1 Although my grandchildren, Jude and Truman, were thrilled with the idea of Elmo and chose this lovable monster as the theme for their joint birthday party last year, it took quite a while before either of them actually wanted to be hugged by the giant red, furry character.
2 Jude took her sweet time getting acquainted with the bigger-than-life Elmo. She actually flirted with him shyly for about 20 minutes before she would even touch him.
3 Elmo, sent to the party by Sesame workshops, was patient, wonderful, and kind.
4 Truman was much more adventuresome and started touching and hugging quickly.
5 He was ready to be fully enveloped by Elmo's welcoming arms.
6 Truman conversed and laughed, while Jude remained standoffish!
7 Other children wandered into the "conversation" - some quite boldly and happily, while Jude needed more persuasion.
8 Alexis persuaded Jude to stand on Elmo's big feet.
9 She balanced happily and Elmo walked around a bit.
10 She then allowed Elmo to start the hugging and ultimately was enveloped in his arms. Jude has loved Elmo ever since and her room is evidence of her love. There are Elmos in all sizes sitting around waiting for hugs and conversations.
11 This joint birthday party for Jude and Truman was wonderful. Everything was Elmo themed. Our magazine, Martha Stewart Living, did a feature on the party in the March 2014 issue and it provides templates for the artwork, courtesy of Sesame Street.
12 These place mats were really coloring pages. Crayola crayons, in appropriate Elmo colors, were provided in clip art Elmo boxes.
13 All of this art was great coloring material.
14 A clip-art Elmo was carried away. He was attached to the wall and the balloon strings with double-sided tape. More clip-art faces were taped to ribbon for a garland, and balloons bobbed around the room.
15 A closer look at the garlands
16 There was a make-your-own-Elmo station that had graphic cutouts of the monster's features.
17 The walls of the playroom had Elmos everywhere in all sorts of cute poses.
18 Elmo has extremely expressive features - no wonder he's loved by so many!
19 The giant red helium balloons were from Martha Celebrations and they stay inflated for several weeks! jcpenny.com/marthastewart
20 Other metallic and colorful balloons were inflated and given to the wall-art Elmos.
21 Alexis made healthy and beautiful snacks - tangerine segments, red pepper strips, and cookie cutter cutouts of jicama, carrots, cheese, and radishes.
22 Alexis made gelatins in Elmo's image and served them on Martha Celebration plates. jcpenney.com/marthastewart
23 The gelatins were made from organic apple, cranberry, blueberry, apricot, and coconut juices and firmed in large baking sheets. The morning of the party, she cut out all the shapes and assembled the faces.
24 Fruit nectars were served with striped straws.
25 The red red cake was designed and created by the great cakemaker, Ron Ben-Israel. weddingcakes.com
26 The cake was yummy and evocative!
27 A better view of the Elmo Cake - It was not served to the kids - Only adults got to taste.
28 Alexis makes wonderful gifts for all the guests and these Elmo themed goodie bags were filled with books, and games, and lots of Elmo.
29 Dani Fiore made giant Elmo cookies for the kids. These were not eaten at the "sugar-free" party, but were taken home by each guest. sweetdanib.com
31 A fantastic rainbow
32 And a beautiful flower
33 The children were busy for the entire two-hour party - coloring, playing, watching balloons, interacting with Elmo, singing, and eating.
34 There were wall games with felt stick-ons.
35 There was even an Elmo magnetized fishing game.
36 Each child got to pose with the red furry monster.
37 Pippa, dressed appropriately in red, really loved Elmo!
38 She readily allowed all the hugs and kisses Elmo would bestow!
39 This little fellow wasn't so sure.
40 This beauty was very happy.
41 Harrison needed the presence of his parents, but he was cool.
42 Caution - don't smile too much!
43 I certainly love Elmo!
44 Even Sharkey and Francesca came to the party!
45 Does Elmo play the bugle?
46 Elmo loves presents!
47 Elmo loves to draw and color.
48 Elmo loves to play, and jump, and laugh!
49 Elmo loves unwrapping presents.
50 Elmo loves taking photos, too.