Monday, January 16, 2012

Cooking Party -- Ella's 2nd Birthday

As Ella's 2nd birthday approached, I was trying to figure out what theme to have for her party. One evening, Ella came to me and asked to help me cook dinner. After dinner, she brought daddy and I some cookies that she had made in her play kitchen.  As I nibbled on a wooden cookie with sprinkles, it struck me that this would be the perfect theme for Ella's 2nd birthday..and what a great theme it was!!
Scanned image -- real thing definitely looked better!

Invitation:  I made the invitations after looking online and not seeing too many great options. The blue polka dot part is a pocket made by folding scrapbook paper and gluing the sides.  The apron I cut out using my Cricut machine and the pilgrim girl dress from the Paper Dolls Dress Up cartridge. The spatula and rolling pin are from the Everyday Paper Dolls cartridge (which also has an apron, I just didn't like it for the invite). I typed up "Cookin' Up Fun for Ella's 2nd Birthday" on white paper and adhered it as the pocket of the apron.  All the paper I bought at Joanns.

The red backing you see on the invite pulled out of the pocket and had all the party details in recipe format! This was so much fun & an easy invite to make even if you just did the recipe card. I would be happy to email you the pocket tag and/or recipe (both done using Microsoft Word) if you are interested.  Just comment below.

Decor:  At the entrance to the party, I set out a giant blackboard on which I wrote "Today's Special: Ella's 2nd Birthday".  The party was held in the backyard of my parents' house.  All the tables were set with red tablecloths and cooking themed centerpieces of either pots with utensils sticking out of them or mini metal shopping carts with fruits in them.
My mom made aprons for each of the kids attending the party, & I hung them up like a clothesline as decor until it came time for the kids to "cook".  I found the fabric at Joanns Fabric Store, and the party colors of baby blue and red were chosen from this fabric.  The girls aprons all had red pockets and ties while the boys had brown.  Extra fabric was used as tablecloths.
The kids wore the aprons throughout the party...look how cute they are!! Thanks mom for this super cute addition to Ella's party!!
As other decor, I brought Ella's play kitchen and borrowed two others from family/friends.  The kids loved cooking with all the play food, and it was an easy/inexpensive decor piece since we already had them.

Activities/Games:  The first activity I set up for the kids to do was to make their own chef hat.  My husband built a table using plywood and 2x4's cut as legs.  This was the perfect size for the kids and they felt special because they had their own table. To make chef hats, you simple need white poster board, tissue paper, and tape.  I pre-cut the poster board for the kids, and set out crayons for them to color.  I bought cheap crayons that didn't work that well.  I suggest markers or better crayons.  The assembly of the chef hat is a little complicated. It definitely required parent-involvement to put it together, but it was cute to see the dad's sitting at the little table helping their kids!  Here are the directions:
  1. Start with a band of white poster board 26 inches long and 3 1/2 inches high, and 3 sheets of 20- by 30-inch white tissue paper. Fold each sheet in half the long way.
  2. Gather and tape one of the short sides of each sheet along the hat band, overlapping the sheets slightly.
  3. Curl the band tape side out, place it around a child's head, and paper clip the ends. Gather the tissue at the top, taping it tightly together, as shown at right. Cut off the extra tissue, remove the paper clips, and turn right-side out. Reattach the paper clips, puff up the tissue, and start cooking!
The second activity was cookie decorating.  I made 2 round sugar cookies (plus a few extra) for each child to decorate. I set out white frosting and plastic knives. Then just add sprinkles and other fun decorating supplies for the kids to use.  The kids loved this and it was cute to see them all "baking" in their aprons!

Food:  To avoid nap time, I scheduled the party from 10:30 to 1:00, so I needed to serve lunch. I thought of cooking individual pizzas were everyone could be the chef of their own pizza, but I didn't want to stay in the kitchen at the oven the entire time.  Instead, I did a Make-Your-Own Sandwich bar and I had George Foreman grills set out at the end for guests to create a panini.  Most of the kids had grilled cheese, but I had meats and cheeses, etc. for the adults.  I also served fruit salad and chips.
We had cake and cupcakes for dessert.  My wonderful mom made this fun apron cake.  We simply cut a standard rectangle cake...easy.  The ribbon was attached by sewing pins.  I bought red with white polka dot cupcake liners, and we frosted the cupcakes with baby blue icing and used red sprinkles.  We served the cake to the adults and saved the cupcakes for the kiddos.
Ella loved blowing the candle out on this cake...and of course the cupcakes were yummy!

Favor: The kids went home with their aprons, but I also put together a simple favor for each child. A red lunch sack was filled with homemade play dough (which I put in a tupperware container), a cookie cutter, and a rolling pin.  The tag read,
Super cute! Here is the recipe I used to make the play dough:
Play Dough
Mix together 1 cup flour, 1/2 cup salt, and 2 teaspoon cream of tartar.  In a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, food coloring.  Add liquid mixture to flour mixture and cook over medium-high heat until the consistency of mashed potatoes (1 or 2 minutes).  Flip out on cool surface.  Knead until smooth and elastic.  Store in a plastic bag.

Overall, it was a great party. If you don't have the time to make aprons for each child, there are plenty of places online to purchase them.  They were a big hit with the kids.  The cookie decorating was definitely fun with 2 year olds, but is great for all ages.  If your kids are older, there is even more you can do that involves actually cooking. The possibilities are endless for this birthday theme!


Katy G. said...

I cannot thank you enough Carole for posting this great party idea! I've copied everything you did, because why mess with perfection, and so far everything looks great. Our party isn't for 2 more weeks. I'll be sure to post party post! In the meantime, I've received tons of compliments on the invites. Since I don't have a cool machine to make the aprons I made them all by hand. It was actually quite easy. I found an apron stencil on google images which worked perfectly. I found everything else I needed at Micheal's (except the rolling pins which I ordered from Celebrate Express). I went with a blue and green color theme. Micheal's even had blue and green aprons w/chef hats for $1, blue and green oven mits and pans all for a $1! I didn't buy the apron and chef hats sets. Instead I bought plain white aprons. I plan to write each child's name on them w/fabric paint and stencils (which I already had).

Can't wait for the party. Thanks again Carole!

InviteandDelight said...

So excited you are hosting a party with this theme! It was definitely a fun one to host. Hope yours goes well!

Katy G. said...

To say our party was a HUGE sucess would be an understatement. Everyone had a blast!! I received tons of compliments on everything from the invites to the cakes. Thank you Carole for sharing this party idea!!!!

Beth- the mama bee said...

We are having a cooking themed party in July for my daughter 7th. Thanks for the ideas. Will link when the time comes. -Beth

Blanca said...

Hi Carol,
My daughter was one of the invitees for Katy's daughter's party which was such a hit. I was so inspired that although I've never hosted a party at home for my kids, with everything you've shared, I'm venturing to see if I can pull it off. Thank you for sharing! Might you be able to share the MS doc for the invitation insert?

lisakgold said...

This party looks fabulous! You did a great job. I'm stealing many ideas for my daughters upcoming 2nd birthday. If you could send the recipe invitation word doc to my email that would be great.

lisakgold said...

This party looks fabulous! You did a great job. I'm stealing many ideas for my daughters upcoming 2nd birthday. If you could send the recipe invitation word doc to my email that would be great. Thanks!