May 22, 2012

Roscoe's ice cream party

Roscoe turned three on Saturday. We threw him a classic backyard party to celebrate and I am still abuzz with the way his special day played out, so simple and fun.  I think Roscoe loved being the center of attention and sharing two of his favorite things with his guests: ice cream & bugs.

For parties I like to dress up a head table as a focal point with a few yards of theme appropriate fabric to make a runner, and this year I chose Patty Sloniger's Bug Jars in gray.  It is whimsical and not too serious, but a pattern that even the grownups could appreciate. It set a colorful party palette of oranges, yellows, greens, and blues.

Because an ice cream bar was the main event, I ordered from etsy a set of multi-colored sundae cups, some personalized wooden spoons that read "i heart ice cream" and "happy 3rd birthday", and funky straws to set the table, then displayed homemade toppings in weck jars: caramel, strawberry, chocolate, marshmallow, and whipped cream.  We had a colorful variety of sprinkles, sand sugars, and nonpareils to choose from, and everyone joyfully built their personal ice cream sundaes.  For drinks, we offered citrus water, beer (plenty of beer!), and strawberry, chocolate, and orange milks, displayed in a big tub of ice.

The kids (and grown ups) made great use of our backyard space and spread out to explore the playhouse, and the garden, and to play with the various toys that were strewn about.

We had bug tattoos and a station for the kids to color "baby scorpions" that I drew for the one game that we had planned: Pin the Baby Scorpion on the Momma Scorpion.  It was not my first choice, I had hoped for a rollie pollie bug, or a grasshopper. Roscoe was confident that he wanted an insect with "pincers" and when he finally settled on a scorpion, one of the harder insects to make cute, I remembered that scorpions carry their babies on their backs and I was sold. I hand drew a silhouette I found online and traced it onto wrapping paper, then wrapped a piece of poster board with a complimentary color and glued that big menacing scorpion to the front.  At this age, I didn't want a game where there was a declared winner, so we clapped for each kid as they taped up their baby scorpion and then they got to reach into a jar for a few bugs to take home that grow bigger when placed in water overnight. The blindfold part was a huge hit.

In my mind the birthday cake was the little jewel of the day, if not for taste, then for effect. Another of my favorite cookbooks is Food for Friends, and for years I've had my eye on a recipe for a mountain cake that consists of only a few ingredients: self rising flour, sugar, butter, and eggs. The frosting and filling are made up only of butter and powdered sugar.  It is one of the easiest cakes to make, and while it doesn't produce the most gourmet result, it does bake up a buttery yellow cake with universal appeal. It has four progressively smaller layers glazed and decorated with candy that the kids picked off at will, whether it was their piece or not. I adorned it with sparklers before everyone sang happy birthday and my heart was full when Roscoe's face lit up with joy and surprise from his enormous colorful birthday cake.

Many of our friends made the trip to celebrate with us, and our families and Roscoe and Merritt's cousins were there.  The weather was sunshiny bright, and it was a happy happy birth anniversary for me and for Roscoe.

Unfortunately, I was feeling under the weather and didn't really capture the day in pictures, but here are a few:


  1. It was a marvelous day. You worked hard to put it together yet it flowed as if it was effortless. It has been rather special to witness the transformation of your family from Roscoe's birth to 3, to Merritt's rapid growth and from old home to a great new home for entertaining. It was perfect :-) I hope this week is nice and slow for you.

  2. Grandmom and Grandpa enjoyed the day as well. We especially enjoyed meeting J & A's great friends & Andy's side of the family. These are the days families remember most, Roscoe's 3rd Birthday.will go down in history. Happy birthday Roscoe! Love Ya!


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