Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Frozen Birthday Party

We jumped on the Frozen bandwagon around here like in so many houses across the nation, a had a Frozen inspired birthday party for my 2 oldest daughters. They love acting out scenes from Frozen, and my oldest is always Elsa while my middle child is always Anna (and my poor baby gets to be Olaf).

When I looked around for ideas and inspiration for the cake I saw so many Elsa-inspired cakes, but very little Anna (I don't know why everyone is so in to Elsa more than Anna? Sure, Elsa gets to be queen and all, but Anna gets the guy;). I wanted to make this a cake that represented both my girls, so I decided to do the bottom tier representing the rosemaling in Anna's dress while the top tier would represent Elsa's shimmery icy blue dress. Anna's dress pattern was pretty simple to do with some colored royal icing and a band of fondant around the bottom. I loved how it turned out.

Next came Elsa's tier. I have been dying to try out both an inverted fondant frill technique as well as an ombre coloring technique, so this was my big chance. After coloring fondant different shades of blue to white, I cut out long strips, thinned one long edge with my ball and vein tool, and attached them from the top working down on the cake. All that was left was sticking in some clear crystal rock candy on the top to represent Elsa's ice castle, and then putting Elsa and Anna on the top together (thanks to my daughter's clippy doll collection, I didn't have to try to mold these out of modeling chocolate. Whew!).

The final result--a Frozen birthday cake fit for my 2 little princesses. They were so excited when they saw it.

The cake was the focal point of the food table. I got some snowflakes at the dollar store that I used around on the table and to act like clips on the swagged tablecloth and drapery above the table. Good grief, someone hand me an iron! Looks like I overlooked ironing the white table cloth before the party. I guess ironing was the last of my concerns when putting this party together.

We kept the food pretty simple this year--the party started after lunch time so all the kids weren't too hungry. We just had a few Frozen inspired snacks to go along with the cake:

  •  Melted Snowmen--water bottles
  • Anna's Snowballs--powdered doughnuts
  • Warm Hugs/Kisses to Melt a Frozen Heart--Hershey's hugs and kisses--I loved that I found these in blue (cookies n cream), purple (dark chocolate), and silver (hugs) to match the party!
  • Kristoff"s Ice Cubes--blue jello jiggler cubes
  • Sven's Antlers--pretzels
  • Olaf's Noses--carrots

It just so happened that my January decorations consisted of lots of blue and silver Christmas ornaments, so I pulled those out and put them on the table, around the room, hung giant paper snowflakes from the ceiling (leftover from a church party I made them for a couple of years ago--I knew I should save them for a reason, and now I know why!), and hung our snowflake wreath on the door to welcome everyone to Elsa's ice castle.
There are our Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, and Olaf with the wreath in the background. I used this tutorial to make the Olaf costume--it is a great tutorial and very easy and quick to make. Much better than my first attempt. Ahem...let's not talk about what an utter disaster that was, and the hours and hours I wasted trying to get layer upon layer of white tulle to somehow look like a rolly polly snowman. That got tossed in the project fail pile.

The party itself was full of fun games such as
  • Do you want to build a Snowman using marshmallows, pretzels, and chocolate chips
  • Pin the carrot on Olaf (I taped it up on our sliding door so ignore the bright glare coming through from behind the paper).
  • Do you want to build a Snowman--toilet paper around kids to make them look like snowmen
  • Freeze Tag
  • Freeze Dance
No pictures of the last 2 but you get the idea--the classic Freeze Tag game where one person is it and when they tag you, you freeze until someone else crawls under your legs. With Freeze Dance we turned on some Frozen music and let the kids dance around the room, freezing every time the music stopped.

Before sending the kids home after games, food, and presents, they were sent on a little Frozen Scavenger Hunt which led them around the house until they found their Olaf goodie bags with some Frozen items inside.
There are so many fun ideas out there of items to put in the goodie bag. Here are the ones that I used:

  • More Olaf hugs and Kisses to Melt a Frozen Heart.
  • Frozen Stickers
  • Crystal rock candy sucker (like on the cake)
  • Bubbles (I thought this fit--reminds me of when she melts everything at the end and the water all floats up like bubbles)
  • blue and purple chocolate coins
  • Glow stick necklace--I put a little tag on it that said "Troll Fire Crystal"

We are glad that Elsa controlled her powers and didn't freeze us all that day. She did manage to use them to put out her's and Anna's candles on the cake. Happy birthday to these 2 beautiful princesses.

And since their birthdays are just the week before Halloween, we multipurposed their costumes for that too...

and Chris and I joined in as Sven and a rock troll. No one could figure out who I was supposed to be when we were out trick or treating. Oh well. I tried. Happy Halloween from our home to yours.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Very Hungry Caterpillar 1st Birthday

Our little caterpillar turned one back in May, and we had a fun time throwing her a Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday party. I have been wanting to do this theme for her first birthday even before she was born. We love Eric Carle's book around here, and I fun putting the different aspects of his story into a fun little party.

It all started with a fun little invitation. I saw one similar to this online, and made my own version of it in Photoshop. You can find a lot of hungry caterpillar clip art online.

The next important part of the party is definitely the cake! This cake was so fun to make. I molded the caterpillar out of fondant/gumtex mixture, combining 4 different shades of green in each segment (mixing them together slightly to get the marbled look), and gluing them together with a little bit of clear vanilla. I let it dry for about 2 days before putting it onto the cake.

I mixed a couple different shades of each fruit color to also get some marbled effect on them, characteristic of Carle's artwork in his book. The colors just make me smile. Such happy, bright colors!

It was pretty easy to figure out what food to serve at the party...I just followed along in the book for inspiration. There are some really cute food labels I got here that I stuck into each food to retell the story as people got their food.

"One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and 'Pop' out of the egg came a tiny, but very hungry caterpillar." 

"He started to look for some food. On Monday he ate through one apple, but he was still hungry."

"On Tuesday he ate through two pears, but he was still hungry."

"On Wednesday he ate through 3 plums, but he was still hungry." Plums weren't really in season yet, so we opted for dried plums--the kids actually loved it).

"On Thursday he ate through 4 strawberries, but he was still hungry."

"On Friday he ate through 5 oranges, but he was still hungry."

"On Saturday he ate through one piece of chocolate cake..." 

"One ice cream cone." I found these cute ice cream cone bubbles that we used instead, since real ones would have just melted all over the table. These were a hit with all of the kids)...

"One pickle." Can you believe that they were actually all eaten by the end of the party? This non-pickle fan just can't quite wrap my head around that one.)...

"One slice of swiss cheese, one slice of salami." We made ham and swiss cheese sliders for this, and hoped the substitution of ham for salami would be acceptable. By the way that everyone ate them, I don't think it was a big issue :)...

"One lollipop." These cute lollipops are usually in the wedding/party favor section of Michaels or JoAnns)...

"One piece of cherry pie." I tried these mini cherry pies using a sugar cookie crust that I filled with cherry pie filling. Kind of messy to eat, but really, really yummy!)...

"One sausage." The men were excited about this one--bacon wrapped little smokies. My SIL and hubby were the masterminds behind this one)...

"One cupcake" (I saw this idea on Pinterest and couldn't help but make this caterpillar cupcake display. It was very simple to make, but added so much to the theme of the party.)...

"And one slice of watermelon. That night he had a stomach-ache." Luckily, I didn't hear any complaints of little tummies hurting after this meal. Overall, there wasn't too many desserts, but a lot of yummy fruits which all the little mouths loved.

"The next day was Sunday again. The caterpillar ate through one nice green leaf, and after that he felt much better." We had a yummy spinach salad for our green leaf. My friend Angie made this for me one time, and I fell in love with this salad. You can find the recipe at the end of this post.

Well, that is where we end in our book for the party food. When I lived in Nevada I remember seeing some large gummy butterflies at a grocery store, but I couldn't find any out here in Iowa, so we just focused on the caterpillar for this party. If you can find any, though, it would be fun to have some in a little candy jar on the table or in a party bag for the kids to take home.
 My little table was too small for all this yummy caterpillar food, so we had to set up card tables on either side. I had bought this silly little Hungry Caterpillar card game years ago, that worked great hanging on a ribbon on the tables for a little garland, and I got the ideas for the paper fan caterpillar and Happy Birthday Claira garland from Catch my Party which made a nice back drop for the table.

This little peanut thought it all was great. Out of all my kids, she is by far the best eater, usually liking everything I give her...I guess she is kind of like that Hungry Caterpillar. 

 She got the caterpillar head from the cupcake cake as her smash cake. That worked out perfectly. It was just a one layer 6" cake--perfect size for a smash cake. At first she carefully picked off the caterpillar's eyes and nose, but then she dug in and was eating handfuls of delicious chocolate cake.
She was very happy being so messy. Some kids don't like being messy...mine is quite the opposite.

You might have noticed some pictures on the table of her throughout her first year. I took a picture of her at every month with her hungry caterpillar toy, and framed one for each month and put those on the table. Then at 12 months I set up a little picnic blanket with the caterpillar's fruit and took some of her reading the book. I have some of those below for those of you interested in seeing them (my excuse to show off my cute little babe!)

Nectarine and Spinach Salad
Nectarines (I used mangos since that is what I had on hand)
Red Onion
Sliced Almonds
Parmesean Cheese

1/2 c Olive oil
1/4 c Apple cider vinegar
1/4c White wine vinegar
1/4c sugar
2T toasted sesame seeds (browned on stovetop)
1/4tsp paprika

1 month

 2 months

3 months 

 4 months

 5 months

 6 months

7 months 

 8 months

9 months

 10 months

11 months

And 12 months...Here are my favorites.