Cupcakes and Cutlery

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A lifestyle blog of our favorite food, crafts, clothes and the collected cool of our So Cal life.

Of all the parties you've thrown, which was your favorite?

What's a great tip for keeping a party affordable?

What are some unique ideas for party favors?

Can you suggest a fun birthday party game or creative activity for 6-8 year-olds?

Sharon Garofalow

I like kids to be creative. Often times, I make sure the activity can be taken home as the favor. For one party I wrapped scrap pieces of cardboard with cute patterned fabric. Then provided fabric markers and stencils for them to create artwork. I've printed out an original design that coordinates with the party theme on watercolor paper from my own printer and had the kids watercolor. There are also kits for creating your own plates. Each kit comes with markers and several rounds to color on. You do not need to pay to have them all made in to plates (about $7 each) but can send them home with an order form with the parents. I have also used that idea as a guest book. Scavenger hunts are always good and promote teamwork. Often we put out musical instruments for the kids to play with. That keeps them busy for hours. Or try looking at "old school" party games but putting a modern twist on it. Last weekend we did pin the tail on the donkey but I had someone draw the donkey, it was filled in with black and white stripes and I printed out 4' x 4'. It looked cool enough that the big kids wanted to play but didn't require that much in the way of materials or even thought. :)
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What are your tips for planning an affordable birthday party?

Sharon Garofalow

Try to use things that you already have in a new way. Our homes are full of items that can be turned in to party decor or serving pieces! Turn over bowls and use a Glue Dot to place a plate on top for a temporary cake stand. Do the same with coffee or tea cups and saucers for mini pedestals. Old sheets work perfectly as tablecloths. Inexpensive plastic tablecloths can be turned in to ruffled party streamers. (http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/the-cutest-ruffled-streamers-from-plastic-tablecloths/). Choose a color theme instead of a pricey licensed theme and head to the dollar store for plates, napkins and children's toys. Yarn is a very inexpensive way to add color to a party through pom poms, wrapped vases and braiding in to garlands. Gather your girl friends and have a party crafting night to get the diy's done quicker. And last but not least, create an informal "party swap" with your other party throwing pals to share your leftovers with them and have access to their excess as well.
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What are your favorite stylish but practical shoes for everyday mom duty (playground, errands, etc.)?  Please include a link.

Sharon Garofalow

My favorite shoes for every day mom duty are Odell ballet flats by Mossimo from Target. They are super comfy, wear really well and come in fun colors and prints. They have a nice rough black color but also a leopard print, which I wear as a neutral, and some fun sparkly ones as well. It is the perfect accessory for the jeans and t uniform I so often find myself in. And they don't break the bank. When you are feeling like you need a new pair, color, quick-pick-me-up, they can always be found online and ship out fast.
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What's a fun birthday party craft idea? (Please include a link to a photo.)

Sharon Garofalow

Most of our parties are themed so the activity usually goes along with it. I think my favorite, so far, was our art party. I covered scrap pieces of sturdy cardboard with patterned fabrics. Then I set out fabric markers and stencils so the kids could make their own piece of art to take home with them. At other parties we have taken standard kid's games, like pin the tail on the donkey, and with the help of a graphic designer, made it much more modern looking. Also, I love to create an image that goes along with the party and print it out on watercolor paper that you can find from your local craft store and set it out at the party with watercolor paints for the kids to play with. It is less messy than you might think and kids are really drawn to it.
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Please share a link to a photo of a great birthday cake you made or bought.

Sharon Garofalow

http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/ziggy-stardust-inspired-space-5th-birthday-party-part-4/ For the last few birthday parties we have been serving "smash cakes" by Meringue Bake Shop. They are small cakes covered in a hard chocolate dome. The center of the cake is cut out and filled with candies. When it is "cake time" we give the birthday boy a toy or small hammer and he gets to break through the hard chocolate. The kids dive for the candy much like they would with a pinata and then I cut the cake in to chunks for them to eat with their hands. They all love it and it is a totally different experience then at most parties.
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What's a great item to include in a birthday goodie bag? Please include a link to a photo if you have one.

Sharon Garofalow

I like to create a favor bar. For my son's second birthday, we did a party themed around a book. I used the book as a guide for what items to have and then let the kids choose what they wanted. Some kids take one of everything but others pick the things they really are drawn to. While I had some leftovers, I used those for my son's birthday treats for school. Or I like to have them do an activity at the party that they can take home with them also. For the same party, I scanned an image from the book, turned it black and white and printed them on my home printer on watercolor paper that you can find at any arts and crafts store. They used watercolor paints to paint their picture and by the end of the party, they were dry enough to take home.
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