Little House On The Prairie Pioneer Party 7yr
Kathy in Glenview, IL
LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE PIONEER PARTY For my daughter's seventh birthday we did a Little House on the Prairie theme. The party was held in a park district field house near our home, and we had about 15 children. QUILT
INVITATIONS: For the invitations, I was able to borrow a quilt block" die-cut which cuts sets of individual little pieces ---you cut several quilt block sets in different colors and then mix and match the pieces to create a two- or three-colored quilt. My daughter chose white green and blue pieces on a red background.
SETTING: We decided to use the park district clubhouse for the party in part because of its rustic look --it had wood paneled walls a beamed ceiling little wooden benches and a big stone fireplace plus tables and chairs and a kitchen. We decorated with all the old fashioned items we could find such as pewter candlesticks a coffee mill a wooden horse a mini wooden spinning wheel a copper mug a cast-iron griddle etc. We had a fire burning in the fireplace the whole time and it was very cozy. We had a CD of fiddle music playing in the background. The gifts were gathered in some big baskets and a big tin washtub.
BANDANNAS: Everyone received a bandanna to tie in their hair or around their neck.
ACTIVITIES: As the children were arriving there was free play consisting of old-fashioned toys such as Lincoln Logs pick-up-sticks dominoes a peg game a plastic cowboy set complete with covered wagon a chalkboard and chalk and old-fashioned rag dolls in a wooden cradle. I also had available a quilt-block coloring page with crayons but we didn't even get to that. After everyone had arrived we began our activities. We had three crafts. The first was putting together wooden dolls' chairs by pounding the precut pieces together with a hammer or mallet. Each chair had a seat a back 4 dowel rod legs and 2 dowel rods holding together the seat and the back. After they finished pounding it together they could decorate their chair by using wood glue to attach little flat wooden cutout shapes from the craft store. This was very well-received! (My husband pre-cut and drilled all the chair pieces.)
Another craft was simple embroidery using large-eyed embroidery needles and floss embroidery hoops and felt. This also went over well; even some boys did it! The last craft was making rolled beeswax candles from a kit I bought online. This was so much easier and safer than using hot wax. The kids also enjoyed this but I wish I had spent more time on it like showing them how you can stick together different colors of the beeswax. Besides the crafts during the activity time we also had the kids help make hand-cranked ice cream. We had the ingredients already mixed up and the kids helped crush the ice with a hammer put in the ice and salt and turn the crank. We were also trying to make popcorn with our fireplace popcorn popping basket but it did not work out so well on this fire --we're used to doing it on our firepit at home. Maybe because the park district rules required us to use Duraflame logs instead of real hardwood. We had to abandon that attempt for the moment but later on my husband's brother did manage to make it and we served the popcorn with lunch.
STORY AND BUTTER: I gathered the children in a circle on the rug by the fire and read them one of the adapted "my first Little House" picture books about winter days in the Big Woods. While I was reading we were passing around a few jars filled with heavy whipping cream and shaking them to make homemade butter. The kids managed to get it pretty thick but my husband did have to quickly finish it off before lunch!
LUNCH: I wanted to have fried chicken but I was afraid that big pieces would be hard for the children to manage. So we served fried chicken tenders along with corn carrots apple slices biscuits and cornbread plus our homemade butter! We also had that fireplace popcorn. Drinks were milk or apple cider. For the table setting I used red and white checked cloths red napkins and silver-grey plates cups and flatware which were supposed to look like tin.
CAKE: After most of the kids had finished lunch we brought over the cakes. We had one chocolate and one white cake. The chocolate cake was a Log Cabin. I made a 9 by 13 inch cake and cut it in half crosswise. I stacked up the two halves to make a two-layer smaller rectangle. This was covered with chocolate frosting and then the birthday girl helped me stick on all the decorations. We used pretzel sticks for logs and cinnamon graham crackers for the roof. We used yellow starburst candies for the door squares of flat white gummy grapefruit candy for the windows and green spearmint jelly leaf candies for bushes.
The best part was the chimney! It was made of candy-coated chocolate rocks. I had to go specially to the candy store to get them but it was worth it --people were asking "is the chimney really edible?" We pressed the rocks in a column up the side of the house and then to make the part that sticks up above the roof I stuck in a piece of fat Tootsie Roll covered it with frosting and stuck on more chocolate rocks. The kids really enjoyed seeing the Log Cabin cake being cut up --it was like a house demolition! The white cake was also a 9 by 13 inch and I frosted it to look like a Quilt. I put on a base layer of buttercream and let that set up. Then I marked off squares using a toothpick and filled them in with piped icing using a basic star tip. This was a little tedious but not at all difficult. I just did alternating squares of red and green with a green border but now that I know how to do it I almost wish that I had done something a little fancier like diamond shapes!
For the candles I wanted to have them in the chimney of the log cabin but I couldn't fit seven. So we put one candle in the chimney and the other six on the quilt cake. (We were teasing the birthday girl "Are you turning one or are you turning six?")
GAMES: I had planned to have some old-fashioned games such as Drop the Hanky and Blindman's Bluff but we completely ran out of time!
GIFTS: At the end of the party everyone gathered on the rug by the fire and my daughter opened her presents.
FAVORS: I got gingham-print bags from Oriental Trading for the kids to take home their candles and embroidery in (although the doll chairs did not fit in the bags as I had hoped). Everyone also got a treat bag. I wanted to get tin pails for this but I could not find any at a reasonable price so I just used brown paper bags which were folded over at the top punched with a hole punch and tied with ribbon. They looked cute and rustic. In each bag we put a homemade popcorn ball (the birthday girl and her sister really enjoyed making these) two pieces of old-fashioned striped stick candy a little bag of peanut brittle two caramels a maple sugar candy a piece of beef jerky and an orange (actually a clementine). I got the peanut brittle the maple sugar candy and the stick candy at Cracker Barrel.
THANK YOU CARDS: For the thank-you notes I plan to use a house die-cut shape done in brown to look like a log cabin."
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