Okay…don’t get too excited by the title of the post. This was a super peaceful and low key birthday party. I did not go overboard, did not spend hours prepping and decorating and did not get any clowns or entertainers.
I decided to focus on the reason for the party…our 2 year old bundle of joy. The party was about him and for him…not about all that I wanted to turn his day into. And honestly, I have realized over the years that it takes really simple things to make a child happy. While bouncy castles and jugglers and puppeteers are fun..so are simple thing like just being with your friends and family and playing together. After much thought, I decided that I would plan the party around what Amu likes.
I have this thing for themes…so I figured I would go with that. Amu absolutely loves Eric Carle’s Brown Bear book…he has since he was a little over a year old…and while a lot of the other books have been passing favorites, this is one that he has carried forward even as he has moved on to longer more complex paper back picture books.
The twins thought it would be a fun theme too and so we sat and designed a simple invite that i got printed on photo paper. I take no credit for the idea…it was from the wonderful world of pinterest and google images but basically it had a pic of the brown bear and one of Amu, and it read: Brown Bear Brown Bear, What do you see? I see a birthday boy looking at me”
Going along with the general Eric Carle theme, I painted a canvas with balloons that had HAPPY BIRTHDAY on it. I picked up cute polka dotted plates, cups and napkins from a local party shop and lots of round colourful balloons. That along with 5-6 cloth buntings (made by our company Printed Elephant Designs) gave the room a really festive cheerful feel. It took hardly anytime and I felt like instead of using paper streamers this was faster, easier and really pretty too!
Snacks were again around what Amu liked…freshly popped corn (popcorn is of of Amu’s all time favs), ragi/nachni crisps with hummus and salsa, pizzas (bought whole wheat pizza bases and made the sauce at home), jello set in individual cups and of course the birthday cake (which this time we ordered from a place called Aubree).
I picked picked out some of Amu’s favorite music CDs, made a big batch of glitter play dough and set it up with a baking tray, rolling pins, silicone cup cake molds, cut up straws to use as candles and bits of colored plastic beading string as sprinkles. In addition to that, we set up blocks, a reading corner and a puzzle mat. My cousin drew outlines of the animals from the Brown Bear book which we kept in the balcony along with little cups that had crayons.
Once the kids came in, they went straight for whatever activity they chose. Since these were all Amu’s school friends, everyone knew each other and they seemed very comfortable. The playdough was a hit…they were all playing with it. A couple of kids sat in the reading corner while another girl focused on the puzzles. Amu waled excitedly round the room on his tiptoes (a sure sign of being happy-excited for him) and showed off his territory to his friends. Sid and Nish helped collect the presents and put them away inside. They showed the little kids around and tried to engage with them too. it helped having their friend from school there too so that they had one more person in their age group.
The cake was a big success…All the kids stood there excited as we waited for Amu to cut it. The cake had a big brown bear sitting on top and lovely fondant animals from the story all around the sides.
Popcorn and jello worked really well too.
All in all the kids had a blast and Amu was super happy through the party. It meant less stress and more fun for all of us!
The return presents were these really lovely eric carle style flash cards made by Art for Akanksha! (www.artforakanksha.org)