Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy Really Late Birthday and Earthday!

Holy Cow.

I’m writing this Saturday afternoon, having just survived a fairly small birthday party of 6 year old girls. There were only 6 in total, including the birthday girl, and it’s the first such party where we’ve actually had more activities planned than there was time to accomplish them all.

It was a good party, actually, I’m fairly proud.

We did an “Earth Day Birthday” theme, which I know is very very late on both counts—my daughter’s birthday was actually in May, and Earth Day itself is of course April. But it had the bonus of being a beautiful summer day where we could spend the entire time outdoors. We set up table and chairs in the backyard, doubling as craft table and mealtime table. I’d baked an “Earth Cake” using the same recipes for cake and icing I’ve used in the past, did a fairly clumsy job decorating it (as you can see from the photo!), but I’m not that kind of artist, you know?

We did the chalk art thing out front until all the girls arrived, which made it easy for everyone to find the house, since it was the house with a bunch of kids out front drawing on the driveway in chalk. Then we went into the backyard and painted terra cotta flowerpots I’d gotten for $1.50 at Hobby Lobby. A bunch of paintbrushes and sponges of different sizes and a bunch of acrylic paints, and old oversized white t-shirts over clothes, and they had a ball—did some very pretty and creative work, too!

Then we made pinecone bird feeders—we spread a little sunflower butter into some pine cones we’d gathered at the park last week, and rolled them in birdseed, with pipe cleaner hangers…we’d planned to string cheerio type cereal onto the pipe cleaners but discovered when I got the box of cereal home that I’d messed up and gotten one that was sugar-glazed, which I didn’t want to use for birds. Note to anyone who tries this—refrigerate the nut butter first (we got sunflower because I didn’t know if we’d have any nut allergies), it’s very drippy. And we did refrigerate it afterwards, and wrapped each one in a little cling wrap (I know, plastic disposable, but there was really very little trash generated at this party!), and sent it home with each girl.

We got everyone cleaned up then, set the pots out to dry, and had a nice alfresco lunch of pizza-on-naan, chicken tenders, and fresh fruit—I was delighted to see that the fruit got well-picked-over, and the rest of the food was well-eaten too. No disposable plates or flatware, just the real stuff from the kitchen. Cake and ice cream for dessert. Fortunately, 6-year-old girls’ eye for skillful graphic design made my massacre of the Americas-in-icing forgivable. And, though I didn’t say this to the girls, I giggled at the idea of the vanilla ice cream being the melting polar ice caps…(not that the actual ice cap melting is funny in the slightest, just the imagery here…)

Then we opened presents, and honestly by then it was almost time to go home. We had also planned for squirt-toy play outdoors, but they weren’t really interested in that, so instead we left well enough alone for the last ten minutes, let the girls play with the new toys, and I potted the little marigolds we’d bought in the pots they’d painted, instead of having them pot them as planned. (That’s my one real disappointment, that we didn’t get to actually do the flower planting.) We’d also planned on decorating these very simple canvas bags ($3.50 for 4 at Hobby Lobby) with fabric markers, but had run out of time for that too…so everyone went home with a fairly simple reusable bag with a little gardening shovel ($.33 at Hobby Lobby, midsummer sale on gardening stuff, I guess!) and a pair of gardening gloves, a pine cone bird feeder, and a living flower in a pot they had painted. I think everyone had fun. I even actually had fun. And my daughter was in seventh heaven, which is what matters.

But man, I'm tired.


Robbie @ Going Green Mama said...

Sounds like you had a great weekend! We survived ours as well, lots of outdoor games, dinner and cupcakes. Other than a few party-crashing kids who swiped the guests' bags, all was well!

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Wow sounds like you are one more awesome party planner!! You have given me some great ideas for our next get together. You have made me want to head right on over to Hobby Lobby!

Jenn the Greenmom said...

Alicia--I'm actually not, it makes me crazy! But I was thrilled at how painting something NOT what they usually paint, like the flowerpots, engaged them immediately and for a good long was very cool!

Another friend--Erin, was it you?--sagely told me, "Don't underestimate free play." WISEST BIT OF ADVICE EVER. I have always tended to plan everything like crazy, but once the girls decided they wanted to do their own thing, that was pretty much that.

It also helps, though I left it out of the post, to have a youngish Big Brother who professes to not be able to stand girls but who also can't stand to be left out of anything. Gives a focus for the free play. ("Awww, mannn, what if all these girls start CHASING ME??!! Anyone want to CHASE ME?"
"EEEK! Chase the boy! Chase the boy!"

Hours of fun for the whole family.

Dmarie said...

hey, I love the earth day cake. looks FUN, which is the important part, so your artistic side served you well!


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