We celebrated Madeline’s fifth birthday this past weekend. It was the first time I had a real party – as in, we invited two friends (and their siblings) rather than just relatives to salute her special day. Madeline really wanted to have an ocean theme, but she also wanted to host a tea party so we decided on an “Under the Sea Tea.”
It could not have been more fun. I allowed Madeline to select the menu. We made our signature scones; cucumber sandwiches (I’ll put together some tea sandwich recipes one of these days); Oreo truffles (the recipe calls for milk chocolate, but we always substitute dark); homemade hummus (I need to update my recipes and include this one; it’s just tough because I add a little of this and a dash of that) with pita chips and crudités (such a delicious, fancy word for raw veggies, don’t you think?); the easiest punch ever (pour one two-liter bottle of Ginger Ale over lime sherbet and viola!); deviled eggs; green olives (her favorite); chunks of fresh feta (another one of her favorites); and a heaping bowl of fruit.
Oh, and of course, tea! I actually decided to make a hot tea punch since I wasn’t sure if most kids would like chamomile tea like mine do. The recipe calls for five tea bags; I used chamomile. My Rae especially loved the tea and gulped down at least three cups.
After all those sweets, we also had birthday cake (I was a slacker mom and ordered the cake from Publix since we had to make so much other stuff this year, and my husband, M.E., and I have been traveling a bit for his work). We’re going through sugar detox right now.
We were fortunate to host the party on a sunny, mild day, so we set up two small kids’ tables outside. Madeline was the perfect, little hostess and served the tea, using this super-cool tea set (it’s made from recycled milk cartons and is dishwasher safe).
We set up the food buffet-style on our kitchen table. We used a navy tablecloth and decorated the table with some seashells from our summer beach trip to Gulf Shores. We served some of the smaller eats on these sea creature plates.
Aside from overindulging on sweets, the kids enjoyed three games. First, we played Pin the Pearl on the Oyster. I printed out a drawing of an oyster as well as some colorful tropical fish (and of course a barracuda; we can’t figure out why, but Madeline has a fascination with these predatory fish) and pasted them on poster board. I then cut “pearls” out of cardstock and wrote each child’s name on them. We used one of Madeline’s sleep masks as a blindfold (yes, she’s the only 5-year-old who requires a sleep mask to find her way to the Land of Nod).
Next we played Wet Fish (a version of Hot Potato). The kids passed around a stuffed animal fish while I played Tunes from the Tide. When the music stopped, whoever was stuck with the fish was out.
Finally, we had a fish pinata filled with fish tattoos, shark gummies, and some other candy (all from Oriental Trading). It took Uncle Josh using some of his muscle power to bust the thing and boy, did the kids have fun stuffing their fish goody bags with treats. I also gave each guest this fish bowl sticker scene and a dolphin one, too.
Madeline had so much fun at her “Under the Sea Tea,” and she learned a thing or two about being a hostess as well. When one of her friends was leaving, she gave her a big hug and said, “Thank you so much for coming to my tea.” Then Rae followed suit and thanked the guest for coming to “Maddy’s birthday ‘patrwy.'”
The party was nothing extravagant, but it made for a memorable day and the one boy in attendance enjoyed the games, especially whacking the fish pinata with a bat! I think it was a perfect theme for Madeline, too, since she likes to have tea parties without getting too girly-girl.
What are some of your kids’ favorite b-day party themes?
Now for a gratuitous baby picture just because she’s more delicious than any scone or piece of cake.