Parties I’m Dreaming About Throwing

Hi friends! If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you know that I absolutely lovvvvve planning parties. I’m always on the hunt for a new theme, and my favorite ideas always involve unique, memorable details and themes that haven’t been ‘overdone.’ In my spare time over the last few months, I’ve been daydreaming about some of the events coming up this year, so in honor of those sweet dreams – here’s a list of a few parties I can’t wait to host!

The Great Gatsby inspired 30th birthday cakevia

1. Daniel’s 30th birthday party

As much as I would have loved to keep this one a surprise… (1) Daniel is hard to surprise, and (2) He’s not the biggest fan of surprises anyway. So he knows there’s a party, but he doesn’t know the theme. And I intend to keep it that way. ;)

Hello Baby Cake Topper, Baby Shower Cake Topper, Hello World, Hello World Cake Topper, Rustic Baby Shower Decor, Gender Neutral Cake Topper, Burlap Cake Topper, Baby Shower Cake Topper Ideas, Baby shower ideas, Baby shower cake ideasvia

2. Gender-neutral baby shower

My sweet friend Dara is finally getting the cutest baby bump ever. She’s due in September, but they aren’t finding out if Baby Berry is a he or a she until birth!! I don’t know if I could wait that long myself, but I also don’t know if any surprise could be better than that one. Since we won’t know whether to plan for a boy or girl, I’ve been exploring lots of neutral themes, and I especially want to pick a theme that Mama D genuinely likes. (Sidebar – am I the only one who thinks a lot of baby shower themes are more cheesy than cute??)

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3. A backyard dinner party

I can’t understate how long I’ve been desiring to make this one happen. There’s something so cozy-feeling about combining your best friends, good food, a fire pit, music, a summer night sky, twinkly globe lights, and eating family style in the comfort and familiarity of your own backyard. Ooh, and s’mores!

How To Host A Favorite Things Party! | Twin Cities Moms Blogvia

4. A “Favorite Things” exchange

I heard about these on Pinterest several years ago, and I thought it sounded like so much fun! You invite a bunch of girlfriends, put out some yummy snacks, and everyone brings and leaves with a bag full of handpicked goodies – candles, bath products, candy bars, kitchen tools, etc. Each person brings five duplicates of her favorite thing for others to try, and she gets to go home with five of her friends’ favorite things!

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5. Literally any party, ever

I honestly don’t even care when or where or why…I just want a reason to make a cake that looks this gorgeous and delicious.

If you had an unlimited amount of money to throw a party…what would you do? Where would it be hosted? What kind of food? What kind of entertainment?

Ahoy, It’s a Boy!

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I had so much fun throwing this sweet beach-themed baby shower for my sister-in-law, Hannah! I can’t take credit for the theme idea (that was all Baily), but I CAN take credit for the more-time-consuming-than-I-expected crepe paper wall. ;)

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The decorations were honestly pretty easy, aside from the time it took to tape up the crepe paper. I used several blue fabric tablecloths and a gauzy sheer curtain, made some balloon bubbles, and topped the table with driftwood, coral, a DIY treasure chest, and some shells. I also repurposed some decorations I already had, including my blue mason jars, letter board, and branches. (Pro tip: if you host a lot of parties, or want to in the future, start stockpiling pieces that you know you’ll use over and over again!)

As far as food goes, this was the most low-maintenance party food ever – next to no food prep! All we had to do was slice up the cucumbers and tie the Twizzlers into knots. The complete menu consisted of:

Life Preservers (donuts)
Flying Fish (goldfish crackers)
Sea Cucumbers
Crab Legs (carrot sticks)
Pirate Knots (Twizzlers)

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I loved watching the kids get in on the snack action too! Lots of sticky fingers and happy frosting mouths. :)

Sweet mama Hannah and some of her sisters. ♥ It was so funny – after I took this picture and looked at it to make sure everyone was smiling, I said, “Hannah, you barely even look pregnant in this picture!” Most pregnant women probably would have been happy to hear that, but Hannah’s face fell and she said, “Oh no, let me turn sideways!!” It made us laugh!

To everyone’s surprise, baby Luke decided to come a few weeks early! Thankfully, he has been a super healthy, super chill baby, which is exactly what Hannah needed. He looks so much like his brother to me, and I’m already obsessed with him. Being an aunt is pretty great!

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If you need help planning a party, let ya girl know – I’d love to get ice cream or coffee with you sometime and talk about your vision!

Stranger Things Surprise Birthday Party

Seriously – could anything possibly top a Stranger Things birthday party?? Only one thing could, and it’s a SURPRISE Stranger Things birthday party, on the very day that the new season was released on Netflix. *angels singing*

Our dear friend Sheridan wanted to throw this party to celebrate her husband, Jeremy, and asked if I would mind helping/hosting, to which I immediately responded “YAAAASSSSSSSSS.” With the help of a few friends, she was able to bring her amazing vision to life, and I am still so impressed with how this party came together!

In keeping with the Stranger Things theme, she tacked up “Missing” posters of Barb, Will, and Jeremy all over the house. She also set up display on the stairs featuring Dungeons and Dragons, a record player, a baseball bat, and a bicycle! I painted the Castle Byers sign for her, which they used in the living room. String lights were everywhere, of course, and the living room was transformed into one giant blanket fort.

The dining room was the pièce de résistance, though – we couldn’t have a Stranger Things party without the infamous alphabet wall!

Even though Brandon almost ruined it….lol…thankfully Jeremy was COMPLETELY surprised when they came inside! We had so much fun hanging out, listening to the Stranger Things soundtrack, and snacking.

For the food, we set up an Eggo waffle bar with loads of toppings (including fried chicken strips!), chips and salsa, birthday cake, and “Demagorgan Blood” punch.

We had asked guests to come dressed in 80’s costumes or like a character from the show, so I dressed up as Barb! After we all took some pictures together, we settled in to watch the first episode of the newest season together, and ended up watching four or five more episodes before the night was over.

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Are you as ready for Season 3 as we are??

If you need help planning a party on a budget, picking a theme, or figuring out a menu or decorating scheme…let me know! I’d love to schedule a consultation with you (“consultation” can be defined as “let’s go get ice cream and hang out”). 

13 Going on 30 Surprise Party

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My beautiful friend Courtnie turned 30 recently, and I had the honor of helping plan her surprise birthday party! Her husband Andy planned the event and invited a bunch of us via Facebook, and when I reached out to him to see if he needed any help, he immediately took me up on my offer. I asked what he had planned, and his response was, “Umm I was thinking like cake, maybe some balloons and a happy birthday sign?”I chuckled to myself. Oh, I can do better than that. I probably should have warned Andy – when I plan a party? I don’t just do cake. I needed a theme, and 13 Going on 30 was absolutely perfect. And Courtnie is the very definition of 30, flirty, and thriving! :)

Easily my favorite decorations from the party. I made faux Sparkle and Poise magazine covers as a nod to the movie and printed them off to put in the frames.

Once I decided on the theme, the decorating was easy. I opted for a “sleepover” decor scheme, incorporating slumber party necessities like junk food and beauty supplies. I bought the gold “30” balloons, some teen magazines, and scrunchies, and borrowed a few things from my own stash, including the big white chalkboard. All of the serving dishes and table decor are things I’ve picked up over the years, and I’m glad to have such a big inventory to draw from.

I also owe a big thank you to Paige Scott for letting me borrow her daughter’s dollhouse!! It was the perfect movie tie-in and statement piece, and it got lots of compliments.

For the food, I decided to do an 80’s themed candy bar with fruit roll-ups, gummy bears, Ring Pops, Sour Patch kids, and – of course, Razzles. We also had bottles of Coke, popcorn, and cherry chip cake, Courtnie’s favorite!

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That cake though – I am super proud of that cake. You don’t even know. It’s the first time I’ve ever tried to make a cake with flat layers, and thanks to some tips from my mom, I did it! AND I even frosted it as a semi-naked cake without messing it up. SO. PROUD.

This party was so fun, and I can’t wait to plan more birthday parties in the future!

 If you need help planning a party on a budget, picking a theme, or figuring out a menu or decorating scheme…let me know! I’d love to schedule a consultation with you (“consultation” can be defined as “let’s go get ice cream and hang out”). 

“Sprinkled With Love” Baby Shower

This baby shower actually took place last September – MAJOR blogger fail. *facepalm* But I still had to post about it, even if it’s a few months late! This party was just too cute not to share.

You guys, I have to confess something. I am OBSESSED with the donut wall trend! I absolutely love it, and I knew I had to make one for Brianna and Dillon’s baby shower, especially since they were having a girl. The best part of hosting this shower was that I didn’t do it alone – I had SEVEN co-hosts! Community is such a good thing, y’all. ♥ We had the best time *sprinkling* the Perry family and helping them get ready to welcome sweet baby Mallorie into the world!

My inspiration for this party came from two things: sprinkles and a “mom-osa” bar! It was super easy to plan around a donut theme, and nearly everything was DIY, including the donut wall itself. I got a big piece of pegboard at Lowe’s and had it cut to the size I wanted, covered it with a few coats of spray paint (only needed one can!), and stuck some pegboard hooks through the holes to hang the donuts on. So simple!

For the games, we played Baby Names A-Z and had a “create a headband” station. The Baby Names game was a race, and whoever could list off baby girl names for every letter of the alphabet the fastest won. At the headband station, guests could choose from a few pre-made baby headbands and decorate them however they wanted – beads, flowers, lace, etc.

At one point during the party, I looked over and it was all husbands making headbands! :)

Before leaving the party, guests were encouraged to grab a paper cone of donut holes to take with them! I found the cones on Amazon and got the stickers personalized from The Party Penguin shop on Etsy.

Aren’t these two so beautiful?? Congratulations again, Brianna and Dillon! ♥

 If you need help planning a party on a budget, picking a theme, or figuring out a menu or decorating scheme…let me know! I’d love to schedule a consultation (a fancy word for “let’s get ice cream and chat”). Have a lovely week!

Playing Catch Up

It does NOT feel possible that tomorrow is the first day of November. October went by in a FLASH, and boy was it full! I’ve got lots of content planned, but here’s a little preview/life update in the meantime!

This wasn’t technically in October, but I hosted a sprinkles-themed baby shower for my friend Brianna and her baby girl Mallorie, and it was so perfect!! I’ll share more pictures soon. I can’t wait to meet Mallorie in a few short weeks!

Daniel and I got to take a trip to Las Vegas at the beginning of the month, because I EARNED IT. Still doesn’t feel real to say that, even though I’ve got the pictures and everything to prove it. I met some goals in my MONAT business this year and earned this trip, for free. We stayed at the Planet Hollywood resort, and it did not disappoint!

Fitz continued to be adorable, like always.

Speaking of adorable – I got to welcome the most perfect human into the world last week, and my heart still explodes every time I look at this picture. Say hello to my “nephew”/self-appointed secondary child by proxy, Cole Alan! ♥♥♥

I also got to check something off of my 30 By 30 list – throwing someone a surprise party! And what an EPIC surprise party it was. My friend Sheridan wanted to throw one for her husband, Jeremy, and asked me to help. It was incredibly nerve-wracking keeping the secret and hoping it didn’t get ruined, but we pulled it off! Jeremy was very surprised, and we had a blast celebrating with everyone. And it’ll be really hard to top a Stranger Things theme.

What a lovely month it was! Stay tuned for more detailed posts and lots more photos of our October adventures :) 

Jen’s “In the Woods” Baby Shower

I don’t know if I can explain how much I loved this baby shower. I know I say this about every party I host, but seriously – this is my favorite shower I’ve ever thrown. And while the theme was *amazing*, it’s my favorite because it was for my cousin’s / best friend’s / essentially second sister’s baby boy. Baby Cole makes his grand entrance THIS MONTH, and I am positively giddy!

When Jennifer told me she was pregnant, I knew I was going to throw her a shower. There wasn’t any question about it. I only had one problem: what theme? I had plenty of my own ideas, but none of them were quite right. Jennifer didn’t have strong feelings about a special theme, but she finally decided on Dr. Seuss, and I started planning. But while Pinterest-ing one night, I came across this:

ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME.

I took one look at that gorgeous mountain shelf and it was love at first sight. I couldn’t bring myself to do a Dr. Seuss shower after finding such a perfect theme for an outdoorsy, mountain-loving couple, and I texted Jennifer just that. I spent the next hour lost on the Internet and found a wealth of adorable ideas. But none as special as that mountain shelf. So I called my brother-in-law, Sam, who immediately agreed to make me one of my own, and it turned out SO great! Just look at it!! ⇓⇓

I can’t wait to use this thing again – thank you so much, Sam!

I also owe HUGE thanks to my mom for all of her help and advice, and to Vicki Branstetter for opening her home and letting me host the shower there. It was the perfect place to celebrate with the Briggs’ families and friends, and I’m so happy with how everything came together!

The apple bar was a personal request of Jennifer’s, and easily my favorite part of the menu! For the dips, we melted chocolate, white chocolate, caramels, and peanut butter chips in mason jars and kept them warm in the crock pot.

*Tip: soak your apples in 7-Up right after slicing to keep them from turning brown!

As far as the decorations, my favorite pieces (besides the mountain shelf) were the “Crown Yourself” chalkboard and the Mama Bear balloons. The woodsy theme was very easy to find decorations for, and a lot of the things I used came out of my own home!

Jennifer isn’t the kind of person who enjoys being the center of attention, so I kept the games very low-key and fun. We played “Who Knows Mom Best” and Baby Shower Bingo as she opened gifts. At any point during the shower, guests could write a message on a diaper for Jennifer to read during late-night diaper changes. I also picked out a baby book for guests to sign as the guest book, and the shower invitations encouraged guests to bring a book instead of a card to help build up the Briggs library!

Guests also wrote their addresses on envelopes to make sending thank-you notes easier for Jennifer, and as they left the party, they took home mini s’mores kits to “fuel their future adventures.”

What an amazing afternoon! The only thing that would have made this party better would be if people had eaten more food so we didn’t have as much to clean up. Haha!

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Grandma’s girls. :)

I’m so thankful that we got to shower my new nephew (and my oldest friend) with so many cute and useful gifts. I can’t wait to meet him, and I can’t wait to watch my best friend become a mom.

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Seriously, how perfect are they. ♥

The next time I talk about Baby Cole…….he’ll be in my arms! Eeek!! I hope you’ll join me in praying for a healthy mama, a healthy baby, and a calm daddy.  And if you need help planning a party on a budget, picking a theme, or figuring out a menu or decorating scheme…let me know! I’d love to schedule a consultation (a fancy word for “let’s go get ice cream and hang out”).

Up Up & Away Co-Ed Baby Shower

How’s that for a throwback?? This picture is from 2010. 2010. Say hello to the skinnier, baby-faced, dating versions of Daniel, Laura, Tiffany, and Cole. :) We share a very special kindred-spirit kind of friendship with the Newtons, and it’s been wonderful to watch them go from friendship to dating, to engagement, to marriage, to ministry, and now to parenthood. I’ve known for years that I would throw Tiffany a bomb.com baby shower, and I FINALLY got the chance last month!

Originally, the plan was for Tiffany to come to the shower with her baby still swimming around in her belly for another month, but baby Éowyn surprised us all and came 5 weeks early! There is NOTHING like going to the hospital to see some of your best friends with their new baby, exhausted but glowing with love for that little life they created. We got to praise God together for a safe, easy birth for Tiffany and the fact that no extra oxygen was needed for Éowyn, even though her lungs were and are still developing. The Newton girls are both warriors. Baby girl is so, so tiny, and getting to hold her made my heart burst!

I don’t remember when exactly it happened, but several years ago, Tiffany and I started talking about babies. Up until this point, we did literally everything else within months of each other – dating, engagements, finishing school, weddings, new jobs, new homes, even getting dogs – so it was just natural to imagine our future kids and arrange their marriages. I have a vivid memory of her saying she wanted to decorate a nursery with hot air balloons, and from that moment on, I always knew that whenever I threw her a shower, it would be hot air balloon-themed.

In all honesty, this is probably my favorite shower I’ve ever thrown. I put months of thought into the little details, and I’m over the moon about how great it turned out. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my co-hosts though – I owe a huge “thank you” to Brittany, Lenzie, and Pamela for their hard work, and to Nancy at the museum for helping me pull this thing off!

The Three Valley Museum was an absolutely wonderful place to host this shower. The exposed beams, brick walls, and vintage accents created the perfect atmosphere for a fun, adventure-themed party! Nancy made my job so much easier – all I had to do was set up the decorations and the food. The tables, chairs, coffee, and GORG antique wagon that served as the food table were all provided by the museum. I love discovering new event venues, and this one will definitely stay on my short list.

When guests came in, they were encouraged to sign the globe guest book and write pieces of advice to the new parents. I put pieces of paper with individual alphabet letters printed on them on each table and asked guests to color a picture of anything that started with that letter. The pages would later be turned into a homemade alphabet book for baby Eowyn. And I got everything from nice things like “Y for Yellow Yak” to a bizarre drawing of nothing but eyeballs as “A for Albino.” Thank you, Jeremy Burns.

THE MENU: 

Snack bags on the guest tables
Cupcakes
Individual veggie cups
Chips & snack mix
“Babies” in a blanket
Coffee bar
Fruit-infused water
Hot air balloon cake balls

The cupcakes had a special twist. Before we knew baby Newton was a girl, my original plan was to create a mini blue cake and a mini pink cake, and fill one of them with colored frosting. Cole would cut into one and Tiffany would cut into the other, and whichever one was filled would be the supposed gender of their baby. Instead, I just made two pink ombre cakes, and I filled one of the cupcakes! I created a sign to display next to the cupcakes with a caution for guests to choose wisely – whoever chose the sprinkles-filled cupcake would be the next to get pregnant. And, of course, it was hilarious when Tiffany’s younger brother Kevin discovered he had picked that special cupcake!

All of the decor was DIY. I was really nervous because I hadn’t ever worked with giant balloons before, but they turned out great! I ordered the balloons and nets online, and got most of the baskets from Hobby Lobby on sale. The banners were individual triangles…cut out and painstakingly taped on string…by me. (Labor of love.) Because the museum was already decorated, I didn’t have to bring anything with me besides tablecloths, the hot air balloon centerpieces, Mason jars for the paper pinwheels, my giant chalkboard, and little odds and ends like sequin table runners and stuff for the guest book table.

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This was the only picture I got of the sweet parents. Seriously – she does not look like she just had a baby, am I right??

And I had to take a pic of two of my favorite guys! :) This little dude made me an aunt. I can’t believe he’s already two years old.

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Honest to goodness – could not be happier with how this shower turned out. I’m still really proud of myself and so thankful to the co-hosts for everything they did. Thanks again to Pam, Brittany, and Lenzie! And happy parenthood to Tiffany and Cole – you’ll probably never sleep ever again. ;)

 If you need help planning a party on a budget, picking a theme, or figuring out a menu or decorating scheme…let me know! I’d love to schedule a consultation (a fancy word for “let’s go get ice cream and hang out”). Hope you have a lovely week!

World’s Okayest Party Planner: Part II

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I realize I haven’t thrown THAT many parties, but this will probably always be one of my favorites, no matter how many more I plan. I started planning this party the moment I found out Daniel had passed his first CPA exam. I didn’t know when I would get to bring it to life, but I knew it would happen eventually! I never doubted that he would pass every exam, and this party was the perfect way to celebrate his hard work.

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I also realize that camping and lumberjacks aren’t really a “new” party theme, but I thought it would be a fun theme for a manly celebration. The best part was that pretty much all of this party was DIY! The main way I kept costs down was by borrowing and re-purposing most of the decorations. My mom is one of those party-planning, quilt-making, dessert-baking, basically-everything-domestic creative geniuses, and she always adds such perfect touches in her own decorating. I knew I could count on her to have some cute camping/outdoors-themed stuff. The main pieces I borrowed from her were the red/white tablecloth, the red lantern, the silver campfire coffee pot, and the big wood slices (LOVE these). My favorite big decorations, though, were the burlap and plaid strip banner behind the food table, and the “YAY” backdrop with the gold CPA balloons!

The camping-themed menu included:

  • Pretzels and caramel corn
  • Apple cider
  • A chili and hot dog bar with lots of toppings
  • S’mores cupcakes
  • Candy corn and candy pumpkins

The cupcakes didn’t turn out quite like I planned, but my meltdown only lasted about 3 minutes, and then I got over myself and made it work. GIANT shout out to my mom and my mom-in-law for helping with everything from food to serving to helping clean up!

I think I mentioned this before, but I find beauty in little details. Sometimes the smallest things can make a big impact. For example, for this party, we ate off of metal pie tins instead of plain old plates! (Sidebar: I wanted to get wooden silverware, but I ran out of time. Boo.) Mom also made the cutest tiny tree confetti to sprinkle on the tables, and I used other little things like my wood candle holders, my mustache mug, and the blue speckled spoons (also from my mom) to reinforce the woodsy, manly vibe.

The best part, of course, was the people who came. Their love and support was overwhelming, and it was so much fun to celebrate with a group of people who love Daniel genuinely and prayed faithfully for us during that season of our marriage!

If you need help planning a party on a budget, picking a theme, or figuring out a menu or decorating scheme…let me know! I’d love to schedule a consultation (a fancy word for “let’s go get ice cream and hang out”). Hope you have a lovely week!

World’s Okayest Party Planner – Part I

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Sometimes, I wish that I could just do nothing but plan parties for people I love! It brings me such a unique kind of joy, and it’s one of the only talents I have that I’m genuinely confident about. I’m okay at the piano and I’m an okay singer; I’m barely okay at decorating my house; and I guess I’m okay at writing? But give me a party to plan and I truly feel like I’m in my element.

Last fall gave me two opportunities to share my gifts – (1) a rain-themed baby shower for my dear friend Kelli, her husband Blake, and their son Elijah, and (2) a woodsy, lumberjack bash to celebrate Daniel passing the CPA exams. First was the shower for the Moore family!

Whenever I plan a party, one of my consistent goals is to stay away from anything that is done too often. I like unique themes and little details that make a big statement. My inspiration for Kelli’s shower came from this cute pin I found on Pinterest a few years ago – I mean, Babybel cheese umbrellas?? Come on. I had to.

The final menu included:

  • Chocolate chip and cinnamon streusel muffins
  • Rainbow fruit
  • Babybel cheese umbrellas
  • Cloud and raindrop sugar cookies
  • Turquoise punch (a fancier way of saying “I mixed lemonade and Sprite together, and then spent about 10 minutes trying to put in the perfect amount of blue food coloring”)

I was thrilled with how everything came together! I had a few mishaps, but nothing too tragic. Although I can definitely tell you that I never want to cut out a tiny cloud by hand…ever…again.

Hands down, these were my two favorite things – the ‘too cute to eat’ cookies made by the very talented Marissa Dodd, and the cloud straws (AKA my labor of love).

Cute little parents :)

I think the most fun part was the games. I created something called the Blind Olympics, which consisted of 3 different games that all had to be completed blindfolded. Some were done on teams, and some were completed alone, but all were hilarious. I wish I had taken more pictures of them!

The first game was called “Clean Up After the Baby.” We set up a line of chairs, and one member from each team sat down facing the rest of the group, blindfolded. They were given one bowl full of cotton balls to hold in their lap, an empty bowl to hold on top of their head, and a spoon. The first person to scoop all of the cotton balls out of the bowl in their lap and put them in the bowl on their head was the winner.

The second game was called “Draw the Baby” and was inspired by the game on this post! Instead of just drawing a baby blindfolded, the participants were given a ridiculously short time limit to finish their drawing. They were also given instructions while drawing, such as “Now give the baby an article of clothing” or “Now set the scene – is the baby outside throwing water balloons, or inside drawing on the walls…?” Kelli and Blake judged the drawings and picked two winners: Most Likely to Look Like Their Baby and Most Terrifying-Looking Baby of All Time.

The last game (the BEST game) was called “Feed the Baby.” I divided everyone in to teams of two, and each team was given a jar of applesauce and two spoons. Everyone blindfolded themselves and stood in two lines, each person facing their partner. When I said “go,” the team members fed the applesauce to each other at the same time. The first duo to finish their applesauce won! I don’t think I stopped laughing the entire time they played.

Even the prizes followed the ‘blind’ theme: winners from each game got to draw a random prize out of a giant mystery prize box! I wrapped the top of the box with wrapping paper and cut a hole in the middle, large enough so they could reach in but couldn’t see what they were grabbing. The prizes included cute kitchen towels, Cheese Whiz, movie theater boxes of candy, a top hat, a whoopie cushion, alphabet fridge magnets, an extra-large mason jar travel mug with a lid and straw…all kinds of nonsense.

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If you liked this party, you’ll definitely want to read my next post: Daniel’s lumberjack CPA bash! Coming soon! :)