Sunday, April 10, 2011

Emerson's Enchanted Forest

I believe that one of my jobs as a mom is to create beautiful memories for my kids. I realize that not all of my efforts will be remembered but, what I do know is that there will be some that are and they will be etched in my kid's minds forever and that is what's important.

One of the ways I try to create memories for my kids is through birthday parties. Emerson's first "Pirates and Fairies" birthday party has been my recent memory making project.

After weeks and hours of scouring the web for inspiration for the party, I began making notes and pictures of my ideas until I felt I had the perfect combination of ingredients to make our guests feel as if they had shipwrecked upon a beautiful enchanted forest with gorgeous fairies, friendly pirates and fun galore! Then, I tried to bring it to life.

There were tree branches with yummy, soft pink yarn intertwined. Beautiful pink glittery butterflies overlooked a delicious all-pink candy buffet that sat atop spongey green moss and light colored roses (from the Dollar General!). 

Emerson's name was proudly spelled out in pale pink letters because this was her day. 

The main table showcased the all-pink candy bar which included; Gnome-made marshmallows (pink and white marshmallow bunnies--Easter special!), Pixie balls (a mix of Strawberry Whoppers and Sixlet candies), Fairy Kisses (Pink and silver wrapped Hershey kisses), Pink feather dust (cotton candy--this was also served in floral paper cones with scalloped edges), Chocolate covered sunflower seeds, Forest Crystals (pink rock candy), and Dew Drops (pink, white and red candy corns).

I enlisted my sweet friend Chantelle to make Marshmallow Mushrooms (marshmallows dipped in pink chocolate sprinkled with white candy pearls). She did a beautiful job and they were the first treat to go!

On the table the marshmallow mushrooms were displayed on a square of floral foam covered in moss located just below a box wrapped in faux wood wrapping paper.

To serve guests, we anchored them in dishes weighted by grits. (A Southern girl should always have grits on hand!)

 Banner made with love by Mommy. 
(It's much prettier in person, I promise!)

The Fairy Tree. It was a coat rack with branches secured to it. From the branches hung adorable tutus made by Grammy and Mommy (Grammy's were the best!), sequin fairy masks and wands, gemstone plastic rings, and fairy wings. We stood a full length mirror nearby so the girls could try on all of the items and pick what they liked best!

We also had plenty of eye patches, Pirate hats and hoop earrings for the Pirate want-to-be's!

There was plenty of fun food for little kids and the young at heart complete with cheesy pirate booty
served in a woodsy wooden bowl.

Chicken salad sandwiches and Fairy Berries (fruit) of course.

Turkey and cheese sandwiches were cut out into the shapes of flowers on pink (dyed by a local bakery) or white bread complete with a baby cucumber on top. 

I found the idea for Freckle sandwiches here and they turned out better than I could have imagined! We tweaked them by using pink bread and a peanut butter and jelly filling--always a crowd favorite!

My friend Peggy made all of the sandwiches for me. (She is a kindred soul to me and just the sight of her makes my son go wild! I feel blessed for that day we bumped into each other walking on the beach!)
(Peggy and Scott with their sweet, sweet girls Ella and Olivia)

The cake made by my favorite bakery Great Cakes. I fell in love with the cake buntings I had seen on etsy so made one myself out of some old fabric, string and dowel rods. My cleverly talented babysitter, Kathleen, had the idea to put some of our leftover colorfully patterned paper butterflies on the cake. They looked as if they were about to take flight after a quick nibble of white chocolate frosting!

(The gorgeous paper butterflies are by Jaime Mancilla from etsy. We used boxes wrapped in faux wood and music wrapping papers to add lift to items on the tables.)

Friendship Fairy Fizz. (A 69 cent Wal-Mart special. Can't say I don't love Sam sometimes!)

I discovered many parties ago that if I label where the bathrooms are, I gift myself with more time to chat with guest vs giving directions.

We covered all of the furniture in white sheets and hung a butterfly canopy over the couch. 
Grammy helped me transform two wooden stools into mushrooms with a little batting, pink fabric I found on sale ($4) and some old fabric I had for the dots (which also matched the cake bunting).

(Thank you to our friend Carly for letting us borrow her pretty canopy!)

I rented a kid-size table and chairs (less than $30 and so worth it!) as the Activity Station. Guest could decorate foam colored butterflies with pom poms, stickers, glitter and gems. 

They could build their own fairy houses out of sticks, bark, stones, pine and colored gem stones. The book "Fairy Houses" was close by if anyone needed further inspiration.  And we had glitter glue of course!

The Fairy Tree room had a reading nook with all kinds of books on Pirates, Fairies and Classic Fairy Tales (including THE greatest Fairy Tale book by Hans Christian Anderson--thank you Aunt Kiersten!!)
Bubble wand swords for Pirates too.

During the party our friend Chantelle took around a big bucket and shovel so kids could dig in the sand (rice) for treasures. There were gold candy coins and real one dollar bills.

Dave then led the kids on a Treasure Hunt through the back yard. 
Around trees....

Up hills....

and stairs....

to the final prize--a treasure chese pinata!

Hunter learned how to scour for candy and outwit the big kids (by looking on the outskirts!)

(Notice he always has Puppy in hand)

Candy + Kids = Pure Happiness!

Ahoy Mateys! 
Captain Hunter here.

Back inside for cake and cupcakes

(Fairy cupcake toppers with real tutus courtesy of Grammy.)

Little Miss Priss in her beautiful birthday crown from GlamHatter on etsy.

Someone did not want to get in her highchair when it was time for birthday cake.

Not happy at all.

Until she eyed that cupcake coming her way. 
(She is her Mommy's girl!)

Oh yeah! Bring it! 
(She took that paci right out)

(The sweet little girl on the left, Merrill, kept tapping me on the shoulder
and giving me this adorable look. She was working me over
for a cupcake too and it was so cute!)

Emerson ate her cupcake like a 
true little lady. 

One. tiny. bite. at. a. time.

We kept finding big brother eating cupcake...

after cupcake.

(I love that R-that-became-a-P sticker that was dangling off 
his vest the entire party)

Our little family

And what would any party be without good friends?

Little Miss Celia

Brian and Kim with their little guy Teddy who was born
just 3 days before Emerson.

Kennedy and Jessica

Evelyn & Ryan

Bradley, Mike, Allyson (has one of the greatest smiles ever!) and Tucker

Two of our favorite girlfriends, Emma & Caroline

Newest big brother on the block, Alex, and his Daddy Jeremy.
Mommy and 2-day old Austin were resting at home.

Laura, Kathy and Thomas

One of my closest friends Amanda with Madyson, our youngest fairy.

Truman, Alex, Kennedy and Jessica

Caroline and Emma with their little bros Thomas and Sam.

One of my dearest friends Sari with her
two sweet kids that I love, Andrew and Amelia.
(P.S. I've never seen this girl take a bad picture)

Carly who came pirate-fairy appropriate complete
with cowboy boots and the crown we gave her for her birthday
(she won extra points for this).

The sandwich-and-oh-so-many-other-things Queen, Peggy, with Ella.
(Peggy, she looks like she's eating a bead! lol!)

Alex and his stunning mom Patricia

Karen and Gregg. 
Both beautiful people with hearts of gold. 
(And she makes some seriously yummy baked goods!)

Cupcake frosted faces and tummies full of candy, it was time to say goodbye. We sent the pirates home with our homemade Pirate Glitter Playdough.

The girls were sent home with Fairy Dust (oatmeal and pink glitter).
We told them to sprinkle it on their lawn so fairies would come and visit them.

(These adorable party tags were made by Mary Had A Little Party on etsy.)

Overall I was completely elated and pleased with the party. As much as I'd like to fib and say it was entirely smooth sailing, it wasn't. As the actual day neared, the stresses of getting everything done in time caused some tension between me and Dave. My husband is a wonder-FULL man and I know it's a lot to put up with a wife who wants to transform your house into a pink fairyland with tutus hanging around every bend. I want to take a second to thank him. He did endless chores to help me get ready for the big day and rarely complained. He also took the kids away for the majority of the weekend so I could have extra time. He is amazing and I wouldn't be able to have any party be a true success without him. Making it through another challenge further proves that "We're Gonna Make It." (I love you honey!)

In addition to my hubby, I had a team of amazing young women help me pull this party off--Kathleen, Katia, Faith, Chantelle and Grammy (remember the woman who I never let have a full cup of coffee?!). 

To take full credit and say I did it myself would not be true. Each one of these women contributed something important whether it be an idea for an organized coat check, creating a fairy house to put on display as an example to the guests, making tutus, dipping mushroom marshmallows or coming up with an idea to turn a basic coat rack into a fairy tree. 

You ladies rock and I'll never be able to thank you enough!

When all was said and done, it was really all about our sweet little girl turning one.

Emerson--you have brought me more joy in your one little year than you'll ever know. I can't believe that I ever had apprehension about having a daughter. I had bought into those fearful messages in my head and now I know more than ever that life is to feel the fear and do it anyway because there is surely a gift when you do.

I don't know how my life would ever have been complete if you had not entered into it. Having a daughter means I have big shoes to fill because unlike with a son, I  have a girl to whom I will be the primary role-model for a mother, daughter, granddaughter, teacher, worker and friend. 

Thank you for letting me be a Mommy, my greatest role yet to date. You teach me more than I could ever teach you and for that I'm grateful.

You are my smiley, snaggle-tooth, snuggly, chunka-monka, persistent, stubborn, smart, strong girl who I am so proud to call my daughter. And just when I think you can't get any better.......


"What I wanted most for my daughter was that she be able to soar confidently in her own sky, whatever that may be."
-- Helen Claes

Oh, and after the party we found Mr. Cupcake resting on the heap of dirty white sheets just like a Pooped Pirate boy should!

And we all continue to live happily ever after.


  1. Ok Brooke - that was the best party I have ever been to! What are you going to do for 2????

  2. I still am basking in the memories and "warm fuzzies" connected with my 10 days spent with all of you. Having just driven a "big rig" with a trailer and my car in tow...cross country...I thought a visit to Westport would be a great vacation of sorts. Knowing you as I do, I knew we would be busy.....but, I never imagined that I would be sacrificing my 2 cups of daily caffeine. Before I could stir the sugar in my cup #1 you were planning our first project of the day. Pink, pink, pink and tulle, tulle, and more tulle became "my" project. I may change careers....and become a tutu maker. I am so glad we made extras. I gave 3 to Lois Salter for her granddaughters. Her daughter, Jesslyn (a pediatrician) now wants to know "how do you make these!" I put my tutu on the dining room table surrounding my cloche china dishes. I might add it looks quite exquisite. Funky? Maybe. Fun? Absolutely. Do I care what others think? No! I love the look, and it reminds me of you and Emerson.

    Who could ever have imagined that years of left over ribbon scraps, grits, empty boxes, twigs, branches, LOTS of tape, glitter, rocks, moss, white sheets, and did I say GLITTER(?), and rice in a sand bucket....would create such a wonderful adventure and fantasy land? The outcome was spectacular! Knowing I am biased of course. You did have help, but these were your ideas. Creative for sure!

    About my loss of caffeine for the week.....upon return to Atlanta I went with gift card in hand to Target and bought myself a coffeepot! Now, I am making up for lost cups! However, I do miss the comments....."mom, today I thought we could do, (thus and so)to get ready for the party". You definitely had an agenda. Emerson will not remember the event except through loads of pictures. But for the 80+ people who shared the event she will know from their smiles the adventure that "happened that day".

    Brooke, you always make me proud. This was no exception. There are loads of people who "do" special things and create memories for outdid them created this memory for all those who attended all in the "HONORING" of little Emerson. I can only imagine how other future events will be celebrated!

    I am already looking forward to "our" next creative endeavor! I love you. mama

  3. Really pretty job on this! love the "wood grain" paper on the boxes and the pink bread!!

  4. Hi Brooke...nice to meet you! You throw one heck of a party there girl. How fun!! The kids looked like they had a blast, and so did you. Come join my newbie party on Monday...and welcome to blogging.

  5. Wow, this party looks fabulous. I truly like these kinds of DIY parties. Recently we celebrated our daughter’s 10th birthday and she had a blasting time. We hosted a fun cowgirl themed bash at some popular outdoor venues in Chicago.


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