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Birthday Party Ideas

Earth Day Party Ideas!

Earth Day Party Ideas

Have you ever thought about how much trash and waste goes into a birthday party?

Why not give your next party an ”Every Day is Earth Day” or an “Earth Day Birthday” theme? A green party theme is a ton of fun and there are so many ideas you can play off of.  It might even be fun to throw a party for the earth and make it an Earth Day Party!

Here are some earth day party ideas for an eco-friendly bash – whether it’s for Mother Earth or your sweet little one!

Eco-Friendly Invitations

Of course the most eco-friendly invitation is one that is paperless.

Create an emailed invitation for your eco-chic party on a site Echoage.

If you want to take the idea further and reduce the waste associated with gift wrapping, Echoage allows you to pick a favorite charity (you can opt for one focused on environmental projects) and guests can make a donation in lieu of gifts. This is the greenest giving of all! 

Brainstorm on invitation wording like a party that will be “Out of this World.” Or “Reuse, Recycle, Rejoice. Join us for an Earth Day Birthday Party for…”  Or, “The Best Friends are Sustainable Ones. Celebrate with us at an Earth Day theme party for…”

Eco-Friendly Party Supplies

Playing on the Earth Theme, pick a color palate of browns, white, green and blue for a global-flare.

Opt for reusable plates and silverware versus paper.

If that isn’t practical, consider purchasing party supplies from Susty Party, an eco-friendly party supply company that sells items that are compostable and biodegradable.

AbesMarket.com even sells Greenware disposable cups that are 100% made from plants!

Eco-Friendly Food / Drinks

When shopping for food and drinks, think local. Shop your local farmers’ market for local produce and veggies.

Make your own mini organic pizza crusts, and let kids top theirs with a choice of toppings (including local organic veggies and cheese.)

Serve homemade lemonade with fresh lemon slices in reusable cups.

Eco-Friendly Party Activities 

* Have kids first make their own pizzas so those are ready to pop in the oven when the time comes.

* Planting Station: Buy mini terracotta pots and paint them with chalkboard paint ahead of time.

Set up a table with colored chalk so kids can decorate their own pot to take home. In center of table set up soil and seeds, and help kids scoop their own soil into their pot and then plant their flower seeds of choice. Send their decorated pot home as their party favor.

* Make your own binoculars.  Let kiddos make and decorate their own set of binoculars out of SCOTT Naturals™  hybrid bath tissue rolls to take on their nature scavenger hunt.

* Nature Scavenger Hunt: Let kids explore around the backyard or take a walk around the block as they search for various items found in nature.

* Go Green Story Time: Read a favorite eco-friendly children’s book.

Eco-Friendly Dessert

Playing off the nature theme, have the kids make their own earthy “mudpies” using homemade organic chocolate pudding and toppings with such as whipped cream, chocolate sprinkles, pretzels, gummy worms, smashed up organic chocolate cookies, etc.

Or, make an farmers’ market fruit cake like the photo above!

Eco-Friendly Thank You’s

Take a picture of your child with each guest and send them a sweet emailed thank you with a sentiment like “Thank you for being a sustainable friend.”

As you can see, you can have a ton of fun with this green theme. And events like this can spark many teachable moments about the Earth and our care of it.

Resources: EchoageSusty PartyHomemade Pizza RecipeHomemade Lemonade RecipeFruit Cake Recipe on Family FunHow to Make Paper Tube BinocularsHow to Make Terracotta Pots with Chalkboard PaintEco-friendly Children’s BooksOrganic Chocolate Pudding Recipe,  Worms in the Mudpie Recipe

Photo credits: Forks from Susty Party, Fruit Cake from Family Fun, Terracotta Pot from Scissors and Spatulas, Worms in the Mudpie from Raspberri Cupcakes

Elf on the Shelf Does Birthdays!

elfbirthdyas

I just found out about this cute Elf on the Shelf birthday tradition and I had to share with you. Elf on the Shelf does birthdays!

My mother-in-law called me all excited a couple of days ago…because she had just seen Kathie Lee Gifford interview the authors of, “Elf on a Shelf,” and she asked me if I knew that our family elf is able to visit on our child’s birthday?

How long has this been going on, and how am I just finding out about this?!

As the authors explained during the interview, Santa loves birthdays. And he loves that each child has their own holiday so he wants to help them celebrate!

But you must write to Santa in advance to ask if your family’s elf can join you on your birthday. You can send a message to Santa on their website.

Then hopefully Santa will give your elf the “day off” to visit and observe all the festivities of the day.

There are few things in life that my children love more than our beloved family elf, Jingles.  They take her presence very seriously. (Yes, it’s a girl elf.  My daughter was absolutely insistent that Jingles is a GIRL, mom.  So I wrote Santa last December and asked him to deliver a skirt so that Jingles would be more comfortable.)

Even my littlest one…who was introduced to Jingles at only two, still asks throughout the year, “Mama, when our Jingles come back?” with big, hopeful puppy dog eyes.

So for this sweet little elf to appear on their birthdays? Oh.my.word.

There is a full Elf on the Shelf birthday kit you can order which includes the Elf on the Shelf: A Birthday Tradition book and birthday outfit for your elf to wear to the birthday party.

My little girl turns six in November, so it’s a must.  I am super excited, and can’t wait to see her surprised little face on her birthday morning. I wonder what that silly elf will be up to!

This would also be a GREAT Christmas gift to give your kids on Christmas morning. 

During the interview, the authors also said that a dollar from every book is going to charity water because Santa wants to make sure birthdays are celebrated all over the world. Love this.

If you’re new to the Elf on the Shelf phenomena, click here.  I highly recommend this adorable little tradition during the holiday season.  It has become very much a part of our every December.

Stay tuned for more Elf on the Shelf blogs as the holidays approach!

Has anyone else’s family elf visited them for their child’s birthday?  Any fun stories to share?  If so, comment below!

I’ll Get Right to the Point

Personalized Pencils

My daughter started 2nd grade today so I thought it fitting to do a post on these adorable personalized pencils from Go Hobo in honor of our official back to school day.

These fun Go Hobo personalized pencils found on Etsy come in sets of five for $6 and can be personalized with any saying of your choosing up to 30 characters.

They are all handmade on a Kingsley Press, printed one by one in hot foil (color of your choice.)

The ideas on what you can do with these are endless.

I am thinking personalized pencil party favors (gotta love a favor that will actually be USED), personalized pencil teacher gifts, personalized pencil class gifts, personalized pencil birthday gifts, back to school gifts, I could go on and on.

Because really, who couldn’t use a good pencil?

I think I am going to do personalized pencil Valentines this year for the class with a little note like, “I think you’re sharp” or “I’ll get right to the point – will you be my Valentine?”

I mean, how cute is that?!

Visit www.gohobo.etsy.com to shop.

For all you moms out there with kids back to school – hope your transitions have gone smoothly. Cheers!

[Disclosure: I received my tinyoranges.com pencils as a gift and they were so cute I had to blog about them!]

Lots of Fun for Your Lil’ Kickers

soccer classes for kids in Orange County CA

Today’s post is about a great program from a juicy new Tiny Oranges sponsor called Lil’ Kickers, which offers soccer classes for kids in Orange County and many other fun programs I am excited to share with you today.

My kids love everything about soccer – and this mama loves that they are active, running and happy.  Recently I had the opportunity to chat with Tim from Lil’ Kickers, who told me all about their fabulous soccer classes for kids and child development program.

And the best part?  He wants your kids to try the program for FREE! Simply mention this Tiny Oranges blog…and receive THREE FREE trial classes (valid for one child only).

Next Level Sports Complex

You’ll find Lil’ Kickers at the Next Level Sports Complex in Garden Grove – a premier multi-sport complex that offers a broad range of athletic programs for all ages.

Tim told me all about the Lil’ Kickers program and their philosophy about working with young kids.  Read below and see for yourself!

What makes Lil’ Kickers soccer classes for kids in Orange County unique?

One of the most unique aspects of the Lil’ Kickers soccer program is that we were created by child development professionals and soccer professionals.

It is firmly rooted in child development theories, and every class is designed specifically for where a child is developmentally, cognitively, socially, physically, and mentally.

What do moms love about your program?

We use imagination and creativity to engage with the kids. Soccer fields are transformed to become the bottom of the ocean or the galaxy above.  Kids are super active, super engaged, and have a great time.

What kind of “age appropriate activities” could we expect in a class?

In our  “Hoppers” class (beginning for three and four-year-olds), kids will learn soccer skills without knowing they are actually developing soccer skills.

We use story and imagination to engage the kids. This helps the children interact and stay engaged.

Our blue soccer balls become laser balls, or battleship cannon balls, or blue pearls that are at the bottom of the ocean…and the kids are in imaginary “scuba gear,” retrieving the blue pearls and bringing them back to the submarine before the octopus (the coach) stops them.

What ages do you teach?

There are classes for kids as young as 18-24 months which are Parent & Me soccer classes all the way up to age 9.. You can visit the website to see the class breakdown by age and along with class descriptions.

Tell us more about what you offer…

Lil’ Kickers is more than just soccer.  We have our weekly classes for kids ages 18 months to nine-years-old like I mentioned, but we also have soccer birthday parties that incorporate soccer and a whole lot more (bounce houses, dodge ball, basketball, kickball, flag football, and volleyball to name a few!).

We also offer a “Parents Night Out” on a regular basis where parents drop their kids off for “date night,” leaving their kiddos in the hands of the best babysitters, our Lil’ Kickers coaches.  We also have great OC summer soccer camps and winter soccer camps, too!

Want your Lil’ Kicker to try it out? 

All you have to do is call us at 714-230-0706 x107 - mention this Tiny Oranges blog – and receive three Lil’ Kickers classes for FREE (valid for one child only).  SO excited to try them!

Thank you Tim for sharing more about your fabulous program!

[Disclosure: Lil' Kickers is a Tiny Oranges Sponsor.]

The Scoop on Kids’ Birthday Party Etiquette

kids' birthday party etiquette

This post is on kids’ birthday party etiquette and my [humble] opinions on the topic. Do you agree with them? Disagree? Please dish in the comments below!

When I was first navigating the birthday party scene for pint sized guests as a new mom, I found many questions and scenarios commonly arose that I would like to chat about here.

+1, +2, +3…(the sibling thing)  

To invite or not to invite the siblings of friends, that is the question.

In my opinion, it depends on how well you know the family and where you are having the party. If it is close family friends, of course I always include the siblings.

And, if it is a house party for a 4-year-old or under where a parent will stay at the party, I also tend to include the siblings and make it a family party. Easier for the parents of guests to be able to bring all their children if space isn’t an issue.

However, if you are talking about a party at an outside venue when you are allotted X number of kids and every kid thereafter is + $$, the siblings can be a problem and add up quickly.

If you do not want to (or can’t) invite siblings:

1. Have your party on a weekend when normally the other parent is home to watch the siblings.

2. Host a “drop off” party where the parent can drop off and pick up their child.

3. Clearly state the ONE child invited’s name on the invitation.  You can also do this on Evite or Paperless Post as well so the child’s name comes up alone in the RSVP’s. When adding your invitee’s email, just edit the name to say the child you wish to invite.

That will (hopefully) put the kabosh on extra guests. Not always, but it will help!

Drop off parties 

For the littles, ages 1 – 4, a drop off party is typically not standard (and you wouldn’t want it that way anyway!)

But after kids go to preschool and are used to being dropped off somewhere, for ages 5 +, I am a big fan of the drop off party. A drop off party means you don’t have to feed and entertain the adults, allowing you to solely focus on the kids.

Words of advice on hosting a drop off party:

1. Keep your number of invitees limited to your child’s closest friends; too many kids can be overwhelming.

2. Enlist the help of the grandparents or a friend or two to help you if more than just a handful of invitees.

3. Host the drop off party at your house or at a privately rented venue for your peace of mind.

4. Clearly state it is a drop off party on the invitation so parents know in advance.

The “No Gifts” Idea

I know many of you look around at your living room filled with plastic toys and overflowing toy baskets and think, “I do not want any more toys in this house!!!” I get it. I have been there.

However, in my opinion, writing, “No Gifts” on a child’s invitation (with the exception of a 1-year-old birthday party because they have no clue) can be confusing to the guests.

Here’s why. No matter how clearly you state “No Gifts,” some people will bring them anyway and then the people that follow the rules might feel like they should have brought a gift. And if your child is over 2 years old they will likely associate birthday parties with presents and the fact it is their turn, finally.

I suggest to graciously accept the gifts and then you can choose to donate some after the party.

Let Parents Know the Scoop  

This is sort of a silly thing, and it could be just me, but I always like it when I know when it is stated on the invitation what kind of food (if any) will be served at the party.

This lets me know whether my kid will need to eat lunch or dinner after (or if I need to feed them before). It doesn’t matter what is being served – it just helps to know. Something like, “Pizza and cake will be served.” Or, “Join us for cupcakes to celebrate…” Is this just me?!

I also like when it is made clear what the host wants on the invitation.  I love things like, “Siblings Welcome!” or “Drop Off Party.” Basically the more info (regardless of what it is), the better.

Please Say Thank You

Again, just my opinion, but I urge you to acknowledge your child’s gifts with a thank you in some sort of way.

A hand written thank you note is best.  I am Old School this way.

That being said, we are all moms and know how crazy life can be, so an email or a text with a photo of your child with their gift is also acceptable. The most important thing is for the person to know your child received their gift, however you want to communicate it.

Involve Your Kids in Their Thank You’s

As soon as my daughter could write, I had her sit down the day after the party and write her thank you’s, don’t wait or you risk not doing them. Actually that goes for most all thank you notes, do it immediately, or it will fall off your list!

I think it is an important etiquette lesson for kids to show their gratitude in a handwritten note. It is also good practice on their penmanship.

It can start off by being as simple as having your child sign their name, and then when they can write the entire card, go for it.  Even if you have to split them up and have them do a few a day for the week following the party.

This year I taught my oldest how to address the envelopes as well, and she actually enjoyed doing them putting the stamps on, etc. So you can actually make it a fun project for them. Hopefully.

Those are my two cents on the topic! Anyone else have etiquette questions they wonder about or any opinions on the above??