Last Saturday, my little guy turned 3. I can't even believe I'm saying that, because it just doesn't feel like that long ago that we were bringing him home for the first time! I am guilty of going a little nuts when it comes to birthday parties, I'll admit. But, judging by what I am seeing on other blogs and Pinterest these days, so are a lot of other people. I know, because I got a lot of cool ideas from them for this party! Hey, it's only once a year, and besides - I owed him. You see, last year his party never really materialized. I had really great intentions, but a massive sinus infection on top of morning sickness, not to mention a massive ice storm all got the best of me. We had a little family get-together, and he got store-bought Elmo cupcakes. And that was it. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but it's not the way I wanted to do it.
I fully intended to make up for it this year. I prayed really hard for good weather (check!) and for everybody to stay well (check, check!) and we had us a par-tay!!
Jack is really into anything with wheels or wings right now, so I decided on a construction theme. I designed the invite myself, and was really happy with how it came out. I didn't want to leave the envelopes plain, so I decided to print the backs with a construction stripe. I taped each envelope to the middle of a piece of cardstock so that the stripe would overlap when I ran them through my printer. It worked perfectly!
Instead of streamers, I opted for caution tape, which you can get on Amazon or at a hardware store. I had some posters printed at Sam's for about $8 each, and mounted them to foam core for stability. I struggled with the decision of whether or not to make his cake. I was inspired by this one with the really awesome stripe inside (impressive, no?), but given my severe lack of baking and cake decorating skills and the lack of time to fix things if something went horribly wrong, I made a much wiser decision. I had Market Street make the cake and ice the sides with the stripe and the top with plain chocolate. Then I added all the decorations to the top - the fun part! I dug a hole and piled the cake up next to it. I used crushed Oreos for the dirt and added these candy rock-like sprinkles. I ran one of his trucks with heavy tread across the top to make the tire tracks and topped it off with these cute construction cone candles. It came out even better than I was hoping, and if it hadn't been so yummy, it would have been hard to watch it all disappear. We served it with ice cream - Rocky Road, of course!
I found these hard hats on Amazon and made stickers with each kid's name so they could wear them during the party. But as it turned out, the one little boy we invited couldn't come, and I wasn't even thinking that of course all the little girls would show up with a big bow in their hair. What can I say? I'm still getting used to this mom-of-a-girl-thing. :) I also made aprons for each kid - even the little babies! I left the edges raw with contrasting red stitching. Then I made stencils for the number and letters and used my Sharpie fabric markers to personalize each one.
For favors, they each got to take home a mini construction toy and m&ms - Jack's favorite candy.
By far, the biggest hit of the party was the BUILD ZONE. I saved up cardboard boxes in various sizes, wrapped them up in newsprint, and drew wood and brick patterns on them with a black marker. I also dumped a bunch of packing peanuts on the floor along with his construction tools and trucks. Those peanuts were scattered from the front to the back of the house by the end of the party! They had so much fun, and it was totally worth the mess.
At the last minute, we decided to print up shirts for me, Bret, Jack and Andie to wear.
Planning this party was lots of work but SO much fun. When it was all over, I was definitely exhausted, but that little smile makes it all worth it. If he had fun, I'll call it a huge success!
Edited to add: You can download the artwork for the signs that I made for this party here (for personal use only, please):