How to throw a magical birthday party

10 easy steps for creating a magical birthday party. | Throwing the best birthday party. | How to plan a birthday party.

In this Pinterest-obsessed world we now live in, there’s more pressure than ever to throw over-the-top, outrageously expensive and elaborate celebrations of all kinds. Growing up, however, before the age of Pinterest I vividly remember my mother throwing the most magical parties. There was the Wizard of Oz theme party, complete with rainbow drinks with Twizzlers straws, a fashion show themed party where she set up a runway in my living room and had my sister be the announcer while my friends and I all modeled our party dresses and dress up clothes. She videotaped the whole ordeal and then handed out awards to each of us. The Halloween party was one of my favorites with pumpkin races: a game where the kids swept mini pumpkins down the driveway to the finish line using “witch’s brooms.” Yes, if there is one thing my Mom knew how to do, it was throw a magical party.

So what makes her parties so magical and how can you easily recreate magic of your own? It’s simple! Just follow these 10 easy steps:

  1.  Plan!
    It’s important to brainstorm more than a week beforehand. I’d suggest thinking about your party the month before. Nothing is more stressful that feeling pressured to come up with a spectacular birthday party in just 7 days.
  2.  Pick a theme.
    I use the term “theme” here loosely. While it could be something as specific as a favorite Disney character or favorite TV show, a theme could also be as broad as a color scheme. Whatever you choose, it’s important to stick within the limits of the theme. This can be hard with all those drool-worthy Pinterest ideas, but trying to bring too many ideas together can bring a chaotic feel to a birthday party instead of a magical vibe.
  3. Brainstorm 
    After you decide on your theme, it’s time to brainstorm again! This is where Pinterest comes in. Using the visual search engine, create a board for your future party. There you’ll be pinning all your favorite ideas, everything from invites & cakes to party decorations and games. Go crazy! It’s okay to pin something that could be tweaked to fit your specific theme. For example, if you save “pin the horn on the unicorn” for a tropical party knowing you’ll switch it to “pin the beak on the flamingo.”
  4. Narrow it down.
    After you’ve pinned to your hearts content, narrow it down. You can’t do it all, regardless of what the internet and bloggers try to get you to believe. You just can’t! So pick your favorites.
  5. Plan your time.
    Once you’ve narrowed down exactly what decor you need, what games or activities you’ll do and other specifics, it’s time to think about your timeline. I had some DIY’s in my party planning so I tried my best to manage my expectations about what exactly I could get done.
  6. Send out invites.
    Once you’ve got a solid plan, it’s time to send out those invites! I skipped the formal invitations and just created a Facebook event. Other options are using a service like Minted, Shutterfly, or Etsy for more customizable invites. Or, if you’re crafty and enjoy card-making like my sister, a DIY option might be for you. I’d say aim to give 2 weeks notice for your guests.
  7. Shop & create!
    Now it’s the fun part…. time to go shopping! Start purchasing supplies, favors, decor and anything else you might need off of your list.
  8. Create or order your cake.
    Don’t leave the cake till the last minute. Make sure you order your cake with enough time to spare. And it’s always a good idea to have a back-up plan. If you plan on baking your cake bake it at least a day or two before. That way if something goes wrong there’s time to do it again, or pick up a premade cake from the grocery store. Because, if your luck is anything like mine, your oven will break the day you go to bake 24 cupcakes and 4 layers of cake…. uh, yeah, that really happened. Luckily, my Dad’s oven worked just fine.
  9. Set up the day before.
    Set up as much decor as you can the day/night before the party. Prepare any food items you can as well. You’ll feel much less stressed out knowing everything is ready for the big day.
  10. Make sure those cameras are charged.
    Charge those cameras the night before so you can be sure to capture the look of amazement on your child’s face as they take in the magic that is their birthday party!

How to throw a magical birthday party | throwing the ultimate birthday party in 10 easy steps | overthedeepend.com

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Date Night at Home: Build a Terrarium

DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night!

Hubby and I had fallen into a nighttime rut. It consisted of putting Emmie to bed and then going to our respective electronic devices to play games, read blogs, and browse the internet.  With baby #2 on the way we both felt we needed to spend more quality time together, sans electronic devices, but we didn’t have the energy, or money, to hire a sitter every weekend for your average “date night.” We looked into subscribing to a “date in a box” type service but being the crafty DIYers that we are, decided that we could come up with our own versions of date nights that could be done at home after the kids are in bed. And so, our At Home Date Night series was born.

I rounded up some ideas, wrote them on some big Popsicle sticks and placed them in a jar. Each Monday we pick out a Popsicle stick so that we have the week to prepare anything needed for an “at home date night.”  Our first date night in this series was “build a terrarium.” Building a terrarium was something both my husband and I had wanted to do for a long time. It was the perfect date night for the long weekend. We spent Friday evening rounding up our supplies. On Saturday we tucked Emerson into bed, put on some music, poured some wine (well, juice for me) and built our terrariums.  We had such a blast and it felt great to be doing something with each other rather than spending the evening zoning out in front of the TV or computer.

Having date night at home hasn't been easier. A fun, easy way to date your spouse without leaving the house!

Here’s how you can create your own DIY terrarium date night!

Gather your supplies:

Terrarium Container: Glass jars, vases or bowls work well for terrarium containers. You can decide if you want your terrarium to be an open container or a closed container; both work well.

Plants: Gather plants that have the same needs. You shouldn’t mix plants that require different levels of water or light. Succulents do well in open terrariums, but look for other plants if you’re aiming for a closed terrarium. Grab a bag of sheet moss for covering up the open spaces between plants, which helps the plants retain the right level of moisture.

Rocks: You’ll need some type of rock so that you’ll have a nice drainage layer. We chose some river rocks as our big drainage layer, and then layered some aquarium pebbles on-top of that.

Activated Charcoal: Activated charcoal can be found in pet stores with the fish supplies. This helps filter your terrarium to keep it clean and your plants healthy & happy.

Dirt: Choose a high quality potting soil.

DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night! DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night! DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night!

   Build your terrarium:

Step 1: Set up your draining layer, aiming for the biggest rocks on the very bottom and smaller rocks on top, about 1″ total. Add a layer of activated charcoal about 0.5″ deep to finish it off.

Step 2: Put in roughly 1-2″ of potting soil

Step 3: Arrange plants in your terrarium container, filling in spaces with more soil as you go

Step 4: Add moss on top of any open dirt, surrounding the plants

Step 5: Add enough water to moisten the soil, then admire your new terrarium!

DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night! DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night! terranium-9DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night!DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night!DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night! DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night!DIY Terrarium for an at home date night. Create these easy terrariums once the kids are in bed for an at home Date Night!

Keep following along so that you’ll never miss a new At Home Date Night. 

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Master Bedroom Decor

There are always challenges when moving. One of those challenges for me is always feeling the need to switch up decor and furniture. What worked for one space doesn’t mean it will translate well into the next house. However, living off of one budget means that I can’t just chuck everything and start fresh, no matter how much I’d love to.

Another challenge in decorating after moving is the fact that we’re renting. With every rental comes a new set of rules and a new list of things you can’t change. We really lucked out in Baltimore as we rented from my Mother (thanks Mom!) so we had a lot of flexibility in what we were able to do. This house? Not so much. Enter the need for rental friendly decor.

I’ve hit the point in my pregnancy where I’ve finally started getting the nesting urge and no space is unscathed in this process. I mean, we don’t even have all of our pictures on the walls yet…but that doesn’t stop me from dreaming and scheming up ways to change, update and restyle our spaces in a budget & rental friendly way. First on my list is the master bedroom. I’d love to DIY a new headboard, mount some wall lights, and have Emmie help me with some abstract art to hang above the bed. A new crisp duvet and a pop of color through an accent pillow and we’re well on our way to a cozy, rental friendly space.Now all I have to do is get the hubster on board and I’ll be golden.

Master Bedroom Decor

 

What are some of your go-to’s to refresh a space?

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Color Code Your Keys: An Easy Nail Polish Hack

I’ve been doing this for 5 years now, and it’s one of my favorite “life hacks.” Color coding your keys with nail polish. The nail polish creates a wonderful enamel like finish and it lasts a long time. I no longer fumble around my keychain for the right key, I simply look for the color I need and bam! Done. It’s so simple.  It only takes about 5 minutes! So, go gather your keys and let’s do this!!

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