May 7, 2013

bird day

The themed party has become the standard in our house.  I used to think themed parties were a bit over the top, unnecessary, I mean the theme is birthday, the food is cake and the decor... it's the cute-as-pie kid!  But then I realised how much fun theming a party can be, especially when the theme is picked for you by that cute-as-pie kid that doesn't know what is involved in organising a party, nevermind a robot themed one, or as in this case, a bird themed one.

After Ollie's 4th birthday party, every time there was mention of Max's birthday (and quite often when there was not), he'd remind us that he wanted a birdie party.  I was never really sure what this would involve, but figured there'd be a bird on the invitation and a bird shaped cake and some kind of bird food. Cue the interweb for inspiration... except it wasn't there!  Angry Birds themed party?  Sure, there's a million pictures of that, and everyone loves a vintage bird themed whatever (usually wedding) but nothing along the lines of cute-but-not-girly-birdy, so with this one, I really did need to think about it.  It went a bit like this:

The usual creative process: I'm the bossy one, he's the talented one.  Read all about it here.

We figured the best thing to bring to a bird party would be birds (and in fact the birthday boy was quite keen to invite the actual birds in our garden and beyond to his special day).  So, I set about finding a tonne of images of birds, painted, photographed, drawn, and then printed them out in colour on cheap card.  We must have had about 50 or so in total.  These we strung up so we could hang them in trees, under our house, in our house, everywhere.  They looked freaking great!  Then of course there were balloons and fairy lights because every party needs those.

I kept it simple.  For the first time ever I didn't try and do absolutely everything myself, and ordered in sausage rolls from our local awesome bakery (they were a hit) but I did make mini quiches (which I did a week in advance and then froze, defrosting and reheating them on the day of the party - easy).  We baked butter cookies in the shape of 3s and birds, the kids loved helping with this, and there was fruit, cheese, jelly (the grown ups love it as much as the kids) and a couple of little bowls of chips.  No big bowls of sweets and lollies, and not one kid missed them.

Ridiculous.  Bird shaped.  Big.  Very delicious.  For my own information, I made the vanilla cake I always make.  I froze the offcuts which we ate for days afterwards with home made vanilla custard.  It sounds sick.  It wasn't.

I'm not a big fan of party favours but there's no denying they're a godsend when you want to either get your kids out of a party, or get other people's kids out of your own home, so they have their uses.  I chose not to put too much junk in the noodle boxes that were adorned with randomly cut bird house shapes taken from my old stash of Frankie magazines (sigh) but bird stickers, bubbles for the girls, toy trucks for the boys (yeah it's typecasting, who cares) and a little home made bird shaped cookie.  And a mini lollipop (well, I don't want to be the mother of the child who's parties nobody wants to go to because there's no candy).  Loved how these turned out.

I realise now that it's not possible to rely on the kids being outdoors as being sufficient to keep them entertained.  It works on my kids, they really only need a bucket, a spade, some water and some dirt but there were girls coming to this party so I had to be realistic about entertaining them.  Cue free bird printables and a table set up with pens and pencils.  Predictably, a hit with the girls and largely ignored by the boys.  We also made bird houses using giant cardboard boxes salvaged from kindy, so simple, painted with leftover emulsion paint and roofed with cardboard shingles.  And yes, the kids loved these too, because all children like to clamber into big boxes.  They looked great too.  Oh and there was an egg hunt.  Eggs come from birds, I believe, and it was Easter, and although we aren't Christian, all children love hunting for little wooden eggs if they are promised a swap with chocolate ones at the end of it.

Anyway, Ollie helped decorate paper cups with birds, I wore a birdie necklace and we had some pretty awesome bird fashion on a couple of the dads.  I wrote absurd lists (it's no use pretending I can do it any other way) and fretted about things only I will ever know weren't quite birdy enough. I would have liked to have dressed up like a flamingo.  I would have liked to have made Max some wings so he could at least pretend to fly.  I would have liked to have printed out some big birds, emus, ostriches etc on A1 or even bigger to put in our garden.  I would have liked there to have been more feathers and to have themed the food.  I would have liked to have done lots of things but the party we threw was just right and in the end it didn't matter what we didn't do. An awesome time was had by all.

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