Ashley's Story

She will leave fingerprints all over your heart



The theme of Ashley's birthday party was obviously Candy Land. Our goal was to transform the room into a life sized version of the toddler game. Dave and I were really pleased with the way things turned out and at how much fun our guests had at the party. Ashley was mesmerized by the bright colors and activity and she really had a good time. I'm going to attempt to share with you each of the individual areas of our room and give you a few details about each one. If you still have questions about how we made some of our props or how we played the game please feel free to e-mail me and I will try and help you. It took us two 3 day weekends to build and paint all of our props. We laughed a lot during those two weekends and I wouldn't trade those memories for anything. It was a family project that we all enjoyed. It took us about 6 hours for set up and another 3 the next day to inflate and tie all 60 of those giant balloons. The party lasted for a little over 3 hours.

This is a photo from above of the layout of part of the game board. We took large foam squares(bought at Hobby Lobby) and cut them in half making them the perfect size for the game board. On six pink squares we painted the picture cards from the game board like a candy cane, lollipop, gingerbread man, peanut, etc. and on 3 we painted large black dots for the licorice spaces. We laid the floor out in a winding pattern that took our guests all throughout candy land. The path eventually led them to the candy castle. Along the path we placed 60, individual, 17" balloons, tied to fishing line and anchored with clear treat bags filled with 1" gum balls. The balloons really gave the room a 3 dimensional feel and it helped to transform you into the world of Candy Land. I used the game cards from Ashley Kate's candy land game to play the game and I drew the cards for each guests as they made their way along the path.

The Peppermint Forest was our first stop along the path in candy land. Ashley Kate LOVED Mr. Mint. I'm not sure if it was his size or his bright color, but she definitely had a crush on this character. The snow in the Peppermint Forest was sprinkled with peppermints. When you arrived on the Candy Cane square you were invited to choose a peppermint from the snow piles. Each peppermint was marked with a 1,2, P, or C. You could win a prize with a P, a giant sized box of candy with a C, or advance along the path with a 1 or a 2.

Lollipop Woods. One of my favorite areas in candy land! I love princess Lolli. She is so adorable. The giant lollipops were some of my favorite decorations. This is where Ashley Kate sat to open her gifts. The lollipops were something I definitely wanted, but purchasing them was proving to be quite expensive so we decided to make our own. We looked at Styrofoam, but the price was still really high($9.99 per disc!) so Blake asked me why I didn't use paper plates. Hum? Good idea. They worked perfectly! Be sure and use a heavy duty plate like Chinet so that they keep their form well. The grass bases made the look complete. Dave and his dad built them out of scraps from the shop and our moms painted them. We drilled a hole in them for the sticks(dowel rods from Walmart) and they stood up on their own. The whole area was so cute. If you look on the far left side of the photo behind Lolli you can kind of see our lollipop pull. We took a piece of peg board and cut it into a round shape, painted it yellow, added a large dowel rod and a base and then stuck lollipops through each hole. The guest that landed on the lollipop space pulled a lollipop and went forward or backward 1 or 2 spaces according to the color and number of rings we had painted on that stick.

Here is a closer view of the lollipops.

This is Jolly and his gumdrop mountains. The inside the mountains hid a jar of gumdrops. Each of the guests took a guess as to how many gumdrops were inside of the jar. The jar held 447 gumdrops and my brother won the jar much to the delight of his one year old who was caught quite frequently sneaking into the jar and filling her cheeks with yummy gumdrops. Jolly was created by Allie without any help from the rest of us. She did a really good job.

Queen Frostine and Snow Flake Lake. This is where the children went if they drew the ice cream cone card. A trip to Snow Flake Lake gave them an opportunity to play ring toss. We had five "poles" sticking through the "ice" and three glittery rings for them to throw. If they hooked one of them they were then awarded a pink, fluffy bag of cotton candy. The cotton candy lined the edge of the lake and by the end of the game all 16 of the children won a bag. It was so yummy!

Lord Licorice. The only villain in candy land. He stood in the middle of the game board ringing his hands and smiling at each of the children. He scattered three large black dots(sticky licorice spots) throughout the candy land path and if the children landed on one of them they lost their next turn. Needless to say he was not their favorite character.

Here's a photo of two unlucky players who got "stuck".

So here we have gloppy the chocolate monster. He was so cute! He sat in the chocolate swamp where giant chocolates floated(card board boxes painted to look like chocolates) and fudge sicle's grew(I love these!). His bottom lip was covered in chocolate telling all over himself that he had been enjoying a little of the swamp. Blake and David worked together to create this character. He looked adorable!

Here is gramma nut. I think she looks fabulous! She is in charge of caring for peanut acres. She was painted by Ashley's grandma who agreed to paint her as long as she didn't have to be her at the party. We promised no one would be allowed to call her that. She did an amazing job bringing her to life. Everyone loved gramma nut.

This is peanut acres. It basically consisted of 3 peanut bushes, gramma nut, and the pathway sign. In peanut acres you had the opportunity to win giant pixie sticks. The kids loved this part. There were a couple of brown paper sacks filled with real peanuts(still in the shells). The object was to toss a peanut through one of the holes in the bushes. If you made it you won the pixie stick. The bushes were decorated by gluing real peanuts to them making them look like they were really growing on the bushes.

This was King Kandy. He was Dave's project and he turned out better than any of our other characters. The detail in this piece is amazing. He stood and welcomed all of the guests into the candy castle. The kids were all thrilled to finally make it here and have their photo taken with him.

This was our Candy Castle. It was basically a 10x20ft. tent without the sides. I hand painted the back drop from an image off of the Hasbro website. There was also a hand painted "welcome" banner with Kind Kandy that hung on the front(I failed to get a good picture of it). There were also two candy striped panels that hung on the front framing the entrance to our castle. Inside the castle is where we set up our candy bar. The front 2 tables held candy jars(I bought at Target in three different sizes) that contained candies we chose to represent all of the charaters from the game(ex. soft peppermints for Mr. Mint, giant gumdrops for Jolly, etc.) as well as a few other favorites. The last candy jar held toothbrushes for all to add to their goody bags. The last table in the tent was our cake table. The table cloth on it was my favorite piece of the whole party(and I didn't even take a picture of it!). It was a hand painted copy of the game board and characters. You can kind of see it in some of the cake photographs.

The candy garlands were a really cute addition. We made them out of colored cellophane, styrofoam discs(from the dollar tree), glittered snow flakes(from Hobby Lobby) and fishing line. I love the way they turned out.

The candy castle was set up at the end of the room at the end of the path. The goal of the game was to make it to the end of the path to King Kandy's Castle. Once inside of it you had the opportunity to fill your treat bag with items from the candy bar. It was a huge success.

Here is a closer look at the inside of the castle and the candy bar. The striped table cloths are vinyl and I picked them up at a Dollar General.

Our guests tables were covered in pink, lime green and yellow table cloths. The center pieces were miniature versions of our life sized lollipops from Lollipop woods. I used foam circles in pink, purple, blue, orange, and yellow and clear cellophane to make them. Each place setting had an ice cream dish and spoon along with a freshly made cotton candy. We served peppermint ice cream along with the cake. Each layer of her cake was different flavor. Chocolate, strawberry, and white. We also had a smash cake(a small cake for Ashley to tear up), and a "kitchen" cake. This is the cake we served to our guests so that we could bring her actual birthday cake home for her birthday on Monday. My sister always bakes a smash cake for toddler and baby birthday's for photo opportunities and for large parties she makes a kitchen cake that is just as yummy as the actual birthday cake only it has been decorated. They all taste AMAZING!

I forgot to take photos of our tables and centerpieces but you can kind of get an idea from this photo.

It was really easy to make all of this happen. I know it seems like a lot of work, but it was enjoyable work. Knowing we were being given the opportunity to celebrate 3 years of Ashley Kate's life made is SO worth it. Late Monday evening as we tucked Ash to bed Dave reminded me that the Lord has allowed Ashley to be home and out of the hospital for all three of her birthdays. What a blessing!

I hope this post helps you with any of the details you were wanting to hear. I tried to mention everything I could think of. If you weren't interested then I apologize for such a long and boring post. Hope your all enjoying your day. Take care. Trish


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