Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Jonah's Very Hungry Caterpillar Party!

I'm finally sharing the last installment of Jonah's Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday party- thanks for your patience.

Party day finally arrived here at the Ricardo's after much decorating, favor preparation and sewing of Livy's vintage butterfly party dress ... reveal my birthday boy... excited to now be 2...


...and handing out extra kissies:)

 So as I was dealing with a cake pop debacle, guests began arriving and I had to surrender to having no hungry caterpillar cake pops:(  It was a sad moment but I rallied myself and chose to move on...sigh...

 ...presents were stashed on the window seat which worked out perfectly... hats were provided, including this special one for Jonah...

 ...which stayed on his head for about 30 seconds!

Bigger kids were occupied with a Very Hungry Caterpillar puzzle...

...while younger kids played with soft aka "safe" toys:)

And then the organized activities commenced, beginning with a reading of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle himself!

I sat on the floor in the middle of the kids with our copy of the board book, flipping pages as Mr. Carle read- I just love his accent but in hindsight think the kids would have preferred my reading it and getting them a bit more involved...

Next I invited kids to practice their caterpillar crawling skills with our newly purchased tunnel, courtesy of IKEA- my little Ms were the most enthusiastic, surprise, surprise!
I was so pleased that "Baby Beckett" (almost a year old) finally ventured through after watching Jonah multiple times- yeah for new discoveries & no injuries:)

And lastly, kiddos were invited to decorate the butterfly wall...

...utilizing my DIY foamies...

...creating some masterpieces:)

Then it was time to sing "Happy Birthday" to our big boy:)

And finally it was time to eat!

Since Jonah's birthday was mid morning & I was trying to keep things as simplified as possible, I opted for snacks & sweets.
I thus didn't include every "caterpillar" food, instead utilizing some faux fruit...

 ...and adding some substitutes that were sure to please little party comers:)

I liked the idea of big swirly lollipops but they get pricey when purchasing  lots and I didn't think any kid needed that much sugar so I found small lollipops to place on the table for guests (nestled in buckets filled with pebbles, from IKEA)...

...and used a few large ones for decor purposes, nestled in mason mugs with rainbow straws:)

Pre-Scooped Sprinkled Ice Cream Spoons
courtesy of Pinterest
Notice I also didn't offer actual ice cream cones- I had intended to offer individual scoops rolled in sprinkles, housed in cupcake liners but when I tested them, I didn't like the taste of a bazillion sprinkles so scrapped that idea...and no one missed them:)

I went round & round about the watermelon & strawberries (due to potential stain issues) and finally agreed to little watermelon bites on tooth picks & strawberries on bamboo forks, dipped in green candy melts...


...and found these napkins in my party stash!

Gramma graciously agreed to make these cherry pie sticks (another pinterest idea) and they went quickly- the grass blocks were left over from Livy's birthday!

I mentioned earlier that I experienced a cake pop debacle on party day- well, I had my fair share of upsets with these mini cupcakes too:(  The first batch stuck to the tins & the second batch didn't want to stay in their wrappers!

I was able to salvage a dozen (shown above) and piped them with a quick buttercream frosting and then sprinkled rainbow sugar, which made me happy:)   It was a lot of work for 12 mini cupcakes but I used the remainder "bits" to make a sponge trifle the following day, so not a complete loss:)

 While planning for Jonah's birthday, I had pinned where party hosts topped brownies with a cherry, mimicking the Hungry Caterpillar's piece of chocolate cake vs making a layer cake- definitely easier, so I made from scratch brownies (the best I've had- recipe to follow this week...), topped with a smidge of buttercream and then red M&Ms!


Alas, I have no idea what happened to my picture of the salami, cheese & pickles tray but it can sort of be seen here, next to the cupcakes...
I opted for medium cheddar vs swiss, mini gherkins & summer sausage-
I cubed the cheese and sliced the sausage, placed bamboo forks/toothpicks in each, making them easier to obtain & eat:)
I was amazed that this tray had to be refilled as I didn't expect the kids to enjoy it, but Jude (4) chowed down on the savories like a champ, hopefully inspiring my little Ms!

I put out a large bucket of natural kettle chips to counteract some of the sweets & I knew my birthday boy would enjoy them:)

For this party I bought a double glass beverage dispenser that I plan to use for years & years to come, making it a worthy investment- one side was filled with ice water and the other with homemade lemonade...

...utilizing the lemon juice from my DIY Limoncello experiment:)

TIP: to keep the lemonade from getting watery, I froze lemonade in ice cube trays as well!!!

Kids were situated in the kitchen with red plates, party blowers & organic juice boxes (on sale at Costco!)...

...and then picked their treats:)

"Baby Beckett" was a trooper, waiting for her food and keeping up with the bigger kids:)

After snacks, kids resumed playtime- we opted to not open gifts during the party as nap time was quickly approaching and it just makes for less drama:)

We kept the party brief (approx 1 1/4 hrs) to ensure little ones weren't overwhelmed and encouraged departing guests to partake of the multiple favors we prepared...

 ...including the seed kits:)

I received word from one of our guests the following morning that they had planted their seeds and placed the pots in the windowsill, awaiting sprouts- positive feedback is priceless:)

I spent a lot of time researching what other hosts of Very Hungry Caterpillar parties orchestrated and gleaned several ideas (ie: M&M "caterpillar food" favor & twisted streamer wall decor) from them...


...and also picked up the free printables from a fellow, generous Mom:)

 I honestly didn't come across another post with "growing seed favors" or the organized activities including the caterpillar crawl via tunnel & fun foam butterfly wall...hope you're inspired:)
Here are a few links that I found helpful when planning this party:

"Paper Lantern Caterpillar"- didn't make it to the day since they were misplaced in the move!
"Caterpillar Food"
 "Balloon Fruit"- ran out of energy to achieve this but SO wanted to!!!
"Twisted Streamers & Brownie aka Cake"

Further party details listed below.
Thanks for stopping by & a huge thanks to the friends & family who helped to celebrate our "Big O Boy" turning 2!!!

Decor Credits:
All banners, pennants, garland & decor was handmade by me- the party hats were a kit from Stampin' Up! to which I added pompoms.
Printables: free download and then mounted with card stock & bamboo skewers.

Food Credits:
Mini Cupcakes: homemade by me
Brownies: homemade by me
Cherry Pie Sticks: homemade by Gramma

Favor Credits:
Seed Kits- homemade by me
Caterpillar Food- homemade by me (if you call filling tins with M&Ms "homemade"!)
Fruit snacks- bought

Any questions about supplies/sources, let me know!

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