Firefly (Space Cowboy) and Serenity 10th Birthday Party

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My oldest daughter turned 10 recently.  She's starting to feel like she's getting too old for big, themed parties (say it isn't so!), but when she came up with the idea of a Firefly themed party, she knew she had to have at least one last big hurrah.  

No, no the bug kind of firefly.  The amazingly entertaining, canceled-way-too-quickly, Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame) show.  It's a space cowboy sort of theme, but its appeal really transcends the genres.  I actively dislike westerns, and I absolutely adore this show.  If you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it all.  It will take distressingly little time, and you, like my daughter, when you reach the end will exclaim, "Noooo!  There needs to be more!  We need to call someone.  We need to call...the president!"  Yeah, it's that good.  It's no wonder a show with so few episodes has sponsored such devoted fans (called Browncoats).  And it makes an excellent birthday party theme. 

Every good party starts with an invitation.  I designed these to look like the box of strawberries Shepherd Book gave to Kaylee to convince her to let him buy passage on Serenity (the name of the ship).  It read:

Have you ever flown on a Firefly?

Join us for Ainsley's 10th Birthday

(a vestigial mode of time measurement based on solar cycles)

Date, time, location

RSVP info

(P.S. We aim to misbehave)

My dear friend Liz--who is a wizard with textiles--actually knitted a Jayne hat for each kid who came to the party.  KNITTED A HAT.  I'm so lucky to have such insanely gifted--and perhaps just insane--friends.  Coolest party favor ever.

Which was a good thing, because it was a rather cold day, and the kids loved wearing the hats. 

 I was blown away by how enthusiastically all the kids wore their hats, in fact, especially since only a few had seen Firefly.

After donning their hats, the guests went on to choose their glitter tattoos.  Teddy bears, flowers, hearts, strawberries, and various kanji symbols.  Watch the show and you'll understand why we chose those shapes.  It seems like an odd mix to the uninitiated, but they were chosen for good reason, I promise.  ;-)

I love that Ainsley and her friends are old enough to be able to give glitter tattoos to each other, rather than needing an adult to be on hand.

Refreshments were all inspired by the show.  Strawberry punch (Kaylee Coolers--and notice Kaylee's flower lights from her cabin?).

What better to drink it from than a glass garnished with a strawberry and Kaylee's iconic parasol (in mini, cocktail-parasol form)?

And sipped up through straws decorated with tiny dinosaurs with text bubbles from Wash's classic monologue:

 

The Firefly world depicts a future in which Chinese culture has had a tremendous influence, so Chinese food was a natural choice for dinner.  I interpreted that a little loosely, deciding that the Chinese would adopted some of the best of nearby Asian cultures' cuisines, so it was a little bit of a pan-Asian feast.  I took this liberty mostly because I already had great recipes and technique for lumpia (Filipino eggrolls) and pancit Canton (also Filipino--kind of like lo mein).  I also made sweet and sour chicken, pork dumplings, crab rangoon, steamed rice, and picked up shrimp fried rice and bao from our favorite dim sum restaurant in town.  Yes, I made way too much.  No, I wasn't upset.  My lunches were awesome for the whole next week.

The desserts were all inspired by Firefly too, of course.  I got to re-use the LED star ceiling I made originally for the Star Wars Pottery Barn Kids party a couple years ago.  I love recycling props!

The cake, of course, had to look like Simon's homely (mostly protein) birthday cake from the episode called Out of Gas.  

I had the right color candles bought, but couldn't find them when it came time!  The green ones were the only other tapers I had on hand.  Oh well.  I'm pretty sure our version tasted better than Simon's cake, at least.  ;-)

I also wanted to make a classic cake dress.  You know, one of those ones where you stick a Barbie inside and the cake is her dress?  But I wanted it to look like Kaylee's famous "layer cake" dress:

Shepherd Book's strawberries and Captain Mal's sliced apples were the healthy fare on the table.

Sugar cookies that looked like Kaylee's patches, however, were the most popular item on the table.

Sugar cookie versions of Wash's dinosaurs were there, too.

We had to have Fruity Oaty Bars too, of course!

I even found the Fruity Oaty Bars girls on Think Geek to decorate the table!

Our version of Saffron's kisses didn't quite pack the punch of the ones in the show. happily.

We had to have snow buns at the party.  Even though they were never mentioned in the show, they're Ainsley's favorite dim sum item.

My favorite thing on the dessert table?  By far, the popcorn ball ice planets.

 

Our guests found their Ice Planets as problematic as River found hers.

Is there anything better in this world than watching a bunch of kids wearing Jayne hats and trying to eat Ice Planets?

I think not.  It was epic, and the memory will forever make me feel warm and fuzzy.

Even our dog, Murlin, got in on the fun.  Though, technically, he looks a lot more like an Ewok than Jayne, even wearing the hat.

Ainsley didn't think she wanted a pinata this year, but completely changed her mind as soon as we came up with the idea of a reaver ship pinata.  Little sister graciously donated some dolls to the project.

The pinata was the only allowed planned activity ("games aren't cool any more, mom"). 

But I will always sing Happy Birthday to her, loudly and proudly, no matter how embarrassed she is. No singing = no cake.  I'm not backing down on that one.

The whole no-games thing really made it pretty easy.  I actually got to sit down at the table with my friends (my kids' friends have awesome parents!) and enjoy myself.  There are definitely benefits to this growing-up thing.  

I'll have tons of tutorials from this party coming up, so be sure to come back and catch it all!  Any requests for what to start with?  The reaver ship pinata?  The Kaylee cocktail parasols?  Homemade dumplings?

Nicole Wills, creator of Tikkido