Bowlero Arcadia -- Fun For Everyone!

Bowlero Arcadia -- Fun For Everyone!

Bowlero is exactly the place you didn’t even know you’ve been looking for. Need a new idea for a date-night or day date? This is it. If you’re looking for somewhere to take the kids and get them out of the house during the week or on the weekend, this is it. Been searching for a fun place to host a party? Bowlero will definitely make for a memorable event.

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Much Needed Mom's Night Out #NMNO15

I received free products in order to host the National Mom's Nite Out party. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Confession: I have never had a Mom's Night Out. Ever. My best friend is not a mom and I must admit, I like going out with her because, I can talk about my kids as much as I want, and I don't have to hear about hers. Is that bad? Anyway, I don't have many Mom friends in real life, but when I was selected to host a National Mom's Nite Out I was really excited. And to my surprise, when I texted a few of my Mom friends, they were excited too! 

All the goodies you see above were sent in this big box of fun for everything you need for a fun Mom's Nite Out, including: 

  • MyPrintly Wine Glass painting craft pack (12 wine glasses and Tulip paints)
  • Mom's Night Out DVD
  • Mom's Nite Out cocktail shaker and drink mix
  • Goody Bags stuffed with HP Photo Card Packs, MyPrintly candy favors, Bicycle® Cocktail Party playing cards
  • Popcorn, Cheez-Its, Chex Mix, and Pepperidge Farm Cookies

Check out the trailer to Mom's Night Out


, it's hilarious! I love Sarah Drew from Grey's Anatomy and I loved her in this movie. It's just a good time. Trust me, find it and watch it. 

So, thanks to MyPrintly I was able to print these cute photo booth props to have fun with. I didn't want to cut the centers out of those glasses, which made for a hilariously difficult blind selfie session... with my Mom. 

I loved the popcorn boxes that I found on MyPrintly and immediately "Popcorn Bar" came to mind. So I popped a big bowl full of popcorn and brought in some extra goodies to add in. I mean M&M's, pretzels and Boston Baked Beans can't hurt right?  

Our big party box was pretty heavy with these 12 wine glasses inside and once I found the tulip paint I knew it was going to be a fun activity. We were all able to chit chat about life while sipping on some wine and let some of our creativity flow. 

I thought it was fun to see what everyone came up with and after a few minutes of over-thinking, we all just went for it. Our very own personalized wine glass along with a goody bag was such a cool treat for everyone to take home. 

I love this little group of Mom's right here. It's hard to pull ourselves out of our everyday routine and take time for ourselves, but I really hope I can do this more often. Honestly, it's just good for our mental status, because I know all of these Mom's can go a little crazy sometimes. I am a mom to two girls only 18 months apart, my sister-in-law has a 5 year old son and a 2 year old daughter, my friend Roxanne has 3 year old TWINS (check out her blog


) and my oldest friend Afra has a 13 year old son, 5 year old daughter and 1 year old baby boy. So, yeah our hands are pretty full. 

Thank you so much to all of you who came to my #NMNO15 party and thank you




for all of the fun goodies. 

A Sky Zone Birthday! (Deal Inside!)

If you know me at all, you know I love parties. I get to go crazy twice a year for my daughter's birthdays and the past 5 years have been a lot of fun. But, I knew the day would come when my girls would want to celebrate somewhere other than their backyard. I'm okay with that because there are some super fun places to host parties now, and not just those old fashioned pizza parlors. 
I am excited about hosting a party at Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Park, here are a few good reasons why having a party at Sky Zone is a great idea. 
  • Something new and different, not the same ol' cake, ice cream and pinata. 
  • No set up or clean up! Yes!
  • 1 hour of non-stop fun means exhausted kids and 2 hours sounds even better!

Let the team members at Sky Zone take care of everything for you as your party SOARS above all others on our patented, all-trampoline, walled playing courts. Maximize your FUN and create a truly memorable experience with one of these out-of-this-world party packages: Double Your Jump Time! For a limited time only when you book your child's birthday party at Sky Zone, you get double the jump time! That's 2 hours of Wall-to-Wall fun!
Click here to get the deal. Available at Covina, Riverside and Van Nuys locations. 

Let's Go Bring Back Summer- Frozen Birthday!

My daughter, like most little girls asked for a Frozen birthday party this year. Actually, we weren't sure if we were going to be able to have the party because of some health scares in the family around the time of her birthday, so this party was planned in one week!
Decorations and treats are my favorite part of any party. So, my last minute decorations came in the form of posters and giant snowflakes! The treats were fun too! Since it was the middle of the summer I made sure to have blue raspados (sno-cones) to help keep everyone cool. 
We also had frosted krispy treats with snowflake toppers, chocolate dipped pretzel sticks, cupcakes, and my famous rosettes. 
Those snowflakes you see above are a family tradition passed down to me by my grandma Aurora. She would make them every Christmas, and before she passed on, she taught me how to make them and now I make them every year for our family. They taste like a powdered sugar covered funnel cake. 
Our little Elsa felt so special in her dress and crown. 
This was the dessert table.
And a close up of all of the goodies and posters. 
I got really lucky with my last minute party. For the middle of July, we had a perfect 78 degrees day! It was overcast and had a breeze and luckily, we did not melt. At every party of mine, I try to transform our backyard to match the theme, this was no different. With the help of my dad, we draped the patio in blue and purple and hung giant paper snowflakes covered in glitter all around. I tried to make sure even if it wasn't cold, it was going to appear cold. 
Here I had some favors for the kids and treats for the movie. Crowns, Glow Sticks, Popcorn, and Cotton Candy always help a last minute party get going. 
Singing Happy Birthday to the Birthday Girl!
These are just a handful of the kids at the party, when these 4 year old little girls get together, it get's pretty loud!
With a house full of kids, you've got to have a pinata! 
Once the sun began to set, everyone found a spot on the lawn, laid out a blanket and grabbed some popcorn to get ready for the movie. Everyone was so excited and most of the kids had never seen an outdoor movie before, this was a first. 
Photo Courtesy of Laura Chavez
 So how much more perfect can a Summer birthday party get? Well, how about adding an outdoor movie?! I know everyone had seen Frozen already, and most of the kids had seen it a hundred times. But that's what made it most exciting! All the kids singing along and having a great time, made for amazing memories for everyone. 
If you are interested in having an outdoor movie for your next event, I recommend Fun Flicks. They were so great and helped make this party so much fun. Our helper showed up early to set up the screen, projector and speakers and while we all waited for the sun to set even more, he set up the popcorn machine! 
Thanks Fun Flicks for adding such a fun time to the party, find them on their Facebook

Shirley Temple Vintage Valentine 1st Birthday Party

Yes! This party was featured by the amazing Kara's Party Ideas!

Oh, do I have a party for you?! We just celebrated my niece Emma's 1st birthday with a Shirley Temple Vintage Valentine theme. My Sister-in-Law Tricia started thinking about her daughter's 1st birthday, probably by the time she was 3 months old.  You can never plan too much, and this proves that, this party was beautiful. Check out the details and feel free to Pin away.
The invitation began with this beautiful dress created by Lover Dovers for her birthday photo shoot. I took the picture and added a the info for the insert and my Sister-in-Law assembled the adorable enclosure that included ribbon, lace, and a picture of Shirley Temple.
The birthday party took place only a few days after actress Shirley Temple passed away. It seemed like a way to honor her early film career because she was on the minds of  a lot of the guests. It was nice though, as the guests looked at all of the movie posters we had, they were able to share their memories of Shirley Temple.

This was the front door and entry to the party.
The dessert table featured beautiful pictures of the birthday girl and lots of cookies and candies. The naked birthday cakes were also front and center on this table. The birthday poster I designed was the centerpiece and it highlighted all of Emma's favorite things from her first year.
Here is a close up of the birthday poster I created. So beautiful right? I love it! 
My Sister-in-Law thought of everything and as you walked outside you were definitely in for a treat.
 Here is a photo of the make your own Shirley Temple drink table. This was great, it was a sunny 80 degree day in Southern California and this drink was definitely refreshing. 
Here is the Birthday girl enjoying the pool filled with balls.
 This was the favor table. On top you can see some of the favorite family photos of Emma, followed by a photo timeline of Emma at every month of her first year. The favors were hand painted  personalized jewelry boxes for the girls, and vintage toys for the boys. Each child also took home a box of animal crackers. 
Vintage Boys Favors
Girls Favors
 This was the tea party that was set up on a kids table for the little ones to play with. Behind you can see the Shirley Temple movie posters I printed and the garland. 
 A few photos of Shirley Temple were placed on the main table as well. 
The Kids Craft Table was so much fun for both the kids and adults. It kept the kids occupied for a lot of the party, which was a treat for the parents. The kids had fun painting, gluing, drawing, coloring and making beaded necklaces. 
Fun at the craft table.
Here is a close up of the garland and movie posters.
 ...more of the garland that was hung around the patio as well.
 Daddy's girl. 

 All of the girls had a great time at Emma's birthday. The birthday girl insisted on joining all of the big girls at the tea party table.
 The garland consisted of paper fans, hearts, doilies and paper dresses.
 A close up of the decor for the birthday girl's highchair. 
The birthday girl highchair with her personalized name banner.
The happy family celebrating Emma's very 1st birthday.  
Great job Tricia! You created a beautiful and memorable sweet 1st birthday for Emma. Thank you for letting me help and be a part of it. 

Nerd Hello Kitty 5th Birthday Party

My little girl is growing up so fast. She just turned 5 years old. It's kind of a big birthday and when I asked her what kind of party she wanted, she said Hello Kitty. I have to admit I wasn't thrilled, all I pictured was lots of red and store bought supplies.
 But then I realized, I could change it up however I wanted. So, I decided to go with the "Nerd Hello Kitty" and I kinda loved the teal, red and white combo. So, that was it. I made most everything myself and on a very very low budget. Keep on reading for the details. 
 This is the invite I created for Lacey's 5th birthday. I added a picture from each year of her life, to show how much she's grown and changed. (Wah! Yes, I teared up as I created it.)
The dessert table came out just how I envisioned! Most supplies were made with what I had at home and with my handy dandy Cricut machine and Hello Kitty cartridge. I cut out all of the letters and the cupcake toppers with that wonderful machine, I kinda love it. 
This frame I made was a last minute project that I was really happy with. I was so happy to find the perfect teal tissue paper and once I started framing Lacey's picture, I knew it needed a big red bow! 
Lacey got to go to Build-a-Bear for the very first time on her actual birthday as a gift from her Grandma Maricela and Aunt Tricia. She chose this Hello Kitty and so I thought it would be fitting that she be one of the guests of honor at the party. 
The dessert table included my first attempt at chocolate covered pretzel sticks, (which were delicious by the way) powdered donuts, red velvet cookies, red velvet puppy chow, and of course the cupcakes. 
I drew Nerd glasses on some of the Hello Kitty's. It's like a little Nerd Hello Kitty army. 
These were the centerpieces I made using money banks I found at the Dollar Store and little wooden Hello Kitty's that I colored from JoAnn's Fabric dollar section. I cut out circles, five's and Lacey's name and hot glued them all together. These work best when you anchor them and when there is no wind to topple them over. We had a bit of a breeze that day, so we had to stand them up a few times. But, other than that, I liked them a lot! 
One of the things I have a love/hate relationship with at kid's parties, are the games. I always want to do a craft table, but my husband always talks me out of it since the kids are still kind of young and would need a lot of assistance (which would suck for the parents). And, I love how much fun the kids have when playing games, but ugh, it is so much work to get them to listen and participate and yell over everyone. I always end up with a headache, but whatever, Lacey requested games, so games were played. We did "Pin the Bow on Hello Kitty" and musical chairs.
The party favors. I searched high and low for "Nerd glasses" on a budget. I was hoping to pay $1 a piece and totally lucked out! I almost walked out of Party City with Neon Sun Glasses that I was going to spray paint and punch out the lenses. Then I found the 50's party section, and there, I found "Buddy Holly" style glasses. Perfect! 
Oh and I really wanted to make headbands with Hello Kitty ears and Red Bows for all the girls. They were super easy and affordable, you can check out that post here.
 When Lacey said she wanted a Hello Kitty party, one of the first things I envisioned was putting a giant Red Bow on the house. Second, I wanted to make giant Nerd Glasses to go over the windows or eyes, but unfortunately, that didn't pan out, but I added them to the house anyway. Cute right?!
I made this frame out of a $1 poster board, scraps of black paper, and a piece of red felt for the bow.
Ta-da! All of the kids looked so cute! 
At each birthday party, we attempt a family photo. The one on the left is my Lacey being silly. The one on the right was the best shot. Lol! 
That's it, my lovely little Lacey is 5 years old, and by the look on her face after the pinata was smashed, I think she had a good time. 
If you have any questions about the items I made for her party, feel free to ask! 

Celebration Time {My niece Emma's Dedication day}

Our family recently celebrated a very special day in my niece Emma's life. Her dedication day is what some may see as a baptism, but it isn't. This special day was my sister-in-law and brother-in-law's way of dedicating themselves to the church and making a promise that they will raise Emma to know and love God, in front of our church community.

This is the invitation that I created for my Sister-in-law Tricia. 
(Front and Back)

Here is a close up of the verse that was included on the back. 

Me beautiful niece Emma. 
The dessert table included: Mini strawberry cupcakes, Mini chocolate cupcakes, Lemon bars, chocolate truffles, and strawberry shortcakes. 
A close up of the strawberry shortcakes. These are such a fun and easy dessert to serve at parties. Just layer cubed pound cake, cool whip and chopped strawberries. Super easy right?! 

Some pretty photos of mommy, daddy and sweet little Emma. 

The decor was very simple with just a few tissue poms in the color scheme, as well as the poster print I created with a bible verse. You can get a better view of the print, below. 
Thanks for checking out Emma's dedication day celebration. 
Feel free to contact me if you are interested in a custom print of your own! 

Lexie's 3rd Birthday {Lalaloopsy Rainbow Party}

Well, I can finally relax, Lexie's birthday is over! It was a fun party, and actually, even though I made everything, it was a toned down version of my parties. It was kinda nice to do something a little bit more low-key. Check out the deets below!
This is the invite that I created with the pictures from her 3 year old photo shoot. Lalaloopsy dolls are definitely her favorite, so the theme was a no brainer. And since she loves to sleep and she is the baby in our home, she identifies with Pillow Featherbed, she even dressed as Pillow for Halloween

So, let's get started on the decor.
This was the central table for the party. Instead of doing a "happy birthday banner" I came up with cutting out some big clouds and add the stitching that goes with LaLaloopsy. The letters are all the colors of the rainbow, and of course, I had to include all of the Loopsy dolls that the girls have to the party. 

Rainbow pops add more color to this super colorful party! 
This was a simple poster board that I painted the colors of the rainbow on with watercolors. The color scheme for the party was the colors of the rainbow: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple. (No, no indigo, I did not want to stress about finding that color)

Here is Lexie's Birthday poster. 
I like to create a poster and include their favorite items for that year of their life. It's kinda cool to see the differences and similarities as they grow. 
This is what the patio transformed into. I attached streamers and plastic tablecloths to a hula hoop and hung that from the ceiling fan. 
*My dad did most of the hard work, as always. Thanks Dad! 

The Rainbow of Tissue Poms and buttons along the table. 

My oldest daughter, my niece, and my mom. You can see the LaLaloopsy trees behind them. 
The trees! I loved them, in fact I saved them, they are now a part of the girls' room. I cut them all out, added the stitching and then added buttons to the trees. I was super pleased with them. It's always nice when I envision something and it actually works out the way I imagined.
These were my first attempt at candy wrappers. They were cute! The only thing was, I put them in the fridge to keep them from melting, and totally forgot to put them out on the table until the party was almost over. So I just walked around handing out candy to all the guests as they left.  
The favor bags, with the "Thank you" note. 
These fruit kabobs were a Rainbow themed food. They didn't photograph as well as I hoped, but they were delicious and refreshing! I also planned some more goodies that just didn't pan out. It happens to me every single time, oh well, what are you gonna do?
I was really happy with the rice krispy treats. I added some frosting, sprinkles and a cupcake topper, and voila! 
And now... on to the cake! 
My sister made the cake, of course. I made it easy for her this year and asked for something a little simpler. It was perfect! (p.s. the cake was not tilting, my table was)

We can't forget the pinata! I was so happy when I found this huge LaLaloopsy pinata downtown. I am sure I was quite a sight carrying this ginormous thing through the streets of downtown L.A, and then, trying to fit it in my backseat. Haha! But it was definitely worth it when Lexie saw it for the first time. (Oh! btw, only $12!)

The kids left with SO MUCH CANDY!! Sorry parents. :) 

That's the birthday girl back there. She loves the jumper! I always say no to a jumper for Lexie's birthday because it is in the middle of the summer. My dad always rents one anyway. This year, I had their kiddie pool filled up as well, so they went back and forth from their pool to their jumper. It worked out, they had fun!
My girls. 
Even though some of my ideas didn't pan out the way I planned, the party was a success. It was colorful and fun for the kids. And, most importantly Lexie had a great time.

*Thanks to my dad and mom for their help setting up, my sister for the cake, my husband for coloring the buttons, and sister-in-law for the photos! 

{Bridal Shower}

You know what I love about throwing parties? I love that you can change the colors and theme for every party and personalize the details for the guest of honor. This party was a bridal shower for my cousin-in-law and was put together with love from some special ladies in her life. The shower was definitely a compilation of talents from everyone involved, and it was a really lovely event. 

This is the invitation that I created for the shower, it was inserted into a complimentary green folder, and wrapped with a peach colored ribbon and buttons. 

This is the setup of the patio. I have decorated this patio several times and wanted to change it up a bit. I added white "drapes" to the patio which closed it in and made it a little bit more intimate. They looked really nice throughout the day flowing in the breeze. 
{Tip: I used $1 plastic tablecloths to create the "drapes"}

I also made the tissue poms and the peach colored bunting that surrounded the patio. 

This monogram and the fans was another project of mine, and the garland was made by a friend of the brides. I was so glad that even though we all had separate projects, they came together really nicely. 

The centerpieces were succulents in clay pots with twine and buttons for added detail. 

We used a burlap runner down the center of the tables. 
This is a close up of the other garland made by a friend of the Bride. 

Another beautiful addition to the decorations was this window treatment created by a cousin of the Bride. It was so pretty and delicate and really added such a soft touch to the room. 

Here is a close up of the flowers and leaves. 

And now... the food! 

Yes, a very good friend brought Porto's. If you don't know Porto's, it is a Cuban style bakery and cafe, and their food is pretty delicious. We had meat empenadas, guava pastries and their famous potato balls.  

I made my yummy Ramen Salad! {You can find the recipe here}

Yum! The bride's best friend brought these delicious ham and cheese sliders. 

You can't go wrong with a fruit platter.
Vegetables with hummus and Bruschetta made by the cousin of the bride.  

Sangria and wine goes so perfectly with adorable striped paper straws. 

And how beautiful does this fruit infused water look? Well it tasted as yummy as it looks and was so refreshing. 
OH! and the desserts!!!
Guava pastries and lemon bars

The maccarons were delicious and made by Pinda Sweets

These were almost too pretty to eat. Well, almost! 

The Bride loves gummy candy so of course the perfect favor would be a gummy candy kabob! 
Thank you ladies for allowing me to be a part of this group and part of this special moment. 

Vanellope Von Shweetz (from Wreck it Ralph) Invitations and Party Supplies

*UPDATE* Unfortunately, I am no longer taking orders for the invitations or party supplies. 

I know I am not the only Momma with kids that LOVE the movie Wreck it Ralph. I was contacted recently about doing invitations and party supplies for a Vanellope Von Shweetz birthday, and I was so excited because we have literally been watching the movie every single day! Here are some invitations and complimentary party supplies that I created. 

If you are interested in having any of these products customized for you, feel free to contact me via email or my KindaSillyMommy Facebook page.

Here are three different invitation styles. 

And here is the party package that I created for the Vanellope Von Shweetz party, including "Thank You" tags, cupcake toppers with the characters from the Sugar Rush game within the Wreck it Ralph movie, water bottle labels, and centerpieces featuring characters from Wreck it Ralph. 

Vanellope Von Shweetz centerpieces

"Thank you for making my party so Sweet!" Thank you tag.

Cupcake toppers featuring the characters from Sugar Rush.

Thanks for checking out one of my latest custom creations for a Vanellope Von Shweetz party! 

Little Apple Baby Shower

 I have been DYING to do this post on the Little Apple Baby Shower that I helped throw for my sister-in-law Tricia. So, a month before the shower, Tricia asked me, "Do you think you can make a tree for my shower?" and my answer? "Umm, sure!" 
The tree was definitely the focal point of the decorations and was a lot of fun to make. The apples on the tree were part of one of the shower games, each apple had a number 1-18, and the guests were able to write a note to baby Emma to be read on the corresponding birthday. 

Here are the invitations that I created for Tricia, they were really classy and simple. And, do you see those apples behind the invite, well because of those apples, we ate apples for a month. Those apples turned into apple fritters, apple pancakes, and apple tarts, it was actually pretty fun trying out new recipes with apples. 

The favors were these amazing Apple Cake pops made by the super talented Kristy's Cakes and Treats

This was the entryway where the Emma poster was displayed during the shower. Tricia wrote out the meaning and the history behind the family name Emma and I designed and printed the poster for her. The poster now hangs in baby Emma's nursery.

The bunches of tissue poms display the color scheme of Red, Brown and Creme. Here, the main table is decorated with burlap for the runner on the white linen, small baskets filled with red apples, and recycled wine bottle as vases with small bunches of white flowers. 
Another view of the main table.
This angle shows the burlap bunting I made. I love burlap! It keeps making appearances at all the parties I have a hand in. It's just so neutral and simple and adds so much character. 

The sweets were such a huge part of the party as well. There was delicious Red Velvet, Chocolate and Vanilla mini cupcakes made by Pinda Sweets, and my baking contribution consisted of mini-apple tarts and mini cheescakes. Oh yes! Super delicious mini desserts. 

The favorite is always Red Velvet. 
How cute are the little added pieces with "Baby Emma" on them? 
More Desserts...

My mini apple tarts were really simple, which made me really happy, considering I made them late the night before the shower. (I can not seem to find the recipe I pinned)
Mini Cheesecakes 
I bought mini pie crusts in the tins and then used the Philly 3-step Cheesecake recipe
Super Easy! But Shh.. don't tell anyone!

 I loved the way the kitchen hutch was so easily transformed into a mini dessert bar.  

And finally, the happy mom-to-be Tricia. It was such a beautiful day and I am so blessed to have been a part of it. 
And, here is my beautiful niece Emma Leighton Russell born February 15, 2013. 
(the post with the announcement I created is coming soon)

P.S. I never remember to document my projects for a DIY tutorial, this is the closest thing I have to a before and after of the tree. 

Dylan's 3rd Buzz Lightyear Birthday Party

 This past weekend we celebrated my nephew Dylan's 3rd birthday. Dylan loves Toy Story and even dressed as Buzz Lightyear for Halloween, so of course his Buzz Lightyear birthday was a blast. My sister in law Tricia planned a really nice party and I was lucky enough to help out where I could.

This was the main table, which held all of the food, sweets, cake and cupcakes. The buzz poster was actually our gift to Dylan after Lexie's Jessie the Cowgirl Party and a few weeks before Dylan's party, Tricia asked if I could make some fans to help tie in some of the party colors. 
These little alien treat bags was another one of my tasks for Dylan's party. They were fun to make, and they are so fun to look at all lined up like this. It's like I can hear them saying, "Oooooooooh!"
Popcorn Bar
The popcorn bar consisted of Popcorn from Trader Joe's, M&M's, Honey roasted peanuts, and Reese's pieces. 
Another task of mine was chocolate dipping Oreo's and Rice Krispy Treats, which are always yummy! 
Buzz Lightyear to the rescue!
Dylan and his pinata! Look at that smile! 
And, the after of the pinata... The kids collecting their candies and snacks. 
The cake was amazing and delicious and made by my sister Melinda
The cake and cupcakes were vanilla cake with raspberry filling, so  so yummy!

This was before his party, Dylan wanted to get into those treat bags so badly! 

And of course, my girls managed to have a tea party in the middle of a Buzz Lightyear party.
The birthday boy blowing out his candles. 
The Russell family.
Tricia, Dylan and Bill (and baby Emma any day now)

Lacey's Garden Fairy 4th Birthday

Lacey's Garden Fairy 4th birthday has come and gone and was a lot of fun. This year I contemplated cancelling the party due to the weather being in the upper 50's (yes, I realize we are spoiled Southern Californian's). For this party I was really excited to enhance our yard and turn it into an enchanted garden filled with butterflies, large flowers, toadstools, and of course fairies. 
One day in the middle of December, I dressed Lacey in a tutu, a crown, and some wings we had from a Halloween costume and followed her around our yard with the camera on my phone. I LOVED the pictures and put together an invite to the party.  
Here is Lacey, standing in her garden looking for lost things during the treasure hunt. 

Fairies Welcome! Grab your wands! (DIY of course!) 

These are the large flowers I made out of tissue paper and the stems out of leftover Christmas wrapping paper rolls.  I had been dying to make these flowers ever since I stumbled upon this tutorial on DIY Giant paper flowers. 
I always try to decorate the arch for photos, and this time I had some large leaves cut from one of our trees, added my flowers and my homemade toadstools. The toadstools were made out of spray painted bowls, with the stems also being from our yard. 
The tables had a burlap runner with some large flowers I made out of more paper. 
A close up of the flowers I made out of tissue paper. 

One of the activities for the party was "Make your own Pixie Dust." I set up a table with some colored sand, paper for funnels, and little corked bottles for the kids to make their own sand "pixie dust."  
My girls had no idea about this activity so they were so surprised that they got to make their own pixie dust. It's been two weeks and they still walk around with their bottle shaking it at me every day
Thankfully there is always someone around to help the little ones.

The cake was AMAZING! My sister Melinda did it again! All the work she put into all the little details is insane!
"Tink" sitting on a rose was the topper and she was surrounded by flowers, butterflies, caterpillars and ladybugs. 
So So pretty right?!
A little snack mix for the kids. (M&M's, Cookie Crisp, Marshmallows,  Chocolate Teddy Grahams, and Lucky Charms)

This is a close up of the crowns and tutu's that I made for all of the girls, along with their fairy wings of course. 
The dress up station with tutu's, crowns, wings and wands. 

My girls in their fairy attire.

After all of the work and hot glue burns, this is exactly what I envisioned. The little girls feeling special wearing crowns, tutu's and fairy wings!
When I ask Lacey what her favorite part of her party was, she says, "The treasure hunt!" I put together "lost things" like buttons, shells, glass beads, wooden beads, butterflies, thimbles and paper clips and scattered them around the garden. The kids had a lot of fun searching and filling up their little bag with treasure.
My nephew Dylan won the prize for the treasure hunt, he must have found this hidden place filled with lost things. 
The girls hunting for lost things. 
I loved the large over-sized flowers. They were fun to make and so pretty to look at, they actually found a new home in my daughters' room as a garland. 
The snack table with a garland of butterflies and flowers, and a canopy out of a plastic tablecloth. 

Tinkerbell and friends pinata
My little garden fairy Lacey had an amazing time at her birthday party, weeks later, she is still talking about it. A big thank you to my sister Melinda and Adriana for all the hard work on the beautiful cake, my sister-in-law Tricia for the pictures, my dad once again for the help with setup, and to all my family who helped with food and side dishes. Love you all!

Our wedding

On our anniversary date to Buca di Beppo.
 On this day 6 years ago, Mark and I were married in front of 175 of our family and close friends. Our ceremony was beautiful and the location of our wedding was almost perfect. I always wanted to be married at night, under the stars, with lights and candles and that was what I found. Like all things, it was not without it's faults. Our wedding took place less than two miles from one of the busiest airports in the country. So, we had to deal with the occasional LOUD plane overhead. Other than that, and the crazy parking situation, the night was fun and as close to perfect as it could get. Here are some pictures of some of the details of our wedding.
This is a close up of my wedding invitation that I designed. This was in a pocket-fold, along with other cards that included the RSVP, Directions, Amenities and Additional information. This was the first invitation that I designed. 
Before the ceremony, his first time seeing me in my dress. A few moments later, we walked down the aisle to "I will be here" by Steven Curtis Chapman.
Right after the ceremony
My bridal party included my sister Melinda, my best friend Debra as my Maid of Honor and my sister-in-law Tricia. 

This is what I had in mind when searching for a venue within my budget. Who would have known that this beautiful little spot existed in Inglewood, CA. Under a gazebo, surrounded by trees, a million little lights, candles, and waterfalls... I loved it. 
After we were pronounced husband and wife, we walked up the aisle to Beautiful day by U2. (This is one of my favorite pictures.)
Our chocolate fountain was amazing and delicious!
This is the coloring book that I created for the kids at the wedding.  Along with the candy bar and chocolate fountain, these coloring books definitely kept the kids occupied. 
This CD was our favor for our guests. Mark and I love music, and it was definitely one of the things that we had in common from the beginning of our relationship. We burned 175 CD's on my laptop, and I designed the "liner notes" that included the reasons behind the songs we chose, and some of our favorite pictures.
The grooms cake was an exact replica of Mark's guitar "Jennifer."  It looked so good, some guests didn't realize it was a cake. 
Another picture of our chocolate fountain buffet.

Our wedding cake. I designed it and was so happy with the outcome. It was a super delicious carrot cake with cream cheese filling. I tried to be as non-traditional through out all aspects of planning my wedding. 
Our Candy bar was left pretty empty. We had take out boxes that said, "Love is Sweet." Unfortunately, our photographer did not really have an eye for details and I don't have pictures of our candy bar when it was filled.

The dancing was so much fun. As you may be able to tell, we had an open bar and a very energetic DJ. I would normally say, "No way!" to doing the YMCA, but everyone was having so much fun, I am so glad that I have these pictures to capture those moments. 

Lexie's 2nd Birthday Cowgirl Party

I am pleased to announce that Lexie's 2nd Birthday Cowgirl Party was a success. It was so much fun and so much work, but I like to think that this city girl pulled off a very country themed Cowgirl party. The theme was decided pretty early on this year thanks to Lexie's love of Jessie the Cowgirl from Toy Story. 
So, after a gallon of red and white paint, lots of cardboard and burlap, and a 50 mile journey with 10 bales of straw, Lexie's party was a lot of fun, and actually pretty damn close to  what I had envisioned. Here are some of the details photographed by my wonderful sister in law Tricia Russell. 
This sign was made from a pallet that I painted red and then sketched what I wanted written with chalk and then painted with white. This actually only took about an two hours, including time for the paint to dry.
The Barn doors
 I loved them! This was my idea that my dad helped me construct. It was fairly simple, we put two pieces of cardboard together, taped them and painted!
Duarte Family Ranch
All of the signs I made were cardboard that I painted. The bunting was burlap and red paper strung on twine.
The Cake
The cake was made by my sister Melinda Martinez. It was delicious! The top layer was red velvet and the bottom layer was chocolate with Bavarian cream! YUMMY!

Tissue Poms
I love tissue poms, these were actually recycled from the Berry Sweet baby shower I threw last month. It saved me tons of time this time around! 
I painted Happy Birthday Lexie onto burlap and strung them over the archway. Every table had a red table cloth with a burlap runner, I tried to stick with this throughout the entire party.

The Invite

The Centerpieces
For the centerpieces I wanted to keep it simple. Simple flowers in vases, and I bought frames from the dollar store and used the amazing pictures from Lexie's Cowgirl photo shoot. My family likes to take my centerpieces home, so this time I thought they could take a framed picture of Lexie to put in their house. 

Wanted posters
Thanks to Facebook, I was able to "steal" pictures of the guests and input them onto a "Wanted" poster, this was a favor for them to take home.  
Saloon Doors
More cardboard and paint! The kids absolutely loved running through them all day!
Rope name
This was one of my favorite decorations! I saw the rope name idea originally from this party, and I loved it! This was made from some rope laying around and Elmer's glue. 

The General Store-The favorsFor favors we had Cheese popcorn, Candy apples, granola bars, fruit snacks, chocolate covered pretzels, red and pink starbursts and red vines, ready to make s'mores in a bag (not pictured because they had to stay refrigerated so they wouldn't melt), a Toy Story coloring book with paint, a bandanna and a pink or brown cowboy hat. 

The Watering Hole had Lemonade and Raspberry Iced Tea, we also had juices, soda and water. I also made water bottle labels, I will try to put the files I created onto my next post. 

The food
The corn chowder and the roast beef sliders were the favorites, but everything
was so yummy!

Goody Bags
I found bags with Jessie and Woody from Toy Story, and then made tags that read, "And as the years go by, our friendship will never die, you've got a friend in me. Thank you for coming to my birthday. Love, Alexis Jessie Duarte"
(Jessie is really her middle name)

Misty the Pony
You can't have a Cowgirl party without a pony. We had a beautiful pony named Misty visit the party for all of the kids to take a ride on. The pony was from PonyPalsFarms, if you are in need of Ponies or Petting zoo's in Southern California I highly recommend them. 

Lexie LOVED the pony! I was so relieved, this was not her first time on a pony, but I just feared that she would not want to get on this time. It was the opposite in fact, she cried when she had to give the other children a turn, and kept saying, "Kiki's turn!"
(Kiki is what she calls herself..)

Lacey looked like such a natural around the pony. She loved riding her, and when she wasn't riding her she was walking along as the other kids took a turn. 

My very handsome nephew Dylan

The girls' cousins Nicky and Jeremy each had a turn on the pony as well. 

One of the highlights for the kids was getting to help brush the pony. 

My nephew Dylan looks like he's channeling John Wayne right here. 

Of course these guys had to make an appearance! Bullseye, Jessie, Buzz and Woody! 

This was supposed to be a photo op area. I had a sign nearby that read "Get yer mug taken" But it was so hot that day, I don't think anyone wanted to sit and pose.. LOL

Another close up of the cake. This site is where I got the idea for the cake, however, I didn't realize that the frosting was black! For future reference I now know that black frosting is not the best idea.. But the cake was so good, and looked exactly the way I wanted. 

The gifts are always fun, and Lexie is very blessed to have such an amazing family that will show up and help her celebrate her birthday. Thank you everyone.

Lacey had her eye on the candy apples all day! She waited patiently and shared with her Nana.

Berry Sweet Baby Shower

This is my best friend Debra. We have been best friends for the last 10 years, since our Senior year in high school. Over the years we remained close as we went to different colleges, she was my maid of honor at my wedding and now, we are support systems for each others crazy (and very opposite) lives. I love her like a sister, and I love the fact that we can always just pick up where we left off. 
When Debra mentioned that she will be hosting a baby shower for her sister Kristy, we both just knew that I would be doing all of the dirty work. Debra knows this is what I love to do, and I just hoped I could help make Kristy's shower special and memorable for her. We started with the theme, Kristy chose "Berry Sweet Baby Shower" and we went on from there. 
The beautiful, glowing, mommy-to-be, Kristy.
I made this Welcome sign to be put out in the front of the house. Since babies are blessings I added a bible verse, "We prayed for this child and the Lord has granted us what we asked of Him." I Samuel 1:27

A banner I created using my Cricut machine (and the mini monograms cartridge) of the baby's name. I also made a mini diaper cake that you can see on top of the mantle, and on the sides are mini towel cupcakes that Grandma Katy made.

One of my favorite new decorations to make are the tissue poms. They add so much color and texture to wherever you are hanging them, and although making 45 of them can be time consuming, they are well worth it. 
One area I really made an effort to decorate was these two very long fences, so I cut, punched holes, and strung probably 150 ft. of various shades and patterns of paper. 
Tissue Poms again... Over the dessert table.
The dessert table included pink lemonade cookies, pink lemonade cupcakes, strawberry cupcakes, chocolate covered strawberries, caramel popcorn, chocolate dipped rice krispy treats, red velvet cake pops, and mixed berry shortcakes. YUM!
Yummy Red Velvet cake pops were made by the mommy-to-be, Kristy.(Here is her site if you would like to contact her) She makes really delicious and beautiful cake pops. 
The Dessert table

  Pink Lemonade cookies
(My fave! Also, made by Kristy)
Mixed Berry shortcakes
Pink Lemonade cupcakes
(made with love by Grandma Katy)

   Strawberry cupcakes
(made with love by Grandma Katy)
Strawberry topiary 
(took about an hour to make two)

                           Chocolate covered Rice Krispy treats                  

There were so many sweets! 

I designed a Thank You note to place on the gift bags for the guests to take their desserts home. 
The backyard
It was such a beautiful, sunny, warm day in Pasadena, CA. More tissue poms.. over the gift table and over the "decorate a onesie" station. 
The centerpieces
I used the Hello Kitty Salutations Cricut cartridge for the strawberries and we added some cake pops to the centerpieces and just hoped they wouldn't melt too much. 
The drink station had lemonade, Sangria, pink lemonade, and bottles of water. 

I also designed water bottle labels using strawberries and the color scheme of the party just to personalize a bit more. 
We used the "Design a onesie" game as part of the decor. 

A way to get Big Sister Felicity involved.

Some of the onesies for baby Serenity.
The finished decorated onesies.
This is such a cool way to get the guests involved, give them something to do, and every mother knows you can never have too many onesies. It's also a really neat way to add personalized decor. 
Brothers and Sisters
Michel, Debra, Reyes, Kristy and Gilbert. 

One of the guests brought this amazing diaper cake, and if you can't tell by the details, they are Minnesota Vikings fans. 

Ehoff Family
Joe, Kristy and Felicity
Serenity Skye's Baby Shower
June 2, 2012

Lexie's 1st Birthday- Lil Monster Party

When it came time to plan Lexie's 1st birthday I had difficulty deciding on a theme. Part of the reason was because she is the 2nd child and so I didn't have all the time in the world to focus solely on her, so she didn't really have a particular favorite anything. The other part of the reason was that she was a difficult baby, who cried a lot, and was really needy. So, after I began planning a circus party for her, I realized that it had nothing to do with who she was and who she was, was a 

This is the birthday banner that I designed for her birthday! My older daughter had a banner made for her 1st birthday, so naturally Lexie needed one as well. 

This is one of the two dozen little monsters that I made for the party. These were used at the centerpieces for the tables. I sewed each one using fabric quarters that I bought on sale at JoAnn's, this probably took me  two weeks to do, a few hours a night, a few nights a week.

I didn't want to use Monster's Inc. for the party, So I found this coloring page of "Boo" colored it, printed it and had it mounted to cardboard.. It was the welcome sign. Not to mention, my daughter resembles Boo! 

This was my first time making tissue poms! And, I didn't just make a few, I made 40! 

More Monsters...
The one in the background is one of 5 Monsters that I made out of foam board and material.  I saw this tutorial where a very crafty woman cut the monsters out of wood using power tools and then covered them in material. I am not exactly the power tool using type of woman (even though I considered it). I am however, an exacto blade wielding, foam board cutting, adhesive using, monster making, type of woman!


Ice Cream Bar
Since Lexie's birthday is in the middle of July, I really wanted to have an Ice Cream Bar. We had three different flavors, Vanilla, Rocky Road, and Cookies and Cream. The toppings: Sprinkles, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Fruity pebbles, Mini Chocolate Chips, Frosted Animal cookies and Marshmellows. The extras: Whipped cream, chocolate and strawberry syrup, and cherries of course!

The Tissue Poms!

I wanted to have a bright backdrop for the kids to take pictures in front of. 
The pictures came out so fun!

My nephew jumping in the Jumper!

It's Scary how fast she's grown
I always like to display photos of them from their past years or year in this case for their birthdays. Since my sister-in-law takes amazing photos of my girls, I had plenty to display.  

Monster Ball Pit
This was one of the girls kiddie pools from the summer, I filled it with balls and it was a mini ball pit for the little ones! It just fit in so perfectly, it was another bright monster.

More photos!
 My daughter Lacey, Me and my friends from high school, and  my friends handsome and photogenic son Julian.

Lexie, My little monster! 

My Monsters! 
I cut these out of foam board, then sprayed adhesive on them, laid the fabric over it and then tucked the excess material on to the backs. 

We had a face painter, which kids always enjoy! I love this picture of my cousin's daughter Evelynn! Such a beautiful smile!

A monster keeping an eye on the gifts! 

The invitation I designed for Lexie's party. 

The cupcakes and toppers that I cut out using my Cricut!
I got the idea for the topper and some of the other
 Lil Monster Party elements from this blog.

Our Family photo

Dylan's 2nd Pirate Birthday Party

Recently, my Sister in Law Tricia put together a really adorable/intimate pirate party for my handsome nephew Dylan's 2nd Birthday. I wish I had a picture of the invitation she created, because it was really cute. As soon as she said, "Pirate Party" I asked if I could make hats! She did an amazing job, and I was able to help a bit here and there too!

My incredibly handsome nephew Dylan!

I made about 10 pirate hats for the kids to wear. 

Black felt, cut, sewn, and painted using a stencil.

When I found this pirate ship at Michael's for less than $5, I


to make it for my nephews party. And then, I opened it and it included the most vague "non-instructions" I have ever seen. It came out nice, but it was a lot of work putting it together.

The main table

I loved the "fleet" of cupcakes with sails, under the big ship.

For the bithday banner I used my Cricut to cut the black letters on red and white striped paper. 

A close up of the ship that I built.

I also used my cricut to cut out the shapes for the paper part of the centerpieces.

Tricia's yummy snack mix was a hit!

It included Honey Chex & Goldfish, pretzels, M&M's and raisins.

The birthday boy in his pirate hat.

Lacey's 2nd Owl birthday party

So, like everyone else, we are in LOVE with Owls!!!However, if you look at my daughter Lacey, you'll see why. She has the sweetest biggest brown eyes and round face. Our obsession with owls started when Lacey was a year and a half and she came to me saying, "ow!" All day I would ask her what was wrong, until I realized she was saying, "Owl!"
She was an owl for Halloween, and naturally her 2nd birthday theme was Owls.
I started with designing the invite, with clipart purchased by mygraffico.
I used the same clipart to have a huge welcoming owl for the party, a bean bag toss game, the cupcake toppers, the thank you note on the goody bags, and the "Look who's 2?" Birthday banner. 

The centerpieces
 I used branches, stuck them in quick dry plaster, and painted them brown. I then hung small felt owls that I made on the branches, for people to take as favors.

Birthday Girl.
Lacey at 2 years old

The Decor 
My idea was to actually have the  green streamers closer together so they would resemble leaves on a tree.. however, my "helpers" weren't listening to my instructions and it was just to late to fix... oh well! 

These masks were a last minute find at JoAnn's. I bought 10, painted them, and used them as part of the decor.
Felt Owls
I made about two dozen of these felt owls to hang on the branch centerpieces. I also painted a number 2 on the backs of them for Lacey's 2nd birthday.

The Treat/Photo table
I didn't plan on doing a candy bar for this party, but I did want some goodies for everyone to snack on. So we put some candies out and those are supposed to be Owl shaped rice krispy treats. This is also wear I displayed the photos of Lacey from her second year.

The Treat Bags
The Birthday Banner

The Pinata

Cupcake Toppers

Singing Happy Birthday!