Yesterday we celebrated Lily's birthday, you know, almost 2 weeks after her actual birthday. You do what you gotta do. Her party was so much fun! A lot of work, but the pay off was worth it. Turns out, my little Panda princess sure loves a good party and loves having all of her friends at her house. As you may recall, about a month ago, I said to Lily, "You want to have a penguin party?" and she said, "No. I want a Panda Bear party." And thus began Pandamonium 2012.
I'm going to break it up into two posts - one being the actual party post and one with some of the extra details that went into it. I have realized that I sort of love planning parties. Having a theme and running with it is something that really gets my creative juices stirred up. And, pandas are really cute, so there is a lot to work with. In the end, I think this turned out a lot cuter than a penguin party would have for us - way to go, Lily. Here's the birthday girl post party in her panda attire.
Here are the girls waiting for our guests to arrive, while watching Rack, Shack and Benny. This is the only Veggietale Lily has cared to watch recently, so I find the Bunny Song playing in my head relentlessly.
First thing on the party agenda - eating. I went for sort of a Chinese/Chick-fil-A theme. I was going to get actual Sweet n Sour chicken, but decided that for ease and cost to us, I should serve Chick-fil-A nuggets with Polynesian sauce. I made Peanut Butter and Jelly "Sushi" and had Chicken Egg Rolls, Edamame and fresh fruit as our lunch spread. I mixed some Strawberry Breeze juice with Sprite for a fun "Pink Panda Punch."
Everyone ate, which is a major feat when dealing with this many toddlers, babies and young children. It always feels a bit circusy, but fun.
After lunch, it was time for the party activities. In keeping with an "Asian-ish" theme, I thought it would be fun to do a game involving rice. We got a 50 lb bag of rice from Sam's and filled a tub with it. Then, we buried little spiky plastic balls in it. We gave the kids each a set of chopsticks with the little kid helpers that make them like over-sized tweezers. In two separate groups based on ages, we had the kids try to dig out the balls with the chopsticks. Whoever had the most when it was over - after about 5 minutes, won! We had the older group of kids 4 and older go first. It was chaos, but the kids seemed to really be able to do it and enjoy it.
They used extra favor boxes that we had on hand to put their balls in. The winner received a copy of the Kung-Fu Panda DVD. Bella was crawling around trying to eat the rice off the floor. Like we don't feed her. And, Lily was kicking it while the older kids dug through the rice.
Then, it was time for the "Fly-Weights" as John kept referring to them as. This was even more chaotic, but they did manage to get the balls out. It turned out to be a lot of fun.
While groups of kids were playing the Chopsticks Challenge game, other kids, with their parents' help, were "Painting" their own Panda. I had an ink pad of Pigment ink out, and kids put the bottom of their fists into the ink to then stamp on the Panda's ears and eye spots. They then glued on the googly eyes.
Quick, easy and cute. Also, the ink came off with water - it even came off of the wall with just water, which was great to later discover. After the downstairs party activities, we headed upstairs for cake and cupcakes.
Everyone sang Happy Birthday to Lily, and then, I blew out her candles for her, because she froze up a bit under all the scrutiny. But, she loved the panda cupcake.
To round out the party fun, we did a Panda pinata in the garage. This was entertaining for so many reasons. First, John told the kids to line up from shortest to tallest. They all stared at him sort of blankly. After they did form some semblance of a line, they got started hitting the pinata.
It came time for the last little boy to hit, and the pinata broke open. Sort of. The body came apart from the head, but the candy did not come out. Sort of creepy to have a decapitated panda. And funny.
After that, we decided to let an adult actually break it open, and then it rained candy. Always good times.
After that, we gave everyone their take-out favor boxes and wished them on their merry way! Bella enjoyed the farewells, because she loves playing by the door. A dangerous passtime, but one I can't seem to break her of yet.
As John said, "No one will acuse you of doing this half way." And, it turned out to be so much fun and everything I could have hoped for. Which is nice, since it was a lot of work. We are so blessed with wonderful friends here that come and celebrate with us like family. I cannot believe we have a 3 year old on our hands, and so far, 3 has been much better than 2 for us. We want to celebrate the good times, I am so thankful that we have had a couple of more peaceful months with her.
I plan on doing another party post going into more details on the favors and cake and invites - I had fun putting them all together!