Banana was supposed to have a big birthday party last summer. Traditionally we have family celebrations for all birthdays and something a little bigger for 5th and 10th birthdays. Banana chose her theme last summer, a tribute to her favorite animal and the trip of a lifetime she had recently taken-- the trip to China to bring home a little brother. Last year we bought decorations, favors, and even made invitations, but I just couldn't seem to pull it off.
Thankfully, Banana is the sweet girl she is and understood and patiently waited until her 11th birthday for her "big" party. It worked out well for her though. This summer the girls attended an art camp. Each morning for a week they went to a local studio and made an assortment of amazing art projects. Banana especially enjoyed the camp. She is my writer, my creator, my artist. It was during that week she decided to have her birthday party at the studio.
It was amazing. Juli, the owner, walked all the girls through painting their own panda (of course) or tiger (in keeping with the Asian theme).
One of the things I most enjoyed about the camp and the party was that Juli was able to walk the girls through these amazing projects and showed them how to create paintings and projects that turned out so fantastic, far surpassing anything the girls thought they would be able to create. Yet they did all the work themselves. Even little Bophie walked away with a beautiful work of art she painted on her own.
With a little help from Betty Crocker, I too had a creation that turned out better than expected. After Joseph's monkey cake, and Bear's polar bear cupcakes, I was put on notice to plan a panda bear cake. This turned out much cuter than I thought it would a few hours before the party began when I was lamenting having begun such a process.
As her friends were leaving, Banana looked up at me with a big grin and said, "That was the best party ever!" It meant the world to me. It was totally worth all the cake tutorials, how to draw a panda you tube videos, and the general chaos of party planning just to see the look on her face.
Thankfully I have a few years before anyone else turns 5 or 10!