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When my daughter was two, she was really into Dora the Explorer and couldn't talk about her without saying, "And Boots!" so we decided for her second birthday, we'd buy some Dora plates and napkins and call it a party. But my husband knew better. He knew at some point, plates and napkins wouldn't be enough...and just a few weeks before her party, I somehow orchestrated something beyond just plates and napkins.
The funniest part- I was planning this party for two small children- my daughter and our neighbor's nineteen month old son.
When coming up with invitations, I thought about how convenient it would be if I made magnetic invitations- printing off 3.5 by 5 cards on magnetic sheets.
I bought Dora's backpack off of Ebay and took out the map that came with it and made my own for the party.
I put several adults to work in my kitchen blowing up 2nd birthday balloons. My daughter loved having her own balloon playground, even if that wasn't the original intention.
We needed a Dora cake, and I thought of a few ideas, I even searched online for some, but nothing sparked my interest. Then suddenly one day I realized I wanted to make a cupcake cake of Dora's head. I bought some Dora cupcake liners, lots of powdered sugar and butter, some coloring, and away we went. Big mistake I made though- I actually followed the Wilton book for Dora's hair coloring and bought that dye, but honestly- wouldn't chocolate frosting have worked just as well?! (Yeah, that's NOT chocolate frosting as her hair!) Oh well, live and learn. I also made a tiny cake for my daughter. It was made of three layers of cakes, all chocolate, and I used whipped topping as the white frosting (something I had meant to do for her first, but had forgotten) and topped it with a foam Boots that I stole out of a (new) set of Dora Bath letters and characters.
I used some random leftover tropical decorations from our wedding reception a few years prior, made a bunch of signs on my computer and covered them in contact paper, and had the typical Dora plates, napkins, and cups (among a few other Dora items). I also had a photo backdrop of Dora that a generous Freecycler had given me.
I bought cheap plastic visors from the Dollar Tree, and had stickers for the kids to put on those. I also played a Dora music CD I found at Target.
It was a lunch thing, so we had hot dogs, baked beans, watermelon, chips, etc. After lunch, my daughter was ready for cake, so we all gathered into the kitchen and discovered a lock on our refrigerator! My daughter was not amused and was pulling very hard on it. According to a note, Swiper locked our cake and hid the key in Pinata Park. Well, that had my daughter interested, because she wanted her cake right away. Then we found another note on the back door and grabbed backpacks off the coat rack. (Clear purple backpacks I found from Deal$ for a dollar.)
According to the map, first we had to go to Lucky Duck Lake and once we got there we realized some ducks needed our help from snakes, so both children saved a Fiesta duck using a net and put a duck in their backpack, but my daughter didn't want to move on until ALL of the ducks were saved. So, she saved all of them, then we could continue. I had little pinwheels marking the path in our yard. Next, we approached Rocky Tunnel Cave and although the kids were supposed to crawl through the tunnel, there was some water inside, so we instead went through and climbed up, and slid down. Life's all about improvisations.
The last was Pinata Park and there was a big Two pinata, my daughter's choice, appropriately. Once the pinata was finally broken open, all my daughter cared about was the key. Although she did manage to stuff some animal crackers, Dora crackers, and Dora fruit snacks in her backpack. The spectators watched from the shade of our deck as they attempted to cool themselves off with paper fans I set out.
Then we all raced inside out of the hot July heat and had our cake and cupcakes. Besides presents, I had a video I made using music and my daughter's photographs marking the two blessed years we'd had. It was a great party, and it proved it doesn't matter how many people you have, you can still plan some great activities. Even for a two year old!
My daughter had to continue saving the ducks from Lucky Duck Lake. She couldn't let the snakes get them too!
Most Touching Moment
Our neighbors' ninteen month old loved seeing my daughter's face on the television!
My newly two year old tried her hardest to pull the lock (padlock attached to a child safety lock) off the refrigerator so she could get to her cake. She pulled so hard we thought she might break it off.
What People Ate
Hot dogs, watermelon, chips, baked beans, etc.
What People Drank
Soda, water, juice, milk, etc.
The Dora cupcakes and the Birthday girl had her own little cake with whipped topping as frosting.
Activities / Games
Sticking stickers onto our visors. Searching for the key to the refrigerator! our travels took us to Lucky Duck Lake, Rocky Tunnel Cave and then to Pinata Park where we found the key! And then watching a video Mommy made of the birthday girl's first two years.
Under $100, easily.
Flashlights(they came in handy in the cave), flower bracelet/hair accessory, and sunglasses all came in their purple backpacks. They also received bubbles that ahd custom labels of birthday girl, made by me, fans, their Fiesta Duck, and anything grabbed from the pinata- Dora fruitsnacks, Dora cookies, and animal crackers.