Let’s Make S’mores in the Great Outdoors

I love this outdoorsy theme!  It can be used for so many other themed parties; camping, s’more, wildlife, reptile, ranger, or just about any party that takes place outside.  YES!  I said outside.  That should immediately translate in your mind to, “OMG, my house will remain intact and mess-free!”  And it will.  It did.  Whether you host it in your own backyard, at a park, or some other outside venue, the mess stays out!

The birthday boy asked for camping party, so we created an outdoors party with a little camping twist to it.  It focused on the ‘outdoors’ with a little ‘camping’ thrown in so that ALL his friends could come celebrate and only a select few would stay for the backyard campout.

Invitations

Let’s make s’mores in the great outdoors!  The lower half of the invitation had a follow the path of events timeline.  It was fun to give little clues to the kiddos as to what to expect when they came to the party.  This can be customized to include or exclude activities for your party timeline.

An extra little campout card was slipped into the envelope with the main invitation for those who were invited to the backyard campout.  It’s a clever little card that included a checklist of items to bring with you to ensure “happy camper status” and it also listed a pick-up time for those sleeping over.

We used kraft paper envelopes, “Go Green” themed postage stamps, and round return address labels to round off the invitation.  It definitely stated the theme for the party.

Registration and Arrival

In order to keep the party completely outdoors, we set up a chalkboard easel at the front door with a welcome and instructions to come around to the back yard.  Little chalkboards and balloons helped to guide the way.

Wildlife Demonstration

What better way to party in the outdoors than to have actual animals (in this case, reptiles) for the kids to learn about and interact with?  Jungle Adventures brought some amazing creatures that the children and adults were able to touch and hold.  It was a really awesome learning experience too.  We learned all about alligators, snakes and turtles.  The kids (and adults, too) were able to touch and even hold snakes and alligators!  So amazing!  Did you know that a baby gator, only weeks old, already has 80 teeth???  Wow!  The birthday, boy who just lost his first tooth a week ago, was amazed at that little fact.

Picnic Time

Let’s eat!  The food was simple and easy picnic style eats.  The menu consisted of a buffet with canoe sandwiches (sub sandwiches), cold chicken logs (popcorn chicken), bags of chips, watermelon tents (wedges), and pasta salad.  We used kraft food trays and wooden utensils rather than paper plates and plastic utensils, which was fun.  The beverages were yummy too.  They included matching drink dispensers with tiny banners surrounding them sitting atop wooden boxes with chalkboard fronts dictating each as either lemonade or mango iced tea and a bucket of water bottles with custom labels sitting in ice.  Water bottle labels are one of my best sellers, no matter what theme you shop on Pinkadot.

Dessert

This was my favorite, the sweets display.  Love the old crates, warn wooden boxes, mixed in with the smooth ceramic stands and platters which give the display height, depth and some serious interest.  And of course, the backdrop of an antique window, which also seems to be a favorite of all the guests.  I always get the question, “where did you get it from?”  Well, the answer is that it is an antique and was passed on to me from my mom.  That answer usually disappoints people because they cannot just run to a store and pick one up.  Sorry.

Aside from the LOOKS of the dessert table, the sweets were divine!  An amazing s’mores cake for just the birthday boy included layers of chocolate cake, graham cracker cake, marshmallow, chocolate ganache, caramel, and covered in ganache, buttercream and graham cracker dust.  Oh yeah!  Then there were delicious s’more cupcakes made just the way Brayden loves them…  chocolate cake, buttercream frosting (because he LOVES Something Sweet’s buttercream), graham dust and a toasted marshmallow.  The other desserts were made by his mommy and included S’mores Pops and Ranger Cookies (a family recipe looooooooooong loved).

Of course the part of the dessert table which brings together the theme is all the personalized printables.  The cupcake picks and flags as well as the custom tented food labels.

Campfire Time

He is a big fan of the s’more.  And what boy doesn’t love to play with fire?  Therefore a campfire for toasting marshmallows and to pairing that with chocolate and graham crackers was a must for this birthday boy!  We rounded the fire pit with logs to sit on.  All was great, until one kid’s marshmallow fire ball landed on the birthday boy’s foot just as he was taking his first bit of s’more.  OUCH!  A few ice baths, medication and bandages later, and we were back in business.  Nothing heals a boo-boo like opening gifts.  *wink*

Farewell Friends

The favors were personalized reusable stainless water canteens wearing some fabulous favor tags (hang tag style). The bottles were personalized with vinyl lettering by Yours So Cute (facebook.com/yours.so.cute).  Love these!

Camping

After the party ended and the few remaining campers stayed behind, we made a cozy little seating area and used a projector to show an outdoor movie.  They enjoyed popcorn in bags and breaks to run and scream in the yard, flashlight find games and more before tuckering out and finally sleeping under the stars in a tent in the backyard with the birthday boy’s dad. In the morning, they all came inside, cleaned up and changed, had some junk cereal, as mom and dad waited impatiently for the earliest possible time to take the party to the neighborhood park.  HA!

The best part of the party, by far, was when Brayden, the birthday boy, stopped what he was doing to look into mom and dad’s eyes and say, “Thank you.  This was the best party ever.”  ‘Nuf said!

Special Thanks

An amazing friend and preferred photographer, Jerad Merbitz of Bitz of Life Photography

Remarkably talented and super SWEET friend and baker extraordinaire, Johnnie and Shawn Messler of Something Sweet

Spectacular neighbor and new friend, Kelly Cook of Yours So Cute

Thanks also to those friends and family who lend what they have so selflessly to help it all come together; Jennifer W. for the essential tent and camping gear, Stacey C. for the little chalk boards, and Diane H. for the perfect drink table.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

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