Last weekend we celebrated Abe's second birthday with a Curious George party. As I've mentioned before, Abe loves Curious George, so he was very excited about this party!
I drew from George's adventures in the books and cartoons for inspiration. Abe loves the story where George flies a kite, so for the invitation I made Curious George flying a kite. The minute Abe saw them he wanted to play with the kites! He ran around the house for a whole day with a tiny kite fluttering behind him, brought it to the park, and even asked for it when I put him to bed that night. The next morning I found the kite crumpled up under his covers.
To make the invitations, I found a Curious George coloring page online, added some color, and printed them on cardstock. Then I just cut around George (he was holding an umbrella in the original picture) and attached him to the kite string with a small piece of tape. I designed the kites using Photoshop and printed those on cardstock as well.
Since it was an afternoon party we just served cake and ice cream. We also put out some animal crackers, bananas, and blueberries, along with banana punch (banana juice + club soda) and Berry Blend V8 juice, which reminded me of an episode we saw of Curious George where George makes juice using a variety of fruits and vegetables.
I made a simple chocolate cake with banana pudding filling, and frosted it with cream cheese frosting. I tend to frost chocolate cakes with white frosting and usually use at least 2 cans of frosting to cover a cake! The problem was I always used the frosting straight out of the can for the crumb coat. Now I know better! This time around I followed these tips from Prudent Baby, that suggested thinning the frosting with water for the crumb coat, and it worked like magic! No crumbs, no late-night trips to the grocery store to get more frosting, and I didn't even use a whole can! I made the monkey and turtle from marshmallow fondant, only to realize after I was done that I should have used marzipan. Oh well, live and learn. (I'll write a full post about my monkey making experience later.)
The night before the party I stayed up late printing pictures for a photo timeline, and then hung them on our magnetic wall with simple magnets I made to show how many months old Abe was in each picture.
The magnets are just circles punched from decorative paper leftover from his first birthday party. I used a Sharpie to add the numbers, and then stuck them to circular magnets with double-sided tape. Abe loved seeing all the pictures and even asked to wear his wolf costume after seeing this shot from last Halloween. The pants still fit but I couldn't squeeze the top on over his head!
Rain kept us inside, so the dining room ended up being the perfect spot for my photo timeline since that's where we set up the party food.
Of course we had to invite George and his friend with the yellow hat to the party!
Originally I intended to paint them on cardboard but I didn't have any pieces tall enough, so instead I used a couple thick pieces of Plexiglass that we had in the garage. I outlined enlarged coloring pages on the glass, and then added the color with acrylic paints on the backside.
The man in the yellow hat did double duty as a party game. I made a bunch of cardboard ties, and we played Pin the Tie on the Man with the Yellow Hat!
You can never have too many yellow ties...
The games were my favorite part! We also played Yellow Hat Ring Toss.
I found the yellow traffic cones earlier this summer in the dollar bin at Target, and added a band of black electrical tape to make them look like yellow hats. After searching everywhere for a cheap set of ring toss rings, I came across these diving rings with the pool toys at Target. They were the perfect size...and price!
Another idea taken right from the pages of Curious George was our paper boat race. I printed some free patterns from gift-wrapit.com and followed the instructions I found here to make a fleet of paper boats.
I tested a few different options before the party and Abe had a ton of fun sailing "pirate ships" in the bathroom sink. In the end I used half sheets of regular printer paper because it was the easiest to fold, but the ones printed on cardstock and even full sheets of printer paper folded in half lasted a bit longer.
The kids enjoyed it, even though the boats started sinking after just a couple minutes.
Our last game/activity was the pinata I made and filled with ice cream. It was too big to fit in my freezer so I waited to fill him until the last minute. Luckily the rain let up long enough for our boat races and the pinata. (Kids swinging sticks indoors didn't seem like a good idea.)
Apparently, I don't think ahead when it comes to building pinatas. It's hard to swing a stick at a face like that! (My brother said next year I'll have to make a #3 - I guess no one cares about numbers.) In my defense though, I got the idea for the dog pinata from a Mother's Day episode of Curious George. They wanted to make a pinata for a friend's mom but didn't have time to wait for a traditional pinata to dry. Instead they used empty raisin containers and other junk to build a pinata that looked like George's dachshund friend, Hundley.
I used a cardboard mailing tube instead of raisin containers, so my dog pinata really put up a fight. In the end, I just had to pop open one end and dump out the little containers of ice cream before it all melted!
I found small cups of vanilla ice cream at Target and put together a tray of various toppings so the kids could mix up their own flavors.
After ice cream, we served the cake. My little monkey loved it!
Abe had a blast, so I'm glad we did another party, but maybe next year I'll just buy a bunch of balloons and call it a day.