This was a very easy party to host. My son has a summer birthday, and any outdoor parties need to be water-related. If you read the pirate and army birthday posts, you know about our heat dilemmas. We had the Slip N Slide party when my son turned three, and it was a big hit. Unfortunately, the party was BB (before blog), so I do not have very many detail pictures to share. What fun outdoor summer birthdays have you hosted– or attended?
The Invitations: This was one of the first invitations I ordered from Fine Stationery and printed on my home computer. I will admit that I lifted phrases from the samples on the website. The invitation said, “Slip, Slide Wheeee! (name’s) Turning Three!” I had an e-mail and phone number for any guests who “could not slip by.” The invitation also asked guests to wear a swimsuit and bring a towel.
The Water Activities: By August, almost all of the water toys and equipment are on sale at stores like Target, Walmart, and KMart. I bought two Slip n Slides, an inflatable pool with a basketball hoop, a plastic baby pool, a crazy sprinkler, and water toys like buckets and small watering cans. We filled water balloons too. We set everything up in the backyard. We did not have any organized activities, and guests just played in the water.
The Party Favors: We ordered these crazy sea creature swim goggles from Oriental Trading. They looked great in the picture on the website but were pretty poor quality. The straps broke, and the goggle part did not fit on the face well. I was not expecting Olympic grade goggles or anything, but I thought they would at least last through the party. I would not order them again.
The Food: Snacks were pretty minimal. We set out bowls of pretzels and Goldfish. We served a birthday cake with bright colors on it. I do usually order our birthday cakes from the grocery store because I love grocery store birthday cakes! I think the super sugar frosting they use is fabulous.
I saw a bag of mini Stauffer’s original animal crackers on the impulse buy rack while waiting to check out at Office Depot several weeks before my daughter’s second birthday. That sighting sparked the idea for the teddy bear picnic where we could serve all mini food to our guests (human or fuzzy).
The Invitation: I used a local stationer, The Party Basket, in New Orleans for this one. The invitation included a little poem that told our guests, “A favorite teddy bear is a welcome guest to make (name’s) birthday the beary best!” Everyone RSVP’d to “Mama Bear”.
The Location: We hosted the party at the playground at our local park.
The Picnic Baskets: I located the baskets at Michael’s. I shopped at a fabric store for bright fabrics, which I cut into squares. My mom found colorful plastic tea sets that came in clear backpacks at a discount store. One tea set served four, so we divided up the complete sets. Each picnic basket contained dishes to serve two guests– the child and his/her stuffed animal friend.
The Food: I made bear shaped tea sandwiches using a teddy bear cookie cutter. Each guest had one turkey sandwich and one ham and cheese sandwich in my favorite clear cellophane bags from Michael’s. I packaged mini Goldfish and the mini animal crackers in bags too and closed all the bags with stickers. We also included mini boxes of raisins and served small juice boxes. My daughter was going through an Elmo phase at the time, so the juice boxes, stickers, paper napkins, and the cake toppers were Elmo-themed. This mixed well with the fun colors in the tea sets.
The Picnic: We found brightly colored tablecloths in the sale bin at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and spread those out near the playground. There was room for our friends to set out the food from their picnic baskets and eat with teddy bears, dolls, and other party guests.
The Cake: Since we were serving all mini items, we purchased a small cake for the birthday girl (they call them “smash cakes” in some places), and the guests ate cupcakes.
The Party Favors: Guests took home their picnic basket with the plastic tea sets.
My children and I will be starting our annual road trip to see family in a few weeks. We spend a little over two weeks in the car and cover many miles. My car does not have a DVD player, and I am doing my best to keep it that way. We started using audio books two summers ago, and it is holding the backseat passengers’ attention for now. We have learned that a great read aloud at home may not be a good audio book. It all depends on the narrator. Here is a list of a few we loved… and some we did not.
Magic Treehouse (any in the series) read by the author, Mary Pope Osborne.
The Boxcar Children read by Phyllis Newman.
Little House in the Big Woods (or any Little House book) read by Cherry Jones.
Frindle read by John Fleming.
Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing read by the author, Judy Blume.
The BFG read by Natasha Richardson.
The Cricket in Times Square read by Tony Shalhoub.
Lunch Money read by John H. Mayer. added 7/2012
Hotel for Dogs read by Katherine Kellgren. added 7/2012
Abby Cornelia’s One & Only Magical Power read by the author, David Pogue. added 7/2012
My Children Liked; I Did Not:
Junie B. Jones read by Lana Quintal. (My children thought these were hysterical. But, what comes across as silly when read at bedtime in our house seemed so obnoxious through the voice of Lana Quintal. I wanted to spank Junie B!)
The Secret of the Old Mill read by Bill Irwin. (This is a Hardy Boys mystery. The reader was too slow for me, but my children loved the sound effects.) added 7/2012
A Series of Unfortunate Events read by the author, Lemony Snicket. (This was probably a bad choice on my part. Not only was the author’s voice very nasal, the book is much darker read aloud, and the content was too old for my children’s ages.)
I need new selections for our upcoming trip. Any thoughts? I am looking for titles that will be appropriate and enjoyable for a 7-year old, a 5-year old, and a 40-year old.
After the success of the “J” week jellybean treat, we decided to send in another themed snack to the nursery school class during “D” week. We combined some Chex mix recipes and came up with a dinosaur style snack mix. The idea was to have kids dig for dinosaur bones and dinosaur eggs in the snack mix.
2 c. Corn Chex cereal
2 c. Rice Chex cereal
1 1/2 c. oyster crackers
1/2 c. small pretzel sticks or pretzel snaps
2 c. graham sticks (dinosaur bones) or Stauffer’s original animal crackers (dinosaurs)
6 oz. dried fruit (we liked a combination of dried blueberries, cranberries, and cherries)
1 c. yogurt-covered raisins (dinosaur eggs)
5-6 T. butter, melted
2 T. sugar
2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13×9 pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Place cereals, oyster crackers, pretzels, and graham sticks in a large bowl; mix lightly.
Combine butter, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg in small bowl; mix well. Drizzle evenly over cereal mixture. Toss to coat. **If the mixture is pretty dry, mix another half batch of butter/sugar/spice and add.
Spread the coated cereal mixture in an even layer on the pan.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown, stirring gently halfway through. Cool completely. Stir in dried fruit and yogurt-covered raisins.
Instead of graham sticks or animal crackers, you could use mini-dinosaur grahams. I can’t ever find these at my grocery store, but I think they are out there.
For “G” week, you could make Gorilla Grub and substitute the yogurt-covered raisins and dried fruit for plain raisins and dried banana chips.