Barnyard Cowgirl -2yr- Funny Western Signs
Carolyn in Sherman Oaks, CA
Barnyard/Cowgirl Party for 2 Year Old: For our daughter's second birthday, we decided to do a barnyard/cowgirl theme because she loves animals and petting zoos so much.
I made the invitations myself by cutting a barn shape out of thick red card stock. I cut the red paper with an x-acto knife so that there were barn doors and a square-shaped loft door which opened (like an open the flap book for kids). I printed the party info on a beige sheet and glued it behind the red barn shape. I copied the wording from somoeone else's listing on this site. When you open the barn doors, it says: "Oink Cluck Baa Moo, Natalie is Turnin' Two! [last name] Farms BBQ, [date and time], Neighs only: [phone number],
Attire: Yer finest denim." I used a cowboy-like computer font called Giddyup which I downloaded from the internet. I took a picture of my daughter in a cowboy hat, riding a toy horse, and put that inside the barn loft -- so you see it when you open the flap. I used a white paint pen (from a crafts store) to paint white trim on the barn. I used stickers from a scrapbooking store to add a split rail fence and a horseshoe over the barn doors. I then scanned a beautiful image from an antique English farm book which showed two children petting some baby calfs. I used this image for the address labels, and put the barn invites inside clear vellum envelopes.
On the day of the party, we had a petting zoo in our front yard, which was quite a hit with all of the kids. There were donkeys, a baby pony, chickens, ducks, bunnies, and a baby pig. From Shindigz.com, we got some funny Western-style signs that said things like "They Went That-a-way!" so people could navigate the party, which took place in the front yard (for the petting zoo), in the house, and in the back yard, where we had a singing cowboy (local entertainer). From Oriental Trading, we got bandannas, cowboy hats and sheriff badges, and we left them in the entry with a sign inviting the kids to take them "before joining yer posse!"
We decorated tables in the back yard with these huge, larger-than-life, brightly-colored, Mexican paper flowers that I bought at a local store, but I think they are also available at paper-source.com. They look like they come from a magical garden, are cheaper than buying fresh flower arrangements, and kids love them. We also decorated with some life-size stuffed chickens, available through Hallmark, and some realistic chickens (with real feathers) that I got at Bed, Bath & Beyond.
A friend gave us some barn animal shaped soaps which we placed in all of the bathrooms, along with some guest towels with a chicken and rooster design (from Bed Bath & Beyond). The kids table was decorated with a paper barnyard pattern tablecloth from Party City and some miniature cowboy hats from Shindigz.com. We had some wagon wheels strewn about and lots and lots of helium balloons, including some with a black and white spotted cow-like design. (Wheels and balloons also from Shindigz.) We started the party at 4:30 pm, and served an early dinner of BBQ food (BBQ chicken, tri-tip, corn on the cob, etc.) catered by a local restaurant.
The cake, from our favorite local bakery, had a barnyard design and candles shaped like cowboy boots. I put out some of my daughter's farm animals and toys (such as the Little People barn, or Lego farm animals) inside the house on our coffee table, and this was quite a hit with the younger kids. Shindigz also has these great gift bags in a red bandanna pattern. We handed them out to each kid and told them that the chickens on our farm had laid eggs, and that they had to help us find them. I got the eggs and tiny chenille chicks to stuff inside from Oriental Trading, and we hid them around the edges of our garden. The kids loved this alternative to an Easter Egg Hunt in the summertime! The child who found the most was given a prize of a Lincoln Log set.
Goody bags for each child contained a coloring book (which I made downloading barnyard images from the internet, tied together with a red gingham bow), a petting zoo sticker book (from birthdayinabox.com), cow balloons, and plastic farm animals.
This party was such a hit. Most importantly, my daughter was so happy since she truly loves animals, and could have spent more than just a couple of hours in her own petting zoo!