Plants vs Zombies Birthday Party – PVZ at Tha Compound 916

First thank you for taking the time to visit my page, second I do tend to ramble so this post may be a bit long and third I hope you like some of the little things we did for this PVZ birthday party!

Our kiddos birthday parties – I have so many feelings about them – why oh why are they getting older so quickly, will my baby have the most fantastic party, will my baby pick an easy to shop for theme or decide on some random not in the party store theme (98% of the time not in the stores!), will I get all I plan done, will I make enough goody bags, will I have enough food, will it rain or will we get to have that bounce house……I am a planner deep to my core – so pretty much every aspect of anything I do I whip out the computer and start a spreadsheet to start planning……here is this year’s journey for my oldest son – in the theme of PVZ (Plants vs Zombies).

The WHEN: Us parental units decide the when – 2017 is an easy year as the birthday actually lands on a Saturday – woop woop happy dance!   I really enjoy these years because when the actual birthday doesn’t land on the party day I basically will do two “parties” – the big all out party on the party day and then on the actual birthday I will set up a few little decorations, have family (cousins, grandparents, us parents, sibling), cupcakes (now that I type this maybe I do enjoy the non-weekend actual birthdays because when I do this we get cupcakes from Icing on the Cupcake – OMG SOOOOO DELISH!!!!  Seriously the most amazing cupcakes EVER!!), and we open a few gifts (we will hold one or two gifts from the big party to open on the actual birthday, grandparents do the same thing also)

The WHERE: We let our kiddos decide this; we do give them some options to choose from.  The choices for our kiddos are (depending on the type of budget we can swing): SNOW HOTEL (Lake Tahoe), HOTEL (San Francisco), HOME (indoor or outdoor depending on the weather), DOJO (our boys go to an amazing dojo in our area K3 Martial Arts – they have birthday party packages and looks like next year we might do that option, my niece had a party at the dojo and it was great!) and PARTY CENTERS (bounce play areas, johns incredible pizza, etc. – our youngest had his first bday at a bounce play type place – it was nice, my niece has had a couple at johns incredible pizza which is like a chuck e cheese – again a nice option – this option is great to just show up and enjoy the party but I have been accused of being a control freak which might be a little true as I just don’t like this option so much, smile).

** For the hotel options the “party” isn’t a full on party – generally we stay in a hotel, grandparents come, if cousins can make it they come along and a couple close friends come also.  I will do some light decorating in the hotel room and we will have a birthday cake – the rest of the time we all enjoy the sights and things to do in the city we end up in – Lake Tahoe our favorite place to stay is Forest Suites – South Lake Tahoe not only because we were married there but they have 2 bedroom rooms, they work with us to ensure the rest of our party not in our room gets a room close by, the hotel is super close to Heavenly Village (lots of shopping, restaurants, gondola to top of the mountain, ice skating (winter), mini golf (warmer weather), not a long walk from the lake, close to the casinos (there is a huge arcade in one that the kiddos love to go to) – so for Tahoe that is our first choice.  In San Francisco we like to stay at the Argonaut Hotel (this hotel is pricey, a 4.5 star hotel, but it is amazing and the staff is beyond lovely) although we haven’t been there in a few years as our oldest has chosen home birthdays since he has been the once to choose – this hotel is amazing!  It’s close to so many things to do – Ghirardelli Square, Maritime Museum, Fisherman’s Wharf, amazing restaurants and countless things to do in the area.

The THEME: anyone who knows me knows I love a good theme!  We let our kiddos decide on the theme, usually it will be whatever toys they are mostly playing with at that time – this year PVZ (Plants vs Zombies).  As usual with our kiddos the theme is one that decorations are not easily found, I can’t just pop over to Party City or Target and pick up PVZ decorations – I need to get crafty or pay ridiculous amounts of moola or go minimal (haaahaa go minimal that’s funny!).  Crafty it is!  Pinterest and Etsy for inspiration then make a list and get to crafting!  98% of the time my boys pick a theme that can’t be found in party stores…..or they will be in the party store a year after they requested that theme, argggg!

The GUESTS: another one of the decisions I leave up to the kiddo – wow maybe I am not such a control freak – heehee.  Over the course of a couple weeks (about a month before the party) I will ask who he would like to invite to his birthday party – the guest list has the same usual suspects but with each list there are a couple new names or a couple not on the list that was on the previous – so I just add all names to a note on my phone then when I am ready to send out the invitations I will go over the list with my kiddo to make the final cut – this method has worked out nicely for us.

2017 Birthday party basics:

The WHEN: on a Saturday woohoo

The WHERE: at home

The THEME: PVZ

The GUESTS: a combination of family and friends and a couple special peeps from Oregon!!!

I think of all the parties my favorite just might be the parties at home.  We have enough room for our guests, we are in the comfort of our own home and I don’t have to pack bags (mine, my two boys and party stuff).

Positives of an at home party: we don’t have to fork over a deposit/rental fee (well except for the bounce house if the weather will let us have one), I can decorate as much as I please (or as much as the hubby can withstand), we can serve whatever snacks or food or drinks that we want, we don’t have to travel – just need to roll out of bed – oh we are here yay, we can set up/decorate the day or days before, we aren’t locked into a specific time frame and the cost is less on the pocket book!

Some negatives for the party at home: feeling the pressure to get the house all cleaned up (just to get messed up again, ha), making sure I have enough snacks/food/drinks, cleaning up after the party is over (although I do enjoy cleaning and straightening up) and waiting to find out if there will be rain (party in the house) or no rain (party indoors/outdoors and able to have a bounce house).

Now on to my planning of this shindig:

INVITATIONS:  I ended up making my own invitation using a simple program – a little program called Microsoft Word – ha – so easy – I could do it on my own or purchase an invitation file from Etsy – I chose to do it on my own.  I searched for some Plants vs Zombies clip art, opened a new Word Doc and found an invitation template I liked and made edits.  I had the invitations printed on card stock using Staples online (this way I am not blowing through our ink cartridges or having to purchase a ream of cardstock and the pricing is reasonable – ended up being 62 cents per invitation – with Etsy you pay to get a download file, make your changes to that file and still have to print – so yay saved some moola – sure maybe my invite isn’t as fancy but if I wanted to take them time I could get it there…..considering it took me a short period of time to make I am beyond happy!  I hope the kiddo likes them!)  I usually like to mail out the invitations 3 weeks before the party – this year I am being a big slacker – so maybe our guests will get a little over a 2 week notice – we had a break in weather so I chose to do some yard work instead of getting busy on planning the birthday party – Here is the invite:

I usually include the following on invitations: Whom the party is for (of course), date and time (if there is an end time I would list that), address (name of the location also if at a business), rsvp (I include my phone and email) and if food will be provided (in this case the zombies want to share pizza, cake and ice cream).  When mailing out the invitations I address them to the children being invited – I know my boys are always soooo thrilled when they get something in the mail – so I assume other kiddos are the same way – parents sorry not sorry, ha-ha – when I mail out invitations I just assume siblings and parents will come with – if you want to be more specific to who is invited on the envelope I would address to the child who is invited with a plus one adult next to their name.  I also like to make “themed” return address labels – adds a little fun I think (I wonder if the recipients notice??)  One week before the party I will reach out to the guests who have not rsvp’d to get a final number.  I also keep a note on my phone where I always keep “gift ideas” for my family – I have family members listed and when they say they would like something or are interested in something I add that to their “gift idea” note – this way when a holiday comes along or a parent asks me what my child would like for a bday gift I have that info handy!

Here are the return address labels:  one is for the invitation and one for the thank you card:

on the actual return address labels there is no black box – I just blacked out our info –

FOOD/DRINKS/SNACKS:  I know when I think back to my birthday parties when I was a youngster; I remember to cake and I remember I had fun, but mostly I remember the cake and the birthday song – but then again when I was a youngster there wasn’t a big ta-do about birthday themes and all the nonsense we put on ourselves to get creative – but somehow I look back at only have happy memories of birthday parties – so is all this creative extra really necessary – NO – will I still do it all – YEP – I am drinking the Kool-Aid – now lets be real I am swimming up in that Kool-Aid jug!!!  Here is the food department whether this party is indoors or outdoors – Pizza, Snack, Drinks

Pizza: the good ole kid standby – Little Caesars!  It’s fast, convenient and way easy on the wallet!  Pepperoni and Cheese Pizza – d.o.n.e.  – of course I will need to add food tents. (plates, napkins needed)

Drinks: On tap for this birthday party will be a tub of adult drinks aka brewskie on ice, a tub of 2 liter sodas on ice (yeah not a healthy choice but come on there will be snacks, cake and ice cream plus it’s a party so I will let the kiddos have the unhealthy), a dispenser of Zombie Brain Juice (1 gallon Hawaiian Punch Green Berry Rush, 46oz can Pineapple Juice, 1 liter Ginger Ale – chill and then mix together) add a Zombie picture to the dispenser and boom Zombie Brain Juice!   Of course small paper cups, sharpies (to write names on the cups) and napkins will be on hand in this area.  (cups, sharpies, napkins, ice needed)

SNACKS: I can’t help myself to have some snacks set up – the best opportunity to make up some food tent cards or display some snacks to go along with the party theme – see I told you I am swimming in the Kool-Aid jug.  Food tents with candy to take after PVZ characters: Jalapeno (hot tamales candy), Cherry Bomb (cherry fruit gummies), Potato Mine (potato chips), Pea Shooter (green candy balls), Tangle Kelp (sour apple strings), Kernel-Pult (candy corn), and Sunflower (sunflower seeds).

CAKE/ICE CREAM: Years past I had the cake made by a professional – now that I stay at home I am working on my baking skills – so while the kiddos are at school the cake is constructed!

CAKE: This year I searched Pinterest for some inspiration, I do adore all the cakes with fondant – look wise – we aren’t a big fan of fondant (we don’t eat it, it’s not yummy and all that work just goes in the trash) – many of the cakes I love have fondant all over them – so I decided on this idea – which is kind of a blend of a few cakes that I liked.   I will do a sheet cake, frost the sides brown (dirt), using fondant letters spell my kiddos name and put it on the front side of the “dirt”, frost the top in two different shades of green in checkerboard pattern using a grass frosting tip, make a fence using popsicle sticks painted white and put on the back side of the cake and to top it off use toy figures of plants and zombies as cake toppers (cute and a special gift for the bday boy!).  Of course we can’t forget the candles – age candle for blowing after the birthday song!  I ended up not frosting the sides of the cake brown and chose not to do fondant letters – instead I made a note to the birthday boy from the zombies and put it on the fence – I do wish I had decorated the bottom edge of the cake where it meets the cake board – next time I will!   (desert plates, forks, napkins needed)

ICE CREAM: I think a birthday party isn’t complete without not only the cake but the ice cream!  We let our kiddo choose the ice cream for his party and we will also have a vanilla – for those who don’t like or want Cookies-n-Cream.

DECORATING: I cruise Pinterest to get ideas for decorating, thankfully there are others out there that have kiddos who want themes that are not in stores!  Here are the decorations I decided on for this party.

BALLOONS:  Red balloons (with marker drawn faces) with a cut out of a zombie hanging from the string (these go throughout the party area, a couple at our street sign, a couple at our home entrance and some along the pathway to the party).  The zombie cutout I ended up getting the pdf file from an Etsy seller and printed cardstock – here is the shop Pinwheels and Pompoms Etsy Shop I was beyond happy with this item – and so thankful that my friend was in town to help me cut all the zombies out!

PVZ CHARACTER CUTOUTS:  On the walls/cabinets/windows various PVZ characters will be stuck – print clip art and tape to places.

TABLE COVERS: cover tables/counters with grass table covering – I plan on using fake since we had been needing it for when we go camping – so this will be a push to buy some – use it for the party and then bam we have our fake grass rug thing for camping!  – I ended up just using green table clothes that I already had.

GAMES:  What would a birthday party be without games?  Well honestly pretty much all of our birthday parties thus far – I have all the intentions in the world of having the kiddos play some party games – but it never happens – they all have so much fun just playing with each other I don’t ever break that fun up for this fun – maybe this year!!  Yes this year I did games!!!!!

PIN THE EYE ON THE ZOMBIE: Yikes the Zombie lost an eye, yuck!  Whichever kiddo can stick that sucker back on the zombie closest to where it belongs wins a special little prize!  A couple of my friends said it should be pin the brain on the zombie since the zombies in the game are all about brainz – so maybe next PVZ party I plan I will do that.  (need poster board, draw/color a zombie with only one eye, extra eyes for the kiddos, blindfold, prizes and signage)

NERF ZOMBIE TARGET PRACTICE:  In case of a zombie takeover we should sharpen up our shooting skills – earn the most points taking out zombies and win a little prize.  This game was super fun – kiddos still played it after the official game ended.  (need empty soda cans, print zombie pics and points on stickers attach to cans, ladder, nerf guns and ammo, prizes and signage)

ZOMBIE BOWLING:  just like in the game we can go bowling for zombies!  Prize to those kiddos who get a strike!  I didn’t do this game  (need bowling set, green tape for alley, orange cones for start finish, prizes and signage)

PEA SHOOTER: you’re a pea shooter and you must protect your brainz!  The kiddo who takes down the most zombies wins a special prize.  This was a fun one also – kiddos played it after the official game ended.  (need tin cans, green construction paper drawn zombies on it attach to cans, tennis balls, tape for start line, prizes and signage)

PRIZES FOR GAMES:  I had a plan to find some PVZ plush for the game prizes….but couldn’t find any in stores and didn’t have time to order online – so I made extra special goody bags for game winners.

BOUNCEHOUSE: if there is no rain the bounce house will be a go which then means all the games might get eatin by zombies – when we have a bounce house other things planned have little to no chance of happening (except of course cake and gifts!).  If there is rain on party day – no bounce house – but hey I have games!!!!  – ended up being no rain but I still had the party indoors – so games did happen!

BDAY BOY GIFTS: in years past we have done the traditional thing and had the birthday kiddo open gifts during the party – I like to send thank you cards so I usually am frantically jotting down who got what while still trying to enjoy the happiness of the moment – this year one of my girlfriends jotted down the gift list for me – THANK YOU!  I really go to enjoy the moment!

GOODY BAGS: I am still at this point struggling with the goody bag – either go with a bag with a PVZ character on the front/zombie survival kit or a terra cotta pot, either can be filled with: water/squirt gun, sunflower seeds to plant, sunflower seeds to eat with a topper, garden tools, bookmarks, random toys and add pvz stuff to it – I opted for a plant pot filled with squirt gun, sunflower seeds to plant, a garden tool and candy.

THANK YOU CARDS: for these I will go to Shutterfly and make my thank you cards from there – I like to add pictures from the party – I think it’s a nice touch.  It’s not the most cost effective, but I like to send out a thank you card with pictures from the party – so this is my big splurge!  The bday kiddo will at the very least sign his name to all the thank you cards – however he does write out the thank you on some of them himself – the others I will write what the bday boy tells me to write – so for a bit I am his secretary!

Now being the planner type that I am – I also like to make an itinerary – sometimes we go by them sometimes not so much – and I am okay with that – I like to do this since the flow can be chaotic without some general plan and I like to do this so I am certain I have everything I might need for a fun party……so here is how I envision the big day to go:

PVZ The Zombies are Coming Schedule of Events (if no rain):

  • 12pm: zombie bait er um guests arrive, grub on pizza-snacks-drinks and jump in the bounce house
  • 1pm: games games and more games / bounce house
  • 1:30pm: sing a little ditty to the bday boy then grub on some cake and ice cream
  • 2:00pm: hand out zombie survival kits to all the zombie bait err umm I mean guests, thank them for coming, thank them for the gift and those who want to stay and hang are welcome to stay and hang – but protect your brainz!
  • Somewhere in there open gifts

PVZ The Zombies are Coming Schedule of Events (rain):

  • 12pm: zombie bait er um guests arrive, grub on pizza-snacks-drinks and play in the game room
  • 1pm: games games and more games
  • 1:30pm: sing a little ditty to the bday boy then grub on some cake and ice cream
  • 2:00pm: hand out zombie survival kits to all the zombie bait err umm I mean guests, thank them for coming, thank them for the gift and those who want to stay and hang are welcome to stay and hang – but protect your brainz!
  • Somewhere in there open gifts

So that is how I handled our 2017 PVZ Birthday Party!  Should any of you find that you are needing to put on a Plants vs Zombies party I hope that this post will come in handy!

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