Saturday, July 30, 2011

Happy Birthday to Us...Happy Contest for YOU!

It's been almost four years since the dream became a reality. Hullabaloo Party Planner for Children was born in a dining room/office with my children huddled around offering suggestions for everything from the company name to the logo. We came up with the name "Hullabaloo" and a blue hippo mascot that my son drew. That hippo would later get the name "Balooberry" as Lisa McDonald (@those2girls on Twitter) won the naming contest.

As the number of party themes increased, so too did the number of storage bins and shelving units. A home office in the basement was born and in January of this year, my new business partner Breanne Cram (@bre_creative) joined me in that office. We brought Hullabaloo and Bre Creative together under a new corporation, Parallela Inc. (Just ask her about my parallel parking and our easy symmetry to understand the name.)

We celebrate our collaboration, Hullabaloo's 4th birthday and Bre Creative's 1st birthday with a contest like no other we've previously offered: Breanne's stunning face painting talent, my "enthusiastic" balloon twisting, hand-made invitations, beautiful decorations, cute costume accessories, more-fun-than-they-can-handle games (with prizes for everyone, ahem) and of course the gift baskets, I mean quality loot bags. (Seriously, I'm very proud of the work I put into them.)

These elements all come together for a memorable event in your own home and fabulous photo opportunities.

Excited? Just shoot us an e-mail at and tell us why your family deserves this great prize, valued at over $400. Good Luck!

Contest ends August 4th, 2011. Winner announced August 5th. By entering, you agree to obtain permission from your guests' parents for us to photograph the event and use the pictures in our promotinal materials. Party must take place before August 5th, 2012.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Are Party Planners Like Triathletes?

I spent this past weekend in Peterborough, Ontario at a triathlon where my partner, Rob was competing. In sweltering heat, these athletes took to the open water (an intimidating feat in itself as fatalities have occurred and let's face it - the water is dark, deep and unpredictable). Then they raced up the hill to the transition area whilst trying to peel off their wetsuit (I hear a full coating of bag balm on said body helps with that) and the crowd cheered them on.

They sped around the park, all the while facing the possibility of a horrendous crash, and then quickly changed shoes for the run, panting as they went.
At the finish line, one woman was bemoaning her race results while those around her loudly and happily decried her disappointment: "YOU FINISHED!" they gleefully declared. I looked on and thought the same thing. See, for those of us who aren't athletes, any one of the feats of strength and stamina that they endured makes these people heroes in our eyes.

We couldn't picture being able to do this ourselves. Heck, IF I made it through the water part I'd still be flopping around on the ground, stuck in the wetsuit. This stuff is second nature to most who have trained and competed for years.
This brings me to the precarious comparison between a party planner and a triathlete. When the party is over, parents are incredibly grateful and in awe and it's because the feat of throwing a party for their child was seriously daunting. Sometimes I'm taken aback by the praise because I have to remember that this was something the parents couldn't picture doing themselves.

For us, the party planners, it's a great victory but it's something we've been training for and practising for years until it's instinctual. From the moment we arrive at an event until the moment we leave, that instinct kicks in. We don't ever have to deal with a mouthful of lake water, skinning our knees or heat exhaustion. But every event brings a new challenge to overcome, whether it be a crying child who lost a game or a parent who is late bringing out the food.

I should seriously have better abs after all of these events. ;-P

Take a moment a revel in your strengths because someone out there is in awe. When you realize that what you bring to the table really makes a difference, it gives you the strength to push on. And finish.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Favourite Movies with Birthdays!

Any movie with a birthday scene cannot help but add cheer as we are reminded of our own important day. Here are some of my favourite birthday scenes.

Who wouldn't love an Uncle Buck who goes all out for you on your special day? (hey, when you're only parenting for a few days, it's easy to have all that energy!) How about the handling of the clown? Nobody messes with Uncle Buck. Nobody.

The dreaded pinata! If you've ever had success with one of these suckers then you deserve a medal! The helium scene falls under the category of "don't try this at home." We mean it. Don't.

"We ate za cake." "Do the roar." Typical birthday party! ;-)

"It was my best birthday ever coach." Too bad it took a live snake and an overinflated jumpy castle for it to happen. Wouldn't every party be save if you a football team on hand?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Perfect Summer Theme: Survivor!

Summer weather begs you to have your child's birthday party outdoors and what better theme to have than "Survivor?" Here's how to make this theme happen with items from your local dollar store!

Invitations: you can find interesting wooden containers, some with a leather strap. Make your invitation on parchment paper and slip it into one of these. Right away your guests get a sense of the fun ahead!

Decorations: you want to transform the area into a lush jungle which you can accomplish with a variety of fake greenery, tikis, stuffed or plastic jungle creatures, grass skirts (cut at the waist and spread on the ground). Leis curled up add beatuful colour easily.

Costumes: buffs (handkerchiefs) in colours for each tribe can be worn by your guests, along with shell jewelry, temprary tattoos, leis and war paint. (make sure you use good quality face faints)

Food: jungle juice, coconut milk, skewers of tropical fruit, meats and vegetables (not together!)

Cake: slab cake turned into tropical island by cutting off rounded sections. Use brown sugar for sand and blue jello for water.

Games: obstacle course, cocoon wrap (with toilet paper), hula hoop race, coin drop in bucket, word find, limbo, snake race (two lines of kids with a balloon at the front, passed through the legs to the one behind), tug-of-war on logs, treasure hunt, net catch (who can catch the most plastic fruit, jungle stuffies in a butterfly net)
You can incorporate some water fun, but make sure the invitation says to bring a bathing suit and towel.
Instead of having eliminations, you can award prizes to the winning tribe after each challenge. If the winning seems lop-sided, you may need to offer consolation prizes, or even switch up some tribe members. The kids are having so much fun though, rewards may not even be necessary.

We play the games in all kinds of weather, even light rain, but be prepared to move the activities indoors if it gets really bad.