Monday, July 20, 2009

Step right up, folks!

As many of you are aware, this last weekend we celebrated Isabella's Carnival Birthday Party. I just LOVE to plan a party, but I've been working on this party and stressing over it for what seems like forever. All I kept thinking and praying and hoping was that if the party turned out half as good as I was envisioning it in my head, I would be happy. And let me tell you I am thrilled!

We had unseasonably nice weather (clear and sunny with a high in the low 80s), we had a great turnout, the kids and the parents had a blast, and Isabella was beaming all day long. What else could I possibly ask for?

OK, so let me walk you through Isabella's Birthday Carnival, but I must warn you this is a very long and photo-heavy post. Oh, and you can click on any of the pictures/mosaics to see them bigger.

This sign greeted everyone at the gate so that they would know which way to come in.

In front of it was a table that held 20+ colorful personalized bags for the kids. Apparently I neglected to take a picture of them, but as you look at the birthday pictures you'll see the kids carrying their bags. The bags served a few purposes; they held the tickets the kids won at the different games, the kids could tie their balloons to the bag handles, and eventually they held the prizes the kids got when they "redeemed" their tickets, basically serving as kids' goodie bags.

We kept to the carnival theme by offering cotton candy, popcorn and a variety of drinks (soda, water and juice).

Now on to the entertainment: photo boards, face painting, a variety of homemade carnival games, our beloved swing set and any other random toys left out in the yard. I recruited some family members and hired Miss Jessica, babysitter extraordinaire, and three of her friends to help manage the games. We joked that they were the "carnies".

From left to right, top to bottom: photo boards (yep, I recycled the train we made for Sam's birthday), face painting by the lovely and super talented Miss Connie (who also came for Sam's birthday and is always a HUGE hit), sand art, ping pong ball toss, playing on the swing set, the duck pond, spray away, bean bag toss and ring toss.

The kids loved playing the games, but the longest line was always for face painting with Miss Connie from "Party with Pickles".

As you can see she was definitely a busy lady, much more so than at Sam's party, since many of the adults decided they too would partake in the face painting. Isabella requested that I have my face painted as Hello Kitty just like her. Hey what can I say? She's the boss birthday girl!

In addition, I decided to add another carnival must to the party. Meet Bob the Clown (aka my nephew Christian):

He worked that party like an old pro and other than giving two little girls a nervous breakdown and enough material for years of counseling, the kids LOVED him. He walked the "carnival grounds", talked to the kids and gave out balloons. He did a fantastic job and I couldn't imagine the party without him.

One of the things I loved the most was that we all got to hang out and play with some of our favorite people:

Isabella was beyond thrilled that Jessica came to her party.

Sam and his buddy Jack were cruising.
(Please don't tell them they were going nowhere fast since the battery was dead, OK?)

Scott and Brandon.
Have I told you how much we love the Jackson 5?

Me & the girls & the kids
How everyone else's kids are in the picture except for mine and Danyelle's I'll never know.
Did you notice there's never a shortage of super heroes at these parties?

My boys having a rockin' good time!

"How Sam got his groove back"
soon to a theater near you

So, after an hour and a half of carnival fun it was time to redeem tickets. We had set up a table with 17 different items from which the kids could pick up to eight.

Gotta love Century Novelty!

Yeah, I think I might have made a mistake asking Scott to manage that specific table since it quickly became quite the chaotic mayhem.

I'm actually still laughing at his face once the announcement was made and the table was instantly attacked. It was like a stampede! Too funny!

So inside we all went to sing Happy Birthday and eat cake:

Since the conception of the carnival party idea, the birthday girl has been adamant that she wanted a Tinkerbell (her newest obsession) cake. So Tinkerbell it was, and it was oh so delicious!

And finally, it was the end of the carnival and time to give away the party favors: Isabella's favorite candy, with a bit of a twist:

Some of them had "Isabella turns 4!" printed on them, others had "Party Time!" and others had a picture of her beautiful face. I picked Tinkerbell-ish colors since bright colors don't show the writing too well. The personalized M&Ms were quite the unexpected surprise for everyone. And I just love it when that happens!

One of my favorite moments happened when one of the little boys was curiously looking inside his bag of M&Ms and then told his mom: "Mom, I am NOT going to eat the ones with Isabella on them". Too cute! I had to convince him that he should, since they tasted just as good as the rest of them.

So there you have it. That's Isabella's carnival party in a nutshell,... well, maybe not a nutshell, but you get it. At the end of the day we were left with one very very happy little girl:

And that is definitely worth all the planning and working and stressing over, don't you think?


Michelle said...

oh my gosh - this is AWESOME!!! What a cool pary one that will be talked about for years!!! Abby's bday is coming can I just hire you to do the planning...pretty please - I can't do this!!

Anonymous said...

now that I can see the pics all make sense! Awesome job Liz...
question... what was Chris face paint as? I could not tell LOL
and how is it that Scott escape from having his painted?
jejeje good job!