When it came time to plan Madeline’s birthday party to celebrate with her friends, we went through a short list of things she’d like to do. She first requested a dolphin-themed party, and that somehow morphed into a pool party, the water of which would lend itself easily to the dolphin theme she asked for.
While there are several local hotels that allow use of their indoor pool for a children’s birthday party, they require a parent for each child to attend (which is fine, because nobody drops off their kid at parties for this age group), and there is no lifeguard, which means I would responsible for a swarm of five-year-olds who may or may not be able to swim.
To which I said no thank you. I mean, the responsibility factor of managing that? No way. When she’s older, like Nick’s age, fine. Now? No.
So then we turned to her obsession with animals, and after a quick Google search for animal parties, I found out that a local animal shelter does birthday parties.
Could it be any more perfect for her?
I mean, aside from being able to swim with dolphins.
This is very definitely the next best thing.
They usually don’t host birthday parties for Madeline’s age, so I promised I would help. We were given a private community room for the party, where the Director and her helpers did a few crafts with the kids (coloring a giant birthday card for Madeline and a t-shirt, coloring an art piece that they could take home, and coloring these cat masks that I bought from Hobby Lobby).
The kids also got to tour the shelter and see the available cats and dogs. Pet a bunny. Meet the Director’s dog (a rescue from the shelter) and learn about rescuing an animal. I tried to keep my head down and not make eye contact with any of the animals, lest we come home with another furry friend.
It was something completely different.
And so her.
I had the invitations made from a seller I found on Etsy, and for favors, I gave each child a small Siamese cat stuffed animal that I purchased from Amazon. Which I thought was w-a-y better than stuffing little favor bags with a bunch of junk that the kids don’t need to begin with.
When it came time for the dessert portion of the party, Madeline asked for cat cupcakes. Luckily I had spied a picture from Kal on Instagram recently and used that for inspiration (and coincidentally enough, her daughter was also having her birthday at an animal shelter as well).
The end result looks more time-consuming than it actually was. I baked the cupcakes the night before, and in about forty-five minutes on the day of the party, I was able to get them all frosted and decorated.
And these days, with new baking items coming to market every day, it makes things like this way easier for the average home baker.
Candy string for the whiskers.
Candy eyeballs for the eyes. Natch.
Thank goodness for Wilton!
I used an 1/8 of a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup for each of the cat’s ears.
Icing for the little mouths.
A little sanding sugar for sparkle.
Madeline was thrilled, and really that’s all that matters.
Well, that and they were actually recognizable as cats.
So … Bonus!
If you have an animal-obsessed child in your household, consider looking into your local animal shelters to see if they do children’s birthday parties. Reasonably priced (and a bonus that the money is going to support the shelter), something unique, and happy children at the end of the day.
Tomorrow? Toothbrush tunes!
PS Since we’re on the topic of supporting animal shelters, did you take the emBARK pledge? Just a few seconds to fill it out, and the generous folks at Sergeant’s Pet Care will donate a pet care kit to a local animal shelter (they will donate up to 5000 kits!). Pretty awesome, right?