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Kids Outdoors Parties & Celebrations Summertime

A Piedmont Park Birthday Party

August 19, 2015
Splash Pad Birthday Party

My baby girl, Lucie, is turning FOUR in exactly one week. Not only that, but she started Pre-K on the 10th. It just doesn’t seem right to see my little not-quite-four-year-old walking up and down the halls of an elementary school, with kids that look 3 feet taller than her! I’ll write more about our Georgia Pre-K experience in a later post.

We aren’t planning on having a big birthday party for her this year, since things have been so hectic for us and she just switched schools. However, since her Piedmont Park birthday party last year was absolutely epic and I never blogged about it, I thought I’d relive that day now.

Piedmont Park Birthday Party Invitation

Invitations by Shutterfly

We really wanted to do something where we could invite all of her friends from preschool, and their families. It’s a little tricky finding a venue for an August birthday in Georgia. Since it’s sweltering outside, it either needs to be indoors or somewhere that guests can cool off in the water. I detest indoor playgrounds and arcades, and we didn’t feel like forking over the big bucks to rent a pool, so we decided on Legacy Fountain (the “Splash Pad”) at Atlanta’s Piedmont Park .

Piedmont Park Splash Pad Map

After we sent out the invitations, I was a little nervous for a few reasons (besides the fact that I’m just a nervous wreck in general). The space around the splash pad can’t be reserved, so we’d have to get there super early to claim a spot. The parking in the deck (near the Botanical Gardens) can also be unpredictable, since they sometimes close it off for a private event. Of course, weather is always a wildcard, too.

But the birthday party ended up being all-around awesome. The kids loved playing in the splash pad. We kept the decorations and food pretty simple, with Publix platters, beach balls, and a few balloons. Almost all of her friends showed up, which is still the biggest thing I remember from that day.

I’d recommend the location to anyone who’s looking for a cheap and convenient location to host a kid’s birthday party. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  1. Arrive early. I dragged my poor sister out there at 6 a.m. to start setting up, and make sure we reserved a table. That may have been a little extreme, since no one else showed up for a few more hours. But there was one other birthday party there that day, so I was glad we did arrive a few hours so we could get a spot.
  2.    Bring trash bags (and probably cleaning gloves). While there are cleaning crews that occasionally pick up trash around the splash pad, there will likely be lots of debris left on the ground from yesterday’s party/crowds. They don’t clean it all that thoroughly. You might want to do a sweep before the party starts, to make sure the area looks presentable.
  3.    Have extra sunscreen, swim diapers and fans for guests. There isn’t a ton of shade, even under the awning. We picked up some dollar store sunscreen to have available for anyone who might have forgotten theirs, and left some battery-powered fans around for guests (again, the party was in August). They also require babies/toddlers to wear swim diapers, so go ahead and bring some in case anyone forgets.
  4.    No dogs. The guards at Piedmont Park won’t allow dogs in the splash pad area. You may want to let your guests know, in case they’d planned to bring their dog along for some dog park fun afterward.
  5.    Bring a wagon or cart to haul your stuff. It’s a little bit of a walk from the parking deck over to the splash pad. Not a bad walk in itself, but you won’t want to be hauling everything by hand to and from the party. Bring a cart of some sort. That said, if you have young kids, be sure to bring the stroller.
  6.    Bring TP & hand sanitizer. Conveniently, there are public restrooms right there at the splash pad. But as you might expect at a public park, they aren’t always stocked with toilet paper or soap. Bring some for you and your guests.

piedmont park birthday party

 

We loved Lucie’s birthday party at Piedmont Park. We came away with lots of memories, awesome photos, and our budget still intact.

Have you done an outdoor birthday party at a park? What other tips do you have?

Parties & Celebrations Summertime

A Christmas in July Pool Party (in August)

August 10, 2015
Christmas in July Shower: We Heart ATL

I’m beyond excited for my friends Alli and Michael, who are finally gettin’ hitched in less than a week! If you knew this wonderful couple, I think you’d be pretty excited too.

The other bridesmaids and I wanted to throw them a couple’s shower that wouldn’t be too stuffy, girly,  or formal (considering the groom is quite the guy’s guy).

Well, the bride-to-be happens to be one of those people who’s obsessed with Christmas. This girl could give Buddy the Elf a run for his money. Seriously, I think her Christmas countdown starts on December 26.

Buddy the Elf

What better theme for their shower than “Christmas in July” (well I guess technically it’s Christmas in August, but who’s keeping tabs?). We could decorate using stuff we had in our attics. Since the theme is naturally corny, it helped keep the mood casual. And it would make for some great memories.

Location: The pool at our friends’ townhome complex (read: FREE!)

pool noodle candy cane

The Invitations:

We decided to send out Evites to save a little money. But to give it a personal touch, my friend Holly (clearly the artist of the group) designed the invitation, and by paying a little extra, we were able to customize the Evite with her image.

Christmas in July Party Invitation

Artwork by Holly Adams

The Delightfully-Tacky Decor:

  • Candy Cane Pool Noodles (see instructions here) leading to the pool entrance
  • Flamingo lawn ornaments (from Five Below) wearing tiny santa hatsflamingo wearing santa hat
  • Wreaths and ornaments (from our attic)
  • Light-up palm tree (procured from a bridesmaid’s parents garage)
    Light-up palm tree: Christmas in July pool party
  • A giant, lei-wearing Santa (also procured from a bridesmaid’s parents’ garage…apparently they have some killer parties, too!)Santa wearing lei
  • Paper snowflake decorations and cheesy santa headbands from Oriental Trading Coheadbands

The Refreshments:

  • The shower was at 2 p.m., so we decided to go with a light snack. A nacho platter from Willy’s! Can’t go wrong with queso and guac.
  • We made some margaritas using a recipe we’ve bee using since college (which includes tequila, beer, and frozen limeade mix). We re-named it “Grinch Punch” for this occasion.grinch punch
  • We ordered the cupcakes from Piece of Cake. They don’t do custom designs, so we customized them ourselves with snowman and umbrella toppers. They turned out super cute.

Snowman cupcakes from Piece of Cake

 

Activities:

I personally am not huge on typical “shower” games, especially when it’s a co-ed shower. But we set up a cornhole and ladder ball which was a big hit with the guests.

This year is flying by so fast that before we know it, we’ll be celebrating the real thing!

What about you? What’s the wackiest party or shower you’ve ever thrown, or attended?