Family, Parties, Toddler Life

A Fire Fighter Birthday Party!

And just like that, we have a TWO year old . . .

I have to catch my breath a little every time the thought comes to mind. I cannot believe it’s been two years since Jameson came into our lives and forever rocked our world for the absolute best.

As with any celebration, the festivities were tailored specifically to the birthday boy’s current passion . . . fire trucks!! He loves just about anything with wheels (tractors, trucks, cars, garbage trucks, etc…), but fire trucks hold a pretty special place in his little heart right now.

Our party scene was complete with a fire truck garland, colorful streamers, a flaming cupcake tower, a firehouse/town backdrop, and fire chief party hats!

I really tried to channel toddler life when choosing snacks. Simple. Quick. Finger friendly . . . I chose fruit kabobs, veggies and hummus in a cup, lifesaver gummies (the ‘lifesaver’ part seemed fitting), and fire hoses (red vines) . . . And of course cupcakes for dessert!!

I had so much fun planning and crafting for his party. Toddler parties may just be my new calling. Okay, not really, but I did have a ton of fun.

Here’s what I DIY’d . . .

A Flaming Cupcake Tower
My cupcake tower is this simple Wilton 4-tier dessert tower that I bought on Amazon for Jameson’s 1st birthday. The flames were my way of heating things up (pun totally intended) and adding red-hot flair. It took me roughly two nights of crafting while watching shows with the hubs, and one nap time crafting session. Really, it was the cutting out that took time more than anything. I’m all for letting my inner artist shine (imperfections and all), so I drew the flames freehand, cut them out, and glued them in layers (yellow on orange and orange on red) to get that realistic flame look. I then taped them to the cupcakes tower.

Supplies:
– Construction paper (red, orange, yellow)
– Pencil
– Scissors

– Tape

Dutch Chocolate Cupcakes
I phoned in Martha’s help and used this dutch chocolate cupcake recipe . . . OH MY CHOCOLATE HEAVENS . . . Please do yourself a favor and whip up a batch right this very moment!! They don’t even need frosting. These cupcakes are rich, decadent, moist, airy, light, and pure chocolate bliss . . . Note: I altered the recipe because the birthday boy is dairy intolerant. I substituted butter with coconut oil (1:1 ratio) and made my own ‘buttermilk’ using unsweetened plain almond milk and apple cider vinegar. My husband, who’s the owner of very discriminating tastebuds and isn’t one to hold his opinions, could not believe they were dairy free. The man who generally turns his nose up to dairy-free and vegan bakes inhaled a fraction of my test batch sans frosting.

Flaming Frosting
Just for fun, I took my best crack at making tri-colored frosting using this tutorial. My frosting bullets turned out beautifully, but I think I gave the bag a little too much muscle when I began piping because all three bullet bags burst . . . I ended up scrapping the idea altogether (I didn’t have the energy to repeat the entire process). Instead, I spooned the frosting from each bullet bag into a new piping bag and went to work. I did nothing to prevent the colors from blending in the new piping bag, and found the effect, an ombre swirl, even more awesome than my original tri-colored vision. My piping skills need work (like a lot), but I was pretty darn pleased with the result.

It’s really tough to beat real buttercream frosting, so I made two different frosting batches. A dairy free version for little man, and the full-cow version for everyone else. I used this Serious Eats American buttercream frosting recipe. If the cloying sweetness of American buttercream is a turn-off to your tastebuds, I highly recommend this recipe, as it uses a different butter-to-sugar ratio than tradition buttercream recipes . . . Yielding a much more balanced flavor that’s simply lick-the-bowl delicious.

My dairy-free frosting wasn’t memorable, and needs tweaking, so we’ll just leave it at that . . . Plus I found out that like his mom, mini man is more of a cake guy than a frosting guy.

Chalkboard Birthday Sign
My original plan was to make a pennant banner, but spotted this long-forgotten chalkboard in my garage. When pregnant with Jameson, I used it to track his weekly growth and my pregnancy milestones. It felt fitting to use it for this milestone event. Plus, I still had chalkboard markers, making it a no-cost craft. The best kind!

Supplies:
– Chalkboard
– Chalkboard marker
– Ruler & pencil (to sketch out a rough draft if you’re particular like me)
– Q-Tips & rubbing alcohol


Fire Truck Garland
The fire truck garland is something I saw on Etsy and decided to make for myself to save money. It was time consuming, but actually very simple. All it took was a few clicks for craft supplies on Amazon and time. Lots of time. I used one sheet of felt to sketch my templates (firetruck body, windows, ladder, wheels, siren) out in back Sharpie. I then cut them out and used each template to create all the parts needed for 12 fire trucks. I chose 12 because that’s the number I needed to fill the space where I hung the finished garland. Everything is held together with basic fabric glue.

Supplies:
– Felt sheets (red, yellow, white, black, grey, and white)
– Black Sharpie marker
– Fabric glue
– Black paracord (for the coiled hoses)
– Twine (what the fire trucks hang from)
– Sharp crafting scissors

Firehouse/Town Backdrop
Lastly, the town backdrop. I was inspired by a similar themed party I saw on Pinterest. Again, it seemed pointless to pay for a backdrop if I could make one. We still had quite a few cardboard boxes in the garage from our recent move, so that’s what I used as backing. I freehand drew the building silhouettes and cut them out. I recommend not sacrificing your nice crafting scissors on cutting cardboard, as it will dull them. I then used the silhouette I’d created to trace buildings onto different colored construction paper. I cut each building out and glued it onto the cardboard backing. Lastly, I used my son’s Crayola markers to decorate the buildings and give each a distinct personality. This craft was also time consuming, but you could easily save time by using all-black construction paper and creating a nighttime skyline silhouette. I know not everyone is as nutty as me!

Supplies:
– Cardboard box in good condition (I used a medium-sized UHaul box)
– Black Sharpie or pencil
– Scissors
– Construction paper (red, black, yellow, brown, white, green)

– Elmer’s glue
– Pack of markers

I wanted to capture pics on my DSLR camera, but the thought escaped me in the moment, so iPhone pics it is!

More important than pretty pictures were the memories we made. It was truly such a fun day! Little man had a blast playing with his cousins, opening gifts, and eating snacks. I couldn’t have ask for more.

Have you celebrated any fun birthdays lately? How about my crafters out there? What’s your favorite thing or event to craft for?

Peace,
Y

Family, Holidays, Mom Life, Toddler Life

Valentine’s Recap

February may be long gone, but the memories made during the month are still fresh in my mind.

My husband and I have always kept things pretty low-key for Valentine’s Day. No extravagant gifts or fancy dinners for us. When it was just us, we used to go out for coffee and then on a ‘love day hike.’ Last year, our mini man was 11 months and still not the most willing hiking buddy, so we went out for a simple family coffee date. 2019 was the year of the love note and baked goods. I’m thinking it may just have to become our new tradition . . .

Our love note craft was very spur of the moment and a week or so early. We just so happened to pass an endcap with seasonal stickers while grocery shopping. I thought, toddler + stickers = 5 minutes of delight. There is nothing quite like the joy that a sheet of paper and $2 worth of stickers brings to a toddler’s day. Happy boy makes a happy momma! Not to mention bonus points for making Dad’s day when he came home to an artfully decorated love note.


Valentine’s Day fell on my husband’s Monday this year. Knowing we wouldn’t be able to go out for coffee, little man and I got up and baked homemade pop tarts (aka hand pies) that we sent my husband off to work with (along with a mug full of coffee, of course).

Little J loves watching me in the kitchen, and asks more and more to help out with whatever I’m doing. I simply can’t get enough of that little smile and his endless curiosity. All it took is one little twinkle of his eyes as he said, “Momma! Rrrroooll it!” Of course I couldn’t deny him the opportunity to help out. He had a blast learning to use the rolling pin!


Dad got treats to begin his work day, and you can bet Little J and I had our fair share of home-baked pastry goodness to start our Love Day off right!


Do you have any Valentine’s Day traditions?

Peace,
Y