October 5, 2011

Pandamonium (Or, appropriately themed children's parties)

When I first set out to plan the girls' second birthday party, I was struck with fear to the depths of my soul.

My house would be FILLED with toddlers.

They would be everywhere.  Running, laughing, screaming, covered in food, hopefully not causing irreparable damage.

It would be chaos.  It would be mayhem.  It would be pandemonium.

...wait a minute, I thought to myself, it could be PANDA-monium!

And thus, my theme was born.  Panda-monium.  Toddlers. Crazy.  Everywhere.  Perfect.

The best thing about this theme was that I didn't have to do a lot.  If it was chaotic, it would fit my theme.  If it happened to also involve a lot of pandas... all the better.

I started with the invitations.  No amount of art school could teach me to simplify my designs like the lack of time and energy of parenthood.

Happy Panda!

I created a very cute, very easy to replicate panda.  He became my invitations.  Cousin Lala helped me glue on the googly eyes.

"You're Invited!"

After this little guy did his job, it turned out we were expecting fourteen kids and babies in the house!  At the last minute, four had to cancel.  But that was probably for the best.  My house might have actually exploded.

After I got my guest list, the next thing was to make everything else get panda-ish.  There would be gift bags.  Lucky me, the girls' birthday is shortly before Halloween.  There would be no shortage of cheap bags of individually wrapped candy.  And even luckier me, tiny stuffed pandas were on sale at the World Market for less than two bucks apiece.  All that was left for those gift bags was to draw pandas on them again.

The first batch of pandas were cute and all, but still too much work.  I needed to simplify again.  I needed EASY pandas.  Thus, my next cute little panda themed object came into being.  Aunt Vox colored him in after I drew all the outlines.

For you!

I decided to make a panda cake.  At first, I was going to make a whole bear- sitting up, no less!  I ditched this idea for the much simpler one of a panda face.  And rather than frost him, I'd cover him in fondant.  but... I don't like fondant.  So what else?  Ah!  I know!  Marzipan!  Thus was the world's first almond chocolate marziPanda cake created.  (Yes, his insides are marbled chocolate and almond cakes.  I figured they'd go with the decorative material.)  That's a lot of marzipan.  Good thing I freakin' LOVE marzipan.

Almond Chocolate Marzi-Panda!

Marbled cake!  Yummy!

One themed food is never enough!  I also made panda rice balls (sushi rice filled with avocado) and panda bear cookies, both of which got rushed and frankly I could have done better... but still!  More pandas!

Panda Rice balls!  ....or at least, they're pandas at SOME angles.

Panda cookies!

For the rest of the food, I asked people to bring potluck.  I made my world famous bean dip (okay, not WORLD famous... yet...), and my friends and family arrived laden with delicious edibles.

Quite the spread!

But that's not quite enough panda mayhem.  I apologize- panda-monium.  I figured that with enough little kids there AND quite a few not-quite-mobile babies, balloons would be a big hit.  Balloons... with pandas drawn on them!

Panda balloons!

Panda balloons, and Thomas underpants!

Last but not least- it wouldn't *really* be all that panda-tastic without any real pandas, right?  So Our Mary Poppins came in and did panda face paint for the wee ones.  I'm not sure I'd recommend it.  First of all, a few kids were freaked out by the face paint.  Secondly, this was- without a doubt- the messiest part of the day.  Cake included.

Little pandas!

I set up a play yard we'd been given last year in the living room, complete with a ball pit!

DD in the ball pit

...and a basketball hoop, too!

Then, I prepared the brand new toy kitchen in the dining room, and SI and DD's friends really got into it!

Cookin' up some crazy in the kitchen!
And connecting the two play areas, a tunnel of cardboard boxes, lined with bubble wrap, for the little monkeys to crawl through.

Bubble tunnel!

They all had a ball.  My house?  Still in utter chaos.  But I'd say it was a total success.

That's one saaaaaad panda.


  1. the love i have for marzipan is second only to... nutella. then again, maybe i do love me some marzipan more than nutella. anyway AWESOME AWESOME party- from the looks of it!!

  2. When I read the headline I was wondering what a PARITES is, but then I read a few words and realized you meant PARTIES. (Dang typos...)

    Anyway, Pandora, this is a joyous, wondrous site and as much as I liked reading your words, I loved viewing the awesome kiddie pics more.

    What a fun adventure this Thursday morning.

    Thanks for sharing,

    Hugs - Betty

  3. @Betty Dravis Boy is THAT embarrassing! Thanks for the head's up!

  4. not sure if anyone comes on here anymore, it's been a few years, but if you are planning to ever try your panda rice balls again, there is a mould for it that shapes the rice into the shape and then has a seaweed punch for the arms and eyes. you can get them on ebay for about $5 or $6. you need to use sushi rice, but they turn out very well.



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