Birthday Mania or This Birthday Brought to You by Pinterest
That title was actually suggested by my brother-in-law. Thank you Robert. Most of my ideas were actually from other blogs, not Pinterest, but Pin Boards do tend to drive this mania to have a great, well-crafted party. Though I was planning/organizing/creating stuff like this long before the advent of Pinterest.
Plus my sister, Angela, does over-the-top, creative birthdays for her kids, so I have that to live up to, right? Daniel would emphatically say, "NO."
Thankfully Angela also volunteered to help me out since I always help her the night before her kid's parties... we typically stay up way too late doing things like blowing up balloons and sewing together streamers to make cool-looking decorations.
After going through the birthday party creation as the one in charge, I have come to the conclusion that I go over the top with food while still having fun decorations, while Angela goes over the top with decorations. Between us, we make a pretty good team.
The week before the party, Jack came down with a bad cold. Running nose and cough. He would wake up every night coughing. So for an entire week neither he nor I actually got a good night's sleep. By the time the party rolled around, I was running on fumes. Thank goodness for my sister. We have teamed up for so many of these kind of get-together's that I know she will make decisions like I would want without me having to tell her what to do. I think everyone needs someone like that it their life.
Anyway, we decided to have a Truck themed party. I have been taking monthly photos of Jack with Daniel's childhood Tonka truck for the past year and I knew I wanted to incorporate that truck into the theme. Then I came across this cake idea on Pinterest and I knew we would go this route.
I designed the invitations around the truck. I also created 5x5 prints that I mounted to foam board and hung on the wall to show how Jack has changed over the last 12 months.
From there I scanned the words from a favorite book, Trucks Go, and pulled out letters to make a sign that read "Happy Birthday Jack." I sewed the letters together to form a banner. I also used construction paper to make the pendants for the banner.
We decided to use CAUTION tape instead of streamers. For balloons, we just blew up a bunch and let them lay on the floor -- the kids had a blast playing with the loose balloons, so that worked out.
One other thing I did was have engineering prints made at a local print shop (one 3x4 foot sheet cost me $3.50). I printed 12 of our favorite photos on one sheet and then mounted them to 12x12 inch foam board. I painted the edges of the foam board black and hung them on the wall. The whole project was super cheap and was a great way to display photos gallery style. I got this idea from the blog, Bower Power, though I modified it for what I needed.
For Jack's first birthday, we opted to only invite family -- which was still a pretty big party. We were sad that my parents and brother were unable to attend, though we did Skype my mom for the cake eating. We will have another celebration with them later.
Jack's two cousins were in attendance and many of Daniel's family were there. Jack is one loved little guy. We feel blessed to live closer to both of our families.
Confession #1: The night before the party I had a panic attack that we didn't have enough food, so I went to the grocery store and picked up more ingredients. Note to self, don't panic, we had way more than enough... stick with the original plan!
Confession #2: I ran out of icing sugar while making the cake... I read that you could substitute granulated sugar, if you ran it through a food processor with 1 tbsp on cornstarch for 10 minutes. FYI -- I was able to ice my cake, but the icing was kind of sandy. This was ok since I was doing a dirt-style cake, but I wouldn't do it again.
I'll let the cake pictures speak for themselves:
The party was a success, though we do need to work on Jack's sharing skills... He loves his cousins, but does not like sharing!