Monday, June 16, 2014

It's a Rio Beach Party!

I have been quite absent from my blog the past few weeks, but for a very good reason!  Two very special little reasons actually -- my daughter Abigail and my son Gabriel!  Abby turned 7 on Friday and Gabriel will turn 8 in early July and because of busy, busy family summer schedules, we decided to have a joint birthday party.  The issue with "joint-boy-girl parties, at least for my kids, is finding a common theme!  Abby wanted Cinderella or Frozen and Gabriel, Batman or Super Heros...not exactly the ideal partnerships for party planning.  However, they were both super delighted to agree to have a Rio party and with the arrival of summer break--an outdoor Beachy RIo party fit the bill. 

Once we had our theme, I quickly discovered my biggest obstacle was the cake.  I couldn't dream up a thing that they agreed on, and that I could indeed create.  I am certainly not a cake designer!  I can make simple cakes but have never worked with fondant and all the ideas that I found used fondant.  Not to mention, our entire family is trying to eat on the healthier side.  So, what I decided was to a "fruit tiered cake" modeled after one I found on Pinterest and then to make Sand Pudding for our "sweet" dessert.  The original recipe (see link) used a large sand bucket for the dessert but I found little ones which, for us, were even more perfect.  For the birthday children, I added their favorite Rio characters, a "sun-brella" and their birthday candles to their bucket. Everyone loved the idea!  I would certainly use this recipe again!

Here is the full recipe:
1 pkg Vanilla Wafers (used low fat)
3 or 4 Oreos
8 oz Cream Cheese (used low fat)
1/4 C Butter
2/3 C powdered sugar
2 small pkgs French Vanilla pudding mix (used fat free)
2 3/4 C Milk (used skim)
12 oz Cool Whip (used low fat)
Crush Oreos and Vanilla Wafers in a food processor.  In a separate bowl, cream together softened 8 oz cream cheese, butter, and powdered sugar. In another bowl, mix pudding with milk.  Add to cream cheese mixture.  Fold in cool whip.  Layer into buckets with sand, pudding, sand etc.


So, we went Rio Beach party all the way -- or at ;least as far as one Mommy could go with all the other happenings in our life at the moment (end of school, swim lessons, final games and sports parties etc). One of my favorite parts was the tiered fruit "cake" or sculpture.  As mentioned above, I saw the idea on Pinterest, and loved it!  My children LOVE fruit and with the party being in the summer what a great way to forget the junk food and the artificial sweets and go for the natural sweets - right?  So, the fruit was Gabriel's task.  We watched Rio together and we made a list of all of the fruits that he thought we should have.  He then took his list with me to Martins and help select the fruit.  Then, with the help of my awesome Sis-in-law Laura, we cut the fruit and positioned it around the tiers.  How fun was it to cut the chevron melons?  Who would have thought two moms would have found such delight in fruit cutting!  In the end, I loved the way the tiers came to together to create a beautiful centerpiece and to set the atmosphere for the party?  And if you are wondering about the Bulldog on top of the will just have to watch the movie to understand!

So, understanding that we created the fruit sculpture, of course fruit was a main part of our menu--because certainly, there was a lot of it!  (and the even better part of it, was that I planned it so that we could have fruit for our Father's Day Brunch the next morning!).  We decided that grilled chicken would be a great compliment, so we served grilled chicken and pretzels for the little ones.  The bright and bold colors of the fruit and vegetables made our table all the more festive!

Of course, because it was a children's party (and it is debatable whether there were 6 children or 8 children--adding my two brothers in the children count :) --there had to be games!  We found a parrot pinata which the kids loved and beach balls to use as decorations and to play with in the yard.

Way to go Gabriel!

I love this picture because they look like little birds looking for food!  
Of course, they were all trying to grab as much candy as their hands could hold!

The attire.  No party, is complete without the least that is according to Abby.  She wanted to be Jewel, the beautiful Blue Macaw bird.  We found this dress-up outfit that was quickly was decided was "the one" and her birthday present from Mommy and Daddy.  She was certainly the princess of the jungle for the day!  Not to leave Gabe, or the other children out, they each had their own felt Macaw hat to wear!  A-DOR-A-BLE!!    Since the little babies were a little too small to dress up, the each were given a Bulldog for favors which of course added to the overall cuteness factor!

As with every party, there are always some great photos that are just all fun!

We finished our party watching Rio as a family.  What a wonderful night for Gabriel and Abigail surrounded by so many that love them!  Now we wait in anticipation for Rio 2 which Grandmommy pre-ordered for the kids for when it is released in mid-July!  The kids asked if we could have a second party when we watched the movie.. this tired Mommy thinks we will just go with popcorn for that party! 

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