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August 29, 2013 / staceyj

Walking in a…

winter wonderland?!?  Around these parts it has been hovering around the 100 degree mark (and over!) for the past week and let’s face it…I’m sweaty.  It is hot.  And humid.  And my trusty air conditioner has been working so much it is planning to unionize and demand overtime pay.

So in the spirit of trying to usher in a virtual cool breeze, I thought I would take a moment and share some photos from Beaut.one’s winter wonderland birthday party.  It took place in the dead of winter.  When there was snow on the ground.  And you could walk to the mailbox without needing a shower.  Aah…those were the days.

Winter Wonderland Party

I can’t quite put my finger on what inspired the idea of a winter wonderland birthday party theme.  Maybe it was the fact that Beaut.one was born in the dead of winter?  Or maybe it was because I just LOVE to meticulously cut out paper snowflake after paper snowflake night after night with only the glow of my television to keep me company?  Wait, that doesn’t sound right.

The winning reason?  Christmas clearance shopping, of course!  My girlfriend and I hit the stores the day after Christmas and there were snowflake ornaments galore.  At 50% percent off I snatched them up as fast as I could find them.

Winter Wonderland Party

And then when I came across these sweet winter woodland animals…it totally sealed the deal.

Winter Wonderland Party

So I went home with my treasures and showed them all to Beaut.one.  I told her my ideas for a winter-themed party, showed her the pile of snowflakes and the cute little snow-covered woodland creatures.  I then told her it was her birthday and it was completely up to her what the theme would be.  She said she would think about it.  And then I casually said,  “Honey, keep in mind that a winter wonderland birthday party would have to include a hot cocoa bar with whip cream and all the fixings.”  And well…that settled that.

Winter Wonderland Party

So the first party project was transforming the snowflake ornaments into two different garlands.

Winter Wonderland Party

I removed the brown ornament string from each felt snowflake and strung them all together using simple fishing line.

Winter Wonderland Party

Tada!  Simple and inexpensive (each snowflake ornament was 50 cents, yes!) party decorations.  And I figured that it is quite likely that these garland will make an appearance as decor in future winters.  They could work as Christmas decor or hold their own once all the tinsel is down and you want a little pretty to get you through the rest of the winter.

Winter Wonderland Party

Next up: the invitation!  I decided it would be fun to make sweet mitten invitations out of card stock and cotton balls.  I made these in pink and blue and was really happy with how they turned out.  Note: the picture below has been altered to hide address and contact information.

Winter Wonderland Invitation

I have whined enough about making all of these lovely snowflakes but all complaining aside, I am so glad I took the time to do it.  Beaut.one’s reaction alone was worth every cut.  She came downstairs the morning after I had put them all up and with eyes full of wonder kept saying, “Wow!  Wow!”  Plus, I think they really added to the party atmosphere.

Winter Wonderland Party

To add to the wintery feel…we also hung snowball garland from the doorways.  The snowball garland is just pom-pom yarn I picked up from Michaels.  They carry it in a number of color combinations and it has quickly become one of my party mainstays.  I may or may not own it in three other colors.

Winter Wonderland Party

We also hung very LARGE tissue snowballs from the light fixture.  Have you guys used these before?  The come in an easy to assemble kit from my friend Martha Stewart and I always get a lot of compliments when I use them.  We own them in various shades of pink too.  That Marty sure knows what she is doing in the party planning arena.  I like to pretend we are friends.  I am positive she doesn’t do the same.

Winter Wonderland Party

And here are all the snow-covered woodland creatures holding court as the main attraction on the table.  Adding fake snow and some crystal ‘jewels’ helped set the scene and added some sparkly for the birthday girl whose middle name, in hindsight, should have been sparkly.

We have a fairly large dining table that on a typical day stays tablecloth free.  But when you know the day will include lots of littles crafting and eating on your glorious table, you want to protect it.  Our solution for dressing this behemoth?  A painting drop cloth.  It is washable and sturdy and affordable and allows me to stay cringe-free as cake crumbs and glue and hot cocoa are flying.

Winter Wonderland Party

Next up?  The party activities!  I had made this bottle brush snow globe and thought the party guests would have fun making one too.  Until I remembered that our party guests will all be seven and under and may not be as excited as I am about bottle brush trees.  Seriously though, aren’t they just the cutest?  They are mini evergreens.  That you can put anywhere.  But I digress.

Winter Wonderland Party

Instead we opted for crafting My Little Pony snow globes.  My sweet friends were VERY excited about these.  And so I took one for the team and kept all the bottle brush trees to myself.  The sacrifices we as mothers must make.

Winter Wonderland Party

We made our snow globes with distilled water, a drop or two of Glycerin, glitter and mason jars.  I had glued the pony figurines with adhesive ahead of time since the adhesive holds better if it has considerable time to dry.

Winter Wonderland Party

With the snow globes complete, the kiddos headed off to play snowball stomp. We tied a white balloon (representing the snowball in snowball stomp) with ribbon around each girls’ ankle and the goal was to be the last one left with your balloon not popped.  It was a hit!

Winter Wonderland Party

Then we opened some gifts and oohed and aahed over every Barbie, craft supply and sparkly thing she received.  Being a girl totally ROCKS!

Winter Wonderland Party

After a group shot of these lovely and amazing young ladies…

Winter Wonderland Party

…we had all worked up quite the appetite.  So we ate.  The snowman cookies were my favorite.  I found the last box of white-chocolate-dipped Oreos on a random shelf in Target.  It was late January and these are a Christmas seasonal item around here.  This lonely box didn’t even exist in their system.  It was like the box manifested itself just for us.  It was a dessert miracle I tell you.  I used a bit of white frosting to attach the mini chocolate chips as the snowman’s eyes and mouth and orange candy slices as a nose.  Cheese balls?  You may be wondering why these made the party cut.  Well, first of all, these are just plain delicious.  Secondly, I needed to temper all the sweet stuff with something salty.  And lastly, I had visions all along of finding these in white cheddar cheese so they would really look like snowballs.   But no luck.  I know they are orange but I was just grateful they weren’t yellow.

Winter Wonderland Party

And then…the real star of the partay…the hot cocoa bar.  Hold me.  We let each of the guests come in and concoct their own hot chocolate masterpiece.  The fixins: large and small marshmallows, milk chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, chocolate covered marshmallows (for those who don’t want to expend the effort of opening two different jars) and whip cream.  I tell ya…it was awesome.

Winter Wonderland Party

Just plain awesome.  And delicious.  And yummy.  And amazing.  And in hindsight I wouldn’t have used paper straws as stirrers (they slowly melted) and I would have had about three more cups.  Post party we did keep the hot cocoa bar up and running for the remainder of the winter.  Yet another party treat that may make another appearance this year.

Winter Wonderland Party

If all the previous treats hadn’t put you in a sugar coma yet, the cake will do it!

Winter Wonderland Party

It is always more fun when your friends help you blow out your cake and make a wish.  Always.

Winter Wonderland Party

I send a very belated apology to all the parents of our party attendees: I am so sorry for loading them up on sugar and hot cocoa and giggles and then sending them home.  You all owe me one.

Winter Wonderland Party

Oh…I almost forgot!  Each guest received a party favor that included Ice Cube gum (get it?), stickers, lip gloss, etc.  The favor was placed in a cellophane bag full of fake snow.  On second thought, I need to apologize for that too.  Your respective vans and SUVs were likely sprinkled with the stuff as your little one tried to fish out their treats.  I only know from experience.  After all, it is only about 6 months later and I am STILL finding fake snow lurking about.

Winter Wonderland Party

Happy (belated) birthday to my dear, sweet, lovely girl.  I will drink hot cocoa loaded with chocolate and marshmallows forever in your honor.  I’ll do it.

Winter Wonderland Party

Stay cool friends,
Stacey

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