This year, we wanted to do something special for my daughter Rabab Fatima for her second birthday. We didn’t throw her a huge birthday last year for her first, since it was during Ramadan, we just had a small iftar at my house with a few friends. But since she has some understanding of her birthday, we decided to throw her a fun backyard party centered on her absolute fave: Elmo.
Back in December, we had visited Sesame Place for their special Christmas opening and the highlight of the day was Rabab’s meeting with Elmo, up close and personal. She was thrilled and it was the talk of our home for months afterwards. So I knew that if I had Elmo come visit her party, she would just as excited, and she was.
We have a sort of two-level backyard, because our deck is high up above the ground. So I decided to keep the deck area just for the children’s activities, and the main grass area for the adults to relax and have dinner. Food for the kids was served on the deck for easy access. I rented the tent, tables, chairs and kiddie sets with rainbow chairs from Friendly Rental, NJ.
As much as I love the Elmo theme, I’m also not into too much of a character theme. I did incorporate elements of Sesame street characters, but I would say the overall decor was Rainbow polka-dots and chevron, which was readily available almost everywhere I shopped at. (Dollar store, Party fair, party city & Target)
For the centerpieces, I only needed 6 for the tables, so I used glass vases that I had at home and filled them with colored marbles from the dollar store, and two bouquets of carnations from Costco. Then I stuck a card holder that are used in flower bouquets (free) and added a cutout of Sesame characters that I found at the dollar store. I think the centerpieces really were ‘A’ for Awesome…see what I did there?
Kids Activity Tables
As a parent, I kind of have an understanding of what my kids would enjoy at a party. It’s a kids birthday, so it needs to be about them and their enjoyment. So I had a few activities planned just for the little ones. My friends children and most of the kids at the party were under the age of 5, so they don’t require too much.
The table set up included paint brushes, character coloring pages, temporary tattoos. My close friend did face painting, my cousin did henna and balloon sculpting was done by the same lady who was Elmo. (Best Entertainment)
When I was deciding what to keep for the menu, I knew that I wanted something different, but what? It’s quite difficult deciding on the menu for a party because you want your guests to be happy and well fed. But having a backyard party to me means non-messy, basically non-desi food. So I finally decided on a very casual, finger-food type menu, catered by Douglass Pizza, Kendall Park, NJ. The snacks were all bought at Costco.
- Veggies and dip
- Tortilla chips and mango salsa
- 7-layer dip
- Chicken Cheesesteaks
- Mini beef/chicken sliders
- Buffalo wings
- French fries
- Cheese Pizza
- Buffalo chicken pizza
- Penne alfredo with broccoli
- Mini vanilla/chocolate cupcakes (House of Cupcakes)
- Cake pops (House of Cupcakes)
- Strawberry shortcake birthday cake (La Bonbonierre)
- Chocolate dipped strawberries (homemade)
- Brownie bites (homemade)
Ice Cream Truck Surprise
So I haven’t yet shared with you what actually happened the day of the party. It ended up being the hottest day in July, maybe even all year, a whopping 100F. The party was somewhat chaotic, my daughter was sweating bullets so we kept her inside for most of the time. Guests shifted in and out, and at the time it seemed like it couldn’t get any worse. After dinner, at around 8pm our local Ice cream truck strolled by playing that all too familiar tune, and the kids were booming with excitement. I had asked him to come to our party just two days before, and was so happy that he did.
It is the one thing that everyone remembers with joy. For me, it was just icing on top of the cake, because my favorite moment was my baby girl giving Elmo a big, warm hug. The birthday was a hit despite all odds, and a day we will always cherish.
What season does your child(ren) birthday fall under? What’s your favorite moment of their birthday parties? Do share in the comments below 🙂