During my years working as an educator in a pre-elementary school setting there was one thing that I always looked forward to: Holiday Parties. Sure it usually meant that children were picked up much earlier than normal. Yes, I reaped the benefits of overly sugary treats in mass quantities. Of course I enjoyed talking and getting to know the parents of the kids in my class better. Those are all great things about child care parties, but one element that I didn’t realize that was also awesome, was the change that children had to celebrate and learn more about American culture. It gave children an opportunity to show their parents and friends fun things.
As a stay-at-home mom, I felt like my sweet Princess Pea was not missing out on anything from the child care world. I provide educational activities. We attend social events geared towards her age. We go on fun outings and work on life skills. But I came to realize at New Year’s Eve, she was missing out on the holiday parties. I felt like this was a huge hole in her toddler life. This lead me to plan the first ever (for us) Toddler Valentine’s Day Party.
I decided to hand write on notebook paper in pink pen the invitation. I had my loving husband fold the paper in the style of a seventh grade girl (into a heart). We handed the invites out at church and others were sent via text, facebook, and mail. I spent quite a bit of time on Pinterest.com looking at ideas and came up with the party.
I used this recipe to make sugar cookies. I rolled them out and had Princess Pea help me use the heart cookie cutters from Shmal-Shmart for less than a buck to cut out thick cookies. We baked them and put them into the large Tupperware box. Phase one complete.
Phase two: Clean the house. I will write a separate post about my house cleaning secret/hack (after all, I said I’m an abysmal cleaner). But I spent three days (ish) cleaning because I have a toddler and well, I have a toddler.
Phase three: I found this idea from Pinterest. I bought green poster board at Shming Shmoopers for a dollar. At home I drew a picture of a frog. If you feel that you cannot draw a frog, then look up a picture of a cartoon frog. Look at it upside down and then draw the form you see. I had colored construction paper. I used my lip cookie cutter and traced lips on pink and red paper, cut it out, wrote names of each child and taped them around the poster. Done.
Phase four: I had Superman wrap the old diaper box with pink polka-dot wrapping paper from Shmal-Shmart for a dollar. I had cut off the flaps and wrote cute Valentine-y phrases on each one. With my left over wrapping paper, I taped a backdrop on the wall and placed the box in front of it. I took some left over construction paper lips and taped them on the backdrop. Photo box/booth done!
Phase five: Superman blew up thirty balloons for me! (I have a latex allergy, so he saved the day). We hid them in our closet until naptime. I wanted to surprise Pea with a sea of balloons when she woke up. The pink and red balloons were the perfect touch for party. What toddler doesn’t love balloons? Yes, I know, latex balloons are super dangerous when popped. No balloons popped until after the party. We found the pieces and threw them away super-fast.
Phase six: Make raspberry butter cream. I love making buttercream frosting. I stuck a pound of butter on my counter the night before to get nice and soft. I had raspberries in the freezer from forever ago. I pulled those out to thaw in the fridge (mistake!) My buttercream was too soft and my berries were too cold and the combination broke my buttercream (NOOOOO!!!) Oh well, toddlers don’t care about broken buttercream. I won’t be telling you my recipe until I get it right. But I like to use fruit to change the color of my frosting rather than food dye.
Phase Seven: set out food on counter or wherever (for me I used our island). I also used create paper streamers to decorate other random aspects of the apartment along with cheap Finding Nemo Valentines. I had some of the other moms bring juice, fruit, veggies, etc.
Phase eight: I cut out paper hearts, set out glitter, glue, stickers, etc for children to make their own valentine (yeah, right).
I set up a cookie decorating center on my back counter (I forgot to take a pic). My fantastic brother, we’ll call him Mike Baxter (because he doesn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day and many other reasons) (Watch Last Man Standing on Netflix) made this awesome tower for me for Christmas. It is a life saver and I use it daily with Princess Pea. Anyway, we used that so that children could decorate cookies with minimal mess. I had sprinkles and M&M’s to for kids to put on their cookies.
I made a YouTube playlist of Disney songs and played it on my iPad quietly in the background (I hid the screen from the kids).
Princess Pea’s cousins (Mike Baxter’s kids) were the first to arrive with their mom, Snow White (she’s the fairest of them all). Pea and her cousins Flash and Rainbow Bright tried out the photo box before Flash and Pea partied in the balloons.
As usual there was more food than needed. The party was a blast. Pea’s friends and cousins had so much fun. Besides kids’ socialization, moms got some adult interaction. I’m thinking of doing one for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter.
*** Update: I fixed my buttercream. I took it from the fridge, put it back on the mixer and mixed it a bit on medium. I took a sauce pan and heated water for a few minutes (not quite boiling). I put the mixing bowl on the sauce pan until it got a little melty. I put it back on the mixer and mixed it on medium high for one to two minutes. I put it back on the sauce pan until it got melty again and put it back on the mixer for two to three minutes on medium high and ta-da! My buttercream was a beautiful pink that was the perfect texture. Awesome Sauce!! I frosted all the left over cookies and took them to our neighbors and other dear people. (Now there’s no issue with eating them). *** (16 Feb 2016)