Farm Animal Birthday Party

Connor's first birthday party was -- how do you say -- a simple affair. Corey's parents came over. I made a cake. We had balloons.

This stood in stark contrast to Natalie's first birthday party which was -- how do you say -- a blow-out. We had a weeklong celebration. Both sets of grandparents and my sister flew to San Diego for the festivities, we hosted a BBQ for 50 in our backyard and hired a balloon artist.

What I'm saying is -- the mama guilt was epic. EPIC. So when Connor turned two, I tried my best to do penance. We threw a farm animal birthday party, which was especially appropriate since we were living in the country at that point. And we had games and creative food and decorations and we generally whooped it up good.

The only thing we didn't have was a cute cake. Guilt 1, Mama 0.

The Theme:
Farm Animal Birthday Party

The Decor:
All things animal, cowhide and bandanas.

I bought party supplies online (a by-product of living in the country; online shopping was my BFF) similar to this line at Birthday in a Box. The farm centerpiece was adorable, and I know it sounds cuckoo-for-cocoa-puffs, but it made me happy. The cowhide balloons were fun. And decorating with bandanas might be the easiest and cheapest party decor ever. We used them as napkins, we gave one to each party guest, we hung them on the walls as banners. Fabulous.

The Entertainment:
As I mentioned in the cake post, we were fortunate enough to have a hobby farm across the pasture from us. The retired couple who had farmed that land for decades was thrilled to host us for a few hours of barnyard fun, including horse rides on their ancient steed.

They also loaned Corey some hay bales so we could transport our guests from our house to the farm via a hay ride. This might have been the kids favorite part of the whole party.

The Games:
We played Pin the Tail on the Cow, natch.

We also had an animal hunt in the hay. Corey and I tossed a set of plastic farm animals in some straw and put it all in a huge bucket. Our young guests loved digging through the mess to find the animals. (Toddlers are so easy to entertain.)

The Food:
Because Connor was old enough to appreciate food at this stage, I created separate menus for the kids and the adults at the party. The grown-ups got Cajun turkey burgers. The kids got modified pigs in a blanket - cocktail-sized sausages baked in rounds of cornmeal dough. (Mini corn dogs in a blanket? Corny dogs? Corny weiners?) (I'll stop now.)

Natalie, who was 4 at the time, also helped me design a farm field of vegetables for our guests: we spread a layer of hummus on a serving platter and stood various crudités in it - baby carrots, tiny celery sticks, broccoli florets, cherry tomatoes, etc. It was appealing enough to tempt almost every person at the party to eat their veggies.

We also set out snacks, like unshelled peanuts, caramel corn and stick pretzels, in red tin buckets.

The Cake:
It was supposed to be a cow. That's all I have to say about that.

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