Alternate titles: I Suck At Blogging, I Am An Excellent Procrastinator, My Life is Crazy.
I digress. Last NOVEMBER I had a birthday party for my eldest daughter, R. She doesn’t get to watch a whole lot of movies, but one I like and have let her watch a kajillion times is Finding Nemo. The first time she watched it she barely made it past the point where (spoiler) Nemo gets stolen and taken away!!!! She cried and cried and it was sad (and sort of funny) so I had to fast forward to the end and show her that Nemo and his daddy reunite at the end and everything becomes right with the animated fish world again. Subsequent watchings went much better.
So, she was turning four and wanted a Nemo party. I was all over this, because if you can’t tell already I love a theme. LOVE. I began planning and prepping in the middle of report card season and the aftermath of Halloween to gather supplies, craft, sketch, Pin and brainstorm Nemo and ocean-themed things that I could do. Here’s what I came up with.
Loot bags are always a big focus for me and I try to come up with things that aren’t crappy dollar store plastic or tons of candy. This time the kids got a small baggie of fish candies, fish stickers, a Nemo-coloured bouncy ball, an ocean-themed bath toy and goldfish crackers. The bags were blue and the tissue accent was orange to carry through my colour scheme.
M made the cake topper – it was my one cry for help in doing all this. I take on too much and then get snappy as the party draws nearer and this time I thought I would ask for some support. He made it out of FIMO clay which is easy to work with and you just bake it for it to solidify. You can get it at any craft store, I got mine at Michael’s.
I was looking for some interesting design touches so I came up with colour matching frames with R’s photos in them. I also made jelly fish with paper lanterns and ribbon coming down at varying lengths. I just used a hot glue gun to stick the ribbons into place and then strung a ribbon through the handles and attached to my mantle. I did the same on my windows and added streamers in blue and green to look like seaweed or kelp.
Food came next! I always like naming and labelling things to add a silly touch and to further support the theme. Veggies and dip were ‘vegetation’, and I used lines from the movie when labelling things like the candies. I also had ‘under the sea punch’ and snorkels to drink with (straws).
Last but not least, the cake. This thing almost broke me. I started out making my own fondant using a dry mix. That was horrible. Then I tried the marshmallow and icing sugar method which was also horrible. I ran out of icing sugar and ended up with a goopy mess. I finally broke down and used buttercream and dyed it the correct colour and just spread it on. The accents are made of fruit rollups (the seaweed), fondant (the coral) and some small ocean-themed toys I found at a craft store. I also used graham cracker crumbs to make the sand. It turned out well. The Nemo topper is what pulls it all together. Oh! And the cupcakes! Those were a pain to make but turned out so well! I made sea-turtle cupcakes out of jelly candies. You can find them all over pinterest. See if you can see them behind the cake in the photo.
TIPS: Some things that I find handy when getting ready for parties is going with something current. Nemo wasn’t a great choice for this because the movie came out a million years ago so I had nothing to cull from in the stores. I don’t love getting pre-packaged party supplies because I think that takes away some of the imagination and ingenuity when planning, but being able to buy even ONE Nemo stuffy or cup would have helped. I also have accumulated a lot of white serving dishes so that no matter what theme I use, I can always use the same dishes and they will match. I also have quite a collection of glass jars and vases in which to put the candy and smaller accents. Candy and flowers are great for adding colour and also for carrying your theme through even more.
R was thrilled and so was I. On to the next party!