Hi. I’m Erica, and I’m a birthday party planner-aholic. Admitting your problem is the first step, right? Score! I will also admit I am one of those moms who cringes at the thought of mainstream character birthday parties. I know they are an inevitable part of childhood, and will never deny my kids their choice of Ninja Turtles, Blaze and the Monster Machines, or as was my luck for our youngest’s second birthday, Elmo. Allllllll Elmo. We’ve lucked out thus far in that our kids are book crazy and have picked some of my own favorite childhood stories to celebrate their birthday milestones. So far, I’ve pulled off The Very Hungry Caterpillar with grace and ease, a Dr. Seuss extravaganza in which we pulled out all the stops, an Arnie the Doughnut 3rd birthday (you guys- donut parties are the business. SO easy!), and a rather generic DIY version of our beloved Sesame Street, staying away from overly characterized plates and wall hangings- which made us both happy as clams. When L told me he wanted an alphabet monster truck birthday this year, I was stumped. I mean, how on earth does one combine the two themes and achieve party perfection and not mass chaos?
Well, mamas, should you ever find your child requesting such a party, I’ve done all the leg work for you! Now, score one for you! I started with a color theme- rainbows. DUH. All rainbows all the time in my world. This also ruled out a ton of monster truck decor and ideas I had found, seeing as how they tend to run on the darker, dirtier side. Nothing wrong with that, I just wanted it a bit more light hearted since he’s still so young. As a mama who refuses to believe her first son is growing up (way too damn fast I might add!) coupled with the fact that L’s number one, all time fave is letters, I went heavier on the alphabet side of the theme.
I loved this banner from Jaqs Crafty Corner on Etsy. It was the first item I picked out. Not only a nod to L’s favorite wooden letter blocks, but generic enough for any theme, so we can remove the “4th” and reuse it in the future. I’m all for recyclable decor!
I discovered these cups when we had T’s Sesame Street party. Cut vinyl on regular old plastic cups with lids and matching straws. The kids LOVE them. They all picked their favorite letter, and a few even took theirs home to reuse as long as they’ll hold up. My apologies to my mama friends for that one! You can find them at Mason Jar Maven.
Would you believe my luck? Target decided to fill their $1 bins with felt alphabet letters and rainbow garland right in time for this party! Total and complete score. I couldn’t find them at our local Target, so I enlisted a good friend who picked them up and shipped them all the way from Chicago. I heart your face, Jamie!
My absolute favorite part of any party. The sugar cookies. If you follow us on social media, you’ve inevitably heard me sing the praises of Alison Faulkner over at The Alison Show. Seriously y’all, mad girl crush over here. Her Cookie Party was the single best $20 I’ve spent in years. Did you ever see the Friends episode where Monica declares she MUST be the mom who makes the best chocolate chip cookies? Yeah, that’s pretty much my sentiment on sugar cookies. I’ve been searching for the perfect sugar cookie and royal icing recipe for no less than 15 years now. THIS is it. and you can find it here. You can thank me later. While you’re there, read her blog, I promise you won’t regret it!
I had to do a batch of monster trucks and the entire alphabet, because the cookies are always the first to go. Always. L requested that the letters have faces “like mommy’s work shirts.” Hey, maybe the kid got my marketing gene after all!
Do you spy that container of gummies? I totally found Haribo gummy letters on Amazon.
My first foray with marshmallow fondant. Not nearly as difficult as I had imagined, yet these are pretty darn simple. In fact, I don’t think they can get more simple. I used tiny flower cookie cutters and the opposite end of a frosting bag tip for the wheels. The body of the truck was done with an exacto knife with a template I drew and cut out. There was much debate on my Facebook feed about the taste of fondant. Well folks, turns out marshmallow fondant tastes like marshmallows.
I grabbed the checkered cupcake holders on Etsy at Katherine Paige Design and the flags and construction cones decorating the table on Amazon. I wanted simple, yet still monster truck-y? I loved how the final cupcake tower resembled monster trucks driving in mud. Totally not intentional, I’m not that gifted!
I’m going to make a plea with you. I know how easy frosting in a can and boxed cake are. I get it, I do. However, the taste sensation that is homemade cake and buttercream frosting is a whole new level of delicious. If you only do one, please don’t ever buy frosting in a can again. I don’t make a lot of chocolate frosting, in fact this was my first time. I used this recipe here, and I cannot even express in words how freaking delicious it is. I want to have a gazillion of its chocolatey babies. I want to put it on steak, eggs, and atop all my least favorite veggies. It’s that good. At least promise me you’ll make it once. You’ll soon sneer and side eye the baking aisle with it’s rows of inferior tubbed frosting.
These coloring books were another Target dollar bin find, and the monster trucks were bought in bulk on Amazon.
When you have a kiddo obsessed with letters, you also have no less than 30 packs of letter flashcards. So, when a crafty mama finds herself up against a wall for cheap decor, she sews those 26 alphabet flash cards together and hangs them as a banner. 10 minutes, and it’s actually found a new permanent home in our sunroom.
The nod to our Mister 4 shirt with this balloon was a must. I cut some white construction paper eyes and mouth and adorned his head with one of our Little Blue Olive birthday crowns. Check her shop out guys, such adorable party hat goodness.
That’s one happy, brand-spanking new, 4 year old!