My son just turned three. It’s very difficult to comprehend this, but as anyone with a child will tell you, “They grow up so fast.” And while it’s a cliché, it is quite true and not a little freakish. They start out as these little blobs, who lie around doing a whole lot of nothing and then in the blink of an eye, they’re walking, talking, and pulling your shirt up in public to slap your stomach and squeeze your love handles while singing, “Patty cake, patty cake, baker’s man.” I tell you; it’s shocking, the things they can do. Shocking…and ever so slightly horrifying.
But I wouldn’t trade this kid for anything. And that’s why, despite the stomach-pinching shenanigans, we threw him a party. But not just any party. A party with Big Toot. Big who? you may ask? Big Toot.
Who or what is Big Toot? Well, I’ll tell you. Big Toot (I can’t stop saying it) is, I believe, one of New York’s best kept secrets. And now I’m letting the toot out of the bag. Sorry. Big Toot is an adorable former Navy boat that’s been recommissioned as a pleasure cruiser for those wanting to enjoy the sights and sounds (and smells) of the Hudson River. And for a mere $10 for each adult (kids are FREE), you can cruise around the Statue of Liberty or Governor’s Island or, like we did once last fall, watch a sailing regatta from out on the water. The rides are about 50 minutes long, and they run on the weekends from May to October.
So due to the Big Toot factor, I decided that G’s party needed to have a classic red and blue nautical theme and subsequently lost my marbles accumulating and/or making all things seafaring. For the invitations, I used Paperless Post, which has gorgeous designs and you can customize your invitation, envelope and envelope liner. I used a design from Mr. Boddington’s Nephew in a navy envelope with the “Link” envelope liner in crimson. I love how when your guests click on the envelope, the invitation glides out of the envelope. Super-cool and very shipshape!
As for party supplies, I hit the jackpot at Target when I pounced upon the napkin of my dreams (red anchor *and* blue stripes = perfection) and some fantastic striped melamine bowls in the clearance section. (I also found these awesome acrylic glasses, but my mother forbade me to buy them. I’m still thinking about them. And look at these!)
I fashioned paper boat place holders, clipped miniature anchor-printed sails for cupcake toppers and created custom stickers. I also found some fantastic favor bags, which we stuffed with Toob boats, Lifesavers, Swedish fish, stickers and water
gunssquirters). I knew things were spiraling out of control when I found myself recreating a “Happy Birthday” sign using the international maritime alphabet on the computer and contemplating buying fabric and sewing actual flags. Good thing I found a nautical-ish bunting at Target; stringing that $4 score up added another year or two to my life and (hopefully) convinced my husband that I’m not completely insane.
On the food tip, it wouldn’t be a nautical-themed party without Pepperidge Farm’s goldfish, of course (no, I didn’t even think about trying this). I even managed to find these, but then G put the kibosh on sandwiches and insisted on pizza, which was much easier anyway. We also had some appies including my hummus with carrots and chips, a lovely little watermelon bite thing (which I’ll do a separate post on even though it’s three ingredients), nuts, Prosecco, etc. — none of which I have photos of because I had to wait until we came back from the boat ride to put everything out, so all the guests were there and I didn’t have time to snap the food table (plus I got all self-conscious because most normal people, i.e., non-food bloggers, don’t take photos of the food at their children’s parties).
And then there were the cupcakes, made using Magnolia Bakery’s cupcake recipe and my chocolate frosting recipe with red and blue sprinkles.
And while I did go a little overboard (pun intended) with the preparation and planning, I have to say, it was really fun. I loved the coming up with the crafty elements and figuring out how to execute them, and, of course, the cooking and eating parts. And yes, we are all wearing navy and/or red. I even scored this fab anchor necklace at Forever 21.
Most importantly, my little monster had tons of fun with his buddies and really enjoyed his big day. Happy Birthday, G! We love you!