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How I plan a birthday party

5 Nov

I love love love planning my son’s birthday parties. And it takes me a while to do… and sometimes (always) ends up being a lot of work… but oh so worth it! So, I just wanted to share with you a few things about how I plan a birthday party and what I did for my son’s 3rd birthday. We went with Where the Wild Things Are theme and it was great!

1. Theme – First things first… thinking about the theme. I usually have a few possible themes at a time. I make a choice when we’re about 2-3 months away from the actual birthday dependent on my son’s interest at the time (and now he has an opinion as well 😉 ). I make a Pinterest board (will talk about that next) for every theme. That way, when is time to choose a theme, I have all the ideas I like in one place and don’t have to do as much research/planning.

Example of my Pinterest boards for birthdays

Example of my Pinterest boards for birthdays (Sesame Street, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Where the Wilds Things Are) *Click to see the boards on Pinterest

2. Pinterest board – I pin and pin and pin… every little idea that comes my way.

  • cake – I make my son’s birthday cakes. I’m not a trained cake decorator but can totally put together a cake. Sometimes very kind people will share their creations and even do a step-by-step tutorial. Just search! I followed this tutorial.
  • invitations – I love mailing invitations. I love seeing what others do and use it as inspiration to make my own. I usually also have a Facebook event going (it is a great reminder).
  • food – Sometimes I make the food, sometimes I order out. This year we had pizza and wings from Great Northern Pizza Kitchen. It was great. Specially since the birthday party was around lunchtime.
  • decorations – You can find pretty much an idea for most things that come to mind on Pinterest. Finding ideas for parties is just great… from simple to all out… from DIY to you-can-buy-this-here. You’ll find something for your taste and budget.
  • other – I add activities, favors, costume, etc.

Obviously, not everything that gets pinned, gets done for the birthday… although I wish I could! 😉

3. Make/send invitations – I make and mail the invitations a month-ish before the birthday party.

Inspired by a few invitations I found online.

Inspired by a few invitations I found online.

4. Make cake TIP: Make sure that you allow enough time to finish your cake! This is the most stressful part of the whole birthday party planning. It is hard to predict what’s going to happen. This last cake took me a good 3 days to complete… but a month after the party, I still have people talking about it. Not too bad! 😉

Cake

Love this cake!

5. Birthday Party Day – We are fortunate to have an entertaining room in the apartment complex that we can use for this kind of activity. It is a big room with tables/chairs already set up. There’s also a kitchen. I love it! Minimal setup… we just have to clean at the end. I’ve had birthday celebrations at home before and I feel that there’s much more to do/clean before and after the party. See if you can find a room like that for your next party!

We were able to bring a ball pit, tunnels, and a huge inflatable bowling set. They were all a huge hit with the toddler crowd. My husband did story time and read a couple books including Where the Wild Things Are.

Story time!!!

Yes, he was wearing his Max suit!

Yes, he was wearing his Max suit!

6. Thank You cards – I believe in sending Thank You cards. People take time of their day to come celebrate with us and I think it is a very nice thing to do. I love receiving thank you cards (any kind of cards/letters), so I love sending them too. It is also a great learning experience. Talk to the little one while you write them and explain why you’re mailing cards.

Hope this post helps you a bit on your future birthday planning! 🙂

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Learning to decorate cakes (with Wilton)

28 Oct

Just last night, I finished the Wilton Course 1 – Building Buttercream Skills. I took my classes at Michael’s because they had a special offer when I signed up. Here are some pictures of my projects!

Class 1 Sample

Class 1 Sample

Class 2 Sample

Class 2 Sample – Yellow cake with apricot filling

Class 3 Sample

Class 3 Sample

Class 4 Sample

Class 4 Sample – Chocolate cake with raspberry filling

What I liked:

  • Even though I’ve decorated cakes, cupcakes and cookies before, I liked that there was plenty for me to learn. I’m self-taught, so it is always good to have a veteran decorator give you pointers. The instructor was very patient and gracious.
  • I only paid $10 for the class (plus course materials)! I think it is a great price especially if you just want to give it a try!
  • I love the manual. I think it is very well written and will be great to refresh my memory on some of the techniques. (I wish it included links to videos that showed somebody going through the techniques… just a thought!)
  • I love the course kit. They really provide you with quality materials. It contains all the tools you need. (Although, I ended up buying a cake leveler and a turn table (which I love and think are a must have!).) And I know that I won’t have to buy any of those things again (or at least on a very long time!).
  • I really feel like I can produced a decent buttercream cake! I learned to properly layer and fill a cake. I’m no expert, but I know that lots of practice will help.

What I didn’t like:

  • My classmates were never prepared. This made the instructor have to deviate from the course schedule to accommodate for them. Somewhat annoying.
  • We had schedule issues, so we ended up having 4 classes in 2 weeks. I know this course is offered in 2 classes sometimes. But it felt too back to back for me. Like I didn’t have time to let anything sink in or practice on my own. We had to bake and prepare icing for every class and that takes time as well.

So… I really enjoyed the whole process (don’t let my dislikes discourage you from trying a Wilton class… after all, that was just my experience). Getting ready for class was a bit stressful at times but it got me out of the house and gave me time to learn more about something I’ve always enjoyed. I’ll definitely take the other courses… I’m particularly interested on trying fondant and making gumpaste flowers. If you give it a try, let me know what you think! 🙂

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