Ice Cream in the Emerald City (The Girls’ 4th and 6th Birthdays!)

(This truly is a Throwback Thursday — considering this party happened last year and I’m just getting around to sharing it. HOWEVER, it is the last in my I’m-way-behind-in-posting-so-forgive-me series — finally!)

Emma Vance and Cricket’s birthdays are three months apart (March and June), but last year we decided to do one big party for both girls. Truthfully March weather is completely unpredictable, meaning that inevitably whatever party plans I make are impacted by rain or heat or snow or, oh, I don’t know…tornadoes. And June? Well, June is HOT and people are on vacation. And since my girls share a lot of friends in common, sometimes I feel like a joint party is a great option…although this time around I quickly discovered that my girls disagree! ;)

After our last joint party, my girls seemed satisfied. Their only request was to have separate cakes, which was an easy wish to grant. So when birthday season rolled around again, I was excited to throw another joint party. They, however, weren’t quite as elated. (Let’s just say that the Shove sisters don’t shy away from being the center of attention!)

Since I already had my mind made up on a joint party, I asked them to make some requests — what were their non-negotiables if they had to share a party? Surprisingly (and to my benefit), both of them had the same request: ICE CREAM! (Done and done.)

Over the previous Christmas, E.V. and Cricket watched “The Wizard of Oz” for the first time and loved it. (Well, mostly I think they loved Dorothy’s shoes + the Lollipop Guild, but who can blame them for being drawn to sparkles and sugar? ) Before she died, my mother gave me her signed photograph of the Wicked Witch of the West, which now hangs in E.V.’s closet, and I think putting two-and-two together was special for them. (The actress was an alumna of my mother’s high school, and the two of them met when she visited as a speaker, which is where my mom got the personalized picture.) I have fond memories of watching the movie with my mother when I was young, so choosing a Wizard of Oz theme was a gentle nod to that time and to making new memories with my own girls.

So the girls celebrated their 6th and 4th birthdays with “Ice Cream in the Emerald City!”

The idea was to run with the girls’ request for ice cream (in like one million degree weather, yeesh) and give it Wizard of Oz-themed surroundings. I always enjoy a strong color palette, and I fell in love with the idea of going mostly green with a little bit of yellow.

To make the ice cream a major focus (considering it was The Big Request from the birthday girls), I made the backdrop of the serving station an ice cream cone wall — which I was so excited about! It was, of course, green, and I dipped the cones in green coating chocolate (and sprinkles!) to give the cones more structure as they hung. We had our two high school babysitters scoop the ice cream, and let the kids go wild with toppings. Since my kids don’t consider it a proper party without a piñata, I made two giant green and yellow ice cream cones — one for each birthday girl — and separated the big kids from the little kids so that everyone had a fighting chance at getting a bagful of candy.

I decided to go light on the fresh flowers (to save on cost + because of the heat), so I made a ton of crepe paper flowers instead. Each table had its own arrangement, some of which were Oz-themed (like a house or a witch’s hat), some of which were more traditional. The crepe paper flowers also covered the fireplace mantle as a visual extension of the yellow brick road, which was one of my favorite easy-but-impactful details. (Really we just rolled out yellow bulletin board paper on the ground, and I feel like it was a major WOW!) To start the road and welcome people into the party, we hung a crepe paper “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” banner.

To emphasize the Emerald City aspect, I made emerald cut-outs in different shades of green for the tables and declared the playground The Emerald City with a cityscape and signage. The cupcakes were topped with memorable details from the movie in the party colors, including the Good Witch’s wand and Dorothy’s slipper. And, luckily, Target had the PERFECT Oz-themed dresses for the girls to wear, which was the win of the whole event. (Well, not to mention their very own ruby slippers!)

Overall, at the end of the day, the girls had a BLAST and I loved every minute of putting this party together for them. However, when the cake had been eaten and the ice cream had melted, they requested that they get their own parties from now on. Sigh. I guess I can’t blame them for wanting their own identities and own days! ;)

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