Sunday, June 27, 2010

Candy Land

I have been planning for the past year to throw Blair a Candy Land Birthday Party for her 5th Birthday. I am a planner and a thrifty shopper so I plan way in advance. I decided to throw her a party at our home and outside, against my husband's wishes. I planned to decorate all around the house like a giant Candy Land board game. The inside of our basement was converted to a Candy Land Candy Buffet where the kids and parents could cool off but luckily for us, the storms had cooled it off enough that we did not need a place to retreat for a cool break, just some good ice cream, cake and candy. I must say, summertime outside parties are unpredictable with weather but in the end it worked out perfect.

The morning started off hot and humid and just about the time all of the decorations had been placed it started raining. So, we all gathered the items that would ruin in the rain and placed them back in the house. What the rain did not get, the wind did. By the time the storms finished and the skies cleared, we had about 45 minutes to set everything back up before the party started. Thankfully I had plenty of family at the house to take a station and set everything back up in the 77 degree weather instead of the 110 degree weather.

The party was perfect with perfect weather and wonderful friends, family and neighbors. We had about 70 people at Blair's party with 31 of those being kids. I do not know who had a better time, Blair or her Mommy and Daddy.

Our Sweet Birthday Girl!

My sweet sister, Stacy, made this cute Candy Land sign for the Candy Buffet entrance.

Inside the wagon I placed several containers of bubbles for the kids to play with. I found ice cream cone bubbles in vanilla and chocolate flavors along with Popsicle bubbles in strawberry, chocolate and banana flavors to go along with our theme. Not only did the bubbles look cute, they smelled just like the real thing.

The gingerbread and Candy Land sign started the party off at the top of the driveway. Of course we had to make gingerbread girls along with the gingerbread men.

The next stop along the pathway to Candy Land was The Gingerbread Tree. I made candies for the tree out of paper lanterns and cellophane. They looked adorable in the trees! I placed gingerbread men and women around the area of the Gingerbread Tree. You know I had to make a Tennessee Gingerbread Girl for my husband. She was front and center.

More of the Candy Land pathway. I bought Hobby Lobby out of the foam squares to place around the house for the pathway. I also bought letters from Hobby Lobby that Blair and I painted to spell Candy Land. I think we did very well with the letters. I rented a Birthday Cake bouncer that the kids seemed to enjoy. It was really cute!

The Chocolate Swamp was the next station. I used one of Blair's tents and draped brown sheets over the tent to look like Gloppy and the Chocolate Swamp. I found the two pillows at a yard sale for $1 that I thought would be perfect for the swamp. I think it turned out pretty cute.

Next up, Peanut Acres. I cut out of brown construction paper peanuts that I used for the sign and along the house. I also sprinkled peanuts all around the house for the Peanut Acres affect.

Here comes Lolly and Lollipop Woods. I found some of the cling on Candy Land characters online and purchased them for signs to use at the different stations.

Blair's Gigi made about 25 lollipops for Lollipop Woods. They are a bit wind blown from the storm but still held up pretty well. I placed the lollipops around the swing set. Thanks Gigi!

Welcome to Gumdrop Mountains! I bought about 30 different sand buckets and pulled the handle and shovel off of the buckets and placed upside down for gumdrops. I also sprinkled glitter all over the buckets to give them the sugar coating as you would see on a gumdrop.

It's Mr. Mint!

Peppermint Forest - this was the first station set-up for the party. Boy did we get some looks from the neighbors setting up this area. I bought the candy on the tree at Hobby Lobby and the other Peppermint decorations came from Party City (80% off sale). It looked really cute. Chris was a little afraid I would leave this one up. lol

Next Stop, Snow Flake Lake! I purchased paper snowflakes from Oriental Trader and Blair's Gigi put them all on stakes for us to stick in the ground. I also purchased plastic snowflakes to throw around on the ground. I rented a blue water slide for the kids to enjoy as part of Snow Flake Lake. Not sure if the kids or the Daddies had more fun on the slide!

Candy Castle was at the end of the game board. I found this great gingerbread house cut out online at Shindigz. It was perfect for the Candy Castle ending.

My mom and I decorated inside and out (thanks mom). Here is one of the tables from the party. I tried to make each table reflect a different station on the game board. I filled the bucket full of peanuts as in Peanut Acres.

This table had the gumdrop tree and gingerbread house placed so colorful and cute! My sister made the Gingerbread house for the event. It turned out super cute!

This was the chocolate table center piece. It consisted of different chocolates placed in the middle of the table.

Peppermint Center Piece Table.

Lollipop Center Piece. I had so much fun making the different lollipop centerpieces!

This is the inside of the basement that we converted into the Candy Buffet. It looked precious!

I found really cute plastic cupcake plates at the Dollar Tree for 25 cents each (I bought 52). I let the kids take the plates home as part of their treat bag. I placed another really cute lollipop arrangement at the start of the table to begin the Candy Express. I made labels for each item placed on the table with ribbon. The candy items for table one consisted of peppermints, small pixie stix, twizzlers, smarties, air heads, cheeseballs, starbursts, chocolate bar variety, skittles, large pixie stix, gummy candies, rice crispy treats and a blow pop tree (I replenished the tree 3 times before the party thanks to my husband).

Candy Buffet table two consisted of nerds, peach rings, sugar cookies, gummy bears, laffy taffy ropes, tootsie rolls, chip variety, bubble gum, peanuts, sour straws, ring pops, peanut m&ms and

Blair's Grandmother made this wonderful Candy Land Cake. She made it look just like the board game. It looked and tasted amazing!

We also included an ice cream bar. You cannot have a party without ice cream! We served vanilla, chocolate, strawberry or cookies and cream. I found at Hobby Lobby (on sale) the acrylic pink and green ice cream cone cups that I purchased for the party. They are super cute! The cupcake on the front of the bar was made by Blair's K4 class. It had the name of each child with their finger print and a gemstone. It was too cute not to use.

Blair getting ready to blow out the candles.

Happy 5th Birthday Sweet Girl!
Each child took home a cupcake plate, bags of candy from the candy buffet (and I still have a ton of candy left over) and of course a new toothbrush.

Present Time

Blair blowing chocolate ice cream bubbles.

Blair and Daddy going down the water slide (also known as Snow Flake Lake).
Thanks to all that helped make this party a success. I could not have pulled this off without your help. Now that this party is over with, I am ready to being planning for next year's party,
any ideas?

Happy 5th Birthday, Blair!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

5 Years Ago Today

5 years ago today the Dukes' world changed forever. This little beauty entered the world and we have never been the same. As I reminisced last night, with Blair cuddled up to me, about this day 5 years ago, it made me so sad to think about how quickly time is flying by. I remember holding this sweet little baby in my arms and now this sweet little girl lays beside me growing up so quickly each day. I remember doing all of the things for this little one that she was unable to do for herself and now this little girl tells me that she can do it herself. I remember falling completely and madly in love with this little baby upon first glance and now I continue to fall in love with this sweet little girl more and more everyday. God is so Good!

5 years ago today, I had to go in for a check-up because my blood pressure was a little higher than the doctor would like for it to be. The chance of them keeping me and inducing was pretty good. I remember the excitement of riding to the hospital with my husband, bags packed. The excitement of leaving our house for the last time as a family of two and coming home as three. They kept me in observation for most of the morning monitoring my contractions and Dr. Edwards finally decided to induce. At noon, Dr. Edwards broke my water and started the drip. I remember Chris and I both calling all of our family and friends to tell them the news.

I told everyone to hurry to the hospital while Chris was telling everyone to take their time, it would be a while (next time he should listen to me). I was moved to a room and about 5 minutes later had a wonderful epidural administered (who in their right mind would not do this?). Chris and I had previously decided to allow our family to be a part of this day. Thankfully my doctor also allowed everyone to be a part of this special day. At 4:21 pm we all welcomed Ashlyn Blair Dukes into this world. By we all, I mean, Chris, Aunt Stacy, Aunt Re, Nana, Poppy, Gigi, Mary, Aunt Gail, Grandma and the doctor and nurses. In the waiting room was Aunt Kari, Kailyn, Papa and Grandpa with more family and friends on the way. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity to share in the most precious gift, life, and we wanted our family to be a part of this gift.

None of our lives have been the same since she entered this world. My sweet doctor allowed Chris to deliver Blair. He told Chris to suit up and walked him through the entire birthing process. Chris was wonderful and has never been the same since that day. He was wrapped from the moment he delivered her. What a Difference She Has Made in Our Lives!

This day 5 years ago, this little girl made us Mommy and Daddy, she made some Aunts and Uncles, Grandparents and Cousins for the first time. For this child we prayed and the Lord granted us what we asked of Him. Our lives will never be the same and I praise God for that!

Happy 5th Birthday Little Princess!

5th Birthday
4th Birthday
3rd Birthday
2nd Birthday
1st Birthday
Welcome to the world Ashlyn Blair Dukes!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Our Beach Vacation, Part II

Nana, Aunt Stacy, Mommy and Blair
Mommy, Blair and Daddy
Our Beach Baby

Burying Daddy in the sand.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sneak Peek

For Blair's 5th Birthday, I decided to plan a Candyland themed party. Here is a peek at the birthday invitations. I love them!