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Wholly Canadian Blog

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Birthday Party with a Local Flair: I Cho Cho Choose You

Wholly Canadian's little guy. . .just turned two. A birthday party was in order.

Theme of the Party? Trains (He's enamoroued with trains).

Underpinnings of the Party? Simplicity & a local flair

This party would not induce Pinterest envy; and that's fine with me {smile}. But it brought tons of joy.


So here are some ideas for those wanting to add some simple local flair to their birthday parties.

1. Food:

I made pizza buns. I mixed local meat with italian sauce and local cheese. I served it on some homemade buns made with local grains. Voila! A very tasty and healthy entree.

I purchased my meat from All Natural Meats in Manitoba using their elk garlic sausage & pepperoni. Delicious!

Choosing natural meat is critical for children's development . . .so it's a worthy investment.

All Natural Meats. Buy Local. Buy Fresh. Buy All Natural Meats.


2. Cake:

I made a cake with Canadian-made, Comensoli's gluten-free cake mix . . . a delicious cake that just happens to be gluten-free!  This was the first cake (of many to come) that I decorated without help from my sister. . . and I really enjoyed the challenge!  There's something about creativity under pressure. . .{grin}




3. Party Favours

Simplicity often means less is more. I didn't want to go to the dollar store and buy a loot bag brimming with cheap stuff, so we simply gave away two items.

a) Sugar Cookies made with nut flour and sweetened with Canadian maple sugar:

b) And train crayonsCrazy 4 Crayons sponsored this giveaway which proved to be a big hit! Hailing from Calgary, Trish Skinner, makes crayons in so many creative shapes and moulds, e.g. owls, dinasours, princesses, mermaids, animals, vehicles, castles, sea shells, robots, etc.

Obviously we chose the train crayon!  These crayons are a great idea, as they are both pragmatic and fun.  Parents appreciate a party favour that does not clutter the house. 

Check her out for your next party! Crazy 4 Crayons



4. Simple games:

We played simple games like running and crawling races (treats at the finish line helped the little guys understand the goal), duck duck goose (okay that was a bit complicated for 2-year-olds who couldn't understand why they had suddenly get up and run the opposite direction), and sang some action songs.

While waiting for the pizza buns we read the classic story "The Little Engine that Could"




5. Second-hand outfit:

I found a pair of pinstripe engineer ovealls on ebay that suited their second owner.  Buying used is one of Wholly Canadians' core tenets.


6. Nap time!

So after the games, eats, and gifts it was nap time--for all involved! 


7. Birthday Gifts:

In addition to some generous gifts from his friends, our little guy received two gifts at home:


1. "Helper Stool"

I had this stool custom made to fit our (okay, my) needs. We have a small pedestal sink in our bathroom, so it was getting difficult to lift him up to wash his hands. I wanted a safe stool that he could climb, and that was easy for me to move.

I had the handles on this stool custom-made at my height (yup, this pregnant mama deserves some perks), and the stool has castors (wheels) at the back which are activated when the stool is tipped. This makes for easy moving.

We purchased this stool from Ed Hiebert in Winnipeg who can be reached via email.



I also had this stool made at only 12" inches in width, because we have a small house, and I wanted it take the least amount of real estate.

This little guy loves his stool!  If I tell him it's time to wash his hands, he gets excited and always says "With stool?" "Yes," mama says, "with stool." And then he carefully climbs up by himself (he's a cautious guy) and says "Oh do" which means "I do." "Yes," mama says "you do." 

The last few weeks he's been my "helper" in the kitchen. It allows me time to make meals and have him feel a part of this prep. His prep, however, is mostly playing with toothpicks and trying to get them back in their container. It works for me!


2. Kid's Table made of Barnwood!

The second gift he received is also a pragmatic gift, but a great deal of fun!  Created by and sponsored by Prairie Barnwood, this kid's table has become invaluable for our little home.  I wanted a small table that would function as a daily snack table, extra table when friends come over, and a craft table. The drawer (which is accessed on both sides of the table) is mama's secret weapon for a quick clean-up.  It hosts a variety of treasured items and crafts.


Made in Morden, MB with Canadian-made barnwood, this table is a wonderful addition to our little home. The workmanship is top-notch.

It is displayed with two second-hand stools (one of which used to be a Mennonite milking stool that I found on kijiji, and the other at a thrift store).

Looking for some unique but sturdy furniture filled with goodwill? Check out Prairie Barnwood, and start drooling.

We've featured them previously and you can read about it here. . .

Why Local?

Why employ a community-orientation in your birthday parties?

    • It's intentional: many of the ingredients and items used to celebrate this birthday were  local, fair-trade, or used . . .few good things of life are accidental. I'm always reminded that acts of goodwill and kindness are intentional. . .and this is a "life message" I want to pass on to our little guy.
    • It Brings Joy! The party was rooted in community & goodwill. . . rather than buying what is "cheapest for me," it thinks "we". . . giving way to a true joy
    • It's a part of being in a story. . .Life is a story. It's a chain of moments that create a "life story." How is your "story" being told?  We've read countless stories to our little guy, but I want him to grow up remembering he's part of an incredible story. . .


For a good resource on why this matters see "Why Localism"

What birthday party gifts and ideas have you implemented that are full of goodwill?

Posted by Wholly Canadian at 8:34 AM 0 Comments