Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Seena's Party a Success

The party was Sunday and it's now Wednesday. It has taken me this long to recoup. Boy, I'm getting old. After many long nights last week and only 5 hours of sleep over Friday and Saturday, I've slept like a LOG, ROCK, what have you for the last two nights. It's been AWESOME! My kids have even slept great too. Yeah! So, now back to the party...

The party was overall a great success. Leading up to the event was stressful. I had to wait until payday to do most of the shopping which then meant I couldn't do too much beforehand, the cake was by far the most stressful, followed closely by the goody bags. Seena was actually a great help. She wanted to be a part of it all and she started to understand what the party was about. She actually put most of the goody bags together, filled up the pinata, helped make the flowers for her cake and while I was stressing over finishing the cake, she kept encouraging me that things were going to be ok. My little 5 year old buttercup was telling me, the grown up, not to worry, the party was going to be great. And it was.

The Cake
Seena and I have known for months what her cake was going to be. She frequently goes through all of my cake decorating yearbooks and "picks" out cakes she wants. The Princess Castle Cake or "Romantic Castle Cake Set" as it's officially called was number 1 on her list. After looking over the picture and reading the instructions, it really didn't look difficult. It was mainly just assembling all of the pieces. The instructions, of course, list all of the Wilton products needed to assemble the cake, but being the frugal person that I am, I convinced myself that some of those things are not needed and I can improvise. I've taken self-taught cake decorating classes, I know how to make Royal Icing, leaves and drop flowers, I can do this. They may not be perfect but they will be good enough. My goal was to have the flowers done on Thursday evening, since I had to make at least 285 flowers I thought this was a good plan. Not so. I didn't attempt to make the flowers until Friday evening and it was a disaster. My "Royal Icing" was runny and my flowers looked like big blobs. I now start to feel the anxiety. One, for timing and two, I was realizing that I was going to have to buy all of the stuff I was trying NOT to buy for the cake.

Saturday morning....I bake the cakes, 2 to be exact. I realize I need another one. So, now I have to go to the grocery store on top of the two craft stores I have to go to to buy the flower making kit and the fondant (making use of 50% of coupons for each store). Oh, I also had to drag my two kids with me because EVERYONE else in my house was still sleeping.

Get home. Bake #3 cake. It deflates - big, huge, whopping hole in the middle. NO!!!! Beg and plead G to go to the store for me to buy cake #4. As I begin to bake this 4th cake - I realized that I forgot to add the eggs to the #3 cake...mystery solved. Phew...I was getting worried that I was losing my touch in my cake baking skills. But, this also made me realize that I needed to slow down. I'm rushing and I'm not thinking.

Get ready to make the flowers - ice cake and I realize I bought WAY too much fondant. So, off to the store I go AGAIN, to buy the correct amount.

I get back home and prepare the fondant to make the flowers. This is the point where I'm starting to get really upset at how much money I've spent on this cake. Even with my 50% off coupons, the overall cost was over $35. I could have bought a cake for this same price. I believe this is also the point Seena started reassuring me that this was going to be a great party. But nonetheless, I can't help feeling guilty at how much money I was spending. Was it really all necessary?

Anyway, Seena helps with the flower making...which actually turned out to be quite easy and kinda of fun. The kit comes with all kinds of flower cutters so I think Seena and I can practice making some other cool flowers another day.

The rest of the cake process...went pretty smoothly. Just took a lot of time. And the top was crooked - so much so that I was afraid the top was going to fall off. But it didn't..phew!

Goody Bags
For the record I just want to say, I hate goody bags. I know kids love them but goodness -- this is a ripoff scam. Who needs and wants all of the crap that gets put in them? It all ends up in the trash anyway. So, my philosophy is simple - goody bags are going to be filled with candy and or edible things. Sorry parents, I know it's sugar but this is a birthday party so suck it up, your kids are gettin' loaded with candy at my house. For documentation sake, and because I'm quite proud of how clever I was in my ideas (and Aunt V) both for "cuteness" and cost effectiveness.

Snow White - Hershey Kiss
Cinderella - Glass slipper filled with blue jelly beans
Ariel - Swedish Fish
Jasmine - Fruit Roll-Up (magic carpet)
Belle - fruit snacks
Sleeping beauty - a marshmallow (her pillow)
A sticker and a coloring book I made from printed pictures off the computer

I even saved on the goody bags by buying clear plastic ones in bulk and decorating them with ribbon. Yeah, for me!

The Course
The obstacle course was a lot of fun. I had intended for all of the kids to go through the course one-by-one but as soon as I finished giving the instructions all 50 million of them went running to the beginning and they all went at the same time.

Ursula - my Ursula didn't quite turn out how I envisioned it either. I should be grateful that I had a very gracious volunteer to be Ursula but I would have hoped there would have been a little bit more effort put in into the whole production. For starters, she was suppose to be sitting indian style on the table with her legs draped over the sides - as if an octopus was sitting on the table. Then I would have hoped she would have gotten "into character" a little and played it up for the kids. No luck there. Instead I got a teen sitting on a table with funky black things in her hands. She was a big help though - I have to give her that.

Nevertheless, the whole obstacle course was very cute. The kids had fun, Seena loved being the princess and the parents seemed to have had a good time. One little boy in particular, concentrated so hard on getting everything done correctly. He even rang the doorbell before entering the playhouse. Sooo stinkin' cute!

After the obstacle course the party went on auto, pinata, cake and open presents. The party lasted exactly two hours and everyone was gone by 1:00pm. We had the outside cleaned up by 2:00 and AJ and I were down for a nap by 3.

It was a great day.

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