Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's a Birthday Fairy Wonderland

Norah's birthday party last year was so much fun that I knew I wanted to do something similar this year. I asked her what she wanted at her party and she said she wanted a magician. I looked around online for a while but all the kid-friend magicians I could find were for a bit older (think elementary school) crowd. She's so into princesses right now and playing dress up/acting out various Disney movie plots. But even though I love her (and Lou) more than anything in the world, I just couldn't bring myself to throw a princess party. It just isn't in me. I was searching on yelp and my local mom's club and came across this company. I watched the video (OMG!), read all the reviews on yelp (5 stars), and was instantly convinced this was the theme for our party.

The yelp reviews were glowing, but all had the disclaimer that when you call or email to get information or book a party, the owner and employees are in "fairy character" and that can throw you off a bit if you aren't prepared for it. Oh yes. They are in fairy character. Which involves a lot of giggling, saying "wink" and "smile", and other various pixie behavior. However, as soon as I let Norah watch the video and saw her reaction when I told her a real, live fairy was going to be at her party, I was beside myself from happiness. I am such a sucker.

Anyway, we have gone to a handful of birthday parties where, in lieu of a traditional "goody bag" the host has given the kids something cool and reusable like a water bottle, or paint kit. I knew I wanted to do something that the kids would (hopefully) be able to play with again and again. I figured magic wands would be perfect and so while Stephanie was in town I had her make them. Now, I consider myself moderately creative and I have good ideas now and again, but I am really impatient, which makes me a less than stellar crafter. I tend to get a little sloppy, which is why I could never sew anything. Stephanie is the exact opposite and is meticulous and patient. We got wooden dowels, a ton of ribbon, and colored foam. Steph did all the ribbon gluing (there was a lot) and construction of the wands. I cut out the foam stars, drank wine, and tried to explain to her the allure of the Real Housewives.

I need to get some better close up pictures of Norah's wand (and the few we had left over-we made extras), because I could not have been more pleased with how they turned out. I put them in a vase on a table outside with a sign asking people to take a wand of their choice. I think the kids really liked them.

Food was really simple. For the kids I made platters of sandwiches-both turkey and cheese and PB&J.

Come to find out later, Norah spent a good deal of time "sampling" the goldfish crackers, which involved taking a handful and putting most of them back. Sorry.

Here she is with her wand, which had a special silver glitter top.


I got the butterfly toppers from Etsy. They came in a flat package and all I had to do was bend the wings up. They were technically edible (some kind of potato starch), but didn't taste very good.

BVZ gave me a hard time because for Norah's first party I made no-sugar cupcakes and pressed apples to make my own sweetener. For her second birthday I made (sugar filled) homemade vanilla buttercream cupcakes. For her third birthday the actual cupcake came from a box and the frosting from a can. It's all downhill from here, baby.

I picked up this giant balloon on impulse when I went to buy ice that morning. It looked good but I am not sure Norah even noticed it was there. The boys, however, were obsessed with it. I think Baby Kevin carried it around for a couple of hours and then by the end the older boys were playing some variation of touch, and then tackle, football with it. By 2:00 pm it had gone to the great balloon heaven in the sky. I figured it was a small price to pay for so many little guys sitting through a fairy party!

We were so lucky that GG came down for the occasion. She got in a few snuggles with Louis before everything started. We were even luckier that Pamma offered to take care of Lou during the party so our entire focus could be on Norah and the festivities. In retrospect, it was the best idea ever. There is no way either BVZ could have tended to his baby needs without being gone from the party for extended periods of time (so, thank you Pamma!)

Grown up food (Costco sandwiches, fruit, chips, etc.)

Drinks. We really debated whether or not to have beer/wine. We are definitely the kind of people who serve beer and wine at a kid's party, but we weren't sure we wanted to be the kind of people who serve beer and wine at a 10:00 am kid's party. We ended up leaving it out of the cooler but making sure everyone (ie, the dads) knew where the fridge was just in case.

Another shot of the wands. The laundry basket is for the book collection. We did the same thing we did last year and asked people to bring a book to donate in lieu of a gift for Norah. We ended up with some very sweet and thoughtful gifts for her, as well as a nice collection of books to donate.

Simon and Michele were the first to arrive.

Ruby and Norah were beside themselves waiting for the fairy to arrive. We wouldn't let them go out front to look for her, so they had to be satisfied with waiting on the back step.

Norah and her future boyfriend Sean.

Still waiting.

She's here! Miss Jingle arrived right on time. Girlfriend was decked out.

She set up and we had to literally hold them all back from pummeling her.

Baby Kevin couldn't possibly be more awesome.

The start of the show. Now, the magic show involved some story about how birthday girls get a present and Miss Jingle was searching through all of her stuff for the present. She had a variety of different animal puppets to help her look (they were pretty realistic looking and she held and moved them in a way that, from a distance, made them look like actual alive animals). The show lasted for about a half hour and I thought there was no way they were all going to stay interested for that long. But, each and every one of them was captivated until the very end. I was pretty impressed with the fairy. She wasn't overly gregarious, she was actually quite calm, but she had a great command of the kids and they were mesmerized by her.

This would be Norah booking it away from Miss Jingle when she saw the box of "mice."

It ended with the eventual reveal of the birthday present (a small stuffed dog).

Next was face painting.

My gorgeous butterfly.

Miss Jingle was a very fast and very good face painter. She made suggestions to the kids, but also took all special requests. She would paint on any part of their body they wanted and by the end she had done butterflies, a princess, a train, a dragon, a lizard, a panda face, a giraffe, a sports car, lightening rods, and a hippo.

Pamma with her girls.

A rare shot of me with my birthday girl.

Norah and Miss Jingle. Her third "event" was supposed to be balloon twisting, but we had so many kids and they asked for some pretty elaborate face painting and so we had her go ahead and do everyone instead of stopping and doing balloons. I was totally okay with this and actually sort of relieved as I am a little scared of balloon twisting. I don't like the noise and I am super paranoid of the popping.

Miss Jingle left, still in character. One mom was getting something out of her car and saw Jingle skip down the street even though no one was watching (I guess just in case a kid saw her). I really appreciated that little touch. It made me laugh to think about the alternative...her ripping off her wings and lighting a cig as soon as she left the backyard and I appreciated the effort to keep the magic alive the entire time.

Next up was cupcakes. Norah blew out her candle the instant BVZ lit it.

The kids ran around and played some more and then it was time for naps. Norah no longer just hugs people goodbye, she kisses them. On the lips if they let her.

Lou made a couple of special appearances.

The weather was perfect, not too hot and not too windy (I had feared both). We lay outside the rest of the afternoon under the tent, because someone was way too wound up to take a nap.

See how tired she is? Still no napping. Instead a cuddle with her "Miss Jingle Dog."

It was a great day and I shockingly loved every second of a fairy party. I can't wait to do it again.


aileen said...

It was a great party! The wands were fun and very well made. I took a close look at them and thought wow, the ribbons are glued really well! So N dumped Caleb for Sean? I don't blame her. He was a cutie pie and Caleb enjoyed playing with him. Looking forward to next year :)

JAMS' HOUSE said...

Wow! Looks like a fabulous party. We are missing out.

Stephanie said...

Congrats on throwing the party of the year!! Wish we could have been there.

Monica G said...

Hi Janet,
Love your blog! Looks like it was a fabulous party. Great idea!

Natalie said...

Holy cow what a wonderful birthday party. I really love the fairy theme, especially over the alternative of the princess theme. I think we're going to do a game party (board games) this year. Got any great ideas for that? I'm going to make a candy land board cake, but my ideas pretty much end there.

Sarita said...

Will you please throw me a fairy party in October? The weather is nice in Austin that time of year...

Great pics. :)

Jennifer said...

Really fun, Janet. Looking forward to next year :)