When I was young, I loved to read. So much so that I spent most waking moments reading. But I have a confession to make.
I never read Anne of Green Gables.
I didn’t need to.
I had the movies. That was enough for me. Few movies brought me the sense of peace and longing that Anne of Green Gables did.
Then, about a year ago, we ran out of bedtime stories. I opened our storage room, rummaged around in a few boxes, and found some old books my parents brought me from my childhood. Among those books was a battered old copy of Anne of Green Gables.
We quickly read all the way through once. Twice. Then a third time. A brilliant spark of love and imagination leapt into Agatha. Every moment of our day revolved around Anne. Agatha wanted to know more about eastern Canada, specifically Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. She wanted to know more about the time period. She had to have an Anne doll.
The doll arrived several months ago providing hours and hours of imaginative play. You see, Agatha is my Anne girl. If ever there was a child with a flair for the dramatic, it’s her! Watching Agatha play with her Anne doll, exploring a world of make-believe and adventure brought back so many happy memories and made so many more.
When it came time to plan her birthday party, she had to have an Anne of Green Gables party.
A quick search brought up so many party ideas – the only problem? They were all for weddings. Not quite what I wanted for my newly 9 ear old!
Since google didn’t provide any inspiration, I decided to take mine right from the book. Shortly after Anne arrives at Green Gables, she’s invited to a picnic. I decided to make this picnic the backdrop for our party (with a bit of creative licence to keep a pile of children happy).
I love this theme so much partly because decorations are so easy! Anne loves flowers and all things feminine. I picked up a big bouquet from the store, divided the blooms and greens between several different vases and glass jars, then I snipped some blooms and more greens from my garden to fill everything in. Ribbons and bows around the home added that little something extra.Since the majority of the party was outside, I didn’t bother with any other decorations.
We stuck to simple dishes that’d be easy to bring to a picnic and also likely to find at Green Gables. Potato salad, sausage and veggie fry-up, cole slaw, veggies, and fresh picked gooseberries were on the menu. Of course we had to have raspberry cordial (we were sure not to confuse it with currant wine!) and apple cider for those that don’t like raspberries. Oh, and a favourite from childhood: matrimonial cake (date squares), just as good as I remember them!
I wanted to do something a little different for the birthday cake. I knew it needed to be very simple, but I still wanted that WOW factor. Pavlova was the perfect ending for the birthday celebration! The airy dessert showcased the fresh berries beautifully. I had one on the counter on display during the party, complete with berries and cream, but I kept the others waiting in the cool oven until it was time to serve. The one on display wasn’t expected to hold up (and it didn’t) but it still tasted great!
Party games included a 3-legged race – we allowed smaller children to run without tying them together – a chance to walk the ridgepole of the house (we had deck boards spread between two rocks that everyone had a chance to balance on – no risk of breaking necks or legs). The last activity took the longest, but may have been the most fun.
Everyone had the chance to make their own ice cream using ice and salt to freeze the cream. Before the party, we measured all the ingredients into individual serving sizes for each child, placed those into larger bags, and put them all in the fridge. We had a large stash of ice in the freezer and salt in the pantry. When it was time for the activity, it was easy to add the salt and ice to the large bags. Bigger children helped smaller children, once smaller children were sitting enjoying their ice cream, the older children were ready for their turn. We quickly learned that it was vitally important to rinse the outside of the ice cream bag in cold water before serving! Those first few bites were mighty salty! hahaha
Agatha chose the items for the favour bags. She wanted everyone to have a copy of the Lady of Shallot or The Wreck of the Hesperus (her two favourite poems), we also added a few fake flowers and a small jar of homemade apple butter. Simple, but perfectly themed.
Here’s to Agatha, the sweetest 9 year old I know!