Monday, October 06, 2008

The little monkey turns three

I recognize that I've taken a hiatus from blogging lately, and there's a perfectly sound explanation for that: Ellie's all-consuming birthday party, successfully executed Monday morning. Not that I can blame any of it on Ellie, really. I think I enjoyed the theme and homemade party favors more than her or any of her friends, but hey! If I'm going to do something for myself, it might as well be in the name of my child.

As always, we have more time than money, so creating games, favors, and a menu, all incorporated into the monkey theme, has kept me occupied the past week and a half since I decided to throw Ellie a party.

I debated because she only really has one friend here, so far. She and Lexi met at a ward barbecue our first week in California. Lexi made Ellie bark chip "hamburgers," Ellie knocked them all onto the ground, and instead of being angry, Lexi giggled. I knew at that moment this friendship would work. Anyway, again since the party is just as much for my sake as hers, I decided to invite people I'd like to know, and these strangers were nice enough to come, even bearing gifts.

I decided on the monkey theme because it's gender-neutral, not too cliche but not too difficult to work with, and appropriate for a bunch of toddlers running around at the park. The invitations were peel-able bananas.

I found cute monkey flannel at the fabric store which I crafted into monkey snack bags, favors for our guests.

I also whipped up some bean bag bananas for our bean bag toss, and Ellie and Erik were kind enough to assist me in decorating the monkey.

For a craft, I had crayons and monkey pictures for the smaller kids and the older kids made pom-pom monkeys. They were supposed to look like this...

But ended up looking more like this....

But fat pom-pom koalas are cute, too.

The next game I attempted was perhaps a little advanced for the group's attention span and vision, but given Ellie's social grooming tendencies (she can often be found sneaking up behind someone to pick their "gold" aka dandruff or asking if she can clean between your toes), I had to give it a go. I poured uncooked rice aka lice onto the monkey fur mats and gave the kids a couple minutes to procure as many "bugs" as possible. Of course, Ellie was the only one with enough enthusiasm to keep up the task, while others flicked, scattered, and ingested their "lice."

We also had a banana scavenger hunt on the jungle gym, and every paper banana they turned in to me translated into a piece of candy. This was the both the least time-consuming game by far (preparation wise) and the most popular with the kids. Go figure.

The menu consisted mostly of snacks, including monkey bread (which I had never made but plan to all the time now! Soooo easy--I mean, I can actually let Ellie stack the biscuits without correcting her, and they taste just like cinnamon rolls, but bite-size and fun to munch on), and good old bugs-on-a-log (celery filled with peanut butter and topped with raisins), although the disguise was insufficient in persuading toddlers to actually eat their vegetables. Then all the kids licked the frosting off their monkey cupcakes and slurped their banana split ice cream, and Ellie put a valiant effort into extinguishing all three of her candles.

I guess monkeys don't really have blue eyes, because this touch seemed to give them a sort of extra terrestrial glow...

Opening presents was, naturally, a big hit, especially a Sleeping Beauty doll that has been singing "Once Upon a Dream" just about non-stop around here.

Christie & Joe and Grandma and Grandpa Larsen's packages also arrived yesterday, and G&G Larsen were able to watch Ellie dig into her stash of gifts from them via skype. Somehow, she just seemed to know that a Belle dress was awaiting her in the last gift. I have to say that I really have battled to suppress her affinity for all things pink and princess, but to no avail. She's a girly-girl, through and through. And I'm finally okay with that.

Being three means, I think, that Ellie is no longer a toddler, and so by default, is definitely a "big girl" now. We have loved witnessing her growing independence, sharing her zest for life and relentless curiosity, and experiencing the sweetness and affection she offers abundantly. She is as much my little girl as she was on day one, three years ago, and I thinks she always will be. Happy birthday, Ellie-belly. I couldn't be happier that you're mine for keeps.


Joe and Christie said...

Wow Tiff-WOW! I salute you and your mad party planning skills.

Tana said...

Happy Birthday Ellie!!!
I love your party ideas. The cupcakes are so cute. Ellie is adorable. I wish we lived closer.

blaine and michelle said...

Happy Birthday Ellie!!!
You should go into business as a toddler party planner. Bims has informed me that she would like a cow cake for her third birthday, so get to work on that for me okay?

Marilyn said...

I've never seen anybody do such an amazingly creative party. You constantly amaze me with your talent. Who would've thought that a monkey party could be so cool? Ellie is so pretty in her princess stuff. I always loved girly stuff when I was little and I didn't turn out to be too over-the-top girly. Don't worry, she'll probably not be too o-t-t either.

Mish said...

You and Ellie and your theme-park party are so stinkin' cute. Way to be, Tiff.

Amy said...

What a fun and sweet post! I think I'm going to have to steal some of your super cute monkey-party ideas. You are amazing!

Kristin said...

That looked like an awesome party. You are so creative. The cupcakes were so cute. I impressed. Happy Belated Birthday Ellie.

Unknown said...

Wow! Glad you guys are back in the states safe and sound! What a lucky little three year old. I love the monkey theme, it is soo cute. I am thoroughly impressed with the homemade decor, favors, treats, ... holy cow!

Devin, Naomi and Spencer said...

Tiff, that party is fabulous, wow wish we could have been there. Way to go.
Love Na

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