Monday, May 21, 2012

Dr. Seuss Themed Birthday Party

Last weekend was my friend's birthday party.  I agreed to help her plan it and she said she wanted it to be a Dr. Seuss theme.  I immediately went to Pinterest and all the Dr. Seuss stories that I own for ideas.  This post will not just inclue the food I did for the party, but also the decorations, games, etc.

For decorations we went to the local party supply store, but they didn't have any specific Dr. Seuss things.  We found a hot air balloon decoration that we got (Oh The Places You'll Go), balloons, and streamers, but went to a teacher supply store for the rest of the things.  This was the jackpot.  We found cut-outs, banners, posters, etc. 
We put out the Dr. Seuss books we have on display for decorations and for people to look at if they wanted.  I also bought Dr. Seuss's Happy Birthday To You and had it out for everyone to sign as a gift for the birthday girl.

Another part of the decorations and also a fun activity we had was a photo booth.  We used a red table cover as the backdrop, put Dr. Seuss character cut outs around it, and put star stickers & Dr. Seuss happy birthday banners and ballons on it.  We also had fun props like a red & white beaded necklace, Cat in the Hat hats, and stick-on mustaches.  This looked great, was fun, and left us with some great pics for memories!

For every event and food of the party I had a quote from a Dr. Seuss book to go with it.  Our friend plays a french horn so I asked her to bring it.  I gathered everyone together so we could officially start the party and read this quote from Happy Birthday To You- "“In Katroo, every year, on the day you were born they start the day right in the bright early morn when the Birthday Honk-Honker hikes high up Mr. Zorn and let loose a big blast on the Big Birthday Horn.  And the voice of the horn calls out loud as it plays: ‘Wake Up! For today is your Day of all Days!’” And then our friend let out a big birthday blast on her french horn & the party was officially started.

You may have noticed in one of the photo booth pictures a dog wearing a rudolph "hat."  Before puting this on my dog Pickles I read this from The Grinch- “’If I can’t find a reindeer, I’ll make one instead!’ So he called his dog, Max.  Then he took some red thread and he tied a big horn on the top of his head.”

I then read a quote from The Sneetches- “When the Star-Belly children went out to play ball, could a Plain Belly get in the game…? Not at all.  When the Star-Belly sneetches had frankfurter roasts or picnics or parties or marshmallow toasts, they never invited the Plain-Belly Sneetches.  They left them out cold, in the dark of the beaches.” I then gave everyone a green star sticker and we had a cookout and played volleyball.
 Inside a table was set up with all the themed goodies I had made.  This is what took the most time and work, but was probably the coolest part (at least in my opinion).

I made "Oh The Places You'll Go" cookies.  These are actually called rainbow pinwheel cookies, but are the colors from that book and remind me of the cover of it.  I used this as the recipe-

I made up the bag Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix, divided the dough up evenly in 5 sections, and used neon food coloring (I didn't know there was such a thing!) to dye each section.

To make each cookie I rolled each color into a grape sized balls and then took a grape sized ball of each color and rolled it into a bigger ball.  Don't roll it together too much.  Remember how you learned when you mix a bunch of colors together it turns a yucky brown color? 

Then I rolled that ball into a "snake."  Here I first ran into difficulty with it sticking and coming apart so I put flour on a towel to roll it in.  But if I rolled it directly in the flour it become too "floury" and fell apart.  (Many of you are probably saying "duh" at this point, but remember in my "welcome" post I explained what an amateur I am at this stuff!)  So with each ball I lightly rolled it in some flour, or put flour on my hands and then on the ball before rolling it into a "snake."

I then coiled the "snake" around, trying to twist it as best I could as I did and rolled the edges of the cookie in rainbow sprinkles.

I baked them at 350 for 10 minutes.  If you went to the link of the recipe I provided you will see beautiful, perfect cookies.  I kept getting better as I made these cookies, but they definitely did not turn out like the picture.  Concerned it was just me being a loser I googled "rainbow pinwheel cookies" and checked out the images.  I saw many "normal" people's attempts at these cookies and was happy to see they too turned out like mine, or worse.  While they didn't look like the pros', I still think they looked pretty awesome and of all the food I made they are the ones that (looks-wise) impressed people the most.

With each food I made, I made a place card with a picture and quote with the story it was from.  I used index cards & folded them to stand up on their own.  For the "Oh The Places You'll Go" cookies the quote was "Today is your day!  Your mountain is waiting.  So..get on your way!"

Another food I made was turtles for Yertle the Turtle.  This was the simplest thing I made, but what everyone ate the most of.  Simply take mini pretzels, put a rolo on top of each, put them in an oven preheated at 300 degrees, bake for 4 minutes.  As soon as you take them out of the oven press a pecan half down on them.  I then put them in the fridge to cool and harden.

With this the quote from Yertle the Turtle was "The turtles had everything turtles might need.  And they were all happy.  Quite happy indeed."

For McElligot's Pool I made blue jell-o with Swedish fish candies in them.  Just make blueberry jell-o, put in clear cups, and put in fridge.  Once it has started to set but isn't fully set, place in the Swedish fish.  If it sinks to the bottom, you are putting it in too early.  In some of these I also put vodka.  I made sure to label the alcoholic vs. non-alcoholic!

I got the ideas for these from here  However, she says she mixed blueberry and lemon jell-o and got the perfect color she was looking for.  For me however this turned the jell-o green.  A nice sea green, but I wanted the lighter blue which is what shows in her pictures, but didn't work for me (common sense would tell me blue & yellow make green, but I trusted what I read).  Just using blueberry jell-o gave me the perfect color.  This person also says she put fish "lollies" in some of them.  I don't know what she meant by lollies, but maybe that would have worked better than the Swedish fish.  I suggest making these the day of if possible because the fish got a bit slimy the next day from the jell-o.  Still tasted fine but didn't look as good.  The quote from McElligot's Pool for this one was “If I wait long enough; if I’m patient and cool, who knows what I’ll catch in McElligot’s Pool!  I might catch a thin fish, I might catch a stout fish, I might catch a short or a long, long drawn-out fish!”

I also made Thing 1 and Thing 2 cupcakes and got the idea from here-  I used Paula Deen's red velvet cupcakes w/cream cheese frosting recipe for these-  I put them in red cupcake papers and for the frosting I used neon blue food coloring as Thing 1 & Thing 2's hair.
At the party I added blue cotton candy as well to look like the crazy-sticking-up hair of Thing 1 & Thing 2.  Immediately it was cute, but the cotton candy melted pretty quickly.  If I were to do it again I would just stick with the dyed frosting and forgo the cotton candy.

The quote from The Cat And The Hat used with these was “’In this box are two things I will show to you now.  You will like these two things,’ said the cat with a bow. ‘I will pick up the hook.  You will see something new.  Two things.  And I call them Thing One and Thing Two.”

We also had our very own Thing 1 & Thing 2 (of sorts...) at the party (the benefits of an ADULT Dr. Seuss themed party...:).

I made deviled eggs and dyed the yolk green.  These were disappointing.  I loved deviled eggs but wasn't happy with how they turned out.  I found on Pinterest that you could bake eggs to make "hard-boiled" eggs and since it seemed much easier, that's what I did.  I think generally this would be great; however, I learned my oven is different than the person who posted how to do it and they got a little too done.  Not horrible though.  I used the first recipe that came up when I googled deviled eggs and did not like the taste of it very much so I'm not even going to share it.  I need to ask my mom for hers...I always loved those!  So make hard-boiled eggs however you do, and use your favorite recipe for deviled eggs and use green food coloring when you mix the yolks.
The quote from Green Eggs and Ham for this was simply "Do you like green eggs and ham?"
The birthday girl also has a friend in Kansas that makes amazing cakes and cookies so I ordered some from her and she provided us with some great Green Eggs cookies!  Her name is Anne and here is a link to her blog-  She can ship cookies anywhere so you should order some from her!  She also made me some for my birthday that were gnomes, toadstools, and trees.

She also made Cat In The Hat hat cookies for us.  We made our own version of Cat in the Hat hats by putting layers of red jell-o and redi-whip in clear plastic cups.  I got this idea from (her picture is much better than mine!). Simple, yummy, and cute!  The quote used for these was “Then he said, ‘That is that.’ And then he was gone with a tip of his hat.”

That is all that I made for the party.  But I also put out Jelly Bellies as "Truffula Seeds" from The Lorax with the quote “’You’re in charge of the last of the Truffula Seeds. And the Truffula Trees are what everyone needs’”
I put goldfish crackers inside a teapot.  I got this idea from  The quote I put by it was from Cat In The Hat- “He came down with a bump from up there on the ball.  And Sally & I, we saw ALL the things fall!  And our fish came down, too.  He fell into the pot!  He said, ‘Do I like this? Oh, no!  I do not.”

I popped popcorn, put it in a bowl, and labeled it Hop on Pop-Corn with a quote Hop On Pop- "Hop Pop.  We like to hop.  We like to hop on top of Pop."
I also put out the colored goldfish crackers.  Unfortunately they have green in them and not blue.  But I still put them out with this quote- “One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish.”
A basket of fruit I labeled "Truffula Fruit" and put a quote from The Lorax- “And, under the trees, I saw the Brown Bar-ba-loots frisking about in their Bar-ba-loot suits as they played in the shade and ate Truffula Fruits.”
I made up the pink lemonade mix and labeled it Pink Yink Ink with a quote from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish- "The thing he likes to drink is ink.  The ink he likes to drink is pink.  He likes to wink and drink pink ink."
And here is a pic of the entire spread-

To come up with games for the party I looked through the Dr. Seuss stories I had and made ones up that I thought went along with quotes I found.  I was afraid a group of adults would not be in to some of these silly games, but everyone was a great sport and enjoyed them!  We bought prizes from the Dollar Tree and dollar bin at Target and also found Dr. Seuss "diplomas" from the teacher store so everyone who won a game got to pick a prize and then received a diploma signed by Dr. Seuss :).  The grand prize of the final game was 2 goldfish (we bought 2 incase one died before the party...)!

As I mentioned before we played volleyball and with that I read this quote from Oh The Places You'll Go- “Oh, the places you’ll go!  There is fun to be done!  There are points to be scored.  There are games to be won.  And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all.”

We also played a game of partner Hide & Go Seek to search for our friends as Horton searched for the clover in Horton Hears a Who- “’I’ll find it!’ Cried Horton. ‘I’ll find it or bust! I SHALL find my friends on my small speck of dust!’ And clover, by clover, by clover with care he picked up and searched them, and called, ‘Are you there?’”  We played this as Partner Hide & Go Seek.  Everyone one got a partner.  One set of partners was "It" and gave everyone 5 minutes to hide.  The rules for hiding was it had to be on the apartment complex property but could not be inside a building or car.  Partners hid together and the partners who were it searched together.

In Yertle The Turtle, Yertle's throne of turtles came crashing down because one turtle burped- “That plain little turtle below in the stack, that plain little turtle whose name was just Mack, decided he’d taken enough.  And he had. And that plain little lad got a little bit mad and that plain little Mack did a plain little thing.  He burped! And his burp shook the throne of the king.” And so we had a burping contest.

Also for Yertle The Turtle we played Jenga- “He made each turtle stand on another one’s back and he piled them all up in a nine-turtle stack.”  To get one winner for this we did it elimination style.  If you made the tower fall you were out and then the remaining players played again.  We played this at the end of the party when there weren't as many people.

Despite everyone being stuffed from the cookout and goodies we had an eating contest which went along with Green Eggs & Ham- “You do not like them, so you say.  Try them! Try them! And you may.  Try them and you may, I say.”  Two people volunteered (myself being one of them) for the contest.  Everyone else went to the kitchen and made a "concoction" for us.  I'm not sure what all they put it in, but it was a strange, not so tasty mixture.  They filled 2 plastic cups half-way with the stuff and the person who fnished it first won (this was not me).

From this quote from The Lorax- “…’I will call you by Whisper-ma-Phone, for the secrets I tell are for your ears alone.’ SLUPP! Down slupps the Whisper-ma-Phone to your ear and old Once-ler’s whispers are not very clear, since they have to come down through a snergelly hose, and he sounds as if he had smallish bees up his nose” I came up with playing the game Telephone.  We wrote down each person's original saying and then what it turned into and the one that changed the most was the winner.
Like the Cat In The Hat, we too played a balancing game- “’Look at me!  Look at me!  Look at me NOW! It is fun to have fun but you have to know how.  I can hold up the cup and the milk and the cake!  I can hold up these books!  And the fish on a rake!  I can hold the toy ship and a little toy man!  And look!  With my tail I can hold a red fan!  I can fan with the fan as I hop on the ball!  But that is not all.  Oh, no.  That is not all…”  Each contestant balanced a book on their head then the each gradually added things to it (Jenga blocks, apples, coasters, etc.) until only one was left balancing things.

There were 2 games I came up with that we didn't get to at the party.  One was a blindfolded relay I came up with from an Oh The Places You'll Go quote- “You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know.  You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go.  So be sure when you step.  Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act.  Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.  And never mix up your right foot with your left.”  For this game I had planned to have 2 contestants.  We would have an obstacle course set out for them which they would be able to look at and then they would be blindfolded.  We would spin each one around 3 times.  The rest of the party goers would be divided into two groups.  One group would shout out directions for one contestant to help them get through (such as "go left," "step over," "go 3 steps forward," etc.) and the other group for the other.  This would be happening at the same time so it would be very confusing for the contestants trying to get through the obstacle course, but the one who got through it first would win.

The other was a team game and it came from Happy Birthday To You- “If you wish I will find you the tallest of all!  To find who’s the tallest we start with the smallest…  We start with the smallest.  Then what do we do?  We line them all up.  Back to back.  Two by two.  Taller and taller.  And, when we are through.  We finally will find one who’s taller than who.”  We'd divide the party goers up into two teams and they'd have to line themselves up shortest to tallest.  The team who did it correctly the fastest would win.

And of course in addition to all of this we had cake!  Before the cake and singing  I read a quote from Happy Birthday To You- “'LOOK! Dr. Derring’s Singing Herrings!  Derrings Singing, Spelling Herrings!  See what Derring’s Herrings do!  They sing and spell it!  All for you!  And here comes your cake!  Cooked by Snookers & Snookers, the Official Katroo Happy Birthday Cake Cookers.”

The cake was an ice cream cake from Baskin Robins.  It was part vanilla cake and part oreo ice cream and had a picture of Horton on it.  We just googled Horton Hears A Who coloring pages and the birthday girl picked a simple image she liked and we took it to Baskin Robins and they were able to do it.

Before lighting the candles I made a toast to the birthday girl by reading from Happy Birthday To You- “Today is your birthday!  Today you are you!  If you didn’t have birthdays, you wouldn’t be you.  If you’d never been born, well then what would you do?  If you’d never been born, well then what would you be?  You might be a fish!  Or a toad in a tree!  You might be a doorknob!  Or three baked potatoes!  You might be a bag full of hard green tomatoes.  Or worse than all that…Why, you might be a WASN’T! A Wasn’t has no fun at all.  No, he doesn’t.  A Wasn’t just isn’t.  He just isn’t present.  But you…you ARE YOU! And, now isn’t that pleasant!”
This party was a lot of fun and everyone enjoyed themselves!  The ideas for this party are great because they can be enjoyed by kids (except the alcoholic McElligot's Pool jell-o!) and adults (at least if your friends are as cool as mine!).

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