Category Archives: Party Ideas

Three Great Traditions for New Years Eve

New years eve is quickly becoming one of our favorite family traditions. A pattern is forming, and all ages look forward to it!

First: we do not treat New Year’s Eve as an expensive, adults-only event. Not only does this save babysitting costs, it also is tons of fun and pulls the family together. Our multi-age new year party tips:

Fun with the dress up box and duct tape guitars
  • Don’t start the party too early. 8:00 works for us. Setup begins at 5:00. Some close family comes early to help set up and enjoy an easy dinner together.
  • Offer special treats for all ages… from popcorn to baked brie. Make sure the snacks are self-serve for the children, and at their level. If everyone agrees to bring a snack and a bottle of bubbly, you will be well equipped.
  • Set up a beverage station that even children can handle. Stack towels near it and everyone can do their own cleanup when spills occur. Adult beverages should also be self-serve, but up higher. 🙂
  • Include a sparkling cider or juice in your midnight toast so that everyone can participate. Set the glasses onto large trays prior to the party so they are ready to fill. Choose a different color or style of glass for the non-alcoholic option.
  • Make a ruckus at midnight! Bang pots and pans or have the kids run in circles in the yard with sparklers.
  • Have a quiet place ready to lay children down. If they “Crash” early, you can move them to the quiet area complete with a nursery monitor so their parents can hear them if they awake.
  • Check out this wonderful blog article for fun new years party activities.

Second:Include an activity table. Yours could be anything from decorating a new-years mask, making a new year hat out of newspapers, or using fabric markers on blank shirts. If the craft table is set up in advance, families can make use of it as it suits them, have something to create together, and create conversation pieces. Try to choose a craft that takes less than an hour to complete, and is ready to take home at midnight.

Third: Create a tradition. A few years ago my hubby decided to attempt creme brulé for new years eve. Since the kitchen is THE natural gathering place for parties, he has lots of helpers, and an audience when he torches the yummy creations. The children deliver the ramekins to interested guests. Our kids now look forward to this every year.

Years before we started a tradition making new years masks out of plaster cast material. Messy but fun. Creativity abounded!

A third tradition is the opening of the dress-up box. Funny dress up hats, boas, etc. keep the mood light and keep the adults and children interacting.

No matter what your tradition is… just keep it going! You will be surprised how much the kids (and adults) remember and anticipate the tradition.

Blue and Green Kitchen Bridal Shower

bridal shower invitationsAt a recent bridal shower, colors were chosen to match the bride’s wedding colors: blue with bright green accents. The bridal shower decorations were fun to make, appropriate for the kitchen shower theme, and created a fun and festive room for the shower. Since the room at the church where the shower was held was rather plain, the bright colors helped to set a cheerful tone.

White table clothes were topped with playful centerpieces made from kitchen utensils turned into flowers and creatures by the addition of paper petals and leaves. Spatulas and sponges became flowers. A pair of dusters to a veil and a bow tie. The scrub brush got a veil and eyes. All were arranged for height and tied with matching ribbon bows. Seating the centerpieces on blue kitchen towels helped to add color punch to the white tables. The balance of blue to green was about 50/50, which worked for a colorful party atmosphere, where the wedding decor and details were more blue with hints of green. The bride of course wore blue and looked fabulous with the decor! All the centerpiece kitchen tools and funnels were sent home with the bride-to-be.

The favors were earrings set at each place setting in a white box with blue and green filler. The guests enjoyed comparing and trading styles.

Recipe cards were sent out with the kitchen shower invitations and collected at the shower.

A gift bingo card matching the invitation was set at each place setting so the guest could fill it out prior to the gift opening. This provided some laughter during the gift opening, mostly by those who blatantly cheated. Every crowd need a couple rabble rowsers!


The delicious luncheon consisted of croissant sandwiches, a layered dip, a vegetable pizza and chips, a fruit tray and warm artichoke dip. The drink table use all clear glass to offer champagne punch, sweet and plain iced tea, water, lemonade and ice water. Offering the food and buffet style encouraged mingling and conversation by the punch bowl.

Side note: The Kitchen Shower theme was chosen to compliment the shower thrown by the other side of the family. Most guests followed the theme. The gift-guessing bingo was made more difficult by the kitchen theme-breakers! The bride seemed happy with it all!

Daddy’s Baby Shower

Dachelor Party
Inv “Dadchelor Party!”

Forget couples showers! The latest trend for baby showers is for the guys to have their own party. Can you picture it? Guys unwrapping baby booties and diaper bags. Maybe not. The ladies can have their own shower and ooh and ahhh over the gifts if they wish.
The new Dad version of the baby shower is more like a beer-bash with packs of diapers collected for admission. Some are calling it a Dadchelor party. The new Daddy may as well have one more night of grown-up fun before newborn-nights and exhaustion begin. (We are SURE he’d rather not go to a couples shower.)

How can you get men to want to come to a “shower?” The fastest way to a man’s heart… through his stomach. Barbecue, pizza (add your own toppings?), a taco bar and subs are all popular. Don’t forget the beer and munchies.

For best results, plan your party around a group activity:

  • Barbecue and Hoops
  • The Big Game at home and assemble-your-own subs
  • The Big Game at a sports bar
  • A Golf outing, then steaks on the grill
  • A Bowling Tournament
  • Poker Night with top-your-own pizza
  • Touch Football game and BBQ at the park
  • Lawn games, tacos and margaritas

We informally polled 20 men and found out their favorite baby shower games:

  • Are you kidding?
  • No.
  • Shirley you jest.
  • Basketball

When we asked what their favorite shower favors where, well, we can’t repeat what they said in mixed company. (tee hee) Lucky for us, the only thing we need for a Diaper Party is friends, food and a reason to party!

 

 

 

Save the Date Cards Save the Day

Save the Date AnnouncementAn large birthday or anniversary party has many benefits, the greatest of which is the reunion of family and friends at the celebration. The last thing you want to happen with your anniversary party is to miss important guests because of schedule conflicts. Invitations mailed 4-6 weeks before a party often do not give enough notice for events during the busy spring and summer months. Many people have vacation plans made months in advance and multiple invitations arriving for those precious weekend days.

Ensure that schedules are free for your celebration by sending save-the-date cards out prior to your invitations. When you have confirmed the date of your celebration, send out save-the-date cards to “reserve” your guests.

Save-the-date cards include only the most basic information about the event. You will want to include the date, and general location of the upcoming anniversary party, along with the names of the anniversary couple. All other details of the party can be provided later with the actual invitation. Most save-the-date cards conclude with the phrase, “invitation to follow,” or “details to follow.”

Save-the-date cards are crucial for occasions with guests who will travel to the event, or events which will encompass several days. Include a R.S.V.P. with your save-the-date card to gather an early list of attendees for destination events, such as a group vacation, family reunion, or Caribbean wedding.

Naptime Productions offers many save-the-date cards for anniversary parties, milestone birthday parties and weddings. Choose from popular themes, like western or tropical, or select a design to match the invitations you plan to send later. Either way, you will help to ensure the success of your big event!

Five Cutest First Communion Cookies

Cookie Ladies has beautiful crosses and chalices

If you are planning a first communion celebration for your child or church, you will definitely want to see the inventive and delicious designs we found. A short trip on the internet provided these great ideas. Some can can be ordered online and others could be made locally by your favorite cookie artist.

From Flickr’s Andover Cookie Mama
From Silvia Sweet Delights
Cross Cookie from Dessert Works
From First Communion Supplies

There is an art to making lovely cookies. If you plan to take on a project to make such edible art, you may choose to watch read up on making perfect frosted cookies. Consider making them a couple days ahead and freezing or refrigerating them to keep them fresh.

Wrapped individually, cookies can be a much-loved communion party favor, or can dress up your dessert table.

Your child will be amazed at how wonderful these cookies are. They will taste wonderful and look even better. All of your child’s friends will be impressed by your amazing cookies! (It is so easy to win a child’s heart!) Don’t be surprised if you are asked to recreate your feat if you do make these little creations by yourself. All your friends will want you to make a batch for their party. Now there is a goal!

I wish I could bake.

Side note: The gorgeous cross cookies with leaves and a rose shown here are listed on the baker’s website as “our standard cross cookies.” I wish my standard cookies even looked edible.

First Communion Invitations

Tarnation Cowboys! It’s Time for a Party.

red bandana
Red Bandanas made in USA from MrHankey.com

If you love all things western, take a look at our new Bandana design invitations! Western and cowboy themes are easy to work with for any occasion from birthday to bachelorette party, to reunion. Just tie on some bandanas for favors and decor, and add some attitude. 🙂 Wearing those beautiful cowboy boots is a must.

If you are expecting a new little cowboy or cowgirl soon, be sure to see all our options for a western theme baby shower. Easy to round up, we offer everything from the invitations and envelope seals to a sign for the door. Purchase matching bandanas for the guests so they can join the fun, and serve an easy barbecue meal. Sure as shootin’, your guests will go home happy!

Red Bandana Invitation
Cowboy Barbecue for a Birthday?

Need western centerpieces? Take a gander at our cowboy baby shower centerpieces and our pink cowgirl versions. For a red bandanna theme, consider using potted geraniums, or other red flowers, with a rolled bandana tied around the rims of the terra cotta pots. They add a bonanza of color and are a popular favor to take home.

If you will be making a scrapbook page of your western theme party, you need to see this beautiful bandana design that this talented scrapbooker, Mrs. Messy, was kind enough to share.

cowboy baby shower invitation
Welcome ‘lil Cowpoke!

Last-Minute Valentine Party for School

Quick! You need a last-minute solution for your classroom valentine’s day party. Here is a super-easy game and activity that kids of all ages will love!

Supplies:

  • Printer and paper
  • 2 large bags of small conversation hearts
  • 1 1.55 oz. Hershey chocolate bar for each student
  • A Valentine treat for the class, maybe juice boxes, and napkins
  • 10 small prizes for the game

easy valentine party game

Game 1:

  • Give each child a small pile of conversation hearts (at least 25).
  • Tell the children to stack their conversation hearts as tall as possible in a single column.
  • Then watch the clock, call start and let them try for 60 seconds. Call time. See who has the highest stack and award a prize. Play game 10 times through or to last through your prizes. The children will get better and better.
Candy Bar Wrapper
Class Activity for Valentine’s Day

Activity: Decorate a candy wrapper to take home.

Give each child a printout of this PDF Valentine-Wrapper. Let them use their crayons or markers to decorate the wrapper for someone special. When they are finished cut out and wrap the paper around a Hershey’s bar for each child to take home. They may want to take the jokes on the paper home to read to their parents.

When a child is finished, he can browse his collection of valentines and enjoy the treats brought in.

Game 2:

Play a classroom game like duck-duck-goose with the younger set, or heads-up 7-up, hangman, or even pictionary with the older elementary students. Valentine phrases for black-board hangman or pictionary:

  • Cupid
  • Cupcake
  • Broken Heart
  • Best Friend
  • Chocolate
  • Candy Heart
  • Sweetheart
  • Be Mine
  • True Love

Enjoy!

Wild Prints Party Theme

Wild Thing Party Invitation
Playful animal prints are popular among young women

Get wild with your upcoming party or shower decorations using bright colors and animal prints! High contrast zebra, leopard and giraffe prints with pink make a great diva look for events from birthday parties to bachelorette parties. The invitation is quinceanera party invitationsperfect for 15th and 16th birthday invitations. Animal prints in natural colors creates a fun jungle look for any wild thing fling! Begin with invitations to pick up the theme. These are from Naptime Productions and lean toward the “girlfriends” look with a combination of pink and green.

During the party, provide “props” such as scarves, hats or boas to add to the playful mood. These colorful gangster hats in bright colors and animal prints are only a dollar each! Bandanas are readily available in many animal prints at craft stores, as are boas and animal print papers in the scrapbook section which can be cut for favor tags, used as placemats and made into frames and borders.

Pink zebra bow
WinterButterflyBowtique.com
Animal Print Party Favors
From Partyoption.com

Need party favors? Perhaps hair bows for the girls, like these custom-made pin wheel bow versions. You can also find animal print favor bags and boxes at party supply stores and fill them with goodies for easy animal prints party favors.Your local party store should also carry an assortment of animal print theme napkins and plates, like these sweet pink zebra stripe napkins available online.

from platesandnapkins.com

If you party is a grown-up affair at a local club, make a party of getting ready together before your big night out. For added fun, don’t miss these incredible eye shadow kits from coloronpro.com!

Exotic eye makeup kit from coloronpro.com

Ringing in the New Year

New Year’s Eve is coming, and you want to do it up right! You don’t want to spend too much or travel to far, but you also don’t want to have the same old stand-around-the-kitchen-counter-staring-at-the-dish-of-peanuts party at your house where the crowd clears out at 12:01 a.m.! So what do you do? Here are a couple of fresh, funky ideas.

8-track party – my friend had an 8-track party for New Year’s Eve and although it was many moons ago, I still remember it vividly. He had an 8-track tape p
Retro Party Invitation
layer
with a variety of tapes from that era (yes the 8-track time period is now old enough to be an era, unfortunately for all of us baby boomers), and everyone came dressed in bell-bottom jeans, headbands and wildly colored shirts. You don’t really have to have an 8-track player to have a 8-track party, since it is more about the music and the clothes than the technology, but if you really want one you can find 8-track tape players and tapes on eBay. Guests will rock out to the Moody Blues, The Who, and Pink Floyd among other musical artists recording during the zenith of the 8-track era in the late sixties and early seventies. Key to any party is the invitation, which sets the stage for a winning party formula, and with Naptime Productions Totally Retro party invitation, your New Year’s Eve party is well on the way to reaching legendary status, one they will talk about for years.

Maybe, though, you want something a little more elegant, a little more sparkly, a little more
silver centerpiece
, let’s say, 2011 instead of 1971! Then by all means throw a dress-to-the-nines, top hat and tails, ballroom style New Year’s Eve bash, just on a smaller scale! Naptime centerpieces set the stage, as well as the tables, and can be customized for any occasion. If space is limited in your home (don’t forget that basements are easily decorated for parties and make spilled drinks and dropped trays of hors d’oeuvres much easier to clean up than your living room carpet), your local church social hall or area organization meeting rooms may be rented at a low price, or even free in some cases if it isn’t already booked for an event. Cocktails and appetizers, formal dress and danceable music, champagne toasts and balloon drops at the midnight hour, all started with an invitation from the Naptime Productions New Year’s Eve party invitations line, will definitely have your New Year’s Eve party rivaling anything seen on the television!

And please, have fun on New Year’s Eve, but don’t forget to drink responsibly! A DUI or something much worse is definitely not the way to start the New Year.

Classroom Halloween Party Ideas

Here is this year’s recipe for an easy Halloween party for elementary school. Be sure to make use of the other parents who volunteered to contribute snacks or prizes for the party, and get them a list of exactly what you need a couple of weeks before the party. It cuts your work and expense, but most importantly, the children of these contributing parents are SO happy to help with the party!

1. 1 gallon of fresh Apple Cider (yum)

2. Cookies or rice krispie treats for each child

3. Apple slices

4. Plates, napkins and paper cups

owl mobile5. Craft: choose an age-appropriate craft that is not too messy! Try this owl mobile for older kids, or even a construction paper cat, or paper spider.

Another activity you could choose in lieu of a craft is cookie decorating. Kids love spreading the frosting and adding sprinkles. You’ll have a little more mess, but lots of fun! Provide spoonfuls of frosting to each child in a small paper cup, along with a popsicle stick or plastic knife for spreading.

6. An Active Game. Kids love games that get them moving. For a fun, non-competitive game you can play in a classroom, check out these favorites:

  • A relay race using plastic pumpkins as the catch-all for each team, and a Halloween item they must balance on a spoon, run across the room, and deposit in the pumpkin. Lightweight items such as eyeballs made of marshmallows or small balloons colored with scary faces would work well.
  • Use the “Cake Walk” Idea. Place numbered paper pumpkins in a circle on the floor, and turn on the spooky Halloween music. The kids walk the circle until the music stops. Draw a number or roll the dice. The student on the chosen number wins a prize!

7. A Backup Game. Just in case you have time left, here are some fun activities which require little preparation:

  • Little kids like to parade around the classroom in their costumes. Sometimes they do well with circling up, and taking turns in the center “acting” their costume.
  • An good backup game for 4th grade and up is hangman. Appropriate for a halloween, double the fun by trying spooky halloween words.
  • A halloween coloring page

8. Prizes or favors

Don’t forget the most necessary party item: patience! Keep in mind that what seems like total chaos to a parent is still fun for the kids.

Adapt any of these ideas for a fun halloween party or even a family night with a craft and special treats.