My middle man Eli was turning five, and it was his turn for a much anticipated 'big birthday party'. Five years is the age in our family where you get a big birthday bash (after your 1st birthday extravaganza, of course!). The biggest problem Eli had was deciding on a theme. He suggested everything from Preztel Party (!?) to Lego Party to Tropical Island Party (my zany boy!), then finally decided on a Dragon Party... and so Dragons it was!
This little party is like a love letter to my beloved boy, a gift to celebrate him with a really special day. It was a pleasure to pour energy and creativity into this project, knowing how much he would enjoy it (and enjoy it, he sure did!). I gotta admit I had a whole lot of fun doing it too.... not least because we don't do parties all that often, so when we do I have a lot of pent-up enthusiasm to pour into them ;) Eli was my excited little sidekick the whole way, full of ideas and questions and so eager to help in every way. Eli the Happy Helper, we call him around here... always eager to pitch in, even for his own party :) Seeing his face full of awe as each element was unveiled will always be in my memory!
I love to throw parties (just not too often, lol) - and they may seem either OTT or basic, depending on your own party-preferences (and/or Pinterest addiction!)! But a little party at home, with home made cake and crazy decor works well for us! With our parties, I always like to start by providing lots of atmosphere through decorations and theming - aka crepe paper streamers everywhere, haha ;) With kids's parties, I like to keep it all pretty loose as I find young kids mostly just want to run around and giggle together! So I set out 'stations' of activities where kids can gather, play or create, without it being anything too formal or structured. Kids can dip in and out of activities as they like, or just run around. Less stress for the adults and less stress for the kids! Lots of food of course (which I like to theme as makes it easier to decide on a menu!), and keep the party short and sweet (two hours is plenty when you have a horde of kids running wild!).
That moment when the house is full of people and laughter, scattered scraps of wrapping paper on the floor, food and drink left everywhere, our friends meeting each other, kids running amok and giggling.... it's magic. I look around and smile - that moment is worth every minute of preparation to get to that stage! :)
And so, here 'tis...
|Every party starts with the invite of course! I made these up quickly on Canva.com... and even paid $1 for that dragon image! #splurge|
|My little dragon (in his temporary home!). Ok, I kinda fell in love with the guy!!!!|
|Crepe paper streamers are my go-to party decor. I mean, they just make everything festive, right?! I had some ruffling in the breeze over our front entrance. They kinda declare 'It's party time!'|
|My little Dragon proudly displaying his dragon wings! I had this tshirt custom made for the party as a special birthday gift for Eli. The wings come off (they attach with velcro). It was sooo cute, and he was thrilled!!|
|The fierce big sister dragon knows how to roarrrrr.|
|Fierce dragon gives his best 'Blue Steel'.|
|Cashew, sundried tomato and capsicum dip... with colourful capsicum sticks. Too much capsicum!?|
|The party table coming together... the hot food not on it yet, but you get the drift!|
|I made these chilled chocolate custard cups (kind of like Yogo!) topped with strawberries.|
|Dragon just chillin'.|
|Fire Sticks: Always a hit!! Breadsticks dipped in white chocolate and sprinkles :)|
|My littlest dragon, always on the run!|
|My lovely mother-in-law made these dramatic fruit kebabs!!|
|Layered 'fire jelly' cups made by my dear friend Amber. Kids always take the jelly first!!|
|It was Lily's idea to call the drinks these cool names :) They are mineral water mixed with a bit of natural cordial.|
|Little Harper knows how to breathe fire with the best of them!|
|Miles surveying the party bounty and trying everrrrr so hard not to touch!|
|Fireball Making Station. Styrofoam balls, stickytape, crepe paper streamers (again!), red, yellow and orange markers, and cellophane. I simply set these materials out so the kids could create 'fireballs' however they saw fit - for a surprise purpose!|
|The boys hard at work decorating their dragon masks! I downloaded the template from here.|
|Busy whipping up some fireballs!|
|Harper - always ready with a smile, somehow she made it into most of the party shots. Love this kid! :)|
|Go Finn!! Tossing his fireball through the hoop - like a pro!|
|The only formal 'game' we had was Pass the Parcel - at Eli's request and of course the staple of any Aussie party!! Miles was rather keen to hang on to the parcel, haha ;)|
|My lovely Amber took this stunning photo of Eli... she did well as he was so busy darting around all morning I hardly could capture him. He was having the time of his life at his very own big party :) Love him to bits xx|
|Harper and Lily, enjoying their fire drinks!|
|Miles (always in a hat) took advantage of the party mayhem and parental-distraction to nab as much party food as he possibly could. Don't even ask me how much jelly he ate!!!!|
The absolute highlight of the party was the surprise appearance from our very own knight in shining armour!! To fight all those fierce little dragons of course ;) The knight is also known as Sir Mark (my hubby)! The impressive (and verrry heavy) armour is borrowed from a kind friend of ours. Mark knocked on the door half way through the party and strode in (very knight-like) to a very stunned, awed and slightly scared bunch of little dragons! It was complete silence till Eli gleefully piped up 'Daddy!!!!' and I think there was a sigh of relief from the kids who did not quite know what to think!!!! Then the shrieks of glee began.... ;)
It was so cute. The kids popped on their dragon face masks, armed themselves with the 'fireballs' they had made earlier from styrofoam and (with much joyful squealing) chased the knight around and out of the house. It was hilarious and adorable - Mark was a wonderful (friendly) knight. A friend told me her son asked on the way home 'So, is Eli's Daddy a real knight?!!'. I think Eli scored some major cool points, having a knight for a Dad, heehee. It was a surprise we had been working on for ages and it was so fun to see it get pulled off and bring such delight and fun to the party :)
|Time to light the cake :) You can't see from this angle but I had one candle poking out the Dragon's mouth for 'fire'! As you can see from Eli's face he was preeeeetty excited!|
|Kinda love this photo (thanks Amber!). Me and my beautiful birthday boy xx|
|One simply must cap off the day with a post-party breakdown discussion with the grandparents....|
It was a wonderful day and another party milestone passed.... best of all, Eli had a blast and felt loved, celebrated and very special.
Love you fiercely, my friendly little dragon xx
Love you fiercely, my friendly little dragon xx