Tween Girl Birthday Party Sleepover

My beautiful girl turned 12 last week! I can hardly believe we are just one year away from the having another teenager in the house! Karis could not decide on a theme for her party, so I asked her if she wanted me to come up with something fun. She agreed, so I went to work, browsing Pinterest for ideas. Around that time, I was dropping my son off at youth group and I saw a stack of wooden pallets behind the dumpster of a neighboring business. I called and asked if I could take some of the pallets and they said that was fine, so I grabbed a couple and started dreaming of creating an elegant pallet table for my girl and her friends to enjoy during the party.

I took inventory of what I already had at home: extra pillows, a white king sized sheet, twine. Then I made a list of the things that I wanted to purchase: paper lanterns, mason jars, tea lights, flowers, twinkle lights, material. I walked the aisles of Hobby Lobby trying to come up with a color combination, and because Karis is a big fan of pastels, I settled on peach, light green, white, and some pops of dark teal. I bought 6 white paper lanterns in various sizes, a string of white battery operated lights, some aqua tinted mason jars, two larger clear jars, white and peach flowers, tea lights, and material to use as pillow covers and a table runner. I also picked up some fancy gold paper plates and gold number candles. #CommissionsEarned

I set the table a couple of days before the party so that I had plenty of time to get my house cleaned and to prep for the food and games. I found some amazing game ideas on Pinterest and hit up the Dollar Tree for supplies. Karis wanted to swim, make s’mores, and play games. We started the party at 5:00 pm and I put together a simple charcuterie board style dinner with a variety of meats, cheeses, crackers, fruits, and veggies. The girls loved eating a “fancy dinner” by candlelight (I turned the main light on to get this photo).

I saved the “Beach Ball Question Game” from our New Year’s Eve party and that was once again, a huge hit with 11 & 12 year old girls. They actually played this game several times throughout the party. All you need is a beach ball and a sharpie marker. Blow up the ball and then write questions all over it with the sharpie. Some favorites are: What do you want to be when you grow up? What is your favorite book? movie? food? place? What superpower do you wish you had? Who do you admire? The ball gets tossed around and whoever catches it has to answer the question that is under their right hand when they catch it.

My favorite game/activity of the night was called “Foil Fashion Show.” This is where the Dollar Tree came in handy. I picked up a roll of tin foil for each girl, as well as several crafty type items: tape, pom poms, ribbon, pipe cleaners, glowsticks, and some flowered leis that we pulled apart. I told the girls that their goal was to create an outfit and when they were done, we would have a foil fashion show. I honesty expected them to take about 15-20 minutes on their creations, but they surprised me and took at least an hour. Some of them went all out, creating jewelry and headbands. One even made a super long train that dragged behind her as she walked the living room “runway.” The giggles and chatter were so fun to take in as the girls went to work, helping each other put together their best looks. I found some “runway” music for kids on youtube to play while they strutted their stuff and it was pure entertainment from start to finish.

The last game we played is a form “telephone” only with phrases and drawings. The girls played two rounds at night and then another round in the morning. All you need is blank paper and pencils. Cut paper in fourths and make a stack for each player. The stacks of paper should contain the same number of papers as the number of players. We had 7 girls, so each girl got a stack of 7 pieces of paper.

Have each player write a phrase (any phrase) on the top of piece #1. Then each player passes their ENTIRE STACK to the right. The next step is to read the phrase and then put that top paper on the bottom of your stack, facing up. The players will then draw a picture of the phrase on the top of page #2. Once everyone is finished drawing their picture, everyone will pass their ENTIRE STACK to the right. Now each player will see the drawing on the top and will have to guess what the phrase is that inspired the drawing. They will place page #2 on the bottom of the stack, face up, and write that phrase on the top of page #3. The process is repeated, phrase, pass, drawing, pass, phrase, pass, drawing, etc until each player ends up with their original stack of paper. Be sure to take some time to read through your entire stack out load and be ready to laugh until you have tears streaming down your face. This is definitely a perfect game for tweens, teens, and adults alike.

It was an unusually cool day in June this year, so we had to slightly modify our original plans. The girls actually braved the cold and jumped in the pool for a short swim. Fortunately, one of the things that I got for them was matching pjs, so they dried off after a bit and got comfy for the night. My husband got me a Cricut Maker 3 for Mother’s Day this year and I haven’t had a ton of time to use it, so I made sure to test it out on a couple of things for Karis’s party. I found some adorable moon and star pj shorts for a great deal at Walmart and bought plain black t-shirts to make personalized tops to match the shorts. I tried out holographic iron on for the first time and it was such a cool product. I found a free moon and stars SVG online and watched a few tutorials. I must say that for my first try at making shirts with my Cricut, it was pretty easy and I loved the way they turned out. #CommissionsEarned

I used my Cricut Maker 3 for a couple of other decorations as well. I found a free Happy Birthday cake topper SVG and cut it out on two pieces of gold card stock. I used the smaller one as an accent for the Marshmallow Pops I made. Karis is not a fan of cake, so every year, I make marshmallow pops as an alternative. This year, I used Jett Puffed S’more Marshmallows and diluted orange candy melts with white ones to make a pastel peach color. I mixed blue and green candy melts with a bit of white to create teal for the flowers, and I used gold colored sprinkles on white candy melt dots for the centers of the flowers. They were the perfect complement to the colors of the elegant pallet table and Karis loved them! For more marshmallow pop inspiration, check out some of my marshmallow pop tutorials.

I decided that the door needed a “Happy Birthday” sign at the last minute, so I used the larger gold cutout and gathered some items that I already had laying around. A wooden embroidery hoop, leftover material from the table runner and the pillow covers, and the leaves that I pulled off of the peach and white flowers came together beautifully as an elegant birthday wreath. I used three long scraps of fabric that I twisted and hot glued to form the flowers. It added the perfect finishing touch to my girl’s elegant 12th birthday party.

The rain picked up as the night went on and Karis still had her heart set on making s’mores. Dad to the rescue. He grabbled our little propane camping fire pit and set it up on the front porch. Before the girls settled in for the night, they sat outside on the porch, roasted marshmallows, and made s’mores. It was actually a very sweet moment seeing them all circled around, chatting under the overhang in their matching pjs while it rained.

You would think that after late night s’mores it would be hard to settle 7 girls down for bed, but after dinner, swimming, a foil fashion show, and paper telephone, they spontaneously grabbed the beach ball for another round of the question game. They got their beds ready and snuggled in for some late night chats. I only had to come out once to remind them to keep it to a whisper and I actually got some sleep myself. Twelve is a fun age, and I am so thankful for the sweet group of girls that my daughter gets to do life with. I would have to say that this was one of the most enjoyable parties I’ve done, and the joy on Karis’s face always makes it so worth the creative effort it takes to pull of a memorable birthday party.

For more fun ideas for tweens and teens check out some of my other blogposts…

The Amazing Race Birthday Party

Retro Video Game Room (Arcade) For Teens

Wings of Fire Birthday Party

Retro Video Game Room (ARCADE) for Teens

My middle son, Micah, turned 16 last week, and if you know anything about me, you know that I started planning his birthday party several months ago. Micah has been talking about converting a portion of the garage into his own space for the last year or so, but our garage was super unorganized and overflowing with junk. Getting a creative idea in my head became my motivation for doing some “pre-spring cleaning” and a Garage Arcade/Game Room sounded like the perfect 16th birthday gift for my boy.

My husband and I cleared about a 1/4 section of our garage and planned it so that the door leading to the outside was incorporated into this space, making it a separate entrance for friends to come and go. We already had an old tube TV, 4 crates from another project, a couch that we had pulled out of our RV, and a wooden toy box. My husband had the great idea to use some old tires as a TV stand for a bit of a “Mario Kart” look. I like to repurpose what we already have to save money, so we were off to a great start.

Micah likes more of a retro vibe and wanted the “Game Room” to have a bit of an 80’s feel. He is a huge fan of old school video games like TRON, so the very first thing we purchased was this incredibly cool neon TRON sign. I also grabbed the Pac Man ARCADE sign, the Galaga wall art, and the red metal magazine rack from Hobby Lobby. I love to use unexpected things, like the magazine rack as a holder for snacks. I found the neon clock at Walmart and my son picked out the Super Smash Bros poster for the door. I had 1/2 a can of black Chalkboard Paint that I used on the door to make it pop. We also painted the crates and the toy box black and hit up Walmart for an inexpensive black rug and a couple of stools and chairs for extra seating.

We wanted to make sure to have plenty of controllers available so the a bunch of kids could play at the same time, so we purchased a few extra wireless ones as well as four new Gamecube controllers that are also comparable with the Wii. To complete the space, we ordered a pipe and drape kit to hide all of the other “stuff” in our garage, which gave the game room a finished look. #CommissionsEarned

This past weekend, we held Micah’s 16th birthday party in the newly completed “Garage Arcade.” I wasn’t sure how comfortable the small space would be for 8 teenage boys, but I was reassured about 10 minutes in as I listened to their laughter and shouts. Four hours flew by with only a couple of breaks for pizza, gifts, and cupcakes. Micah was beaming at the end of the night and told me it was the best birthday he’s ever had, which of course made all of the hard work and effort we put into creating this space for him so worth it.

I have always wanted my home to be a safe place for my kids to have their friends over, and I think this is even more important in their teen years. I would much rather have my own kids at home than out who knows where, doing who knows what. Having this dedicated space just make it so much easier to say yes. I’m not always up for having my living room invaded by sweaty teenage boys, so now I can sit in my house and relax, while my kids host their friends in the game room. That feels like a win win to me!

For more about how to make the glow in the dark TRON cupcake toppers, check out my latest blogpost!

Adopt A Pet (Beanie Boo Cats & Dogs) Birthday Party

My daughter just turned 8, and this year we decided on an Adopt A Pet (Beanie Boo Cats & Dogs) theme for her birthday party.  I’m not sure what was more fun, preparing for the party, or the party itself.  My daughter and I spent so much quality time planning and crafting together in the months before.  Be sure to watch my video compilation (above) of the party.

Beanie Boos can be expensive so I started purchasing these little kittens and puppies early, taking advantage of the 60% off coupons from Michael’s as often as possible.  We picked out 6 kittens and 6 puppies and then I set out to find a fence and fake grass.  I used my Circut Expression 2 to make the “Adopt A Pet” banner and then did a little photo shoot to use as the cover of the invitations. #CommissionsEarned

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I wanted to plan a fun activity for the beginning of the party while the guests were arriving, so I created a super fun game of Beanie Boo Bingo.  I have included the pdf below if you want to print out this game to use for your child’s party.

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Beanie Boo Bingo pdf

Once all of the girls arrived, I let them choose their pet to adopt.  I was a little nervous about this part because each animal was different and I wasn’t sure if the girls would get their hearts set on one and be disappointed.  I asked them to think about 2 or 3 that they would love to adopt and then said we would draw numbers to see what order they would choose.  We let the birthday girl have the first choice and then went from there.  Thankfully it all worked out and everyone was happy with their pet.

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The girls got to sign an adoption certificate to make it official.

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Here is the link for you to use.    pet adoption certificate pdf

I purchased a dozen white gable boxes to use as pet houses, cut a hole in each for a door, and the girls got to decorate a house for their pet. This was such a fun activity and I love watching all of their creativity as they designed a sweet little space for their pet to live in. #CommissionsEarnedIMG_2424IMG_2425IMG_2426IMG_2491IMG_2492

I set up another station for the girls to make a collar for their pet using pipe cleaners and beads.  These Dollar Tree veggie trays were perfect for holding craft supplies.  I have used them over and over for several projects and they have held up really well.  Amazon has a wonderful assortment of pony beads and letter beads.  #CommissionsEarned

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I also made leashes and blankets for each of the pets.  Click the links to purchase paw print ribbon and gold rings and clips.  One spool of ribbon made 12 leashes.  1 yard of paw print fabric, 1/2 yard of puppy fabric, and 1/2 yard of kitty fabric made 12 small blankets about the size of a baby burp cloth. #CommissionsEarned

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We played a couple of fun games.  “Give The Dog A Bone” and “Pin The Tail On The Kitty.”  I used poster boards to draw a Kitten and Puppy.  Then I made three bone shaped bean bags, mounted the puppy on one of our corn hole pieces and cut a hole for the bean bags.  These old fashioned party games were so much fun!

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I kept the food pretty simple because we also had hot dogs and fruit for dinner.  I collected yogurt cups in the months leading up to the party, then used a sharpie to draw a “fish” on half of them and a “bone” on the other half.  I filled the cat dishes with Goldfish Crackers and the dog dishes with Scooby Doo bone shaped graham crackers.  I covered two pieces of styrofoam with pink wrapping paper to display them on.  The Dollar Tree was a goldmine for decorations and pet themed items.  I found the large black dog dishes there and filled one with pretzels (sticks) and the other two with Trader Joe’s chocolate Cat’s Cookies.  I also purchased three paw print jars from the Dollar Tree and filled them with candy, but you can find similar jars here.  #CommissionsEarned The pink and teal hanging paper lanterns were 2 for a dollar as well, making the table setting very affordable.  I have included a pdf of the cupcake toppers, activity signs, and “DIG IN” sign for you to print off from home.  (see below)

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beanie boo cupcake toppers pdf

dig in party sign pdf

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cats & dogs party signs pdf

A month later, my girl is still saying that her Adopt A Pet party was the “funnest birthday party ever!”  I would definitely have to agree!

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