My Secret Vanilla Life

My Secret Vanilla Life: March 2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jungle Safari Party - 4th birthday!

In the last year, the girls have become obsessed with the movie The Lion King. They frequently watch other animal movies such as Brother Bear and Madagascar but, nothing holds a candle to Simba.

This year was planned WAY better than last year. I had just about everything done by the day before. The party was at 11am and I had recruited many helpers for the morning of the party to help. Every helper had their own list of things to do. It worked perfectly. I had time to shower and get dressed cute before any guests even arrived.

We had the two bounce houses again, the Lion King Soundtrack and other "jungle sounding" music blasting in the backyard. We did "pin the tail on the lion." A table was set up for coloring and some large cardboard pieces to climbs through. They weren't painted- just totally plain to crawl through- whatever. We did a relay race outside while playing the music from the "Stampede in the gorge" part of the Lion king movie.


Then, the kids came inside for a good old fashioned game of freeze dance. We just had the Lion King and Madagascar cued up on the tv ready to press pause. The kids really got into it. (The birthday twins were dressed as Nala & Simba, then changed into their Lion King shirts and then this little lady decided she needed a princess dress over that. LOL)

 Surprisingly, the big hit of the party was the "animal hunt." I had hidden little animal toys all over the living room for them to find. They liked that so much we did it about 7 times. The parents were all helping to hide the animals again and again. Then the kids would bring them back to me to put in my cute pith hat as fast as they could.

LESSON: Don't bother making elaborate balloon designs for decorations.
It looked cute, but most of the guests didn't seem to notice them. It took forever. At the end of the party I passed them out to the kids to play with. They were pretty stoked. I guess that's a positive.
Hindsight: never again.
That's a crap-ton of green balloons to create palm trees
Lunch time!
 It's hard to see, but I also made little posters everywhere to look like path signs {BASE CAMP, Zimbabwe trail...) Again, we rented child-sized tables and chairs for the kiddos to sit.
LESSON: It's nice, but not necessary, to have lunch catered for 30 kids and 45 adults.
I thought having the party at 11am instead of 9am, like last year would solve a few problems, and it did, except it created a few more. I couldn't invite people at lunch time and not feed them. So, we ordered a crap-ton of bar-b-que. 
Hindsight: Don't do the party at lunch time

Each kid got a cute, paper animal plate, a "zebra leg" (chicken drumstick), half of a banana, mango chunks, garlic toast and some meringue mushrooms. Meringue mushrooms? What the hey?

Yes, meringue mushrooms. They were AWESOME. I made them, from scratch, with meringue and dark chocolate. They looked so real some of the kids were afraid to try them! They tasted like cotton candy/marshmallow with chocolate. SOOOooo good. The adults couldn't keep their hand off of them either!

All the good, little children sat down and at their food while watching The Lion King movie. Perfection! This time we were not going to forget about the Birthday Song. We all sang it twice, once for each twin.
Look at me enjoying the party!! I was so "present".

LESSON: Making elaborate cupcakes isn't necessary.
My first attempt at cupcakes involved making individual animal shaped cakes and icing them. (Hippos, Lions, Bears..)

There were not turning out right and it was taking WAY too long, so I quit that stupid project and ended up with this genius idea:
Dirt cups! Chocolate cake, green "grassy" icing, gummy worms and "leaf" chips.
Hindsight: I made the right choice by bailing on the stupid, elaborate cupcakes and going with the dirt cups. The kids devoured them.

After the party, we still had ton of food left which we were able to save for left-over for the next few days. The out-of-towners had been fed so they left after the party! Finally, we surprised the girls with BIKES!
My husband was pretty excited about these. He got them on Craigslist for $10 each!

"We're going to see real elephants... RIGHT NOW!"
A friend gave us a Groupon for a private elephant meet and greet- the same day as the party

Yeah, it was pretty cool. How will we top this next year?