Earlier this year, I had the idea of taking the same theme (nautical) and doing it two ways. I'd use a lot of the same props, treats, concepts--but small changes would transform the party either to an elegant wedding inspiration shoot or a fun children's party. Today I'm finally showing you the kids' version of my nautical theme, a Rain Gutter Regatta!
The cub scouts have been doing Rain Gutter Regattas for years. I remember the troop my parents ran doing it in our backyard long ago, and how much fun was had by everyone involved. I thought it would be a perfect theme for James' 5th birthday party.
the largest prop at the party, in lieu of a backdrop for the dessert table, was a scale model remote control sailboat called the Cream Puff. Could that have been named any better for use on a dessert table?? It belongs to my parents, and they graciously let me borrow it for this event. My parents' house is like having the best free prop shop around ever. Pretty much every one of my events features stuff I borrow from them. ;-)
Every birthday party needs a cake, of course! We used the same sand castle bundt cake mold and recipe for this party, just like the nautical wedding. To make the shell #5 cake topper, I followed the same tutorial that I'd used to make shell table numbers for the wedding shoot.
I made the same cinnamon sugar sand dollar cookies as I did for the elegant nautical party, too, using this recipe from Mama Miss.
The sugar cookies I made were more whimsical and colorful than the neutral tones of the ones from the nautical wedding inspiration shoot, but exactly the same techniques were used for decorating.
Sailboats, of course!
I really wasn't fond of my lighthouses until I added the stones at the bottom. Now I love them!
This was my first try making any of these cookie shapes, so I'm happy with how they turned out, considering. With more practice, I'll keep getting better, even with new designs. And the lovely thing about children's parties is that they really don't care if you're not perfect. It's a cookie! With ICING! In a vaguely recognizable shape! That, my friends, is more than enough to delight kids. Pressure's off.
I loved my little lobsters, but my 5 year old (who loves zombies and begs for scary movies) wouldn't go near them. Funny kid.
Stamped muslin bags full of homemade caramels sprinkled with sea salt and saltwater taffy made an appearance at both nautical parties.
So did little oyster cookies. The elegant wedding version featured French macarons; the playful, children's version featured Nilla Wafers and edible googly eyes.
I had planned to tie my licorice ropes into adorable Carrick bend knots like this, but they all broke into this overnight. I could have re-done them right before I took the photos for this party, but that felt kind of tricky, like I was setting up my readers for failure. Too bad, because the licorice knots looked SO COOL! Maybe if I used the peel apart kind next time? Those feel more flexible.
The final treat on the dessert table is my favorite: homemade Candy Dots in morse code!! I have a tutorial showing how I make my basic homemade candy dots already on the blog, and they're always a hit at any party. I was just going to do them in the party colors, initially. And then inspiration hit, and I couldn't resist. The morse code reads, "Happy birthday James! You are five! Hooray!"
I love sneaking in a little teaching along with the fun at my parties! Plus, I get to use up my leftover royal icing to make these. Win win.
More of this party coming up in tomorrow's blog post--all about the games and activities. And then on Monday I'll start the tutorials! Wheee! I love tutorials! Which one do you want to see first?