Look who we found on the front page of the Galax Gazette! Our almost birthday girl! The elementary school had one of their fun enrichment weeks the week before her birthday, and then a fall break with one week off the week of her birthday. The kids always like going to enrichment week, where they get to choose which classes they want to go to, with fun themes like yoga, outer space, Dr. Seuss, etc. Elijah's class had a field trip to a pumpkin patch and they got to choose a pumpkin to bring home. Poor guy came walking up to the parent pick up lot complaining about his backpack being so heavy because he chose such a big pumpkin. (The pumpkin was actually still on the small-medium side, but for a 4 year old, it was pretty heavy.)
Here's my handsome guy with his gelled hair.
Betty loves to eat with her feet up on her tray.
And here's the birthday girl! Enjoying a birthday breakfast of jumbo chocolate chip muffins, strawberries in Grandma Betty's bowl, a mango smoothie and flowers from Elijah.
More playing with gel in Elijah's hair.
Before dinner Cora chose to go to one of her favorite places, the Ladybug girl playground.
And then in keeping with tradition, she chose to go to Porky's for dinner, just like she did last year.
She got almost all panda-themed presents this year - like this panda backpack, a panda book, panda stickers, panda pajamas...
Of course we had to have a pin the something on the something game for her party - this is the panda poster I was working on for the game.
Just Betty showing off some cute Totoro socks.
Mom and Dad came into town for Cora's birthday weekend and party and brought this fun gift from Kate - hot wheels tracks that her boys had outgrown! Some of them are from Papa's childhood! The kids had a blast playing with them with Papa and Ryan.
We had quite a crowd for Cora's birthday party! I went ahead and told most of the guests (most of them were from the ward and some had to drive 45 minutes to get to our house) that they could bring all of their kids, not just the ones Cora's age. This made it so we had to move the party outside to have enough room for everyone. Luckily the weather was ok, a little chilly, around the upper 50s, but not too cold or rainy. I warned the guests we'd be outside and to dress accordingly. We luckily had some tents that we had borrowed from the church and friends for an Elder's Quorum barbeque we had hosted a few weeks ago so we were able to use those for her party too.
We stared off the party with a simple craft, while we waited for everyone to arrive. Just pipe cleaners and beads, to make bracelets, or whatever they wanted. Next to Cora is Garrison Wheatley, then Garren, Maggie, Karissa, Perry, Tiffany, Katelyn, Stevie, little Perry, and Elijah.
We had to plan some fun games for the kids to play at the party. One we did was a crab walking race which was pretty hilarious. The Wheatleys pretty much won this race.
Another game was suggested by Nicole - sticker tag. Each kid got a sheet of dot stickers and tried to stick as many as they could on each other and not get any on themselves. That was also a pretty big hit, except for Elijah who ended up in tears because most of the kids were bigger and faster than him and he kept getting pushed down by kids trying to sticker him.
Here's Cora playing bean bag toss. I had cute panda fabric and dreams of sewing up a bunch of bean bags for the game and also for favors for the kids to take home, but of course, I ran out of time. So instead we used bean bags we already had in the toy chest.
I cut out the holes for the game, from a tri fold cardboard sheet from the dollar store, and the kids decorated it themselves. Behind Cora is Elijah with his good friend from church, Kellan DeReus.
And here's our panda poster in action - I did the panda and Cora did the rest of the decorations. The game was, pin the bamboo on the panda. We used Elijah's superhero cape as a blindfold. We've got Perry Freeman looking on, as Cora takes her turn, with Elijah behind, then Cora's good friend Maggie from school and ballet, and Katelyn Wheatley behind.
And here's the birthday girl with her panda cake! Probably the cutest edible thing I've accomplished yet. After getting some advice and encouragement from my sister-in-law Rachelle, who is awesome at cakes, I decided to try doing marshmallow fondant for the first time. The design I was going for was pretty simple so I hoped I couldn't mess it up too badly. The cake turned out pretty well! The fondant cracked a bit, and I couldn't figure out how to get it to lay nicely around the side and bottom of the cake, so Dad came up with the genius idea of putting the balls around the base with the excess to hide the messiness. The only other hiccup was how difficult it was to get the fondant black - it required a ton of dye because it kept looking dark green instead. I put Ryan in charge of getting the black fondant done and it took quite a bit of kneading and dyeing and by the end his hands were all stained green. Cora loved it though and I think overall it was a success!
I also made a second cake, since I knew we were having a good crowd, out of strawberry cake mix (Cora's choice) and cookies and cream frosting, to stick with the panda/black and white theme.
The treats I had on the side were supposed to be labeled "panda ears" and "bamboo sticks" but I ran out of time to label them. It would've been cute. We also had a veggie tray, grapes, and chips and bean dip, which Cora said was her favorite food of all the party food.
Singing happy birthday! Cora always gets a little embarrassed by the attention. From the left, we've got Griffin Wheatley, then Maycee DeReus, then Ryan, Elijah, Garren Moretz, Christy and Maggie Prudencio, Cora, Mom and Betty, Karissa and Kimberly Berrier, and Roger Freeman.
Here's a look at the decorated tents, with streamers, balloons, panda banners, etc.
Happy Birthday sweet Cora Fey! I had fun playing with your cute party theme but even more fun celebrating you! You are becoming such an amazing big girl and we are so blessed to have you as our firstborn.
Betty loves Grandma so much. She always takes time to talk to, play and read with the kids and they love her for that.
And Papa too! Cora and Dad had a blast learning how to play her new game Mancala, which was a present from Grandma and Papa, along with some books and other things.
Cora won the first game!
Betty lately has become obsessed with Cora's old Belle doll that she's got from Grandma Madelyn when she was about Betty's age. She is so cute when she plays with it and feeds it and rocks it but Cora wasn't completely ready to give up her old doll. So instead, the sweet girl decided to use some of her birthday money to buy Betty her own doll! She chose one from Amazon that is the same style as her doll but is a Cinderella one instead.
When it came in the mail, Betty loved it! And Cora felt so happy to have gotten it for Betty, and also to have her old doll back to herself. (Mostly... because Betty still wants to play with it when she sees it, so Cora usually keeps it upstairs in her room.)