Tag Archives: disney

Inspiration for a Pirate Themed Birthday Party

12 Apr

After a few months of brainstorming, I finally picked a theme for Sam’s first birthday party last week:  pirates!

While I was mulling it over, the first obvious choice was a character-themed party from one of the television shows he watches.

Yes, American Academy of Pediatrics – my not yet one-year old son watches television!  The shock and horror, I know, I know.  Not only that, but his first words were “Go . . . go Go” (Nick’s Go Diego Go) and “…clap…clap” (Disney’s Little Einsteins).

But I couldn’t pick an Elmo-themed party because Elmo was Jane’s first love.  And a Super Why! party would be treading dangerously close to Jane’s territory, too.  Plus, we just had a character party for Jane (Special Agent Oso) and I’m not really in the mood for another one.  Hmmm . . .

Arrgh!  That’s it!  A pirate theme!

From left to right:

  1. This book is permanently wedged in between the kids’ car seats for guaranteed entertainment and tantrum-taming in the car.  (Nowww, pat clap, pat clap, pat clap!)
  2. The pirate theme hadn’t gelled yet when I drove past this giant billboard, but it managed to make an impression.
  3. I picked up this pirate’s hat, the sword and children’s costumes for 80% off at a post-Halloween sale last year.
  4. One random midday nanny check, I popped in to see the kids watching Jake and the Neverland Pirates on Playhouse Disney, which they’ve never watched with me.  (No wonder Jane’s been greeting me with “Ahoy there, Matey!” and “Aaargh!” when I come home from work).
  5. Tiny Prints was having a sale on gift tags just after Christmas, so I bought all of our Christmas gift tags a year in advance and saw this one for Sam and had to pick it up, too.  (I do love a good sale!  See No. 3 above).
  6. I also picked up these matching personalized cards and address labels for Sam – on sale of course.
  7. After I burned the parchment paper from my Crunchy Meyer Lemon Sugar Cookies baking experiment and saw that it resembled an old treasure map, the lightbulb went off!

Now, time to get planning . . .

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Where Have You Had Luck Finding Special Agent Oso Toys or Party Supplies?

7 Mar

It seems that we’re all in the same boat here:  endlessly searching, but unable to find any Special Agent Oso toys, dolls, balloons, decorations or birthday supplies.  I’ve tried doing some of the legwork for other parents with Oso-crazed toddlers (and have made some things on my own), but maybe you have a better suggestion?

Where is all the Special Agent Oso Merchandise?

19 Feb

It is next to near impossible to find any Special Agent Oso merchandise in stores or even online.  When I planned my toddler’s Special Agent Oso themed birthday party, I couldn’t find a darn thing to decorate with or give her as a present.

While I was okay with going to the Disney website’s Celebrations Center to print out Digi-Medals, character cutouts and other decorations, as a working mom, I could have used a little help with pre-made Oso products.  (Out of love for my daughter and a little bit of guilt for having a completely store-bought birthday party last year, it was a personal goal to keep this birthday homemade.  But staying up until 1:30 in the morning two nights in a row making two dozen paper Whirlybirds, pinwheels and Paw Pilot-Wolfie-Dotty banners was slightly more than I bargained for!).

The “Disney” brand name is practically synonymous with the term “character merchandise,” so why no Oso-love?

The Special Agent Oso plush toy sells on Amazon for almost $200 – no thanks.  And the online Disney Store is perpetually sold out.  The best I have been able to find in a store is the Learning Curve 3-pack figure set at Target, which sold for $8.27 around Christmas.

At that time, Target also offered a few different Special Agent Training Vehicles (Twirly Whirlybird; R.R. Rapide) for $19.99.  I thought I would go back and purchase them at a later visit.  Mistake.  They’re gone!

Turns out that Oso merchandise is almost exclusively sold online and in small quantities — I’ve done the legwork and here’s where you can get your toddler his/her fix at the lowest price:

  • Toys ‘R Us – $9.99 for the Learning Curve 3-figure set (Special Agents Wolfie, Dotty and Oso); $14.99 for the Training Pack (Cold Fingers; Moon Rover) and Mission Pack (Submarines are Forever); $19.99 for Vehicles (Wolfie’s Motor Boat; Oso’s Go-Go-Go Racecar)
  • Walmart – $19.99 for Twirly WhirlyBird; $29.97 for R.R. Rapide Command Center

So the moral of this story is buy whatever you can get your hands on!  The limited merch is flying off shelves and it doesn’t look like there’s going to be much more offered in the future.

And Disney, if you’re listening, at least throw us a DVD since Special Agent Oso is only on once a day (and at 6:30 a.m. no less).  Three hours of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episodes back-to-back is plenty . . . we’d like to see more of our favorite “unique stuffed bear.”

(If you have had luck finding Oso merchandise, please take this poll to help others!)

**UPDATE 4-17-11  Special Alert!  Special Alert!  The Special Agent Plush Toy is available on Amazon for $26.99 plus $4.49 shipping.  Order soon because there are a limited supply!  I just did 🙂

**UPDATE 4-23-11 Special Alert!  Special Alert!  The  plush toy is available for $16.50, plus $4.95 for shipping and handling, at the Disney Store. Disney also is offering a 2 for $28 deal now!

Special Agent Oso Themed Birthday

13 Feb

For Jane’s first birthday last year we had a Hello Kitty themed party, with a cute fondant cake from Sugar Butter Flour.  This year, Jane wanted an “Oso birthday party!”  Here’s how we did it.

The Invitations

We mailed out these homemade invitations – download your free printable!

The Cake

Although my own mother made all of our birthday cakes when we were kids – in addition to all of our elaborate Halloween costumes every year – I rang up the bakery again this year to see if I could get a 3-D cake like this or cupcakes like this made for Jane’s party.  Turns out that this would cost more than both my arms and legs combined, plus a few of my vital organs as well.

So, with great determination, I set out to make a Special Agent Oso birthday cake on my own.

Special Agent Oso up close and personal

First, I bought the Wilton Stand-Up Cuddly Bear Pan Set at Michael’s.  This cake pan requires 2 firm ready-made cake mixes, like pound cake.  I chose one pound cake mix and one yellow cake mix.

Second, I made my first e-Bay purchase:  an edible image of Special Agent Oso with the text, “Happy Birthday Jane” from Cakes for Cures.  The image stores for up to a year and is very simple to peel off and apply to your cake.

Two days before the party, I pre-made the frosting using my favorite buttercream frosting recipe.  I mixed the colors using the Wilton 12 Icing Colors Set, which includes Aqua – the perfect color for Oso’s ears, eyes and paw prints.

Since I wouldn’t be using the frosting right away, I mixed the colors right into tupperware containers so I could pull them straight out of the fridge, re-whip, and use them immediately.  (You can re-whip with a fork instead of the mixer because the quantities are relatively small).  I mixed a generous amount of Yellow, equal amounts of Aqua and Black, a small amount of No-Taste Red and saved a small portion of uncolored frosting.

I also made the fondant cutouts two days in advance.  First I colored three pre-made fondant balls with the Wilton Icing Colors in Aqua, Yellow and pink (using No-Taste Red).   I rolled out the pink ball and used a fondant cutter to make 20 little number “2”s for the sides of the white sheet cake base.  Then I rolled out the yellow and shaped it into the base of the paw print image.  Last, I rolled and flattened smaller balls of the aqua and placed them onto the yellow base for the Oso paw print.

*Tip:  use a little bit of water to adhere the fondant pieces together.  Be careful not to use too much water or the fondant pieces will slide off of each other and the colors will bleed.  Finally, I created a few free form “2”s in green and aqua to use as accents.

A day before the party, I bought a white sheet cake from Costco which would serve as the base for the 3-D cake bear and feature the edible image and other decorative elements.

The evening before the party, I baked and decorated the 3-D bear.  The baking part was a little tricky because you need to pour the cake batter into an upright cake pan, but I enlisted the help of Grandpa to do this.  After letting the cake cool for two hours and with Jane’s figurine as my guide, I decorated Special Agent Oso free hand with the largest closed star decorating tip I had.

*Tip:  The larger the tip, the more time you’ll save because it will cover more surface area with each star.   And, the star tip is great if you’re short for time because you can easily disguise your mistakes and less than perfect handiwork is less noticeable.

After Special Agent Oso was finished, I covered him with plastic wrap and set him aside for the big day.

On the day of the party, I anchored Special Agent Oso to the sheet cake, piping extra frosting around his base to blend him into the cake and secure him well.  I placed the edible image on the remaining surface area of the sheet cake and used the fondant “2”s and multi-colored candy accents to finish the design.

Here’s the final result:

Special Agent Oso Birthday Cake

The Decorations

I love balloons, so any opportunity to go overboard, I take it.  Since Oso’s colors are turquoise and yellow, I ordered about 3 dozen balloons in yellow, blue and turquoise and hung them in two bunched columns.  We also had a giant mylar “2” balloon to mark the occasion.  We followed the same color scheme for the streamers and spread a blue plastic table cloth over our kitchen table for a little punch of color.

As a nod to Special Agent Dotty – the one female special agent – I hung these homemade Martha Stewart pom poms in bright pink and orange tissue from our ceiling.  (I’d love to take credit for putting these together, but actually got them from a friend who had put them together for her party).

Since there are no Special Agent Oso party supplies commercially available, I made do with the printable decorations from the Disney website’s Celebration Center, like this pinwheel.

One great idea is to cutout the different characters and paste them on to foam flowers in the Oso colors.  Here’s an example of one taped to our wall above the “Happy Birthday” banner:

I also made Digi-Medals for each of the children by cutting out the printable medals from the Disney website, writing each child’s name in permanent marker on the medals, laminating them, punching a hole in the top, and then attaching the medals to the neon-colored nametag necklaces I found at Diddam’s.

For the finishing touch, I decorated with lime green and yellow flowers in monochromatic bunches.

The Food

I knew I didn’t want to be in the kitchen cooking the entire time the 30 guests were here, so we came up with a simple, finger food menu that would be easy for the kids to eat and quick to prepare:

  • 3 dozen bagels (1/2 mini bagels) + assorted cream cheeses from Posh Bagel
  • frozen mini-quiches
  • cheese slices (cheddar, havarti, swiss, american)
  • crudites and ranch dip (try Costco‘s readymade vegetable platter with organic dip)
  • watermelon (sliced into “smiles” with the rinds on, rather than cubed)
  • coffee (Peet’s has great to-go containers and provides the stir stix, creamer, sugar, paper cups and lids)
  • apple juice and water

The bagels and coffee were the most popular; and next to the cake, the kids loved the watermelon slices the best.

Watermelon smiles

The Entertainment

The Jumpolene Uncle B gave us was the hit of the party!

All in all, a great day.

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