Let’s just be SUPER clear about this, my son’s name is Rad. We were going to name him Radcliff, but ended up just naming him Rad. And I’m still now sure how it happened but it’s his name and we love him. And yes this is a RAD party, but it also was FOR Rad. Ok, PHEW. Now, to the mouse.
I’ve made it VERY clear in the past that I will not oblige licensed characters when it comes to most things, but especially parties. I’m not a very snotty person, you can see left and right where I’ve let my standards in life slip! I’m far from an elitist! But on THIS! This I was standing firm. Until Mr. Rad fell madly in love with Mickey Mouse. The boy HARDLY talks, but he loooooves to say “Mickey! Mickey! Mickey!”
And the thing about Mickey is, as far as licensed characters go, he’s pretty cool. We let Rad watch mostly the classic Mickey Mouse cartoons (I think they are way more tolerable than Mickey Mouse Clubhouse…Ooooooh TOOOOODLES….) And so I decided that I’d stretch myself and try to make M-I-C-K-E-Y work with my style and focus more on the vintage Mickey Mouse feel and colors than the Clubhouse. That way we both could win.
After all, the party was for a 2-year-old. A 2-year-old that owns me.
But I will say this party was really stumping me at first! Usually I find a theme inspired by my child, but a theme that also inspires me. And it all flows pretty freely from there. Ideas pop off like firecrackers in my mind. I can’t SLEEP because I have so many ideas.
For example for my kid’s parties have been: Fancy Pants, Pony Party, Puppet Party, Ginger’s Unicorn Party, and Mr. Rad’s Banana Bash. They were all themes my child was into at the time, but also something I was excited about.
In fact it is doing Ginger’s Fancy Pants first birthday that reignited my passion for event planning in general. I love nothing more than planning my kid’s birthday parties! So I was a tiny bit sad that this Mickey Mouse party wasn’t packing quite the UMPH!
Then again, parties have come to be something very different for me than they once were. I used to be doing them just for the sake of doing them. For the sheer passion and love of it all. Now, because of the online following, there is some pressure that they live up to a certain standard. I mean, I am a professional after all, right? Kind of haha I guess. I try SO HARD to turn that off and just do me without doing it for anyone except my family and myself. But it’s hard because I just really like to share, and when you share it opens you up to, well, everything. Ha.
So to make this party feel really really different than throwing a sponsored or professional event, I did it entirely by myself. Other than the cake and the photography, I did it all. This felt both great and stupid. Haha. This is how it all started, me crafting in the late hours of the night all alone. But in order to grow I’ve had to bring on team members and stylists and volunteers to cut and glue things. Woe is me, I know, but I just really wanted this to all be FOR MY BOY. Something just from his Mom. Because this is one thing, as a mom, I feel like I actually do well.
The party itself was really very simple, you know, for me. I REALLY wanted a Mickey Mouse character to come, but just could not find one. I also kept this party really small (for me) haha and invited about 5 families and Eric and my family. I didn’t invite ALL our friends and neighbors, just a few friends that we see on a weekly basis with kids that Rad would know and recognize. It was hard feeling like I was leaving people out, but I just had to try to scale back in any way I could.
So there were about 10 kids and we ate Hot Diggity Dogs, had “Rad’s Road Rally,” kid’s table toys and crayons, and then we had cake and cookies.
Everyone at the party was saying this was one of their favorite parties of mine. And kept saying, “This is so great! We’re having so much fun!” And I was thinking, “But there was no pony! No professional puppet show! Only two types of desserts! I’m not even stressed out!” Haha. I kind of missed all the hoopla! Then again, this year’s motto has been about sustainability and not being admitted for a nervous breakdown.
I also really like to practice what I preach. And what I preach are parties that make YOU happy and who you are celebrating happy. And my little man was very, very happy. And I mean, I still got to get pretty crafty and spend more money that I should. So I guess on all accounts that’s a win, right?!
Ok! Shall I take you through the party? I don’t know if anyone cares as much as I do about these things, hahaha but I’ll pretend you do!
We can start with the dessert table because you know it’s my favorite and I just REALLY really simplified things this time! In the past I’ve made my own cake and then also made like 4 or 5 other desserts as well as then have candy and all sorts of things. But because I was keeping the party smaller I knew this was one place I could really scale back. I mean, I GUESS kids don’t need ALL that sugar…
To start I USED A SMALLER TABLE. HAHAHAHAHA. I bought this smaller table from Ikea, and I mean, the table is like $40. That’s way less than I would have spent getting all those desserts/candy ready to fill a bigger table!
Because the table was so small I could keep it to just 2 desserts! Sigh. I would have made more. But time just didn’t allow, and I’m actually super happy with the simplicity of this! I recruited my favorite pastry chef Dolce Bella by Erin for the cake!
We were both excited for the cake to be all black and sleek! Yes black icing is messy. I know this from making tons of all-black sugar cookies. But I just didn’t care. It was worth it! And to add some pizzazz we did black and white layers of cake separated by buttercream packed with lots of red jimmies. The party was for a child so we needed sprinkles somewhere! Haha! I say “we” like I did anything other than text Erin tons of suggestions. Haha. But that’s why I love her! She has lots of ideas but also let’s me do what I want. And look at that cake! I MEAN COME ON!
And Rad was SOOO cute when we sang to him! He LOVED the attention and knew just what to do to those candles!
And then I stuck to doing what I do best! COOKIES!
And as always! You too can make super cute sugar cookies to accompany any holiday or party with my AWESOME online course: Alison’s Cookie Party!
Rad was really into them.
I made the backdrop for the dessert table with pom-pom Mickey Mouse heads (I glued pom poms together!) and the photos of Rad with mouse ears (which I made in Illustrator).
I made the “2” out of cardboard and I spray-painted it black. Then I used Rad’s beloved Mickey and Minnie Mouse Dolls to add some more dimension! Using the dolls is something I saw my friend Sarah Larsen do when she did a Mickey display for her son! But she had like 5 vintage dolls, it was SO cute.
For each party I do I like to have an activity, or something for the kids to look forward to. I didn’t have anything huge for this party, but I did have “Rad’s Road Rally” all set up for when the kids arrived. Both the older kids and younger kids were into it! Eric did the road for me with washi tape and then I did the city on the wall.
The other thing I had for the kids to do right when they walked in were at the kid’s table! You KNOW I love a good kid’s table! I have a video on how I set them up here!
My obsession with setting up kid’s tables finally justified my splurge on buying 20 tiny chairs for Club Alison! I bought these in bulk on a business site, and then these are just LACK side table from Ikea. I created the Mickey head outline, (remember how I have some graphic design background? It comes in handy!) and then I had these printed at Office Depot. I have a video on oversized printing here. I also made the “Oh boy! Rad is 2” sign that way.
I went on Amazon and looked for EVERYTHING I could that I liked that had Mickey on it! Haha so I’ll link to all the things I got on there are the bottom of the post!
I’m a HUGE advocate of useable party decor, and these giant Mickey Mouse head balloons ended up being a main feature of the party! Zurcher’s was kind enough to provide me with them very last minute, and I love how much they added to the event! Each kid got to take one home, and they served as a cool backdrop for the kids table. During the party the kids started taking them off the wall and playing with them (mostly as like a punching bag…oh children, hahaha) but it was adorable and I was just glad the balloons were providing something fun for the kids to do! And speaking of things for the kids to do! The black and white and red and white striped cups on the kid’s table also kind of acted like favors, and I had activities/small toys in there as well. They were the only real “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” aspect of the party, and the kids really did like the tiny toys.
I also had the mouse ears on the table! In year’s past I would have made party hats or an accessory for EVERYONE at the party. But I’ve learned that only half the kids will wear stuff like that, and hardly any adults. So for his party of about 35 people I made 14 mouse ears. See! I’m getting better at this.
Thankfully my father-in-law is always down to wear some head gear.
The only idea I took off the Internets was serving hot diggity dogs! And I was STOKED on that because we have a local hot dog restaurant called J-Dawgs that I LOVE and I had them do the food! I also had juice boxes, drinks, and fruit on a separate table. And do you see that those “chip containers” are the same ones I used at Alison’s Candy Shoppe!? LOVE THEM from Orson Gygi!
Kids will actually eat hot dogs!
So the one other thing I did was tape some balloons to the wall for a sort of photo-op! And I used some of the left over Rad with mouse ear heads to add some extra cuteness. This was something I did last minute and I like the color it added and the amount of time and effort it took! Ha!
And there’s just no stopping this girl.
So Beckett’s Threads has these “RAD” Mickey shirts and a friend showed them to me and I DIED! How insanely perfect are they? I love when the family can match! You need some for your family too!
Ok! So that’s it! My boy turned 2. Sigh. Of course Ginger and I spent most of the day talking about what we are going to do when she turns 5 in September. HAHA. But I hope you guys enjoyed me sharing every freaking detail!
I like to, after each kid’s party I do (that keep getting more and more crazy), take a minute to remind you that me throwing my kids elaborate parties in NO WAY makes me a better mother than you or anyone else. I loved doing this *throwing parties* so much that I worked SUPER hard to be able to make it my job! Each cost is doubly justified because it’s a business expense. I have a venue for crying out loud! Plus I sincerely LOVE doing it and it brings me so much joy.
I really appreciate when people tell me what a great mom I am for doing these parties for my kids, because this is something I love to do, but I also just want to keep in mind we all have different strengths and love languages.
This is one way I show love for my children, but it’s because I’m good at this! It’s nice to share love in ways you are good at, right?! It comes easily to me. It really fulfills my soul! But I just want to make sure you know that if you don’t show love this way, it doesn’t mean you have any less love to share or that you’re failing as a parent. I know the Internet can make us feel bad and overwhelmed and I just want you to remember: HOW MESSY MY KITCHEN WAS.
But I also LOVE to help people with ideas for their own parties! And that’s why I share SO many details with you from my parties, so maybe JUST one can seem doable to you. And it’s why I do my “Making Life a Party” series!
So with all that said! I’m working on a new online course about parties, and I’m SO SO SO excited to share everything I’ve learned doing events! Both big and small. So those of you who also feel the call of the disco ball can throw parties you are STOKED to share, and stoked to invite people to. Stay tuned!
And thank you from the bottom of my heart for being a part of the celebration here, on IG, and everywhere in-between!
Photography: Becky Kimball
Venue: Club Alison
Cake: Dolce Bella By Erin
RAD Mouse Shirts: Beckett’s Threads
Mylar Mickey Balloons: Zurchers
Vintage Mickey Mouse Poster: Amazon
Red Mickey Disneyland Ballons: Amazon
Cookies: Made by Me!
Red and White/ Black and White Cups: Target (gone)
Cake Topper: A pen a bought from the Disney Store
Table Runner: Made by me with Nate Berkus fabric from Joann Crafts
Mickey and Minnie Crayons: Amazon
Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Toys: Walmart
Food: J-DAWGS in Provo
Red and white stripe tablecloth, napkins and hotdog servers: Hobby Lobby