While planning my soon-to-be 2-year-old’s birthday party, I have researched, found, and compiled some information I’d like to share.
Location, Location, Location
We have a wonderful park within walking distance of our house that’s great for parties. I’ve seen birthday parties with all kinds of fun activities there: enormous bounce house castles, ponies, tents, barbecues, even a train that takes kids and parents for rides around the park. But, the weather in March can be unpredictable, so I decided to find an indoor location instead. After looking into several local possibilities (and there are many) – an indoor play yard, places filled with things to jump on, a room at the harbor arcade/carousel, and a preschool facility, to name a few – we decided on home sweet home. It was most conducive to Siena’s interests and to what we already knew we wanted the main attraction to be. That brings up:
The Main Attraction
Elmo! The past many months, “Mo,” as she calls him, has been Siena’s favorite (I’m learning he’s a favorite of most of the 2-year-old set). I searched and searched for a company that provides Elmo impersonators, and I found a few out of L.A. who would travel up our way (for sort of a hefty fee). Then, I expanded my search to Santa Barbara, and found just what we were looking for. We get Elmo and a clown companion for an hour of entertainment (if we’re as pleased with their service as I think we’re going to be, I’ll follow up here later with a recommendation and their contact info). So, with Elmo as our main attraction, we also have an instant theme. There will be plenty of time for princesses and girly stuff as Siena gets older. Now is the time for cute little furry red Sesame Street monsters.
Choosing a day was next. We picked a Sunday (her birthday’s on a Thursday). Then, for me, was the hard part. How long should a 2-year-old’s birthday party be? I researched this and found lots of variations. We went with three hours. Because the entertainment will be there from 2:00 to 3:00, we worked the rest of the party around it. That way, we’ll start with lunch, have the entertainment in the middle, and end with cake and presents. We invited immediate family, neighbors with young children (there are lots of kids on our block) and a few other close friends (a lot of our friends live out-of-town, and traveling here for a 3-hour gig on a Sunday afternoon might be difficult). I found some great invitations online that feature four small pictures of Siena and a baby Elmo (setting the mood for her event). I got them from Ultrainvitations.com.
We’ll be serving lunch and lots of snacks that will hopefully appeal to the kids and the adults. The menu includes: homemade macaroni and cheese; mini sandwiches cut out with cookie cutters into different shapes – hearts, stars, circles, squares, triangles – each with a different filling, such as almond butter and jelly, tuna salad, turkey/club, cream cheese and cucumber; fruit salad; veggies and ranch dip; chips and dips; and bowls of snacks like pretzels, Chex Mix, and Goldfish Crackers. We’ll have juice boxes for the kids and water, soda and adult beverages for the grownups. For dessert: birthday cake, cupcakes and ice cream. I was going to order a birthday cake with Elmo on it from a specialty bakery. That was until I found an Elmo cake mold (complete with instructions for making an adorable Elmo cake). Yes, I’m going to attempt to make it myself (I will fill you in later on how it turns out). I’m thinking white cake with Elmo dyed – red, white, orange, black – frosting. Mind you, I’m going to buy a few boxes of cake mixes … just in case. I’m also making cupcakes (some chocolate), and ice cream.
Decorations and Goodies
Since our theme was set, this part was easy. I had a lot of fun going to Party City, perusing every single aisle, gathering fun things. Elmo is in abundance there (and now will also be at our party). I got the following Elmo-theme stuff: paper plates, cups and napkins, party hats, tablecloths, centerpiece, hanging wall decorations, goodie bags, the cake pan I mentioned above, and cupcake papers. I also got a variety of goodies to go into the goody bags (which I finished shopping for at Target). My mom commented that an Elmo-themed setting isn’t going to be very pretty. I pointed out: this isn’t about pretty; it’s about a 2-year-old and what she likes. Again, as I mentioned, there’s time for pretty at future parties.
I thought about other activities I could squeeze into our special event – a piñata, crafts, games like Pin the Nose on Elmo – but decided no. Elmo is enough.
I am really looking forward to Siena’s birthday party next weekend. I can’t wait to see her face when Elmo and his clown friend arrive. I wonder if she’ll light up the way she does when watching her Elmo’s World DVDs, or if she’ll be as scared of him as she was Santa in December. Regardless, it will be a memory to cherish: the celebration of my little baby turning 2!
More Elmo Theme Inspiration