Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Prairie Party

Well, I always not-so-secretly hoped that one of my girls would want to do a Little House on the Prairie theme b'day! This year, Emily chose just that and we went all prairie here on the homestead!

I will tell you straight up that I went over my $50 budget on this party - but only because I ran out of time to make the bonnets and bought those. If it weren't for that - I think I would still have pulled it off. This post is going to be ginormous you have been warned. I considered chopping it up into lots of posts, but decided to just go all out here. Proceed at your own risk.

Emily has been counting the days to her birthday and even the hours on the night before! This girl was super excited and I've never heard a number to be such a big deal as eight was this year.

I've been pinning ideas for months and sewing aprons, etc. Well, it all came together and I'll try to serve it up in an orderly fashion.

Prairie Party Inspirations via Pinterest:
American Girl Pioneer Party {and cake inspiration} via One Charming Party
American Girl Pioneer Party via Kara's Party Ideas
Pioneer Party via My Little Women and Me
Pioneer Birthday via Collecting the Moments
Here's my Pinterest inspiration board for this party.

Guests were welcomed through the side gate to our back yard! Next, they went to pick out and don bonnets and aprons! Now, I know I showed pictures on a recent Slow Day post of making the bonnets myself and I did make two from a thrifted Little House pattern - but I did not like how they turned out and they were too small. It was turning into a stress - so I ordered these on ebay and it was a fabulous decision! I made the aprons from thrifted sheets. Here is a bonnet tutorial if you're adventurous!

Oh, I forgot to show you the invitations - I confess I used a mixture of mailed invites and email invites. But, hear this sweet story. My sweet friend, Katie, knew I was planning this party and when we stayed at her home this summer she gifted me with lots of Little House goodies from Laura's home! I used the notecards for the invitations and suggested the girls have fun coloring them.

 After guests arrived and everyone was all prairie-ish, we went to the homestead kitchen and made jam!

This turned out to be really fun! The girls did a great job following directions and being careful slicing their berries! I started with this recipe because it did not require cooking the jam and I wanted them to be able to do as much as possible by themselves without cooking.

We had eight girls, so I doubled this recipe and then cut it down to size to make just one jar. This equaled 1/4 of the regular recipe basically filled each girls' jar. During the 10 minute wait where the sugar and berries sit together, we played bean bag toss and a helpful mama went in and cooked the pectin/water mixture. After the bean bag toss, we stirred the hot pectin in and put the jam in jars. The jam was not really too thick, but tasted yum! After refrigerating overnight, it did thicken though.

I had tried to think of each step and every thing we would need and how to make this as party friendly as possible and was pleased with how well it went!

Charming berry baskets with little paper shreds were waiting for carrying jam home. The gingham bags had two slices of homemade bread to eat with their jam! And, they also each received a Little House postcard compliments of Katie!

Once jam making was complete, we headed to the Sewing Circle!

Sewing project inspired by this ah-mazing Vintage Sewing Party! Wooden embroidery hoops and felt were from Hobby Lobby, I already had the fabrics that I put in the hoops, embroidery thread, needles and pins. Each hoop had the first initial of our guests and a threaded and ready needle. Our little table had scissors and a pin cushion for collecting pins!

Next it was time for cake inspired by this "8" cake. Doilies came from Michael's and I already had the cake stand of course, though it came from Blessings. Table cloth was a quilt and flowers were a mixture of things from our yard and the side of the road! Other food served was apple slices, popcorn and pink lemonade! Lemonade was served in recycled Frappucino bottles - when thy were too tall for the straws, David suggested freezing some water in the bottom and it worked great!

The table was a piece of wood from our shed propped up on four empty wheat buckets and supported by wood in the middle. Seating was bales of hay covered with quilts!

After goodies, we played a couple more games: sack races and the clothespin drop!

Emily opened her gifts and received some wonderful books we did not have! Here are our cute pioneers at the end of the party!

After our guests left, Rachel plopped herself right down at the table and made herself a jam sandwich - cute :)


Julie said...

What an incredible party!
I never read the Little House books as a child. I'm just discovering them now and I'm hooked.
We have no little girls -- even in our extended family -- but if we did I would definitely steal this party plan.

More than Survival said...

Oh!! I LOVE every bit of it!!!! What a dream party!!!!!!!
Happy Birthday to Emily!!

funjani said...

This is just the most adorable party. I am sure Emily appreciated all of your efforts. I loved the idea of the girls making jam. From the pictures, I feel as if I had been there.

Mom said...

Oh.my.word -- another fabulous theme party! Great photos of great fun! :) Love, Mom

Debra said...

Monica, that is the best party ever! What fun ideas. I always hoped my daughter would want to do something like that but so far she hasn't and she'll be 11 next year so I don't think it'll happen. I haven't been able to sell her on the Little House books either - she looks at them but just doesn't seem interested. She doesn't know what she's missing!

Thanks for sharing!

Wendi said...

Fun! I want a party like this for grown up girls! :)

Anonymous said...

Wow! Beautiful party!!!

angie said...

Since I knew this post was coming, my daughter and I devoured it over breakfast this morning. She also had a Little House party--for her
7th birthday.
We loved all aspects of the party! Most of all, we appreciated that you gave your guests authentic tasks for making jam and sewing an applique, not a watered-down version.
I can't think of a party favor I would enjoy more than homemade bread and jam. I bet many of the guest made sandwiches as soon as they got home. The presentation of them was adorable, too.
David's idea of elevating the straws was ingenious! And it kept the drink cold and lessened the amount of pink lemonade needed in each bottle. Did you wrap the bottles in paper or fabric?
I love that your decoations were functional parts of the party--aprons on a clothesline, jam making supplies at the ready, an intimate sewing circle for the li'l ladies. All in all, a beautiful party to celebrate such an important birthday!

a mom of many said...

Oh what fun Monica! Great job with this wonderful party. Love heading here to glean ideas, but by far you impress me with your mothering.
Such patience & care you put into these moments!! You take your job as a Mommy seriously & you are a blessing! <3

Jill said...

Ooh my that is one adorable party:-) You're so creative. What great memories you're making for your kids!

Kelli said...

I love this party! I have tried with both my daughters to have a prairie, country or cowgirl type party with no luck. This party reminds me of my childhood.

Anonymous said...

hi monica.....you throw the funnest parties ever!! as a huge little house fan, i so enjoyed seeing all the decorations and activities. what lucky girls! thanks so much for sharing the day with us through your photos.

Shelby said...

Absolutely fabulous Monica.... I love it so much. Brings back memories of playing little house on the praire when I was younger. You seriously out did yourself. Just lovely:)

Anonymous said...

Adorable party, Monica. So creative! Thanks for sharing all these pictures. I'm sure Emily was very happy with her birthday party.

Love you, Grandma/Nana

~katie~ said...

Awwww...how special!!! All the little details, the special projects, the amazing preparation ~ what a blessing to all! As usual, you have outdone yourself! So tickled the cards worked out. =) Love your chalkboard recipe instructions ~ adorable. Love all of it!!! Prairie fun, indeed!

Thanks for sharing all your fabulous ideas!!

Many birthday blessings,

*carrie* said...

You already know my thoughts. You're amazing!! Love seeing more pix.

Tiffanie said...

Absolutely Adorable Party!!

Shannon said...

The party turned out so cute! Brenna had a little house party, too, much to my delight! I'm so glad you got lots of pictures to remember such a fun day!

Anonymous said...

You are phenomenal!!! :)

Angel said...

aww sooo pretty and SO "emily." :) i wish i could have been there! i LOVE that they made strawberry jam. why are you so creative?!! miss ya'll!!

Elise said...

What an adorable party, Monica!!! I love all the fun details!! Those initial hoops are so cute-I pinned that party, too!

Carrie, The Modern Housewife said...

precious. i found your blog after convincing my (soon to be 5) year old to have a prairie party! so I was wondering...Do you think 4 & 5 year olds could handle the applique project? I think it's so cute, but not sure they could swing it. I'd love to hear what you think. Thanks!

Unknown said...

Debra, there is still time! My only daughter is 19 and has finally discovered the joy of "Little House".