Friday, March 14, 2014

Rainforest Party

Whew! I learned my lesson from last year, and didn't mention Cadence's birthday party until after Christmas. She remembered before then, of course, but as long as I didn't bring it up, she didn't obssess about it. As soon as I asked her what sort of theme she wanted, she started going over the top crazy about her birthday. She even requested prayer, every night for a month-and-a-half, that her birthday party would go well, none of her friends would get sick from eating too much cake, and that the adults would help everyone arrive on time. {As a side note, James now thinks it's time for his birthday, and has requested prayer every night since HER party, that "Um, mine birthday go well." Who's willing to break it to him that his party isn't for another six months?!}
She decided she wanted a rainforest theme, with Jack and Annie from the Magic Tree House books. She *needed* crocodiles, parrots, snakes, and a canoe on the Amazon River. She did research and made me read aloud all about the Amazon Rain Forest, the animals who live there, and the rainforest canopy. I made the mistake of asking her what sort of decorations we should have. Never. Again. 
"Oh, Mommy, I have a great idea! We should..."
And that's all I heard for the next month. 
A tree in the living room!
A river across the coffee table, with a crocodile who eats presents!
A vine going from the tree to the river, with a spider monkey on it!
Bats! But... what if some of my guests are scared of bats? No bats. 
A cake with a water fall and a canoe with Jack and Annie and a parrot and a crocodile!
"Mommy, I had another great idea for my birthday party! We could take streamers and wrap them all around the trampoline and cut out leaves and pain them green and put them all around the trampoline to make it look more like a rainforest. And we should get on the computer and print out all sorts of different Rainforest Animals and tape to the wall, so the guests can learn more about rainforests. And we can copy sections of my books so the other guests can read about the different parts of the rainforest and learn more even after they go home, and we can write down information from our research and hang the information on the walls for people to read and..."
I was so ready for this party to be over. 

My goal when I finally caved in and started decorating, was to let her help as much as possible. So I will note as I show pictures which things she helped with. Everything was her idea, although whether we executed things to her specifications is quite another story. 

Invitations with a monkey on a yarn vine. She tore the blue paper for water, and cut the yarn to size, as well as some gluing. The back says, "Swing on by for a party..."

The beginnings of the waterfall cake. The top layer caved in (what is with that?) but it made the perfect spot for the canoe. 

The banner - she cut the leaves from construction paper, colored the letters, and helped staple them to the ribbon. 

The animal wall - she chose all the pictures ("Look at that adorable crocodile coming out of the water Mommy, she is so CA-UTE!") and taped them to the wall. 

The gift table (a.k.a. Amazon River) with a vine leading to a tree. I saw the idea for the backdrop here, and was too tired to make it look tidy :P 
I saw the basic vine idea here. Some notes - I used grocery bags opened up, taped end to end, then rolled. Free! The kids painted it, as well as some flat opened bags. The flat bags I cut into leaf shapes. The tree is just rolled up grocery bags.

The leaves they painted, and the fruit Cadence drew, colored, and cut. What, you've never seen a tree with a strawberry, two coconuts, and an apple before?!

He eats presents!

She was quite pleased with her crocodile coming up out of the water. I let her help cut sponges into shape, then hot glued them to a piece of cardboard. The head was an outline printed on green paper - she colored his eyes, and added some extra large teeth to make it stand up better. I cut slits in the table cloth to let the ridges of his back poke through, and taped his head to the top of the cloth. 

This was supposed to be a joke - Tony asked her if she wanted a hippo eating a fish being eaten by a crocodile being carried off by bats for decorations, and of course she said yes. Then insisted he draw and color it by hand. Didn't he do great?!

The cake table. She cut the spiral snakes to dangle, and chose monkey cups for party favors. I let her pick all the paper goods from the dollar store, and she wrote multiple to-do lists and shopping lists throughout the process. Some with dots at the corners of each letter, "Just so it's fancier and makes you happy while you work Mommy." Uh. Thanks. 

The finished cake. It was actually one of the easiest I've done. It is just a rectangle cake and a single layer of a round cake, iced with green then blue icing added on (all just spread with a knife) for the river. The canoe and trees are made of chocolate. The canoe I found a tutorial for here, and the trees I saw the idea here. Be careful when using food coloring in white chocolate - it turns it a very odd texture, more like play dough really.  She found the animals and little guy (Jack) at Hobby Lobby, and wanted to use the little girl from her doll house for Annie. Works for me!

The "I'm tired, it's midnight, I want to go to bed" trampoline. I did like the sign we put up...

I think she liked it ;)

She also wrote the names of each kid on the label for their party bag, and the party favors were the cups, stickers, and pictures she drew for each cousin.

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