and purchased a stand and it came out really cute. I put the sign on the photo table and it had a nice touch.
Also, we ordered a “treehouse cake” from ShopRite and I was absolutely ecstatic with how it turned
out!! The top part of the tree were cupcakes and then went into cake. It was a big hit of the party and only cost $45.00 and fed 45 people with extra. So thrilled with it.
Each year that I do a birthday party I like to display different photos of the various stages. My sister made scrap books for both the kids for their first year of life so I always display those. My mother in law makes a poster collage that basically shows 12 different pictures from that year as well, so I display those. I also pick out pictures that I have displayed around my house and I put my wedding album because we got married on my first son’s actual first birthday. I just think displaying photos and albums has an extra touch and I love showing them off.
Also as an extra surprise for my hubby, I decided to finally change my last name from my maiden name to his and my boy’s last name. We have been married 3 years and I have been holding
tight to my maiden name (1. Because I love it and 2. My dad passed away and has only daughters, so I was concerned of that name not carrying on and 3. My husband’s sister happens to be Jessica as well so we would have had the same name, but she got married almost a year ago so I couldn’t really use that excuse anymore.) but I know my husband really wanted me to change it, though he would
only make jokes about it. So towards the end of the party, I gave him a card and put “p.s. I am officially a ______” His reaction was so genuine that I knew I had made the right decision. I
have given him many gifts in the 8 years we have been together, but I have never seen him that happy before in terms of reacting to gifts. My friend caught the happy moment on video, see below.
In terms of decorations for the party, I was definitely satisfied with how everything turned out. I realized that creating the theme and executing it was a lot of fun for me, but damn was it a lot of work, but at the end of the day, my kids were thrilled and that is really all that matters and if they come up with another obscure theme going forward I know what I am in for.
Also, please enjoy this collage on my 4 year old. I cannot believe I actually HAVE a 4 year old. Blessed
to put it mildly!