Thursday, May 20, 2010

Party: Audrey's and Kate's "Fair Day" Fourth Birthday Party


After weeks of rather obsessive preparation we had the actual "Fair Day" celebration for Audrey's and Kate's fourth birthday (that's singular, these cousins share the same day just 2 hours apart). And it was fun! It all started with an idea for pony rides, got color from the happy Dolce fabric collection, and really came to life when I thought "county fair!" These birthday parties just keep getting better!


I'm starting with the best part: dessert. Here is our dessert/favor table in county fair theme, including bandana quilt tablecloth. My husband warned me I might not be appreciated so much by other mom's for passing out so much sugar, but isn't that sort of expected at a birthday party?

The guests all received favor bags--brown craft paper bags with labels based on the birthday invite--to thank them for coming. I inserted bandanas in the party colors in each bag to cushion the candy but also to be used in some way afterwards. Hoped to send them home with something more enduring than a sugar buzz!



I had fun finding and buying color coordinated candy. We had rock crystal candy suckers in pink (the big hit), swirly Twirly pops in orange, white taffy, blue old-fashioned candy sticks (not so popular), blue and pink gumballs (my favorites), and multi-colored honey sticks (which Audrey picked out herself from the Arizona Honey Man last time we were at the Vincent's Saturday market in Phoenix) all displayed in these great glass jars I found at my local Target (I rationalized the purchase by imagining filling the jars with buttons, ribbons and other sewing notions afterwards).  


I made all the labels (actually, just card stock printed and punched and adhered with double sided tape) with my new favorite tool:  a scalloped oval Giga craft punch.


One of the challenges of pregnancy is that I don't fall asleep as easily at night and so as I laid awake these past weeks I kept thinking of more fun take offs on the Fair theme. Such as the "orange preserves" in these diminutive canning jars. I had the most fun with these--I love seeing the birthday dress fabrics clustered together this way--I wanted to work them in again somewhere.


Then there were the birthday cakes. I couldn't come up with a "theme" idea I really liked for this party and felt capable of pulling off with all the other details I was consumed by (though I love the beehive mold cake and that would have been cute) . So instead of one big themed cake, my sister humored my Fair obsession with a bake-off idea. So we did three cakes: Red Velvet, Lemon Bundt (not a bundt recipe but it works...), and Buttermilk Chocolate (see recipe below if you'd like). I was planning to lay blue ribbons next to each of them but then worried the ribbons might only get a "huh?" from parents, and of course the kids wouldn't have noticed, but now I think it would have been fun to indulge the idea completely. Maybe next time.
As most would have predicted, it was pretty difficult to keep the partygoers away from the candy so we ended up filling the favor bags earlier than expected, but not before most of the Fair Day activities.


It was fun to see the girls in their party wear:  Audrey in her dress (love that this Land's End ruffled blouse worked so nicely with it!) and pink cowboy boots (thank you eBay),...


Scarlett, my little bandana baby,...

 ...and, Kate in the darling dress and ruffled pants (also Portabello Pixie "Claire") her mother made her.


As for the Fair Day activities, when the guests arrived they dropped off gifts and deposited raffle tickets from their invites in a jar for our giveaway. I was a bit tickled to see all the children who arrived with their raffle tickets in hand--most of them.  Rather than an actual raffle with one happy winner and a bunch of sad kids, we drew their names one at a time and let each draw a small prize from a jar (mini paint sets, bracelets, and bouncy balls I found at Zurcher's).



Other Fair Day activities included a bouncy house,...


...lunch with hot dogs, watermelon and kettle corn...


...and of course, the main attraction: pony rides!



It was a big happy gathering of family and friends and on the first sunny day in weeks. Fair indeed!




And too sweet?

Is there really such a thing at four?

Nah!



RECIPE for Buttermilk Chocolate Cake:

(This recipe is actually a brownie recipe--a really, really yummy one from a friend of mine. They have a cakey texture and I decided to try them as a cake last year for Father's day and it was a big hit. This is a rich, chocolatey, moist cake and I can eat the frosting straight in large spoonfuls--truly addictive! See how to do as cake at the end of the recipe.)

Marnie’s Buttermilk Brownies
  • 2 c. sugar
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 c. water
  • 4 Tbsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
Mix together sugar and flour. In a separate saucepan, bring water, cocoa and butter to a boil. Pour that mixture over the sugar and flour. Mix well. Add eggs, vanilla, buttermilk and baking soda. Pour into a greased and floured pan. Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.


  
Icing
  • 6 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 5 Tbsp. canned milk
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla
  • powdered sugar

Boil together the butter, cocoa and canned milk. Remove from heat. Add enough powdered sugar to make it easy to spread. Add vanilla and beat until smooth. Spread on brownies immediately after removing from the oven.

To do as a 2-layered cake: Make a double bath of brownies and fill 2 buttered and floured layer pans (I use 9” pans) about half full. You’ll have some batter left over—could do a third layer or bake as brownies in a 9” square pan. Bake about 40 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Remove and let cool in pans 15 minutes, then flip out on cooling racks. Triple the frosting and use 1 bag of powdered sugar or whatever it takes to make it spreadable. Assemble the layers with a generous amount of frosting in between them and cover cake completely using knife to make decorative swirls.

24 comments:

Kara said...

Umm, can you throw me a birthday party? Seriously.

And all the party outfits are a smash!

Rafahi Family said...

What a great idea! Glad to see that everyone had a good time, and that your daughter had fun!

Inkspot Workshop said...

My favorite part (besides the sweets) is how you coordinated the party girl's outfit fabric into other party elements, like the jelly jars!! So cute!!

MollyE said...

Wow, I am blown away by your amazing ideas. So glad to find your blog. Thank goodness for facebook! Your family is so beautiful!

Angie P. said...

Would you be my mommy??

Adrianna said...

Beautiful! We are planning a "Plants vs. Zombies" party for Leo's 5th in a few weeks. It will be cute and fun, and mostly silly, but nothing like this. You do beautiful work!

Susan @ Entertain Exchange said...

Wow, this is really beautiful and I love the girls outfits. It's all lovely!

Lesley said...

Wow. Amazing from top to bottom. Your attention to detail is stunning. Want to plan my birthday party?

Pumpkin and Piglet said...

Wow, wow, wow! That looks so much fun! Fantastic ideas and, as Lesley said, your attention to detail is stunning. I found you through ready, Set, Craft's weekly round up and I'm glad I did!

Jillian said...

What an insanely great party! I'm blown away!! I'm founder of a new site called www.catchmyparty.com and I'd love to feature your party on our homepage in our Party of the Day. Please email me at jillian@catchmyparty.com if you are interested. Again, wonderful job! I love everything! Best, Jillian

kitchentravels.com said...

Found your blog via Amy Atlas. Wow! Beautiful party, table, creativity and family. I am blown away by those dresses - just adorable. If the dessert table I am planning for our twins' 5th birthday party this weekend looks half as good as yours, I'll be thrilled! :)

Sandi said...

What an adorable party! I love this theme. The bandanna quilt is perfect! and I love that you lined the favor bags w/ a bandanna!

Our Poverty with a View said...

What an adorable party idea! I went to a fair themed bridal shower. They did a bake off as well. All of the bride's aunts submitted baked goods for the dessert table and they passed out blue ribbons to the winners. It was very cute!

coolkids said...

wow!!!!what an awesome party! seriously AWESOME!!!

The Two Savvy Sisters said...

So cute love it!! I am your newest follower. Swing on by to share your Party Side every Wednesday. You can link up any parties, party decor, party printables, party paper items, party ideas, gift ideas, anything PARTY related!! I’d love to feature you and show off your fabulous parties so make sure you linkup!

Nicole @ TheTwoSavvySisters.blogspot.com

Anji* said...

Oh I love this party too! The colours are so gorgeous, love all the outfits, the coordinated dessert table.. it's all so lovely!

Connie the crafterbug said...

Wow! Amazing!

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Sally @ Polka Dot Market said...

This is a great party!! So inspiring. Just shared on our Facebook wall. Love your site!

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Ana María Lora said...

Dear, Your party looks very very beautiful!!! its made me remember the Sarah Kay ilustrations that I used to collect when I was a little girl in the 80s. Thanks!! and Congratulations!!!!

katherine said...

So cute sweet!

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