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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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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