How to Host a Party at a Party Place

Usually, we have birthday parties for our kids at our house. We have a kid-friendly home, and enjoy having people over. Our new house isn’t quite as spacious as our old home, so I thought I’d host my son’s birthday party this year at a party place. Overall, it was a success, so I thought I’d share with you my tips on how to host a party at a Party Place.

How to Host a Party at a Party Place - all the tips to make your party a success!

Party Place Research

Start by researching locations. On my phone, I went into Google Maps, and typed in terms “Play Place”, “Kids Party Place”, “Play Area”. Since we’re new to the area, this gave me a good idea of the options that were not too far from our house. I chose three to check out – an indoor playground, a trampoline park, and an arcade/fun center.

What to consider when choosing a Party Location

I took an afternoon to check out the locations. I brought my son with me so that he could weigh-in as well. It is good to check hours of operation before heading out, two of the locations I was considering were not open in the mornings. There were certain criteria that I was looking at for our party, so I kept these in mind as I looked at the locations.

Price – Price will always be a factor when choosing where to host a party. But different party locations break down their pricing differently. Some only factor in children, and food for adults needs to be added on for an additional cost. Some offer a limited amount of time in the party room or playing on the attractions. The final price tag can vary greatly when you consider items that you would think are standard, but the location considers “add ons”.

Location – How far will my guests have to drive? I was looking for a location no more than 15 minutes away from our home. This distance will vary depending on if you are in a more urban or rural setting.

Activities – For my 4-year-old and his friends, I wanted activities that they’d enjoy doing. Slides are awesome at their age, Laser tag is frustrating and hard.

Variety of food – Most party places don’t allow you to bring in your own food, and they have a limited menu. I have two picky eaters, so I wanted food that my boys would enjoy.

Space – How much space do we have for the party? How far is the party space away from the activities?

Other considerations – Other things I considered were how much time they allowed for the party, how far the parking was from the location, and how friendly the staff was. You might also want to consider looking at upgrade packages (some offer party favor bags, or bonus gifts for the birthday boy/girl), if those interest you.

Questions to ask when choosing a Party Place

When you host a party in your own home, you have an idea of what to expect, but when you’re hosting it offsite, you’ll want details on how they structure your party.

Food – how much, and when is it served? Can you bring your own cupcakes/cake? If there are children with allergies attending, are there other options?

Party Host – are you offered a host? What are their responsibilities? Do you share the host with other parties that are happening?

Decor – do they offer decor? What does it look like? Can you bring in your own decor? Is there anything that they do not allow (glitter, helium or mylar balloons, etc)? Are you able to come in advance to decorate? How far in advance? If your family loves pinatas, will they allow a pinata? A traditional one, or a pull-pinata?

Invitations – do they offer invitations? Is there a parent consent form that needs to be included in the invitations?

Deposit – do they require a deposit, and how much?

Final head count – when do they need the final head count for the party?

Rain contingency – if any part of the facility is outdoors, is there a rain contingency?

Where is the party hosted? – is there a special room? Upstairs/downstairs/outside? You’ll want any special instructions for the invitation.

cupcakes for party

 

Booking your party

Call or show up to book your party, and make any deposit needed. Confirm any special details at that time, and confirm the time and date to send out invitations. Depending on the popularity of the party location you’ll want to book a month or more in advance of the date.

Send out invitations, either those that were supplied by the location, or your own. Make sure to include your contact details for RSVP.

Party Prep – the week of

The week of the party, you’ll want to square away the final details.

Cake – if you’re ordering a cake or cupcakes, you’ll want it ordered already, or order it now. If you’re making your own, you’ll want to decide on your recipe or boxed mix and frosting.

Favors – will you be offering a traditional favor bag? What items do you want to include? Purchase those items, and put together the favor bags based on the number of RSVPs (plus your child and any siblings), adding a few extras for any extra guests.

Decorations – will you be using the standard decor, or adding your own touches? Themed confetti, plates/cups/napkins, balloons, streamers, or special table cloths will add to the theme, but can also add to the expense.

Final Head count – get a final head count including family, guests and family of guests.

Confirm with the party place – mix-ups happen! Call a few days before to confirm the day and time of your party, as well as any special details. Clearing up any misunderstandings before you show up will make the special day much less stressful!

party decor

Extras to put in your Party Bag

In addition to the cake, favors, and specialty decor, there are a few things you’ll want to have in your bag. These are things you might be used to having at home, but you might forget to bring to an offsite location.

Scissors – these will come in handy for cutting tablecloths, opening a stubborn gift, or cutting ribbon on balloons.
Candles – your candles might already be on your cake – if not, be sure to grab them and have them with you.
Matches or a lighter – so easy to forget! Remember to pack something to light those birthday candles.
Cash – you’ll probably want to tip the party hostess, and servers always appreciate cash – consider having cash on hand to tip at the end of the party.

tables at party place

The day of the party

Here are a few tips to have a great time on the day of the party:

Show up early – if you’re adding to the decor, show up at least 30-45 minutes early to help set up.

Check in with the party host or hostess – be sure to remember their name!

Take photos of your party set-up before the kids come.

Take lots and lots of photos during the party.

Enjoy yourself!

playing party games

Snow Party

Over the winter break my boys and I had a snow party. A great way to celebrate the winter, any time of year!

Snow Party

The Snow Party Included:

Snowy Decor

Food:
Donuts on Sticks
Cakes
Cookies

Activities:
Snowball Fight
LCR with Snowballs
Coffee Filter Snowflakes
Borax Snowflakes

Party Favors
Mini Snow Dough Jars

Snowy Decor

For the Snowy Decor, I put down a blue plastic tablecloth, with snowflakes I cut with the Silhouette. Here is the snowflake file I used.

supplies for snowball backdrop

For the backdrop, I hung white plastic tablecloth, and strung styrofoam balls onto yarn using a doll needle…

pierce ball with needle

And sprayed with glitter blast.

spray with glitter dust

Then hung in front of the white.

snowball party decor

I also hung these large snowflakes cut with the silhouette from the ceiling.

snow decor

Snow Party Food

For the food, I picked out some white treats. Just simple and sugary.

cakes-and-cookies

I also skewered donuts and donut holes onto bamboo skewers and put them in a vase – food that doubles as decor!

Snow Party Activities

We had a snowball fight with our no-melt snowballs.

throwing snowballs

And played Left, Center, Right (a dice game – find it at Target in the games section), using pom poms as chips.

snowball left center right

We played for about 30 minutes, and the kids loved it! My 3 year old had no problem understanding how the game worked – and even ended up winning!

playing left center right with pom pom snowballs

Coffee Filter snowflakes are simple to make, and cost almost nothing. You just need scissors and coffee filters.

supplies for coffee filter snowflakes

Fold the filter in half, then in thirds.

fold coffee filter into thirds

Then cut away. The more cuts, the prettier your snowflake will be.

coffee filter snowflakes

coffee filter snowflakes

Making Borax snowflakes was lots of fun.

Borax Crystal Snowflake

You’ll need:

supplies for borax crystals

Mason Jar
Borax
Scissors
White Pipecleaners
Measuring Spoons
Pencil
String
Boiling Water

Cut the pipecleaner into 3 sections. Make sure the sections are shorter than the diameter of the jar.

cut pipecleaner

Twist together to make the snowflake. Tie a string to the top.

twist together pipe cleaner

Measure 3 Tablespoons of Borax into the jar, then fill with boiling water (kids don’t get to help with this part!). Stir with the pencil, then hang the pipecleaner snowflake in the jar. Allow to sit overnight.

making borax crystals

The next day, you’ll have gorgeous crystals!

finished borax crystals

And, of course, we needed snowy favors, so I made snow dough.

Snow Dough Party Favors

You’ll need:
2 cups Cornstarch
1/2 cup iridescent Glitter
1/3 cup Vegetable Oil

supplies for snow dough

 

Mix ingredients.

mix snow dough together

Put the snow dough into jars.

I used mini jars I found in the wedding section of the craft store.

fill-jars-with-snow-dough

I foiled the snow dough labels. Here is the printable snow dough label file I used, printed on a laser printer onto OL1762 from Online Labels .com.

snow dough labels

I then used a laminator and Thermoweb Decofoil (in blue) to foil the labels.

run foil through machine

foiled snow dough labels

It adds the perfect touch!

finished snow dough favors

The party didn’t take too long to put together, and the kids loved it! They’ll be asking for a snow party every winter!

snowball party decor

 

Funfetti Waffle Recipe

Funfetti waffles recipe

Looking for a fun recipe for a birthday, New Year’s Day, or other special occasion? These Funfetti Waffles are perfect! It took me a couple tries to perfect this Funfetti Waffle recipe, but now it is perfect – fluffy waffles with the perfect amount of sweetness. Great with syrup and butter, whipped cream, or just on their own!

They are actually made using Funfetti cake mix, which give them a sweet flavor, and add fun sprinkles of color throughout the batter. I wish I could say that I came up with this idea out of sheer genius… but it was actually sheer desperation! I had promised my boys that I would make waffles for breakfast, then discovered we didn’t have enough flour. I searched through the kitchen cabinets to find something that might work as a flour-substitute… and found the perfect solution in a box of Funfetti cake mix!

funfetti waffles

The boys immediately declared my Funfetti waffles to be the “best waffles ever!” Though, the first batch was much to dough-y. It took a little tweaking to find a recipe that I was happy with – but the boys didn’t mind being my taste-testers. These picky eaters declared each batch to be awesome!

birthday waffles made using funfetti cake mix

I served my waffles up with syrup, whipped cream, and sprinkles, but you can serve yours however you like. If you’re making these for a birthday breakfast, you might want to add a layer of frosting (maple buttercream, perhaps?) You can add a candle or two if you like to celebrate.

We have a small family of 4, so there were plenty of waffles to store in the freezer for future breakfasts – an awesome, quick breakfast that the kids look forward to! Not the healthiest… but they keep in the freezer for weeks, so I’m not worried about them getting a sugar overload!

 

Funfetti Waffles Recipe:

Yield: about 18 waffles

1 box Funfetti Cake Mix
2 c flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3 c milk
1 stick melted butter
3 eggs

Mix all ingredients together until thoroughly mixed. Don’t worry about a few small lumps. Scoop batter onto a hot waffle iron, and bake until browned. Remove carefully using tongs and spatula – waffle may be soft, will crisp as it cools.

Funfetti waffle recipe

I hope you enjoy these waffles – they are a breakfast favorite around here… and I’m sure they will be a Birthday Breakfast tradition!

 

Hosting a Dr Pepper and Dye Party

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone.

For more ideas on how to create your own #BackyardBash, check out the tumblr page at www.drpepperbash.com.

hosting a dr pepper and dye party

This past weekend, I invited my friends over for a backyard bash for some one of a kind tie dye fun. I recently took a class on shibori dye techniques, and it amped up my pre-existing love for dye. I wanted to share this with my friends who haven’t tried dye before and… (spoiler alert) they loved it! I love throwing parties, including outdoor parties, and this was a one of a kind idea for creating a get together for my crafting friends!

Several of my friends came over, kids in tow, for a fun mommy-date. I hired a sitter to stay inside with the kids while we moms braved the 100+ degree heat to play with our dye.

I have a big bin in my craft room filled with all my dye supplies, so for me hosting the party was as easy as having people bring their own items to dye, pulling out the bin, gong to Wal Mart for some Dr Pepper and Cheeze-Its… and tidying the house of course! If you want to host your own dye party, but don’t have a dye bin handy, I’ll give you some tips on what to buy at the end of this post.

dye party supplies

We had a great time trying different dye techniques. We did traditional twisting dye…

pour on the dye

and I shared some techniques for using rubber bands to get different looks.

rubber bands to tie dye

Once everything was sitting in dye, we headed inside to snack. The fabric got to marinate in the dye, and develop a nice, rich color.

dye in a mason jar

After we ate, we took turns rinsing out our dyed creations.

rinse off the dye

It was so much fun to see what everyone created! This blue shirt below was as easy as folding, clamping, and soaking in dye.

shibori tie dye technique

 

These pearl grey and petal pink dyed fabrics will be going into a quilt.

grey and pink tie dye

Different colors and different techniques, and in one afternoon we made half a wardrobe!

drying off the clothes

Although it was hot, we had a perfect day with just a slight breeze. To keep garments down while dying, I was able to use Dr Pepper cans! These worked perfectly!

use dr pepper to hold down clothes

This shirt is a new technique I thought I’d try – I can’t wait to show you the results later this week!

 

If you want to host your own dye party (and you know you do!) here are my tips:

Tips for hosting a dye party

Start by deciding on a day and time that works. I picked a day when I would have a sitter handy to watch the kids. Half a dozen kids over while I have my hands in dye could be a recipe for disaster… so I wanted someone to keep an eye on the goings-on inside the house. Since I live in the desert, I wanted an early morning time (but not TOO early!), so we went from 10-2. This gave us enough time to prep our pieces, let them soak in the dye for at least an hour, and give everyone time to rinse.

If you’re new to dye, look for some different dye techniques online. Try them out before the party, if you can. I had a sampler from the class I took to show my guests what different dye techniques would look like. You might want to print out instructions for various techniques if you have lots of people coming.

Make sure you have the supplies you need on hand. Depending on the techniques you’ll be showing your guests, you’ll need different supplies. I headed to Wal Mart to buy my Dr Pepper, and any other supplies I didn’t have on hand already. While I was there, I also picked up a little Coleman cooler to keep my drinks cool during the party.

shopping for dr pepper at walmartMy shopping buddy wasn’t in the mood for taking pictures.

Here is my supply list:

Several different colored bottles of Rit Dye
Rubber Bands (I buy the large pack of black rubber bands from the hair section of the store)
Several containers for dye baths (large mason jars, wash bins, and plastic storage bins all work well)
Salt (helps give more vibrant color on cotton)
Stir Sticks (to stir your dye)
Water
A sink close at hand for rinsing
Rubber gloves (or guests who like colorful hands)
Dr Pepper, pizza, and some snacks – like Cheeze-Its!
Puppy Pads (for under dye trays)
Squirt and spray bottles
Plastic bags for taking home wet dyed clothes.

Have your guests bring their own items to dye – shirts, towels, sheets, shoes – anything white or light-colored (over-dying on pinks, yellows, light blues, and other light colors looks awesome!). The items can be old and stained (the dye will help hide the stains) or brand-new from the store.

 

After your guests rinse out their clothes, have an area they can hang them to dry. Because of the Las Vegas heat, lots of the clothes dried before my guests headed home. I also gave them washing instuctions: Wash each piece in LOTS of water (with a second rinse cycle if your washer has it). Don’t mix colors – if you have several garments with blue dye, they can be washed together… but don’t wash two different garments of different colors. Washing red and blue together, if you haven’t fully rinsed, can result in a whole lot of purple (ask me how I know!)…

Thanks again to Dr Pepper for making this such a fun party! #BackyardBash #CollectiveBias