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Go Ask Alice (Or The Internet)


It a wee bit over a month, my darling youngest son turns one. It’s been a long and wild year together, and on the one hand, I am amazed at truly how quickly they grow and on the other, I am shocked that it’s only been a year.

All boring trips down glorious memory lane aside, this means exactly one thing in the practical sense: I need to plan a birthday party for him.

Now, I cannot live down the kegger that was Ben’s first birthday, nor would I even attempt to (March doesn’t seem to be Beer Drinkin’ Weather, at least here in Chicago, so that idea is a bust), but planning a first birthday sounds downright fun to me right now. (The older the kid gets, the less fun the parties become to host. Which is why I will pay huge sums of money to allow someone else to clean up after me).

Besides, Ben’s birthday comes at the most annoying part of the year: The Time of Celebrations. See, from July 15 to September 15, we have four birthdays (Mine, Ben’s The Daver’s and my mother’s AND our wedding anniversary), which means I have approximately 1,574 things to plan, orchestrate, then execute. Am I being overly dramatic here? Well, you be the judge: I myself had two birthday parties, Ben had three, Dave had two, my mother had one, and we celebrated our anniversary exactly once.

It’s a busy time of the year.

But March, although like August, one of my least favorite months of the year, has very little save from Easter that I have to plan. So I’m pretty pumped about Alex’s party.

That said, because I am highly doubtful we’ll ever procreate again (any time I mention it hypothetically in passing to The Daver, he quickly begins to look wildly around for the nearest sharp object with which he can perform a vasectomy. If none are available, he will then start punching himself in the nuts. Our chances at having another child are slim to none), and even more doubtful that if we were to do so that we would have a girl, I have decided on a theme for Alex’s party.

Alice in Wonderland.

I want to throw a tea party for Alex.

There’s just one small, eensy, weensy problem: I have no idea how to do this. Unlike Cars, Batman, or The Backyardagains, there exist no “Alice in Wonderland” themed aisles at my party store (and if there were, it would be the Disney variety, which I’m not as interested in).

I’ll probably end up Ebaying it, and dealing with whatever I end up with, but before I do this, I am begging you, The Internet, in all of your beautiful glory to help a sister out.

How can I pull off this party?

Let me give you my (short) list of stipulations:

It will be primarily adults, and since it’s a first birthday gig, games will not be played. The older kids (whomever comes) will probably play with Ben, and therefore not need games.

I am the least creative person on the planet, but I have a Gold Amex. And am not afraid to use it. BUT, I don’t want to spend an insane amount on decorations, as I’m pretty certain The Daver would have my head (get the Alice in Wonderland reference?).

Even though I said “tea party” I have doubts that I’ll be serving tea. But I will be serving cake (I was thinking funky cupcakes, AND I WISH MY FRIEND MELISSA LIVED IN THE STATES SO SHE COULD DESIGN THEM. See, I have a cake fetish. I don’t eat the stuff, but I love, love, love, love really interestingly designed ones.) So, I will be buying a cake/cupcakes from SOMEWHERE. But they have to be cool.

I can’t cook, but I need to provide my guests with SOMETHING to eat. Preferably something that everyone will eat AND doesn’t require a ton of prep.

Internet, Darling, if you can help me, I will be forever in your debt and I might be so inclined to INVITE YOU OVER FOR CAKE. See, THAT is how much I love you.

30 Comments to

“Go Ask Alice (Or The Internet)”

  1. On February 23rd, 2008 at 11:49 am honeywine Says:

    The cupcake idea is perfect. Right now all I can remember about Alice is Tom Petty and playing cards. I’m sure you can get those big old-folks-with-bad-eyesight playing cards for decorations. Oh and the hats! Oriental Trading Company has those funky I’m-on-X hats cheap. Should be lots of rabbits available this time of year. There was a rabbit right? You MUST wear an apron and a hair bow…or better yet…make Dave wear it!! If you’d like, pick a bottled beverage for the party and I’ll send you a graphic you can print on sticky paper to cover them…Drink me…Makes one smile…Alex’s pee…etc. lol That’s off the top of my head anyhow.

  2. On February 23rd, 2008 at 12:17 pm becky Says:

    What a super fun idea!! I love birthday parties for little kids who turn out to be more fun for the adults 🙂

    You could get some large poster board or even plywood and paint them to look like playing cards… I can’t remember if that’s only in the Disney version or if it’s in the book, too….. and you *need* to get a hookah with a bunch of hoses! A Jefferson Airplane CD with “Go Ask Alice” on repeat is probably a necessity…

  3. On February 23rd, 2008 at 12:48 pm becky Says:

    Maybe it’s the fact that it’s cold and windy here, or that I’m too lazy to get dressed and go to the gym… or maybe I’m just a really big loser who lives in a perpetual state of denial… but after I left my last comment, I had to go find my copy of “Alice in Wonderland.”

    What about party favors of little white gloves or thimbles? Maybe an indoor croquet course? Maybe some of those pink flamingo lawn ornaments. Honeywine’s idea about the funny labels for the drinks is awesome!

  4. On February 23rd, 2008 at 1:21 pm Karen Says:

    I am not the most creative, but I can google like nobody’s business.

    Personally my favorite is that the invite must say “Don’t be late for the very importnat date.”

  5. On February 23rd, 2008 at 12:35 pm Heather Says:

    My well of ideas has run dry as I’m mere weeks away from the Bean’s first birthday (and I don’t hold nearly the anticipation or excitement that you do – I hate hosting things). We are having cupcakes, too, though. They are ridiculously overpriced, but incredibly perfect (from a bakery in town).

    You have a rabbit, right? A big, overgrown one? S/he *must* be a part of the celebration. A mini bunny bowtie and tophat, perhaps? And you could use that ebay bunny costume for both Alex’s party AND Easter.

  6. On February 23rd, 2008 at 2:31 pm Cricket Says:

    You could cut out some large pocket watches out of poster board – put together a paper chain to attch to each for garland. Make a large Queen of Hearts. Get a bunch of top hats to wear.

    Serve sandwiches with the crusts trimmed. And some kind of pastries like scones or shortbread cookies.

    It sound like it’ll be a bunch of fun.

  7. On February 23rd, 2008 at 2:48 pm TheRamblingHousewife Says:

    I’m so not creative. I’m planning a party too, for my almost three year old,(The Tractor) and everything about it stresses me out.

    Thank God they only come once a year!

    If you get any cool ideas–send them my way.

    Although my husband would never go for a Tea Party for The Tractor.

    Love the Cheshire Cat Costume idea–How cute is that??

  8. On February 23rd, 2008 at 2:26 pm Jerseygirl89 Says:

    I’m thinking fun versions of tea (this may be because I hate regular tea) – iced tea, raspberry iced tea, Long Island iced tea for the grown-ups. And what if guests got to choose character related headgear – headbands, crowns, top hats, etc.?

    And that’s all the creativity I got today.

    (BTW, Lovebug will be two on the tenth. He only gets a family party at grammie’s house and a trip to Build-A-Bear. I’m cheap like that. So even if Alex complains about it later, point it that there are people who didn’t even get themed birthdays).

  9. On February 23rd, 2008 at 2:30 pm magpie Says:

    tea sandwiches. easy.
    get thin sandwich bread – some white, some wheat.
    make cucumber butter sandwiches (peel the cukes, slice thin).
    make cream cheese and jelly sandwiches (use whipped cream cheese, it’s easier to spread on the thin bread).
    make ham and butter sandwiches.
    cut the crusts off. cut some sandwiches into triangles, the others into rectangles.
    make scones – any recipe. they are easy.
    buy the cupcakes.
    serve tea. and wine. always need wine for the grownups.
    get some funny hats.
    you’re done.

  10. On February 23rd, 2008 at 2:43 pm The Milk Maid Says:

    I say dress Alex like the Cheshire Cat- (! Gosh- I love this idea– can I steal it for when Ava turns 2? Or for when Faith turns 11 (evil laughter fills room- buahhahahaha!)

  11. On February 23rd, 2008 at 5:09 pm kalakly Says:

    I am worthless at party ideas but it sounds like you’ve got plenty now anyway. I just had a thought though, don’t you serve milk with tea??? Anyway you can get rid of your stash at the party??? I’m just sayin:)
    Have fun!

  12. On February 23rd, 2008 at 4:54 pm Angela Says:

    Oh Magpie’s ideas are sweet! Could you dress up in character? I like the tea sandwiches idea. You could make paper flowers and fill vases with them, like the garden. You could give out chocolate “rabbits” (plentiful this time of year). You could actually make your own decorations by getting images from a book or online and using them from everything from party hats to table decor. And listen–I do presentations for a living, right? If you want (and you don’t have to)…I’m totally willing to do this for you….I usually use an InFocus projector to “blow up” images on a wall so that I can trace them onto paper or tag board and then paint them. You can make life-sized characters this way or party hat images or stuff to hang from your ceiling. Anything. If you want, send me some images, tell me how big you want them, and I’ll mail them to you. Just let me know what you want. Easy-peasy.

  13. On February 23rd, 2008 at 7:03 pm Melissa C Says:

    AWWWWWW….. you mentioned me in your blog! I’m almost famous now! LOL

    I wish I was closer too… I think you and I would be a dangerous combination! Give me a couple of days… I may be able to find you someone closer!

  14. On February 23rd, 2008 at 7:05 pm Melissa C Says:

    well… there is … they’re in Chicago and do gorgeous work!

  15. On February 23rd, 2008 at 7:38 pm Melissa C Says:

    of course, if you want to order from another Becky… you could contact

  16. On February 24th, 2008 at 1:36 am shay Says:

    I’m waaaaaaay too tired to even be creative but I desperately want to see pictures of this if you pull it off! I loved Alice in Wonderland as a kid. You could play card and have lots of white and red roses for decorations while eating tarts, tea and cakes. (or was that through the Looking Glass?)

    you don’t eat cake? Are you human? How is this true? i can say no to almost anything but cake…not so much! I can’t have the stuff anywhere near the house or I’ll eat it!

    Good luck and happy almost birthday to your tiny man!

  17. On February 24th, 2008 at 2:22 am Stefanie Says:

    I’m not Martha Stewart either and don’t like to be around people who are. On that note: I tagged you. Sorry.

  18. On February 24th, 2008 at 3:10 am baseballmom Says:

    Ooooh, that is such a cute idea! I know all about the birthday burnout-Alex’s is Jan. 4, T’s is Jan. 10, Mine is Feb. 10, our anniversary is Feb. 20, and my mom’s bday is Mar. 4, my brother’s Mar. 15, and grandma’s April 9. Crazy! The fun starts right after Christmas! Good luck planning the party, some of these more creative commenters have some awesome ideas~

  19. On February 24th, 2008 at 11:24 am ewe_are_here Says:

    You’ll get to have funny hats,lots of funny hats… because Mad Hatter through the tea parties, right? 🙂

  20. On February 24th, 2008 at 12:35 pm LAS Says:

    Well, I don’t really have good suggestions, other than this. You should get the cake and/or cupcakes from Sweet Mandy B’s on Webster in Chicago. Do you know that bakery? It’s the best bakery on the planet, seriously. I am sure they could come up with something really awesome. Seriously. I had to cut myself off from this place for a while because I was driving way out of my way every day for baked goods.

  21. On February 24th, 2008 at 2:06 pm complicatedmama Says:

    hmm. when i think of A in W, all that comes to mind is drugs, drugs, and more drugs. i watched it about fifty times in college and each time i was high on some combination of pot, acid, whip-its, shrooms. (how i graduated magna with honors is beyond me.) it was entertaining every time. not so helpful for your party however unless you have a grown-up party after the kids go to bed.

  22. On February 24th, 2008 at 10:45 pm Jenn Says:

    I know what you mean about things being grouped together! In my family, we have 5 birthdays, halloween and our anniversary all between September 2nd and November 11th. Fun stuff.

    As for everything else, I’m the suckiest party planner, the suckiest hostess and the suckiest food preparer that you will EVER come across in your life. Honestly, you don’t want advice from me!

  23. On February 25th, 2008 at 6:29 am Emily Says:

    No clue, but I sent this link to a friend who threw an Alice tea party for her daughter.

  24. On February 25th, 2008 at 9:28 am Ashley Fuchs Says:

    I DID an Alice tea party for my four year old last year. I am happy to share my thoughts and ideas with you, as well as photos if you need (I’m a good friend of Emily’s, and she is enlisting my help for you!)

    Write to me if you need me…

  25. On February 25th, 2008 at 10:09 am Calliope Says:

    I wanna come! This party sounds like it will be off the hook. (wait, do people still say that? fuck. I am out of touch) I love the idea of long island ice tea and the playing cards. Maybe you could decorate with clocks and chess sets and someone has to wear a top hat.

    you better be sharing photos!!

  26. On February 25th, 2008 at 10:09 am Pauline Says:

    I love it! I can’t remember much except playing cards, rabbits, and mirrors.

  27. On February 25th, 2008 at 11:17 am Ashley Says:

    the cakery in aurora has beautiful and delicious cakes. my brother’s friend works there. i could ask her if she has any ideas…

  28. On February 25th, 2008 at 11:58 am Cara Says:

    Easy. You call or email your friend Cara and she not only helps plan an easy menu for you but might, with some persuasion, furnish some of the food herself.

  29. On February 25th, 2008 at 11:59 am Lindz Says:

    did you say a week? yout gonna try and do it in a week?


    well i hope it turns out, and post pics.

    good luck.

  30. On February 25th, 2008 at 12:01 pm Lindz Says:

    okay, NVM, a month, sounds muuch more doable.
    cute Idea.

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