Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Carnival Party

Just today, I was reading a post from a friend of mine, who seems to have this amazingly "simple" life. Not simple in that her life is easy but simple in that she strives for simplicity, to make her time and her life count, to spend more time with her family and making memories instead of social networking and time sucking technology. She tries to save money where she can and take care of her family's health by getting back to the basics, doing things that people generations ago used to do, before the age of the supermarket and highly processed, chemically filled products and produce. She and her husband garden, make their own shampoo and deodorant, sew their own hankies instead of buying Kleenex, and I'm sure a host of other things that I don't even know about. I find it amazing and inspiring. In my heart of hearts I want to be like that but the other part of me isn't ready to let go of the "other" stuff. I won't lie. I love technology, Facebook, and Twitter. As much as I crave simplicity, I also feel the need to stay up to date, in the here and now. Some day's I want to sell everything I have, move to a farm, and live like the Amish. Other days I want to build an empire.

The part of me that wants to build an empire wants to be a party planner. I absolutely LOVE planning and organizing and seeing my plans and visions come to fruition. And, how much fun would it be to be able to do that with other people's money instead of my own! :) So, Abigail's birthday parties always end up being a big deal. I tend to go overboard and have to reign myself back in. This year was no exception. I must admit though that more time, effort, and money went into this party than any other before. Part of it was the party planner in me. The other part was feeling bad that her daddy wouldn't be there to celebrate with her and I wanted her to remember her party not that fact that she hasn't seen her daddy in months.

Ever since she was born, I've dreamed of having a carnival party for her. She loved the idea and was very specific in some of the things she wanted out of it. Some of her ideas were a little over the top but I complied as much as I could. :)

 Happy Birthday banner made by my friend Mindy Stewart of MMSDesigns.

 A special thank-you to EKP Photography for photographing the party so that I didn't have to be worried about capturing every moment but actually enjoying the moment. Emily did an amazing job!

 How cute it the birthday girl? Custom shirt to match the party theme and decor made by Sew Sweet Designs by Lindsay. I just love all the custom items she makes for kids and babies! I've ordered a ton of things from her over the last few months including a few Christmas presents!

 The birthday girl was super excited about the photo booth! Everyone had a great time having their picture made with silly props!

Most of my party planning ideas start with picking out the perfect cake and then going from there. Since we just moved to this area earlier this year, I didn't have a clue who to contact for a custom cake but thankfully my mom knew someone. This beautiful and delicious carnival cake was made by the talented Abby Kline. 

The birthday girl in front of the food table. A carnival party isn't complete without corn dogs! In addition we had natural Cheetos, Goldfish, caramel grapes, Redneck Caviar, Circus Peanuts, and Gumballs!

 And of course there must be carnival games! My daughter already had the Angry Bird bean bags so I decided to paint some cans to look like those green pigs. These were painted at warp speed the night before her party but I think they still turned out really cute! You will also notice the corn hole boards in the background. My brother made them and I helped him paint them. We also had custom made, complimenting, UGA corn hole bags made by the talented Lee Ann Bennett of L.A. Loft.

 There was also face painting, carnival tattoos, a fishing game, and a duck pond game. The signs were made by me with a free carnival font I found online.

 The whistle lips were one of the prizes for the duck pond game.

 The cute polka dot balloons and gumballs are from one of my favorite websites ever, Polka Dot Market. I discovered PDM when I was planning Abigail's first birthday party. The tissue paper poms were made by my wonderful sister-in-law, Hannah.

 The carnival boxes, clown noses, ducks, tattoos, and stickers I ordered from Oriental Trading. The rest of the party supplies and table wear are from a mix of  Party City, Walmart, The Dollar Tree, Dollar General, and The Family Dollar Store! I love getting good deals!

 And lastly the party favors! As if the kiddos didn't have enough stuff to take home after all the prizes from the games, they each received a cute popcorn box filled with a paddle ball, silly straw, clown nose, giant carnival sucker, and a carnival duck! The adults also received a thank-you for coming. Aren't those little fish in a bag, darling? These were probably one of my favorite things about the whole party. These are also what the kiddos "caught" when the went fishing! The fish are actually caramel apple, scented soaps! I found these by Brown Bag Bath Bars on Etsy.

One day I'll live that simple life I dream of but hopefully I can find a balance between living simply and partying big! :)

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,



  1. Jessica, it looks like you really gave her a birthday to remember! Everything looks wonderful.

  2. Hey Jessica,
    I wrote a lengthy response earlier today and then never published it. Haha. Anyways, I can't remember exactly what I wrote, but thanks for the compliments. I think you are doing great! And all the small things I have done I did step by step and most it I have learned from others! When it comes to simplicity, I still have much to learn. I think it is so easy in our society to become materialistic. I think there is nothing wrong with "partying big." I think the Lord loves parties but also asks us to be responsible with what he has given us. It really boils down to the heart, and I know you have a great one! The party looked great!

  3. Adorable! This looks like so much fun! Love the pics :)

  4. are the popcorn box party favors regular popcorn boxes (paper/cardstock) or are the reusable/plastic?

  5. This is awesome! We just celebrated my niece’s birthday like this. It was in a nearby venue NYC and all her friends were dressed like celebrities. Everybody had a great time. Anyways, the decoration is really nice and she looks very pretty in these pictures.