Family Life

Summer Celebration

It was an exciting weekend: birthday party time! I love planning my children’s birthday parties. With a summer birthday, when my daughter asked for a pool party, I knew exactly where I wanted to take the idea—her new favorite movie, Finding Dory. I went looking for some appropriately themed pool toys first, and managed to score a couple of turtle and fish rafts, which made life much easier for me! Next, I started work on the décor. I found a cool lantern/jellyfish project that worked nicely. My daughter loved the end result. Honestly, so did I. I wouldn’t mind keeping them up a little longer! For entertainment, we made an obstacle course using the kids’ fabric tunnels and streamers. The kids would follow the course by navigating a trail of “seashells” we put on the ground. We also made a version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey where the kids would try to get Dory the closest to her parents. For food, I had the usual treats that I put out but with a couple of variations. For the crudités, I made little slices in carrot sticks to look like fins, then used ranch dressing to add stripes to make them look like clownfish. I also made sugar free gelatin using blue food coloring (natural food coloring, people. Don’t start. I know the dangers of artificial food coloring. I boiled red cabbage. I know it sounds gross but as long as you don’t use a lot of it, you don’t really notice the flavor) and poured it into a fish shaped mold that I scored off ebay. Instead of a big cake, I made cupcakes, replacing the butter with applesauce and using whole wheat flour. I did make a cream cheese frosting, however. Gotta give the kids at least a little something sweet! I printed out little octopus images, taped them to toothpicks, and stuck them in the tops of each.)
Everything was going swimmingly—see what I did there—until the wind picked up and everyone started complaining that they were getting chilly. Kids started hopping out of the pool and looking toward the house. Rather than run the risk of ten wet children running around my house and sitting on all my furniture, I had my husband bring out our outdoor patio heater. I am so glad that we bought this particular model because the children’s safety is always a huge concern. The base is nice and wide, which keeps it from falling over. The actual heater is quite high so little fingers can’t reach it. We were able to keep the kids warm enough for the grand finale of the party: we made a movie screen out of a white sheet we hung between two trees, had the kids spread out their beach towels to sit on, and we used our projector to have a showing of Finding Nemo. They got their last treat of the night, which we called Fish Food but was really seasoned air-popped popcorn mixed with organic cereal.
All in all, it was a great party! I am always up for the challenge of creating a fun party and finding little details to make things unique. I had parents coming up to me afterwards admiring the jellyfish decorations and asking me how I managed to get their kid to eat carrots—I told them it’s all in the presentation!