This past Sunday we celebrated Mathilde's second birthday with her much awaited DIGGER PARTY - which has to be written in all caps because it is always yelled!
Like most of our parties, we held it at home up on our building's roof top. Unlike most of our parties, a neighbor had already made use of the only table and shaded pergola area for their own brunch and I was left to find another space on the roof top to set everything up. I was not expecting that and it put all of my party set up behind while I ran around like a crazy person trying to find tables (which I succeeded at) and shade (which I did not succeed at). The folding table that I bought to use for Lola's "Metal Detector & Penny Finding" party in the park last year came in super handy (although it only fit half the food) and I managed to scavenge benches from other areas on the roof top to act as low tables for the remainder of the food, plates, napkins etc. Unfortunately, this unexpected delay meant that I ran out of time to decorate as planned. I had stop signs and a roll of party themed "caution" tape that I was going to wrap around everything. Oh well. In over four years of holding parties at home, this was the first time that this has ever happened. I guess it was bound to happen at some point. There's no point dwelling on it - even though I totally am!
Despite the rather makeshift and haphazard look of things the kids had an absolute blast. And really, that's all that matters at kids' birthday parties, right?
Our tiny table was set with Mathilde's much anticipated digger cake as the centerpiece. Seriously, the best part about throwing a digger/construction themed party is just how easy it is to make a cake for the theme! Just take a chocolate cake and cover it in brown frosting. Dig a hole in the top, smash it up a little, and place a digger or two and a dump truck on top. Maybe even add a few pieces of candy corn as traffic cones. Voila - a construction site with machines at work! Easy.
As well as the construction themed cake, I also make chocolate crackles (an Australian party classic that I'll have a recipe for coming soon) decorated with candy corn traffic cones and signs. Unfortunately, neither the chocolate crackles or frosting covered cake fared too well in the full sun. Damn that one shady spot being taken!
To keep the kids busy I printed a selection of digger themed coloring pages and set up a station with watercolors and paintbrushes. All of the kids enjoyed the painting station but for some reason I didn't take a single photo of it. Trust me; it was really popular and I think I'll be doing this at all kids' parties from now on!
The other activity that I organized for the party was Pass the Parcel, a classic party game popular in Australia. The kids passed around a parcel while music played. When the music stopped, the child holding the parcel got to unwrap a layer. I placed a packet of gummies under each layer so that all of the kids would get a small prize, and then when we got to the end the lucky winner found a construction puzzle under the last sheet of wrapping paper.
It was pretty hot on Sunday and as I mentioned earlier we had absolutely no shade, so I made sure to keep things moving along quickly to prevent the kids from overheating. Oh yeah, and because the food was starting to melt! All that chocolate frosting on the birthday cake was quickly turning into a puddle, so cake time came right after Pass the Parcel. As usual, there was too much wind for the birthday candle to stay alight so we just had to pretend there was a little flickering flame as we all sang Happy Birthday to Mathilde.
Mathilde made the first cut in the cake. She was keen to keep cutting it up for everyone to eat but was happy to give up the knife in exchange for a big piece of chocolate cake. With a dump truck on the side, of course!
As each guest left they were given a goody bag filled with a construction site sticker book and a pack of "traffic cones", aka candy corn. And of course, they took home the construction hats I'd given out to all of the kids earlier at the party.
Thanks so much to everyone who helped make Mathilde's digger party a special day. Mathilde had so much fun playing with her friends and is still talking about her digger party pretty much non-stop!