Thursday, June 27, 2013

Charlie's "Science Is Awesome" 9th Birthday Party

Don't all things begin with a desperate need to buy themed vintage stamps from an etsy shop???? How could I ever resist? :)

It's taken a while to blog Charlie's ninth birthday party because I was waiting until it was featured on Hostess with the Mostess which finally posted on the same day I flew to Boston WITHOUT my laptop! They had told me it would feature at the end of the month so I was not ready or prepared at all for a mid-June feature! And of course, I had to wait an additional five days to get home from B-town to even access my images! Crazy times! :)

I started planning Charlie's party back in November. The second Henry's Monster Party wrapped, my talented party-styling girlfriend, Rachel, wanted to know what was next. We asked Charlie to give us a theme to start working on -- and he said "LEGOS!!". That didn't really work for us. There are too many lego parties already out there. It might've taken a little persuasion to get him to decide that what he reeeally wanted was a chemistry party. :)

Rachel runs RV Parties with her BFF and partner, Victoria. They design the most adorable printables for pretty much any party theme. You can buy the science printables from this party as well the monster printables from Henry's party -- or a variety of many other themes - HERE at their etsy shop! You'll also see lots of my photography there. I'm their favorite professional photographer.
I was seriously & intensely proud of the large chalkboard that we used for our backdrop at the dessert table. I knew two things: 1., there was NO WAY that I could handwrite anything on any chalkboard and have it look adorable - not to mention, I'm way to OCD to have the font on a backdrop not completely match with the party design/font, and 2., I did NOT want to buy a new, giant chalkboard and then have no idea what to do with it when the party wrapped.

But, thats why engineering prints from Staples are the greatest thing in the whole wide world. Yes. You heard me. The greatest.

If you need something printed in a very large size (this one was 36x48) but don't want to pay your child's college tuition for it - and it happens to be a black and white image - then head to Staples. I had Rachel design a large print to look like a fake chalkboard and had it printed for $6. Then I tacked it to a corkboard that I already had hanging over my desk in my office. Perfect.
We had so many amazing treats on our dessert table!

Miss Lulu's Sweet Treats sent us the cake pops atoms on a stick. They are the best cake pops I've ever had in my entire life. No joke. I *might* have lied to a couple of the children who asked if they could have one and said they were for display only so there'd be a few leftover. And the chocolate-dipped Oreo Molecules were her idea and I looove how creative and perfectly themed they are!

And the amazing Jessica of J&J Bakeshop - local here in VA - provided us with the perfect cookies decorated to look like the element of Charlie!! She is so talented, y'all. I ordered specialty cookies from her for Christmas gifts last year and I encourage you all to find a reason to need cookies just to see what she can do!

And I made the cupcakes because I'm a cupcake snob now and can only eat the cake that my BFF, Mandie, makes or the cake my BFF, Mandie, taught me how to make.
I was also really proud of my party favor idea! Last summer, I taught Charlie the Mentos + Diet Soda reaction - read about it here - (so many links in this post!!). He loved it so much that I figured it should either be an experiment at the party or the favor! Since it's pretty messy and doesn't take very long to react, I figured, favor it is! I think it's always best to send the messy stuff home to the parents. Just like it's always best to serve the guests all the sugar RIGHT before the end of the party. :)
Did you know that lab coats are RIDICULOUSLY expensive?? And that even the costume ones for kids to play doctor and dress up with on Halloween don't even dip below $10 each?? As much as I wanted real lab coats that I'd have embroidered with guest names for the party, that's just plain insane and I could not encourage the market to continue to charge those prices! Harumph!!

Instead, I bought the 5-pack of two-sizes-too-large white undershirt tees from Target and cut them up the middle! Voila! Lab coats on the cheap!

I did splurge on party color lab goggles for about $3 each. Totally worth it. So cute.

And Charlie's adorable science shirt was a custom design by Ella Mella who rocks my world with their awesome kid's fashions.
And Henry's shirt was sent to us from Periodically Inspired! I just love how she smooshed periodic table elements together to form geeky-chic words. Henry's my precious little GeNiUS!! And a bit of a camera ham, too!

Once the house was decorated and the kids dressed, it was time to paaaaartay!

An amazing woman, Calsin, runs a business of bringing science, technology, engineering and mathemathics to parties and playdates and schools, oh my! She. Is. Awesome. She told me that if she didn't have her business, she'd set up a lab in her garage and experiment anyway! I loved it. That's how I feel about my photography. If there wasn't work, there'd STILL be pictures. Her business, STEM-KIDS, is such a great concept. Learning can be a BLAST (literally!) and parties don't have to lack brain power, either! Calsin can tailor the experiments for any party. I didn't want the party to cross sciences (OCD, much?) so everything had to stay in a "chemistry" theme. Duh. And, the experiments also needed to entertain eight very active nine year olds.  Calsin knew just what to do -- MESSY, hands-on chemical reactions that would result in slime, exploding "elephant toothpaste" and a giant bowl full of smoky, bubbly dry ice!


The kids loved this. Calsin set up a table full of the necessary ingredients and as the kids started to mix everything together, it started forming ooey-gooey slime! After they finished squishing it in their fingers, we packed up their custom-colored slime in take home bags!


Whats better than seeing foamy goo grow and grow and grow, so much so that it spills up and out of a bottle and into a tray for you to play with it!? NOTHING!
Birthday boy was the first one to pour in the special ingredient to make the chemical reaction activate! He was SO excited!! And, um, he's also incredibly cute.


I'm a creative. I photograph things. I can write fairly well. And I daydream great things. I enjoy and am awed by science but, I am no scientist. So, I have to admit that when Calsin said we'd do a "sublimation demonstration", I just blindly nodded my head like I had a clue what she was talking about.

Google and Wikipedia say that sublimation is "the transition of a substance directly from the solid to the gas phase without passing through an intermediate liquid phase." So, why the dry ice turned into a smoky gas without any water sneaking in between those phases, all makes sense now. (Can you tell I was concentrating on proper exposure and focus while she was explaining all of this to the kiddos???) Oy.
Adding in some dish washing liquid will create a giant bubble that will enclose the smoke inside of it and when it pops, the smoke explodes out! It's really fun and the kids obviously LOVED getting the chance to be the one to pop the bubble!
And then it was time to blow out the candles and for me to cry the weepy mama-cry because my baaaaaaby is NINE!!!

See the party with all our vendor info plus more of my wit and charm in describing the details (and more pictures!!) on the fabulous and well-followed Hostess with the Mostess blog HERE.


  1. This is seriously the cutest party ever!! I love getting to see your party set-up pics AND pics of the kids having fun :) Great job, Jenn! Looks like Charlie had a ball, and I can't believe that kid is nine.

    1. I really have no idea how he's nine. Like, it literally makes no sense to me. And thanks!! Party pictures are the best. It's so much fun! Why do I have to wait until December to see more of yours??? WAH!!

  2. That had to be "the bestest party ever"!!

  3. Is there any chance you have a PDF of the page describing the Mentos/Coke Experiment? I can type one up too, but thought I'd ask! Thanks!
    Christine Gough (

  4. Hi ! Do you have the elephant tooth paste experiment ingredients? Did you use yeast? Thank you!!!

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  6. Loved this birthday party theme! This science birthday bash seems to be truly a blast. Thanks for these photos. I will be arranging a similar fun party at San Francisco venues on my son’s birthday and hope it will be equally awesome.