Monday, April 29, 2013

Happy 8th Bird-day, Caroline!

Caroline turned 8 on March 21st, and she requested a bird-themed birthday party.  She has been really interested in birds for several years now, and we were seeing lots of cute bird decor in local stores... so this was easy to pull off!

I love our light over our dining room table... as slightly tacky as it may be, it is perfect for hanging things from, and these bird ornaments looked nice there!

Caroline was the last name I had to make for the homemade birthday banner... now I have all three girls' names and can reuse them each year!  Pretty, frugal, and practical - and it is a tradition they can look forward to each year, getting their birthday banner hung up!  When they are all grown up, they'll just have to fight over who gets the sections that say "Happy" and "Birthday."  ;)

These cute little birds were found at Michael's craft store... so were the bird ornaments.  Did you know Michael's has an educator discount of 15% off your total purchase?  All you have to do is show your Barnes & Noble educator card!  With their regular sales plus 40% off coupons plus educator discount, I still probably spend way too much here, but hey, at least I know I rarely pay full price for anything in the store!

This cute centerpiece came from Michael's too... we haven't lit the candles yet; the bird shapes would melt if we did!  Lucy loves to climb on the table and take the birds out and then put them back in their nests.  We are leaving this on the table all spring - I love the look of the bird decor in spring.

These birds on pedestals lined the china cabinet in front of the birthday banner... in each color to match the three by the pitcher...

...and now they are on our mantel in the den.

Cute bird tray that now lives on my counter against the wall, held up by my empty yogurt glass jars and my fermenting veggies and sourdough starter.  The fermenting veggies are in a pretty clay canister that my roommate from college, Aura Lee, made me in her pottery class - the color of it matches the birds on the tray!  So pretty.   Anyway... the tray held some of our food and paper products for the party.  As you can see, I didn't find any bird plates and used a very random assortment of old paper plates.  You've got to use up all the extras somehow before buying more, right?

This cake was fun to make!  I still think I made the top layer too tall, but oh, well.  The top layer was chocolate (with beets and kale in it, shh, don't tell anyone!;) and the bottom layer was butter.  both cakes plus the frosting used like 5 or 7 sticks of butter, some insane amount like that; I can't remember now exactly.

The birds are wooden cutouts from Michael's which I painted purple and then glued toothpicks to on the backs so i could stick them into the cake.  I tinted some frosting blue for the sky, left a little white for the piping, and then made a small batch of chocolate frosting to pipe the tree branches.  That was the most fun part!  

The nest is made from melted chocolate chips poured over chow mein noodles and then shaped into a nest to harden on wax paper.  The eggs are peanut butter M & M's which are egg-shaped for Easter.  

If I had wanted to take it further, I could have made some frosting green and then added some leaves on the branches, or even some pale pink flower buds...

Here is my bird tray, unobstructed this time!

The girls helped me make these peanut butter balls the day before - just peanut butter, honey, powdered milk, and oats mixed up and rolled into balls... then we rolled each one in a mixture of sesame seeds, wheat germ, sunflower seeds, ground flaxseed, and a little bit of chopped up raisins.   We called them Birdseed Treats (for humans)!

I just love these little birds!

I found these cute bird tags in an etsy shop - The Fig and Thimble.   I put one on each gift.  We gave Caroline some books (of course!), a window bird feeder (it suctions to the glass and really works even though I found it for a few bucks at Big Lots!), the Little House on the Prairie book on CD (which is excellent; I highly recommend!), and a First Communion outfit for her 18 inch doll.

The gifts...

I topped them with this cute bird sign - again, a wood cutout from Michael's that I  painted and then wrote on with chalk so it can be reused.

Daddy lights the candles...

Caroline waits to blow them out...

And I missed her blowing them out.  I keep missing that shot lately!

Caroline opens her gifts...

...with lots of help!

This was funny... Lucy was hiding her head in one of the gift bags and playing peekaboo with all of the grandparents!  Here she peeks at Gran (she calls her "Nan")...

...and here she hides from Gramma (who she calls "Mehnah")...

...and finally, she tries to make Grampa hide in the bag (her pronunciation of Grampa is the best - she calls him "But-duh").

I saw this idea somewhere online, to make a bird feeder wreath by stringing whole peanuts on wire.  I had peanuts, and I had wire... but it was really hard to break through the shell to get them on the wire. 

Once they got several on, they started to look pretty.  We attached them together to make one big wreath and then hung it high in our fig tree.  We saw a squirrel and some blue jays enjoying it.

Here's dinner... chicken salad (from Chick-fil-A, of course) on croissants, fruit salad, more birdseed treats, chips and guacamole, and...

...deviled eggs that looked like baby birds hatching out of their shells!  (FYI - a PITA to assemble!)

Pretty bird card that we gave to Caroline with her gifts, also found somewhere on etsy...

The day before the party, Caroline and Cecilia made these bird paintings for their weekly art project.  This one is Caroline's.

This is Cecilia's.  They made the bodies of the birds and the wings using potatoes cut  into wedges.

If you look closely, you'll see that Cecilia was taking great delight in eating the bird face from a deviled egg in this photo... she can be a sort of morbid child, ha.

Happy Birthday, Caroline!!!


Anonymous said...

Wow, love the cake, did you put anything in between the layers to support the top layer? Great job on it! Birthday sounds like a fun excuse to buy some cute accessories! I can't believe you get them cards and gift tags and decorations! Mine are lucky to get presents and a themed cake, I can't handle/afford anything else, especially with 6 a year. You can really put together a party!

Erin said...

Thanks, yeah, I put a cardboard layer thing between the two layers - I found a pack of several of them at Michael's, a ten pack, I think? But the frosting sticks to it and I don't know how to avoid that happening! The gift tags were something I came across randomly somehow... usually we don't buy tags for bday presents. Sometimes I make them. The little birds were just so cute.