first, i tackled one of the few things i'd planned on for indoor decor. while it looks simple enough, it took longer than i expected to complete. the teen sat on the floor and assembled the kids' favor boxes while i worked.
please ignore the fact that i picked up green streamers and blue balloons. this whole setup was such a fail.
when the hub got back from picking up the rest of the supplies we needed, i cut out kraft paper, taped it to the balloons, tied them to rolls of mentos, and set them up outside with the teen's help.
i don't know why i took this picture all cockeyed. oh well, you can see where the tulle poufs ended up anyway.
the ice cream sundae bar was set up outside too.
those wooden spoons are super cute, yes? i love 'em.
using martha stewart's seven-minute frosting, i got started on the birthday cake. that stuff is seriously so yummy - light and airy and marshmallowy. it's by far my most favorite frosting ever.
for the scoop of fake ice cream, i busted out a 2-pack of twinkies that seriously had no business still being in existence out of the pantry. smushing the cake and cream together and forming it into a ball worked perfectly.
a quick chocolate ganache, some sprinkles, and a sugar cone completed the look.
lilcee and mini cee arrived a little early to help set up and give the girls some extra playtime together. they had to leave for a wedding way out in malibu, so i was grateful that they were willing and able to come at all, considering the house of wan is in the exact opposite direction.
with lots of help from lilcee and my mom, the rest of the party setup was completed - just in time for people to begin arriving. between those two, MIL, the teen, and the hub, i don't think we would have been able to pull it off. i'm so thankful that they're willing to help with the madness year after year.
lilcee took charge of making my cake pop stand look cute, and it was perfect.
we set up a table outside with lots of foam die-cut stickers for the kids to decorate a bookmark, plus there was a moonbouncer and a fun beanbag toss game.
despite all that, the kids still managed to make their way into the bean's room and pull out just about every toy she owns. oy vey.
as with every year, i ended up with activities all prepped that didn't end up seeing the light of day. that fun punch box i'd worked so hard on? totally forgotten in a corner. ice cream cone-shaped sugar cookies i baked up with the intent of setting up a "decorate your own cookie" station? ended up in the freezer, since i ran out of time to make the icing bags. and the bubble station i'd envisioned and even bought several wands for? psssshhhh. fuhgeddaboutit. bah!
so how do you get a dozen-ish kids out of a room full of toys and back outside? make the announcement that the ice cream bar is open, of course. with help from my dance mom friends, everyone who wanted some was served scoops of homemade red velvet, salted caramel, or mint chip ice cream. we had regular old chocolate and vanilla too, but i didn't make those. anyway, it was a big hit with adults and littles alike.
to add to the sugar rush, MIL helped me fire up the cotton candy machine. i think it was even more popular than the ice cream was.
btw, that is indeed brother wan in that picture. he'd asked me what the bean wanted for her birthday, and i flippantly responded with "a visit from her uncle." i was so excited when he said "okay, done." i decided to keep the visit a secret from the girls, and while the hub somehow managed to spill the beans with the teen, the bean was absolutely ecstatic when he went outside to greet her. she loves her some uncle wan. and we were all stoked to see him, despite the fact that he was only home for about a day and a half.
so if that weren't enough, the next activity had the kids lining up to beat the hell out of a piñata. oh, yes.
and then guess what was next? cake! how cute are those candles i managed to find?
the bean was beaming, grinning ear to ear as she basked in the glory of being the birthday girl.
that cake was pretty well demolished by the time everyone'd been served a slice.
i managed to catch her for at least one good picture together.
when everyone had gone home and we'd gotten the house mostly put back together, i went out and grabbed something for dinner. per the bean's request, we all dug into meatball sandwiches - which was funny, because it's not something she's ever specifically asked for before. but she came up with the idea all on her own, and she dug in with gusto.
then as soon as we'd polished off our last bites, she finally got to do what she'd been asking for all afternoon:
i won't bore you with pictures of every gift she got (because as you can see, there were a TON), but i loved the plethora of hello kitty loot she raked in.
when the last present had been opened, she sighed with happiness and gave it her official stamp of approval.
i can't believe that yet another bean's birthday bash is over and done with, and that this is version 5.0. my oh my, where does the time go?