A Safari Birthday

My son just turned 3, and I threw a Safari-themed party for him. I wanted everything to still be sort of cute and baby-ish, as opposed to life-like (since he’s still a toddler, but not for long!), so his invitation had a cute giraffe and lion on it. I sent the invite by email, because I had created it in photoshop, but not the way you’re supposed to – I’m totally clueless – and so it wasn’t looking good in terms of being able to print out quality invitations. Oh well.

I tried to have “rustic”, non-fancy food, something you might actually be able to eat while on safari, so the menu consisted of:

trail mix
Chocolate Turtle Chex mix
watermelon & cantaloupe
white bean dip w/pita chips & bread
lemon chicken kabobs
Filipino BBQ pork kabobs
vegetable cous cous

The only activities I had were decorating your goody bag with stamps, playing with the puppet theater (that I got a few days previous at IKEA on sale for $1.99!), and hanging out in the safari canopy I made. It was a featured craft in the June/July issue of Family Fun magazine. But all the kids wanted to do was play at the playground, anyway, since we were at a park.

I never figured out exactly what to do about the cake. I originally planned to ask a friend of a friend who works at a Costco bakery if she would hook me up, because she and my friend would sometimes decorate cakes however they wanted, for their own parties. Costco doesn’t allow this, but they somehow were able to. So anyway, I never got around to asking her, and ended up making it myself. My first idea was to buy some cute animals I’d seen at Toys R Us, that were only $6.99 for 6, plus a nice tree. But the set includes a tiger, which aren’t native to Africa, and I’m really a stickler when it comes to details & authenticity. I also really wanted a giraffe and zebra on the cake, and I just never found the right set of animals. I wanted at least a giraffe, zebra, lion, and elephant, and they had to be cute & friendly looking, not too life-like. Since I’m no genius with the fondant or the frosting, my only option was to make paper animals with my Cricut machine. I did, however, want to try to at least put some frosting leaves on the sides of the cake. I borrowed a leaf tip from a friend, that she had just acquired from her grandmother. The decorating set was from the ’50’s! It’s the metal kind, where you put the frosting into a canister and push down to decorate. Needless to say, the tip didn’t fit properly in my plastic decorating bag, but I tried anyway – first at my friend’s house while picking it up, where it worked ok, and then the next night, after frosting the cake. Where it didn’t work ok! For some reason, the last bit of frosting I had dyed green and placed in the bag became so runny that it was impossible to work with. I did pipe on several leaves, hoping it would work, but it was such a disaster! Frosting was coming out of all sides of the hole, the decorating tip fell out of place, and the leaves just looked awful. So I said screw it! I wiped the leaves off as best I could, and made some paper grass with my Cricut.

I had no idea exactly how I was going to place everything, but I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. Besides my very crooked, mediocre cake. Oh, and I’m so glad I saw a cake on coolest-birthday-cakes.com that had 3D palm trees on it, made with cereal straws. Also very glad I was able to find them, after going to 4 different grocery stores. That was a genius idea, they work very well, and look quite realistic. They’re also yummy!

Happy birthday, baby!

leaf banner

safari cake

safari cake-candles

under the canopy

safari goody bag