Sunday, September 29, 2013

Farm Party Details

I decided way back that I wanted to have a petting zoo. We have a big yard, and I knew that would be the main "entertainment" for the party. I mean, what kid, especially 2-year-old, doesn't like animals? The boys weren't into any particular shows or characters, but they loved the books Little Blue Truck and Moo, Baa, La La La, which both have farm animals. I think the petting zoo turned out so well. They brought two ponies, two goats, two chickens, a rabbit and two sheep. Most of the animals just roamed our yard munching on the grass! We have some funny pictures with the goat chillin' in the background. The kids loved the bunny; she was probably the most popular!

So once I the petting zoo set up, I started browsing Pinterest for more ideas. My biggest problem is not going overboard. I love every idea I see, but it's just not possible to have them all in one party! I'm happy with the things I decided to do. I saw lots of cute game ideas, but figured for kids this age, just free time to play and eat was plenty. And it was, it was very laid-back and enjoyable.

Alex always likes to grill some large hunk of meat, so barbecue beef sandwiches were the main event. But it was easy to add "farm fresh" veggies and fruits, watermelon pops and deviled eggs to the mix. The watermelon pops ended up being a great idea; it was so easy for the kids to grab and eat and made for cute photo ops! I also did mini mac and cheese cups again like last year, but I used a simpler recipe. They turned out great and all got eaten before I could taste one! (So I'm assuming that means they were yummy.)Lots of other goodies, including hay stacks and hay bales (Rice Krispie treats), chicken feed (chex mix), and the amazing farm animal cupcakes rounded out the  food table. It was fun to make the little food labels and come up with ideas for the names. For drinks, I made my own milk bottles out of Starbucks frappuccino bottles. I removed the labels (used Goo Gone for label adhesive and nail polish remover for the ink) and ran them through the dishwasher a few times. I spray painted the lids silver and drilled a hole in the middle for straws. It didn't take too much time, and now I have a set for future parties! I made chocolate milk for the kiddos and had tea and lemonade for grown-ups. Of course we had to use our mason jars and striped paper straws, since it's such a fun look (and they're nice and sturdy for drinking outside).

For decorations in the house, I made the printables based on designs I used on the invitation. I printed them at Office Depot and used a circle cutter to make the happy birthday banner. I found the farm animal cutouts at a teacher supply store, so I hung those on the front and back doors and along the mantle. I used a red foam board, black poster board and white electrical tape to make the big barn on the mantle. I had a red tablecloth and bought a few other checked ones. We set up some tables outside, and since the weather cooperated, we ate in the backyard. It was easy to match anything red or checkered with all the decor, including some cute party cups I found in red designs, red straws, red and checkered plates, etc. I actually bought some crates at Jo-Anns and some farm theme trays and decor at a home goods store but don't think I really needed them. Hobby Lobby has the apple crates I used in several places. We bought some plain balloons to tie up as well, since that's always a hit with the 2 year old age group! I set out all of our farm-related toys and books in the living room, which the kids played with when the boys opened presents.

I created a little photo area in the back by our storage barn. We stacked hay bales and hung some cute pennant banners from Oriental Trading to create a cute backdrop. At the farmer's stand near my house, I bought some pumpkins, gourds and the corn stalks to decorate with. The animal cutouts (cow and sheep) were a totally random clearance find at Hobby Lobby! For a craft, I ordered a foam barn picture frame that kids could decorate with foam stickers from Oriental Trading, and I found some farm coloring pages at Michael's, so I set those out too. I don't think many of the kids wandered over there to do any projects, though. It was such a nice day, and we have plenty of ride on toys and the climber that the kids pretty much enjoyed the animals and the back yard!

For favors, a friend gave me the cute little galvanized buckets, which I thought were perfect! (I see similar ones all the time in the Target dollar aisle.) I found the chalkboard stickers to write kids' names at Hobby Lobby, and filled them with farm-themed goodies. I found cute farm themed board books, and fun little stuffed animals. Then I bought some pig, cow, carrot and strawberry shaped gummies online and put those in a little baggie and added a Cow Tail caramel, and that was it! I made a little thank you tag to hang on them, and I thought they turned out really well.

The cupcakes and cakes were all home-made! I was really proud of myself for doing the cupcakes. I thought they turned out so cute, and they ended up being easier than I thought! The hardest thing was finding pink marshmallows for the pig. I browsed lots of Pinterest pictures for the animal ideas. You can find the candy eyeballs at a craft store, and I've even seen them now at Target. The chickens were yellow icing and sugar, and then candy for the feathers and eyes. I bought a black icing tube to decorate the cow's face along with some brown candies. The pigs were pink icing and pink marshmallows (cut in half) for the ears and nose and candy eyes. The sheep were the hardest for some reason! The marshmallow part was easy, but deciding how to draw the "face" was difficult. For the boys' smash cakes, we made 6 inch round cakes and just decorated them like we did the pig cupcakes. Worked out really well! Alex made a barn-shaped cake for the rest of the guests.
It was such a fun day, and I enjoyed planning all the details. I think everything came together, and we had a gorgeous and fun day with the boys and all their friends. Click here to see my other post and pictures from the day. Hope this inspired you if you're looking for a farm themed day! Feel free to ask a question if I left out any details. And now I can't wait to start dreaming up ideas for their third birthday!! Any thoughts?

Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Boys' Farm Party

The boys' farm party was SO much fun! Click here for the post with party details, but here are some pictures and a recap of the day.

The boys wore some plaid shirts and overalls to go with the theme. I thought they looked pretty cute! The weather was perfect for being outside. The boys were so excited when someone ran in and told us, "There's a pony in the yard!" The boys got to go out and watch them bring the animals in. There were ponies, goats, sheep, chicken and a rabbit. They didn't have a saddle for the ponies, but they let the boys sit on their backs for a quick ride! 

We had a TON of delicious food, so people could eat and snack all afternoon! We had tables set up outside. The kids played with all of our ride on toys, especially the tractors my cousin brought for them. Everyone, including the adults, enjoyed the animals! The rabbit was a big hit, and of course the ponies. The goats wandered around on their own eating grass.

We tried to get some photos in our photo area at the back. Some of my favorites are the one of Holden with the rabbit and the chicken, and one of three of the kids and the goat climbing on the hay bales! We tried for a group picture of the kids, as well, but not everyone was happy about that. :) 

The cake part was fun this year, too!! The boys were totally ready to dig in to their piggy cakes, with their forks or their hands! Such a change from last year when Holden would barely touch it. This year they were into everything, including the marshmallows for the ears and the icing, of course. The animal cupcakes were a huge hit with all the other kids and so much fun to make!

The boys were spoiled with lots of amazing presents, from Legos and blocks to cars and tractors. They got several books, art supplies and some cute outfits. We are so lucky to have so many special friends and family that come to celebrate these amazing boys with us! 

Enjoy a few more photos from the day! (Photo credit is not mine! I did hire a photographer so I would have time to enjoy the day and talk with our friends and guests. It's a worthwhile expense for me for that reason! I do wish I had taken some, but I know I would have missed some cute moments if I was behind the lens.)



So serious! It must be hard work to hold a chicken and a bunny?

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Thursday, September 19, 2013

H&H Are Two! Presents and Cake!

After the boys' nap, my mom and dad came over to celebrate the rest of the evening with us. We had pizza for dinner and then got right to opening presents! They got some new coloring books and crayons from Grandma that they had to try out. They also got a lego/duplo set of cars, some new books, and a starter train set and some extra trains. I was pretty excited when they wanted to set up the train tracks right away and play with them. (I made sure to buy two extra trains for a total of four, one for each of their hands for less fighting!)
After presents, we sang to each of them before blowing out candles. They were pretty excited about this part this year, but I think Holden probably blew them both out! They were both ready for the cake part...funny to think last year they would barely touch it! But with so many friends' parties under their belts, they knew they had cake coming to them! I had made a "2" out of M&Ms on the top of the cake, so they were also pretty obsessed with getting the candy. Henry ate all of his candy, and Holden picked up the whole piece of cake on his fork and proceeded to cram as much as he could in his mouth. It was funny and horrifying at the same time. ;) I think Holden actually stole some of Henry's cake off of his plate once he'd finished his own! But when he was done and a huge mess, he did ask for a wipe and said it was a mess. So all in all, the boys had a great day!