Sunday, November 17, 2013

Claire's Harvest Party

Claire turned two on Nov. 1, and we had her fun farm/harvest-themed party on Nov. 2. We've been on the go quite a bit since then, thus the delay in sharing the details, but it was really so darling, I can't wait to tell you about it.

I ordered the invitations off Etsy, and just adore them. The designer tweaked them (free of charge) to my color scheme of pink, orange, and yellow.

Since we have way too many toys as it is, we asked for food for our church's food pantry in lieu of gifts, and I collected all our CSA boxes from the farmer's market all summer to have a thematic receptacle for all those non-perishables! (I took that pic before the party even started--we collected about ten whole boxes and bags full!)

For the decor, I used pennant banners in pink, orange, and yellow, as well as some burlap (made that wreath with an easy tutorial and plan to switch out the embellishments to use for other seasons), a scrap of yellow gingham picnic tablecloth I had around, and some bright, casual flowers.

A friend introduced me to the word "tablescape" when it came to my party decor, and while it sounds hilariously pretentious, I think this party was my favorite "tablescape" yet! I left it up for days and smiled every time I passed through the dining room.
I made this little photo box displaying a couple favorite photos from our trip to the farm a few weeks ago. The box, before I painted it, was a purple Melissa & Doug toy package—those little divided wooden containers M&D toys come in are the best. We have one in the girls' bathroom to hold the thousand little hair elastics we have. Anyway, they also make great shadow boxes!

And, for fun, I printed out some fall- and farm-themed coloring sheets and put them out with some pumpkin-shaped crayon rings I found at Target.

I'm not the greatest cook in the world, so I've made it a policy to only tackle one complicated food item per party. Something always goes wrong, requiring a do-over or at least a last-minute run to the grocery store, so I really don't have time to deal with more than one high-maintenance food. Usually, it's the cake—Kate's ice cream cone cupcakes and Claire's rainbow smash cake were the focus in past years.

This time, I really wanted to try these carrot-shaped sandwiches I saw on Pinterest. So, I ordered the cake from Publix and kept all the other food simple so I could focus on these sandwiches.
Basically, you wrap crescent dough around ice cream cones, brush it with an orange-tinted egg wash, and bake. The complication was getting the cones out—parchment paper between the cone and dough helped, but made them take much longer to bake. I stuffed mine with egg salad and chicken salad. They were very tasty and made such a neat visual impact.

Publix did a lovely job with the cake, and I just did caramel apples (store-bought), candy corn, a veggie tray, my spinach-artichoke dip that I make for everything, and fruit salad in a watermelon-basket. The watermelon might have qualified as a second "complicated" food item that might have gone terribly wrong, but I told myself it's no big deal because if I screwed it up, I'd just put the fruit in a bowl and all's well. It was actually pretty easy, though, so that was cool.

The Birthday Girl
Last, but certainly not least, let me update you on my sweet Claire at age two! She's still so serious sometimes, then a complete ham once she loosens up. She imitates Kate's every word and move, and they are the best of friends.
Sober, then smiley.
She's about average in size, tracking a bit shorter than Kate was at this age, with straight, straw-colored hair. I call her "Sister Golden Hair" after the old song, since she's got the closest thing to blond hair in our family.

I know some of you are wondering about Claire's obsessive love of nursing, and how the weaning process has gone. I quit pumping at one year, thinking it would just phase itself out, but Claire was still intent on nursing whenever she was with me, and the milk held out. Around 18 months, I began to resist nursing in public, and as we got closer to two, it was strictly night-time only: bedtime and if she woke in the night. She started taking a sippy of water to bed, voluntarily alternating her beverage of choice (me or the cup) while we rocked and sang before bed. She was born at 10:21 pm, so I felt bedtime on her birthday was still fair game for our last nursing, which was sentimental for me too, as I've loved being able to nurse Claire.

I intended that to be the last, but when she woke up at 1:30 am, the need to get us both back to sleep trumped my willpower. So, the "rule" now is middle-of-the-night-only. She's been sleeping through the night better lately, so it's gotten pretty rare. 

Claire's favorite foods are peanut butter and baked beans. She'll eat PB by the spoonful, and will eat beans for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if she can. Right on cue, she loves Elmo and Abby, even though she doesn't see Sesame Street near so often as Kate did at that age. She loves to play with baby dolls and anything Kate is playing with. She still loves technology and tinkering—games on my phone and the screwdriver in my desk drawer are both fun playthings. She sings songs like "Happy Birthday" and the ABCs, counts to ten (sometimes skipping 5, 6, and 7, but who's counting?) and can do a forward roll like her gymnast sister.

Happy birthday, Clairy-Bear! We're so excited you're TWO!


EMU said...

Cute, cute party!

I reuse the Melissa & Doug boxes, too. :)

Freddie said...

You amaze me!

Rachel Moss said...

Those sandwiches are awesome!


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