Monday, January 23, 2012

Monkey's Winter One-Derland

I am currently in party decompression mode. The last few weeks have been quite a whirlwind. We've had some complications, including sick kiddos, furnace on the fritz, and the busted water main. And to add last-minute drama, we had an ice storm hit the night before the party. Oh, and I forgot my camera at home. So the blurry pics are from my phone and the rest are stolen from a friend. But, it still turned out great!

Before this year, I had never heard of the theme "Winter One-Derland." Luckily, many of the ladies in my different mom groups on Facebook used this theme for their parties. Given that it is really a theme you can only do once, I decided to go for it for this year. Snowflakes and snowmen abound!

We had the party at a building that is home to one of Hubby's fraternal organizations. It was a nice space with plenty of tables, space for the kids to run free and dance, and a kitchen to help with the food. This also allowed us some flexibility in setting up for the party. We went to dinner at Aunt Jill's on Friday night with the extended family. Afterwards, we ran home and picked up the majority of the decorations and supplies. I dropped Sassy and Diva off for a sleepover at Aunt Lois's, then headed out to the building to meet Hubby.

We had planned on only setting up the tables and dropping off everything else, but Monkey fell asleep on the way there. We decided to take advantage of this, especially with the approaching ice storm, so we let him sleep while we decorated. I cannot believe that he slept the entire time we were out there, especially with all the noise of moving tables and chairs. Here is a shot of the hanging snowflakes above the "dance floor" that we cleared for the kids to run and play. We decided to use the tables on the stage for presents and for the cake and cupcakes.

The Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling have been there for years according to Hubby. Too bad we didn't have a Christmas themed party because they would have been perfect! We set up the tables with tablecloths and snowflake scatters, plus hung all the ornaments and decorations. The lights really helped in hanging the decorations, it was so easy to just loop the string for each decoration onto the lights!

We went home and transferred Monkey into his bed, but I decided I wasn't quite ready for bed yet. I had planned to go the next morning and pick up some things at the store, but with the approaching storm I was concerned that the roads would not be cleared early the next morning. So out I went to the grocery store to pick up a few things, plus I ran to my office to pick up a paper cutter to do the party banner.

I had already made white chocolate covered popcorn earlier in the week. I only wish someone had told me how easy it was to make before now! I used Orville Redenbacher's Natural Simply Salted popcorn, white chocolate morsels, and blue and silver candy decorations. I used roughly one 12oz bag of melted morsels for 2 bags of microwave popcorn. I melted the chocolate in a large mixing cup in the microwave, then poured it over the popcorn in a large bowl and stirred until it was mixed. Then I added the different candies and stirred until mixed, then spread it out on aluminum foil (didn't have any wax paper) to allow the chocolate to harden and solidify.

Then I had to break up the popcorn to put it into treat bags. The chocolate made HUGE clumps stick together, so I had to make sure that I broke up all the clumps so it would fit in the treat bags. We ended up with 50 treat bags, but I easily had enough supplies to make double that. Here's a shot of some of the finished treat bags:

This snowflake paper is the same that I used for the cupcake tiers. I bought 2 cardboard cupcake stands that each held 24 cupcakes. Each tier had a paper edge design that allowed me to customize it to fit with the theme of the party. I used this snowflake scrapbook paper, cut it into strips, glued it on the edging, then attached it to the stand.

Scrapbook paper was my friend for this party. I also used it to create a birthday banner. I used stencils to create the letters on white cardstock, then glued it to blue cardstock. I then used a hole punch and string to finish each section of the banner.

Add in some balloons, cupcakes, and a smash cake and we were ready to party!
Here is our snowman. He lost an arm on the way to the party, but still turned out great.

We gave Monkey his very own table to open gifts and eat cake. Here is the banner also. I loved how easy it was to make and how great it looked!

 And finally, we have Monkey's smash cake, the cupcake tiers with the snowman cupcakes and snowflake paper, and the bowls with snowman marshmallow bags.

Sassy and Diva LOVED putting the snowman picks into the cupcakes.

And Monkey's cake turned out great also! I used a large Pyrex mixing bowl and baked the cake in it on Wednesday night. It took a LONG time for the middle of the cake to be done, easily 50-60 minutes, but did not burn. After it cooled enough, I put it in the fridge for the night, still in the bowl. The next night I turned the bowl upside down and put the cake on the pan of the container we were using to transport it. I decorated it and then put it back in the fridge on Thursday night.

I had planned to use a large plastic ornament from the craft store to create a snowglobe on top of the cake. I even prepped white powdered donut holes by creating a snowman's face with edible markers and put a stand inside the ornament using a skewer and icing. I knew that I would have to wait until arriving at the building to assemble it, so I kept the donut holes separate. Then I walked out of the house and forgot them. Oops. So in the heat of the moment, I yanked the stand out and added in all the blue and silver candy decorations to the ornament, then used blue icing to stick it on top of the cake.

This pic was from my phone, which is why it is blurry. The big blue blobs in the globe are actually snowflake foam stickers.

The party was pretty casual. Due to the location and the storm, many people either weren't able to make it or were a late. We socialized for a while, then had snacks. I had a large tray of different cheeses, meats, and crackers. I also had a veggie tray and a fruit bowl with dip.

After snacks, we did gifts. I know that typically you do food, cake, and then presents at many parties. But I knew that Monkey would be a mess after his cake, so we decided to do gifts first. From our recent Christmas experience, I knew that Monkey would not really be interested in gifts. We decided to enlist the help of the other children at the party.

I had envisioned this as a great idea, thinking that each kid would open a gift and show it to Monkey while he was working on opening a gift. Instead, Diva took over and was downright militant. She grabbed gifts, ripped them open, shoved them in Monkey's face, and plopped them down to go after the next. Most of the other children just stood back watching as she ran the show.

 After presents, it was finally time for cake. I had thought that Monkey would dive in and make a mess. Instead, he was more upset that he couldn't successfully wipe the icing off that he had on his hands. With some coaxing, he did eat some off it.

He is currently in a big "sharing" phase. This includes sharing food that is already in his mouth at times. Seriously, if you look interested in what he is eating, he will spit it out and offer it to you with a smile. Thankfully, he only offered Diva some "fresh" cake, not "previously tasted" cake.

He tried several times to move the snowglobe, but was not successful until Diva helped him. She had an ulterior motive: she wanted to lick all the icing off the bottom of the globe.

When all was said and done, he had wiped icing all over his high chair and had a fair amount on his face, hands, and legs. Somehow, he avoided his diaper, so I was able to wipe him down and put his clothes back on him without changing into a new dipe. I love this picture because his eyes are SO blue.

So overall, he had a great birthday. It was a beautiful Winter One-Derland and a blessing to share it with our family and friends. Happy 1st Birthday to my precious Monkey!

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