Charlie loves Target.
Charlie, who recently celebrated her 3rd birthday, wasn’t totally sold on her mom’s idea for a Trolls theme for the big day.
Her choice? Target. And her mom, Emily, made it happen.
I’d say this would maybe not qualify as a cake wreck. Sorry to disappoint?
Oh sure, it took me 6 hours to craft this beast that I wouldn’t pay money for, but it remotely resembled the idea I based it on- a choo choo- truck- dirt cake.
It was 3 layers, one big 3″ deep by 10″ diameter yellow cake on bottom, topped with 2 2×4″ round chocolate cakes. I did that thing where I added an extra egg to each box of cake mix (2 boxes for the bottom layer, 1 box for the top 2) and substituted milk for the water. So profesh.
The wooden circle of tracks fit perfectly around the edge.
The green icing was cream cheese buttercream dyed green, and applied with my super skillful slap and blob technique. I added some stippling with a silicone brush for a grass/how cute, she tried effect.
The chocolate frosting was canned frosting with a cup of powdered sugar mixed in. I don’t know why. Someone on Instagram said to do this. They seemed to know about frosting.
This was also applied with the slap and blob technique, then covered with the crushed remains of the 6 Oreos that were left in the full package I bought the night before. Because we don’t have a pantry lock. Luckily I had just enough “dirt” to fill Chuck the Truck (which I rescued from the playroom and gave a good wipe down) and sprinkle some around the edge of the cake.
The birthday boy was quite impressed.
I mean, he could actually make muddy tire tracks ON THE TABLE and then lick them.
The party continued on our driveway…
He got to gas up the rides. (We have gone bananas with the ride-ons since moving here because our driveway is glorious. Long, level concrete slabs really get you excited when you have kids.)
And he got some pink num, y’all!!
He had his first beer.
*Obviously, I’m kidding. If you’re new here, know I’m kidding.
And then he finished the day off eating leftover frosting.
And there was a lot.
Double batch, for the win.
So here’s to another year with LoLo, our little fearless comedian with the world’s cutest belly button. (Oh yeah, it’s totally still a swirl.)
Lowell turns 2 tomorrow.
If that surprises you, know that it surprises me more. So much so that I…. didn’t even see it coming?
Like, 3 days ago, I realized it was this week.
There will be no party, just a small dinner with our family and another family, who happens to have a little boy Lowell’s age. They’ve known each other since they were born. They are tiny besties.
So we shall call it an “intimate affair” and we will have pizza, and beer, and sippy cups of juice, and I think I will make a cake.
Maybe there will be balloons. Just depends on how long it takes me to make the cake tomorrow.
2 is a weird birthday, anyway. 1st birthday parties are for the grownups in this family. They are the WE SURVIVED celebrations. I go all out for them. By the time they turn 3, they have friends they can name off.
2? I mean, I don’t think they really recognize that they aren’t the only toddler on the planet. Except for tiny besties, and only because their moms get together for coffee or wine playdates often.
All that is to say that tomorrow this guy turns 2, and I nearly almost let it slip past.
But there will be a celebration. And there will be cake. And it may involve choo choos and a tractor and some Oreo cookie dirt. It may very well look hilariously horrific. So Friday’s post might be my contribution to Cake Wrecks.
The Frisco RoughRiders baseball team provided a birthday party for Kendall in exchange for this post. All pictures and opinions are my own… and so are all the memories I get to keep. That’s pretty much the best part of all of this.
This is where we got to celebrate Kendall’s 5th birthday. Pretty amazing, right? That’s Dr Pepper Ballpark in Frisco, Texas. It’s home to the Frisco RoughRiders minor league baseball team, and it’s a place we’ve been visiting since Kendall was 3 years old.
Kendall’s first RoughRiders game.
We go there every year for the 4th of July because they have the best seats in town for fireworks (relatively speaking, when compared to the ease of parking there).
With his birthday coinciding with the beginning of baseball season, I’ve always thought it would be the perfect venue for a birthday party for Kendall. It did not disappoint last weekend when we celebrated the big F-I-V-E.
A few of Kendall’s friends and their families joined us at the park prior to the start of the game. We got the entire playground (including the bounce house and pitching game) all to ourselves for the first hour. I’d like to start every baseball game off this way- letting the kids blow off lots of steam! Just one of the perks of the birthday party package. Though the playground is open to everyone during the game.
Yeah, that playground is pretty epic. The whole park is, actually. We’ve always been so impressed with how clean and family friendly it is. The birthday party package also includes hotdogs, chips, soda, and cupcakes for the entire group. This party could not have been more stress free for me, which was awesome considering how pregnant I’m feeling right now.
I originally thought I’d do some creative things, like order the family personalized baseball jerseys, and bring in fancy balloons and a photo setup.
Nope. No time. No energy. No followthrough.
I really didn’t have to do a thing for this party to be awesome. I sent out Evites and met our guests at the gate with their tickets. I forgot candles and a lighter, and our party attendant tracked some down for me. I didn’t even have to worry about favors. Everyone went home with a RoughRiders baseball cap.
We all got tickets to see the game from some pretty fantastic seats, but we opted to move the party to the lawn under the scoreboard. Because 5 year olds. And their little brothers and sisters. You get it.
The kids played hard the entire time. I’m not sure how much baseball watching was actually going on, but they seemed interested for brief moments here and there.
Okay, maybe just interested in playing on the fence.
Leyna was mostly interested in eating lots of snacks… and not the healthy kind. Aren’t indulgences what birthday parties are for?
Go home, toddler. You are drunk. On junkfood.
At least she shared.
And burned off some sugar with a few belly laughs.
And my little big guy, my almost 5 year old (just 3 more days… eek!), had the most spectacular celebration of the first half decade of his life.
I’m thrilled the RoughRiders thew this fantastic party for Kendall. It’s something I’ve wanted to do forever, so working with them on this blog collaboration was a 100% natural fit. We look forward to many more games to come!
If you’re interested in learning more about hosting a birthday party or other group outing with the RoughRiders, check out their website. And if you live in DFW and haven’t made it to a RoughRiders game, go. Get lawn seats if you have young kids! Don’t forget blankets to sit on.
I had grand ideas of throwing Kendall a baseball 4th birthday since his obsession with the sport began last summer, but somewhere around January he was introduced to Power Rangers via the magical powers of Netflix.
Okay, first, I’m just going to answer the question you’re all asking. YES, Power Rangers are alive and well, and in their TWELFTH season, now acting as Samurais. I’m not sharing this to promote them, just as proof of their existence.
Being the fickle child he is, he quickly threw off his devotion to baseball and began karate chopping and spin kicking everything in the house, including his baby sister, which has made the last few months SUPER fun when it comes to discipline. But I tell myself this is better than swinging at things with a baseball bat?
“Momma, I’m going to have a Samurai birthday party!” he declared when I began to ask him how he’d like to celebrate. And so it was.
Mainly, because I knew my friend Mandy and her husband just bought and opened and Karate For Kids school nearby, and they so graciously allowed us to rent them out for a couple hours. It sounded like far less work than setting up something at the nearest baseball diamond. Nobody would be working that except me.
I hired my talented friend Charlotte from The Paper Cupcake to design the invites and printables for me. She did such a great job with Leyna’s party, I knew she’d come through again, and she certainly did!
From there, I ran with the colors that Charlotte used, and easily threw together the rest of the party. Seriously, my psychosis level for this one was at maybe a 2. Outsourcing FOR THE FREAKING WIN.
I wasn’t too terrible crafty. I printed and cut out a banner that Charlotte designed. I got inexpensive red, orange and yellow serving plates/bowls, napkins and paper plates at Walmart.
I took the liberty of going a little nuts with some fun Japanese snacks from the Asian Market, which made me long for my childhood, the 4.5 years I spent growing up in Hawaii. The spread included Hello Panda cookies, dried seaweed, Kaki pi crackers (rice crackers and peanuts). I also made “sushi” rolls with avocado&cream cheese and pb&J rolled in white bread and cut to sushi sized pieces.
I didn’t want to go overboard with the licensed character party ware, mainly because I like to use the leftovers for other parties throughout the year. But, I couldn’t pass up these Power Ranger juice boxes at Walmart that were actually on the lower end of the sugar scale.
The “cake” was a punch bowl full of mochi covered ice cream balls. Probably the best idea I’ve ever had. No cutting, no frosting, minimal mess, maximum yum and a bonus “unique” factor. I don’t think there was a single kid, young or old, who didn’t like them. I got these at the Asian market, too, but I’ve seen this exact brand at Trader Joes before.
The favors were boxes of candy “sushi” (inspired by this blog post) made from rice krispie treats, fruit leathers, Twizzlers, gummy worms and Swedish Fish. I bought the sushi boxes from the Kroger sushi counter, ordered some sushi grass from Amazon, and I used pink and green marshmallows to represent the ginger and wasabi. The boxes were topped with labels from The Paper Cupcake.
The party itself was amazing. Kendall got a special outfit to wear, the kids participated in a mini-class, and everyone was exhausted by the end of it.
Master Hornbuckle from Murphy ATA was a pro. It’s crazy to me that someone who could probably kill another man with his bare hands (not that he ever would!) can be so amazing with kids.
Meanwhile, I never broke a sweat, Scott got to chat it up with his dad friends, and Leyna had the pleasure of running as fast as her feet could take her back and forth across the mats the whole time.
Easiest. Party. Ever.
ALREADY? I know, I know, but hear me out. It’s less than 6 months away.
My baby is closer to turning one than to the day she was born. Crazy. Just crazy. (OH! And as of 3 hours ago, she has her first tooth!)
And so, since the last half of the year is most definitely the crazier half, always, I know I need to start planning for things like the holidays and a very special little girl’s first birthday. Don’t worry, I’m not to the psychotic stage of Party Planning Psychosis yet. Just in the planning stage, just collecting and pinning inspiration pictures (and putting them on their very own 1st birthday inspiration board).
I fell in love with rainbow themed parties when I blogged this on over at Party Like a Kid. Now, I think I would love to do a rainbow theme in the dead of winter, December 28th, because why not do something so cheerful and bright then? Of course, things could always change, and my ideas will evolve, but I’m toying with rainbow colors on lots of white, incorporating buttons somehow (they’re about as trendy on Pinterest right now as mason jars, so I may be annoyed by them come the end of the year… or maybe I’ll have mason jars full of buttons?).
Heck, I may even try them this summer. I think Kendall will love them!
Have any other rainbow, winter, button-y ideas for me?
I think I have a couple people who posted last week still waiting for Pinterest invites. I’m off to take care of them now. If you’d like one, go ahead and leave your email in the comment section below. And thanks to those of you who’ve been helping me send everyone an invite/ Happy pinning!
Party Planning Psychosis was in full effect last weekend for Kendall’s 3rd birthday party. I’m only now getting to blog about it because I had to spend quality time with family following the episode to make up for my insanity and ensure that they will attend future celebrations under my rule.
The thing is, I have this website, Party Like A Kid, where my team and I spend all this time researching and featuring cool kid’s parties. I was actually inspired to start the site after planning Kendall’s 2nd birthday party. I see all these amazing ideas, fantastical parties, all seemingly pulled off effortlessly. The proud moms pose with perfect makeup, baby on their hip, in front of lush buffets and beautifully homemade cakes. The details are flawless. One may think that I, someone so passionate about sharing such events, would be able to pull one off on her own without morphing into Evil Mommy-wife-sista-child of Doom, but, as has already been established, I can’t.
Oh, I do still try, though.
So on Saturday, after many hours the days before and that morning of crafting and, well, not really cooking (cupcake pull-away cake from Super Target FOR THE WIN!), I arrived at In-Sync Exotics in Wylie, Texas (a seriously kick ass wild cat refuge in the Dallas area) for Kendall’s Animal Rescuer party. Of course, I also brought my trusty
slave sidekick, my sister Kelly, who I don’t even want to know how many favors I owe when she gets around to having kids.
My desires to keep the party as eco-friendly as possible lost out to the convenience of Oriental Trading Company and the enthusiastic pleas of a nearly 3 year old set free in Party City. Also? Time and the bank account ganged up on me and made me give up my vision of reusable bamboo party ware and homemade cupcakes topped with fondant lion faces.
To put it another way, I was SMART ENOUGH to recognize that I could spend all week making those adorable little lion faces to set atop cupcakes made from sugar-free hippy hair and fair trade organic nuts gathered by local squirels, but nothing would make my kid as happy as the high fructose corn syrup puddle of frosting poured over a pile of not so freshly baked cupcakes made to look like a jungle and savanna with freaking DIEGO on it. I would say I’ve successfully completed step one in the Party Planning Psychosis recovery program.
In my defense, my Party Planning Psychosis tends to flare up when other people *cough* my husband *cough* don’t do what I tell them. Like bring the juice. I simply wanted the man to pack the damn car with everything I so thoughtfully purchased and made, everything part of my master party plan. I just wanted him to GET IT TO THE PARTY.
Don’t worry, I forgave him. I will not, however, forget. Next year there will be procedures in place to prevent such a slip up.
At the end of the day, all was well. The party went great, the guests were only slightly parched and a touch sunburnt by the end of it. I, on the other hand, was completely drenched in sweat and dehydrated because I refused to drink any of the precious few water bottles we managed to bring with us so none of our guests would die of heat stroke. Naturally, that would be the perfect time for a family photo. Notice the healthy red glow I’m sporting from my brief exposure to the sun. There is vampire in my lineage, I’m sure of it.
Kendall is 3 and Leyna is 4.5 months. Time to start planning her 1st birthday!
As promised, and of course, late- directions on how to whip up a super simple and inexpensive cupcake stand for any occaision. Let me just apologize in advance for not going all out and remaking one from start to finish. I just don’t have it in me right now. It is, however, super simple to make, so I fudged a bit and faked it out for the pictures, but I’m confident you’ll get the idea.
Cardboard cake circles in varying sizes (I only used 2 sizes, but 3 sizes would be great, too). These come in 14″ down to 8″ at Hobby Lobby and cost anywhere from $2-$5/pack. You can make 2 levels out of each pack (with 6 circles to a pack and 3 circles to a level).
1 yard fabric
2-3 yards 1/2 inch grosgrain ribbon to coordinate
Tacky/craft glue and hot glue gun (the cheap one works fine)
2-3 sheets of 12×12 coordinating scrapbook paper
Clear tape or even double sided tape
A few cans from your pantry (you might want a couple of these to be extra wide for extra support)
First, stack and glue three cardboard circles on top of each other with a thin bead of hot glue swirled evenly across each circle. Do this for as many levels as you plan on having (I can’t say I’d recommend more than 4).
Next, swirl a thin bead of tacky glue from the inside all the way to the very outer edges of the top of the glued level and place it on top of your (pre pressed and wrinkle free) fabric. Let dry for a few minutes then cut around the edges. I like to do a rough cut a little larger than the circle and then do a more precise cut with less fabric to mess with.
Now line the edges of the cardboard with your grosgrain ribbon, slowly working around and adhering it with hot glue.
Let’s work on the cans. Grab your scrapbook paper and cut strips a little less than 4.5 inches wide, just a smidge (for standard height cans). You will need more than one piece for the extra wide cans, but the height will be the same. Wrap the paper around the can and secure with tape.
Put a finished level fabric side down, grab a can (the size you want responsible for holding up that level), find the middle of the circle and trace around the can. (Note- for mine, one of the levels did not have a can underneath it and rested directly on the table.)
Remove the can and apply a generous amount of hot glue to the outline. Also, run some hot glue around the top of the can (where it will meet the cardboard). Press the can onto the cardboard and let sit until it’s completely dry. The key is to have glue both inside and outside the lip of the can. And keep in mind that you’ll want to line up the back seams of your cans with the seams of your ribbon so that can be the “back” of the stand.
After you’ve done this for all the layers that will be elevated, you should end up with something like this.
Keep it like this until you get to where you can set it up. Then just stack it up and place your cupcakes on it.
When you’re finished, you can remove the cans pretty easily and the hot glue should peel off (it will tear some of the cardboard, but I wouldn’t stress about it), or you can just glue over it next time. Remove the paper from the cans and put them back in your pantry and save the layers for the next time you need it. It’s super simple to reassemble. (We used this one at Kendall’s 1st birthday last year and again at his 2nd birthday. I see a lot of life in it’s future.)
Hope that inspires you all! I think you can really take this concept and run with it, making lots of creative and cheap stands. Please share pictures if you do! And let me know if you have any questions in the comment section. Thanks!
I began planning Kendall’s 2nd birthday party a couple months ago when he learned the word “house.” Not as in the “house” we live in, but like BOUNCE “house.” He begs me to go to the “house” every day. I’ve been taking him to a local Pump It Up Jr. almost every week since last summer, and it’s the perfect, nearly 100% toddler proofed play escape. He doesn’t so much bounce in the bounce house as he does run around, try to play with the blowers, and fight with other kids for the lone Cozy Coupe, but he still loves it. And lately he’s been doing a lot of bouncing and hopping and, ultimately, falling at home, so the bounce house seemed like a logical place to confine him and a multitude of toddlers and exhausted parents for his party (and you can see why the huge ass trampoline seemed like a good idea at the time, too). Screw the park this year. The park is too much freaking work. I don’t have the energy to host a party and hover below my child as he peers precariously over the side of a metal slide.
The invitations I found at TinyPrints.com were PERFECT! The colors matched the decor already provided by PIU Jr. and I loved how playful they are.
I honestly didn’t put too much effort into this party, but I still think it turned out great. I owe a lot to the excellent staff at Pump It Up Jr. Everything went very smoothly. They helped set up and we didn’t even have to clean up. I tell you, I was crazy to do it all on our own at the park last year. I also loved the peace of mind that came from knowing it didn’t matter if it rained. Last year I thought we’d have to abandon the party altogether to start building an ark, and the day of the party we ended up with a puddle the size of a small lake in the middle of the park pavilion.
Kendall was dying to get inside the entire 15 minutes before the party started. It was everything we could do to keep him from breaking in. Oh, and how amazing is that shirt?! CafePress.com totally hooked us up with that, and you’ll want to stay tuned because I’m going to announce a sweet little giveaway at the bottom of this post.
I wish I had more pictures to document the fun, but trying to capture toddlers on film is about as challenging as photographing the Loch Ness Monster. All I’ve got are blurs and shadows of what may or may not be a kid running by.
I did manage to snag this beauty at the end of the bouncing portion, though. I will love it and cherish it and use it’s powers possibly for evil when Kendall is a teenager.
He is always digging around in there these days. I don’t know what to do to make him stop. He thinks it hilarious, no matter how I react. And, “You’re going to get made fun of for that!” just doesn’t seem to make sense to him yet.
After the bouncing came to an end, we headed to the party room, which was just fantastic. I didn’t have to spend any money on table cloths or fancy plates and cups. The room was cute as-is, and I had leftover plates from last year. They provided cutlery and napkins. I did bring the banner I made for Kendall’s birthday last year. I hope to hang it every year until he voices his disgust for it.
I also reused the homemade cupcake stand from last year. (I hope to get a tutorial up for that soon. It’s super easy and inexpensive.) And, running with the ball theme from the invites, I made Oreo Truffle Balls, dipped in Wilton colored candy melts to make red, green and yellow balls to sit on top of the cupcakes, which were a Cake Mix Doctor recipe for red-velvet with Bakerella cream cheese frosting. Not entirely homemade, and not entirely aesthetically pleasing, but they were a huge hit, especially with the birthday boy.
The favors were one of the best parts of the party. BornFree hooked me up with enough of their newly released, BPA free Twist n Pop straw cups for all the kids! I had them waiting, full of ice water, next to their pizza when they filed in. A HUGE thanks to BornFree. They were such a hit.
So after all of that, when the herd of toddlers cleared the room and the last Oreo ball was demolished, we were left with nothing but a 2 year old. Yay us for 2 whole years as parents!
I know you stuck around to the end of the post because you really loved seeing all my terribly grainy and blurry pictures (I keep telling my husband that grown up bloggers have MUCH nicer cameras), not at all to hear about the kick ass giveaway CafePress.com is hosting, right? But hey, you’re here anyway, so I might as well tell you about it. So, if you don’t know already, you can get TONS of cool personalized gifts at CafePress. They hooked me up with an organic cotton t-shirt for myself and Kendall, and I got to peruse through all the fantastic designs to find the two that suited us the best.
Kendall’s “Danger, 2 year old” shirt could not be more appropriate since he’s quite the running wrecking ball these days, and I think “Keep Calm And Carry On” should be every toddler mom’s mantra. The quality of the shirts is excellent (American Apparel), but I will say they run super small. Kendall’s rocking a 4T and I’m in a large. That’s a size up from what we both normally wear.
Cafe Press is giving away an organic kid’s shirt and organic adult shirt (total value approx. $52) to one lucky commenter. You can choose from any of the designs they have. Nothing special you have to do here, just comment below. I’ll draw a random winner next Monday, May 10th.
Thanks for sticking around for all the birthday fun!
Contest is closed! Winner is comment #34, as chose by Random.org. Congrats, Jill!
We survived labor, delivery, stitches and colic. We survived sleepless nights, breastfeeding, Ferberizing and teething. We survived bumps and bruises, learning to crawl and walk, and a first birthday party that was nearly rained out. WE SURVIVED! It’s been a year – a long, fast, time warped, painful, joyful, exhausting, exhilarating year. It’s been A WHOLE YEAR! Unbelievable, fuzzy, vivid… all at the same time.
My baby went from this
To this in the blink of a very tired, bloodshot, wired from coffee, eye.
As my friend, Kerri, said, “12 hours to 12 months went by so fast”!
Kendall officially turned 1 on Saturday, the 2nd, but it’s a good thing we didn’t plan to have the grand celebration until the following day since our priority on Saturday was searching for supplies to build an Ark in preparation for the next great flood.
Everything went fabulously on Sunday, except for the beating he took from the tile floor and refrigerator prior to and after the party. Because what would first birthdays be without looking like you were the pinata at your own party in all the pictures? I kept hoping we’d open up a helmet, a face guard, and some bubble wrap amongst all the presents, but it looks like I’ll have to run out and get those on my own.
I know you are all waiting with baited breath to find out how his rocket ship smash cake came out. I will say it was a far cry from my original cake wreck, but I can’t take a single ounce of credit for the fabulousness. My rockstar sister made it, on top of working in my sewing sweatshop, helping me whip up ugly doll “aliens” for party favors.
Here it sits, perched atop the red velvet cupcakes from our favorite roadside diner, Cooppies.
Let’s just say she felt compelled to step in and help us out after Scott attempted to make his own version of a rocket ship cake and came up with something more appropriate for a bachelorette party than a first birthday party. He is going to kill me for posting this picture.
So, here I sit, on the cusp of life with a toddler. A true blue, walking, talking, temper tantrum throwing, brilliant (even if too much for his own good at times), handsome, lovable, messy toddler. This is seriously my favorite age ever, and as I type that I realize that progressively each age/stage has been better than the last. Yes, each had it’s moments that I will love and cherish, and each new one brings it’s own challenges, but I hope that life with Kendall continues this way- every new stage becoming my new favorite. Because if having a baby has taught me anything, it’s to cherish this moment and live for today.
“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” – Omar Khayyam
Kendall is 1 year and 3 days old