Thursday, January 30, 2014

Kate's Winter Wonderland Tea Party

Tuesday was Kate's fifth birthday. She's smart, tall, creative, and SOOO ready for kindergarten, which I can't believe begins later this year! Matt and I were actually out of town on her birthday, but since Kate firmly believes that it is blowing out one's candles that makes one magically turn a new age, it was her party on Saturday that really mattered.

I tried something different this year, after three years of parties where we invited whole families and everyone mingled while the kids played. This year, I thought we'd try a kids-only party (mommies optional) with a "Winter Wonderland Tea Party" around the dining room table.
We invited just four friends, since our dining room has six chairs (four guests, plus the birthday girl and her sister) and I planned activities to keep six little girls ages 2-6 occupied for two hours. After coordinating VBS last year, I was well aware how time is harder to fill than you think and how groups of kids so easily dissolve into chaos!

There were definitely moments of chaos, but overall, I thought it was really fun and special (partially because of the chaos, I'm sure, if you ask Kate!) I'm so excited to share it with you.

First, the Theme and Decor
To me, January equals light blue as much as February equals red and March equals green. So I was eager to deck the halls with light blue, silver, and white, and to take advantage of after-Christmas sales to find lots of snowflake-themed stuff. (The Mom Creative would approve: check out her post on party planning in advance.) I went to Michael's the day after Christmas and found snowflake ornaments, ribbon, and cupcake liners, plus silver doilies and netting, at 50-70% off. I later found snowman chocolates and snowflake-themed paper plates and napkins on clearance, too.

I decorated the table with the netting, ribbon, ornaments, doilies, and snowmen, plus some crystals (the type that would go in a vase) that I found at church, leftover from a wedding held seven months ago.

I hung ribbon and ornaments from the light fixture (above) and made a banner for the mantle with extra ribbon, doilies, and some scrapbook paper (below). One benefit of centering the party around a table was less pressure to decorate the whole downstairs!

The Food

There was tea, of course, this being a "tea party," but I suspected the kids would not all care for tea, so we also had lemonade and apple juice. My mother-in-law collects tea pots, so she had a big selection of blue and silver ones from which to choose.
The party began at noon, so I had lunch food for the kiddos. I plated their grapes, cheese, and crackers, and then carried around the tray of tea sandwiches for them to choose. I made egg salad and pimento cheese sandwiches, cut into little triangles. (As Kate said, "I don't want tea in my sandwich!") For the record, the kids hardly ate anything. They were too busy being silly around the table, thrilled by the idea of a kids-only meal.

I had the same food and a selection of teas laid out for the mommies in the kitchen to snack on. One mommy was out of town and another had to work, but the two that were there and Kate's grandmothers hung out in the kitchen while the kids ran in to tattle ("Claire poured her own tea!...well, so did I") and stampeded through when Kate said she had to go potty and all the other girls agreed, cramming themselves into our half-bath!

In place of a big cake or cupcakes, we had petit fours (ordered from Publix—delicious!) and snowflake cookies my mom made.

I let the kids play as everyone arrived, and then called them to the table, served the "tea" and lunch. After they finished (or, rather, claimed they were finished eating) I brought out supplies for a beaded snowflake craft, prepared and plated for each child so we wouldn't have to be passing out each individual item.

Pointing out the sample I'd made, I gave a brief how-to, and the moms and grandmas helped the kids as needed. Not requiring any glue or scissors, they simply twisted sparkly pipe cleaners together, threaded pony beads along them, and folded the ends over!

 Before we sang "happy birthday" and passed out petit fours, I gave each child a dessert plate with marshmallows, pretzel sticks, a sliver of carrot, and various candies, with which to make a snowman (and eat him, as desired, alongside their petit fours and cookies).

After cake and presents, the kids got up from the table for a little game (followed by open playtime until parents arrived). I cut holes in a tri-fold presentation board and had cotton balls in a bucket for the kids to toss through the holes. (Kate helped draw snowflakes on the board,  but the Exact-O knife was all Mommy.)

It was a fun little party for my big birthday girl. We let the men back in the house for a family party that evening with pizza, ice cream, and her big gift from all the grandparents—a balance beam and mat to improve her gymnastics skills!

Happy birthday, K-bear!


Katie @ Team Skelley said...

Great minds think alike! I just did the exact same thing with our Frozen birthday party! I wrote about it over at the blog this week - silver and turquoise, lots of snowflakes and fake snow - I also picked everything up after Christmas for a steal. It is probably the most elaborately yet cheaply decorated party I have ever done!

Love the little snowman!!

Rachel Moss said...

Awesome party! I may borrow the theme for next year.


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