Monday, June 9, 2008

Olivia's Big Book Birthday Bash

This year for Olivia's birthday, we decided to do a book party mostly because I hope our kids will love reading and we want to make sure to do a lot of it this summer. A book-themed party seemed like a great way to kick off the summer. We got some great ideas from The invitations looked like little books written by Olivia and told the story of her Big Birthday Book Bash. We told the kids to come dressed up as their favorite book character and to be ready to tell us about their favorite book. It was so fun to hear how excited the kids were about books and reading.Olivia dressed up as Kitt Kittredge, of American Girl fame. She got the book and doll for her birthday (she told the group that it was her "first American Girl" and I quickly reminded her that it would likely be her "only American Girl" because they cost an arm and a leg!).

When the kids arrived, the librarian (me!) gave them a nametag with their character's name and they went and made a foam bookmark. We had all sorts of characters... Coleman was a Jedi Knight (there are Star Wars books out there somewhere, right?), Liv as Kitt, her friend Mercedes was Junie B. Jones, and Jane was Gwen (a star soccer player).
My mom came to help and dressed up like Laura Ingalls Wilder and as you can see we had Robin Hood, Harry Potter, Camilla (from a great book, A Bad Case of The Stripes), David (in the stripes, from No, David!) a couple of Hannah Montana's, a detective named Joe, and Alice in Wonderland. We also had The Man in the Yellow Hat (Curious George), Judy Moody, the Paper Bag Princess, Alice the Fairy, Pippi Longstocking, Peter (from the Narnia books), and the butterfly from A Very Hungry Caterpillar. The kids came up with great costumes and told about their books with a lot of detail. It was refreshing to see how much these little ones love to read and be read to.
After the kids told us about their books, we played a rousing game of "Red Rover" which was hilarious.
My extremely talented friend Sara made an amazing cake when her husband graduated from law school a few weeks ago (see a picture here) and I wanted desperately to copy it for Liv's book party. Sara was kind enough to write a detailed tutorial on how to do it and included a great frosting recipe and lots of insider cake decorating tips. As you can see, my cake is nowhere near the caliber of Sara's, but for a bunch of 7 year olds, it was a hit. It was my first time using cake boards and support straws and meringue powder in the frosting, so I consider it progress. I didn't start the frosting process until 2 hours before the party, which was a mistake. Five batches of frosting later and 20 minutes before the party was supposed to start, this is what we had, in addition to frosting and dirty dishes ALL over the kitchen. Next time around, I'll frost the cake the night before so I can have plenty of time to fix the details and make it as spectacular as I know I could have with more time and a few more tools.
We sent each of the kids home with a book (thanks to a great deal at the end of the year Scholastic book fair) and some "Birthday Bookworms". I was happy to avoid the huge amounts of candy and cheap trinkets that I usually put in the goodie bags. Hopefully all of the kids will enjoy their books this summer. We had such a fun party--Olivia is blessed with great friends that helped her celebrate her birthday in a big way. I was blessed with my mom, my sister Stephanie, and my friend Lisa who helped run the show. Thanks ladies!
**What book character would you like to be?
**Have you played "Red Rover" lately?
**Any good book recommendations (for me or the kids)?


Linn said...

That is just the cutest idea ever! I love it. Thanks for sharing.

Janene said...

I love this idea! I guess if I had the time I would currently dress up as Abigail Adams. :o)

My last game of Red Rover was in college -- bad idea for a grown-up game. I ended up with a MASSIVE bruise on my thigh from my rugby-playing friend's knee.

Sally said...

since I just finished it, I would be Melanie/Wanderer from The Host. Hmmm, how to get silver ringed contacts? But cool idea, huh? AwESOME party. I would love to duplicate that for Grace. Do you believe that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, or would you be offended? PLease say the former. I want to be the rock star on my block.

Lisa R.D. said...

Sally: Of course imitation is the sincerest form of flattery... I would not be offended at all :). I'll even send you my files so you don't have to recreate the wheel (just change the name and details and you'll be set!). If you like cake decorating, I can lend you some pans and frosting tips too. Just let me know what you need :).

Kristi said...

What a creative mom you are. Let me know if you ever start your own "Birthday Party" business...I would be your first customer.

One book we love at our house is called "Arnie the Doughnut." It is pretty funny and has become a favorite for us.

sara said...

That cake turned out great!!!! I hear you about doing it the evening before. I learned my lesson the hard way. :)
I love the idea of a book themed birthday. What a great idea. You're party favors are great!!

Anonymous said...

Wow... What a great idea. You are such a good mom..

Sally said...

Hi again Lisa! So I let Grace read this post, and she said:
1. Mama, she looks just like Kit! How perfect for her! And I look just like Julie! Let's braid my hair...
2. Can I have a party like that? (YES!)
3. Did she have to write in ALL those books? I told her that it was probably a computer printed book inside, but that maybe she typed it all herself.
4. Did the guests bring books as their gifts? I would love that, especially compared to more junk around the house.

We love Officer Buckle and Gloria,
Julius (Jack) Baby of the World, But No Elephants, The Clown Arounds, and Popcorn. Grace is queuing for The Candy Shop Wars at the library. Her whole class has read it but her, apparently.

Do you feel like a picnic soon? :)

Terri said...

It was great to read about the b-day party, Lisa! NOW I know what Olivia's "American Girl" looks like! It's a beautiful doll. I was confused when she said she got an American girl for her b-day! lol What a wonderful idea for the party! I loved your cake picture too. I looked at the "model," and I think yours was terrific too!

Cheri said...

I LOVE it. What a fun educational birthday idea! I'll have to remember this one.

Bryan and Amanda Russ said...

Love it!!! You could do your own Family Fun article, we'll have to do something here in Florida...more flattery for you ;-). Makayala is way into the American girl books and I even found a whole book of unit studies on them. Gavyn has even gotten into it all. You are so talented! Thanks for sharing.

Bryan and Amanda Russ said...

Oh, we are currently reading Swiss Family Robinson, the kids love it and it has such room for the imagination to run wild... I love books so our list would be long. A great picture book is Superhero ABC's, Coleman might love it.

Kristy said...

Cute idea and cute cake! I really love birthdays!

the harpers said...

Lisa!! How cute! What a great idea. Looks and sounds like it turned out totally perfect. Happy Birthday Liv!