How to Host a Carousel Themed Party

One of my favorite memories as a child was ridding the merry-go-round with my parents. There is something so magical about the beautifully painted horses as they glide through the air with riders on their backs gleefully giggling with delight. Even as adults when we ride a horse, a bunny, perhaps even a lion or a giraffe carousel animal, we are instantly transported  back into some of our sweetest memories of childhood.

We have a wonderful park in our city that has stunningly maintained a beautiful carousel that was the theme for our party. I love how versatile a carousel theme party can be. From bridal showers and baby showers to a child’s, or even a sweet sixteen birthday party, and everything in between anyone who loves whimsical  parties can host a beautiful carousel themed party!

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I’m sharing some of our favorite design tips and how to DIY almost everything you see here! Including how I created stations around the house to keep the party guests flowing from room to room with different points of interest.

Our show stopper pieces were these huge mylar happy birthday balloon letters. There was no doubt you had arrived to a children’s birthday party. (If you were doing a different theme- you could easy change out these letters for a different party celebration.) We also kept the big toys like this fun ball pit and our daughter’s new rocking horse here so the adults could lounge on the sofa, recliner and chairs placed in the room while the children played together.

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The Decorations

A team of helpers makes every party to be more successful, and these handmade carousel horse silhouettes and the larger than life number two are the perfect example of this.

Each decoration is made from items you can easy purchase at your local craft store! Here’s what you’ll need to make a large number for a birthday party:

Supplies:
▪️Foam Board
▪️Modge podge
▪️Foam Brush
▪️ X-acto knife
▪️Tissue Paper
▪️Paper plate
▪️Ruler & Protractor

For the number we measured 8cm from the bottom of the board to make the bottom of the number two. Then measured from the top of the foam board a radius of 17cm for the circle of the 2. We made it a bit like one would make a cake by following the shapes. The only cutting we did was the outside shape. For the tissue paper we cute 2 inch squares and using the modge podge glued them onto the foam board.

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To create these beautiful carousel horse sillouets we made them in stages, and the paint we let dry overnight.

Supplies:
▪️Foam Board
▪️Modge podge
▪️Foam Brush
▪️Yellow paint (can be spray paint)
▪️Glitter
▪️ X-acto knife
▪️Carousel Horse Templet
▪️Floral Foam
▪️Tissue Paper
▪️Empty gift wrapping paper tube
▪️Tule
▪️Ribbon
▪️Container for the Base

I drew free hand the horse design modeled after these coloring pages we printed out for the children. This was by far the most challenging decoration and will have to be followed up with its own separate post. Please send me a message directly if you have urgent needs and we can discuss further!

 

DIY Balloon Arch

This was so much easier than I thought it was going to be! If you’re interested in trying it- I would highly suggest do it for your next party!

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Supplies:
▪️Balloon Arch Tape
▪️2-3 packs of 12” balloons
▪️3-4 packs of 5” balloons
▪️ Helium tank
▪️Greenery
▪️Push pins or command strips

I chose several colors of balloons as my base for this arch, then added pops of accent colors. I followed this tutorial online, I think it was super helpful!

Note: This should not be made in advanced. Latex balloons have a short life and if you want this to float- be sure you build it as close to party time as possible.

Kids corner

The children had their own special area set up including their own kid-sized table and chairs and this cute buffet table!

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We ordered these Paper Mini Candy Pink Striped Popcorn Boxes to match our carnival theme and filled them with kettle corn! Most definitely a must have food for a fun carnival party! I also filled a fun flower pot with fruit snacks, and each child had their very own fun birthday cup with lid and straw at their seat at the table! (That was the cautious mom in me, ha!) When it was time to go home, everyone took home a goodie bag. I added the little gold horses to look like they each had a merry-go-round horse on their bag!

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At each seat was a coloring sheet and lots of crayons. Our birthday girl had a crown and special birthday pin! The balloon flowers were made same day, but the blue paper flowers happen to live up on our wall year round.

 

Food and Drinks

What type of food might you serve at a carousel themed party? Let’s start with the fun stuff! We already talked about the kettle corn, but there were also colorful jelly beans and yogurt covered raisins! I absolutely love macaroons. They’re on a later photo placed next to the cupcakes and cake. I love freshest strawberries in the spring and made a platter of the plumpest ones I could find. The favorite carnival type dessert was most definitely the amazing white chocolate dipped apple slices with sprinkles. I don’t have a photo of them because they were all eaten before I could take their photo! They were a huge hit!

For those that might actually be hungry and not want to dine on sweets only, I couldn’t resist making delicious tea sandwiches like these to go with our party theme. We also made our own super easy ranch dip by mixing a packet of hidden valley ranch seasoning packet with sour cream. Also, I have a new obsession with cocktail tomatoes. Have you ever tried them? They’re a little sweeter than cherry tomatoes and have a slightly thinner skin. We also had carrot chips and baby carrots with more cucumbers for dipping. For the main part of the meal my wonderful husband grilled four pounds of chicken seasoned with Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning. We offered guests the option to build their own chicken sandwiches- yum! For the kids we ordered a party platter of chick-fil-a nuggets with the chick-fil-a sauce because they really do it best- yum!

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The Sweets

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This birthday cake might just be my favorite part of this party. Our little girl just loves to ride the carousel horses and I knew this theme would make her so happy. The cake was the center of the party, and my inspiration. I’m blown away at the talent at our local Whole Food store. The entire cake is made from vegan-buttercream! This is their black and white cake, without the chocolate ganache on top (which is amazing if you haven’t tried it!).  The Cake Topper took me the longest to find. From the angle of this last photo, you can see there is some clear wrapper on the bottom and there is a slight gap, that’s because this is a musical cake topper! And will make the sweetest keep sake for years to come!

The cupcakes were perfect for all the little hands. Every child could easily help themselves when we placed them on the kids table! And the whimsical horses on top were the same ones I used on the gift bags! I was so fortunate to find them at the ThePinkPapermill and the owner Randee was such a pleasure to work with! The cupcakes are entirely home made using a Southern Living Magazine recipe! My daughter and I baked these ahead of time and I made the frosting the day before. Doing as much prep-work ahead of time can help you keep your sanity!

 

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Party Planning Tip:  How do you get a bunch of kids to come sit down to sing happy birthday when they’re so busy playing? Well, cake usually does it, but we wanted to have everyone sitting and what better way than to read a story aloud! Children love to hear stories, and this one happens to be our daughter’s favorite! We read On the Night You Were Born and all the children loved it!

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Here’s my favorite photo of the birthday girl ready to blow out the candles! 

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In addition to the party bags, we also gave away the ribbon wands we made in advanced that were on the dessert table. And on their way home, each little girl also got to pick a pretty little Party Ring to take home!

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I really hope you enjoyed our tips for hosting your own carousel themed party! Please let us know in the comments if you tried any of these decorations or delicious food ideas!

As always, we love to hear from you, you can find us on Instagram and Facebook, use #DelightfulSouthernMoments to join the conversation live!

xo,

Christine

Gifts for the Hostess, a Simple Way to Say ‘Thank You’

I’m so excited to share this very special post written by a very special blogger, my step-mom! I asked her to help me put together a few tips on gifts for a hostess for all the upcoming holiday get togethers. It’s once again that exciting time of year filled with holiday parties, sparkling galas, and dazzling cocktail parties. Let’s take a moment to also remember those who put so much love, patience and effort into hosting these wonderful events.

“The greatest wisdom is in simplicity.

Love, respect, tolerance, sharing, gratitude, forgiveness.

It’s not complex or elaborate. The real knowledge is free.

All you need is within you.

Find your heart, and you will find your way.”

-Carlos Barrios, Mayan leader

These are wise words, and great advice. Our lives have gotten so busy! We hurry to work, to the grocery store, to pick up the kids from school, get their costumes for dress rehearsals, our own clothes from the dry cleaners, new dance shoes, the list goes on. In all our busyness, are we missing out on the simple pleasures of the holidays? One of life’s simplest pleasure is giving, and saying ‘Thank you.’ We all know this, but it seems like its just one more thing on the to do list.

We know we should bring a gift to the holiday party we invited to, but struggle to come up with anything. We spend countless hours searching Pinterest, Amazon, or Google. It is so easy to get lost in the search for proper gift idea, or proper etiquette, even what should be simple advice on how to give, what to give and when to give. It all becomes dreadfully overwhelming! After countless articles, opinions and other wild ideas we see online, often we still have no gift and feel more overwhelmed than ever!

A hostess gift shouldn’t be complicated, it doesn’t even have to be something you spend a lot of money on.

Giving, saying thank you, and sharing is in my family’s second nature, you might even say it is ingrained in our DNA. We didn’t have the internet, nor did we spend hours reading books on etiquette. For us, it was simply the pleasure of sharing. The best received gifts are often those based on simplicity. A box of chocolate, a single rose from my mom’s garden, a small plate of warm cookies, a homemade fresh bread, even a bowl of fresh fruit. No matter how simple, it spoke of kindness, it spoke of the heart, and the message was simple – you care!

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For a modern twist on a hostess gift, consider fresh and fragrant gifts. A bouquet of fresh herbs would be a particularly welcome gift to the home chef, but anyone can enjoy fresh greenery in the home. A few sprigs of parsley, rosemary, sage, thyme, marjoram, and lavender. Give extraordinary, ordinary herbs.

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Your lovely bouquet could be a simple conversation starter. For example, did you know these herbs have specific meaning, used by herbalist for centuries as aids for upset stomach, to improve mood, as antiseptic, to boost confidence, not to mention there were times when almost all of them were part of a wedding bouquet.

Combine your herbal gift with a dipping dish, some olive oil, balsamic vinegar and fresh bread for more elaborate gift.

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Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and you’ve been invited to dinner party. When you’re desperately searching for elaborate, proper hostess gift, remember to think of something simple. It doesn’t matter whether you choose a simple bouquet or a more elaborate presentation. The most important thing keep in mind is that whatever gift you give, it comes from a kind, loving, giving heart.

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Wishing you peace and kindness,

Veronika