Parenting

Birthday Party for a Very Hungry Caterpillar

On March 9th, my son turned 1 year old. The year seemed to fly by, but we enjoyed and savoured every moment together.

When it came time to plan my son’s party, we thought hard about what would reflect his personality and it became apparent that Eric Carle’s book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, was the winner. My son was born at a hefty 9lbs, 1oz. When he started solids, he skipped baby food and went right to finger foods. At 9 months, he was 19 pounds. Can you say that my little boy loves food?

When party planning, I jump right into Pinterest to see what everyone else has been doing. There are some remarkably creative ladies out there, and they were all very inspiring to me. I wanted to keep the decorations to a minimum, as well as costs, since mat leave after a year does not do any favours to one’s bank account. We also decided to have W’s baby dedication the same day as his party. Why not kill two birds with one stone?

In the end, we went with simple printables, with themed food. Oh yes, you can be a caterpillar, too.

I started by finding high resolution scans of the food from the book. Using paint (because I had misplaced my photoshop disc), I resized them so they were all approximately the same height, and then printed off three sheets of each food item. I cut out the shapes, leaving a white border, and cut slits on either side using an exato knife on a self-healing cutting board.

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My food collection complete, I strung them on yellow curling ribbon so that they were in the same order as the book. I then took lengths of my completed banner and hung them around the room.

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For an added touch, I printed and cut out images of the caterpillar, put him on skewers, and stuck him in a flower pot for a centrepiece. A cut out of the butterfly hidden in the room was the final touch.

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Then there was then the caterpillar crawling over my window. Inspired by a Pinterest pin, we made tied balloons alternating between light and dark green, ending with a large red balloon. Stringing the balloons allowed us to better position the body so that it appeared to be crawling and to secure it on the curtain rod.

Using construction paper, I made the eyes, antennae, and feet, securing them to the balloons with tape. Not too shabby, right?

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When it came to food, we wanted to serve lunch, but also represent the food seen in the book. My husband made fruit skewers to cover strawberries, oranges, apples, pears, and plums. We served a tiered dessert tray to cover the cookies, cake and pie from the story and had a container of lollipops as well. In addition to regular lunch foods, we had a tray of cubed cheese, sausage and assorted meats. For each food represented, I printed off the images with the line from the book that represented it.

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Oh, and for those who weren’t familiar with the children’s book, we put out beloved copy with the centrepiece so that we could all be on the same *ahem* page.

Finally, the cake!

There were so many options for a Very Hungry Caterpillar cake that I was conflicted. Finally, I searched “caterpillar cake” and was sold on what I saw.

This cake is made from baking the body shape in a bundt pan and the head in a Corningwear custard dish. I tell you, there are so many creative people out there!

I really wanted the cake to look like the illustration, so I made several small bowls of green icing in various shades. I then cut the bundt cake into four pieces, shaving off some ends on and angle so they fit together. Using a small palette knife, I “painted” on the icing, alternating and blending the coloured icing.

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Icing the head was a bit of a disappointment, though. I opted to use prepackaged cookie icing to avoid making my own red buttercream. It went on great, but then kept going. The icing appeared to be sliding right off the cake! I kept the head in the fridge until I was ready, and fortunately, everything stayed in place until cake time.

The cake was finished off with piped icing for the eyes and chocolate Pocky sticks for the antennae and legs.

And the party was a blast!

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