For the last two years, I've been asking Lucas what kind of birthday party he would like to have. He didn't have much of a say for his 1st or 2nd birthdays, but starting with his Superhero 4th birthday last year, he's been very clear about what he wants. Of course, he gets the modernized version of it because that's how I roll.
This year Lucas turned five (can't believe I have a 5-year old!) and without hesitation, he said he wanted a "Wild Kratts" party. If you haven't seen this show, it's worth checking out. It's an educational animated series on PBS, created by and starring brothers Chris and Martin Kratt. The show is full of fun facts about animals, ranging from polar bears to geckos, and each episode features a particular critter's unique "creature power". Lucas gets really excited learning about animal powers and defenses, and I love when he enlightens me with new animal facts! This year we decided to throw a joint animal-themed birthday party with Judah, Lucas' good friend from school, who turned five the day before.
This year I partnered up with Whole Foods Market, which provided the amazing appetizers, entrees, beverages and desserts for our party. The super-talented catering teams from the two Berkeley locations created a delicious picnic style meal that included fried chicken, mac 'n' cheese, deviled eggs, strawberry/spinach salad, a yummy cabbage crunch salad, "turtle sandwiches" and cupcakes in two flavors. In addition to the lunch menu, they created some amazing food sculptures to go along with our animal theme. Mice out of lemons? Porcupines out of watermelons? Chickens out of eggs? Crazy cool and fun, right? And as a special added touch, the team at the Gilman store location were kind enough to make us custom paletas in three flavors -- blueberry cream, apple/pineapple and fresh strawberry.
To modernize Lucas' vision of a "Wild Kratts" party, I decided to go for a more generalized animal theme, with "Go Wild" as a primary graphic element. Starting with the invitation design, I painted abstract animal patterns using simple black watercolor paint, and hand wrote "Go Wild" which would later become a logo for the party. I took a cute photo of Lucas and Judah and used it as a custom envelope liner. The envelopes were finished with matching wraparound address labels. The invitations, liner and envelopes were made with recycled paper.
For dessert, I baked a yummy red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, decorated with rainbow sprinkles and five wild animals on top.
If you've seen our other birthday parties, you know that donut holes are a Jackson family tradition. This year's donut cones were made with the animal printed recycled paper.
Judah's parents got each birthday boy a Wild Kratts "creature power" suit as a gift. Lucas started off as "Chris" (green), but by the end of the party had traded with Judah to be "Martin" (blue).
I love this photo of Lucas testing out the t-shirt favors. He wasn't crazy about having his photo taken, hence the pouty face. I couldn't resist.
For the party favors, I made a giant rubber stamp of the "Go Wild" logo, and hand stamped white t-shirts in various sizes that I ordered online. Each friend got a t-shirt to wear at the party and take home. (The shirts were also handy as a change of clothes for several kids who got grubby or cake-covered during the party).
We originally scheduled the party for Saturday, and had all the invitations printed up. We later changed it to Sunday due to Little League conflicts. I didn't want to waste the old invitations, so I cut off the old RSVP information, and used the top half to make "creature power" trading cards that accompanied each t-shirt. Each trading card had fun facts about different animals. Cute AND educational! The bottom of the invitations were used to create name tags. Big thanks to Jocelyn, Judah's mom, for ironing and packaging each shirt with a custom hand written tag!
Jeremiah (Judah's little bro) and Theo!
We also set out a bunch of animal masks which the kids loved!
Partnering up with Whole Foods Market to provide all the food and desserts was a dream! The catering team was fabulous to work with.
How cute are these "turtle sandwiches" made of turkey, cheese, cucumbers and fresh bread baked especially for us by Whole Foods Market Gilman?
As the party's main event, we had Lick Your Eyeballs present a fun, informative and hands-on animal show. They were amazing! From geckos and frogs, to a kingsnake and caiman lizard, the kids were very brave and gentle with the animals.
Elsa holds a jar of gecko egg shells.
One of my favorite ideas for the party was to make "polar bear ice," aka popsicles. There's a Wild Kratts episode called "Polar Bears Don't Dance," and I wanted the "polar bear ice" to tie into that.
The team at Whole Foods Market Gilman made custom paletas in three fruity flavors (blueberry cream, apple/pineapple and fresh strawberry). All were a huge hit on the warm day.
I designed some packaging for the pops using wax food bags, snipped at the bottom and sealed on top with a hand lettered label. The package kept the pops from sticking together in the cooler, and also doubled as a place for the melty drips to fall. But as you can see, the package was ripped right off. Devoured in seconds!
Birthday boys waiting patiently to blow candles.
I had no idea Whole Foods Market catered kids' parties, but now I'm spreading the word because the food was spectacular, and the catering team was open to my ideas, accommodating, easy to work with, and even delivered onsite (including compostable plates, utensils, napkins and adorable cups and straws from Susty Party). Special thanks to Lizzie at Whole Foods Market Berkeley for collaborating with me, to Jocelyn and Aaron (Judah's parents), and to my husband Nick, all of whom helped make Lucas' 5th birthday party a smash! For more information about Whole Foods Market catering you can contact the team here.
+ Featured on 100 Layer Cakelet
+ Find me on Instagram (@good_on_paper)
+ Subscribe to receive the latest posts and Good on Paper updates delivered to your inbox. You could also use Blog Lovin' or Feedly to follow along.