The Birthday Battle

Blue and Orange Cupcakes

Dart Gun Cupcake Toppers

The Birthday Battle in our house has begun!  So we happen to have a house filled with two crazy boys both celebrating birthdays within weeks of each other.  Which means there are a lot of celebrations going on at once.  And when your mom designs birthdays for other kids, you inherit the perk of asking for any kind of custom design imaginable.  My kids take full advantage of that.  However, this year, they both actually agreed on what they wanted… a dart gun party.  Where they could run around and shoot every one (and get presents for it).  So this is the first year we actually shared a birthday party.  OMG… what have I been missing all these years?!  Yes. Share.  It’s a magical word that carries with it half the mom-work.  Really.  Half the work.  Why had I never realized that!?

Dart Gun Birthday Invitations

Dart Gun Birthday Invitations

So a dart gun theme it was.. and boy oh boy, we had LOTS of fun with it.  We started with fabulous invitations and added lots of bulls eyes, polka dots and orange & blue details everywhere.  We rented out a local gym and party room, brought our own dart guns, kids’ eyeglasses, and 1,600 darts.  Yes. You read that correctly.  1,600 darts.  And it was A-MA-ZING!  We stood up firm mats that the gym provided to act as shelters and forts on the field.  We had pizza and adorable cupcakes.  (Check out my cupcake decoration post for all my secrets on how to never bake but still have awesome, easy birthday desserts).  And lots of dart favors.  Those already came pre-packaged (Thanks Amazon!), and all we had to do was print our favor tags on sticky paper and throw stickers on them.  Did I mention that the adults seemed to have more fun than the kids?  Yep, there’s something really rewarding about shooting your own kids with dart guns.  It really does make you feel better. 

Dart Gun Birthday Invitation with Photo + Cupcake Topper

Dart Gun Birthday Invitation with Photo + Cupcake Topper

 

Dart Gun Water Bottle Label + Cupcake Topper

Dart Gun Water Bottle Label + Cupcake Topper

 

Dart Favors with Personalized Sticker

Dart Favors with Personalized Sticker

 

Dart Gun Birthday Invitation + Personalized Favor Stickers

Dart Gun Birthday Invitation + Personalized Favor Stickers

 

Dart Gun Cupcake Topper

Dart Gun Cupcake Topper

All birthday designs by Oodles and Doodles | Dart Gun Party Package
Photo Credit: Bridget Lynn Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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A little sneak peek…

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Just a little sneak peek of one of our new birthday party themes. This one is currently being “tested out” by two little boy’s in this house on Saturday at their big Birthday Battle!

I am sooo glad these darts are going home as party favors with all the attendees and not back on my basement floor to be endlessly picked up.  By me.  Because you know I’m the one that ends up with that job!

 

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The BEST Boy’s Birthday Themes (by age)

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Finding an adorable birthday theme for your little guy is sometimes a challenge.  After all, there are SO many to choose from!  And who doesn’t want something super cute?! But also something kinda fun, not too babyish, but not too big-boyish either, right?  (They’re only little for so long). Oh, and some kind of theme that allows for lots of cute, Pinterest-inspired matching items. But not those difficult Pinterest things that require months of hunting down very specific items and days spent burning your fingers with hot glue guns.

So in short… a theme that’s super cute, really easy, and looks like you spent months preparing it all (but didn’t).  Yeah, I hear you.  I’ve been there. And we have you covered.   Here’s a super simple “cheat sheet” of all our favorite (and best selling) boy’s birthday parties by age.  You’re welcome.

  1. The “BIG ONE” and the “WILD ONE”

The WILD ONE … And what little soon-to-be-ONE year old isn’t?  This is the PERFECT theme for that wild little guy constantly on a crazy adventure (one that I’m guessing keeps you up at night). This is one of my favorites, and it includes the cutest design elements stocked full of tepees and arrows and is completely on trend for today.  Plus, the colors are stunning and super easy to match. For even more ideas and matching options, check out the Pinterest board. And if you missed the first birthday, it’s also available in a “TWO Wild” theme as well!

The ever-popular BIG ONE is always a huge hit!  Simple and classic with mixing and matching green and blue patterns.  This theme comes with TONS of different coordinating items, so you’re covered.  And the easy part? It’s super cute paired with blue or lime green polka dots or stripes.  Or maybe both.  Easy peasy.   Plus, it comes in a variety of colors. You have a completely pulled-together instant party without lots of time and energy. And that’s important when you have a one year old.  You can spend those extra few hours (or minutes) trying to grab some additional sleep.

2.  Honk! Honk! Beep! Beep! Coming Through! Look who’s turning TWO!

Noah Transportation Toppers with logo.jpg

I designed this theme a few years back for my oldest when he turned two.  He actually loved ALL things that moved, and so “we” had trouble deciding on just one.  One truck.  Or one airplane.  We couldn’t do it, so I set to work designing a theme that incorporated them ALL.  Of course, they had to be included in a way that made sense and using his name was the perfect fit!  It was also a time when he was learning his name and starting to recognize capital letters, so it was super exciting for him to recognize the letters in his name and the vehicles that went with them.  And that alone made it the most perfect birthday theme.  And it has become one of our most popular birthday boy themes ever (with the cutest matching chalkboard poster – if I do say so myself).

 

3. Cheerio!  Look who’s THREE, and ready to Party!

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Honestly, what could more adorable than these three London guards?!  I LOVE this party theme because it’s so unique.  And my three year old loved it because there were soldiers… lots of soldiers and a cute little bird sitting on one of their hats.  Red and black stripes are very easy to coordinate, and honestly, these adorable guards stand on their own anyway.  Oddly enough, most of my clients that use this theme actually live in London.  (And if you want the how-to scoop on this adorable cupcake, check out this earlier post).

 

4. ROAR!  Look who’s turning FOUR!

ROAR Dinosaur Birthday Chalkboard Poster by Oodles and Doodles, OandD

Every little boy needs a dinosaur party at least once in their life, and this is the one!  Navy, turquoise and lime green are by far my favorite boy colors.  Finding matching party items (plates, utensils, balloons, streamers, etc) is a dream, and the colors are bright and bold enough to dress up any house or event room.  Plus, your birthday boy gets to have a DINOSAUR DIG!  What more can you want?  And if you’re like me and have to throw parties in the cold winter months, you can convert your outside digging-for-dinosaur-bones-in-sand activity to searching for dinosaur crayons in plastic eggs inside a giant blow-up pool filled with shredded paper.  I think it might be less messy.  It’s definitely more fun! For lots of photos and all the details, check out this post.

 

5. Foaming Formulas, Bubbling Beakers, Experiments that come ALIVE…. Look who’s turning FIVE!

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A mad scientist / chemistry party is always a big hit! And by this age, kids are old enough to do low-key experiments with minimal assistance.  Plus, add some caution signs, a bit of food coloring, topped off with a heaping spoonful of baking soda, and who doesn’t LOVE a good eruption?!  We used this theme for one of our kid’s 5th birthday, and upcycled cycled a TON of plastic produce containers and water bottles to use for experiments. Stay tuned on a full how-to post shortly!

 

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Honk, Honk! Beep, Beep! Coming through… someone in our house just turned TWO!!

Noahs 2nd bday transportation photos collage 5x7 with watermark

Honk, Honk! Beep, Beep! Coming through… our little guy just celebrated turning TWO!  Oh, how those years flew by… and we marked the occasion with all things that move (just like this little one) with a Transportation Birthday party.  Everything was decked out with planes, trains, and automobiles .. and trucks… lots of trucks.  We even had a drive-in movie for the little ones with our diy cars made out of cardboard boxes.  The kids had tickets, little personalized driver’s licenses and snacks in their handmade cars.  And most importantly, our sweet little two year old got to celebrate another birthday in true “boy” fashion.. surrounded by cars and trucks (and lots of people that he loved).

Happy Birthday my little one!  You’re already so grown up!

 

Now Available: Printed Chalkboard Posters

Ever wonder where to print all those really great birthday milestone chalkboard posters?  You know… the ones that you see everywhere… at fabulous birthday parties, in adorable first birthday photos. Those.  It seems like a lot to have to figure out how to print those yourself.  And then mount them to something so that they stand up on your own.  I know because customers have been asking me for years.

Well after preparing for a second birthday in our house, I decided that it is a bit inconvenient, and just one extra unnecessary thing that you have to do in order to get ready for that big day. So I decided to start offering all chalkboard posters professionally printed and mounted on thick matboard with 2 day shipping to anywhere within the U.S.  So that’s one less thing you have to worry about. And posters will be shipped to you really fast, so you can get those last minute weights and heights, and all those little milestones in time for the big day. Find all my chalkboard poster designs at the OandD Etsy shop. And there’s a bunch of new designs just added! Happy shopping!

 

Ahoy! Someone is a Big Boy … A New Nautical Birthday Party inspired by a trip to the Sea

We just got back from an amazing trip to a beautiful island with the most welcoming, kind residents!  And after five days of drinking in all that gorgeous turquoise water and white, sandy beaches, who wouldn’t be inspired?  So, once I got home, I set to work designing a new Nautical Birthday Party.  And I’m totally in love with it.  Now I just have to find an event so that I can use it. And an excuse to spend countless more days on the beach soaking up all that beauty.

The full Nautical Birthday Collection is available at the OandD Etsy Shop and the Oodles and Doodles website.

ROAR! Our Big Boy turned FOUR (with a DINO-MITE Birthday Party)!

Dinosaur Birthday Party, Birthday season is finally over in our house!  One big First Birthday, four cases of strep, one broken finger, and finally a 4th Birthday.  And now I’m tired!  I mean… really tired!  But the party turned out so well, that I just had to share all the details.

Our son’s “ROAR!  I’m FOUR” Dinosaur themed birthday party turned out great!  It was, of course, designed by him.  Every year, I ask him what kind of birthday party he would like me to design, and this year he said dinosaurs with lots of polka dots.  Specifically BIG polka dots (and he wanted them pink.. but Mom overruled him on that one)!  I got to work designing the whole party for him and started with the invitation. I’m so tired of the typical dinosaur theme full of drab green & brown, that I decided to brighten it up a bit and play with the words so that the dinosaurs appeared to be walking through them.   And, of course, added a big photo on the polka dotted back.  I love photos on the back of an invitation.  Why not use that space?

Dinosaur Birthday Party Invitation, Party Printables by Oodles and Doodles, OandDROAR! Printable Dinosaur Party Invitation by Oodles and Doodles, OandD

Once the invitation was designed, the whole party took form.  Party signs, chalkboard posters, banners, cupcake toppers, adorable favors, you name it!  And, some really great dinosaur activities for all the kiddos.

Our big guy’s birthday was right after Easter, so we took advantage of that and stocked up on a lot of white, plastic Easter eggs and filled them with really great dinosaur crayons from Etsy.  They were just perfect!  Packaged them all up, added the favor tags and viola!  Perfect and super easy… and more importantly … adorable.  Here are just a few photos of how the favors turned out.

 

Dinosaur Favors for Dinosaur ROAR Party by Oodles and Doodles, OandD

And there were lots more decorations… party signs, chalkboard posters, and really simple diy centerpieces made from my digital patterned paper and cupcake toppers all available in the birthday party kit.  You can find a tutorial on how to make the centerpieces from my party tips post.

DIY Dinosaur Centerpieces by Oodles and Doodles, OandD

Here are a few photos of the banner (with a dinosaur crawling through each letter), party signs, and dinosaur party hats.  The hats were so easy to make!  All you need is the printable party hat, glue, and some foam cut into triangles and glued up the seam of the hat.  Super simple and so cute!

ROAR! Dinosaur Birthday Party by Oodles and Doodles, OandD

Boy's Dinosaur Birthday Party Decorations by Oodles and Doodles, OandDROAR Dinosaur Birthday Chalkboard Poster by Oodles and Doodles, OandD

And finally, no kids party would be complete without activities!  We had a “Design your own Dino” station, a “Make your own Fossil” station complete with play dough and plastic bugs for imprinting, a dinosaur piñata, and a “Dino Dig.”  The Dino Dig was the bit hit of the party!  I had decided against actually hiding dinosaur bones in sand (ugh… sand … everywhere… can you even imagine??), and switched it to a “Dinosaur (Egg Hunt) Dig” so the kids got to jump in a giant size blow-up pool filled with shredded paper and search for plastic eggs filled with tiny dinosaurs.  The activities were meant to be played outside, but it had rained the day before, so they all got moved into our unfinished basement.  It still worked out great!  The kiddos made a HUGE mess and loved every minute of it.  Even some of the adults jumped in.  (When grown ups can’t resist, that’s how you know it was a success).  And the birthday boy is still talking about “his dino dig.”

Dinosaur Party Activities

Our big birthday boy had a DINO-MITE time… and so did everyone else.  The party was a big hit!  I’ve been told that I should start working on a rocket party for next year… so stay tuned!

Vendors:

All Party Printables were designed by Oodles and Doodles and are available in the OandD Etsy Shop

Oh how time FLIES when you’re turning ONE!

It’s birthday season around here, and we kicked it off with the biggest one of all!  Our little guy just turned One and celebrated in style with an airplane-themed party designed just for him. Now, as you can probably imagine, birthday parties are a super big deal in our house.  Months of preparation,  lots of obsessing over little details, and lots of shopping go into it.  (And maybe, just maybe, lots of eye-rolling from my husband). So after all that thought, planning and hard work, I thought I would share some photos of the party … and more importantly some of my favorite party styling tips. But first, some photos of our little guy’s big day!  I can’t believe how fast the first year FLEW by!

And now on to all those creative Party Styling Tips:

1. Party Printables (and why I love them)

Of course, I love them!  After all, I spend a good amount of time designing them.  But, honestly, they’re the best.  Super easy, inexpensive, really versatile, you can print as many copies as you need…  Pretty much the only way to have a completely custom, pulled together, DIY party. For this particular party, I designed an airplane theme centered around how fast the first year flies by (because it does)!  And so my starting point was creating a sweet invitation with a photo collage on the back highlighting all of his milestones this past year.  Because, honestly, you never really tire of looking at baby photos of your own kids, do you?

2. Wrapping Paper as a Table Runner

Wrapping paper is one of my best kept secrets. Actually, come to think of it, I think it was my mother’s brilliant idea.  So here’s the great part about wrapping paper… it makes an awesome table runner.  It looks adorable, is super inexpensive, can be thrown out when the party is over (especially with all those little chocolate-covered fingers running around near the cake table), and can be used long after the party.. you know.. as wrapping paper.  Oh, and you can always wrap your child’s gifts in it and will get bonus points for being uber-coordinated.  Plus, I use wrapping paper all the time to line the inside of glass vases to make centerpieces, too. This is literally a tip that I use for every party I’ve ever thrown whether it’s in a house or a restaurant.  It’s so simple.  So here’s a photo of our son’s party with the wrapping paper (red and white polka dots) over a cheap blue plastic table-cloth.  And the best place to buy it?  Hobby Lobby at Christmas time.  They have the best, thickest paper.  (And most of my party kit designs include polka dots, so you can pretty much always find something to match).  The Container Store is a good bet too!

3. Pipe Cleaners to Decorate … pretty much everything!

Ok, so I’m slightly obsessed with pipe cleaners.  Remember in school, when you used to “curl” them around a pencil?  Yep.  That’s me.  Still doing that.  But now with my 4 year old.  He loves it too.  So I use pipe cleaners to decorate pretty much everything…  in centerpieces, on cake cutters, to tie favor bags, as extra decorations, you name it.

DSC_5366e with watermark DSC_5344e with wtrmrk First Birthday Boy's Airplane Party by Oodles and Doodles, OandD

4. Creative {adorable} Favors

I firmly believe you can’t have a great party without sending your guests home with a sweet little favor.  And so, this is usually one of those details that I obsess about for a long time trying to come up with the perfect, most creative idea.  And for this party, I hit the jackpot!  The most adorable printable suitcase favor box by Claudine Hellmuth.  I’m totally in love with these.  They are, of course, stuffed with hershey kisses in homage to our Chicago airport’s “kiss ‘n fly.”   Super adorable, simple, and inexpensive.  Each suitcase favor box is packaged in a clear bag, tied with a pipe cleaner and personalized favor tags from my Airplane Party Kit (along with a little extra flag in there too).  You can never have too many tags.  And, of course, there’s the perfect “Baggage Claim” sign from the kit to go with it all.

Boy's First Birthday Airplane Party

5. Not Just Water Bottle Labels 

Yup, those.  Now I have a ton of clients that never bother to use them.  Totally a mistake.  They can be used for lots of things!  First, of course, as actual water bottle wraps.  And here’s the tip for those: 1) don’t actually place on ice (they may run) and 2) print on Avery full sheet labels.  The entire page is sticky, so you can use it for any shape or size that you want and don’t have to worry about margins.  Genius.  Or, honestly, you can totally print them on white typing paper and glue the ends together.  It’s not exactly rocket science. But.. I use them all the time as wraps around vases.  Or, in this case, as wraps around some bar glasses to hold all my plastic utensils.  Of course you have to decorate those too!

Boy's Airplane Birthday Party by Oodles and Doodles, OandD DSC_5325e with wtrmrk

6. Digital (Scrapbook) Paper for Centerpiece Vases

This is another one of my favorite secrets.  Nearly every party kit that I design includes digital patterned paper.  And I don’t think most people know what to do with it.  It is the BEST!  First, it’s included in kits so it matches everything perfectly.  Next, you can print it just like normal and cut out any shape/size, etc. that you want (think: envelope liners, drink flags, cake bunting, back liners, etc).  But, my two favorite uses: 1) stringing multiple sheets together with cute ribbon and making a table runner out of it, and 2) lining centerpiece vases.  I think I pretty much use that trick at every party.  All you need is some cheap dollar store glass vases and a bit of creativity.  So here’s the centerpieces from this year…. matching digital paper printed and placed inside a glass vase, some shredded paper over a bit of styrofoam at the bottom of the vase, wooden dowel rods, cupcake toppers, an airplane graphic & ribbon.  You can find the super simple tutorial here.  Oh, and those Airplane party hats.  Those don’t really ever stay on little heads for very long, so why not use them as table decorations?

Boy's Airplane Birthday Party in Blue and Red by Oodles and Doodles, OandD

7. No Helium Required

You have to have balloons at a kid’s party.  That goes without saying.  BUT… I really despise having to go pick up helium balloons on the day of the party when I already have twenty million other things to do.  So this year I decided that I was going to skip the helium (but in no way sacrifice the decor).  And so I discovered balloon topiaries and balloon sticks.  Now, I always thought that balloon topiaries were beyond me.  I mean, I’m crafty but I have my limits… and I kinda assumed that was my limit.  Totally wrong on that!  So EASY! I mean so EASY!  You can find tons of tutorials online, but basically you just tie two balloons together, make a bunch of those, and then twist them all together into a ball.  (I know.. right… that should be way more complicated… ).  Apparently each topiary takes 12 balloons, but I was short, so the one in the photo is made of only 10.  Then I shoved a balloon stick in the bottom (found those at Hobby Lobby), and tada!  I’m making these for every party from now on.  I’ve finally found a decoration for those big urns outside our front door.  And, those balloon sticks completely fascinated all the kiddos since the outside balloons were finally at their height. And not one ounce of helium. Genius.

Kid's party decorations, balloon topiary for birthday, outdoor birthday decorations Birthday Party outdoor balloon decorations

Vendors:

Airplane Party Printables:  OandD Etsy Shop

Printable Suitcase Favor Box: Claudine Hellmuth

Smash Cake Photography: Carrianne Photography

Embroidered Birthday Hat: Dainty Couture

Come on over for LOADS of Birthday Fun! Someone just turned THREE!

Birthdays are a BIG deal in our house, and our sweet little boy just turned three!  So of course, we hauled in all the big equipment for this one.   A full construction set was ordered (that’s the one perk when you’re a 3 year old and your mom promises to design any party you want).  I was told that every construction vehicle had to be included … dump trucks, excavators, cranes, cement mixers, backhoes, even bobcats.. and so I got to work designing and the Construction Birthday Party theme was created.  The party was a big hit (especially among the boys).  The house was adorned with caution tape, dump trucks, gigantic 36 inch balloons (they really are much larger than you even think), birthday hard hats, dump truck crayon party favors, a piñata and tons of  toy construction equipment.  All of which made for one happy little boy!  And one tired mom (who was told to start working on a robot theme for next year).  Stay tuned on that one.