The Bennett County Fair

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I have been planning Holiday's County Fair birthday party since the day after her FIRST birthday! I had planned to use the theme for her 2nd birthday, but we ended up putting our house on the market at the beginning of August 2012 and had a full price offer within hours and bunked with my parents for a "few" months while we built our current home!  I didn't want to subject them to my party planning craziness so we returned to a "normal" birthday party for birthday 3-- well, as normal as you can get with a mom who is a professional party planner! 

As is my norm, I always start designing and styling around an item I love-- which happened to be this ADORABLE outfit from Momi Boutique that I purchased right after Holiday's first birthday.  Fortunately for me, with the style and way that it is cut-- it has fit well from age 1 and it is still a favorite outfit in her closet! 

Image and outfit by MOMI Boutique 

Image and outfit by MOMI Boutique 

I should preface this by saying that I'm from RURAL Pennsylvania where our county fairs are largely about farm animals and tractor pulls so it was really a County Fair/ Barnyard party... and it was fabulous! 

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My sweet friend Becky Siegrist designed these invites for me, the back is orange and white gingham.  Needless to say, I was in LOVE. I need to also mention that all of the fabulous professional looking pics (since some of my iPhone pics are in the mix too) were all done by the lovely and SERIOUSLY talented Charis Pope of charisalexandra.com 

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So between the fabulous outfit and the amazing invitations, the tone of the party had been set... 

Favors Table in the Entry 

Favors Table in the Entry 

Somewhere along the way, I became obsessed with horses and ponies-- it wasn't my intent with the party, but the horse silhouette just looked so cute on EVERYTHING! 

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I made these ribbons for all of the kids out of heavy paper and ribbon.  They were GORGEOUS but a true labor of love.  Days I tell you...days...

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I bought a piece of pink foam board at Michael's and secured 4 strips of ribbon onto it and then pinned all of my ribbons on to it to create the display.  The ideas was to use them for award ribbons for all of the carnival games-- but they looked WAY to cute in the entry on the favors table to move! 

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Anyone who has followed my work for any length of time, knows about my love of these felt animal masks by Mahalo!  We had lots available for pictures at the photo booth and then each child got to select one to take home as part of their favor! 

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What can I say... I'm really into favors.  The kids all got to take an adorable horse cookie home.  Also made by my fabulous friend Mary Holmen from It's A Mary Cake!  If you live in the DFW area, you need to add her to your shortlist for all of your cake and cookie needs! 

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Some child(ren) were quite obviously swiping icing with their fingers

Some child(ren) were quite obviously swiping icing with their fingers

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I was really proud of how my makeshift cupcake stand turned out. It was a collaborative effort by my mom and I around midnight or so-- you know, after I got home from the ER from the severe allergic reaction to the PeiWei takeout my husband brought home a few hours earlier...but that's another story! 

The bottom of the stand is a Martha Stewart cake stand.  The other two layers are comprised of similar sized wood slices.  The tiers in between the layers are birch pillar candles.  We just cut some of the gingham paper napkins to add more color to the wood slices! 

My dear friend Mary Holmen from It's A Mary Cake made the cake topper and little fondant farm animals.  I have to take responsibility for the messed up cake on the top-- I pressed the topper down too hard and caused the smooshing/creasing.  I baked so many of the cakes and desserts on the "Blue Ribbon Cakes and Pies" table, I took my invitation into the Target bakery and met with one of the bakers there and ordered the cupcakes and made sure to get precise colors of icing.  My advice with ordering cakes and other special things for your party-- be as specific as you can possibly be when explaining what you want.  Send pictures, take paint chips-- whatever you need to do to get the vision out of your head and into reality!  Don't expect anyone else to read your mind!  Even if what they created is totally fabulous-- if it isn't what you wanted, was expecting or envisioning-- you're likely going to be disappointed.   I got the polka dot baking cups from The TomKat Studio.  I just love, love, LOVE how it all turned out (aside from my smooshed topper cake)! 

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Fondant Holiday with her Farm Friends! 

Fondant Holiday with her Farm Friends! 

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Okay...one more...the detail on these fondant toppers was FANTASTIC!  I asked Mary to add bows to lots of them and make them super girly for our birthday girl! 

Okay...one more...the detail on these fondant toppers was FANTASTIC!  I asked Mary to add bows to lots of them and make them super girly for our birthday girl! 

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I haven't ordered party supplies from Oriental Trading in quite some time and I was SUPER impressed with their selection!  The stripe/polka dot pennants were only $3 each and double sided.  The center is comprised of 2 small paper fans/medallions (also ordered from Oriental Trading) and I cut out the horse silhouette on the Cricut along with the round center (Animal Kingdom Cricut Cartridge).  I used a lot of the paper medallions in all different sizes going up my staircase since it's so visible from the front door.  I did the same method on several of them where I stacked and hot glued them together. 

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We had quite a few people at the party, so I wanted to do food that was self serve and super easy for me.  I rented this hot dog machine very inexpensively.  It steamed the hot dogs and toasted the buns!

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I ordered disposable pie pans (a huge case of 150) from a restaurant supply store.  I made chili and ordered these adorable pint size ice cream containers decorated with adorable labels I made on my Cricut! The pie pans have proved to be quite useful with Holiday's projects-- we still have quite a few left! 

Mini cornbread muffins for the chili in these adorable polka dot "french fry" boxes 

Mini cornbread muffins for the chili in these adorable polka dot "french fry" boxes 

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Outside popcorn bar!  The "Popcorn" logo was on the other side of the machine, but with the doors on the backside, I was sad that I didn't get the look of the popcorn machine I wanted.  In retrospect, I should have moved the table away from the wall, turned the popcorn machine around and let the people serve themselves from the other side... hind sight is always 20/20 I suppose! 

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Drinks! 

Drinks! 

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We like to have a "few" different drink options!

We like to have a "few" different drink options!

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SO... we were pretty sure we were going to get rained out-- they were calling for a 70% chance of rain all during the party.  I had a full back up plan to move the party inside, but we decided at the last minute that morning to take our chances and set up outside--it started raining 15 minutes after the party ended!  Because I was working on moving the party inside (renting tents, etc) for three days beforehand, I never ordered the flowers I was planning on putting in buckets and vases down the table.  So it was a total MISSED opportunity that will always haunt me! 

Even though my missed decor opportunity will always haunt me-- the hay bales made awesome chairs-- at least for the aesthetic effect! 

Even though my missed decor opportunity will always haunt me-- the hay bales made awesome chairs-- at least for the aesthetic effect! 

Photo Booth-- thanks Dad!  My dad built this for Holiday's first birthday party!  As mentioned above, the masks are from Mahalo! 

Photo Booth-- thanks Dad!  My dad built this for Holiday's first birthday party!  As mentioned above, the masks are from Mahalo! 

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Real goldfish seemed like a hassle, I found this little sorting set on Amazon-- Holiday still loves to play, sort and count them! 

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Pumpkin Ring Toss was my own original idea!  It was actually a bit of a challenge and even the adults had a fun time participating! 

Even Pappy had a good time trying! Disregard the construction trailer across the street-- didn't really "add" anything to the pictures! 

Even Pappy had a good time trying! Disregard the construction trailer across the street-- didn't really "add" anything to the pictures! 

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Of course the REAL highlight of the party was all of the animals and PONY RIDES!!! Unfortunately, I think Holiday might expect ponies at every birthday party from now on! The animals all came from Coalson's Corral in Decatur, TX.  The Coalsons were WONDERFUL to work with-- can't wait to book them again! 

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Little two year old Lexi was DETERMINED to pick up this chicken.  She was FEARLESS and way too cute! 

Little two year old Lexi was DETERMINED to pick up this chicken.  She was FEARLESS and way too cute! 

Even chickens need a cuddle every now and then! 

Even chickens need a cuddle every now and then! 

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Two of my sweet nieces, Zoe Faith and Emme Daley

Two of my sweet nieces, Zoe Faith and Emme Daley

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My little niece (and Holiday's BFF) Eliza Lynne! 

My little niece (and Holiday's BFF) Eliza Lynne! 

We have good looking neighbors! What a beautiful family this is! 

We have good looking neighbors! What a beautiful family this is! 

We LOVE our sparkler number candles! 

We LOVE our sparkler number candles! 

Blowing out candles! 

Blowing out candles! 

Had to add a shot of this AMAZING headband by Appelilly Couture and the adorable horse pendant necklace from Dazzled Darling Boutique! 

Had to add a shot of this AMAZING headband by Appelilly Couture and the adorable horse pendant necklace from Dazzled Darling Boutique! 

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Of course when you have a Mama who is a party planner and project manager-- since we had ponies at the house, we had to do a quick wardrobe change for Christmas card pictures! 

As always-- I hope this party gave you a little inspiration for your next shin-dig! 

Polar Bear Breakfast Playdate

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Holiday and I had so much fun hosting a Polar Bear Breakfast Playdate this week for some of our little neighborhood friends!  Truth be told, I've been wanting to throw a Christmasy breakfast party for a few years and now that we're in our new house and have lots of little neighbors, it worked out perfectly!

Anyone who knows me, knows I LOVE to throw parties...big parties...with every detail imaginable.  I love this party because it was much smaller, had next to no budget and really just focused on using things I already had!  

So hopefully you'll enjoy the pictures and ideas and get some inspiration for throwing a fete of your own! 

 

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Instead of my normal "re-decorate the entire house for the party" plan, I kept the majority of the decorations in the Dining Room creating a big impact with a winterscape!  I initially planned on cutting out lots of snowflakes and hanging them from the ceiling, but the thoughts of the ladder and all of that fishing wire sounded monotonous, so I opted to float helium balloons from the ceiling and tie die-cut snowflakes onto the bottom.  Super easy and quick.  Since the party was first thing in the morning, I picked up the balloons the night before.  Helium balloons aren't quite like they used to be-- where they didn't make it through the day.  Some places, such as Party City, use higher quality helium.  You can also pay just a few cents more and have High Float added to your balloons which is an additive that will make them last longer.  I picked up these balloons almost 3 days ago as I sit here typing and 80% of them are STILL floating high! 

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For the table, I started with a basic white table cloth and then added these felt snowflake chargers that I bought a few years ago at The Dollar Store.  Leftover die-cut snowflakes filled in the empty space.  In the middle of the table, I purchased a few yards of shimmery blue material and kind of bunched it up creating a runner.  It was still looking a little flat, so on each end, under the blue shimmer fabric, I added two boxes and then covered with pieces of a Snow Blanket to create little icebergs for some of the polar bears to sit on!  The polar bears are Webkinz, which coincidentally aren't nearly as popular as they used to be and you can pick them up (at Target of Amazon) for just a few dollars each!  The polar bears were the take home party favors for all of the kids! 

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What's a breakfast party without BREAKFAST?!!  For this party, I did a Belgian Waffle bar with fresh berries and whipped cream, scrambled eggs, hot cocoa bar and a few other fun treats! 

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I have to share my most favorite Belgian Waffle recipe of all time!  http://allrecipes.com/recipe/belgian-waffles/detail.aspx

In order to not be standing over my waffle maker and having guests wait for each waffle to come off the iron, I made them all early that morning and put them in the oven on a cookie sheet on just the warm setting at 170'.  I did the same with the scrambled eggs.  It's always helpful at a party to have food that is either self-service or something that can easily be made in advance. 

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The hot cocoa bar ended up being one of my favorite little areas for the party.  Around 4 am, I was trying to set out all of the hot cocoa mugs on the counter and it wasn't having the impact I was looking for, so I pulled out my trusty old galvanized 3-tier stand from Pottery Barn.  I LOVE this stand and it's such a versatile piece if you like to host parties as much as I do! The space between the tiers is quite deep, opening up lots of possibilities for use and making it very functional. Of course my new favorite Williams Sonoma Hot Cocoa Pot and my wooden sign that was a gift from a dear friend many years ago!   I just love when all of these things I already had come together to create such a cute little area.  This type of set-up is adorable for all cold weather gatherings too!  

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Can I just take a minute to tell you how these teeny tiny hot cocoa mugs make my heart so happy?!  I purchased these quite a few years ago from Crate and Barrel knowing that one day I would have little ones who would love them as much as I do!  They no longer sell this exact mug, but if you're wanting a similar effect, search for espresso mugs! 

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Here you can get a bit of a better idea of their size compared to this over-sized Starbucks mug! 

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And let's talk about this super cute cake stand!   What you may not be able to tell from first glance is that this is just a plain white cake stand.  The red and stripe print is a cake plate cling!  As much as I love these clings, I have been reluctant to talk about them up until now because there is only one place manufacturing them and I had a bad experience with their customer service.  But sometimes a product is worth the hassle!  The red and white stripe is adorable for Christmas, Valentine's and even the Fourth of July!  Plus there are lots of other designs to choose from! I found my clings at www.whhostess.com

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We also had a really fun crafting time at the party and made these cute paper plate polar bears!  

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All of the kids headed upstairs to play while their polar bears dried!  

Holiday's shirt was made by Whimsy Stitchery (Etsy)  Snowflake Necklace by Dazzled Darling Boutique   Snowflake Headband by The Ruffled Cupcake  Pink Pettiskirt by RuffleButts  Cream Double Ruffle Leggings by Persnickety  Black Livie and Luca Petals Shoes  

Holiday's shirt was made by Whimsy Stitchery (Etsy)

Snowflake Necklace by Dazzled Darling Boutique 

Snowflake Headband by The Ruffled Cupcake

Pink Pettiskirt by RuffleButts

Cream Double Ruffle Leggings by Persnickety

Black Livie and Luca Petals Shoes  

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Of course Mamas need favors too!  These adorable Christmas tins from Hobby Lobby were the perfect home for some Christmasy treats 

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One last picture-- these are the melamine trays all of the kids used for the party.  Often when I'm out shopping and see something cute, my brain immediately thinks ahead, envisioning how it would work in a party!  So when I see something I love like, these melamine trays or my beloved miniature hot cocoa mugs, I usually buy in quantities of at least 20!  Fortunately in our new house, I have an entire closet dedicated to my party serving supplies!  Again, with purchases like these, I've had a lot of versatility buying pieces in this red and blue color scheme.  This color combo has a very vintage feel to it and is just as Christmasy as it is summery!  

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