Nautical Party (2-3yr) Lido Deck Buffet
JoAnn in Sparks, NV - United States of America
INVITATIONS: I purchased generic blue invitations and hand wrote An Anchors Aweigh Party for [my kids] Birthday hosted by U.S.S. Hollingsworth with the time date address and RSVP phone number.
DECORATIONS: As guests arrive we gave the adults each little fold-out "Deck Plans" printed on white cardstock. The "Deck Plan" was basically a floor plan of the first story of our house in the shape of a boat with the names of each room or area tied to cruising or sailing. The mailbox had a nautical dress line and acouple balloons attached to the top and back of it and the driveway was decorated by drawing fish waves and wood planks on the ground with sidewalk chalk and we called this area the dock. We also hung a personalized nautical flag banner over the front door.
The living room was called the Seven Seas Theatre where the DVD player was set to roll through movies like Finding Nemo. We added some little touches like a kinetic waterfall picture frame seashell candles on the mantel and a printed lighthouse sign that showed which direction to go for food where to drop off gifts the bathrooms etc. The kitchen back patio and backyard were called the Galley Sun Deck and the Sports Deck respectively and did not need much decorating except maybe some tablecloths.
The dining room and bar area were called the Lido Deck Buffet and Isaac's Bar respectively where we attached streamers across the ceiling and taped inflated blue and white balloons and stuck them around the dining room bottles and vases full of seashells sand starfish and sponges on the bar table with a little chalkboard with the bar menu on it and ice chests to hold all the beverages.
All tables were covered with blue tablecloths and fishnets (from Oriental Trading) and the main dining table had the buffet. (Not much room for anything else after the food.) Our outdoor spa area was dubbed the Spa Deck but since there was no one available to play lifeguard we just put all of our indoor potted plants on the spa cover . We also drew ocean and sailboat scenes on the sliding glass doors surrounding the spa with window markers.
For the bathrooms we put porthole cutouts on the doors and signs that said "Port Hole Potty". For the off-limit areas we put up signs like "Danger: Heavy Machinery Operating in Engine Room" and " Restricted Area: Bridge Personnel Only".
ACTIVITIES & GAMES: Since most the kids are under 5 I kept the main festivities to a three-hour window. For the kids we set out folded newspaper sailor hats leftover paper towel rolls colored pencils buttons nautical-theme scrapbook appliqu's glue and other leftover craft supplies we had in an inflatable banana boat in the living room and let the kids decorate their own sailor hats and telescopes. For the adults the back side of the Deck Plan had a simple substitution cipher that they could use to crack the cryptograms based on words related to America's Cup in each room. (I'm a puzzle fanatic!) The winning crypto solver got a little galvanized bucket with towels wrapped and folded to look like a swan (which I learned from our cruise years ago) and a bottle of wine.
COSTUMES: We're not big costume people outside of Halloween but I did make sure the kids wore white and blue clothing.
FOOD: For littler hands I made fish-and-chips wrapped in newspaper cones. I also made watermelon and lychee salad in a boat shaped watermelon basket Filipino Pansit and Coney dogs. For snacks there were bowls filled with Goldfish crackers and Filipino Lumpias. For the cake I stacked a bunch of yellow cake mix baked in 6 cake pans and frosted with white chocolate buttercream frosting to make a lighthouse. I just used those handy little food coloring spray paint cans to color the cake. I also pre-scooped ice cream into cupcake liners so we didn't have to worry about melted ice cream. For drinks we served Virgin Sangrias Cape Codder cocktails Blue Wave Martinis and your typical sodas beers and waters.
PARTY FAVORS: I folded origami doggy bags out of 11x17 paper and stuffed them with Lifesavers candy mini splash balls homemade sea shell soap and seashell-bordered sticky note saying Thank You and sail with us again next year. ~~~"