My sweet boy, Liam, just turned three. He is a proud puppy lover, so I thought it would be fitting to have a puppy party for this year's theme. I am very big on party themes. In my five years of being a mom, we've been Under the Sea, went on a Teddy Bear Picnic, played with Princesses, enjoyed an Ice Cream Social, and partied with Elmo (rainbow style!). This year went to the dogs. Here are some photos and details of the tail-waggin' fun!
I found a great deal on a huge, fabulous bounce house. This had nothing to do with the puppy theme, aside from the kids acting like animals while they were in there. It's just some good, old-fashioned fun.
Once I decide on a theme, I work on the menu. For this party, I opted for a "bar style" main course of grilled hot 'dogs' and lots of toppings. Aside from the standard condiments, I set out little plates of onion, jalepenos, banana peppers, shredded cheese, pico de gallo, and pickles. It was a big hit! It was also stress-free, as I didn't have to worry about cooking for a large amount of people, and I didn't shell out tons of money on catering. In fact, I snagged the hotdogs on sale for $1.69 a pack. That is less than $8.50 to feed fifty people!
I also like to try and find creative ways of incorporating the theme into the rest of the menu. Pinterest is a great tool for inspiration! A few favorites were the Jello Water Bowls, Kibble (yummy meatballs), Puppy Chow, and Pupcorn. I also found some bone-shaped gummies on Amazon which was a magnet for little hands.
I also made some Puppy Punch for both the kiddos and the adults. The simple recipe was just Hawaiian Punch and lemon-lime soda. The "spiked" version had some berry flavored vodka in it.
The dog bowls and small, glass bowls for the jello were Dollar Store finds, and the punch bottles were in the dollar section at Target.
The biggest hit of the party was the Puppy Adoption Center. I certainly cannot take credit for this brilliant idea, as I saved it as a Pinterest gem many moons ago. It was a fun, interactive party activity and a fabulous alternative to the generic goodie bags. I had a friend of mine man the table as party guests chose their favorite puppy. I found a free Adoption Certificate Printable ( HERE!! ) where the children could name their friend before taking him/her home.
I was originally going to purchase some bulk puppies online, but then realized my kids had enough stuffed animals that I was certain I could find enough puppies for all of the guests. Sure enough, I was right! I gave them all a bath and they were ready to go. I probably saved more than $50 by doing this and each child got their own unique puppy!
After the children chose their new friend, I had a small table and chairs set up for some arts and crafts. I purchased little white carrying boxes that the kids could take their puppies home in. They were able to decorate their carriers with markers, puppy stickers, and paw print stamps at the art station. I also found some wooden dog ornaments at Michael's for fifty cents a piece that the kids could color. This was also a big hit.
To wrap everything up, I ordered some paw print cookies (they were eaten before I could get a picture!), along with an assortment of mini "Pupcakes" and, of course, the cake!
All in all, the party was a big success and the kids had a great time. I set out a sprinkler, two kiddie pools, and some inflatables for added fun. I am all about getting creative and DIY-ing as much as possible. When I can't do that, I try to get the best deals I can find. You don't need to spend a fortune to host memorable birthday party!
Happy third birthday, Liam!