We celebrated An's birthday early since Lyn will be at a retreat on her actual birthday. The earlier date also meant her favourite aunt could attend.
A few months ago, I asked An to choose her party theme from three options: Hello Kitty, Dora or Barney. Her choices kept varying, so I finally decided for her. Barney it was to be, since it was the most unisex. Also, An enjoyed herself at the Barney show at the Little Big Club, so I thought she would be happy with the Barney theme.
I sent out the Barney invites about a month ago, then when I started scouting around for Barney party stuff, I was surprised to find few available options. Finally, I did manage to find sufficient items to spruce the house up with.
I found a Happy Birthday sign from one of the three party shops at Middle Road.
Art Box also carried Barney balloons, to my delight. I had bought An a Barney lantern for the mid-autumn festival in September and that worked well for this occasion too.
We already have Barney plush toys, so naturally they were used to create the Barney atmosphere.
I went a little overboard with the purple and green, though I grew to like the colour combination.
I also created a little corner where An's albums and scrapbook were displayed. Cards were laid out for guests to write notes of blessings to her, but the corner was too inconspicuous and most guests missed it. We did have a few beautifully penned notes though.
Various family members contributed to the food. I only made tuna sandwiches while Lyn grilled his famous chicken 65, mashed potatoes and prepared quail eggs with cheese. My mother-in-law cooked her signature mee siam which was a hit and my aunt bought fishballs and ngoh hiang. My mum prepared fruits, my father ordered a jelly snack and my brother brought sushi. We are blessed with a supportive village.
I decorated a Bengawan Solo marble cake with fondant. It took me three hours to decorate the cake, but I was quite pleased with the result.
As the cake was too small, I bought an ice cream cake to serve the guests too.
Don't be deceived by An's docile look in the photo. She became exuberant when the birthday song was sung and threw her arms up in joy. She then blew the candles with gusto and thanked everybody for attending her party. To think I was concerned that she might be overwhelmed by the number of guests. Nothing of that sort. She was quite pleased with the attention.
I planned six games but only three were carried out. J was roped in as games master and he was very enthusiastic. However, the younger ones were not very willing to play the games. Only the 8-year-old, the 6-year-old and Little An were interested. Haha. Oh well.
Anyway, here are the planned games, for my record:
1) Passing the Parcel
2) Tossing the Balloon (The players were supposed to keep the balloon in the air for 10 counts.)
3) Animal hunt (The players had to look for animal cards.)
4) Ring Barney (The players had to loop a hoop through Barney's head.)
5) Aim (The players had to throw a ball into cans.)
6) Tunnel Jigsaw (The players had to crawl through a tunnel and form a jigsaw at the end of the tunnel.)
Only games (2), (3) and (6) were carried out. I even looked for Barney songs to accompany the games, but I totally forgot to play the music when I saw that the kids were not too interested. The lesson I learnt was to know my guests better and plan more age appropriate games.
At the end of the party, some of the guests went to the playground with us to play with bubbles. I gave a bottle of bubble solution to each guest (in addition to a bottle of dough, a Barney blower and a packet of snacks) and the children had fun seeing giant bubbles I made. We even attracted other children from the neighbourhood. I was glad that we could share our joy with others.
It was a happy day and An thoroughly enjoyed herself. For that matter, so did J. We were glad to note that he happily taught An how to open her presents that evening and oh yes, he helped to clean up the house that afternoon too. Thank God for a successful party.