Monday, January 31, 2011

Elizabeth's American Girl Party

Elizabeth turned six earlier this month, which around here means party time! Elizabeth tossed different party ideas around for the, oh, six or eight months preceding her birthday, but sometime in the fall she settled on an American Girl party, and she never wavered from that. With "American Girl" being the main directive, I considered a half-sleepover kind of pajama party, or a tea party. I ultimately decided that we have lots of half/whole pajama parties ahead of us, but our tea party days may be numbered, so we went with a tea party. Elizabeth was thrilled! I knew this party would be larger than any other kid party we'd thrown at the house, so I was kind of nervous, because managing large groups of children {or small groups of children} is not my strength.

I kind of toned down the "American Girl" aspect of the party -- shhh, don't tell Elizabeth! -- because I had no idea who had what dolls, and I knew that some of Elizabeth's friends are not really "doll girls" at all. So the invitations invited the girls to bring their favorite doll or stuffed friend. That seemed to do the job -- our tea party guests included an eclectic mix, from Felicity in her finery to stuffed birds and unicorns.

Before I go any further, I need to thank my AWESOME FRIENDS Amanda and Heather for helping me with this party. Heather and Amanda, both excellent amateur photographers, came over on party day to help me take pictures -- I can't even tell you how wonderful that was, as I did not take a single picture after guests arrived because I was running around doing a poor job of managing the large group of children. So I cannot take credit for many of the pictures below. Amanda also spent hours with me the night before the party helping me make the cupcake pops and the teapot balls, which are among my favorite little treats ever. She is the one who convinced me to try the teapot balls in the first place, and they were definitely a huge hit!

Okay, here goes. The party room:

{Most of the year I sit staring at that empty sunroom and scheme about ways to finally furnish it, but when it's time for a party, I love having this big empty room!} Most of the party paper goods (the banner, cupcake toppers, invitations, assorted tags and labels, etc.) are printables from etsy. And David spent nearly two hours in front of the TV the night before the party making tissue paper pom poms. I swear, every day he gives me a new reason to love him.

Dessert table (cupcakes, cupcake pops, teapot cake balls, and dipped pretzels):


Teapot cake balls:

Cupcake pops:

The girls' tea party tables (hmmm, the "Elizabeth" sign got a little askew, wish I knew how to photoshop a fix to that!):

About those polka dot espresso cups -- I'm a tableware kind of girl, and I can honestly say that have not fallen in love this hard with a frivolous piece of tableware since I first saw the ceramic scalloped ice cream bowls in the Summer 2009 Sur la Table catalog - just saying.

Birthday girl at the tea party:

Caroline eating a cupcake pop:

The main activity for the girls was decorating these cute craft wood doll chairs. {UPDATE, 5/2014: several people have asked where I got the chairs; I ordered them from here. And we've since had a second American Girl party and ordered a second set of chairs, and have been thrilled both times!} Big thanks to my dad for painting 15 cute craft wood doll chairs! I just closed my eyes and thought of the most patient person I know -- Dad! --- and luckily he generously agreed to paint them. Thanks Dad!

Doll chairs:

Behind the chairs were buckets of jewel and other stickers. I originally bought the dreaded glitter glue pens to offer as a decorating option, but then I thought: "if glitter glue pens in the hands of 3 children cause me to twitch, what will glitter glue pens in the hands of 16 children do?" I then put away the glitter glue pens {BTW - I was at the eye doctor the other day to get new contacts, and as the doctor was examining my eye he said: "Huh. That's funny. It looks like there is something like glitter in your eye." I said, "oh, that's probably just glitter" and he proceeded with the exam. But seriously - my dislike of glitter pens is not unwarranted!}

Caroline decorating her chair:

Caroline showing off her doll chair:

{By the way, no, Caroline does not have a twin. She just goes through more costumes in an hour than Marilyn McCoo in her prime}.

Once the girls finished decorating their chairs, the chair decorating activity table turned into the doll tea party table with a couple of quick moves:

Checking out the doll tea party:

Jacob spent most of the party running around with his cousin and a buddy/brother of one of Elizabeth's friends, but I caught him quickly before the party began:

The girls also made necklaces from little teacups full of wood beads:

And they decorated mini cupcakes for their dolls:

Grammy was a big help with this activity - thanks Grammy! There is not much scarier than a bunch of 5 and 6 year olds wielding a can of Pillsbury Easy Frost Frosting, and thanks to Grammy, we were able to avoid that.

Grammy & Caroline:

Girls decorating their doll cupcakes:

Elizabeth decorating her doll cupcake:

We also had that perennial favorite, a pinata. Here's Elizabeth taking a whack at the teapot pinata:

And the treat bags that held the pinata loot, the doll chairs, and the necklaces:

I thought we had plenty of activities to fill a two hour party, but the girls tore through all this in a little over an hour. I had kind of a "major party fail" moment or two there when I realized that I was completely out of ideas and we still had 45 minutes of party left, but as I saw the girls gleefully running around outside, I figured they were having at least as much fun as they would have been having if I had gone ahead with "Pin the Hat on the American Girl Doll." Elizabeth told me that it was the best party ever and asked if she could have the same party again next year. Seeing my sweet birthday girl happy is what it is all about.

Happy 6th Birthday, Elizabeth!


Mom to 3 C's said...

WOW... just WOW!

Amanda said...

YAY!!! I'm so glad you were able to salvage some of the photos I took that had some serious mistakes- like the last one!! It was SUCH a fun party!!

Amanda said...

Oh, and the top picture looks like it came out of a magazine. I know I didn't take that one :)

Heather said...

Unfortunately, I got there way too late to really provide any real help, but I was thinking about you! :) FABULOUS party, and perfectly done!!

Lady Baker said...

I'm speechless...can't wait to see what 7years brings!! :) love every bit of this lovely party!!!!

Elizabeth Ledkins said...

Beautiful! I found this blog as I am trying to pin down the rest of the details for my own 6 year old's party. Thanks for sharing!

Chris said...

Where on earth did you find the sweet doll craft chairs? How wonderful they are!

Natalie said...

I have an AG party in a few weeks. Where did you find those adorable chairs?

Allison Spiller said...

This is so cute! I'm doing a similar party for my 4 year old in April. You have given me a lot of great ideas. I especially like decorating the american girl doll chairs.