Canaan had a backyard, transportation-themed birthday party. Last year we were pulling the party inside quickly as the rain started to pour. This year we were glad for the tent because the sun was crazy bright out. I was really pleased with how the party turned out. I was looking for something entertaining but unstructured. Something where kids and adults could enjoy themselves with feeling herded from activity to activity. But where the kids had enough to do. I think we hit the right note this year.
I kept both the food and decor super simple. Most of the decor was easy to come by with all the trains and trucks we have around the house. We borrowed this giant truck from a friend though and it was perfect for serving chips and popcorn. My mini loaf pans and a Percy turned into a great way to serve veggies and dips.
I knew I didn't want to be in the kitchen during the party so I planned head and everything was cold. We set out guac, ranch dip, veggies and chips at the beginning.
We also had Stop Light rice crispy treats and Apple Cars. These were available the whole time for easy munching. Then following lots of bouncing, games and free play we served Southwest Sandwiches (half with avocado and tomato, half with pickled cucumbers and all with ham, cheese and the delicious dip that makes them Southwest.) I prepped, cut and plated them all ahead of time and thought this was a great move. The adults thought the sandwiches were gourmet and I spent no party time prepping them.
After sandwiches came the birthday cake and cupcake. The birthday cake came from a Twinkie Cupcake recipe (that was quite lackluster and too much effort in my opinion.) Decorations came easy with a simple buttercream coating, followed by some oreo and graham crumbs and a CAT truck.
I'm glad I took pictures before so that I could again just enjoy the party and not have to take time out for this!
The cake was mini. Also Canaan had specifically requested cupcakes instead of a cake so I also put together these Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella frosting. They were totally delicious and I will be highlighting the recipe on my food blog soon! Simple toppers I was able to cut and glue one night while I relaxed in front of the tv made for easy assembly the day-of.
The big splurge of the day was a bouncy house in our yard. And it was WORTH IT. The kids jumped and jumped, played the balls, ate a little and came back and jumped some more. Canaan threw himself down the slide every which way tumbling into a clump at the end! Eden climbed in right away and I thought it would be good for her to do some bounces before the "big kids" showed up. Turns out she wasn't about to be intimidated and spent tons of time in there with Canaan's friends.
She also thought she was boss of the play table.
Oh wait, maybe she just thinks she's the boss of everything? Either way both she and Canaan will be thrilled to see this same bouncy house at their friends' bday party next weekend since my friend liked it so much she hired them on the spot!
Big fan of the rice crispy treats. Big. Fan.
Canaan and Eden's Cuban Abuela Julie came and was game for catching Canaan on the slide, watching Eden climb over everything and talking with people she'd never met. I was super impressed with her! I was a little worried that Canaan might not spend much time with her with all his friends around but he wanted her to follow him everywhere and watch him play!
Pin the Propeller was the only game we did and that was just fine since the kids were entertained with each other. Canaan didn't love it but he tried once and then loved watching others do it.
The best part was watching the parents get into it.
The kids sang for Canaan and then no one was bashful about sticking their hand straight into that cake! Lots of little finger dips. Here they have a tradition of shouting "Que muerda el pastel" (bite the cake) and then the Bday person old or small takes a big bite straight out. Canaan was happy to comply and then a few of his friends wanted to try too. Later he went to take his nap quietly mumbling "Que muerda el pastel."
Most importantly I think this birthday boy really enjoyed his party! He loves his friends (we love his friends too!) and he loved running and playing barefoot. We were glad to celebrate his short but oh so important to us life this way!