The Fantastic Mr. Fox Birthday Party

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We made it. We had the birthday party at our house, got our s*#@ together, and made it happen. We were ready, prepared, excited, and set up the backyard with a bouncy house, tables, rugs, and made shade with a pop-up tent and umbrella. The coolers were stocked with drinks and the food was all set. The weather report told us that it would be a nice 73 degrees. They were wrong. It turned out to be a sweltering 90 degree sunny day with no breeze. Everyone wanted to escape the heat, so we had the air conditioner on at full blast, and the forty-plus guests packed in our house like sardines.

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The fox masks were handmade for each child. I started making these at the beginning of the month, and were pretty easy to make after I got the pattern down. Let me tell you, my felt sewing skills are gettin’ pretty good. (For those of you who sew, you know how ridiculous that statement is.)

fox-cake1Chocolate cake was requested by the birthday boy, so I baked a two-layer cake and 3-dozen cupcakes. To decorate, three little fabric flags, a fox, and a hand-drawn “Fantastic Mr. Ben” banner adorned the cake. Oh, and sprinkles too… can’t leave out sprinkles. I forgot to take pictures of the food, but happy with how it all turned out. While coming up with the menu, my whole theme for food was, “Make it simple, stupid.” Here’s what I prepared/didn’t prepare:

  • Tomato Corn Salad: easiest and fastest salad you will ever make. I got the recipe from a friend and maybe some day when I get around to it, I will share it here.
  • Pigs in a Blanket: Yeah, you say it’s trailer-park food, but you secretly love it. These were made days in advance and stored in the freezer. When it was time, all we had to do was put them in the oven at 375 degrees for 15 minutes. These were gone in a flash.
  • Ina Garten’s Mac + Cheese: Also made in advance! This is a rich mac + cheese that everyone loves. I left out the tomatoes for the kids and it was a major hit.
  • Vegan Mac + Cheese: Cause it ain’t no fun going to a party if you can’t eat anything. We had a couple vegan guests and I found this recipe online. Kind of insane how easy this was to make, and get this… everyone ate it and loved it.
  • Berries: cut up strawberries and added blueberries. The secret to sweet strawberries other than picking the right ones? Sprinkle on some balsamic vinegar, not too much!
  • Mediterranean Party Platter: I ordered this from SF Bay area restaurant, La Mediterranee just to have a little somethin’ somethin’. I hate not having enough food, so I always go opt for a lot of food.

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Since Mr. Fox’s tail got shot off by the farmers, we decided to help him out and play Pin the Tail on the Mr. Fox. My husband drew the fox and I cut out fox tails from felt. We added washi-tape to write down the names, and put a sticky dot on the back. It was hilarious and the winner got a prize.
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In addition to the fox mask, I made a S’mores Kit for the little guests. I wanted something with an outdoors theme, so I stuffed graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows in a kraft box. I wrote one of my favorite quotes from the movie on the top to remind all the kids how fantastic they are.

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Ok, so want to hear about the good and the bad? The BAD: when you have to have a party with kids inside your house, be ready for some spillage. I found chocolate on my silk pillows, chocolate on my floors, and mac + cheese residue on my rug and carpet. But all was not lost! My mother-in-law told me to wait until everything dried completely, and then brush it off with a dry brush (like an old toothbrush). It totally worked and all I had to do was brush, spot clean just a little afterward, and then vacuum. Love that woman.
fox-invitation The GOOD: My son saying that it was the most awesome party ever. That’s pretty good….. way good…. very good….. like, that’s all I needed to hear.

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At the end of the party, my husband found me out in the backyard on the jumpy house and snapped a picture.  This, my friends, is what happens to parents after throwing birthday parties. I’m sure a lot of you can relate to this image.

{All images by Nancy Cho for Uncle Owly}

{You can also check out this birthday party at Anthology Magazine’s blog!}