Hailey wanted a "Little House" themed party this year for her 5th birthday. Being a "Little House" nut myself, I was happy to oblige and had so much fun putting this together. We use birthday parties as homeschool immersion opportunities. We research the foods, dress, music, and what kind of decorations would be appropriate for the era. We also use it to teach our guests about some traditional homesteading techniques. Of course our challenge is to put on a great party for as little money as possible. This was the least expensive party I've ever put on. I had a lot of help from friends and family, which was such a blessing! We are doing the "Prairie Primer" unit study this year with some other homeschool families and I felt like this was an opportunity for the kids to start getting excited about it.
For her birthday breakfast, Hailey requested "pancake men" like Ma made for Laura and Mary in "Little House in the Big Woods". I was able to purchase the "Little House Cookbook" and we used a lot of recipes from it.
I found this old-time nightgown at a yard sale. Hailey loves it and wore it the night before her party.
We finally found a wall tent for an excellent deal and it came in handy for the party. We rolled up the sides and it made a terrific sun shade. We decorated the tables with quilts and mason jars filled with real sunflowers and daisies.
Hailey in the beautiful dress that was given to her by a friend . We bought her a hoop skirt to wear under it and she just loved it.
Hailey with her cousins, Jessica and Lily. It was so fun having them come up for the party, and my sister, Stacie, was a huge help to me!
Lily in the same sunbonnet Stacie wore when she was that age. Love this look! I was thrilled to have found a red-checked table cloth like what Ma had in the "Little House" series.
My niece, Jessica, showing off her paper quilt blocks. I had each of the kids make one and put their names on it. I'm going to tie them all together and make a quilt for Hailey to hang on her wall. It will be something she can remember all her friends by when we move. Jessica is wearing the dress my sister wore at my dad and step-mom's wedding 26 years ago.
Michael was in charge of the coffee grinding station. He had great fun teasing all the kids, including my adorable nephew, Andrew. We told the kids at the beginning of the party that they would have to work for their food just like they did in the pioneer days. They did, too!
My mom was in charge of the homemade ice cream. All the kids took turns cranking the handle.
Instead of a cake, we made "Laura's Little Maple Cakes" and homemade butter-cream frosting with our homemade butter. It was the first time in over 5 years that I bought white sugar (for the lemonade), white flour (for the cakes) and powdered sugar (for the frosting). But this IS what they would have used. We let the kids frost and decorate the cupcakes themselves using berries, coconut and nuts as toppings.
I didn't have time to make homemade hardtack, but I found some matzoh crackers and we spread butter on them to represent hardtack. The guests made this butter that is in the bowl!
My sis cut out star-shaped watermelon pieces and I but my raw soured cream cheese dip with garlic and basil out, too. We had three different kinds of homemade ice cream to choose from: vanilla, lemon and maple nut.
I got the idea from "Little House in the Big Woods"of acquiring a pig's bladder from our local mobile slaughter guy . We cleaned it out, blew it up (with an air compressor), tied it off and used it for a ball to kick around. This was Hailey's favorite part of the day!
The kids made "button bracelets" in honor of the button necklace Laura and Mary made baby Carrie in "On the Banks of Plum Creek".
My beautiful sis and lovely niece, Lily.
I love this pic of my step-mom, Diana, helping Hailey with her button bracelet. Diana was a huge help with this craft!
The kid's got to squeeze their own lemon juice for lemonade, using an old-fashioned glass juicer. This seemed to be a real hit!
My dad and friend, Kay, shaking butter in a jar. I filled them too full and it took over an hour for them to turn to butter. I split the cream out between three quart jars, leaving some space, and they turned to butter within a few minutes. I learned my lesson there!
Andrew taking his turn at shaking the butter.
We have butter! Took this pic, just as my butter-lover decided to do a taste test, lol.
Hailey wearing the button necklace her brother made for her. He entered this in the county fair and one 2nd place :)
All the books were Hailey's big birthday present. I started looking for the rest of the "Little House" series on-line (with the help of some friends). They are written by different authors, but are based on Laura's family history. I got the "The Martha Years", "The Charlotte Years", "The Caroline Years", and the "The Rose Years". These books are no longer in print, so some were really expensive and I kept looking until I could get them for a good price. I managed to get every single one, even the really hard to find ones! Hailey and Josiah both love them, so it was a good family gift, too.
Hailey is so into the movie "Brave" right now. Josiah bought her this "Merida" doll with his own money. I was so proud of him! She loved it! Does anyone else see a resemblance?
My sis got her the "Merida" dress and Hailey plans on wearing it to the local Celtic Festival the last weekend of August. She was so excited to get this dress!
My twin sis and I. Not very many adults dressed up, but I can always count on my sister to be a good sport about it :)
At the end of the day, we roasted marshmallows and hot dogs over a fire after most of our guests left. We felt like the party was a rousing success! Our Hailey Baby got spoiled rotten, but I could tell she was loving every minute of it and felt really special. I love that she is old enough to remember more.
Now I'm moving on to planning Josiah's WWI party for his 9th birthday coming up in Sept. I'm getting a lot of fun ideas...