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“Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb” Birthday Party

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Hand, Hand, Fingers Thumb Dessert Table

I guess every birthday these days is a reminder of how fast time is flying by.  It’s hard to believe our sweet not-so-little-anymore Kendry is two years old.  And yet at the same time, the newborn stage of two years ago seems so far removed compared with his current giggly, chatty personality who loves and wants to be a part of anything and everything.

The Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb book-inspired theme came together a few months ago when Kendry and I were reading the book one day for the umpteenth time.  It’s hard not to love the catchy rhythm of the book.  It’s definitely one of his and our family favorites.  He loves to make monkey sounds, too, so a monkey-themed party seemed fitting.  As we were reading “Dum ditty Dum ditty Dum Dum Dum,” I suddenly thought of Dum Dums and when we got to the part of “Rings on Fingers. Rings on Thumb.” visions of Ring Pops flashed through my head.  Apples, plums, drum cakes, monkey cupcakes and everything else quickly fell into place in my visual brainstorm.

"Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb" Birthday Party

Knowing that I would only have a very short period of time to set up (fifteen minutes to be exact) I took extra tissue paper and craft paper to lay across the white table cloth for added color.  The birthday boy quickly realized that the back of the dessert table was 100% accessible from the bench on the booth so he camped out behind the Dum Dums and Drum Stick cake pops, grabbing at everything he could get his hands on.  I had to replace the drum sticks on the drum cake multiple times but it was his special day so I let the sneaky guy get away with it!

It was fun to incorporate the rhythms and rhymes into the party.  And starting with the invitations, I got a lot of use out of my new 2-inch circle punch {a purchase inspired by this Hostess with the Mostess tutorial}.

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb. One hand, two hands, drumming on a {birthday} drum!

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb Birthday Party Invitation

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb

This was the perfect opportunity to use a hand cookie cutter that was given to me years ago and that up until this point I had never used.  I’ve found that kids love anything on lollipop sticks so I tried my hand at cookie pops.  In part because I had no idea how to decorate the hand cookies, I taped bows on the sticks and left the cookies plain so that the kids could decorate their own cookies.  Decorating the cookie pops was a huge hit!

Hand Sugar Cookie Pops

Cookie Pops

Hand in hand more monkeys come.

For the monkey centerpiece of the dessert table I made monkey cupcakes inspired by a picture from Parents magazine that has been in my recipe stash for several years.  {If you don’t make your own cookies for the monkey faces, the Pepperidge Farm soft sugar cookies were a) the perfect size for a standard cupcake, b) a neutral color that could be decorated with face details, and c) nut-free, a requirement of the party location.}  Because I knew there would be lots of sweets, I decided to turn the monkey cupcakes into party favors and I used a technique from Pinterest, wrapping the cupcakes in a cup with clear cellophane and ribbon.  To raise the cupcakes (so that the ears, etc. wouldn’t get smashed inside the cup) I filled the base of the cup with blue-wrapped cookies & cream Hershey’s kisses that fit the color theme.  As part of the dessert table display, I placed an unwrapped monkey cupcake in a bright blue margarita glass (a $1 Target purchase) filled with a colorful mix of Jelly Belly jelly beans in the party colors of yellow, green, blue and red.  I used the versatile 2-inch party circle to make colorful thank you notes out of the scraps of dot paper that I used on the invites and the banner.

Monkey Cupcakes

Monkey Cupcakes

Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb Birthday Party

Monkeys drum… and monkeys hum. Hum drum Hum drum Hum drum Hum.

Drums are another key element of the book so I made two drum cakes as book ends for the dessert table.  I was excited to try the Viva paper towel technique for icing the cakes (found on Pinterest) and I used cake pops for drum sticks.  Red licorice vines made the iconic chevron print of the drum.  One cake was chocolate with chocolate ganache and the other drum was banana (for the monkeys, of course!) with cream cheese frosting.

Drum Cake

Drum drum Drum drum Drum drum “Drum Sticks”

Simple blue cake pops made easy, colorful drum sticks.

Drum Stick Cake Pops

Dum ditty Dum ditty Dum Dum “Dum Dums”

Dum Dum suckers were popular with the kids and also something that guests could take home in the goodie bags.

Dum Dums

Rings on fingers. Rings on thumb.

Ring pops were another fun and easy addition that doubled as party treat and take-home party favor.  They were definitely one of the favorites!

Ring Pops

Hand picks an apple.  Hand picks a plum.

It was nice to get some fruit on the dessert table!

Hand Picks an Apple

Hand Picks a Plum

A platter of chocolate banana cookies {because monkeys love bananas!} rounded out the spread.   Due to the super minimal set-up time I kept it at that.  However, I had many other ideas and so in upcoming posts I will share some of them with you: monkey bread muffins, chocolate banana pops, banana pudding, and Chunky Monkey Ice Cream Sandwiches, to name a few.

Chocolate Banana Cookies

*En lieu of gifts, we had guests bring a new or gently-used book to donate to the The Children’s Book Bank of Portland. Coincidentally, World Book Day was during the week of his birthday so donating books at a party themed with a children’s book all just seemed to fit.

Drum Cake with Drum Stick Cake Pops

**We had his party at his preschool.  If you are in the Portland area, Play Boutique is a great place to throw a party because they take care of everything.  Admittedly, I ended up doing more work because I love putting together dessert tables but the party planner decorated the kid tables, provided frosting and sprinkles for the cookie pops and they normally handle invitations and activities, too, in addition to the play time at the indoor playground/bouncy house.

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