Hey friends! Happy February! I decided to do something crazy this year, and decided to host a Valentine's Party for my kids and their friends. Why might this be crazy you ask? Let me count the ways.....
I decided on Sunday that we should host the party....the following Sunday. So I gave myself 7 days to plan, prep and shop for the entire party and I promise you, I had not given one iota of thought to hosting this party before I pulled the trigger. I do things like this all the time. Spontaneity does not scare me and most of the time I decide to do things like this when I have a lot of my plate. I really need to take an enneagram test to figure out my number! I can't be the only one.
My husband had been out of town the previous weekend, and was going to be out of town again for party weekend. So throwing a bash at the end of a 4 day stint of solo parenting always seems logical and smart (said no sane mom ever).
My indoor space is small. I love to entertain and we host parties and get-togethers all summer long when we can entertain in our big backyard. I would love to host parties and playdates throughout the year, but am always hesitant to cram a whole bunch of rambunctious kiddos into our small space.
But you know what, when I made the challenge at the beginning of 2019 for women to throw a party this year, I knew I was pushing people out of their comfort zone. I am so comfortable hosting an outdoor party, but throwing a party indoors is totally out of my zone. So if I am going to ask you to do something, it's my style to be the first to the plate. The final deciding factor was when I asked Reese if we should have a Valentine's Party for our buds and her face absolutely lit up! She immediately started telling me all the details she wanted to have at the party and we decided, what the heck, let's go for it!
Be My Valentine
This party came together so easily! I designed the XOXO Valentine Invite first, then came up with a theme to follow. If you've seen me on Instagram, you know I made these adorable Valentine's activity postcards that include 12 Valentine themed activities, games and super quick and easy ideas for a Valentine's countdown as well as 4 blank cards so you can fill in your own ideas (psst, these are a free download right now). One of the activity card ideas is of course, to make your own Valentines. My kids have really been into that card, so we ran with that as the theme of the party.
I used the blank postcards as the Valentine card template that the kids could decorate, then a quick stop to the dollar tree and I had half of my party prepped.
You know how you see those adorable instagram posts with the divider trays for crafts and sensory play....those are just chips and dip trays! You can grab them at the dollar store, Target, etc.
I have vinyl banners in my shop now, that match any party theme, so I designed one to coordinate with the party invite and it made the perfect backdrop to the Valentine card making station.
Mama Needs Coffee
The next thing I knew I wanted to make was a coffee cup decorating station. There was s similar activity at Landon's Co-op and the kids loved it, plus, I used the same supplies for the card making table, so this was super easy to pull together and I just picked up some disposable coffee cups from the grocery store while grabbing party food.
Obviously, as a work-from-home mom of 2, I love coffee, as do all of my mom friends that were coming to the party. I wanted to give the kids something they could gift to their moms so this was a fast and easy win that didn't require purchasing a bunch of new supplies. As I suspected, the kids were so into creating masterpieces for their moms and I heard more than one kid shout, "my mom loves coffee!" Hey, what can ya' do? 🤷
Food and Drinks
Since I pulled this party together in a week, I kept the food and drink choices pretty simple. Ever since I downloaded my girlfriend Allison Carter Celebrates free Valentine's Activity Guide, I've been craving Italian sodas and the pink drink is perfect for a Valentine's Day Party for kids, so this station was a must!
If your remember at the beginning of the post, I told you guys I had a small house. This little corner is our family calendar nook. I stuck a small table in there that I scored from a salvage pile at my dads for my charcuterie inspired 32nd birthday and gave it a third life.
I had a vision for this corner and I couldn't for the life of me figure out what to do with the wire shelf that is anchored into the wall, until I decided to embrace it! I think it made that corner even cuter and added great height!
Another fun and cheap decor steal for this corner is the framed heart picture. I borrowed a large frame from Landon's room, and actually framed a tea towel that was in Allison's bag of party decor she loaned me to use! This is such an easy and cheap idea for any party. You can use scrapbook paper, wrapping paper, etc.
Reese has really been into "decorating" her yogurt lately, and she requested to have yogurt that her friends could decorate and when I asked Landon what we should eat, he said bagels! Done and done, dudes!
I went live on my Instagram account during the party to show everyone a behind the scenes look at the party. When all we see as moms is the beautiful party photos, it's easy to feel like pulling together a party like this is unachievable, I'm here to remind you it's not. During the party, right next to this cute yogurt station, we had a toaster we were toasting bagels with, empty berry trays, piles of plates and pure and utter chaos. Please keep that in mind with your expectation verse reality pep talk! 😘
I also used an idea from Allison's Valentine's Guide for fruit skewers that the kids could create themselves. I had a tray of strawberries, blueberries, and heart shaped watermelon (that I used a heart shaped cookie cutter to slice) along with skewers and the kids had a good time making their own fruit sticks.
Is any party complete without a sugar overload? Not if I'm hosting. This was another small space hack! I had every intention of going live on Facebook with Allison to show you what her party consultation calls look like, because I rely on her expertise to help me put the finishing touches on every party, but she helped me make our small space work. Since I had 2 little helpers for this party, things took 198 times longer than normal, so we ran out of time. But, we ended up moving our dining room table into the living room to clear up enough space for the kids crafts and make the small space work for this party!
This cookie cake was so fun and relatively easy to make! I've seen them all over pinterest, but with less than a week of prep time with the party ordering wasn't an option, and you guys know I am a DIYer anyways, so we decided to give it a whirl. In true Nicole hack fashion, I also used premade sugar cookie dough to make this dessert even easier. A local baker, Jenny Cookies has a great tutorial if you want to attempt your own.
My 2 year old Landon decorated almost this entire thing himself, which makes me love it even more! It doubled as an activity and I try my hardest to give my kids a hand in everything party related, so this was perfect. We will definitely be making this dessert again for our next party.
I have also become obsessed with baking cakes! I still haven't found the best tasting vanilla cake recipe yet though. If anyone has a favorite, please send it my way! This is definitely my go to frosting recipe by Two Sisters. I actually just throw parties so I can have an excuse to bake and eat cake, true story.
If you would have told me 5 years ago, that this is where my life would be, I would have laughed at you. My goal this year, is to give moms confidence to throw parties, big or small. Things don't have to be pinterest perfect to be real life perfect. I want to give you behind the scenes looks at what goes on prepping for parties, and what they really look like, behind the adorable photos you see here. My kids and I had so much fun hosting this party, and while people say they don't remember, I beg to differ. I will take a firm stance that a party doesn't have to look like this to be magical though. Anything I can do to help you host a party this year, I am here for you mama! Let's celebrate ourselves, and our kids and make the magical childhood memories!
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Party Consultation Call: Allison Carter Celebrates