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Ice Cream Theme Parties

bowl of ice cream with sprinkles.jpg

If you are looking for a way to celebrate the warm summer evenings, an ice cream theme party is always a fun option. Why not invite some of your favorite people to your backyard to play lawn games, have some refreshing summer cocktails and indulge in some cold, creamy ice cream with all the toppings!

In this post, I’m giving you some fun ideas on how to set the scene and turn a simple get-together into a celebration where everyone feels like you put in a lot of effort. Keep reading to get tips on what toppings to serve, ideas on some DIY decorations and free printable labels that you can put on jars, bowls or even plastic cups to show off your toppings.

And I haven’t forgotten the libations – I’m including a refreshing summer cocktail recipe that you can print out and make for your guests.

As the mom of three grown sons, the end of summertime always brought mixed emotions for me. Actually, the beginning of summertime brought mixed emotions for me, too. Yes, admittedly I’m an emotional person, but I actually think I’m not in the minority here. I think the feelings about the beginning of the season are pretty obvious.

School is out and all of the rigid schedules of sports, homework and getting kids to the bus on time are set aside for a few months. Finally, the family vacations that we’d been dreaming of all year are within reach. An abundance of family time is at our fingertips. 

However, on the flip side, that’s a LOT of family time. If you happen to be a stay home parent (which I was), anxiety began to creep in as I saw weeks ahead, filled with my boys and their friends complaining of being hungry all day long, the boys being stir crazy and taking it out on each other with a random punch in the arm, and a lack of opportunity for me to get caught up with laundry, cleaning and an occasional shot of tequila at 2 in the afternoon. OK, that last one was very rare. Very rare. (Relax, I was completely joking.)

I don’t want you to get the wrong idea about me, because I truly love(d) being a mom and my boys were really good kids. I have always enjoyed hanging out with them, and in the summer, I would plan fun activities, sometimes with other kids and sometimes with just us. But there was a certain amount of pressure to keep the boys occupied, so that I didn’t have to hear the words that every parent loathes to hear. “I’m bored.” Those words, to me, were like nails on a chalkboard. To this day, my sons will tell you that my answer to that was ALWAYS, “Only boring people get bored!”

On the flip side, the end of summer was also bittersweet. Gone were the days of swimming until it was dark and the fun colored lights in our pool would show up. Gone was the freedom of sleeping in during weekdays and not having to rush out the door. And the daylight would be shorter, the weather would cool off and the boys would advance a grade in school, proving the point that they were definitely growing up, and my days of them needing me as much were becoming fewer. See, I told you that I’m emotional!

how to plan your party

Back to my Ice Cream Party… One way to beat summer boredom for all of us was to plan small but fun little events or celebrations throughout the summer months. This ice cream party doesn’t have to be at the end of the summer. Obviously, this can be planned any time you want an excuse to get some friends and/or family together and when you get a craving for doing something creative and fun with your kids.

I think that after we’ve lived through a quarantine, we are all feeling even more fortunate to be able to get together and celebrate just about ANYthing with family and friends! One great thing about this ice cream party is that you can make it as big or small, simple or elaborate, store-bought or homemade as you want it to be.

WATCH THIS VIDEO FOR A FULL TUTORIAL

Labels for toppings:

This first idea is so easy and just a cute little detail you can add. Decide what you are going to put your toppings in, whether it be mason jars, bowls you have at home or even clear plastic, disposable cups. I have the link to free printables right below this.

If you are able to purchase some 8-1/2 x 11 inch sticker paper, you can print out the labels, cut them out and stick them right onto the jars. If you don’t happen to have sticker paper, just print them out onto any regular sized copy paper, cut them out and tape them to the container. Listed right below are the supplies and links for these labeled topping jars.

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For the Ice Cream Topping bowls, the supplies you need are:

clear jars, like these
mason jars
from Amazon

free printables for labels (click button below)

8-1/2” x 11”
sticker paper
to print your labels on

Ice Cream Topping Labels
Ice Cream Topping Labels

For the jar with sprinkles, the supplies needed and the links are shown below:

Mason Jar

Chalk Paint

Paint Brush

Mod Podge or Elmer’s Glue

Painter’s Tape

Betty Crocker Sprinkles

Paper Straws

jar with sprinkles

This decoration can be used for many different things. If you are serving root beer floats, lemonade or any other kind of drink, it’s a cute container to put some adorable striped paper straws in. Or, it’s a perfect place to put spoons in for your guests to grab for their ice cream. And, I didn’t show a picture of this, but it would be another great way to add flowers to your table by using this as a little vase.

Carnation decorations

Another fun decoration, pictured above and to the left, are these ice cream sundae table decorations, made with carnations. You can get any color that you like. I thought these pink and white ones were really cute, but you could really use any color or mix and match.

The margarita glass shown in the picture is just one that I found at the Dollar Store, but you could use any large mouth glass or even a bowl that you have. I think shallow works better, but get creative! I added some water to the glass, and then I took some of the carnations and clipped them just below the actual flower, leaving almost no stem. I put enough of these carnations in the glass to have it a single layer, making it unable to see the water under them.

Then I took 3 more of the carnations and made the stems just a little longer so that when they were stacked on top of the first layer of flowers, their stems would reach the water. The final touch was a maraschino cherry with a stem. TIP: rinse off the cherry with water and blot it dry with paper towels, so that the food coloring doesn’t drip onto the flowers. And there you have it – a cute table decoration for your ice cream party

Simple to make! Choose any pastel color of chalk paint you like. Paint just the outside of the jar, using a medium brush and an even coat. Don’t paint the bottom of the jar. Set it aside to let it dry. It should take about 15-20 minutes, but you’ll be able to see that it looks dry and then just touch it gently to make sure.

Once it feels completely dry, take a piece of painter’s tape that is long enough to go around the entire jar. (Painter’s tape is the kind of tape I recommend so that it’s not strong enough to tear off the paint when you remove it.) Approximately 1/4 way up the jar, wrap the tape evenly around, trying to make it as straight as you possibly can. You may need to readjust it a few times to get it even. That’s ok – don’t get frustrated!

Once you have your tape in place, take a paint brush and paint a fairly thick layer of either Elmer’s Glue or Mod Podge from the bottom of the tape to the bottom edge of the jar. Remember that the tape will be coming off later, so it’s ok if you get the glue on it. Then, hold the jar over a large bowl or even the sink, take the little jar of rainbow cake sprinkles and shake it over the glue to make an even layer of sprinkles so that they are covering all of the glue. This will make a mess with all of the sprinkles bouncing all over the place, so this is why you need to hold it over something that will catch the bouncing sprinkles! Finally, remove the tape and you are finished! Make sure it has time to dry for at least a few hours before you use it.

I hope you take some of these suggestions and have a little end of summer gathering of your own. Remember that this doesn’t have to be complicated. The ice cream and the toppings were the star of the show. I actually just ordered some pizza to serve the guests when they first showed up, because I kind of felt like people might judge me if I only serve my favorite course of the meal – dessert! So order some pizzas, serve the refreshing cocktails, recipe below, and then let the star of the show (the ice cream bar) do the shining.

Thanks for visiting my very first blog post. Please comment below with any questions or suggestions for other celebrations that you’d like to hear about. Check out my YouTube channel to hear more about Celebration Elevation, to see me make the decorations shown above and to ramble on about other stuff!

Strawberry Lime Summertime

Strawberry Lime Summertime

Yield: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Try this delicious cocktail on a warm summer afternoon. But, truthfully, it tastes great all year long!

Ingredients

  • 3 oz vodka
  • 3 oz strawberry vanilla bean syrup (recipe below)
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 2 lime wedges
  • 7-8 oz sparkling white wine/champagne
  • ice

Strawberry Vanilla Bean Syrup

  • 1 lb frozen strawberries
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

Instructions

Strawberry Lime Summertime

  1. Add vodka, syrup, lime juice, and ice to a cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake until cold and well blended.
  3. Divide the cocktail and ice equally between two glasses.
  4. Squeeze a lime wedge into each glass and fill with 3-4 oz of champagne.
  5. Stir and drink and garnish with a slice of lime or a strawberry, if desired.

Strawberry Vanilla Bean Syrup

  1. Combine strawberries and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. While it comes to a boil, split the vanilla bean down the middle and scrape out the seeds into the saucepan. Put the vanilla bean in the saucepan, too, and add the orange zest.
  2. After it comes to a boil, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  3. Strain syrup through a mesh sieve into a bowl (but don't press down on the strawberries, as this will cloud the syrup). Then pour the syrup back into the pot. Add the sugar and bring the syrup back to a boil and boil for 5 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  4. Let the syrup cool to room temp and use immediately or put in a sealed container and refrigerate.

Notes

The strawberry vanilla bean syrup is a little extra time and effort, but it's definitely worth it! I usually double or triple the recipe to have extra in the refrigerator to save for later, or for use with extra cocktails with a larger crowd.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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