Birthday season has hit! For the next three-four months, I will be in a constant state of distraction. Once I have a birthday theme in my head, I have a really hard time thinking about anything else. I find myself wanting to crochet some woodland creatures this week, so I thought I’d write up a little recap of Margot’s recent woodland-themed 2nd birthday party.
Like most toddlers, my daughter loves animals. She also loves big slides…the bigger and steeper the better. She is a very brave little two-year-old. That’s why I chose to have her party at Coyote Point Park in San Mateo, the home of a really cute mini-zoo that houses mostly native woodland animals as well as a cool hands-on science center, extensive picnic spots, and a truly awesome playground that features a two (maybe three?) story metal tube slide. Perfect.
I decided to have a morning party, mostly to honor toddler nap times. I was nervous about a morning party, due to my typical pre-party hysteria, but I did a little extra organizing to prepare for a possible morning Mommy meltdown, and all went well. Instead, I had the meltdown late the night before when my handmade frittatas came out of the oven looking like ugly, rubbery, flying saucers. I ditched them and my husband ordered Panera catering which we picked up on the way to the park the next morning.
He loves me….and has come to expect this sort of foodtastrophe. There’s one for every party. I always have high hopes for my baking/cooking skills, but realize a little more every year that I should just stick to the birthday crafting and delegate food prep to others who may be a bit more capable…and focused.
Luckily, the “cake,” which is usually the source of my agony, turned out really well! A few months back, Margot got her first taste of sticky buns at a Walt Disney World character breakfast and, I swear, I’ve never seen her more full of glee than while eating those things. She thought Tigger was terrible, but those sticky buns were amaaaazing. When I decided on having a picnic brunch at the park, I knew I had to make her sticky buns. That’s when I found recipes for these sticky bun cakes (otherwise known as monkey bread/rolls) all over Pinterest that use frozen yeast rolls, butterscotch pudding mix, butter and pecans that you let rise, bake for awhile and then flip upside down for the magical, gooey, gorgeous reveal. Margot’s sticky bun birthday “cake” turned out great, and looked cute, too, thanks to these free Woodland-themed printables I found and adapted for my purposes.
I also used the free woodland animal themed ears that I attached pretty colored ribbon to for the kids (and grown-ups!) to wear at the party.
I set out picnic blankets, a basket of books with woodland themes, and a couple stuffed woodland animals and it looked super cute.
My husband and I had debated for a while about whether or not the sticky bun cake counted as a cake. He felt that a traditional cake or, at the least, cupcakes had to be present in order for a birthday party to feel like a birthday party. I felt like no one wanted toddlers to have cupcakes for breakfast and anything can feel like a cake if it has candles. We compromised. I made zucchini-carrot muffins with cream cheese frosting. Then I found this adorable idea for owl cupcakes here that I copied on the big muffins.
I turned the mini-muffins into little flowers with loopy petals and candied sunflower seed centers. A box of bagels, a few quartered egg soufflees, and a big box of coffee from the on-the-fly Panera trip, and the brunch turned out to be really yummy and not super stressful.
The kids played on the giant playground while the adults supervised and snacked.
Then we sang to Margot (which, surprisingly, made her really uncomfortable), I blew out her candles for her, and we packed up for the trip to Curiodyssey so we could all see an actual owl, fox, coyote, badger, and other assorted animals.
We even got to pet an opossum!
She looked so much like my own Olivia!
We looked for otters, but they were sleeping, so Margot took their place.
We had a ton of fun playing in the science center, too!
I was nervous about a party away from the house, but I was really pleased with it and think everyone had a great time. As usual, I didn’t take nearly as many pictures of some of the cute party decor as I wanted to. Jhonen helped me string the Happy Birthday letters on the banner and assemble a 3D paper owl kit we got on clearance at Michaels. I printed out personalized woodland-themed bookmarks and tied them with ribbon to brown paper bags filled with woodland animal bath squirters, teddy grahams, and animal stickers. Each bookmark was a different animal and, all lined up together, they looked really cute, but I didn’t think to get a picture. Here’s Margot’s little bag, though.
I was so happy with this party. It felt laid-back, comfortable, and fun. Most importantly of all, Margot seemed to love every minute and it made me so happy to see her enjoy her special day.
One of these years I WILL crochet thematically appropriate birthday favors. I will! One of these days I will also crochet both my kids an amigurumi to go with each themed birthday we’ve done. In that case, I need to make a couple bumblebees, an owl, a car, a volcano, and a fish.
All that thinking about woodland animals has me wanting to make a hedgehog, a fox (my favorite!), and a variety of owls. I’m hoping to work on at least one of those this week and, if I do, I’ll be sure to introduce it to you. I won’t make any promises, though, as I now have less than a month to plan Jhonen’s Volcano-themed 5th birthday party!
I really love planning birthday parties. Makes me think I should be doing more of it…