Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Behind the Scenes of My Little Rock Star's 5th Birthday Party

The birthday boy going around while
serenading guests with his guitar.
It has been a very hectic month planning for my eldest son's 5th birthday celebration while working on finishing my latest book. And to make it extra challenging, my husband was out of the country while I was doing all these.
I wasn't really planning for a big party. I'm actually not a big fan of big parties. I like intimate parties because I have more time to mingle and talk to guests. Even then, I felt that I hardly had time to bond with our guests last Saturday at my eldest son's 5th birthday celebration.   
Anyway, let me share how I planned for his 5th birthday celebration.
Gian on stage with his tarpaulin behind him.
Let's start with the theme. Choosing a theme for his party was rather easy. Our eldest son has always been fond of music since he was a baby. He has memorized the nursery songs we played to him daily when he was just over a year old. He has been singing songs by two years old... most of these songs are songs for the Mass, worship songs we sing during prayer meetings and a few secular songs that my husband likes. He also memorized a number of Christmas songs and some other songs we exposed him to when he was just a toddler. The funny thing about our little singer is that most of the songs he sings become fast and like rock songs when he sings them. :) Thus, when it was time for me to plan his 5th birthday party, I felt it was just high time that we choose the rock star theme.

Jamming with younger brother at the
front door while waiting for guests to arrive.

I then searched for inspiration from the web and noted them down for future reference. It was very helpful that there are a lot of posts about rock star-themed parties. Some are grand while others were simple. I made a mental note of the things I liked about the posts I've seen and started looking for potential suppliers.

I did not have invitations printed anymore since most of our guests are online. I simply created an event page in Facebook and posted a digital invitation. Then, I texted them.

Our invitation
Rock star chicken nuggets.
As for the food, my initial plan was to get a caterer to make my life easier. I searched and contacted a number and asked for quotations. Unfortunately, either they have a minimum number of 50 guests or their quotation is way too high for my budget. I found one that fit my budget but they were already booked on the date I have chosen. Days and weeks passed and my eldest son's party was drawing near. I still didn't have a caterer. I opted for my back up plan which was to order food from one of my time-tested food suppliers - Amber's. I ordered spaghetti and pork barbeque from them. My husband suggested that I cook the chicken dish like what I did in the past for his 40th birthday celebration and Yanthy's 3rd birthday. I cooked chicken Salpicao and fried chicken respectively then. But I felt that I didn't have enough time to do all these now since I only have one helper and my husband is out of the country. So I decided to order the chicken dish from a caterer who lives within our village. I chose to order chicken pastel. For the kids, I eventually decided to cook star-shaped chicken nuggets since chicken nuggets  is among my son's favorite foods. I also thought that it's perfect for his party theme. So we bought some from the nearby grocery and cooked them on the afternoon of the party. These were served side by side with the kids' all-time favorite spaghetti. For dessert, I thought of using donuts instead of cupcakes because they look like cds. I searched for white frosted donuts and found some from Dunkin Donuts. The flavor I chose was vanilla frosted. For the adults, I prepared fruit salad.

Party food jam
On top of that, I had a last minute inspiration to add ice cream cones for the kids. I was very happy to find Cornetto black drumsticks that looked like microphones. I ordered from the nearby mini mart and made arrangements with them that we'll just pick up the ice cream cones on the afternoon of the party so that they wouldn't melt right away. One big blessing for us was that my younger brother was available to cook Beef Kaldereta for us. It's one of his specialties. Asking him to cook that for us proved to be a very good decision for our guests loved it! For the drinks, I just bought ice tea in packets so it's easy to prepare them in 1-liter bottles since we had several. Then, I bought a few bottles of soda for those who like soda. I also bought Minute Maid juice drinks for the kids which was also one of Yanthy's favorite drinks. On the day of the party, we simply poured them into red plastic cups.
To make our lives easier, we just used paper plates and disposable spoons and forks and cups. We used silver colored paper plates for adults and red paper plates for kids.

Our little rock star's rocking cake! I so love the details!
Our baker was able to execute our ideas very well.
 The next important thing that I made sure was confirmed early was the cake. I have seen a rock star-designed cake at Goldilocks but they were not willing to customize the colors according to our theme. This prompted me to look for alternative cake suppliers. I was very fortunate to be referred to a baker with the help of a connection in one of my Facebook Groups. I emailed her the rock star-designed cakes that I found in the web and liked as well as my ideas for the things that I and my child wanted to see on his cake. I told her that we wanted a guitar, a star, notes and a microphone on my son's cake. I told her that the main color should be red and the accent is black and silver. I told her also that we prefer marshmallow icing over fondant. We closed our deal and she was even kindly enough to help me look for a cake and cupcake tower. I chose to invest in a cake and cup cake tower because I plan to hold future birthday parties at home.
This was our cake and goodies table while we were getting ready for the party.
Didn't have time to take a picture after we fixed it because I had to rush
to fetch the priest for the blessing.
On the day of the party, she even helped me arrange the cake and donuts.  She helped me "fix" the donuts with ruined frostings. Actually, I gave instructions to the Supervisor/Manager and staff of Dunkin Donuts not to put donuts on top of each other. I even told them that I'm willing to pay extra if they need to use a lot of boxes just to make sure the frosting would remain intact. But when the donuts were picked up by my brother and opened at home, I saw that the donuts I ordered were crowded inside boxes. :( They even placed plastic sheets on top of the donuts so the frosting stuck on them. It was very disappointing. Heidi (my cake supplier) and I tried our best to "fix" them so that they would still look good especially in the pictures somehow.

Balloons and tables and chairs at our garage.
For the tables and chairs and balloons, I called up a supplier from our village. I also had a tarpaulin printed for my little rock star at a nearby printing shop. I asked the help of their in-house artist to execute my ideas since I don't know how to use Photoshop. Having a tarpaulin printed was a great idea. My little rock star loved it so much! In fact, his tarpaulin is still up on our curtain rod until now. :)
For the loot bags, I included the food items that Yanthy also like - jelly ace, lollipops, and chocolate-covered marshmallows. Since it's a rock star party, I included Voice biscuits. :) I was also fortunate to find tambourines that were on sale. I used these as additional giveaways aside from the loot bags. Then, I printed some labels to personalize the giveaways. By the way, since I could not find the perfect loot bag for my son's party and I wanted to make some without spending too much time working on them, I made my own loot bags using a wrapper I bought from a local bookstore and some yarn from Mateo's party last year.

Tambourines for our little jammers
and a small guitar for Gian's little brother.

Gian's work of art.
We also made use of simple décor. Aside from the red and black balloons I ordered, I cut a Styrofoam board into the shape of a number 5. Then, I asked my eldest son to spread glue on it and scatter red glitters on it. I also printed a couple of food labels and some signs to further highlight our party theme. I loved the silver glitter glue I bought. It made it easier for me to jazz up our signs. We tied some red curling ribbons on the flying red balloons at our stage area and let them float on both sides of the tarpaulin.
The name tags and the sign hanged
at the bottom of the stairs going to the bedrooms.
We didn't have party hats anymore but I made some name tags inspired by the party theme.
Food label for the donuts.

Sign at the gate.
I didn't plan any games or program. I planned it to be a relaxed gathering with family and close friends. I simply want to celebrate with them 5 years of God's faithfulness to my son and to our family as a whole. Aside from the traditional singing of the birthday song before the blowing of candles on the cake, the only thing I planned to do during the party was to encourage guests to sing or play instruments and to have a short time of prayer and worship. We were blessed to have two guitarists who helped me and Yanthy lead the worship. One is my husband's cousin who is a pastor and the other one is one of the elders in the community I was a part of when I was still in college. Of course, our little rock star was ever-ready with his guitar to play music during the worship. As usual, our little rock star was singing his heart out to God. I gave a short exhortation and we sang 4 worship songs that Yanthy loved to sing (Lord, I Lift Your Name on High, Give Thanks, Shout to the Lord, God Will Make a Way).

Our little guitarist during the impromptu worship.
 I also scheduled a house blessing at the start of our party. It was a good thing that our house is just behind the church so I only had to walk to fetch the priest.

My friend Marilyn from Focolare was the first to buy copies
of my latest book which was hot off the press last Saturday.
Then, while we were having the party, my printer arrived to deliver my latest book. So, it was an instant book launch! :) The guests in our party were the firsts to see and hold my latest book. This actually made me more emotional during my exhortation before the worship because that night we were celebrating 3 miracles from God - my eldest son, our new house and my latest book. All would have not been possible if God did not make a way for them to become part of my life story.
Gian's Aunt and cousin doing
a mother-daughter jam.
Overall, it was a simple but awesome celebration where we all had fun sharing about God's goodness and faithfulness and catching up with each other. Most importantly, our little rock star had a blast enjoying things that he loved and the company of the people who are dear to his heart.
Our little guitarists -- our birthday boy having fun with his younger brother.

Here's the video made by my husband for our little rock star.

Note: Special thanks to my husband's relatives (Yap family) for helping us set up the place and for taking pictures and videos during the party. 

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