"Curious Coop"

When it came time to pick a theme for Cooper's birthday party, I knew I wanted to do tractors, Cars, or Curious George. I quickly realized that while we can do tractors pretty much forever and Cars for a few more years, this was probably the last year we could do a Curious George them, so I set out.

Problem is, there isn't a lot of Curious George stuff. So I heavily relied on Pinterest and Google to come up with ideas. I'll also say, this party truly was a labor of love. A lot of the decor, etc. was inexpensive, DIY things that just took a lot of time.

You already saw a few photos of the birthday boy in my post last week. Today, I'm going to share the mechanics of the party, and I'll be back soon with the "people pictures!"

Our house and basement are still under construction, so I was actually toying with the idea of not doing a party, until a friend with a dance studio said I could use the studio for basically the cost of electric. Not only did I not have to clean, I saved money because I didn't have to rent tables and chairs!

I should probably go ahead and add, my cousin did the invites, but I don't have PhotoShop on this computer and don't exactly want all of the deets blasted on the www.

I really wanted to focus on bright colors and keep the decorations simple. I found this idea to make the plates/cups like Ted's hat in a couple places online and on Pinterest. I actually just used black electric tape. Total added cost was 59 cents (since I had to buy plates and cups anyhow) and I love how it turned out. We also just bought the helium tank at Walmart to fill up the balloons ourselves :)

My usual cake lady was booked by the time I decided to do the party. After a little searching, I found on etsy where you can buy edible cake toppers and have them customized. It sounded easy enough, so I ordered one (cost less than $12 shipped) and we loved the final product!

Since I didn't know how many would come and if everyone liked chocolate cake, I did some lemon-flavored cupcakes as well. I found a seller on Etsy who made the round "stickers" for me and just sold me the digital file. I attached these to toothpicks. We also used these labels on the water bottles.

I love, love, love the idea of having a "guest book" at each party. Last year it was the baseball bat, so this year it was a collection of Curious George stories.  

 I found the template for George's head on a PBS website. It's actually for masks, but I shrunk it a bit (all in Microsoft Word) and cut out then glued on brown paper sacks I bought at Dollar Tree. They were filled with animals crackers, mini play dough, Curious George Fruit snacks, suckers and mini crayons/coloring books (Halloween clearance.) Dollar Tree was my friend when putting these bags together.

I decided on a morning party so it wouldn't mess with nap time, and also because we love breakfast. We had French toast sticks, two breakfast casseroles (one with bacon and one with sausage), bunches of bananas, my mom's banana bread and fruit. Drink choices were OJ, regular milk, chocolate milk and bottled water.

To jazz up the water bottles, I removed the labels, wrapped around yellow duct tape, the taped one of the stickers on top. Totally worth the time.

I'm very fortunate that one of my friends has an inflatable bounce house that she allowed me to borrow. We had it set up in one of the back rooms of the dance studio. The kids absolutely loved it. My dad kept busy making sure none of them got hurt either :)

I also wanted to set up a coloring table, with more free printables from PBS. This was quite a blessing, especially for the little girls as the boys were a bit rough in the bounce house. Thankfully, my mom has like a gallon bucket of crayons leftover from when we were kids, so I didn't have to mess with going out and buying crayons.

And that's the magic behind the party! I had so much fun planning! If you want any of the specific Etsy sellers I used, just ask!

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