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For my son's 3rd birthday party, we took inspiration from a favourite book of ours, "Where is The Green Sheep?" written by Mem Fox and Illustrated by Judy Horacek. I love a book themed party and Noah's The Very Hungry Caterpillar birthday party for his 1st birthday is still one of my favourites.
I had a great deal of fun creating the novelty green and sheep themed party food and covering our house with copies of the gorgeous illustrations from one of our copies of the book.
Overall, it was a fun and relaxed day. I had a few activities that the children could come and go from as they please, including a Where's the Green Sheep craft activity where children could paint or decorate their own sheep, a reading area where children could read a copy of the book and a Green Sheep Treasure Hunt where all the children searched for The Green Sheep and other green-wrapped treasures, together.
For this party, I decided to make the invitations by hand. I quite often go with a photo invite as they are quick and easy to print and send but I was feeling a bit creative in the lead-up to planning this party so decided to make them myself. I used Micador blank greeting cards and cut them to shape. I made the front and inside pictures on the computer using scanned pictures from the book and editing the words to suit my invite. To make them a little more fun and different, I used bento grass dividers to "hide" the event details in the grass inside the card. They were finished off in the Micador Collected and Co. envelopes with little hand-made sheep stickers that I made from some Micador clouds stickers.
I enjoyed making this party food. It wasn't too difficult, just a few fiddly bits that took a bit of time but were easily prepared ahead. There were:
- Lime jelly topped with a mini meringue (served in large plastic shot-glasses)
- Chocolate cupcakes with buttercream icing, mini marshmallows (halved) and a fondant sheep's head (I made the heads a-head (haha) of time and had them in an airtight container ready to top the cupcakes)
- Popcorn cups (with a cardboard sheep's head attached. I drew and cut out the heads individually by hand so that took a little bit of time.)
- DIY Berry Pav Station with whipped cream, mini meringues and mixed berry sauce (this was a hit with both adults and children)
There were a few other dishes to keep guests well fed. They were:
- Homemade sausage rolls (no sheep harmed in the making of the sausage rolls)
- Cheese and Spinach triangles
- Veggies and tzatziki dip
- Mixed fresh fruit
- Lime cordial and iced water
Oh yes, and of course there was cake. This one was a bit of a challenge for me as I'd never cooked a dome cake before. After much googling and not actually being able to find something that I thought matched what I was trying to do, I just sort of winged it.
I did learn a few tips in my search though, so I used those in the cooking. I'll share them with you in case you want to give one a try some day.
How to make a dome cake:
I baked my dome cake in a glass Pyrex brand bowl. The reason I used a Pyrex one was because I knew it would definitely be oven safe so went with that one for safety. There are probably lots of other bowls you could cook your dome cake in. So long as it's oven safe, you should be fine.
- Make your favourite cake batter as you normally would. I made a basic vanilla cake. How much you make will depend on the size of the bowl you are using to bake the cake in. Do not fill your bowl more than 3/4 full to allow for it to rise. Mine did not really rise that much but that didn't hinder the cake, I'll explain why in a minute. I sprayed the bowl with cooking spray before putting in the batter.
- Whatever temperature you'd normally bake your cake at, lower it. The main problem with a dome cake is that you have to cook the entire way through to the middle of the cake, without over-cooking the outside. So, it's going to take quite a lot longer in the oven than your cake would normally need to take. The bigger the bowl the longer it will take. Some people wrap a damp tea-towel around their bowl to keep the outside for overcooking. I didn't do this but I did check it often and lower the temperature if I felt it needed it. (I think it could do really well in a slow cooker but I've not trialled it.)
- Eventually the cake did cook the whole way through without completely drying up the edges but it didn't rise as I thought it would so it didn't have the height I needed. No worries! It's so easy to make your dome higher. Just bake another standard round cake that's the same size or slightly larger than the bottom of your dome cake. Pop the dome on top, ice and hey-presto!
With mine, I cut both the dome cake and the other cake in half and layered with chocolate ganache before stacking back together. I then iced over the whole thing with some more chocolate ganache and then piped on some green buttercream icing for the grass. (If you follow me on instagram you might have seen the progress of icing the cake and what I used to pipe the grass!) I made the flowers and sheep out of fondant ahead of time and just popped them on the grass to finish the cake.
PS: Remember that icing fixes all and everything will be ok. ;)
ActivitiesThe activities went well as they were quite relaxed. The kids came and went at the decorating table between eating and playing together. The one organised activity where we all came together was a Treasure Hunt where they all went searching to find a green sheep toy. We also hid lots of little green-wrapped trinkets around (bubbles, stickers, plastic jewellery, little toys, that sort of thing) for the kids to find. I explained to the kids before we went downstairs for the treasure hunt that probably some kids would find lots of treasures and some mightn't find any (there were a mix of ages) and asked them what we should do. They all agreed we should collect them all and then divide them out at the end. It worked brilliantly. No tears or upset, just happy, cooperative kids.
Would you like your own copy of the Green Sheet Template or Green Sheep Colouring Page that we decorated? I just drew it by hand so obviously it's not an official Judy Horacek sheep but hopefully will suffice. I used the template for little signs showing the activities and for the sheep decorating station.
Click here for a blank copy of the Where's the Green Sheep template.
For the kids to take home a treat, there was a little lolly bar and my favourite, some "Green Sheep Wool" (aka green fairy floss). I made a cardboard label to fold over the top of a zip-lock bag so it was a quick and easy little treat.
- Decorations including paper tape, green bunting/flags from Micador
- Popcorn cups from Micador
- Grass mats from Daiso
- Plastic tableclothes from Kmart
- Invitations, food and cake made by me
- Photography by me except for a couple of included snaps from my friend Emily. (Thanks luv!)
Where is the Green Sheep? In Dubai!
A few months after the party (which was in October 2014), The Green Sheep accompanied me on a trip to Dubai! You can see the pictures from his adventures here and here.
Other birthday parties we've shared:
Look where else we are. Are you following along? :)
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