I am trying to get back to the land of the living, back to blogging and creating and resuming this life I was living before I found out I was knocked up!
The first trimester was difficult, as they tend to be. Thankfully this time around, I wasn't nearly as sick as I was with Maggie, but I still battled the daily nausea, food aversions and exhaustion. On top of that, my general stress level in preparing for the upcoming changes, how it will affect our living situation, financial situation, etc., have been at an all time high. We're talking DefCon 1. It's still really bad, but now that the nausea is gone, I have a bit more energy to deal with it, so that is where you'll find me today...hanging on by a thin thread, but still alive and kicking.
Thanks to Target's help, I was able to set up a Wild + Woodsy backdrop for the festivities, create a fun theme for the party and keep the kids and the parents thouroughly entertained! It was a great success, Maggie had a wonderful time and we were all thrilled with how everything turned out, even the cake- which was a classic Pebbles disaster (see the cake in this post :D). And now, without further ado, I give you Maggie's Wild + Woodsy 3rd Birthday Celebration!
It should go without saying that before I lifted a single finger in putting this together, I spent a lot of couch time researching and compiling ideas on Pinterest. Everything from the decor to the food was narrowed down and adapted from other parties and events shared online. And, as always, not everything I wanted to do, I had time for...so I kept what was most important to the overall theme, and gave myself a break for the details I didn't get to.
I really wanted to transform our space from the ordinary of everyday, to a whimsical wonderland, and I tried to do it while keeping spending at a minimum, as much as possible. It was nice that some of the expenses were also taken care of by Target- a definite bonus!
I started by planning an area where I could "set the stage" for the party, both in space and decor. The functional reason was to designate a "party area" for the kids to gather, explore and play, because we don't have a basement, bonus/playroom or backyard. Essentially, we have one big space that houses our living room and Maggie's toys- and that's it.
I decided to hang a room dividing curtain- which then turned into the idea of a "tree"- which then morphed into a magical tree with a little cave to crawl into. I commissioned my husband to buy some very strong fishing line and some ceiling hooks, and to install a hanging curtain rod in the middle of our open space living area.
I found these brilliant yarn-wrapped embroidery hoops in one of my pins, and instantly knew that this was how I was going to build my abstract "tree." (I happen to have a major stash of hoops in my possession, so this part was a no brainer. All I had to buy was a few skiens of yarn.) I thought about using woodgrain fabric for the background/tree trunk, but when I spotted these Threshold Brown Crinkled shower curtains at Target, I snapped them up- along with this grass green shag area rug. They ended up being perfect for the space.
My mom helped me turn my two round leather storage ottomans into toadstools. It was really easy and low cost. She picked up some inexpensive red flannel fabric from the fabric store, a couple sheets of white craft felt, and two bags of polyester pillow stuffing or batting.
We dug in the kitchen cabinets for two plastic mixing bowls, one for each stool. Placing them upside down on top of the "lid" of the stool, we taped the batting around the bowl until we formed a "toadstool" shape. Then, she simply covered the batting and bowl shape with the red fabric, and stapled it under the lid with the staple gun. Then, I handcut some felt circles and hot glued them to the felt. Ta Da!
To finish, I pulled the big chevron rug out from the living room and placed the green area rug from Target on top. I also picked up a furry grey body pillow cover from Target, which I filled with Maggie's stuffed animals and used that as a cushion for seating. Then, I found a basket and gathered as many of Maggie's "Woodland" themed animals from her toy bin as I could find and placed them near the enterance of the "secret cave."
The secret cave was created with this play tent from Ikea. I had just enough space behind the curtain to hide the tent, then I cut a slit in the bottom of the shower curtain and used safety pins to attach the flaps to the tent to create the opening. I tossed in some throw pillows and it was ready for the kids.
I also picked up about a dozen of these cute stuffed mice from Ikea, which I sprinkled around the room as decoration; I glued some onto the yarn loops, two held the bunting flags, others were mixed in with the lunch table and others on the main food table.
For the food, I set up a themed table with simple party snacks for the adults and made little theme box lunches for the kids. My parents helped by gathering and cutting some wood from their yard, and picked up a nice stump for the cake to sit on, from their next-door neighbor. I bought some sheet moss from Amazon- after a LOT of research, this was the least expensive place to get them- $17 compared to $43 at my craft store! For the mushroom marshmallow pops, we drilled holes in little logs just large enough for the lollipop sticks. John also picked up a huge fallen branch that was covered in moss, so as messy as it was to get up the stairs and into place, we put it in a big container on the floor for added authenticity.
Then there's the cake. Oh, the plans I had for the cake. I really wanted to make a white tierd buttercream frosted cake, with a delicate wood grain etched into the frosting. That went horribly wrong- the crumbs in the frosting, the cherry filling made the cake look like it was bleeding- it was so bad! Thank goodness for this pin on Pinterest, because it literally saved the cake. Doesn't it totally look like I planned it that way? :D Next party, come hell or high water, I am ordering a damn cake.
The glass cannisters I have been collecting over the years, and this time I used them to make decorative terraniums with birds and foam mushrooms from the craft store (we painted the tops red), a bag of garden soil and some moss we harvested from the woods. The rest we filled with candy and snacks. I really kept the food options simple and easy- bought pinwheel wraps from Costco, made a layered hummus dip with multi-grain cracker chips, a large veggie platter, devlied eggs, and some fruit on a stick. For the kids lunches, we made turkey and cheese sandwhiches, carrots and dip (in containers we got from our local pizza place), Annie's fruit snacks, a squeeze fruit and an apple juice box. Simple stuff.
I also set up a drink and utensil bar next to the food table with a jug of lemonade, and ice bucket, cups and paper straws; this is also where we put the napkins and the cutlery, and displayed the treat bags for the kids. I printed name tags onto white cardstock using my inkjet printer, in two sizes: one for the treat bags and one for the lunch boxes. One of the things I wanted to do was label the food items, which I saw on Pinterest- but ran out of time for that. It wasn't missed.
The bunting flags were a bit different- but both simple and easy! For the Maggie flags, I cut triangles from the left over red flannel, and used my Silhouette to cut letters from white cardstock. I glued them down with hot glue and then glued the flags to a long strip of white felt (left over from another project.)
The Happy Birthday flags I simply printed on my color inkjet printer onto white cardstock, quickly cut them out and stapled them onto the strips of white felt. I did this with some help from my Mom and MIL Anne, very quickly before the party started, when I realized the window looked naked. :D
Now on to the entertainment:
Look at this group of cuties! :D
As I mentioned before, we don't have a playspace or a yard- so I had to come up with an activity that would contain the kids in one area and keep them entertained. I considered having John sing songs and play the guitar...but that was NOT going to happen. Luckily for everyone, I stumbled onto a website for a local business that brings bunnies to your event for the kids to enjoy! They are a family that breeds and adopts bunnies, and they use the parties as a way to help socialize the baby bunnies that are going to new homes. They also have a group of adult bunnies that are party pros- so they have a good mix of bunny experiences for the little ones and it was perfect for our event. We kept it a surprise for Maggie, and she LOVED it!! There were bunnies everywhere and the kids loved holding the babies (they were all so careful and gentle!) and we were glad by the end that we had picked up that extra rug, since you know, shit happens ;)
All in all, it was a great day! I really enjoyed throwing this party, and Maggie was in heaven! I have to give Target a BIG THANK YOU, for sponsoring this event and helping me bring it all together.
Usually I can't get her to sit still, or look at the camera, or smile- all three is near impossible- but she was so happy, she indulged me for some adorable photos after the party. Seeing her smile, remembering her holding the bunnies and playing with her little friends, it made every part worth it.
As always, if you have any questions about the party or projects, go ahead and leave a comment, and I will be happy to share more info if I have it!!