Ocean critters being the current fascination with the kiddo, it seemed like a natural "theme" for celebrating his fifth. Since I don't do theme parties (I am too lazy for them, they are too confining for me), I try to make something for him that relates to his interest each year.
That's how the Mola Mola swam into my head and refused to go away. Should I make a book about it? Should I make a game or activity around it? And then it struck me.
Ocean Sunfish aka Mola Mola cake!
Pretty much for the same reason Penguin Cake came about last year.
Of course, the more popular Hatchett Fish and Siphonophore and Viper Fish and Oarfish and Tripod Fish came to mind as well.
But my cake-making talent being quite limited, I latched on to the Ocean Sunfish as it is a big rotund white fish with odd fins and hence seemed remarkably easy to do even for me. Especially if one is going for a general likeness with no finer details. And, thankfully none of us care for fondant so I can just slather on some simple butter cream frosting and be happy.
Goody bags filled with interesting/utilitarian/amusing party favors are always fun. Especially if it involves some hand-made items done by the kids. It is quite tough to find time to do anything elaborate, of course.
Much like last year, Og had quite a few ideas for the goody-bag favors and wanted to make a lot of things. Time being the constraining factor, he settled for choosing 5 items for each goody bag as he is five.
Item 1: Spring being around the corner, we made Seed Paper as we did last year. We called it "Friendship Paper: Plant it and watch it bloom!"
Using junk mail and old envelopes, we make a batch of "handmade paper" on and off anyway, so it wasn't hard to add some seeds and create this favorite gift.
Item 2: Wooden Bead Necklace. Beads, assorted size/shape, strung each one of it himself. It took a while, and we did it in two sessions. I threaded a large needle with the yarn and cut the desired length and tied the knot. So, technically, all he did was string the beads, but, that was more than I did at his age. And, he did insist on 5 beads per necklace as he is five, no more, no less.
Item 3: Both the kids seem to love Crayola's Multi-color chalk sticks. Our sidewalk is filled with "rainbow" drawings thanks to this product. And, Oggie wanted his friends to have the same joy.
Item 4: Glue Sticks are easy to use for the small hands. I remember asking my mom to make the paste every time I wanted to do some paper crafting at home - she made it with flour and water, I think - "Maida Pasai" as it was called. Anyway, these glue sticks came in lovely colors with cool names like Lava, Sun, Ice, Fire, Earth... and if I can find refill sticks so I can reuse these plastic glue stick containers, that'd be awesome.
Item 5: Rubber Stamp. I cannot have enough of them for some reason. If there is one thing I hoard, it is rubber stamps along with stamp ink pads in all colors. Anyway, since I wasn't going to include any sweets in the goody bag, I was thrilled to find these cute wooden rubber stamps at Michael's - a jar of sweets, a jar of lollipops, a cupcake and such - Sweet-motif!
Wrap up the five items in a tissue paper, attach a small Thank You tag and a cute party favor is ready. Filled with eco-friendly useful/usable goodies, with a few hand-made ones, making these party favors was fun to do with the birthday boy. (Since tissue paper is going to be ripped apart anyway, we re-used some of our old tissue papers to wrap these up.)
And as a special treat, Ana had made cake pops for his friends - those of his friends who are allowed have one, of course. With food allergies and sugar-sensitivity, it is tricky to share treats. But, looks like those who could have it, loved it immensely! (Candy Crush Saga fans may recognize the resemblance of the cake pops to Color Bomb, the said game being a recent family obsession.)
Typically birthday presents are not a big deal at home - we stick to hand-made item or books or utilitarian things like clothes or shoes or an occasional bike. Which hopefully makes him all the more grateful when kind and thoughtful friends give him some amazing presents.
However, books are a big deal in our house. Anytime. So, he was thrilled to get a few books for his birthday from us. One of them is a one-of-a-kind bilingual lift-the-flap book+CD made by his sister. Which deserves its own dedicated post here someday.
I am always filled up with emotions and sentimental thoughts around kids' birthdays but I'll savor that for my "diary" rather than ramble on here.