Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"Life Is Sweet" DIY Candy Bar

When a dear friend reached out to me for help planning a double birthday party for her two boys, I knew the most fitting theme would be "LIFE IS SWEET." 

The back story:
I started babysitting for Katie when I was 21 years old and trying to figure out what the heck I wanted to do with my life.  She was a good friend of my sister's and a new mom who just needed to get out of the house a few hours a week and have some "me" time.  Her little boy, Zachary, was only 7 months old and I fell head over heels in love with him.  I stayed with Zack until he was almost two.  I watched him learn to walk and talk and do all the miraculous things that human beings learn how to do.  And even after I decided to go back to school for my Master's and find a "big girl job," I stayed in touch with Katie. 

I was thrilled to learn a few years later that Katie was pregnant with another little boy!  Xander was a perfect, healthy, bouncing baby boy and Zachary's new BFF.  Then, when Xander was only a tiny toddler, this happy little family got thrown a curve ball no one could have predicted - Baby Xander was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare type of childhood cancer. 

Fast forward 5 years.  A thousand hospital visits, tears, sleepless nights and prayers later, Zachary just turned 8 and Xander, the little cancer warrior, just turned 5.  They are both September babies and love celebrating their birthdays together.  Each year since Xander has won his battle against cancer, Katie has thrown a "Celebration of Life" party honoring another year of survival, health and good fortune for both her boys.  It's part birthday party and part fundraiser for a deserving cancer charity - the Frances Foundation. 

Life is sweet, indeed.

DIY Candy Bar:
A candy bar is such a fun and festive addition to any event.  You can make it work for a kid's birthday party, a wedding, a bridal shower, a class reunion - pretty much any celebration.

A candy bar can also be used for take-home favors or a dessert spread and you don't have to spend a lot of money if you do it yourself.

  • 7 half gallon mason wide-mouthed mason jars
  • 7 different types of candy
  • Scoops/Tongs (depending on the candy you choose)
  • Cardstock (chevron)
  • Black Sharpie
  • Ribbon
  • Hole punch
  • Paper sacks
  • 8 x 10 picture frame
  • Candy bar poem

DIY "Life Is Sweet" Banner:
A colorful banner with a sweet little saying is the extra touch to make any candy bar complete.  Banners are super easy to make, too.  I hand-cut the letters, glued them onto card stock and used mini clothespins to secure the letters to ribbon.  Voila!

  • Cardstock (various colors and patterns)
  • Glue stick
  • Mini clothespins
  • Ribbon
  • Scissors


DIY Gumball Centerpieces:
In keeping with the "Life Is Sweet" theme, I also made gumball and pinwheel centerpieces for the tables at the party.  Centerpieces don't always have to be floral - you can get as funky and creative as the party theme allows.

  • 5 half gallon wide-mouthed mason jars
  • Gumballs (3 containers of bulk gumballs from Walmart)
  • 15 pinwheels (The Dollar Tree - $1 a piece)

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