Monday, March 4, 2013

A Chocolate Party - the preparations

Anyone who knows little brother will know that chocolate is one of his favorite things in the whole world. Well, cars, keys, phones, anything with buttons to push.  And chocolate.

It's funny when I hear parents of just one child talk about how well their kid eats and all these great things they did and how they pay attention to what the feed their child. Yeah... been there. Done that. And big brother will try and eat pretty much anything, he doesn't eat a whole lot of sweets and prefers a strawberry over a piece of chocolate at any given point. Little brother on the other hand... well. He likes pasta, but only with butter please. And bread, but preferably with a certain kind of cheese, or maybe honey. In short, he's an extremely picky eater, and I have no idea where he got that from.

But birthdays are supposed to be about favorite things, right?

And chocolate is one of little brother's favorite things. So a chocolate party it had to be. As long as I can still get away with things like puppy parties and such, I will take advantage of it. Sooner or later they'll just roll their eyes and tell me what they think is cool. But we're not there yet.

Also one of my new years's resolutions for this year is to keep it simple, meaning the goal was to try and use things we had on hand or that would really make sense to purchase. That meant no cute small glass milk bottles. No paper straws in matching colors. Instead we used small glass, dipped them into chocolate and sprinkles, and at the party added milk and some very basic very normal and very plastic straws that were cut a little shorter to match the tiny glasses. The kids loved it, even without fancy paper straws.

Surfing around the Internet one evening (and admittedly looking at paper straws and such), I found this cool phone wallpaper  of a cat looking at a pot of chocolate. And it was yellow, sort of, which is his favorite color. And did I mention it featured a cat?

For invites we ended up using that and just stapled it to a paper bag filled with some chocolate-on-a-stick we had left over from Christmas, figuring it was still winter and cold enough for some hot chocolate.

We originally wanted to do individual chocolate fondues, but my trial run was a total failure. The small tea lights heat them so much that the chocolate scorches instead of just melting. So it had to be Plan B - a chocolate fountain. Seven kids and a chocolate fountain, hmmmmm.... it did actually go pretty well, but I haven't managed to sort through the pictures from the party yet.

Decorations were pretty simple, too. I was going to make dot paper garlands in sprinkle colors, but I don't have a large circle punch and was determined to not use the party to buy more craft supplies (does that sound familiar to anyone or is just me who suddenly thinks she needs paper straws and circle punches and all these things?). Instead, I used paper I had on hand in yellow (of course), brown, red and white and my trusted star punch and my sewing machine to make star garlands. The day of the party we added some balloons and streamers, but the star garlands were hung the week before the party.

Since I had my sewing machine out anyway and this could be prepared well in advance, I used some felt left over from making last year's lion costumes and sewed a simple felt chocolate. Most of our guests are still young enough to have a play kitchen and/or play store, so I figured they could use it. It's also pretty simple to make. After making a couple of them, I came up with this technique: cut out a felt square, sew around three sides, stuff it (I usually use cheap Ikea pillows for that) while the needle is still in the felt (can you tell I am lazy?), sew it closed. Measure, then sew down the center of the long side. Measure again and sew down twice the shorter side, dividing it in thirds. Done.

I also found two small books about chocolate and threw in a car shaped eraser and a party blower for good measure. As usual, our favor bags were simple kraft paper bags, the names clipped on with wooden pins. Doesn't get easier than that!

Oh, and we made use of a small chocolate bar mold I've had around, adding melted chocolate and some sprinkles, wrapping the finished bars in cellophane.

Currently both kids are sick and at home, so I can't make any promises on when I'll manage to post some actual party pics. But I can say they had a blast, even though little brother wasn't in the best mood all morning and big brother had to make a trip to the ER with daddy right during the party (turned out just to be a fever and a case of hives). Sigh. I am so ready for Spring and the end of this long, long and sick winter season... But the sun is out today and it's supposed to be really nice. 

Can't wait!


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