Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Holy Fourth Birthday

Saturday was Seren's fourth birthday party! WOW! Did we have FUN! It was awesome!! We spent much of the week preparing for the event and it worth every minute of it!

The plan was to have the party at a local park. This was going to rock as long as it was sunny out. I had a back up plan but it wasn't needed: we got SUN! It was a lovely day. Windy but absolutely lovely.

We had a total of 16 kids (11 3/4 year olds and five babies/toddlers). We anticipated an additional 20 adults.

In all previous birthdays, we simply celebrated at home with family and close friends. So this was our first 'real' party with lots of people and we needed to do it on a budget. But we did it! I couldn't have asked for a better day.

The kids arrived around 11 and we had them all write thier name on an animal cut out of construction paper. They had a choice from many animals (cut by us). Then they were to play. I took the animals and stapled them on treatbags. The treatbags were filled with little baggies of pretzels, raisins, and dried fruit. They were then all placed in a 'treasure box'.

Once most of the kids arrived, we started painting birdhouses. I made little 'smocks' out of garbage bags and everyone got REALLY into painting! My god we had serious painters! Glitter glue came out and all of the parents were EXCELLENT at monitoring paint, paint brushes and making sure the paint got on the birdhouse. I spent most of Sunday and Monday priming the birdhouses white but they turned out really, really well. That was the childrens' "favor".

Then it was time for the treasure hunt. This was a brillant example of Sam and Megan collaboration. The idea was mine and I drafted the clues but Sam made them into fun poems. I then cut pieces of cardstock to help the kids with the clue. Sam and Wyeth hid the clues while the kids were painting birdhouses. The kids really enjoyed this too! Sam was great at leading the pack of kids around the park and even into the forest to find thier 'treasure'(which was the treatbags). They all cheered when they found it! What a riot! I was able to really enjoy this time.

The rest of the party was lunch and free play. We thought that the kids would primarily play on the more advanced play structure up the hill but it made me nervous to have some kids up the hill and some closer to the food. I didn't want to loose anyone. But having all of that place to PLAY was distracting.

Parents munched on home-made hoagies made freshly that morning at the Angus Deli. I ordered and picked up 5 two foot long rolls and Sam made the hoagies while I did final pick ups with Seren. We had already cut the tomatoes and onions the night before and made the tuna. Dad Hague cut them and arranged them. Mom Hague made 'ants on a log' (peanut butter in celery with raisins) and 'fish in a stream' (cream cheese in celery with goldfish) and provided the adults with a yummy veggie platter. The kids could choose from tuna, turkey or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. They were all cut into shapes using cookie cutters. Sam made a strawberry dip but we didn't present it well so much of it is in our fridge. Sam also made homemade cupcakes and put together a birdhouse cake. (Seren's choice of three cake options).

Aside from luke warm sodas, and windy conditions the food ROCKED.

And Seren had a blast! Sometimes you just don't know with Seren. She isn't full on smile girl. But she had a really good time. The next day, as we recooperated, she told a neighbor, "I had a really, really, really good time." Which just about melted my heart.

As an added bonus, my best friend and her daughter drove 3.5 hours to be there with us! My god, am I lucky or what!?

It was a lot of work doing the prep and cooking but we did it! We really felt like we did a good job but more importantly, we also had FUN. We are so grateful that her friends came from school but also our close friends from other walks of life were able to join us as well.

I'm not going to post a ton of 'kid' pics because I don't know how thier parents feel about putting pics on the internet...so they are 'Seren heavy'.

Happy, happy birthday Seren! We love you, kiddo!

Painting the birdhouses:

Treasure Hunt

Playing and Having Fun:

Finished birdhouses:

The Cake:

Blowing out the ONE candle that would stay lit:

The best!


Beth said...

WOW! I'm soooo impressed with your planning and efforts. What a fantastic party. My mom always did backyard parties for us when we were kids, and she always made it look so easy. I know better! I'm so glad Seren had a blast, making it well worth the effort. Score one (a HUGE one!) for mom and dad.

Jessica said...

Sounds both creative and manageable. The birdhouses did turn out really well, and the birdhouse cake is a masterpiece. : ) Well done!

Julie said...

I love the cake!! See, you CAN do it!

I may be stealing your ideas for next year's party b/c it looked so fun for everyone. I love the painted birdhouses, I love the food ideas and I really love that your goodie bags had healthy treats. There is nothing like driving home from a b-day party where my kid is flying high from the cupcake and she wants to eat 5 pieces of candy from the goodie bag.