Thursday, November 03, 2011

Hoooo-Ray! Sarah is 6!

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Let me start by saying that birthdays are a BIG deal at our house, especially with Sarah. I think they are bigger even than Christmas in her mind. Maybe because she has 4 older siblings to share just about everything with, and this is HER special day she doesn’t have to share with anyone else? She is constantly thinking about what the theme for her next party will be, and this starts the day after we have just had one usually LOL When Sarah first told me that she wanted an owl party for her birthday this year (in the middle of Elizabeth and Carissa’s party back in August, as a matter of fact LOL), I wasn’t sure how that was going to work out as I had no clue what to do. It all started with a cupcake, which is understandable given Sarah’s adoration of cupcakes in general. She had seen an owl cupcake in one of my several cupcake books she pores over regularly and decided that is what she wanted. So, while the older girls’ party was in full swing and they didn’t need me any more, I started a search for ideas for an owl party. I started looking on Pinterest and before too long had come across several cute ideas for felted owls of various kinds. Among them were a set of handmade owls- 13 of them, all different. When I explored the link with the picture I found a blog post bySnowy Bliss about the night owl pajama party that she had held for her 6-year old daughter. She had made the set of owls as party favors for the guests. I went back and forth for days about whether it was going overboard to make owls to give away, did I have the time, etc. and in the end decided to just go for it. I had several months if I just got started on them. I purchased the pattern for the owls from Snowy Bliss’ Etsy shop, bought a stack of felt (since I of course did not have the colors needed in the stack of felt I already owned), and started working. I scaled down the pattern a bit as I wanted the owls to be smaller (and thus be faster to make). Mine were about 5” x 6” with the wing-span making them about 8” wide when they were finished, but otherwise stuck pretty closely to the pattern and original owls by snowybliss. I cut the pieces for each out and put them in Ziploc baggies and I carried around several at a time as I worked on them, usually while I was sitting in the hall at dance.  I didn’t try to keep what I was doing a secret, though I didn’t tell Sarah exactly how they were going to be given out at the party. It took me about an hour and half each to stitch the pieces together for the front, including the embellishments. I really enjoyed the process and it was a nice change of pace to sew something and get away from my computer for a bit. I missed having them to work on once they were all finished.

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credits: at Kaye Winieki- Where the Heart Is, The sweetest Thing, Pea Green Boat; Fall Moments Collab by TLP and SSD designers; Valorie Wibbons: Fireflies, retired (moon); CC Scatterelle brush set; font: CK June Bug Louise

journaling: We celebrated Sarah’s 6th birthday with a nightowl pajama party. Dancing in the dark with glow sticks, eating ice cream sundaes and owl cupcakes, and then more dancing were lots of fun. The star hunt helped everyone adopt their very own nightowl, handmade by Melinda, to take home. It was a hooting good time! Keeley couldn’t come to the party at the last minute, but she brought her gift over the day before to give to Sarah. She adopted Giggles the owl.  Sarah adores her handmade owl beanie and wears it everywhere. ~Oct. 15, 2011
credits: at Bring On the Cake Collab by Kate Hadfield, Kaye Winieki, and Karah Fredricks; by Kaye Winieki- Sleep Tight, Where Bluebirds Fly, The Sweetest Thing, Pea Green Boat, Where My Heart Is, Down in the Woods, As Leaves Turn, Cafe Break, Ruby's Room, Here Comes the Sun, It Pays to Believe; Kate Hadfield: Make a Wish, Ballet Slippers, Spotty Dotty Alpha; Valorie Wibbons: Fireflies (retired) ; Template 173 by Yin Designs; Faerily Moonlit Sky Elements by Lorie Davison; vintage Garden Fairies by Dani Mogstad at SSD
font:P22 Garamouche


Decor: I collected owls from various places. I didn’t really worry too much about finding coordinating items other than they had an owl theme. I made the invitations and owl adoption certificates using mostly the cute digital designs of Kaye Winieki at The-LilyPad and a few other favorite digital designers. I mixed in a few pumpkins and non-spooky Halloween items as well, as with a birthday in October and a love of costumes and dressing up it just seemed appropriate for my Sarah. I tried to focus on the color combo of a medium warm brown with a mix of bright colors to keep things fun, though there was quite a bit of orange on the table in the end. I found the brown/bright colors combo in party goods in the baby shower section at the party store. Fisher Price has a super cute jungle party theme for a baby shower that had the right colors and a fun mix of stripes and dots-  I just had to cover up some of the baby jungle animals. I made my own cutouts to match the invitations on the computer and then printed, cut them out and stuck them on the decor items I bought. There was another set with an actual 'night owl’ theme in the colors I wanted, but the store only had the cups, plates and napkins for it. Since I was mixing and matching that worked out just fine. Sarah is getting a new ‘big’ bed from her father when he finishes building it, so I had purchased some new bedding for her from Target and a piece or two of that was used as decor as well.

We carved a pumpkin with an owl and had a lit fall wreath hanging on the door to welcome the party owls to the festivities.2011_1014_Sarah_owlbday-15  2011_1014_Sarah_owlbday-35 2011_1015_Sarah_owlbday-10 2011_1015_Sarah_owlbday-25

Food: I kept it simple with the night owl’s favorite foods- cupcakes and ice cream sundaes. I made both full size and mini size owl cupcakes. I deliberately tried to make the bigger cupcakes smaller/flatter after baking by only filling the cups up half-way with batter; this left some batter over to use to make the mini cupcakes as a side benefit. A tall rounded cupcake is hard to prop a flat cookie onto securely.  A hint for future reference: just spend the extra to get the ‘name brand’ sandwich cookies, it will spare you a lot of grief and time since they come apart cleanly and easily, and the ‘store brand’ versions didn’t work nearly as well. Beaks on the big cupcakes are banana Runts or caramel candy corn, and on the minis they are chocolate covered sunflowers seeds which I found in the candy section of World Market stores. For the eyes I used Junior Mints, Reeses Pieces, and dots of chocolate and white icing. Ears are the ‘clean’ cookie halves cut in half- save the ones that don’t break right for making into cookie crumbs to top the ice cream sundaes with ;)

There were candy and sauces galore to choose from. This particular group of 6 year olds favored the gummy bears and Nerds candy and strawberries  and chocolate sauce for their sundaes. I had Neapolitan, mint chip, and spumoni ice cream to choose from. I was really surprised that most of the kids wanted to try the spumoni; I only bought it because Brenna was with me when I went shopping and when I pointed it out as an ‘I haven’t seen that flavor in a long time’ moment she wanted to try it. In my experience, usually the kids at parties stick to what they know LOL The mini cupcakes were just about right for them. We actually didn’t eat any of the big ones at the party since they filled up more on the ice cream. My kids were more than happy to eat the big ones over the following days ;)
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Activities: We had lots of glow bracelets for the girls and each got 2 or 3 when they arrived; a few turned them into a necklace by hooking the bracelets together. I also had some larger wands that they could take turns with. Once they were decked out in glowing items they were sent into the backyard for dancing in the dark/freeze dance. We had a large playlist of songs that had to do with dancing in some fashion playing randomly and if the back porch light came on they had to freeze until it went off again. People large and small would walk by and flip it on and off randomly. Dancing in the dark was the favorite activity- I guess having permission to run around like crazy in your pajamas outside  in the dark is the best sort of fun! LOL

They came inside to get their ice cream and cupcakes and went right back outside to eat them. I hadn’t planned that, but it worked well- thank goodness for beautiful and warm evening October weather! Once the goodies were eaten they came back inside for gift opening. While Sarah was opening her gifts, Bryce took the large glow-in-the-dark foam stars we had made and hid them around the backyard in easy to spot places. He did a great job and only the big sisters had to have a hint or two to find the very last ones. Each of the owls had been wrapped in plain white paper lunch bags I had Sarah and Brenna stamp with owls one afternoon to occupy them. There was a randomly picked matching smaller glow-in-the-dark star on each of the bags; we didn’t even know which owl was in which when we were done. The numbers were called in order and each child got to unwrap their numbered bag to reveal their owl. Inside the bag with the owl was an introduction/adoption card which was read to the whole room, and by the time we got to #13 everyone knew to join in on the “hooo-ray!” at the end. It was very cute.

2011_1015_Sarah_owlbday-46Brenna reading her owl introduction card to everyone. I will admit to ‘rigging’ this one number for her. She would just have not been happy with anything other than the purple dress-up owl. (if you know of her attachment to certain purple bear blankets, you will understand.) My other kids ended up swapping with each other a bit too after the party, but the guests were all thrilled with whichever owl they randomly received LOL


After the owls were all adopted, more dancing ensued and new toy packages were opened for playing with until the end of the party.

It’s Squinkie heaven! Sarah received 5 different sets of Squinkies- I guess I got the word out that that was what she really wanted this year well enough! She has always loved the teeny-tiny little toys, and these certainly fall into that category.2011_1015_Sarah_owlbday-48

All in all, it was a wonderful and fairly simple party- certainly one that I think will be remembered by everyone. I give others most of the credit for the ideas, I just picked and chose what I wanted to use from their creativity. So thanks Snowy Bliss and anyone else who freely shares their party ideas with the world- Sarah and I appreciate it!

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