It threw me for a bit of a loop when my daughter decided she wanted “an ice cream” party last month since she had been talking about a “Moana” themed party for months. Luckily, we hadn’t started to buy any supplies and the invitations hadn’t gone out yet, so we were able to quickly pivot. I was a little disappointed at first, but I have to admit that the creative decor and food ideas I’ve been coming across have made me SO excited for this party.
My first task for any planned event I’m working on is always designing or selecting an invitation. I usually spend WAY too much time on this part, since I’ll spend hours looking for design inspiration, but since we were planning to email it, I kept it simple. I really love the watercolor look but with I’d spent a little more time selecting some better fonts. These are just system fonts in Photoshop; I usually look for fun, free script-y ones on website like dafont.com. Or if you don’t want to go the DIY invite route like I did, I found so many beautiful option on Etsy. I LOVED the colors and design on this invitation by Grey Fox Illustration. I actually reached out to Diana, the shop owner, to create something custom inspired by that invite I loved so much for the party which I’ll be sharing closer to the big day.
I scooped up (hah, get it?) these adorable bowls by Greenco shortly after I sent out the invitations. According to the reviews they’re on the small side and the spoons are more for cuteness factor, but if my daughter’s reaction is any indicator, the kids will love them. E hasn’t stopped playing with hers since they came. I’m going to have them double as the favor for just the kids, so I still need to figure out a favor for the adult invitees.
Plastic sprinkles for sale. Photo: Clay Larsen/LAist
Another ice cream social favor idea I had was inspired by the The Museum of Ice Cream, a pop-up, installation-type “experience” I read about last summer when it was in LA. I could purchase some bulk sprinkles (in bold, fun colors and fun star and ball shapes) then send guests home with little customized jars. Adorable but probably a lot of work and rather pricey. I could do little cellophane bags, but I feel like it would really lack the wow-facotr of a nice substantially-sized glass jar, right? If you’re going to splurge for a special occasion, Sweetapolita on Etsy sells the most beautiful combinations I’ve ever seen. Check her out!
I’ll snap a pic and post to my Insta-story soon, but I found the CUTEST ice cream cone print fabric at JoAnne Fabric the other day. Just need to decide what to do with it. Maybe a table runner?
Food and drinks
As far as food, I was texting with a good friend shortly after the announcement that ice cream was IN and Moana was OUT. It had been a rough few weeks at home with the kids for both of us, so we were joking about our next “mimosas playdate” with our kids when I threw out there that I should offer mimosas at the party and serve chicken + waffles for the adults while the kids indulged in sundaes, floats and candy-covered, ice cream waffle masterpieces.
It’s kind of cute too because when Brian and I first started dating, he constantly surprised me with these unexpected little hidden gems for us to try and one of my favorites from these early first dates together was a Chicken + Waffles place in Jamaica Plains, just outside Boston. Check it out, The Hen House — it’s seriously delicious. Or if you want to try making some at home, this recipe for Chicken and Hummingbird Waffles with Banana Bourbon maple syrup sounds like absolute heaven.
Anyways, if there is one thing I have learned since I started making regular appearances on the “young kids’ birthday parties” circuit, it’s that a cocktail option is always a good idea. I don’t believe in turning my children’s parties into keggers by any means, but for a day party, I think some sort of Bloody Mary or champagne cocktail option is exactly what most frazzled parents (or good-willed, non-parent best friends) need to help them loosen up a bit after they’ve dragged themselves out, forfeiting precious weekend time attending a party that will likely leave their child undoubtedly very overtired and sugar high, the perfect storm. So we’ll be serving mimosas!
Rounding out the ice cream social part of the party, we’ve decided we’ll offer the following options:
1. Ice Cream Sundaes, with all the toppings you’d expect at an ice cream parlor like hot fudge, strawberry sauce, whipped cream, various candy toppings and nuts.
2. Ice Cream Floats — I’m thinking classic options only: Root Beer and Vanilla Cherry. This recipe for a Vanilla Cherry Ice Cream Floats from Leah Anne Wilkes sounds amazing.
3. Belgian Waffles a la mode: Both children and adults will likely enjoy covering a waffle with whatever their heart desires. Personally, I’m going straight for the fried chicken.
For someone as obsessed with style and fashion, you’d think I’d devote more time to scouting out the perfect ensembles for myself and my kids. But the truth is, I don’t. I buy 99% of my kids clothes second hand and the rest of their wardrobe is either bespoke (in that I either ordered it handmade or monogrammed or custom in some way) or vintage; think: Polly Flinders dresses. Thankfully my mom dressed my sister and I incredibly well as kids and meticulously preserved and stored our stuff. My older daughter’s first birthday dress is a great example of one of these pieces. I treasure that little pinafore! But my point is, I just buy it as I see it; I very rarely, if ever shop for a specific occasion. Still, since I was putting together this post, I couldn’t resist a quick search for “ice cream” related outfits. Here are a few of my favorites. How sweet would any of these be? I’m such a sucker for hand smocking and those flutter shoulder ruffle details.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a kids party at my house without some sort of art project component of the party. I’m partial to the inspo picture at the very very top right of this post. It’s a paper plate/tissue paper ice cream cone with a heart-shaped cherry. So cute and I have all the supplies already, so it won’t add to the overall party cost. Thankfully I stockpiled glue sticks (I found a pack of 20 on Amazon) just after Christmas for my glueing-project-obsessed toddler and we’ve already put quite a dent in them.
Anyways, that’s where I am with party planning at this point. I have a million details to coordinate and decisions to make, but I’m exciting to have devoted this much thought so far ahead of schedule to some of the bigger To Dos. It can be a little stressful to reign in my ambition sometimes, but with two kids, the fact that I can even stay away long enough to write this at the end of the day is a miracle! I constantly joke that by about 6 PM, I don’t have two functioning brain cells left over, let alone enough juice to sit down and write a coherent sentence. But talking about details that will make a party or an outfit or a room — whatever — makes me so incredibly happy and fuels a part of my soul that is on the backburner for so much of my day that here I am. Coincidentally, I was paging through a copy of Martha Stewart’s Appetizer earlier today and opened to a page with Martha Quoted: Remember, it’s a party. Not a competition.” Oh Martha. You saucy minx. You can say that because you always win! Haha, I’m kidding though. Seriously though, it was a nice reminder to take the pressure off and to just have fun with it. Hope you all enjoyed this little peek into what’s going on over here at party central.