Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Sweet 16 Gifts/Celebration Ideas!

 So I thought it would be fun and maybe helpful (for my future 16 year olds) to make a run down of some of the creative/fun/good gifts/celebrations that came along with Hailey turning Sweet 16.  I was a bit discouraged that the internet did not have many creative/cheap ideas.  So I really had to come up with most on my own. And I am quite sure Hailey thought some (most?all?) were lame, but I do know an almost 12 year old who might things these things are cooler when she is 4 years older.  Shelb seems to appreciate creative things more than Hailey...I think Hailey mostly rolls her eyes at the things I do....I don't actually think that, I know that...I have witnessed it. :) But part of being a mom is embarrassing your kids sometimes and making a big deal out of things even when they insist you do not. Hopefully later on she won't think I was quite so lame :)  Anyway...so here's a rundown of stuff in no particular order.  Above are my two fav. things...the gathering.of photo 16th props and the 16th crown. I was not going to get either of these bc money is so tight now, but then I thought about how useful these could be to my two other girls and dividing the cost of it among three of them was a bargain. So I got them. And I used them a lot much to the dismay of Hailey. But I was told by some of her friends how cute they were....so I think they went over well in the end.  Most girls said they had to wear 16th bday crowns too...so I know Hays was not alone in her princess attire :)  I stumbled upon both of these on Amazon.  I was just looking for Sweet 16 decorations.  Photo prop stuff is really in now...and the crown was actually great quality for the price.  It made it back and forth to NYC and Indy and all sorts of places without breaking and mostly just being stuffed in a bag.
 Our 16 gifts to Hailey.  We sent them via mail bc we didn't know at the time we were going to see her.  Easier to send anyway that lug them in the van, on a bus, on the subway and then in the stroller.  I think she liked them. Nothing too fancy...mostly the kids picked out stuff they thought she'd like.  
 We made the sibs cards into a banner...the front was in the pic above...here is their notes on the back. I love Shelby's...I can't remember what it said, but it was cute :)
 The sibs were all smiles while using their creativity :)  We spent half a Sunday doing all this...we wanted this box of goodies to be special since we didn't think we'd see our girl on her big day.
 We put a lot of thought into the gifts....this one we even tried researching on the internet. It is not easy making an origami money butterfly.  Daddy failed.  He ended up using my easy version.
 Attempting to make a special bday recording on a recordable frame.  It took a lot of time...getting 6 people to sing an original bday song with it being understandable is nearly impossible!
 We made her a picture collage on a wooden H (easy with paper pictures and decoupage...we have made many of these for friends)....Shelb helped me....she used pool-colored Washi tape on the edges (a big fav of her age group now)
 I think it turned out ok. She has lots of pics of friends in her dorm room, but hardly any of her family...now she has some :)
 Lo did his best artwork on his part of the card-banner...awww, I miss that messy, soft hair.
 The sibs even wrapped their own gifts...obviously they had fun with it (Ash).  I know Hays is not a fan of pink, but I thought a package of 16 bright colored gifts would be fun to open.
 16 St. Pat's cupcakes in the shape of 16 for our Shamrock baby :)
 Surprising the bday kiddo in her new homestate.  Of course she surprised us...of all the times to get off the subway...when we were in the bathroom!
 She loved cards that kids made...I think these were the first ones she got from Lein's kids :)
 We put her name on a marquee in Time's Square.  Cheapest thing to do in the Big Apple!  Just go in the Hershey store (which is next to our usual Crowne Plaza hotel) and you can put whatever you want on the outside of the store for $5 and it runs for like 5 mins!  We did this the night of her bday. She wasn't with us, but we took a pic and sent it to her!  Thank you, internet, for that bit of inside scoop!
 Mini bday cupcakes delivered to her dorm from Nina and Poppy Stegs. If you have not had Baked by Melissa mini cupcakes...they are awesome!  These were St. Pats ones...green and white marble cake and gold sprinkles.  Love them!  This sure beats a cake.  I had considered getting her a Cake Boss one, but she is not really a cake person.  These were adorable and gobbled up quickly by her and her roomies!  I am still bummed she never shared them with us!
 Love this idea...here best friend, Maggie, who turned 16 in Dec. sent her "birthday in a box".  Love it!  All sorts of decorations in gold.  This inspired her party decorations here at home...I wish she could have brought more of this home. But we did use the balloons and giant confetti.  Very cool. Plus Hailey she loved the necklace and scarf from Francescas (her fav store!)
 Real pearls from Nina and Poppy Gritz (passed down from my Grandma Fergie).  She was very excited by these...and wore them on Easter. They will be awesome for going to the ballet and on big NYC dates :) hee hee :)
 A portion of the gifts she received on her bday. I don't think she took pics of anything that came after her bday, but she got more than this.  Friends and family were soooo incredibly sweet and thoughtful. I had sent out an email just asking people to send cards...and everyone was so much more generous than that. I was humbled and so grateful as was Hailey. At that point I really had no idea we were going to be there on her bday and thought hearing from friends/family would warm her heart.  Which it did.  Thank you to everyone who made our girl feel so loved with cards and goodies.  I think the highlight gifts that I haven't mentioned yet were cash, gift cards and jewelry. Apparently all good Sweet 16 gifts!  We also got her a mini-Keurig (with a gift card I had)...and a cactus...bc she loves cacti.
 Probably the most mouth-watering gift I think she got.  Huge choc. covered strawberries from Uncle Brian and Aunt Anne....yummers!  Now I was really mad she did not share these with us, since we were there!  I love how they are St. Pat's ones too!  She shared them with all her roomies.  Lucky girls!
 Best Sweet 16 dinner ever with the sweetest lady ever....Gotta love Tavern on the Green and a filet and a yummy, special bday carrot cake!  Spoiled 16 year old!
 Another fun idea....16 balloons in her fav. pool color with 16 notes inside them from the 6 of us all saying what we "love about our Hailey"
 And we hung them from the ceiling of her room (upside down...saved me money not filling them with helium...and this way they stayed up til she wanted them down)...plus we made 16 4-leaf clovers to put around her walls too...and a Sweet 16 banner from her window...bc you know me and my banner fascination lately :)
 16 caramel frappuccino cupcakes...I made them from scratch which I rarely do and filled them with caramel (Ash helped)...and we made them look like little SB drinks.  She came home to this after her flight on Good Friday.  Yumm!  They were different tasting bc they were healthier...She loves her SB.
 Her door to her room...with notes from her sibs...and a 16 with 16 words that describe her...
 Embarrassing her at the airport with signs and balloons :)  The more you can embarrass a 16 year old, the better, I think!
 We had a red carpet party with appetizers last Wed.  I know she rolled her eyes at this, but guess who now wants a red carpet bday party next month!
We did a little scavenger hunt on the night of our red carpet event...she had to find "16 Sweets for the Sweet 16 year old"...she was starting to get sick at this point, but she still amused us and did it.  I didn't get all candy like some people suggested bc after Easter the last thing we needed was more candy...so I went with some other snacks and drinks.
 I tried to find ways to make easy 16th desserts and not making cakes/fondant....if in doubt, use ice cream sandwiches...and green/mint ones were perfect for our green/St. Pat's party.
 Cakes...I wish I had more time to make her the ones I wanted...these were not planned...but I was ok with the 2 hours of work....The one flower on top was one I made a week before this and I simply used black fake ones from Michaels.  They sell big gold and silver numbers for cakes at Hobby Lobby. Always a good cake topper. A little flashy for Hailey, but it still worked :)
 I thought this was the cutest idea, but waited til Saturday to do it...so never really panned out. It was supposed to be a polaroid replica...the girls amused me and tried it out that morning at the sleepover :)
 Candy cards...you know I love them....this was supposed to be given to Hailey on Easter with her Steg family celebration, but I just could not get it done before then.  They take a little time to write and find the correct candy.  But I do love doing them!  Finally gave it to her on Saturday afternoon.
 LOL...on Saturday we had a Sweet 16 St. Pat's Spa...complete with foot massages, facials, manicures and special food.  I know most 16 year olds probably want to go to a real spa, but Hailey has been there done that...she has had many manicures (which I think are a waste of $$!) and she cannot have pedicures (not allowed for ballerina feet!) and she has had a massage before...so we just decided to save the money and have one in our sunroom.  It was totally Shelby's idea...love it!
 Revamping cakes...good idea.  It's like wedding cakes...saving the top for later....definitely recommend this!  And you know how I love to make mini-banners!  Target was my place for gold supplies...they rocked it!
 The sweet 16 memory collage wall....it took more time that I had hoped and with our photo mess right now (a dead computer), I could not get the photos I wanted...but did the best I could).  Soooo grateful to everyone who wrote in with memories (each person who wrote in had a shamrock with their memory behind it and a photo of them next to it).  We had 16 years of photos...and 16 memories from friends and family. I was a little bummed most people didn't have time to do this, but as of today (thank you, Melissa!), we ended up with 16 memories.  Perfect!   Thank you, everyone!
 Bad pic...but it was to show you can make 16 out of mini cheesecakes and cream puffs/eclairs too!  I did this on Sat. night at her ballet celebration at Noodles.
 I am not sure what possessed me to do this, but on March 1, I decided to write to my daughter.  I realized that there were 16 days in March before her 16th bday so every single day I wrote to her about 1 year of her life.  (i.e. on March 1st I wrote about about her 1st year of life, etc)  And I added pictures from that year of life as well.  I loved doing this...but it took a lot more time that I thought.  But since I love to write and I love photos, this was a wonderful way for me to relive my daughter's life.  I sent her one each day in the mail until her bday.
And I know I posted this, but I will repost. It is always fun when your kiddo's bday is on a holiday...especially a green one. So we also sent her a box of 16 green things in honor of the holiday so she could decorate her dorm room!
Some of her gifts from friends...apparently jewelry is the big 16th bday gift....and the girl loves cacti...her one friend always gives her a succulent plant.
 A 16th bday celebration at Noodles. If your town has one and has a room in the back, I would recommend it.  Free room and you don't have to clean your house or make food.  She almost had 16 people here too...two people didn't show up.  That's a lot of ballet friends!
Oldest friends are the best...and celebration at Bubs downtown is also the best--not a fancy place, but good food and fun. I will post many more pics of all her bday celebrations. I felt a little bad we didn't have a big party for her, but we didn't know Kev's parents would be in town and by the time we knew she had already planned all the little get-togethers.  But I think she actually prefers small get-togethers. She is a lot like me.  I think she had fun with with the parties she had. Nothing fancy, but when you live in NYC, I think you actually prefer some normal, down-to-earth get-togethers.  Just good ol' times with good ol' friends.
 A special gift from us to Hailey.  When she was 2 months old she bought me earrings to match this necklace at Zales (for my 1st Mother's Day).  I waited 16 years to give it to her since it was a real diamond. I wear one like it every day and rarely take it off.  I wanted her to have a special everyday necklace too. 
 The recordable frame we made her....also using Washi tape (love this stuff!) to match her room.  And the song we made up to go with it....
 Our butterfly money origami handiwork.  Modeled by the best daddy ever!  $16 and 16 butterflies in a box.  I bet she tore it up and spent it right away :)
 A small collage I made her...a picture of her at each of her birthdays...or the closest pic I could find given our poor computer reliability now.
 The kids with all the gifts ready to be sent out...Of course the next day we decided to surprise her in NYC :)
 Surprise...best photo op ever by the best fountain ever!  Thank you, Aunt Mary and Great-Gma Gritz for this gift of travel to see our bday girl!
 My fav. cake I think I have ever made. I just loved the colors!  I was glad I took the time to make this before she came home...bc once she was here I did not want to waste time on making anything. On a side note, these were cool candles. They were like firework ones...Walmart has them.  They sparked up a storm...kinda frightening, but cool :)
 Great-Grandma Stegs made/painted her the prettiest bracelet. I will have to post a closer pic later.  A lovely 16th bday gift.  We treasure grandma's handiwork.
And fondue and 16 brownies at our red carpet celebration.....no Steg celebration is complete w/o fondue!

Phew. That was a lot of stuff!  I didn't realize we did all that...no wonder we are tired.  But I am not sorry we did any of it...and I would have done more if time was on my side. 

Hopefully this will help me down the road as I come up with ideas for my 4 future 16 year olds. 

Hailey was surely blessed by so many thoughtful and wonderful people as she celebrated 16 years of life.  Thank you everyone who made her feel so special and loved.  I surely never expected to have my 16 year old living in NYC, but now that that moment has passed I cannot imagine it any other way.  She is where she needs to be!


Wendi Kitsteiner said...

I am seriously so exhausted reading this.

You do NOT want to see my post when my kids turn 16. Maybe there will be a card that has a 16 on it?

SEriously Kelly I have no idea how you put all this together. I am having trouble going to the bathroom. LOL.

crazystegmamaof4 said...

LOL...you totally crack me up! I am with you on the bathroom thing. :) I have exhausted myself with things lately and I am quite certain my other 4 will only get a card with a 16 on it too...thankfully boys do not care! You will be happy to know that Hailey and her friends had a conversation about 16 not being a big deal any more. Wish I had known that a month ago!