into the woods, a party to remember


After months of planning and with the sun shining, we celebrated our oldest daughter’s fifth birthday last weekend.

Since moving out of New York city two years ago, our family has embraced country life with hikes and nature walks aplenty. As a result, we quickly became mushroom foraging enthusiasts. When it was time to decide upon a party theme, my daughter and I quickly agreed that a mushroom-focused woodland soirée was the only way to go.

I believe the details of this party are better consumed visually, so I have assembled a selection of photos of all the party trimmings. The whole family lent a hand in making this day special, and a big thank you to my husband for adding his creativity and talent. My expectations were exceeded.

To my darling girl, happy birthday! I hope the memories we made in planning, creating and hosting your fifth birthday party was an affair to remember.

We brought out some decor from the kids’ room including the tipi and felted wool mushroom garland to transform our backyard into a woodland wonderland. I wanted the kids to have a picnic area to eat the cake so my husband made a low-lying table out of 4×4 and salvaged wood.

I crafted mini-bird nests with moss, birds, woodland animals and mushrooms as table decor. A moss runner, wild flowers from the yard and Meri Meri Liberty tableware completed the table setting.

Our English Bulldog, Louie, waiting for our guests to arrive near the food table, naturally.

We decided to keep it simple regarding food.  We used a mushroom shaped cookie cutter to add a “fun factor” to the tea sandwiches.

Raspberries, Chocorooms and my husband’s grandmother’s recipe for homemade buttercream icing were key elements to the cake (and taste-tested approved). We added a wood grain look to one of the cakes for some woodland whimsy.

I crafted animal masks out of felt from a template I found online. My daughter eagerly wanted to make a few of her own. I think hers turned out brilliantly, see top left image of her fanciful fox.

My husband made wood cutouts of mushrooms for a party game of mushroom ring toss. Hand painting each one was a fun way for all of us, as a family, to get involved in the party planning.

The featured game of the party was a mushroom scavenger hunt. We pulled images of real mushrooms off the internet and created a checklist for the kids to carry with them around our yard on their hunt. If they found them all, they collected their prize–a wooden top in the shape of a mushroom.

Once again, my talented and creative husband made these life-like (and hard to find!) mushrooms.  He printed life size images of them, glued them to wood and cut them out with a jigsaw.

I purchased twig colored pencils and blank mini-notebooks at a craft store. I custom ordered the Field Notes rubber stamp for under ten dollars and added it to the notebooks. My daughter and I assembled the mini-corked bottles together with cotton spun mushrooms and moss, all purchased online through craft websites. Lastly, I placed everything in a muslin bag with that I inked stamped with a mushroom and tied together with another cotton spun mushroom.

It was a beautiful day for a sweet girl.












more than motherhood

They are my world but there is more.

We will celebrate our oldest daughter’s fifth (!!!) birthday this Saturday. I’ve been planning since January. You did read that right…January. And in truth, it has probably been longer. It is not because I am a planner (I love to plan!). It is not because I want every detail just right (I’m mildly obsessed with details!). No, it is because I have two children under the age of five (that is until Saturday!) to parent full-time. I knew it would take at least four months to prepare for a party I hope my daughter won’t soon forget.

I’m not a buy your party-in-a-box kind of person. I look forward to stuff like this. Some may call it the Martha Stewart syndrome but I like to think of it in more palatable terms; it’s a way to channel my desire to be creative. Most of the time this creative outlet easily marries into a kid-friendly craft project but sometimes I want the production of something all to myself.

You see, I am happy to be a stay-at-home mother, although I’m not completely fond of that term. I do not fail to recognize how fortunate we, as a family, are to have me in the full-time position of motherhood. But like many, the “9 to 5” is just not enough. We need hobbies. We need outlets that make us feel whole.  Something to feel passionate about even if we only get a few hours, twenty, or five minutes out of a week to fulfill it.

I write this post to remind myself that full-time child rearing is a type of job. I’m with my daughters everyday to teach them how to communicate, interact, understand and live in this world. It is a job with a huge responsibility and it is a rewarding one. I’m lucky to have it, but it won’t keep me from that need to do more in my life.

Saturday will be the culmination of months of planning and creating and the fruition of it will be documented here. I am anxious, overworked, tired, and busy parenting and creating, but I am fulfilled.

Making Halloween costumes has become a yearly tradition. Halloween 2013.
I’m a complete novice when it comes to the sewing machine but she didn’t mind the crooked lines of her custom cowgirl vest. Halloween 2013.
Every holiday we make cards together to keep in touch with loved ones. Thanksgiving, 2014.
With the best of intentions to work on my own projects, I usually have a little helper. She often has her own creative ideas toward making the project uniquely hers. Christmas, 2014.
Crafting prep for Saturday’s party.
Mushrooms are the underlying theme of the party.
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