Throwback Thursday – What does the fox say?
At the time this song was really popular; my youngest was IN LOVE with this song. I mean like lets listen to it a thousand times a day if not a million. And truthfully she goes through patches still where she wants to listen to it – over and over. As her birthday planning period was approaching (um six months ahead 😉 at least), I kept asking her what she wanted for a party. And she kept saying, “What does the fox say”. Truthfully this is one of those moments where I thought, “OK, I’m going to do what I said I would never do – overrule or at the very least dissuade her from her chosen party theme”. But that wasn’t to happen. My youngest has the strongest personality of each of my children. She is determined. She is strong willed. She is stubborn. And because this WAS her birthday – I gave in. And I am glad I did because it turned out that I could make this theme cute and not overly “weird” and really just “out there”.
Instead of putting the focus on the song as much, we put the focus on the fox and his woodland home. We did incorporate the animals in the songs through some toppers and props. But mostly I just made it a woodland fox theme. That was called hitting the easy button – and maybe the generic button too, I’m not sure.
This party followed up what was one of my hardest, most labor intensive parties yet to throw (which will be featured on next week’s throwback). The timing of this one was also at a very hectic period of life (haha when is it not), but truly there was a lot of life changes going on. So that being said, the party was not as organized as I had wished, felt thrown together (come on – I’m just keeping it real and transparent people) and overall just left me feeling inadequate to throw parties. And if it wasn’t for my incredible family (sisters, mom & my friend) I would have been left with a mess! Ok, so it would have gotten doen – just not in time. I would have had to finish while the kids were on their tour. (Hint to party throwers: ALWAYS allow yourself more time for driving and loading than you really need – I mean double it. Better to get there early than last minute). You wouldn’t know it by some of the pics. But you didn’t see the flurry before – or the tons of boxes and bags everywhere. And the millions of things that were left undone or not used. However, I have learned something (and still am) since this party and a few following. It’s OK. It’s Ok if it goes undone. It’s OK if it isn’t perfect. Most of the time the only person who knows it isn’t perfect or something is undone – is me. I am harder on myself than most would be on me. The truth is I always try to pack too much in anyway – especially for one person. If there was one thing that I learned through this party and also a bit through the minecraft party too – is that I need to be OK with the undone. I am always going to make too much, plan too much, bring too much – and there is ALWAYS going to be something not done. It is sort of like how I plan my food for most parties. I always order OVER. I don’t skimp and I ALWAYS have way too much food and sweets left in the end. And I am OK with that. So why not be OK with that if I have leftover ideas and plans and décor. The point was I had enough! So I try to grip onto that thought when I am running behind (or what feels like behind) and I don’t get something up. That just means I made too much. I did takeaway some new lessons though in helping a little in this area too. I realized that I needed to try to cut some of the “overage” out if I could and better organize what was left. I tend to always be doing and doing and doing till the last minute – which is OK if my party is at my house. But if my venue is away, well I knew I needed to get more organized. And I am learning that. I am learning to note where my tacks are. I am learning to put the same pieces and relevant pieces in the same box. I am learning to keep all my essentials (stapler, tacks, ribbon, 3m hangers etc.) in one box together. And I am learning to remember to make myself notes if only mental, to what is in what box. I am learning. I cannot say I am perfect – but I am learning. That may make throw some people off knowing I am not as organized as I should or need to be. But honestly, the party is not going to be lacking. I will always have what you ordered and more. The last minute running around is simple that – I have done more for you than you ordered. But I am learning. I just want to be truthful when it comes to my passion. What you love is imperfect too. What you do in life that is your gift – it is not always joy and roses. It is stressful, and hard, and truth be told, some days when you are done – you just feel DONE. But then you rest, and you remember. You remember your passion, you remember your drive, you remember your joy. Sometimes it takes me a day; sometimes it might take me a few. And if the party was extremely trying and you feel as if every detail was lost and there was no appreciation – well then it might take a couple weeks. But mostly I bounce back pretty quick and I remember again why I love it. Because it is my gift – my gift that God gave me. And I will thank Him for it and remember.
So all that being said, now let’s talk about the party!
We held the party at a somewhat local mini wildlife reserve. And when I say mini – I mean mini. They had an eagle, an owl, a tortoise, some snakes, some birds, two gray foxes, and a coyote named Wiley. Yes, Wiley Coyote. I know – cute right?! And he was cute! But I think the people made him nervous because he paced a lot.
To invite people to the party, we had these cute invitations:
We also invited the kids to join us in giving back to the center for allowing us to have the party there by bringing a donation of pet food for the animals: dog food, fruit, vegetables etc.
At the party, we had a mini sweets table. We had cupcakes –topped with printable toppers from my shop and embellished with nest like frames. The toppers were atop real sticks (washed and peeled where inserted) and featured of each of the animals featured in the song and the backside of the topper had their “saying”. We also had caramel apples on real sticks (washed and peeled on the insert part!). There were s’more dipped marshmallows (camp fire sized dipped in melted chocolate and crushed grahams). There was a basket full of “dirt” jars (pudding and crushed chocolate cookies). The jar lids had been painted red and then I added small tiny vinyl dots to make them resemble mushrooms tops. We had haystack nests with chocolate eggs and cake truffle bites that resemble mushrooms. The cake was special as my sister had made one of her very yummy and cute yuletide logs for me. This cake is delicious and the crazy thing is it is flour free! I don’t know how she does it other than it takes her a lot of time and work!!. And the end result is it is DELICIOUS!! I found the cutest sleeping fox at oriental trading company to put as the centerpiece for our table. I put him atop a wood slice and propped log.
Accents to the table included propping the food and servers with log stumps, wood slices. Wood peelings, moss, and rocks also adorned the table. And we didn’t have a backdrop as the reserve’s building is made of up of this gorgeous faux log wood walls – which acted as our backdrop. I did place some cut twig branches behind the table along with a handmade twig crafted letter “A”. And I hung our fox / woodland inspired happy birthday banner and the fox inspired name banner behind the table on the wall. That was a chore for my husband because the walls had this slick coating to them and we had bought the 3M brand hangers and they just WEREN’T STICKING!! Throw that into the mix of party setup and you get one big load of “What now”. And all of the walls and pillars and ANY PLACE TO HANG was solid. Like I mean you just couldn’t stick a pin in it if you had a hammer and some pretty mighty strength. In the end, we just stretched the banner from one length to another (really long twine) and just hung both banners on one length from places we were able to stick the 3M to.
Off to the side on one of the long side benches we laid out the props. These were the animal characters I designed to match the ones from the song (same design for the wraps and cupcake toppers). I also made quote bubbles containing the animals “sayings”.
On the other side of the area on a side bench, we set up a make shift trail mix bars. We had granola, raisins, chocolate chips, yogurt raisins, sunflowers seeds, and banana chips. We also had our usual delicious kettle corn popcorn from Gameday Popcorn! They have THE BEST kettlecorn. They are located in Jenks and seriously you all need to go check them out! To box up the trail mix “to go” I made these cute tiny fox favor box pouches. They were adorable and the perfect size to pack a small snack in. This box can be purchased as a printable from my shop (upon request) or as actual printed and made boxes from my shop (also upon request). We also had woodland popcorn / treat cones for those wanting to munch on the mix or the popcorn at the party. These cones were done in a woodland type backing but were enhanced with the bright pops of colors from the animals’ clipart to draw the theme together. We also had a bag of pretzels and a bag of veggie chips (that we added last minute to our assortment) for guests to munch on. Too much of the sweet stuff will leave you craving something salty!! So always incorporate at least a bag or two of some sort of chip, pretzels, or salty munchy! We also setup the extra mushroom “dirt” jars in a cute woodland basket here as well.
The main eating table was in the middle of the picnic area. There are lined up picnic tables running down the middle of the space. Each place setting held a woodland themed plate enhanced with a custom personalized sticker. And the cups were matching – in the woodland theme. I got a great deal on these in an after Christmas sale on oriental trading. You can usually find some cute “woodland-looking” items after Christmas that have bits of pinecones and pine needle décor without all the bright Christmas décor. We also placed a fox mask at each of the children’s place settings. I bought camo napkins from Walmart and also bought the adorable wooden cutlery on Etsy at Ivana’s gifts and things. I wrapped the napkins and cutlery with my matching monogrammed and personalized woodland napkin wraps. And I placed monogrammed stickers on the woodland cups. As a runner down the tables, we placed Spanish moss, faux moss balls, faux bird’s nests with eggs, rocks, bits of bark chips, bits of lichen, and pinecones. We also had standing fox boxes (designed by me and available as a printable or as a physical order) that could be filled with the treats that also lined the center of the table. There were jars of bubble gum, sixlets, and cherry sours (to look like berries). We also propped mini cut logs with mini wood slices to act a mini tables or servers for the extra haystack nests with eggs.
At the very end of the long picnic tables, we placed the beverage area. I made up a batch of woodland fruit punch from store bought Hawaiian punch enhanced with 7 up, pineapple juice, and frozen berries. We also placed a cup of our woodland birch straws (adorable) that were from a super cute Etsy shop called “Found Somewhere in Time”. I love this shop! There is just something about it – it is super nostalgic and just has a fun, classic feel to it! Go check it out! Atop these straws, I placed the woodland straw topper stickers I had made from the matching graphics to the plate & cup stickers and napkin wraps.
As part of their activites the kids also made wood slice hand stamped necklaces. I had my wonderful dad cut me some wood slices and he sanded them down real smooth. Then the kids were each given a fox rubber stamp that they used to stamp their wooden mini slab with. I had prestrung them on large thread cord twine. The kids each took home their fox stamps along with a fox jewelry holder. My awesome mother found some fox related items (stamps, cards, and these cute porcelain fox head jewelry holders) all on sale for $1 each at Michaels!! She is great at finding little trinkets like this for me! What would I do without my family?!
The wildlife center had a worker available who gave the children a tour of the facility and lots of fun (and not so fun for four year olds J) information. They learned about each of the inhabitants: like what they eat, sleep patterns, food sources and even why they were there instead of in the wild. And of course, we did get to see the foxes and hear about them – but I think Mr. Wiley the coyote stole the show. He paced, got fed, and generally was more active than the other inhabitants. Overall, I think the kids had a blast, got to learn and had fun doing it!
Lastly to wind up the party, the kids (with parental permission and accompaniment) went on one of the nature trails. I gave them each a nature scavenger hunt sheet that I found online an just made copies of (don’t have the link – don’t even have a copy anymore – it was last minute). There are plenty of these online on kid activity pages – just do a search and a million will pop up for you! Not all of the kids participated in this – but those who did seemed to enjoy it!
Overall I couldn’t have asked for a prettier day to hold it. The weather where I live can be pretty if-y at best in the first week of April. It can be cold, it can be rainy and it can even snow! I took a chance, prayed over it!, and then hoped for the best. And that is what I got – a truly beautiful, not too warm day!
I hope for you a warm and beautiful day too!
Oh and I almost forgot! They had this lovely pond we found behind a fenced wall that you could peek over and through. And it had an otter in it! He was quite lively and had he been part of the tour – probably would have given Mr. Wiley a run for his money with the antics!
Here is a banner I made but didn’t get to put up due to hanging issues.
Also, here is a close up look at some of the printables. The screen rep is off on some of the examples here and show the colors a little brighter than they actually print. Please see sample pics for true color.
4 inch circles
Backside of 2 inch toppers
Water bottle wraps
Front side of 2 inch toppers
Fox Birthday banner