Thursday, January 31, 2013

Birthday Bash

After throwing a big family party at our house last year for Becker's 1st birthday I wasn't sure if I wanted to do the whole thing again this year. It's a lot of work you know! I knew I didn't want to have it at our small house if we did have a party and after lots of back and forth, I decided that yes we would do a party and it would be at a petting zoo. The petting zoo is the obvious choice for this little animal lover. The party planning got rolling and several trips to various stores and online orders later, the party was coming together. The petting zoo itself has a lot of ambiance so the barnyard theme was pretty easy to flow with. Gingham table cloths, mason jars for drinks, bandanas and pails for the kids, a barn pinata filled with plastic animals, play-doh and crayons. It all came together really well and Becker, his friends and extended family had a blast at the party. Who doesn't love lots of cuddly guinea pigs and goats to feed, a train and a pony ride?

We had some great feedback on the decor so I thought I'd post it here. First off each child got a pail with a bandana, quarter for goat food and tickets for a basket of animal veggies as well as tickets to ride the ponies and the train. The pails would later be used to collect items from the pinata. Here are the pails all set up:

Since these are 2 year olds, I knew I had to provide toddler friendly drinks. I am not big on box drinks and all those "kid" things.  Becker drinks water 99% of the time. Since water is our household's main beverage, I bought a few cases of mini waters from good old Trader Joe's and replaced their labels with colored duct tape. Easy peasy, party ready.

We also decided to offer lemonade and iced tea to our party guests.  Mason jars are all the rage for parties and the barnyard theme was begging for some jars with little name tags for the drinks. Not only is it eco friendly, but it's totally cute. Something about drinking from a mason jar is just fun. I bought pint sized jars for adults and smaller, 8 ounce jars for the kids. We found some great paper straws on Etsy here.  Mark drilled holes the size of the straws into the tops of the smaller jars to make spill proof cups for the kiddos. *Tip: Place each center circle for the lids on the same jar when drilling so you only have to clean metal shavings out of one jar.  I used a chopstick to smooth out the edges after the holes were drilled.  Also leave lids on all of the jars until the party starts so the insides stay clean.* They turned out really cute and the kids liked their personalized glasses.

Larger jars for the adults, straws and markers to write names.

The birthday boy himself drinking water from our homemade mason jar straw cups

The party was from 9-12 so we went with light, kid friendly food. Fruit salad, pasta salad, hummus & pita chips along with metal pails of Annie's Snack mix, and dried fruit and nuts lining the center of the tables.  I wrapped up the silverware in napkins and tied each bundle with twine and found a cute chicken wire basket to display them in at World Market. The little wooden farm is from Melissa & Doug.  Becker received it as a gift for Christmas and since it happened to fit our theme perfectly, I set it aside until now. 

Becker requested cupcakes for his birthday party. When researching cupcake recipes I debated between a quinoa cupcake and "The Ultimate Vanilla Cupcake"......Can you guess which I chose? Special vanilla paste was ordered and I chose these cupcake toppers from Etsy to adorn the homemade goodness. I needed triple the recipe so instead of risking messing the whole thing up by tripling it, I made the whole recipe three times. This took the better part of the day before the party with Becker's help. I spiraled the frosting with a ziplock bag the night before and added the cupcake toppers once we set up at the venue.

Mark really wanted to have a pinata. I was a little iffy on this one as we were at a petting zoo and I didn't want to send the wrong message of having the kids whack a paper animal just moments after petting and feeding one. Perfection: I found a barn pinata with pull ribbons. Instead of smacking the pinata, each child pulls a ribbon and one of the ribbons opens the bottom of the pinata, releasing the goods. I filled the pinata with items from Target; mini play dough tubs, markers, crayons, plastic barn animals, stickers and organic fruit leather.  The final string was really hard to pull so everyone had at least one turn, even when the boys pulled a handful of the ribbons.

The boys taking turns pulling a ribbon.
I think they enjoyed it!

Happy Birthday Baby! We all had a blast celebrating YOU!

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