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Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Tea Party Birthday

The Big Idea:

Ok, I’m ready to talk about it now.  Some would say that a tea party just can’t be done for the preschool set.  It all started months ago when I started asking Chase what she had in mind for her birthday party.  Last year we did a bowling party and the year before that she had her party at the gym where she did a toddler tumbling class.  But this year she wanted a dress up tea party.

The Venue:

I really thought hard about where we could host a party like this.  I wanted a place with a gingerbready victorian facade but I couldn’t compete with weddings for those types of venues.  So, I thought, we’ll have it at the house.  People do that all the time!  You can totally host a child’s birthday party at home.  I would just caution you to consider the size of your house in relationship to the number of children that are invited.  But whatever.  The more the merrier, right?  And there were so many more people we would have liked to invite.

The Food:

I stumbled upon the Mary Engelbreit’s Let’s Party Cookbook at the library.  I thought deviled eggs and baby grilled cheese sandwiches might appeal to the kids but ended up with halved hardboiled eggs and crackers and cheese.  They ate it all up and I only put in half the work.  I bought pre sliced cheese and it’s a good thing too I barely had time to open the package let alone cut it.  Pre sliced cheese and butterfly crackers.  My mom used to buy these for parties.  Does that make them retro?

I pulled out all the cups and plates for serving that I’ve been picking up over the years and used them!  And Ben thought I was crazy.  I showed him.   I wanted plain white takeout cups for tea that the kids could decorate but couldn’t find them in any kind of reasonable quantity so I bought the next best thing.

My friend Melissa made that fantastic cake with a tea party theme.  Chase was so thrilled!  It was so special.  It’s going to be a tough act to follow.  The top tier was a table set for tea.  It had tiny cups with even tinier tea spoons inside.  It was amazing.

The Decorations:

I tried to turn the dining room into something resembling a tea room as much as possible.  I draped one wall with a beautiful silk that I borrowed from a friend who also brought over a coordinating tablecloth.  We had a few balloons and a little bunch of baby’s breath for the table.  I covered the giant light fixture with some gauzy white fabric and tacked gold fringe to everything I could think of.

The Activities:

Well, the party was pretty lacking in this area.  I had some big ideas about games but they never really materialized.  I wanted to do pin the tea bag on the tea pot but I forgot.  Freeze dance was insane in our tight space and I couldn’t find the non helium filled balloons for the belly balloon races.  However, the kids had fun dressing up and getting in the photo booth that we rigged from a sheet and a cardboard box.  That part was a hit.  They liked the cake part too.  :)

The Favors:

I made little tiny coloring and sticker books with Chase’s face on the front.  She helped me stitch them together and then we stuffed them inside tiny envelopes that I found at the craft store.  I wanted them to look like tea bags so we punched a hole in the top and then threaded a piece of embroidery floss through.  We put some stickers and tattoos that Chase picked inside.  I found an old wooden box to hold them.  I thought it looked like a tea chest in a fancy restaurant.

Anyway, at the end of the day the kids had fun and it sure was a good time.  But wow, what a lot of work.  I sort of didn’t see that happening until people started knocking on the door.

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