20 April 2009

Preparing a Teddy Bear's Picnic...

When it comes to parties it's the little things that, for me, make it special.

The thing I loved about preparing for Scrag's first birthday Teddy Bears Picnic, was that the older kids were so keen to help! They stuck stickers on lunch boxes and sippy cups, they dressed teddy bears, chose names for them and Dash wrote out their name tags. They helped me fill party bags and tie on labels.

It was great having such willing helpers, and made the preparation much more fun!

Party Bags

I found these mini flax kits for $1 each. I printed up some tags with each child's name and a teddy bear picture, cut them out and punch a hole in one corner. We tied them onto each bag with curling ribbon, colour coded red for boys, pink for girls. Then we filled them with some mini choc bars, lollipops and a little gift: Teddy Bear bubble bath for girls and babies, bubbles for little boys and soccer pens for big boys. The babies had a selection of soft sweets like marshmallows and Smarties. On the party day, Dash (dressed as Pooh Bear) hid in the garden with the basket of party bags and the children had to hunt for him. Great fun!

Sippy Cups
I found these packs of brightly coloured non-spill sippy cups at the Baby Factory (on special, four for $5.99). Dash put each baby's name (and age)on them using letter stickers left over from his Sports Party. That way there were no mix ups. The babies got to take them home.

Food Signs
I made these cute little signs out of recycled card, stuck with double-sided tape onto coloured popsicle sticks left over from another party. I used a black crayon and wrote with my left hand. The buzzy bees and bear paw stickers I got for $1/packet at our local dollar store (cutely called "2Cheap").

Baby Boxes

A friend had some noodle boxes left over from her daughter's party, which she let me have. I got hold of some Pooh Bear stickers and Princess had fun sticking them all over the boxes. I filled each one with a little picnic for the babies... A fruit stick (grapes and blueberries threaded onto cocktail straws), a teddy-shaped sandwich, a baked fruit bar, a packet of tiny teddies, a wafer biscuit and a packet of raisins.

The Menu...

I am firmly of the "keep it simple" persuasion. I am not the world's happiest cook, so whatever I do that is food-related has to be easy, straight-forward and quick.

At this party we had:
  • Cupcakes (3 batches, two of which were made from a packet; see below for The Great Icing Debacle
  • Fairy Bread (bread with crusts cut off, buttered, dipped in 100's & 1000's and cut into triangles) 
  • Carrot & Celery sticks, crackers, chippies and dips 
  • Cut up pineapple, blueberries and Fruit Sticks (see above) 
  • Red cocktail sausages & tomato sauce (heat slowly to avoid splitting) 
  • Bacon & Egg slice (bought from the supermarket) 
  • Sausage rolls (the kind you get frozen in a roll; you just have to cut them up and bake them) 
  • Salad Sandwiches (2 baguettes, split lengthways, filled with ham, mayo, tomato and lettuce, then sliced up into sandwich-sized pieces) 
  • Popcorn (freshly popped in the microwave) 
  • Old-Fashioned Lemonade (click here for the recipe)
Most of this food can be prepared very quickly, either the day before or that morning; meaning that you are not stuck in the kitchen during your child's party, but can be out enjoying it all!
This lot provided enough food for 17 kids and 19 adults, with some left over.

The Great Icing Debacle
After making 3 batches of cupcakes and a triple recipe chocolate Teddy Bear Cake, I was nearly out of butter (oh dear) and still needed to make the buttercream icing. I thought, hey no worries, I will just use my spread instead! I've done it before, no problems??!

Problem! I had bought a different brand of spread this week! Usually I buy Olivio which works fine. But this time I had Olivani... seemingly the same olive-oil based, low-fat spread, but oh-so-different.

I innocently mixed up a giant batch of buttercream using the Olivani, and sectioned some off to start colouring and applying.... when to my horror it started curdling and separating!

Arrghhh! I had 36 cupcakes and a giant teddy bear to ice, and no more icing sugar, just a bowl full of curdled foul-looking mess.

And I had already iced eight cupcakes with this horrible stuff! I disguised the yucky looking icing by making these classic marshmallow flowers (above) which largely covered up what was underneath, thank goodness!
(For petals, slice a marshmallow in half width-ways; this gives the "petals" an oval shape. Use a smartie as the flower centre.)

I had to go back to the shop, get more icing sugar, some real butter and begin again, biffing the whole bowl of yucky goo. I can tell you I was OVER cup cakes by the end of it!
They did turn out cute though (I coloured some marzipan and cut out tiny teddy bears with a cookie cutter; then painted eyes nose and mouth on with black food colouring.)

So be warned - Olivio can be used in icing (and baking), Olivani can't (unless you use gel colours).

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Gail said...

It was a great party! Great work with the planning Simoney - most importantly, the kids had a fun time!!

PaisleyJade said...

Thanks for this post! I sat in bed last night and started planning Miss 4's 5th birthday party coming up... now I have some wonderful ideas.

personalised teddy bear said...

Taking a picnic is something people do from time to time to have fun either with families or with friends. A Picnic blanket is necessary accessories for outdoor adventures.

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