Sunday, January 30, 2011

Elizabeth's Dr. Seuss 5th Birthday Party

Being the control-freak that I tend to be, at least with parties, I love that I can still convince Elizabeth what she "really wants" for a birthday party theme! So this year, Elizabeth really wanted a Dr. Seuss birthday party!

In years past, I would have done more than I did for her birthday party...but it is either maturity or having another baby that has brought me a bit further close to reality -- for a birthday party for a 5-year-old...that is a small affair. I'm going to chalk it up to maturity (as I'm not ready, at least at this point, to start saving up for Cate's therapy sessions that she will inevitably need as a result of being a second child...)

Disclaimer: I didn't think of all of these ideas up myself...lots of super-creative folks have held Dr. Seuss baby showers or birthday parties...I did a lot of research on the web and liberated several ideas from these folks...some things were my own ideas, too...
The invites were exceptionally cute, I think! I wanted to make a Dr. Seuss-like book...but when reality set it, a 4-page book was going to have to do as I didn't have the time to make it more than 4 pages, so each page was glued on a panel of a 4"x6" card. The cover I wanted to look as much like the cover from The Cat in the Hat...for the back image, I used the cover from The Lorax as my starting are the images from each of the panels (if you click on each image, you'll be able to view it larger):

I was happy to find a lot of Dr. Seuss decor at the teacher's supply store here in Wheeling, the Imperial Warehouse. Unfortunately, we had trouble with getting them to hang on the walls (tried multiple types of double-stick tape, the tacky wall gummy stuff worked okay, but many things had to be put back up...) Therefore, I purchased a bit more stuff than I was able to use, oh well! I'm sure the folks at Holy Family Child Care won't mind some free bulletin board supplies! The rest of the decorating was a snap -- as we used Elizabeth's Dr. Seuss books -- and Nana & Papa brought some of their stash (including E's "Morton" (aka Horton) stuffed animal), and the Happy Birthday to You giant puzzle that E got on her birthday from Grandma & Papi (that was on the dining room table along with some of the bulletin board decorations -- with a clear plastic table cloth over top of it for protection.) The Happy Birthday banner (I have two -- one in darker colors, one in pastels) may be the best birthday party purchases ever! I have used at least one of them for E's birthdays for the last 3 years...

Next I was on to figuring out the menu. As you can read from the invitation, the party would be after the West Liberty basketball games, which were at 2 & 4 PM, so around dinner I wanted more than just green eggs & ham... Everything was labeled because, yes, I am THAT kind of we enjoyed the following:
  • Green Deviled Eggs & Ham - deviled eggs with dyed green filling and ham - (from the book Green Eggs and Ham)
  • Poodles with Noodles - "adult" mac & cheese - (from the book Fox in Socks)
  • Yot in the Pot - baked beans - (from the book There's a Wocket in my Pocket)
  • Schlotts Knots - rolls - (from the book Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?)
  • One Fish Two Fish - Swedish Fish & Gold Fish - (from the book One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish)
  • Cheese Trees - cheese! - (from the book The Lorax)
  • A Crumb that Was Even Too Small For a Mouse - a crumb that was even too small for a mouse - (from the book How the Grinch Stole Christmas)
  • Circus McGurkis Pink Lemonade - pink lemonade - (from the book If I Ran the Circus)
  • Hop on (Soda) Pop - assorted soft drinks - (from the book Hop on Pop)
  • Thing 1 and Thing 2 - red velvet cupcakes - (from the book The Cat in the Hat)
  • The Cake!!! (Not in a bath tub!) - rainbow cake decorated with the Cat in the Hat on top - (from the book The Cat in the Hat)
If I must say so myself, I may have created one of the cutest Dr. Suess cakes for someone who hasn't taken a cake decorating class (save for the cake decorating class at 4-H camp one or two summers when I was in middle school!) The topper was made from fondant -- which I made. It tasted good, but was a complete pain to work with. I must be doing something wrong with the fondant, too, as there wasn't any way that I could have used it over the entire cake if I wanted to, which I didn't (as I love, love, love butter cream icing!) I used one of the Dr. Seuss decorations (see the picture with the Happy Birthday banner) as a reference and after cussing, rolling out the effing fondant, and more cussing...I free-hand cut out the shape of the Cat in the Hat with a pairing knife. It was then my intention to use edible markers to draw onto the fondant, but that went over like a fart in a library. I was then forced to free hand using colored butter cream icing the details on the cat. It ended up looking much better than I think it would have if I could have gotten the edible markers to work the way I thought they would... It was Elizabeth that wanted her name on the cake, which I think made it just perfect! The Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes were pretty darned cute, too!

While I was at the games with Elizabeth and Cate, the magical birthday elves (Grandma and Papa) took care of cooking up the ham...and timing out the mac and cheese and baked beans (Kristin's recipe!) getting in the oven. (When you read the recipe for the mac and cheese - it really does make enough servings for 20 if you're hungry, stop by!) That was a huge load taken off of my shoulders -- to be able to enjoy the #1 in the nation West Liberty Hilltoppers' game and know that the party stuff would be taken care of!

January birthdays stink so far as the weather keeping folks away. E was bummed that Papi and Rikki & Uncle Dougie stayed at their respective homes...we're hoping that Doug has been able to cope with the guilt of disappointing Elizabeth on her "second birthday...that you'll come to, Doug." (We definitely hated that we didn't get the quality time with my Dad/Papi and Rikki & Doug, but are happy that they stayed the weather reports are calling for more of the white crap! I'm sure the painful scars can be eased, Doug, with a check to cover her college tuition!) Of course, we have missed Anne, Sean, and Alex at E's party as well...not that even if the weather would be cooperative, which it certainly isn't right now in the Big Apple, it would be most impractical for them to make the long trek from NYC to Wheeling for the birthday party.

As bummed as we were of those who weren't able to join us, we were thrilled that Nana and Papa made the trip north from (the town that claims to be "the friendly city" but doesn't hold a candle on the friendly city department to Wheeling!) Fairmont. We have been completely spoiled with Mom/Grandma being with us for practically the entire month of January, too!!! (She says she will stay with us until we kick her out. Reid is meeting with a contractor to put an addition on the I don't see that happening any time least not until the end of basketball season...) And what would a party be without friends? Elizabeth's buddies, Campbell (her future first boyfriend...the one that she's already saying she'll break up with so John Wolosinczuk can be her boyfriend!) and, of course, their parents, Jason & Sarah Koegler!

Between her "actual" birthday and the party, Elizabeth is quite the spoiled gal! She is already mastering the fine art of Wii dancing while showing off her monkey underpants through the pink & purple skirt (that Campbell picked out). It was too much fun watching the kids play with the Wii (kids including Reid & Jason as they were getting into bowling and fencing) -- especially with Cam, Will, and Elizabeth dancing to Toni Basil's "Mickey" (it brought back many a memory from Sutton Blue Devil cheerleading days for me!)

Honestly, the only party SNAFU that I can think of is the candles. They were the re-lighting variety...only they didn't re-light. Oh well, we'll just need to use that type of magic for her 6th birthday party (aka the 2nd birthday party that Uncle Dougie will attend...)

Now off to work on stuff for Cate's 1st birthday (10 months from now...but no worries -- I already have the theme!) Or Alex's party once a theme has been set...


Paula said...

The cake was awesome!!

Tu Munekita said...

my son is turning to in june and im starting to get some ideas ( i know early) for his bday. i like the invitations. i saw another woman had somewhat of a book invite to. is there a site where you go for that or did you completely make it up??

WVU-Mama said...

Hi Tu!

I just did a bunch of internet searches...I created my invitation on PhotoShop (liberating the Dr. Seuss-related pictures, with the exception of the Lorax cover from some of the projects that you can find on For the back page, I liberated the Lorax cover from a Google Image search (so I didn't have to hook up my scanner to my laptop that was only a couple of days old at the time I started working on this stuff for the party.)

I found the decorating for this party easy. I could have done more, but with a newborn, just didn't. I love Dr. Seuss!

Good luck party planning!!!

Wenni Donna said...

Elizabeth's Dr. Seuss 5th Birthday Party was so adorable. I just loved these photos a lot. All the d├ęcor ideas are truly inspirational. I am also collecting DIY bash ideas for my niece’s birthday at one the best NYC venues and your post has given me such brilliant ideas.