The penguin party

My daughter, Madelyn, is obsessed with all things princess. Up until recently I was a member of the Reluctant Princess Mom Club. I finally just gave in and let her be swarmed by the princess mania. After all, I loved Barbie and I ended up a feminist. So I imagine she’ll be OK as well. Still, after going to four princess-themed birthday parties in a row in the last couple months (five if you count the pool party with princess plates and table cloth), I drew the line at throwing a princess party for her fourth birthday. What else do you like? I asked. Penguins? she offered. Penguins it was. But what I didn’t realize is it’s much harder to find pre-made penguin stuff. A quick search of the internet I realized that Happy Feet is long past its prime and the only penguin-themed party decorations I could find cost $100 to have them shipped over from the U.K. Um, no. I had to get creative. And even though my job as an editor is creative, and I’m surrounded by creative people every day, I’m not a DIY, owns-a-glue-gun sort of mom. I do know how to research though and I did a couple of key google searches. Number one: How to draw a penguin. Result: this sign for Madelyn’s party (pictured above).


Number two: How to make a penguin cake. My god people are talented! I sent a pic of the easiest looking one to to our Food Editor at with doubts, and she said, Oh, sure! You can do that. She gave me the secret (it’s basically three round cakes with a crescent cut out of one and then used for the arms; then extra pieces cut for the beek and feet).  Then I bought a penguin pinata online and a blue table cloth and blue and white balloons (you know, ice and ocean). My husband chimed in with some penguin gummies from Trader Joe’s and Swedish Fish and Goldfish crackers — because penguins eat fish, of course.

Ta da! Penguin party completed. What lengths have you gone to make your kid’s birthday special? I want to know! (Maybe I’ll rip it off for next year!)

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  1. by Kristen

    On October 25, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Great post with great ideas. I’m totally impressed. I’ll never throw a princess party again!

  2. by Susan

    On October 25, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    this is awesome! it’s like an old-fashioned birthday party where moms used to just pull a few random things together and somehow it really all did work… it sounds like so much more fun that the pre-fab bday party kits. i love the balloon colors and the gummies
    – great ideas!!! i bet this was her most fun bday party yet and i bet all of the kids LOVED it and will be begging for their own penguin parties!

  3. by Roxanne Parido Reiter

    On October 25, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    We did a tropical-themed party for my daughter’s first birthday. I hung a grass skirt around her high-chair tray and encouraged everyone to wear something tropical. It was fun. I’m holding out as long as possible on the Princess garb as well.

  4. by Lisa

    On October 26, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Adorable! I love the cake, and am always looking for ideas for my kids’ birthdays.

  5. by Cheryl

    On October 27, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    What a great idea for the Penguin Party. My daughter’s 1st birthday is approaching and I’m at a loss for what ‘theme’ to use for it. The Penguin cake gave me some great ideas. thanks!

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