Lucas' 7th Birthday Party

I can't believe Lucas turned 7 on April 26th. Last year he wanted a Pokemon party but we ended up with a magic themed party instead. He's even more into Pokemon now so we did it up with a Pokemon themed party with my own modern spin on it. Remember his 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th birthday parties?

I designed the invitations with a simple and modern take on Pikachu's face. I initially wanted to mail each invitation with a balloon that had a hand drawing of Pikachu's face but it didn't quite work out the way I wanted. Instead, each invitation came with a yellow balloon taped to the yellow backing of the invitation. The custom envelope liner had a photo of Lucas looking at a Pokemon book written in Japanese from our date to the Kinokuniya bookstore. The invitations were mailed in sunny yellow envelopes and sealed with wraparound address labels.

For the party favors, I made Poke Surprise Balls (tutorial here) using crepe paper streamers, a Sharpie and red acrylic paint. Each Poke Ball included a few Pokemon figurines, some Japanese candy, and a colorful whistle.

As usual, we order all the donut holes and make custom paper cones. :)

I made a super easy red velvet cake and cupcakes and just added the Pokemon figurines on top.

We hired a face painter who specializes in Pokemon drawings. Some kids had their full face painted and others, like Lucas, just had a character drawn on their face or arm.

Initially I was going to get Mexican food, but then I realized that Japanese food would be perfect for the theme! The sushi platters from Kyoto actually turned out to be less expensive. I just added Japanese rice crackers, fresh fruit, and some gyoza from Costco which I heated the morning of.

Okay, so the whistles. ;) I thought the whistles in the favors were so cute! I mean, for emergencies or to hook onto backpacks, right? But when all the whistles are going off at the same time and parents are kidding but not kidding about getting me back at their next party... Haha!!!

The cutest Pikachu that ever lived!

Every year, Nick and I tag team on making the pinata. This year I made a Poke Ball using the paper mache method and filled it with Japanese candies and Annie's Bunny Fruit Snacks. Nick stayed up until 1 a.m. painting it.

Last year's pinata was a giant playing card that we made out of cardboard. It was unbreakable and hilarious because Nick had to stab it all over just to make it easier to break. This year was the opposite--it busted open just after a few strikes. We had to find ways to make it harder to open and sadly not everyone got a turn.

The look on Lucas' face when it was cake time is everything.

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Theo's 4th Birthday Party

A few weekends ago we celebrated Theo's 4th birthday party. Remember his music-themed 3rd birthday party last year? About four months before his party I asked Theo what kind of party he wanted. He said, "A chocolate party!" Two months later he said the same thing. Admittedly, I was a bit stumped. I mean, how awesome would a chocolate party be!? But then again, every parent would kill me if all I served was chocolate everything. So then I came up with the idea of "Theo's Chocolate Waffle Bar Party" that would incorporate his love for chocolate AND waffles--plus, give everyone different options including savory ones.

Inspired by my trip to Dinette in L.A., I decided to use metal trays lined with a custom kraft liner. The whole look was made even cuter with these bear face party napkins from my friends at Harlow & Grey. I vowed to never cook all the food for a birthday party again (Lucas' round-themed 2nd birthday party nearly killed me) but this waffle bar was pretty easy. I ordered scrambled eggs and popcorn chicken from the Whole Foods catering department in Berkeley, made a few batches of chocolate waffles in advance and froze them, made some syrups in advance, and just cut some fruit and baked tater tots the morning of. Oh, and you know what saved me was this little guy from Amazon.

Ready for a heart melt? Lucas made Theo this birthday hat out of paper, tape and string--one for Theo and another tiny one for Theo's "baby" stuffie.

Organic fruit and syrups with custom labels ;)

Homemade chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting. I really need/want to take a cake decorating class.

A family tradition!!!

Somewhere along the way Theo transformed into a ninja. Haha!

We hired the best kids band ever Your Song My Song. They were taking requests and Theo wanted "Bad Romance" by Lady Gaga. So they figured out how to play it! High five!

This is the face of a happy birthday boy!

The party favors were delicious butter waffle cookies from Trader Joe's hand dipped in semi-sweet chocolate and sprinkled with rainbow nonpareils. I packaged them in glassine bags and sealed each one with a custom label.

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Lucas' 6th Birthday Party

A couple of weekends ago we celebrated Lucas' 6th birthday party. Time sure flies--I just can't believe he is now 6! Remember his 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th birthday parties? As usual, I ask Lucas what kind of party he wants each year and then I put my own modern spin on theme. This year Lucas initially asked for a Pokemon party but later decided on a magic theme after having seen a magician called Magical Nathaniel at Playland-Not-At-The-Beach.

I designed the invitations with a clean but slightly vintage feel, complete with custom photo envelope liners and a custom rubber stamp that would be used on favor bags and food packaging. The double thick invitations were mailed in kraft envelopes and sealed with wraparound address labels.

The party took place at the Padre Picnic Area in Tilden Park in Berkeley and the we couldn't have lucked out with better weather--you never know in April! Guests set out blankets and flew kites, played soccer, baseball and tag. We hired Magical Nathaniel to perform a magic show for 45 minutes. He was amazing and kids and adults alike were in awe by his tricks. Funny how every 6-year old seems to think they know how he does his tricks.

The amazing food for the party was generously provided by Whole Foods Market. In case you didn't know, Whole Foods Market cater kids parties too and can customize a menu for you. To go along with our magic theme, the catering team made Popcorn Chicken, Grilled Corn on the Cob, Mini Chicken Corn Dogs (a kid favorite), "Magic Wand" Fruit Skewers, Classic Mac 'N' Cheese, their signature Cabbage Crunch Salad (my fave!), and Potato Salad (several people told me this was the best they have had). They also provided Organic Juice Boxes, Mochi Ice Cream by Bubbies, and Annie's Homegrown Fruit Snacks for the pinata. Thank you Whole Foods Market (specifically the Berkeley and Gilman locations)!

Per Lucas' request, I made him a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting and edible gold stars and a gazillion cupcakes for his friends.

A Jackson birthday party tradition, we had donut holes with custom designed cones--always a huge hit with everyone!

Nick and I made this awesome playing card pinata and giant magic wand for busting it open. It was actually really easy and full DIY instructions can be found on Oh Happy Day blog.

I used the custom rubber stamp for the cotton favor bags that each held Pocky Sticks (they look like magic wands!), a coin trick, fortune teller fish, and mini word game books.

Lucas had the brilliant idea of having a Make-Your-Own-Wand station. Using a wooden dowel with eye hooks, kids could use Japanese washi tape and choose colorful ribbons to make a fun magic ribbon wand.

My baby is 6!! Whaaaaat?!?

Theo ate fruit skewers for lunch.

Classic Mac 'N' Cheese and awesome Popcorn Chicken with two kinds of housemade dipping sauces--BBQ and ranch.

Grilled Corn on the Cob was a crowd favorite.

Okay, how cute is my friend Jeanne's daughter Hayden sipping her organic lemonade? And my niece Tallia waving her wand and my friends Aaron and Corrine's daughter Josephine who LOVED the corn on the cob.

Mini Chicken Corn Dogs were a kid favorite.

Whole Foods Market Gilman provided delicious Mochi Ice Cream from Bubbies. I packaged and labeled them individually in glassine bags and stamped them with Lucas' birthday logo. I chose four flavors--Mango, Green Tea, Strawberry and Vanilla.

If you don't know about this Cabbage Crunch Salad at Whole Foods, you're missing out. Not sure if every location has it, but damn, it's good.

I usually prefer the vinegar-based kind of potato salad, but this was the Best Classic Potato Salad ever!

Magical Nathaniel was awesome! He's a Cal student and does magic on the side but plans to make it his full time gig. If you need a magician for your party, you need to hire him. Nearly every kid sat still for the 45-minute performance. He was entertaining and engaging with the kids, often asking for volunteers to help him with his tricks. The kids loved it!

OMG, Magical Nathaniel solved this Rubik's Cube in a minute and 30 seconds--blindfolded!

This is the look of a 3.5-year old who missed his nap and ate nothing but fruit and donut holes for lunch. Poor Theo.

This pinata was awesome because no one could bust it open which meant every kid got a chance to hit it. Ha!

Eventually, Nick had to discreetly stab a few holes into it.

*This post is in partnership with Whole Foods Market. All words and ideas are my own.

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Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party

Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

I can't believe my little Theo turned 3! I still remember sending out his birth announcements, his 1st birthday flip book invitations and his 2nd birthday food-themed invitations. What a big boy he's become -- especially with his new haircut!

This year's theme was music. If you know Theo, you know he loves to eat, but did you also know he loves to sing, rap, dance and perform songs on his guitar? He even has a signature dance move that involves a super wide leg stance, one hand tapping to the beat on his hip and heel raises up and down. I can't stop laughing at, I mean with, him.

I'm also excited to announce that I will be a contributor to the awesome party blog Oh Happy Day! Theo's party is the first in a series of party DIY's I will be working on for them. I couldn't be more excited for what's to come! Many of the products I'll feature will be available in the Oh Happy Day Party Shop--a one stop, expertly curated shop for all your party needs. Scroll down to find links to three DIYs--the invitations, the party favors and the photobooth/props.

Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

Check out the DIY post on Oh Happy Day for these custom invitations -- each with its own harmonica!

Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

No Jackson kid birthday party would be complete without our traditional donut holes and custom cones!

Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

Andrea of Bakin Bit outdid herself once again with the food this year. She made pulled chicken tacos, cilantro/lime rice, jicama slaw, heirloom tomato salsa, guacamole, two cheeses, black beans and sweet potatoes, and a roasted vegetables and summer squash salad with basil vinaigrette. DELICIOUS!

Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

Theo taking it all in. The morning of the party he kept saying, "A birthday party for ME???" Too cute!

Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

One of the biggest hits of the party was the snow cone machine with homemade syrups from Bakin Bit. Big thanks to our friends Nancy, Andrew and Eric for taking charge of the snow cone station! Big hugs and high fives all around!

Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

The kids waited patiently in line to choose their flavors -- my favorite combo was mango + coconut + strawberry. And how cute is Jeanne and her girls Hayden and Hadley?!? (Jeanne, you're supposed to share with your kids!)

Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

Love how Lucas is "reading" to his friends. And super cute that Wilder is wearing his "Go Wild" T-shirt from Lucas' 5th birthday party.

Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

No music themed party would be complete without our favorite kids music duo Your Song My Song! Comprised of Theo's preschool teacher Eric and his talented girlfriend Jaime, they belt out the best kids and adults tunes and make it so much fun! Just look at Theo's rocker face! If you need some awesome entertainment for your kids party, you have to book them!

Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

Since Theo's favorite color is yellow, I made a lemon birthday cake/cupcakes with lemon frosting and lemon curd in between the layers.

Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

Check out the DIY post on Oh Happy Day for these party favors--handmade finger jingles for the little ones! Bigger kids got a small bag of lemon jelly beans.

Theo's 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

Check out the DIY post on Oh Happy Day for our photobooth and props--super easy and fun!

Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
Theo's Music Themed 3rd Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

Next big boy band right here, watch out! ;)

+ Find all of the DIY projects and sources at Oh Happy Day!
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Birthday Thank You Postcards

Birthday Thank You Postcards  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

Remember Lucas' 5th birthday party extravaganza a few weeks ago? It was super fun and wild and I'm so happy it's over! Lucas is a lucky kid -- he received so much love and so many gifts from friends and family. For Lucas' 3rd birthday, I made the mistake of letting him go to town with opening his presents. He ripped through each one and tossed them to the side only to make room to grab the next one. I was appalled -- but really, what did I expect?

Since then, I've learned my lesson and now Lucas gets to open two presents a day, starting with the card. After thoroughly enjoying and appreciating each gift, we write a thank you note. I write and Lucas signs it in his signature block lettering.

Birthday Thank You Postcards  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

I designed these double sided double thick thank you postcards to show our appreciation -- similar to the ones from last year's Superhero 4th Birthday Party. The front of the postcard has a collage of photos from the party and the back has the animal print pattern from the invitations I designed. I personally love postcards rather than cards when writing thank you notes for parties because they're more casual, as well as save money on postage and envelopes.

Birthday Thank You Postcards  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper
Birthday Thank You Postcards  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  /  @good_on_paper

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Lucas' 5th Birthday Party

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For the last two years, I've been asking Lucas what kind of birthday party he would like to have. He didn't have much of a say for his 1st or 2nd birthdays, but starting with his Superhero 4th birthday last year, he's been very clear about what he wants. Of course, he gets the modernized version of it because that's how I roll.

This year Lucas turned five (can't believe I have a 5-year old!) and without hesitation, he said he wanted a "Wild Kratts" party. If you haven't seen this show, it's worth checking out. It's an educational animated series on PBS, created by and starring brothers Chris and Martin Kratt.  The show is full of fun facts about animals, ranging from polar bears to geckos, and each episode features a particular critter's unique "creature power". Lucas gets really excited learning about animal powers and defenses, and I love when he enlightens me with new animal facts! This year we decided to throw a joint animal-themed birthday party with Judah, Lucas' good friend from school, who turned five the day before.

This year I partnered up with Whole Foods Market, which provided the amazing appetizers, entrees, beverages and desserts for our party. The super-talented catering teams from the two Berkeley locations created a delicious picnic style meal that included fried chicken, mac 'n' cheese, deviled eggs, strawberry/spinach salad, a yummy cabbage crunch salad, "turtle sandwiches" and cupcakes in two flavors. In addition to the lunch menu, they created some amazing food sculptures to go along with our animal theme.  Mice out of lemons? Porcupines out of watermelons? Chickens out of eggs? Crazy cool and fun, right? And as a special added touch, the team at the Gilman store location were kind enough to make us custom paletas in three flavors -- blueberry cream, apple/pineapple and fresh strawberry.

To modernize Lucas' vision of a "Wild Kratts" party, I decided to go for a more generalized animal theme, with "Go Wild" as a primary graphic element. Starting with the invitation design, I painted abstract animal patterns using simple black watercolor paint, and hand wrote "Go Wild" which would later become a logo for the party. I took a cute photo of Lucas and Judah and used it as a custom envelope liner. The envelopes were finished with matching wraparound address labels. The invitations, liner and envelopes were made with recycled paper.

Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper

For dessert, I baked a yummy red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, decorated with rainbow sprinkles and five wild animals on top.

Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper

If you've seen our other birthday parties, you know that donut holes are a Jackson family  tradition. This year's donut cones were made with the animal printed recycled paper.

Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper

Judah's parents got each birthday boy a Wild Kratts "creature power" suit as a gift. Lucas started off as "Chris" (green), but by the end of the party had traded with Judah to be "Martin" (blue).

Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper

I love this photo of Lucas testing out the t-shirt favors.  He wasn't crazy about having his photo taken, hence the pouty face. I couldn't resist. 

Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper

For the party favors, I made a giant rubber stamp of the "Go Wild" logo, and hand stamped white t-shirts in various sizes that I ordered online. Each friend got a t-shirt to wear at the party and take home. (The shirts were also handy as a change of clothes for several kids who got grubby or cake-covered during the party). 

Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper

We originally scheduled the party for Saturday, and had all the invitations printed up. We later changed it to Sunday due to Little League conflicts. I didn't want to waste the old invitations, so I cut off the old RSVP information, and used the top half to make "creature power" trading cards that accompanied each t-shirt. Each trading card had fun facts about different animals. Cute AND educational! The bottom of the invitations were used to create name tags. Big thanks to Jocelyn, Judah's mom, for ironing and packaging each shirt with a custom hand written tag!

Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper

Jeremiah (Judah's little bro) and Theo!

Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper

We also set out a bunch of animal masks which the kids loved!

Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper

Partnering up with Whole Foods Market to provide all the food and desserts was a dream! The catering team was fabulous to work with.

Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper

How cute are these "turtle sandwiches" made of turkey, cheese, cucumbers and fresh bread baked especially for us by Whole Foods Market Gilman?

Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper

As the party's main event, we had Lick Your Eyeballs present a fun, informative and hands-on animal show. They were amazing! From geckos and frogs, to a kingsnake and caiman lizard, the kids were very brave and gentle with the animals.

Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper

Elsa holds a jar of gecko egg shells.

Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper

One of my favorite ideas for the party was to make "polar bear ice," aka popsicles. There's a Wild Kratts episode called "Polar Bears Don't Dance," and I wanted the "polar bear ice" to tie into that.

The team at Whole Foods Market Gilman made custom paletas in three fruity flavors (blueberry cream, apple/pineapple and fresh strawberry). All were a huge hit on the warm day.

I designed some packaging for the pops using wax food bags, snipped at the bottom and  sealed on top with a hand lettered label. The package kept the pops from sticking together in the cooler, and also doubled as a place for the melty drips to fall. But as you can see, the package was ripped right off. Devoured in seconds!

Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper

Birthday boys waiting patiently to blow candles.

Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper
Lucas' 5th Birthday Party  /  www.goodonpaperdesign.com/blog  //  @good_on_paper

I had no idea Whole Foods Market catered kids' parties, but now I'm spreading the word because the food was spectacular, and the catering team was open to my ideas, accommodating, easy to work with, and even delivered onsite (including compostable plates, utensils, napkins and adorable cups and straws from Susty Party). Special thanks to Lizzie at Whole Foods Market Berkeley for collaborating with me, to Jocelyn and Aaron (Judah's parents), and to my husband Nick, all of whom helped make Lucas' 5th birthday party a smash! For more information about Whole Foods Market catering you can contact the team here.

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