Under the Sea Party
This mermaids and sharks party theme is a hit for boys and girls!
Story and Photography by Kerry Guice
My kids’ birthdays fall within the same week in July. They’re still at the age where they share a lot of their friends, so until they beg to do otherwise, we throw them a joint birthday party every year. I’ve found that pool parties are the easiest unisex party to throw, and it’s so much fun to build around that theme each year. We love the Leawood Pool, where you can book a private pool party for a very reasonable price, and this year they have an extended patio with a great new built-in brick grill.
Violet is turning 7 and is convinced she’s part mermaid, and Archer is turning 5 and has a shark tooth necklace that he can’t leave the house without, so it was an obvious choice to use the ocean as our inspiration. There are so many whimsical treats that are easy to make and so fun for the kids. Party City has all the supplies you’ll need to set up the party of the year. Walking up and down the Party City aisles always inspires me when planning any kind of party.
I’m a fan of making all my party treats, but this year I decided to turn to the pros for the cake. In my head I’m a baker, but in reality, the finished product rarely turns out like I imagined, so I’m glad I trusted Blue Cake Company. They blew us away with the Mermaid and Shark Fin cake they made. It was the centerpiece of the whole party and I couldn’t stop looking at it!
However stressful it is to pull off a successful party, I always try to take a minute to really notice my kids’ faces as they see the treats and the cake all set up, as they greet their friends with wrapped presents just for them, as they blush while their loved ones sing them the birthday song, and as they look another year older. I’m scared to blink, because when I do, the year will pass and we’ll be doing it all over again.
Makes 12 servings (see page 29)
Slice a watermelon in half diagonally. Reserve one half for another day. Scoop out the melon in one half using a melon baller, and save the melon balls in the refrigerator. Set the hollowed melon cut side down, on a cutting board. Cut a triangle out of the top, making sure to cut out the stem so you don’t see it. This will be the mouth. Then using a thin, sharp knife, make the teeth by cutting triangles out of the mouth as you would a jack-o'-lantern. Expose the white pith of the melon to make the teeth stand out more by cutting off the layer of green peel from each tooth. I like to leave a rough edge for a more realistic look. Next, cut a triangle on each side, above the mouth, and use a grape to create the eyes. Using part of the triangle cutout to create the mouth, cut a triangle for the fin. Secure toward the bottom of the shark melon using toothpicks pushed in until you can’t see them anymore. Place the shark melon on a platter and fill with the melon balls and other fruit. Serve cold and within 48 hours.
BIRTHDAY CAKE POPCORN
Makes 12 servings
2 bags popped popcorn (salted, but not buttered)
1/2 cup boxed dry vanilla cake mix (just the dry mix alone)
1 12-ounce bag Ghirardelli White Chocolate Melts, melted
1/4 cup rainbow sprinkles (or any color to match the occasion!)
Remove unpopped kernels from popcorn bags, then toss the hot popcorn with dry cake mix. Drizzle the whole bag of melted white chocolate over the popcorn, and carefully fold to combine until you no longer see dry cake mix at the bottom of the bowl, and each kernel is covered. Pour the popcorn onto a sheet of wax paper in a single layer, and cover with sprinkles. Let cool and dry completely, then separate the popcorn and serve within 48 hours.