Saturday, August 13, 2011

Birthday party for Miss E

This is a catch up post for Miss E's birthday party which we held before we went back to Australia for our holiday.  Miss E has not had a proper birthday party for 4 years (due to moving twice right around her birthday and other factors) so I decided to put a bit of effort in this year!  E wanted a sleepover party (ugh - not my favourite thing) so she was allowed to invite 5 friends over and I stuck with a very simple party plan.  I did quite a big party for her 5th birthday and I actually made notes of things I liked about it and what I would do differently.  Here is a list of my basic party planning rules (from my vast experience of like two proper

1. Keep it SIMPLE.  Children really just want to run around and play most of the time anyway.
2. Have only one or two scheduled activities.
3. Don't have a heap of food and make it simple too.  The children are too excited to eat much generally (although maybe this rule will not be as important as they get older).

I had six girls in all coming for dinner, party, sleepover and breakfast and it was actually pretty easy to pull off (although I did have the help of a wonderful friend to help get it all done on time - thanks Dawn!!).

The girls arrived before dinner and I had platters of fruit, vegies and dip plus some potato chips out for them.  Yep, I am one of those Mum's that doesn't like to sugar up the kids (especially when I know they have to go to sleep at my house!).  I remember my sister doing a party for my nephew once and, amongst the fun foods (ie. lollies - aka candy - etc.) she had a platter of fruit kebobs.  The kids descended on them in a frenzy and it always stayed with me (this was well before I had my kids).

After the girls had played for awhile I got them organised with a craft activity.  I have been buying up embroidery hoops whenever I can from thrift stores and had just the right number in this size for the girls to whip up a little bunny outline (I printed a shape off the internet and traced over it to get the outline).  You can still see the blue water soluble marker in this shot.  I forgot to take a photo after they had rinsed them out.  My favourite part of this craft was my idea to provide mini pompoms for them to add as the bunny tail!  I think it worked out so cute.  They all did a great job after a very quick lesson on how to do a basic back stitch.

Dinner was easy - I figured panini type toasted sandwiches would be easy and the girls could customise their fillings.  I have a super hot panini press which toasts them very fast so that helped too.

Dessert was the cake plus orange cupcakes and lemonade (there is enough sugar there for them I figure).  Now, I seem to be missing the decorated cake gene.  I like to try most things and I love to bake and decorate at times but for some reason the whole themed party cake motivation has eluded me.  For E's cake I made a favourite family chocolate fudge cake recipe.  I cut it to make a layer cake and filled it with fresh whipped cream and strawberries then poured chocolate icing over the top.  My lame attempt at decorating was sitting a few of her favourite Schleich animal figurines on top to which I added some miniature bunting which took me just a couple of minutes to make.  I cut out tiny triangles of paper, used a sewing needle and cotton to thread them on and then tied the cotton to two short skewers.  I loved the bunting and I thought the cake looked quite festive (crappy photo aside).  Anyway, despite it not being very elaborate, it tasted marvellous!

I also made cupcake picks using cute little animal photos I got from the internet.  I didn't get a decent photo of those though so another blurry photo will have to do!  Ugh, I didn't have time to check my photos during this.

After that, the girl's watched a movie, went to bed (and to sleep - finally!) and, in the morning, I put out a breakfast of mini croissants, cereals, fruit and juice boxes.  The girls were even brave enough to try a little piece of toast with vegemite on it (most of them did not like it - I guess you have to grow up with it).  It has been a surprising offshoot of our expat lifestyle, this being a vegemite ambassador...

Now, I may have lucked out on the decorated cake gene but I really love to make the goody bag something special (and useful).  I have actually thought about opening an Etsy shop for goodie bags I think about it that much.  I am just not a big fan of the little plastic bag full of candy (no offence to those of you who are happy with them - to each his own!).  For each of the girls I made up these lined calico bags that are big enough to use as library bags.  Now, one note about these.  I got a little ambitious and put a little more time into them than I would normally for goodie bags but just couldn't stop myself once I got started.  So, anyway, they ended up with these cute bags with their initials appliqued on the front.  I used a combination of fabrics that I had in my stash and some I had found at thrift stores in remnant bins.  A quick note about thrift store fabric finds - always WASH THEM WELL.  I am not germ phobic at all but, really, you have no idea where those fabrics have been so wash, wash, wash them.

Now, before this blog post becomes a novel, the last thing I did was add a few little personalised items to the bags.  I put in a little bag of candy which I personalised with a tag with a cute animal photo and a message from E.  I bought some cheap little items from the Target dollar section as well.  There was a little matchbox style notebook and pretty decorated pencil along with these bubble bottles that I personalised by replacing the label with a personalised one I whipped up on the computer.  You get a bag of four of those mini bubbles for $1 and the same for the notebooks and pencils (2 for notebook and 8 for pencils) so it is very cost effective as party favours.

I will do another post about how to personalise those little candy/lolly bags and the bubble bottles.  They were really quick and easy and looked great.

Have a great weekend!


  1. What a fantastic post and such great tips. You should definitely open an Etsy store, those bags are gorgeous. Lee xx

  2. Catherine,

    Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving your kind words!

    I'll bet your little lady loved her party! And her friends must have been delighted with their embroidery projects and their cute little goody bags! Great ideas!

  3. What a great party!!! I'm sure they'll remember it for years.



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