Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Superhero Birthday Part II

My youngest son and daughter have a birthday a week apart, and we decided to combine the celebrations this past year. Mainly we did it to save our family a trip, because they are out of town now.
Since we had a large number of guests, we opted for a custom bakery cake. I had requested elements of Superman and Wonder Woman (my daughter's favorite), and had no idea what it would look like when I picked it up! I think they did a great job.

With so many people, mainly adults, and it being summertime, our activities were simple summer yard activities. We had a slip and slide, a bean bag toss, a sandbox, and a tractor ride.

As it was my son's 1st birthday, I made him a smash cake using a loaf pan, and simply cut out a number one when it was cooled, then frosted and sprinkled.

It's always so striking to do layered salads in clear dishes or compotes. We had cheeseburgers and brats, homemade baked beans, potato salad, fruit salad, ribbon jello, and a 12 layer salad. I used leftover paper from a flag garland I had made to create buffet dish labels. For the garland, I chose basic prints and colors (red, yellow, and blue gingham and polka dots). I like making things that can be re-used for future parties. I always check the craft section while thrifting as well, you can often find paper streamers or table coverings.
Some things that have helped me and my budget:

1. Purchase main supplies in one color. I use red, because it fits for boys or girls, for many different birthday themes, and for other holidays like 4th of July or Christmas. Red napkins, disposable cups or plates, streamers, balloons, tablecovers, garlands. Any leftovers from the party are saved for the next one.
2. Use lunchbags instead of gift bags for party favors. Brown kraft paper bags can be dressed in ribbon, decorative paper, or stickers. However, I did find some white, blue, and red paper bags at a big chain discount store. These are less expensive than using bags from the discount party shops.
3. Simple party favors are just as appreciated. I try and avoid candy, so will usually include a fruit snack (they come in so many themes), and a few crayons (not a whole box) tied in pretty ribbon with a (free online) coloring page for the theme. I also like the idea of baking cookies or treats as take home favors.

4. I forget this rule a lot, but enlist a friend to take pictures of the celebration. Birthdays can be so busy running games and getting everyone fed that it is difficult to take pictures yourself, if not impossible sometimes.

5. Food-making activities do double-duty, they ease some of your preparations and also let the children have fun creating something. Make your own pizza for lunch, decorate your own sundae or cupcake for dessert, decorate your own cookie for their take home favor.

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