Name: Jax (2)
Location: Ashburn, VA
Ask my son what he wants for dinner and his answer will most likely be "sushi!" Of course, he doesn't really eat actual sushi, but we go to our favorite sushi spot and sit at the bar. They bring him bowls of miso soup with rice and heaps of tofu and little plates of crab sticks. He adores it! So when I was brainstorming his birthday party theme, sushi crossed my mind and I knew it would be perfect.
My decorations were a combination of items I owned, items from the thrift and dollar stores and items I purchased from a party supply. I decided to focus on only one room - the kitchen.
For the ceiling, I purchased a set of green paper lanterns and 2 sets of small, white paintable lanterns. I painted them a variety of colors using craft paints I already owned. I hung our old icicle lights on the kitchen ceiling and then added the lanterns. I had envisioned the lanterns as well as lots of paper cranes. Using three sizes of origami paper in beautiful traditional patterns, I folded about 250 - 300 cranes over the month of January.
From around the house I added: one of my many bamboo plants, my beloved Geisha doll that my grandpa gave me when I was little, a maneki neko and a black bamboo candle holder. I also used our new bamboo placemats as a table runner. From the thrift store, I was able to add a set of Japanese food trays that held cupcakes, fruit and veggies. I also found a pretty sumi-e ink set that I displayed with some brushes and a green square platter for serving edamame.
The main attraction was the sushi cupcakes. I am so happy at how they came out! And they were so simple. I made a ton of them - two full cakes worth - and provided cupcake boxes so guests could bring home 3 or 4 mini cupcakes.
Jax loves fruit, so despite him being a winter baby, I treated him to all his favorite off-season fruits. For the tray, I laid out rows of watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe and mango, with star fruit and blueberries on top. The center was a row of kiwi "sushi". I hollowed out some thick kiwi slices and stuck some sticks of watermelon and cantaloupe in the hole. A sprinkle of pomegranate seeds on top finished them. I also had a veggie tray with carrots, celery, sugar snap peas and a cucumber "sushi" made like the kiwi ones but with veggies.
I had a tray of Asian cookies from our local international market that were a big hit. On the origami table, there was a tray of savory snacks including rice crackers, siracha and wasabi peas and a Japanese snack mix. I served shelled edamame that was a big hit with all the toddlers at the party.
On the counter I had a tea station with green, black and oolong teas. There was also lemonade, a pitcher of ice water and cold juice boxes.
The treat bags went along with the theme. At Target's Dollar Spot, I bought stuffed toy sushi and sushi erasers. I also added a set of pretty painted chopsticks, origami paper & instructions, a party horn with tinsel and an assortment of Asian cookies such as Pocky. I packed them in inexpensive clear bags and tied them with colored string. The tags were paper circles I wrote Thank You in Japanese on one side and English on the other. I added a mini paper crane to each bag.
Jax is too young to really do any formal games and crafts at his parties just yet, so I set up an origami table with lots of paper, books and instructions. Both the older kids and the adults enjoyed the challenge of figuring out the origami designs..
It was a great party! I can't believe my sweet little baby is 2!
Thanks Stephanie! Readers, see more of Jax's party and find tutorials for the cupcake sushi and crane garlands on Stephanie's blog, Imagine Our Life.
(Images: Stephanie/Imagine Our Life)