Monday, September 6, 2010

Caroline's Mermaid Party

We finally celebrated Caroline's third birthday a couple of weeks late. This date worked better for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which was our travel schedule to attend another amazing birthday party, and as it turned out I am really glad we waited, because we had the most beautiful day for a party -- sunny, cool (for here!) and not a cloud in the sky. Add in a happy birthday girl, and it was a perfect day.

We decided to have a mermaid/"under the sea" theme for Caroline's birthday, because (1) Caroline likes mermaids; (2) it seemed like a good "summer birthday" theme. I then found this dress, and planned the party colors around it {mock away!}:

Yes, in the only solo portrait shot I got of the birthday girl all day, she is noshing on a tuna fish sandwich. All weekend long I kept thinking I'd take her outside to get a few more pictures in her dress (because who would ever know that they weren't taken on the day of her party?) but the dress now needs to be ironed, and if I wait to iron the dress before posting her party, I'll be posting her third and fourth birthdays back-to-back.

I was going for the "underwater" vibe. Here is the party room:

Oh etsy, how I love thee. I only have about two birthday banners in me per year; thanks for hooking me up with the third.

Sea creature pinatas. And in the background, you can kind of see the fish netting hanging on the windows. David and I stuck starfish and shells on and around the fish netting -- again, going for the nautical effect there. I had a vision; I'm not sure my vision was realized. But it was fun anyway!

Caroline's play tent served as the mermaid grotto. Don't judge. Her mermaid sock monkey sat on a chair inside the grotto:

And my sweet birthday girl joined her inside:

In the "ideas that actually worked" department, I made these fish in a bag soaps for party favors:

They looked pretty easy to make, and they actually were easy to make. Believe me, nobody was more shocked than I. Jacob helped me with them, and we knocked out a dozen or so in under an hour. These worked well for party favors because most of our guests are actually able to use soap without eating it, burning their eyes, etc. It would have been a poor favor choice if most of our guests were three year olds.

The menu included Octodogs, tuna fish sandwiches, sushi, goldfish pretzels, and fish bowl jello.

The fish bowl jello was kind of a dud. I got lazy, and rather than following Martha's recipe, I used boxes of blue jello instead:

This is what it was supposed to look like:

The dessert table:

The mermaid cake was one of the big reasons I decided to have a mermaid party for Caroline. My friend Betsey sent me the link to the Family Fun mermaid cake months ago, and I was instantly hooked (get it? hooked?) -- I thought it looked fun, kind of hilarious, and most importantly, doable. I kind of had a nervous breakdown mid-cake, as I am seriously challenged in the spatial relations department (I once got results back from high school standardized test that included desperate warnings that I never, ever consider architecture as a career) and I could not figure out how the shapes went together, even though there was a template to follow. Anyway, I eventually figured it out (although I didn't use one of the triangles, oops? See, if the cake were a building, it would have fallen down.) Caroline wanted a blueberry cake, so the head was Dorie Greenspan's french yogurt cake with whipped cream icing and blueberries in the center; the hair was Ina Garten's chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing, and the fin was the Smitten Kitchen best birthday cake with my go-to buttercream from the Repressed Pastry Chef. This made enough cake to feed the Russian army (er, navy?) and given that we had a tiny little party, I knew that most of it would end up going to waste. But as David pointed out several times, when you make a mermaid head out of an 8" pan, you're going to have a large cake.

I will never, ever, EVER pipe cookies again! I ordered these from Icing on the Cookie, and I could not have been more thrilled. These cookies were delicious and adorable, and most importantly, not decorated by me. I have tried to decorate cookies, I really have, but I can't get the texture of the icing right. It's either too thin for the piping or too thick for the flooding. It ends up being completely frustrating and not remotely fun. Icing on the Cookie, thanks for bringing the fun back to my party cookies!

My birthday girl getting ready to blow out her candles!

Careful, honey.

Fully focused on her cake and ice cream:

Party activities included sand art and good old fashioned running around. Aunt Kimberly, who is so patient and naturally gifted with littles, ran the sand art activity:


Caroline loved opening her presents. As you can see, she changed into one of them immediately upon opening it. Thanks, Aunt Missy!

My babies:

My birthday girl:

The morning after the party, the first thing Caroline said when she woke up was "Can we have my party again?" That's all I needed to hear! I love this little girl so much. She has such a great sense of humor and playfulness, and I wanted her party to be as fun as she is. Of course, with Caroline as the guest of honor, how could it not be? Happy 3d birthday, sweetie!


Mom to 3 C's said...

Seriously, do you ever sleep? What a lovely party! You do such an awesome job. I have someone turning 6 next month... are you available?? ;P

Anonymous said...

I love this party!

My little girl told me the other day she wanted a Mermaid Pizza Party for her birthday. hehe

Where on earth did you get that cute dress? I would love to buy one.

KB said...

Where did you get that mermaid dress? too cute!