Sunday, August 30, 2015

Linna's 4th birthday party at the play and learn cafe.

I still can't believe our baby is 4 years old! Since all three of us were home in Minnesota from Singapore for Linna's birthday this year, we decided to host a really fun party at one of her favorite places... The Play and Learn Cafe in Minnetonka. We invited her cousins, friends from her Minnetonka ECFE class, and friends that we haven't seen in Minnesota for 2+ years. The party was a fantastic reunion of so many friends from the past 4 years.

4-year-old Linna, full of sass in her new Lilly Pulitzer for Target dress from Auntie Lisa and Uncle John.

If you haven't been to the Play and Learn Cafe yet, you're missing out. It's located in Minnetonka, and is a gourmet "foodie" cafe and indoor play-area for parents/caregivers with children under the age of 6. We love it because the play-area is safe and fun for younger kids, and conveniently located just outside the cafe where parents can enjoy a snack or coffee while their kiddos play. The Play and Learn Cafe has a separate and completely enclosed infant area for babies under the age of 2 as well.

So much color in Linna's art-party room!

Art Party at the Play and Learn Cafe.

Art tables all set up for the little artists.

Painting elephants!

The birthday girl painting her elephant.


Beautiful painted elephants by little artists.

I love throwing parties, and for the last 3 years, I have gone ALL out for Linna's birthday. Her first birthday party was hosted at our home in Minnetonka with 80 of our closest friends and family. Her second birthday was a "fire-fighter princess" themed party at the Hopkins Fire Department, complete with fire truck rides, pinata, and an appearance by Sparky the Fire Dog. Linna's third birthday party was a pool party at our home in Singapore, with some fun pool entertainment provided by Kids Pool Party Singapore, and balloon entertainment provided by THAT Balloons. This year, since I am very pregnant with our second baby, I decided to let the Play and Learn Cafe take care of ALL the details.

A Play and Learn Cafe staff member reading to some party guests.

Linna with her girlfriends Noa and Maddie. These girls' mamas were also Hopkins Raspberry Festival Queens, just like Mama Saigh. We call these gorgeous girls our Raspbabies!

Easiest birthday party ever! We even remembered to take a family photo.
Party guests starting to arrive.

Linna's pal Viv, building at the workbench.

I can honesty say that after I sent out the invitations, I didn't stress or lift a finger for this birthday party. Sarah Bakkum (owner) and her staff at the Play and Learn Cafe took care of EVERYTHING! Linna chose an "art" themed birthday party (they have lots of party themes to choose from), and all 20 kids got to paint their own ceramic elephant during the party. The room was incredibly vibrant and colorful, decorated in art supplies, candies, and other party favors. I helped select the food, but didn't have to prep anything! Papa Saigh and I got to sit back, talk to guests, and simply enjoy our daughter turning 4 years old.

(A very serious birthday girl.)

The cupcakes were SO good! The Play and Learn Cafe also sells made-to-order, from scratch cupcakes, for $20-26/dozen (depending on how "fancy" you'd like them), and they can be picked up at your convenience. Call 612-599-7282 to place your order.

Linna's pal Maddie on the play equipment.

Mama Anderson with her boys Calvin and Tucker at the art tables.

Linna's pal Sophia setting up her tea party.

As each party guest arrived, the Play and Learn Cafe staff made the parents feel comfortable about letting their kids just run in and start having fun. The kids could climb on the play equipment, ride around the play-area on trikes and bikes, dig in the sand pit, and parents with little ones could put their kids in the enclosed infant play-area. Since the party was from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., we decided to go lighter on the food, and let everyone graze and snack as they wanted to. We served coffee, water, and juice for the kids, a gorgeous rainbow fruit platter, organic cheese sticks and Annie's crackers for the kids, a charcuterie plate, and some amazing goat cheese, blueberry compote, and fresh mint filo crust appetizers. It's always difficult to get little ones to sit still for a full meal, especially when trying to pull them away from all the fun, so this food spread worked perfectly. The birthday cupcakes, made by Sarah Bakkum, were absolutely outstanding! Her cupcakes are made from scratch, colorful, and were set up on artist easels and used as decoration during the party as well. The were so so yummy.

So warm and yummy!

Birthday food all set up and ready to eat!

Happiest birthday girl with her purple chocolate cupcake.

Linna's cousin Ellie loved the cupcakes too!

We decided to have Linna open her birthday gifts during the party. Mary, one of the Play and Learn Cafe staff members did a fantastic job wrangling all the kids into a separate gift-opening room, and organized a gift-opening game for everyone. Those who were too "busy" to participate were able to continue playing. At the end of the party, Mary and other staff members helped carry all of the extra food and gifts out to our car, which was SO helpful!

Cute little party guests, Elliot and Gratia.

Gift opening!


Linna was very excited about her new soccer gear from Uncle Scotty, Auntie Holly and Cousin Zoe!

Linna with the best party helper Mary.
Both papa Saigh and I were completely blown away by the professionalism and organization of the staff at the Play and Learn Cafe. I remember every moment from this party, and didn't have to lift a finger. Linna had so much fun and still talks about her birthday this year. She received so many wonderful gifts from family and friends, and is such a lucky little girl. Thank you to everyone who came out to make Linna's birthday so special. And a HUGE thank you to the Play and Learn Cafe for making this party to fun, memorable, and easy for this pregnant mama!

*** BOOK YOUR THEMED PARTY AT THE PLAY AND LEARN CAFE IN MINNETONKA BY SEPTEMBER 30TH, 2015, AND SAVE $25 USING THE CODE MNBABY WHEN BOOKING ONLINE. FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT SARAH BAKKUM AT INFO@PLAYANDLEARNCAFE.COM, OR 612-599-7282.***


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