For D and I the birthday is our big event of the year. We like having all the fam and friends over, enjoying food and games and the November California weather in the back yard.
We enlisted lots of help with party prep. Auntie L and Matt helped make the huge tissue paper flowers that decorated the back yard. My mom helped with invitation supplies and preparations, mailing multiple boxes of stuff to me from Utah. I commissioned my dad to create a 15 foot garden mural on canvas for the kids to paint - he used his artist's discretion and added Dora, Boots and Swiper and the final product was a sort of Dora-meets-Rousseau scene (btw - Little S was ecstatic when I pulled the mural out of the box and she saw Dora on it). And finally, the night before the party, our good friend Jay helped D get the mural mounted/stretched on a wood frame in less than 15 minutes! Jay is a master of construction - D admitted it would have taken him an hour or two to do it himself :)
The invitations above.
We had the kids paint the mural for the first part of the party as everyone arrived. It was an even bigger hit than I imagined. My dad used permanent marker on the canvas for the outlines and the kids painted with washable tempera paints.
Action shot of the artists at work. As the younger kids moved on to the other games, the older kids wanted to keep painting - they were even hiding jars of paint behind the mural so the moms wouldn't make them stop :)
As usual, D and I were running around crazy at the start of the party. So my gal pals Cass (above) and Chanel got the painting rolling for me - what would I do without them?!
After the mural painting, we had the kids play a bee game that I made up. It was a version of the magnet fishing game but with bees and nectar instead. Each child decorated a bee and hung it from a fishing pole type thing (crafted by D, of course) that had a magnet on the end. They dropped their "bee" into the white flowers scattered in the yard that were filled with magnetic nectar paper and then carried their nectar to the beehive where the queen bee, 11 year old Haley, gave them a piece of candy for each nectar they brought. I had Flight of the Bumblebee playing on the ipod during this game, but I don't think the kids really noticed...Pictured above is our neighbor and good friend Lauree helping Little S and Hayden with their bees. Lauree is one of Little S's most favorite people in the entire world.
Next came the balloon hats and animal creations made by the birthday girl's dad. D has mastered the art of ballooning and can really wow a crowd of little people. (Little S is wearing the bee necklace and bee hair ribbon Grandma Shiela sent her for the big day - Auntie L, whose birthday is 6 days before Little S's, wore the birthday ribbon too.)
After a light dinner came the cake. I bought 2 of these molds - I love it! We served the cake to the adults with berries, cream and Nutella.
The kids decorated their own cupcakes - I used a cupcake and frosting recipe from Giada with mascarpone cheese in it - super easy and way better than just a box mix.
After food, cake and presents it was dark and we passed out glow bracelets and necklaces to everyone. Here, Auntie L models the glow jewelry and a balloon hat!
Finally, the kids wanted rides in the wagon before the night ended.
We were tired at the end of the night, to say the least, but so happy, too. There is no better way to spend a weekend night than at fun party with friends.