Sunday, August 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Mercy Blue

We get plenty of grey weather in Washington, but Mercy truly is my sunshine. She is almost always happy and easily coaxed out of a bad mood with a little cuddling. So, when it came to planning her party I knew "You are my Sunshine" was the perfect theme when I stumbled onto this website, just a week before we planned to celebrate her fourth birthday with the extended family.

We held the party at my parents' house. I love doing the party planning, so I did my best to do as much of it myself as I could. I went over a couple of days before and did most of the set up. My parents graciously lived without the use of the dining room table for a couple of days. I don't know if that was because of love of me or their granddaughter, probably both. I finished up the day of the party between trips over to Warm Beach Camp to bid at the different auctions. (We've never missed August Extravaganza, even the year Mercy was born.)
Uncle Andy took the girls outside to play while I set up and got some really sweet shots of them.

Meanwhile I worked on the party decor, which revolved around bright yellow, hot pink, and orange.

Here is the large table. The cupcakes and candies are on the side buffet. The butterfly garland I made from scrapbook paper I found that I loved. I got to use the laminator my dear sweet hubby bought me for my birthday (from Costco). I punched holes in each butterfly after it was laminated and strung ribbon through it so I could drape them around the room.
The cupcakes are lemon, with lemon frosting. One think I've learned to do is bake the cupcakes in plain white liners, then slide on my bright colorful ones after they've cooled, otherwise they seem to discolor slightly. There might be another trick I don't know about, but this one works for me.
I had some ugly cheap party hats leftover from an old party. They had been a dollar or two at Target. I took pretty scrapbook paper that went well with my colors and simply glued the pretty colors over the ugly original. So simple, but a fun detail.
You can't read it with the glare, but the little tags say "Mercy's Orange Slices of Sunshine," "Mercy's Yellow Drops of Sunshine," and "Mercy's Pink Slices of Sunshine." I couldn't find pink candy I liked, so I tried making my own gummy candy using this great recipe I found here. I couldn't believe how easy it was. I used watermelon flavored Jell-o. They tasted pretty good and the best part was that they didn't make a huge amount and it's just Jello-o, what a great after-school snack to make with Mercy to have ready for Daniel when he gets home from Kindergarten.
Here is one of the two round tables we had set up. I made tiny tissue pom poms, using Martha Stewart's tutorial, found here, for the little flowers sitting at each place setting. You might have noticed the big ones in the first photo. I made those using the same tutorial. Those are now hanging in the playroom. I don't have a photo of them, but they are in front of the window, over the play table there. It adds so much color so inexpensively. You can make two huge pom poms from one $ 1.50 package of tissue from Walmart.

At each place setting I also had orange straws (bought on clearance at Michaels for sixty cents). I made round decorative circles with the words to "You are my Sunshine," inspired by artwork that I found here. Punching a hole at the top and bottom allowed me to thread them onto the straw for just a little extra thought to the party.
When Mercy was asked what she wanted for her birthday she kept telling everyone, "PINK." So the gifts all came wrapped in some pink. It certainly added to the decorations.

When the guests started to arrive (all family) the kids played outside with the grandpas while Eric worked on grilling the burgers.

After dinner we got to the cupcakes, which the birthday girl had been eagerly awaiting. In all the planning I managed to forget to bring a candle for her cupcake. So... we used one big candle from one of Mom's candlesticks. It worked.

Then it was presents. Mercy still hasn't mastered the art of carefully unwrapping each present, containing her excitement. No she pretty much tears through each gift wrapped item, which just kills my grandparents who didn't grow up in a time where a child would even receive more than one gift. I remind myself that she is four and is delighting in a moment that is seemingly all about her. I'm okay with giving her that right now. We have a lot of other quiet moments to talk about gratitude and how others see we appreciate their generosity.
Gracie trying out Mercy's new high heels was the crowning moment of the evening to me.

Today we awoke to a quieter, smaller, more intimate celebration of Mercy. Mini powdered donuts. She is so much like me, these are her favorites.

We had picked out an easel from us. Every year at August Extravaganza Hulan Fleming is a guest artist who paints a piece there on the spot to auction off. Mercy stood transfixed as she watched him paint. Until I tried, unsuccessfully to pull her away, I didn't know how much she would enjoy our gift.

Mercy, you are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy, when skies are grey!

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