Yet Another John Deere Birthday

 

It was no surprise to me when my tractor lovin’ little boy told me he wanted his 4th birthday to be a ‘John Deere Birthday’ theme. He and my 6 year old son both had already enjoyed John Deere birthday parties in the past so I already had some John Deere decorations in my stash of supplies. (Frankly, my older boys had done repeated Thomas the Train birthday parties year after year so this was pretty common place in the Menne house…AND saves $ to reuse items!) I got out all of the John Deere party supplies and started planning with the almost 4 year old. He quickly decided he wanted a “big John Deere combine cake!” I wasn’t sure what that was going to look like because the thought of making an actual combine seemed overwhelming. I asked him about a sheet cake with a combine ON it or making one with frosting but he wanted a “real big combine” so to the world wide web I went hunting through images of John Deere cakes until I stumbled on this amazing blog A Quiet Life in a Loud House which had not only the best, most amazing John Deere combine cake but also had awesome DIRECTIONS!!!! I was over the moon excited to give it a try. Her photos were great and explanation was perfect. I have to give her credit for the whole thing! Decorations I used leftover John Deere napkins, party hats, balloons, crepe paper and signs from last year’s party. I got a green table cloth, green and yellow napkins, yellow cups, yellow plates and green plastic silverware all from the dollar store. I also found green and yellow ‘grass’ that is used for Easter baskets but it wasn’t the plastic kind so I grabbed a couple of those bags to fill glass cylinders to add to the color. I had white and yellow flowers left over from a baptism celebration the previous week which also were great to add to the tables. The last thing I did was raid the toy room to use the small John Deere toys the boys have as decorations.

The Cake I found some scrap pieces of 2×4’s in the garage and covered them with aluminum foil. I had to make sure it would fit on my round cake base. Then I baked #2 9×13 cakes. I started creating the combine cake by cutting the appropriate pieces ensuring it would fit on the wood base. I used skewers I had left over from another party to help hold pieces together. I frosted it and then added a cut bendy straw for the auger just as Lora did in her blog. I also used ding-dongs and donettes for tires and big wheels. (The boys liked eating the left-overs). I was wondering what I was going to do for the combine head but was able to find one of the boy’s toy combines had a removable combine head. Sweet! I attached it to a popsicle stick and it totally fit! I was then able to push that popsicle stick under the front of the combine to look attached to the actual cake. Needless to say I was pretty pleased with myself. I think the hardest part of was locating candy corn but my husband was able to find a bag for me. My son so so happy when we filled the hopper with the candy corn. He really thought it completed the cake. I used the rest of the cake pieces to make a square cake which worked great as a ‘tractor in the field’ kinda cake. I decided to make it look like the farmer was planting although I know plants aren’t instantly visible it was necessary for a 4 year old. I used a small toy tractor and frosting for this cake. Nothing too fancy. 😉 I made the lines on the cake with a frosting comb and used a small star tip for the ‘plants.’ Done! We ate the ‘field cake’ at our small family celebration on his actual birthday and ate the ‘big combine cake’ at his birthday party a couple days later. He liked them both and was thrilled with turning 4.

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DIY Tractor Cake

I have a few little boys who are in-love with John Deere and all things tractor. In their minds it must be yellow and green! I have done a few John Deere themed parties but prefer not to pay for the actual John Deere party favors and cakes. For this one I decided to give a DIY tractor cake a try and here is how it turned out.

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I baked two 9×13 cakes & then cut them to stack up the pieces in order to make the right shape. I used toothpicks & skewers to support the frosting holding it together.

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I used the Wilton small star tip to frost most of it & the small round tip to make the lines & write. The small front tires are made of Hostess chocolate donettes.

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It was a pretty big cake but turned out alright. He loved it and that’s all that mattered to me. 🙂

 

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Happy baking!

Cowabunga Birthday!

My 5yr old was super excited to have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle party for his 6th Birthday. He really enjoyed checking out all of the cool pictures of other kids parties online to decide what he might like. Honestly I think planning was as fun as the party itself.

As always I try to execute my children’s birthday parties spending as little as possible. I want them to have wonderful memories of their birthdays and I want them to feel special. I just don’t want or don’t feel the need to break the bank in the process. After all, we live on a budget. 🙂

This cowabunga birthday turned out pretty well and did include some DIY. It does take time for those parts but it saves money. Here is what we did..

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I used a photo from the web and inserted it into Microsoft word. If I remember correctly I was able to print four per page. I also opted to do a screen shot and save it as a JPEG so I could email his friends from school as I didn’t have their addresses. (The address & RSVP are cropped out for privacy. They were at the bottom).

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I made the piñata using discarded newspaper & one of those dollar store punch balloons. After it dried I cut a hatch opening, covered it with snipped crepe paper, added the eyes & mouth (construction paper) and then filled it with candy. I did learn the hard way that I should use a small square if cardboard to support the holes where it hangs so it doesn’t break away from the string before the kids bust it open. My hubby helped me with that one,

IMG_6597The kids treat bags were made of green bags I found in the wrapping paper section of the dollar store. I used crepe paper, construction paper & sharpies to give them the ninja turtle look. They contained a ninja turtle cup, stickers & other small green trinkets from the dollar store. They worked well for the kids to put their piñata candy in as well.

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Decorations were pretty basic. Crepe paper is a standard supply for me. (I have a laundry basket full of party supplies organized in large zip bags so I can easily find the colors of balloons or crepe paper I might need). I used balloons, crepe paper, construction paper & sharpies to make Ninja Turtle heads. I found a fun round green decoration at the dollar store and did the same thing to it and hung it above the table. For the birthday sign I used my scrapbook die cutter to cut ovals of 2 sizes, glued them together & used a green sharpie to make them look like turtle shells. I then printed off the letters using a free downloaded Ninja Turtle font. I also snagged all of his Ninja Turtle toys to add to the decorations.

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The food was easy; homemade pizza, green Kool-aide (green slime), and Ninja Turtle fruit & veggie trays. I found green napkins, cups, plates, napkins & plastic table clothes that I had leftover from a previous John Deere party that I was able to use-score!

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The cake was actually made of a batch of cupcakes. It meant a ton of frosting but was so easy to serve. The white frosting was dyed green and I started with chocolate frosting and added dye to make the black frosting.

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My son loved this party. His exact words were, “It was awesome!” The smile on his face was rewarding but I also liked how inexpensive it was to pull-off.

Happy party planning!

“Old Computer” Themed Birthday

My sweet boy turning 8 was so excited to have his ‘Golden Birthday’ he began pondering what theme he wanted for his party months in advance. When he settled on what he referred to as “Old Computer” theme I had to laugh. What is that? He explained to me that he liked old computers and wanted a computer cake. He loves minecraft so I thought he wanted that type of computer theme but he quickly clarified for me. He was thinking of the old Apple II from 1984. HA! This is so far beyond what I thought he knew about the history of technology!! After I wrapped my head around all of that I decide this should be easy and man was it! I started with some old dot matrix printer paper we had gotten from my in-laws. You know, that paper with the holes on each side…yeah that stuff. I printed off banners and signs using the Minecraft font which looks like the hold school font. ( I downloaded it for another Minecraft party I had done). I then glued the words onto the old-school printer paper. Bam, done!  Continue reading

A Bitty Birthday Bash

My youngest will be turning 1 soon and although with such a big family I feel like there is always a birthday party to plan the big O-N-E is a fav of mine. I found an awesome new place (Minted) to find the cutest birthday invites, party decor & creative themes. To be honest, as I was looking for birthday invites for my little guy I soon found myself completely sidetracked looking at art & room decor. I love vintage, and can easily get sucked into such adorable and creative art…

Eventually I pulled myself back to the task at hand. My mission to find a theme for #6’s first birthday was a success with one small caveat. In the last few years I have really fallen for giraffes. I was hoping to find something that would allow for giraffe inclusion in this bitty birthday bash. Not only did I find one, I found two and love them both. Decisions, decisions…

The first one is the Zoo Menagerie Party Decor

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Then to choose the color of the invites but again I like them both. Such a simple, sweet theme. What’s not to love?

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Orange

And the banner can be personalized?? Yes, please!

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The second one is the Birthday Balloon Fun Party Decor

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The giraffes are just what I was looking for. I think the bright colors and circles make this one look so fun.

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Birthday Balloon Fun

So which do I go with? The Zoo Menagerie Party Decor or Birthday Balloon Fun Party Decor? Please share your thoughts. I’d love to hear.

Minecraft Madness

My 10 year old and well frankly my 8 year old and almost 6 year old are all obsessed with everything Minecraft. As I read in another Dad’s blog, unless you’ve been under a rock-Minecraft is all the rage with 8-12 year old boys.

We’ll my 10 year old recently had a birthday and in fact it was his golden birthday so he decided it needed to be extra special but the word he used was, “Epic.” Under a bit of pressure I checked out many blogs and photos of Minecraft cakes and birthday parties.

Here is what I came up with under the direction of my kids because honestly am pretty clueless about this Minecraft business.IMG_3979

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Minecraft Cake: We used 2 cake mixes and experimented with cereal treats. We ended up making the trees out of straws, cereal treats and fondant. Steve is made of cereal treats and fondant. (I made the fondant myself with a easy marshmallow recipe) In order to make it authentic we had to add a ‘torch’ so the candle was stuck to Steve’s hand with a tooth pick.

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I googled to find the Minecraft font and then watched a YouTube video on how to install it. (very handy that YouTube!)

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After checking out many blogs I decided to use balloons, construction paper and crepe paper to make spiders.

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The treat bags are just green bags with construction paper. A cool idea from another blogger. Check out his way-cool blog here Dad-Geek-Gamer

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I think this is a birch tree?? Lots of paper taped up to make one for them to chop down I guess. Another idea from the blogger cited above.

The kids made their own axe’s from cardboard, crepe paper and tinfoil. They seemed to like it but not as much as playing the actual game. It was a real gamers kinda’ party and they all had fun.

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Happy mining folks and remember, “Don’t mine at night” 😉