So, for Charley's birthday this year I went back and forth with what I wanted to do. Charley's friends consist of children of friends of John and I and while a couple of them she is closer with (Ella, Aidan) and are her age, for the most part they are all older and it's hard to entertain a wide range of children at a birthday party. The older kids are bored with toddler activities and it just stresses me out. SO. I decided we were doing family only. The family that Charley is very familiar with and it wouldn't be stressful to have them over if my house wasn't spotless or the food wasn't ready on time (it wasn't). I just needed the stress factor removed this year.
When I was still considering a normal friends and family party I was going to do a umbrellas and rain boots themed party, because we all know that Charley lives in rain boots. But then once I took the party down a notch I decided that the thing that Charley would love the most was not a Pinterest inspired party chosen by me, but a party she designs and plans herself so to speak. One Friday night I took Charley to the party aisles at Wal-Mart and basically let her throw whatever she wanted in the cart with no input from me.
Some of it was quite normal: pink balloons, streamer in different colors, cupcake plates for cake, but then the character stuff she chose got pretty random. We ended up with a Mike Wazowski pinata, Monsters University tablecloth, Minnie and Daisy plates and party blowouts, Disney Princesses cups and a pink leopard party hat that we forgot to wear. On top of that, Charley was very specific with her cake request of a Goofy cake with pink writing. To her, that was the "perfect party" so that's what we went with. Can you believe I let her do all that character stuff after my outright hatred of character stuff? Man, I'm getting soft.
Last night I set to work on Charley's cake. My problem with buying cakes from some of the amazing cake decorators around is that yes, the cakes look AWESOME when they are done, but a lot of the times the cakes are dry or not the tastiest cakes because they a) take so long to do that they have to make them ahead of time and b) they use fondant instead of sweet, sweet buttercream icing which I'm not a fan of. I like the sweet stuff, and nothing can compare to a plain ol' grocery store birthday cake. So yes, I did look through the book at our local grocery store Harris Teeter for the off chance that a Goofy cake was in there but as I thought, it was not. So I ordered a cake with nothing on it but a green border so I'd still get my grocery store cake, but I could add Goofy myself. Here was my starting point. (They accidentally gave me a 1/2 sheet cake instead of a 1/4 sheet like I ordered, which ended up being a good thing because I don't know that I could have scaled Goofy down enough to fit on a cake half this size. I tend to draw very large.)
I printed a couple of images of Goofy's face and set them down next to the cake. I also watched this quick little video of how to draw Goofy which did actually give me a couple of pointers too. From that video I decided I should fold my drawing in fourths to find the center point to kind of keep things in scale. That seriously helped a lot when sketching it out with icing. I made a dot for my center, and went from there. This was after the first sketch and I wasn't terribly sure about him at this point.
From there I just put a #16 tip on my icing bags and set to work filling in the colors. I also purchased the same buttercream icing that the grocery store uses. When I used to work at the Cookie Company we used that buttercream to decorate with and I've never been able to buy or make any icing that compares for decorating. Luckily my grocery store sells this icing in little tubs for only a few dollars, so again, one less step for me to screw up. I bought white and green and a little tube of black (not from the bakery) and used those to mix all of the other colors.
I filled in the colors, outlined with black and then wrote in pink just as Charley requested. I was so, so pleased with it when it was done. It has seriously been at least 8 or 9 years that I've decorated a cake like this so I thought my end result may be laughable, but instead it ended up paining me to cut it! Ha!
Ok enough about the cake. I was obviously pretty proud of it which is why I can't shut up about it.
Anyways, so I squeezed in a party when everyone was free and for the first time in a while, all 17 of my immediate family were able to make it (and we didn't do a family picture - ahhhhh!). We grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, had some guacamole and chips and called it a meal.
The party was pretty casual and fun. We just chatted, the kiddos tossed balloons around and played, opened presents, played some pin the tail on the donkey and knocked open the pinata. Easy peasy.
The poor donkey though - the party was at 12:30 and at 12:22 I decided to sketch him out real quick. Listen - Goofy turned out good because he took 2 hours. Spending 2 minutes on a donkey didn't fare well AT ALL. Here was the image I used to copy...
and here is how mine turned out after I let Charley and my nephews color him in some...
|See, what happened was - I placed his one eye too far over to the right, so I added in the second eye to fill in some of that space and well, he's just horrible. Poor little donkey!|
We hit the pinata in the garage and then all of us scrambled to get some candy and fruit snacks. Adults get to play too when the kid count is low!
So anyways, even as much as I enjoy putting together the more Pinteresty parties, you can't beat your toddler repeatedly telling you "this is the best party EVER" all day long. Granted, she's only had 3 years of party experience to compare to, it will still make ya feel good. And you'll feel good too when you aren't stressing to clean your baseboards at the last second. That's not to say I didn't run around at the last second, but it definitely wasn't a stressful run around. I liked it; I recommend.
Just a couple more pictures. Then that's it. Done with the birthday stuff. Promise...