Monday, 29 April 2013

Kid's Birthday Parties :: Our story so far.

Around here we are approaching another kiddies Birthday Party at dazzling speed. It made me think of all the parties so far....So, instead of working on said upcoming party, I've put together a brief party history:

Reuben's first birthday party theme was Nautical. We celebrated it at a cafe overlooking the Durban harbour entrance. So close to the water's edge that he was entertained by fishes he saw swimming in the water. (Sadly it no longer exist). I ordered the cake and it callopsed on one side on the way there. Shipwreck?

We celebrated his second birthday at home in Gillits. The theme: Animal farm. This time I made the cake, and loved decorating it. I worked out of a book called: "Party Magic" by Stork/ Woman's Value (it's from Tafelberg Publishers)  inspiration for a few of our parties, and most of the cakes I made.

For his third birthday we had a small "Pirates & Pizza" party at night. This cake's decoration required intervention by my husband. We just couldn't get the red red, and a pirate with pink dots just wouldn't do. We eventually used about three bottles of red food-colouring, which later seeped out of the red bits (edited out here). Well, as they say, to err is human, and to arrrgh...pirate. And we'd rather have a bloody pirate than a pink one. (Lesson learned: use powder form food-colouring for intense colours.)

Enter Liam..and we find ourselves away in the Kwa-Zulu Natal Midlands over his first Birthday. I found a nice picnic venue that catered with deluxe picic baskets, a spot in the forest, and an arranged area with cussions and blankets. They didn't quite manage to deliver on my cake vision, but they did the cake as an exception, so that was ok. It was bitterly cold that day (the midlands get much colder than Durban), but the kids loved having their own play-area.

Reuben's fourth birthday party, and we decided to go the party venue route, with cake and party-packs included. The kids loved the trainrides, maze and play-area. I loved how easy it was, but a (crazy) part of me missed the home-made party feel.

Liam's second birthday and I'm back to doing it all myself. We went for a "Rumble in the Jungle" theme and an outside venue (at a nearby nature reserve). I loved doing that cake again. Looking back I should have allowed more time for setting up. It was complete in time, but rushing wasn't fun. 

Reuben's fith birthday party was all about firestations and fire-engins. We even paid a visit to the firestation in Umhlanga where the staff were extremely accomodating, and gave us a free tour of the station. Another favourite cake.

I loved Liam's third- a Circus party. It was in our backyard, and just one of those where everything went right. The cake took quite a while to decorate but I was so happy that I managed to pull it off.

With Reuben's sixth birthday (now living in Jo'burg) I discovered another beautiful party book: "Children's Party's" by Rose Hammick & Charlotte Packer. The photo's and all the handmade ideas are a feast for the eyes. But books like these are dangerous, because you want to do it all, yourself. We went for the Cowboy theme in this book. I made bunting, cardboard Cactusses and bar-doors, we had hay bales, a teepee tent, potato races, corn on the cob, hamburgers, and a treasure chest cake with chocolate coins spilling out. 

We moved house a few days before Liam's fourth birthday, so I didn't go for a big/themed party. But I discovered Sweet Paul's go-to chocolate cake. I made two double batches for a four layer cake. It is so easy, yummy and brownie like, and just about fool-proof. A favourite ever since.

For Reuben's seventh birthday we went for "Rockets & Robots" as a theme. The cake was very
ambitious to say the least... rocket science to be more correct :). It had to be baked in a bowl and came out as heavy as a log. I added extra height with iced over caramel rolls that went down very well. Other memorable things about this party: that his best friend arrived wrapped in a foil suit. The fact that we had it in the circle down our street, that we had a jumping castle, that the day went from sunny when the party started, to pouring with rain within about half an hour. Everything had to be rushed indoors. And the kids had the best time playing in the street in the rain. (As in flat on their tummies in the water in the street).
With Liam's fifth bithday we were away on holiday on the South Coast. We had a small celebration a few days before, while with family in Durban. On his birthday we filled his room with balloons to wake up to, and spent the day on the beach.

This year when Reuben turned eight he opted for a trip to Sun City (they have a man-made beach) in stead of a party. Cool. Liam' sixth birthday is coming up, and a party had to had. I'm very grateful for my celebration board on Pinerest for party inspiration.
Handmade parties are as rewarding as it is hard work.  But the most important thing with kids parties, as with Project Life and scrapbooking, is that we celebrate our kids and their lives.


  1. OHI love your parties - think I need to do a party re-cap too. Will be fun.

    1. Thanks, it was fun looking back. I'll keep an eye out for your party recap!