Monday, April 15, 2013

Winter Wonderland Birthday Party

My youngest turned two in early January, and although we live in a snow-free climate, I wanted to celebrate the season with an all-white Winter Wonderland Birthday Party.

We planned to host twenty children and their parents at Gorgeous Millie, which is home to our daughter's teacher-led playgroup.  It's a beautiful space filled with quality toys and sensory experiences for toddlers, and the staff undertakes most of the clean-up, making for a very low-stress party venue.  I vowed to keep this party simple, especially after the previous month's holiday tea effort.  So, I booked our favorite face painter and children's musician to entertain the young guests, and did nothing else until three days before the party.

And that's when my plan for simplicity failed miserably.  Panicky about my lack of advance planning, I turned to Pinterest for help.  After pinning no less than seventy beautiful, wonderland-y images, I got to work.  First, I attempted to make these darling snowman macarons.  I love French macarons and had wanted to learn how to make them myself --- what better reason than my daughter's birthday? So, I spent a small fortune on ingredients and started mixing and piping.  Turns out that patient piping is not my strong suit, and my decorating ability is even worse.  The result: utter pinstrosity.  They tasted really good -- the recipe is definitely worth repeating -- but they weren't exactly recognizable as snowmen and weren't presentable to the public:

Snowman Macarons, pre-filling
Next effort: the cute Snowman Milk Bottles featured all over the blogosphere (like here, here, and here).  I easily procured the bottles (store-brand light mocha frappuccinos) and craft supplies, managed to burn myself only twice while hot-gluing the buttons onto the glass, and got my husband to drive to another county to purchase powdered donut holes (which surprisingly are not sold anywhere in my rather large city).  Things were looking good, until I tried to insert the straws into the donut holes.  Not one of the online tutorials had bothered to mention how difficult this is!  The straws fill up with donut residue, and the donuts crumble.  My end result looked garish and gave the other parents a good laugh, but luckily, my primary audience of two-year-olds was easily charmed.  :)

Less than ten minutes before the party started, everything finally came together.  The Gorgeous Millie staff had decorated the space with an arctic animal playscape, large hanging snowflakes, and white balloons; the setting was ready.  

I covered the children's dining table with snowy white fleece, big glittery snowflakes, and winter animal figurines from Pottery Barn.

The food table featured all-white, kid-friendly foods.  Tall ornamented apothecary jars housed fresh popcorn, powdered donuts, and fluffy marshmallows.  Homemade cupcakes were adorned with edible silver snowflakes and white pearls.  Silver snowflakes topped vanilla and salted caramel cake balls.  Handmade snowflake sugar cookies took center stage. A snowman cheese ball provided a savory break from the sweets.   Mercury glass ice skates, polar bears, and owls completed the tablescape.

In addition to milk, coffee, bottled water, and prosecco, we offered a hot cocoa bar.  I made a slow cooker's worth of Ghiradelli hot chocolate, and guests chose from toppings including mini-marshmallows, caramel chips, white chocolate chips, whipped cream, and peppermint.  The hot cocoa was a hit, even on a warm Texas winter day.  

Unfortunately, we didn't get a good close-up of my favorite detail from the cocoa bar: these adorable printed wooden spoons from Garnish, which said "Happy Day":


Alecia, from Doodle Arts, arrived, and started transforming the children:

And Mr. Will, a staple in the life of every Austin child, mixed "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" and "Frosty the Snowman"into his musical repertoire.  

Craft tables with easy make-your-own snowmen and snowglobe kits kept the little hands busy.

And favors were simple: Each family received a package of homemade snow-dough (non-toxic playdough) and a choice of one of these books:

We also donated 20 pairs of mittens and hats to a local children's charity; the number 20 seemed right as it represented not only the number of our party guests, but also #20actsofkindness just three weeks after Newtown.  

Ultimately, our birthday girl had a blast, and we loved celebrating her joyful life.  :-)

Many thanks to these wonderful vendors:

Sugar Cookies: One Classy Cookie
Cake Balls: Austin Cake Ball
Edible Paper Snowflake Cupcake Toppers: Sweet DejaVu
Paper straws, printed spoons, and hot cocoa cups: Garnish

(Sharing with Between Naps on the Porch, Celebrations at HomeSavvy Southern Style, Tip Junkie and Homemaker on a Dime)

1 comment:

  1. This is an absolutely fabulous party. I love how it all came together. Life will have a few bloopers along the way, aren't you glad you tried that recipe out before hand! Darling little angel. Great ideas. I've got to show this to my DIL! xo marlis