One of my favorite things to do is plan parties. Let's just say, if I worked for Dunder Mifflin Paper Company I'd be alllll over the party planning committee. Luckily, one of the bonus perks to being a mom is throwing my kids fun birthday parties. My mom did that/does that with all ten of us kids and it always made me feel so special and loved and I want to continue that tradition with my own kids. Even if that means when I ask my soon to be five year old what kind of party they want and he replies, "Either American Ninja Warrior or The Floor is Lava." (Keep in mind I am also seven months pregnant.) Those two shows are regulars at our house (little boys, man) - if you haven't seen "the Floor is Lava" on Netflix, it's a fun one to watch. Since I know I'm going to be putting in a lot of work for these parties, I like the theme to be mutually fun for the thrower and the goer. And since I'm also teetering on the edge of 2nd to 3rd trimester I didn't think it very practical to build a whole ninja warrior corse - not to mention safe (once again, little boys, man.) The only downside to nixing this idea was the plethora of party inspo online - which actually turned out just fine and forced me to be (even more) creative.
I decided on a hybrid of the reality show mixed with the imagination game. (If you've never seen the show, it's exactly like what it sounds - think Wipeout mixed with American Ninja Warrior and add "lava." teams compete and the fastest team wins) Luckily I asked Mr. Jones a few weeks before so I had ample time to plan. Basically I decided on looking reeeeal white trash for a morning (sorry neighbors) and I turned my front yard into a "living room" lava corse. I spent a few weeks collecting and thrifting red sheets, blankets, throws, scarves, pretty much anything red or "lava looking." Luckily I had gathered enough to adequately cover my lawn. Then, between my mom and I - we went through our stuff to find sturdy and solid pieces of furniture that could handle an army of five year olds running all over them. We ended up with a bench, lovesac, my office couch, (leaking) air mattress, Lifetime table, rugs and a whole assortment of pillows and cushions. I roped off the course with my bunting I made when Danny and I were first married and decorated with red and orange balloons, streamers and table cloths.
As kids began to arrive, I had them pick a team color and gave them a bandana to color (aka kill time) until everyone was there. We started off by timing each team as every team mate crossed all obstacles and ended on the rug at the other end. The kids loved it! They kept requesting to run the corse again and again trying to beat their previous time while everyone else cheered them on. It was so cute. I had to practically pull them away from the lava to do awards, cake, pizza and presents. Once they were done with all of that they wanted to run the corse again - this time individually. It was amazing! By the end of the party parents were having to pull their kids from my yard. I even got a few texts afterwards saying, "so and so had so much fun that they are actually taking a nap!" I call that a win.
For cake and cupcakes I just baked up some chocolate cake mix and decorated it with red and orange swirled frosting and shoved doll house furniture down into the "lava" - probably the easiest cake I've ever made! It didn't even matter if the frosting wasn't "perfect" since it was lava! It was an exhausting weekend between the friend and family party, but I loved it and most importantly, Jones loved it too! Here are a few detail shots from the event. Aside from having to "reset" the lava corse after a couple go arounds, It was actually super easy to throw together - the hardest part was getting the couch out of my office!
(Fields wanted in on the bandana fun)