Backyard Barbecue

A Feteful Life: Birthday Backyard BBQAugust is a busy month in our house with both of our kid’s birthdays two weeks apart and our anniversary in-between them. In the past we’ve had separate birthday parties for the kids and we try to separate them by a few weekends — Brady’s the weekend before his birthday and Owen’s the weekend after his birthday — but this year that just wasn’t going to work out. So, instead we decided to throw a joint backyard barbecue with some of our good friends, family and neighbors instead.

We were blessed with some unseasonably comfortable weather and had a blast celebrating our two boys. And, luckily for us, the awesome online party supply store Party Pail, contacted us to see if we had any parties coming up that we could use some of their plain party goods for… ummm… yes!

A Feteful Life: Birthday Backyard BBQI generally love buying plain party products and then customizing them myself. Like these custom stickers on the plain white paper cups from Party Pail. I also designed these star drink flags to go on their bright orange striped straws.

A Feteful Life: Birthday Backyard BBQFinding a simple way to nicely display cutlery is always a challenge. You can’t get much simpler than these empty tin cans wrapped in burlap ribbon!

A Feteful Life: Birthday Backyard BBQWhat would be an AFL party without a hand stamped napkin? It’s another easy way to add a personal touch.

A Feteful Life: Birthday Backyard BBQI absolutely love these baking cups from Party Pail. Most cupcake liners loose their color or pattern once you bake the cupcake. Not these! They were just as vibrant after baking as they were before. And they looked great on this simple cardboard cupcake stand that I wrapped in some more burlap ribbon.

A Feteful Life: Birthday Backyard BBQThese chevron treat cups with custom labels were the perfect way for us to send our guests home with a little treat.

A Feteful Life: Birthday Backyard BBQHappy Birthday to my sweet boys! And, check out our Etsy store to pick up the party pack or invitation for the party. Fete on!

5 Tips for a Fabulous Kiddo Party

A Feteful Life: Kids Party Tips

Yes, I’m that mom. I’m that mom who loves to throw elaborate (in the sense of matching decor and food, not live pony rides — but I wouldn’t count that out) birthday parties for her children. So, here’s the thing. It’s pretty obvious that I just like to party generally. And I always view my children’s birthday parties as a celebration for them AND us — I mean, we kept it together for another year! Yay us! Plus, it is always incredibly touching and special to see friends and family come together from all over the country (literally) to celebrate our children. And we love hosting them at our house!

Now that I’ve thrown almost 10 of these parties for my own children (plus several others for friends kiddos), I’ve got it down to a science. I know how to make simple things look great, style simple recipes beautifully, and use simple crafts to keep kids entertained so their parents can have a cocktail or two. Always simple, never plain — right!? And I’m sharing my best tips with you today, along with photos from our latest shindig.

A Feteful Life: Kids Party Tips

1. Get your kids involved — it’s their party! The involvement of your love bugs can vary widely depending on age and personality, but it makes for so much more fun. I always try involve my kids in a few ways:

A Feteful Life: Kids Party Tips

2. Find an age-appropriate, easy craft or activity — I love to do complicated projects with my own children, but trying to do them with a large group of sugared-up three-year-olds just isn’t going to happen. I usually purchase easy, inexpensive crafts (frequently from Oriental Trading Co.) and then repackage or style them to look nicer — check out the cute seahorses we made at my daughter’s 3rd birthday or the tattoo parlor my son helped me make for his 5th birthday party.

A Feteful Life: Kids Party Tips

3. Keep the food simple — to keep your sanity, make easy things and outsource anything complicated (or ditch the complicated all together). For example, I’m not a baker. I’m just not. I’ve learned through many a cake pop disaster, to ask for help from my very talented baking friends for the cake — this edible gold gilded ombre number really, well, took the cake, at my daughter’s last party. Whatever I’m cooking myself, I do as much prep as I can before the actual day. And I try to take super simple things, like the microwavable pancakes above, and style them to look more festive.

A Feteful Life: Kids Party Tips

4. Go for minimal effort decor that has maximum effect — to be fair, this sounds easier than it is. And it’s taken me some trial and error to find out which things work best in my home. I like to do a mix of DIY and doctored store-bought decor and I’ve learned (despite the ruffled streamer debacle of 2013), that crepe paper is my new best friend. It’s versatile, inexpensive, and easy to hang. Get some and get creative. Suz and I put up this enormous tasseled wall in about an hour — hands down the easiest statement focal wall I’ve ever done.

A Feteful Life: Kids Party Tips

5. Make a darn good cocktail for the parents and make sure it’s clearly labeled! — what can we say? We enjoy a good cocktail and my husband and I love coming up with a cleverly-named, theme appropriate drink for the adults. I liked our recent batch of “Potent Piggy Punch,” but the “Blue Lagoon Punch” for her mermaid 3rd birthday party was also a big hit. Just make sure it’s clear that it is for adults only!

*bonus tip — be realistic about your home and your expectations of party damage. if you have white furniture and don’t let your kids drink juice outside the kitchen, a large in-home birthday party for toddlers might not be a great idea. if you can deal with some party wear and tear, think about which things might better weather the festivities out of sight and reach of tiny hands (art, special toys of your children, furniture, pets, etc.). everyone will be happier, trust me.

Party like it’s the… 1920s

Side Car Bar Cart

Happy Birthday, Jim! What do you do for a guy who is the best husband and dad for his birthday? Why, you throw him a party of course! A party inspired by his favorite drink, the Old Fashioned. Not the Old Fashioned of the Mad Men era but back to its popularity in the speakeasies of the 1920s; thus converting our house into the Shipe Juice Joint for the evening. In addition to the Old Fashioned, we served a couple of other prohibition era drinks like the Side Car and the French 75 (believe you me, that one packs a punch). Add a few good friends, some canapés and a little Jazz music and the night was made.

I know what you’re thinking, you want to throw a speakeasy party of your own. Well, lucky for you, we have our very first party pack at our Etsy store where you can buy a lot of the paper decorations from the party! Check out the invitation here and the party pack here and fete on!

Bar Cart OverheadTinsel StirrersBubble FireplaceOld Fashioned CartFood TableChampagne Jello Shots