Friday, March 13, 2015

Sawyer's "We're Going on a Bear Hunt" Party

Sawyer turned 3 almost a month ago, and I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that she is getting so big.  Three is a fun age for party planning.  I think it's the first age they can really "decide" or "pick" what type of birthday party that they want.  For two I try to do what I think they like or what they are into, but so far each of my girls have blatantly chosen what type of birthday party they want.

Last summer, Sawyer was really into Mary Poppins- I mean really into Mary Poppins.  She kept saying she wanted a "Poppins party" and I knew for sure that it was a shoe in for her third birthday theme.  Well, in the fall we checked out the book, We're Going on a Bear Hunt and both the girls really liked it.  The next thing you know sometime around Thanksgiving Sawyer threw me a curve ball and started saying she wanted a "Bear Hunt" party. What?!  My Pinterest board was full of "Poppins party" stuff!  I had penguins and umbrellas and kites and spoon fulls of sugar dancing in my head and what felt like last minute got squashed to death with a bear.   Since Sawyer's birthday is in February, my rule of thumb has always been to start actual work on the party after Christmas.  So, I decided to give her until after Christmas to pick, and whatever she said the day after Christmas that would be the party theme I would run with.

Well.... needless to say (based on the title of this post), she continued to desire a "Bear Hunt" party.  I think Santa was in on it too, because he even got her her very own copy of the book. Ha!

I mean... I can't tell you how much I LOVE this girl!!!

This was actually a SUPER fun party to plan!  I felt I could kinda go two ways with the party-- a bit more girly with teddy bear looking images, or a bit more boyish with grizzly bears.  I decided to stay true to the book and lean the party more into the grizzly bear images.  I wanted to pick a color scheme besides brown and black, and so I decided to tie in some flannel since it was February- and so red quickly became an essential color to the party.

We decided to go with a breakfast themed party again.  Those just seem to work really well for our family since we are big breakfast eaters & typically always do a large breakfast on Saturday mornings.  Pancakes were the star of the show this time around.

Here is an over all scope of the food table:

First thing's first though.... my sweet friend Natalie at Topsy Turvy Print Shop designed the cutest invitation to set the tone of the party!  Isn't it just the cutest thing EVER!?!

Here are the pancakes & syrup. You can't really tell, but we made little bear shaped pancakes for the little ones.  

Besides the pancakes, I really wanted to incorporate different food to go along with the journey that the family went on in search of the bear.  We had "Long, wavy grass," (sour punch straws cut up), "A deep, cold river," (blue jello), "Thick, ozzy mud" (chocolate pudding with crunched up Oreo cookie), "A big dark forest," (pretzel rods dipped in chocolate then dipped in green died coconut to look like trees), "A swirling, whirling snowstorm," (donut holes to resemble snow balls), and "A narrow, gloomy cave," (sausage balls to resemble cave rocks).  Here are some shots of the themed food:

One of my favorite little treats were these super cute little bear paw cookies that I made.  I put them on a tree trunk and called them "bear tracks!"  I found the recipe HERE

My friend, Andrea, made the adorable little bear cake & the super tasty french toast cupcakes with maple syrup buttercream.  She also helped me make the cute little bear cupcake holders with her silhouette machine.  Click HERE for the link to the cupcake/treat holders. 

We also had some "bearies" to go with our food:

Here is my BIG, little three year old looking completely adorable!  (The flannel was thrifted & the "Brave as a Bear shirt" was her birthday present from us. We got it on Etsy HERE.) Her awesome bear hat has to be close to 20 years old.... it was my sisters when she was younger.  My sister and I both got bear hats for skiing when we were little.  Mine was a polar bear & Heather's was a grizzly bear.  I love that we both still have them!  Thanks Aunt Feather for letting us borrow yours for the party!

I set up a little table for the kids to eat at.  I laid brown paper down & stenciled bear paws across it, and put tree stumps for the kids to sit at.  (The picture is kinda crazy with the light streaming through right before party time.)

Other small details... I used a pallet for the back drop.  I stenciled Sawyer's name on burlap bunting and added a little flannel material to the top. I cut red triangles to look a little "arrow-ish" to go along the top. My friend, Natalie, made the adorable little "Hunt" sign to look like those popular "Love" signs & she made all the food label tents to match the invites & sign. (Link to her shop HERE.) I wrapped a cardboard number 3 with black yarn. I so wanted the book on the table opened up to the page where they discover the bear in the cave.  I also had pine cones sitting around.

*I am going to keep pictures of the guests to a minimum, but will post more on my Facebook page. 

After we ate, we watched We're Going on a Bear Hunt being read aloud by the author.  (I just Googled the book and found a UTube version)

Then we all headed to the backyard where I had a sort of obstacle course set up to follow the pattern of the book... we had to go through "Long, wavy grass," (green crepe paper hanging), then "A deep cold river," (blue tarp sprinkled with drops of water), "Thick, oozy mud," (brown towel with an ice pack in the middle to feel squishy), "A swirling, whirling snowstorm," (I strung cotton balls with fishing line & hung them), "A big dark forest," (Lantz had cut tree branches earlier in the week and we set them up to walk through), and finally "A narrow gloomy cave," (the girls have a tunnel & I covered it with a brown tarp for the kids to crawl through).  After getting through the cave (to the backyard), the kids were to "hunt" for a bear.  I made chocolate covered gummy bears and packaged them with little paper bear silhouettes.  There was a "bear" for every kid. 

Sawyer went through the obstacle course over and over the day before and was so excited about it, but of course, this was her reaction on the day of the party:

She did not want anything to do with that obstacle course.  But, eventually after warming up & swinging a bit outside she decided to give it a try:

It looked awesome when she put her head down... just like a bear crawling down a cave:

We had some fun in the sun for a few minutes with the little ones & Sawyer was a bit more in her element:

Then it was back inside for some cake, cupcakes, & presents:

As "thank you" favors, we had a trail mix bar for guests to mix up a bag to go.  

It turned out super cute & again, my friend, Natalie designed the print for the table.  (Click HERE to go to her Etsy shop.) 
The canisters were all just left over canned goods in different sizes that I wrapped with burlap, twine, or flannel.  The chalked ones were leftover hot chocolate canisters that I painted with chalkboard paint & stencil chalked the bears on them.  

I also stenciled the bears on the bags with black paint-- such a super easy last minute touch that I LOVED. 

Here are also the super cute "Thank You" post cards that we mailed out after the party.  Natalie again designed them.  I love how they say "Bear Hugs, Sawyer" on the bottom.  Such a perfect little touch.  See her design store HERE

We had the best time celebrating our Sawyer Sue!!  I can't believe that she is THREE!  


  1. Oh my goodness what a sweet party. I love that you let your kids roll with the flow and don't have to follow the crowd with specific parties. You are such a good loving sweet mommy and that three year old looks like she is her own sweet self. Love that you share your life.

  2. HI there. My name is Anna ( from Australia), and I have just discovered your blog from a Pinterest photo of one of your parties. I just wanted to say hello and tell you that your parties look wonderful. I love your wooden backdrops and the different ways you have used your three doors as backdrops in different themed parties. I love your 'Bear hunt' party. Your family looks so sweet. You are blessed. I also like to create parties and love on my kids and the Lord. If you get a spare minute, I would love to show you my blog: Mama Bear's Kitchen
    Just a quick question, I noticed you had braces at the bottom of your three doors to hold them up. Did you buy them like this or have them made? I am preparing a dessert table for my son's wedding and have 3 doors I want to use like you have. I need to work out how to stand them up in a marque. I also love your different coloured timber panelled backdrops. Great work!!
    Kind Regards,

    1. Anna, thanks for your sweet words! I had so much fun putting this party together. Yes, we did use some braces to stand the doors up for the "thank you" party. I'm not really sure how it was done, because my dad did it for my sister's wedding & I just borrowed the doors from them for the party. Sorry I can't be of more help. Maybe try screwing L brackets to the bottom on each side??

  3. I just found this post looking for "brave as a bear" themed parties. You have such great ideas... That I might steal! We have already got our brave as a bear shirt!! Thanks for sharing the ideas!

    1. Thanks for your sweet words Mandie! Steal the ideas away!! :)