How is my baby four years old? (cue the tears) Today Georgia turned four! It’s pretty incredible. I will save you the paragraph about how becoming a mom has been the best thing that has happened to me because, honestly, my tears might short circuit my computer. So, let’s get right to the details..
This year Georgia’s birthday party theme was The Wizard Of Oz! We can thank JetBlue for that. On our way to North Carolina for Christmas the movie was playing on the plane and Georgia was immediately hooked. After that there was a lot of talk about Dorothy and Toto – as well as some bad dreams about the “bad witch” – and lots of family sing-a-longs at dinner!
When I suggested we have a Wizard of Oz Party, Georgia was completely on board! The first thing she asked was if she could dress as Dorothy. Of course!!! There is no doubt this kid is my daughter. I credit my mom for my love of throwing a party and now it is clear I am passing that passion down to my daughter. And let me tell you – four is fun!! Georgia truly helped plan this party. We picked out plates on Oriental Trading, went to the year-round Halloween store to get a costume (thank you, New York City), and DIYed our own ruby red slippers!!
For a month and half leading up to the party our days were filled with added activities and Wizard of Oz pretend play!! I have decided that Georgia’s Birthday might have just replaced Halloween as my favorite holiday!!
We love living in the city, but when it comes to mass shopping convenience it falls short. There aren’t many craft stores and getting from one party store to the next takes hours – add two kids to that and there goes your entire day. So, at the last minute we decided to drive to visit my parents in South Jersey the weekend before the party to get everything we still needed.
As we’re sure you know, if you’ve been reading our blog, we love a theme!! And as far as themes go, The Wizard Of Oz couldn’t be more fun, especially when it comes to crafting!! We hit up Pintrest and Google Images for inspiration!! Below are some of the highlights of the party!!
Invitations have always been important to us, but now that Love Jac is in full swing, they are even more crucial. We knew we needed to get the theme across and we wanted to include a photo of Georgia. Since these are custom, they might as well be completely personalized. I painted a yellow brick road, Emerald City, and poppy field with watercolors, scanned them into my computer, and positioned them in Photoshop.
After we bought the Dorothy dress from Halloween Adventure (but before we DIYed her shoes – no worries, that’s what Photoshop is for), we took a picture of Georgia all dressed up posing with her basket and Toto. Finally, we drove home the theme with the wordage, “Join Us Over The Rainbow…”, “Follow the yellow brick road to OZ”, and “RSVP to Jackie, The Good Witch.” We hope our guests could feel the fun when they opened their envelope.
Speaking of envelopes, we decided to use up the rainbow of envelopes we had been hoarding. To tie it all together, we printed the address label paper first with a rainbow pattern, then put that same piece back in the printer and printed out the addresses! Since people only get one colored envelope, the rainbow brought it together! Of course, we topped off the theme with heart postage stamps in honor of the Tin Man!
The Yellow Brick Road (with house, wicked witch legs, and ruby red slippers – all under the rainbow)
“Hi, My name is Jackie and I’m addicted to tape!!” I can’t help it, I just love it and if it’s colorful or different I need to buy it!! Washi, Scotch, Duct, you name it I own it!! My husband sometimes enables me by bringing extra tape home from a prop sale or craft segment. For the record, I want to state – it finally paid off.
If you are going to have a Wizard of Oz party you MUST have a yellow brick road!! There were many ideas on the internet – a runner, a rug, side walk chalk, a fake brick panel from Lowe’s painted yellow! We had the party in the community room of our apartment complex, so we couldn’t do anything permanent. We knew the kids would be running around, so it couldn’t be anything that they could trip on. The answer – tape!! And thanks to Genevieve Gorder– we had rolls of it. She demonstrated a product from Frog Tape that is intended to help you paint design patterns on your wall. It just so happens to come in yellow!! We simply stuck it to the floor in a brick pattern and pulled it up when the party was over. (yes, if you are wondering…this took a while – but it was worth every minute!) When guests arrived they were greeted by the yellow brick road!
While in South Jersey we bought a play cardboard house from the craft store, black and white striped knee-highs from the party store, ruby red slippers from the thrift store, and a colorful pinwheel from a discount store. We were able to recreate an interactive version of Dorothy’s house in Munchkinland for under $30. The kids loved it!
To create the rainbows above we simply hung crepe paper in a ROY G BIV pattern!! We made two rainbows on the ceiling and one on the wall. If I had more time I would have hung rainbows until we ran out of crepe paper, but my husband got me to pump the breaks! (Did I mention I love a theme?)
A photo wall is a must for any party we throw!! We love taking photos of all the guests. Having a photo wall by the entrance helps ensure you get a photo of everyone. Plus, these kids are only going to be this small once – we need to capture all this cuteness. Our inspiration was Emerald City and a rainbow. We will admit that what we envisioned was slightly more grand than what we produced, but we refuse to consider this a “Pintrest Fail.” It’s fun, colorful, and the kids LOVED it! This year we even put two chairs in front of the wall to help get the kids to stay in one place. Worked like a charm.
What did we do before the internet? Or should we ask, “What did we do before Pintrest?” Scrolling through hundreds of Wizard of Oz Party photos, a photo of these hats stood out to us!! They were simple, modern, and completely adorable. Thanks to patterned craft paper, dollar store party hats, and our glue gun – we crafted these hats in no time!
Scary Tree Apple Toss
Let’s put it out there – four year olds have A LOT of energy!! From our past party attending experiences, it can be a little chaotic. Since we weren’t doing another Miss Nina Party this year where the kids would sit and be entertained, we decided to create stations for our guests to corral their children in an attempt to not turn our community room into a high school running track!! I’d say we were 50% successful. What’s with kids and wanting to chase each other all around a room?
Our most successful station was the Scary Tree Apple Toss we created the night before. We simply taped together old cardboard boxes we had been collecting. We cut large holes into each box, added arms, extra branches, two scary eyes, and finished it off with a Sharpie-drawn bark pattern. The children took turns throwing balls at the tree trying to get them into the different holes.
We also had a Tattly Tattoo station, Pin The Heart on The Tin Man, and Make A Glinda-The-Good-Witch Wand. When the kids got tired of one thing, they moved to the next.
The Georgia Quiz and Coloring Page
The Georgia Quiz is a tradition we started on Georgia’s first birthday and it’s become my favorite. I love sitting with Chad and coming up with memorable questions to include from the year. It’s the perfect way to save these memories and share them with our guests. After everyone has turned in their quiz, we read the questions aloud and have everyone shout out the answer. It’s fun to see what people guessed and then to see who knows Georgia the best!! This year Grandpa was the big winner!! Since he felt like he had some insider knowledge (I mean, he is Grandpa), he gave his prize to second place. Miriam, along with her mom and sister, got 9 out of 10 questions correct!!!
A Coloring Page is always an easy addition to any party. It’s something that doesn’t need instruction and can be done at any time. To make this one extra special, we replaced Dorothy with a coloring book version of the photo of Georgia. If you want to do this to a photo of your child and you have Photoshop – here’s an easy tutorial. We added the words “Happy 4th Birthday Georgia!” and our hashtag to the bottom. This will also be a keepsake!
Growing up either my mom or grandma made my birthday cake! This is something I absolutely love doing and would never consider not doing. When we were on our party shopping spree in South Jersey we found single cake mixes in different colors. Our friend Lauren had baked a cake like this for her daughter’s first birthday and it had briefly crossed our minds, but it also seemed like a lot of work. When we found these mixes on the grocery store shelf, we took it as a sign! Done and done!
Two things to note:
- Make sure you use EGG WHITES only or the yoke might hypothetically turn your purple more of a gray! Whoopsies! No biggie, it’s still delicious.
- The more colors you make the taller the cake will be, so factor that in and buy extra frosting!
After a couple weeks of Google searching for something that could be used as a cake topper, we came up empty-handed. For some reason The Wizard of Oz isn’t as popular as Frozen these days. This turned out to be a blessing. The morning of the party after I decorated the top of Georgia’s cake with a yellow brick road and poppy field, I quickly Photoshopped the picture of Georgia as Dorothy over a photo of the cast (including Toto), printed it on card stock, cut it out, taped it to a cute straw, and stuck it in the cake. When Georgia noticed it was her on the cake her eyes lit up and she beamed with happiness. I don’t want to ever forget that moment!
On that note, I need to just let you know that during our singing of Happy Birthday, Georgia leaned over and hugged one of her best friends, Hazel. I swear tears almost shot directly out of my face! Those girls!! They melt my heart!! I hope their friendship lasts forever. I am so thankful Hazel’s mom 1) is raising her daughter to be such a sweet and loving little lady, and 2) snapped a photo of our girls hugging!! (ok I’m crying again)
Gift Baskets – literally
While searching Oriental Trading we came across some small Easter baskets on sale. We thought they would be perfect for our Goodies Bags. When they arrived they were slightly smaller than we had thought. We added a small swatch of blue gingham fabric, an apple (from the forest scene) and a bag of Teddy Grahams with a “Lions & Tigers & Bears OH MY!” label attached. To keep everything together, we put it all in clear cellophane bags and tied them with a ribbon and name tag for each child.
Rachael Ray’s 9 Million Meals Campaign
This year instead of gifts we asked our guests to bring canned goods or non-perishable food that Georgia would donate to Rachael Ray’s 9 Million Meals Campaign. This season of The Rachael Ray Show – season 9 – Rachael has pledged to provide 9 million meals to hungry Americans. In full disclosure, I used to work for Rachael’s show and my husband still works there. That being said, we can personally tell you what this woman has done for changing the hunger epidemic in this country is remarkable. Her passion for this cause and everything she does with her Yum-o! organization is incredible. We were happy to contribute in a small way. We want Georgia to grow up to be selfless and generous. As a child, birthday parties are typically centered around getting gifts – and while we are trying not to completely take that away from her – we want her to learn to think about how she can help others. If you would like to help Rachael meet her goal, you can visit her site and donate. $1 dollar = 10 meals!! How incredible is that!!
As I hashtagged on Instagram – #BirthdayPartySuccess!! Georgia had a fantastic time with her friends. We all enjoyed crafting, decorating, and creating our land of Oz. We hope everyone who came had a wonderful time. At the end of the day – the friends you invite are really what makes the party fun. We loved catching up with our “Original Mommy Group” friends, parents from school, and of course our besties we see almost every day!! We know celebrating Georgia would be fun no matter what we decided to do. This party was absolutely perfect for us because, in our eyes, so is she!
We utilized Pintrest and the internet more than we ever have before to help inspire us while planning this party. We hope by sharing our party details it helps to inspire you as well. If you have any questions please leave a comment below or email us directly!! Have a wonderful day!