It’s a jungle out there!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Must be December :)

How have you been my dear ever-patient readers? As usual, pardon the tardy rate of blogging, but I’m aiming for quality vs. quantity. Good excuse right?

Actually, we’ve been away travelling and I’d love to share that post with you soon, but meanwhile, here are some highlights from MC Junior’s recent birthday party. The little missy turned 6 and insisted on inviting everyone in her class, so we needed a gender neutral theme. I’m not quite sure how we decided on a jungle theme but it was easy to throw together in the limited time frame we had. Win!

As usual, the cake was an important part of the decision making process. Sometimes I’m given free reign, but this time we surfed the net together and she fell in love with pics of jungly cakes that had waterfalls and animals on them. One jungle/waterfall/ animal cake coming right up.

It wasn’t too hard to put together, but the heat and humidity here in Singapore really caused me some grief - melty ganache and sticky fondant. I ended up taking the finished cake (in a covered cake dome) into the bedroom overnight so that it could sit in the air-conditioning and survive until the party.

We decorated with some large leaves and “jungle vines”. The vines were inspired by Pinterest. If you google paper jungle vines, you’ll find instructions. Those vines are quite fiddly, I simplified them by just using a roll of brown paper cut into strips and stapled leaf shapes onto the “curled” strips.  Luckily, I had visitors staying with us who provided slave labour in making the vines. What? We provided room and board and excellent working conditions :)

Mr. Kitchen Hand gamely got into the act, as he does for every one of the girls’ parties.

We  started the party with a simple craft, I put out large wooden beads (brown, orange, yellow and red) and twine and the kids made themselves jungle necklaces or bracelets. It was a great way to entertain the kids while we waited for everyone to arrive. Even the boys got into it.

(It's not very clear in the photo but I wrote the words Animal Feed on the brown paper bags and filled the bags with animal crackers and goldfish crackers.)

For the food, we had animal crackers, goldfish crackers and a big bunch of bananas to start (very appropriate since the invitation said “Go Bananas”) We also had a Watermelon echidna. Isn’t it cute? I saw him on Pinterest and found instructions here. (Took me a while to get into it but I love finding inspiration on Pinterest. Twitter on the other hand, I just can’t get into.)

After some games, we put food out for the herbivores and omnivores. The herbivore section had Swamp dip (Avocado + lemon juice + salt), corn chips and Rabbit food (Vege sticks), and the fruit. The omnivore section contained quicksand quiches (bacon,onion, peas), surprise pizza snakes and Zebra sandwiches (Vegemite sandwiches cut into thirds and laid on their side). I used Neil Perry’s pizza dough recipe and stuffed the snakes with tomato paste, ham and cheese. I must have overstuffed them because quite a few of them exploded. Never mind, they tasted great anyway. I also tried to give them colourful stripes like this clever person did, but I mustn’t  have used enough food colouring and the stripes were very pale.

Paper cups with leaf name tags so the kids could find their own cups.

 For the games, we pretended that they were actually attending a junior ranger training camp instead of a birthday party, so the games were “training exercises”. It was a simple way to re-tweak old favourites. For example, we said we had to test their listening skills so we played “Senior Ranger Says” instead of Simon Says.

Then we tested their ability to identify animals by handing out pictures of animals to each child. They couldn’t show their cards to anyone else. At a given signal, they all had to make the noise of their given animal and find themselves the person holding the matching card. It was loud but a great hit! We played this game a few more times, and during the last turn, Mr. Kitchen Hand had them totally silent and acting out their animals instead. They got right into it, there were snakes slithering on the floor, (silently) roaring lions and frantically flapping owls. Very cute.

We also had a “feed the dangerous animals” game (tossing “food” through an animal head cut-out), animal “rescue” (hunt for little toy animals), and a hand-eye coordination “test” involving party blowers and bubbles. Of course, they all passed training with flying colours, so we did the Jungle Boogie (a version of Musical Statues) and our full-fledged Ranger MC Senior taught the trainees a “secret”  ranger song. She re-jigged the Llama Song with birthday appropriate lyrics :).

Then it was time for cake! We had Snake Pit Jelly (Jello with lolly snakes in them) and caramello koalas to go with the cake. I was very restrained this year, making only a few types of food but lots of it. We were heading off on holiday the next day and I didn’t want too many leftovers. Plus, the party was held mid-morning and most kids would be going off to lunch anyway.

As the guests left, I handed out brown paper bags with some animal print paper stapled to the top. The guests received some animal themed lollies, an animal paw print eraser and a hand-made felt animal puppet.

Thanks for joining us, we hope you had a wild time! Enjoy the weekend and I should have my act together enough to post for  Malaysian Monday.


Barbara said...

The things we go through for our kids! Even keeping cakes in an air conditioned bedroom.
Great party, Shaz. Creative and I bet the kids had fun. Happy Birthday to MC Junior!

Beth said...

Thanks for visiting - it's always nice to hear from an old blogging buddy!

Your party theme is absolutely adorable. It reminds me of the parties I held for my girls when they were small, but much more professional-looking. The games sound like a lot of fun and the cake is fantastic. It almost makes me wish my girls were young again!

PlumLeaf 李葉 said...

Sounds you had a fabulous time! How creative you are with the cake, food names and games!
Am in awe! :)
Happy B'day lil'one :D

Hungry Dog said...

What an amazing party! You're so creative--I like how you really commit to a theme! I bet the guests all had a great time. That cake is gorgeous. Happy birthday to the little one!

Lora said...

Can you plan my next birthday party please? My 50th got "Sandy"ed this year. I would have loved a jungle party.

grace said...

what a great party theme! my personal favorite critter atop the cake is the giraffe--i've always been a fan. :)

Vanille said...

It looks like Mc junior had a terrific birthday celebration ! Such a creativity and fun !
I look forward to reading your travel story too.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Ahahaha love the theme so much fun. Jungle theme is really popular this year. Gorgeous cake for the gorgeous birthday girl. Boleh pinjam-pinjam idea.

Anmol narain said...

Your cake :O It's beautiful . Hope to become that good at presentation some day .

Sasa said...

Lady, you are seriously underselling yourself - that thing is a work of art! You're the dream mum ^_^

Cheah ~ No-Frills Recipes said...

That was a great party and a lovely decorated cake. Also noticed that you've given your blog a new header....lovely, simple and sweet!

Janine said...

happy birthday to the little one - looks like you guys had great fun! and the fondant cake looks awesome!