Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Look Whoooo's Four!

What could be better than chocolate feathers?  On a crooked owl cake?

I know!  I know!  A party where you get to look for birds, and pretend to be birds, and then you get to eat a bird.

This was our first official birthday bash for R.  Her first two were family affairs.  Her third one was more like "There's the ball pit.  There are the cupcakes.  I'll be over here taking care of a newborn."  So I wanted to do something special, personalized just for her. 

I saw this owl cake idea a while back on, so it's been lingering in the back of my mind, just waiting for the right time.  And when I connected it with the fact that R has always loved to fly around the house pretending to be a bird and to build nests for herself out of any materials (most often clean laundry and bedding) available, a party theme was born.

This is the giant nest we built last month out of the plethora of tree trimmings we had laying all over our yard.  The owl costume idea I stole from  It's mostly hot glue, with a few felt feathers thrown in.  You'll never guess what R is going to be for halloween this year. 

Maybe, just maybe, this will be the year that we are able to do all homemade costumes.  I'm feeling much more ambitious than last year.  Besides, I'm trying to save our pennies so we can take the kids to Disneyland sometime before the world ends.

The invitations turned out really fun.  I think I liked them more than the cake, which is saying a lot.  And the best part is that they were totally my idea.  Shocked?  Yeah, me too.  I am the queen idea borrower.

The idea stemmed from a photo idea.  Surprise.  Surprise.  The above photo, in fact.  I glued it to the front of a card and printed, "Guess whooo's turning four!"  Then I used a paper trimmer (you could also use an exacto knife) to cut through the photo and the card so that a flap opened up to reveal the photo below.  Or part of it, anyway.  Plus the birthday girl's name.

Inside, it read:  And guess whoooo is invited to the party!  Yoooo are!  Come to the (insert last name)bird sanctuary on Saturday (insert date and time).  Be ready to flap your wings, eat some worms (not real ones!), go bird watching, and have lots of fun with your feathered friends.

Feel free to steal all my ideas.  Heaven know I've done it too many times to count.  And it's a rare thing that most of the ideas for this party were my own.

The cake is two bowl cakes stuck together to make an oval.  I think I might have made mine overly tall.  He almost tipped over on multiple occasions.  But fortunately, the bamboo skewers and the cardboard circles kept him steady enough.  Not straight, but steady enough.  Barely.

Slivered almonds for the breast feathers and shaved chocolate (chocolate bar meets veggie peeler) for the back and side feathers.  Dried pineapple rings for the circles with junior mints for the eyes.  Pretzel sticks and green coconut for the nest.  And the beak is a caramel bugle.  K and S were gracious enough to help me find one that was the perfect shape, and then they ate most of the discards.

They were inspired enough by my big owl that they wanted to try making their own smaller versions.  I think they did a pretty good job.

Shaggy remarked that the owl looked VERY surprised.  I probably would too, if I were about to be carved up and fed to very small children.

I even remembered to get myself in a picture. 

R was expressing concern over the fact that the owl's hair was on fire.  Love that face.

We braved the heat so the kids could play in the giant nest, pretending to be birds and eating worms.  They liked that part.

Then we handed out binoculars (made from toilet paper tubes glued together and painted), and a birdwatcher sheet with photos of the things they were supposed to find around the backyard.

I found these cute little birds at Michaels.  Didn't have any idea what I was going to do with them until a few weeks before the party.  But it turned out to be a really fun bird hunt for the kids.  They also found a little nest with fake eggs and a few other bird related things.  But they loved the basket filled with large plastic easter eggs the best.  Because they got to keep some.  They were extra thrilled when I told them that they had surprises inside and they had to crack the eggs open to see them.  I had placed toy birds and bags of jelly beans inside the eggs, then hot glued them shut, and painted them to look like robin eggs.  Some of those eggs were hard to crack!

I think this has to be one of my all time favorite party guests photo.  It makes me smile.  They LOVED those binos--and made good use of them, too.

Once the heat got the better of us, we retreated into wonderful AC land where we cooled off with drinks and an owl story.  The Littlest Owl, about a baby owl whose family is not sure he'll ever learn to fly.  But he does, even in the midst of a storm.

 So we handed out handkerchiefs and let the kids run around the house while flapping their arms, trying to achieve lift off.  Nobody succeeded, but there was a lot of giggling.

But surprisingly, the activity that they stuck with the longest and that generated the MOST giggles, was the classic Duck, Duck, Goose.  Of course, being 3 and 4, they didn't follow the rules very well, but that certainly didn't stop them from enjoying themselves.

The birthday girl had a great time.  Even though most of her gifts came from either the attic fairy or ebay.  But what does she know?  They're new to her.

 This girl has the greatest surprise face ever!

She's so happy to be growing up.  She even told me that when she gets a little bigger, she's going to not do bad things anymore, ever. 

I love her earnestness.  And I wonder what, exactly, is her definition of a little bigger.

1 comment:

Mom said...

OH MY GOODNESS!!! You've outdone yourself, and that's really saying something since you've put together some pretty amazing parties in the past. The cake is awesome, not to mention the costume, activities and, of course, the wonderful photos. WOW!!! I'm impressed and that's an understatement.