How can it be that Eli & Emry Jane are already three?! It went by so fast. I knew I wanted a wild theme for my wild kiddos– and I was torned between Where The Wild Things Are and a wild animal safari party. Once I found our party entertainment, I knew that we were definitely doing the safari theme and I think everyone had a BLAST! Also, this is a BIG party intentionally. We had a small, family-only party last year because we had JUST moved to NC (and had it at Nana’s house because our whole house was covered in boxes.) Next year, we plan to be moving back to TN at this same time– so we considered this to be a three-in-one friends and family birthday extravaganza!
Our party food was a group effort for sure. My mom made some buffalo chicken dip for the party. Amy helped me with our chocolate banana pops and the zebra and giraffe pretzel rods. Marcia did all the fruit and vegetable prep. Tommy did our pineapple centerpiece. Chick-fil-a made those glorious chicken nuggets that I did not even get one of! We had berry pink lemonade and green Hawaiian punch as well… and LOTS of bottled water (with cheetah and zebra print tape over the labels) because it was so incredibly hot and humid, even at 10 AM!
We rented this inflatable from EZ Rentalz in Durham for 4 hours and it was the perfect size for preschool-aged partiers! The kids LOVED it pre-wild animal man, but it did get hot over the course of the party– too hot for their little bare feet. If we rent an inflatable for a future party, I will buy a couple packs of socks for the kids to put on while jumping.
Having the party in our backyard was quite an adventure, thanks to all the rain we have had lately. Earlier in the week, there was a 60% chance of rain for Saturday and we were trying to figure out how to have our party inside sans inflatable. By the end of the week, the rain had moved to Saturday afternoon. The outdoor party went back into play, BUT it monsooned overnight so our whole yard was soaked. Tommy used the leaf blower and mowed the yard in an attempt to dry it before the inflatable and the kids got to our house. The yard was still a marshy mess for party time, but it all worked out.
Amy made these AWESOME signs for the party with Eli & Emry Jane’s stats on them. We got several compliments on them. What a great way to remember their favorite things at this age 🙂
Amy and I frantically hung up decorations before the party, but I love how it turned out when everything was set up! The plush monkeys came from Amazon, thanks to Nana. The streamers, pink paper flowers and other hanging decor came from Michaels.com. I had no idea that you could buy party supplies there super cheap and have them shipped to your house! I didn’t make a single trip to Party City for this party– that’s definitely a first for me. I ordered a few things from Walmart, but I did have to go there too– for party food, candy melts and baking supplies for our desserts.
As party favors, we gave the kids safari hats purchased from Oriental Trading and made little jars of animals crackers. I ordered the little mason jars with lids and wild animal figures from Walmart. Then, I hot glued an animal to the top of each jar and Amy tied the twine bows, while Tenley ate the leftover animal crackers. Parties are definitely a team effort for this family! It took no time at all for the kids to figure out they could pull the animal off their jar as a toy, eat the crackers and leave the jar. Haha.
Amy and I worked together on these cupcakes… but really, all I did was buy all the materials and add the little bow stickers to the animal toppers so that there would be some girl ones and boy ones. The baking cups came from Walmart. The super cute animal toppers and bow stickers came from Etsy. Amy did the hard work with that green frosting. The frosting tip we used for the “grass” on the cupcakes wanted to explode from every Ziplock bag we tried. Next time I will buy those icing bags. We also made some pink iced cupcakes for Emry Jane because all she wanted for her birthday party was “pink.”
Dan the “Wild Animal Man” was the big crowd pleaser of the party, definitely bigger than the inflatable or our jungle decor. He brought five animals to the party: an alligator, two small turtles, a giant tortoise and a great horned owl. The kids were so engaged in his show. They sat in their chairs very well and watched intently. I was nervous about their age and whether they would last for a full show, especially with the inflatable in the background but they did great!
Dan allowed anyone that wanted to ride the giant tortoise a chance to ride. I got lots of great pictures of the party goers riding and sent them to their parents. Dan encouraged me to ride too, but the poor tortoise didn’t want to move anymore under my weight. I don’t blame him, haha. I hope he got paid in extra tortoise chow after all his hard work at our house!
The Great Horned Owl was the final animal of the presentation. The best part was when the owl was flapping his wings behind T’s head. Tommy said that he could feel the air from the flapping but couldn’t actually hear it. That’s really cool!
After the show, it was time for lunch and cupcakes! In hindsight, we should have left all the food inside and/or refrigerated until the end of the show because some of the food was pretty melted from the humidity by the time it was time to eat. No one complained, but I felt bad about serving people melted cheese and drippy chocolate treats!
The twins were very excited about the Happy Birthday song. Emry Jane had requested pink cupcakes, so she got to blow out 3 zebra candles on a pink cupcake, while Eli had a green grass cupcake with the number 3 on it.
I had the twins’ “Wild & Three” shirts made by Charlotte at Sew Happy in Knoxville. She does such great work! She also made the decals for Eli’s Candy Car (more details on that later!) The kids enjoyed helping the twins open their presents, which was great– but that also means that I have no idea who actually got the twins what. I know Nana and Papa bought them each a scooter. I know what Mamey and MaMarsh and Granddaddy Jer got them, but the rest is a mystery. Lots of great toys from great friends!! A big “thank you” to everyone that came and my apologies to anyone expecting a detailed thank you card 🙂
Several of the party-goers had to leave the party right at noon, but those that were able to stay witnessed the twins’ big gift reveal. We had parked their present in the playroom and then we brought the kids in to see what was inside…
This gift started months ago when Eli’s obsession with NASCAR racing began. He got a toy M&M race car from a yard sale, named it “Candy Car” and took it EVERYWHERE. We searched the house for it every night because he had to sleep with it. It had to get mailed priority from Murfreesboro once because we left it at MaMarsh’s house. Then, Tommy found this yellow Camaro power wheels on Craigslist in my parent’s town … and the idea of an Eli-sized Candy Car emerged. Charlotte from Sew Happy made the decals for us and I added them before the big reveal.
We weren’t sure if Emry Jane would enjoy having her own power wheels car. We talked about getting her doll house furniture or some princess dress up stuff. We found this Disney princess Mustang on sale at Toys R Us and went for it– I am so GLAD we did! She loves her Princess car. She’s not super fond on steering on her own, but she loves playing in it. She fills it with all sorts of purses and baby dolls, even while it’s charging in the garage.
It was a busy, exhausting morning, but I think everyone had a great time! I even heard from other parent attendees that their kids went home and took nice, long naps! I call that a great SUCCESS!