Our sweet, funny little man just turned 2! We hosted a party at our house for our friends and family and had a few of Oliver’s friends over too. I love using literary themes for kids birthday parties as there are so many personal touches you can make with them. Last year, I picked “Brown Bear, Brown Bear” by Eric Carle for his first birthday and this year I had to pick Oliver’s favorite book series, “Little Blue Truck” by Alice Schertle. He loves this book, and the companion books, so much so that he can finish my sentences while I’m reading to him and he knows all the sounds each character makes in the book.
For the party, I selected a blue gingham background with red accents for the theme and ended up using the books and a couple of his big trucks as centerpieces to complete the theme. For decorations, I purchased blue crepe puffs to hang on the door frame and ordered and printed a personalized “Happy Birthday” banner from an Etsy shop.
I wanted to add a decoration to our pantry doors, so I purchased a few rolls of different blue patterned ribbons and tied them to a dowel that I secured to the inside of the pantry doors. I found some Little Blue Truck cupcake topper printables from the publisher’s website (they have a really cute activity kit and a party kit to help plan Little Blue Truck themed parties!) so I cut them out and attached the pictures to the ribbon with double sided tape. I love how it turned out!
To keep the kiddos entertained, we purchased helium balloons (including a big Mylar ‘2’ for the birthday boy) and then each kid got to take a balloon home with them, which they loved. The party kits from the publisher’s website also contained coloring pages so I printed those off and covered up one of our coffee tables with chalkboard paper and set out the pages with crayons for the kids to color.
The book features several farm animals, which was easy to help build a menu around. I tried to make the food as theme-appropriate as possible, while still making it both adult and kid-friendly. I’m big on labeling food at my parties so I even downloaded the font used in the book and printed the labels with same font. I also used the same font on the invitations. Overkill? Maybe, but it was cute!
Here’s the menu, with links:
“Quack” said the Duck – Duck Tarts with Asian Plum Sauce
“Cluck” said the Chicken – Pickled Spring Onion Deviled Eggs
“Peep” said the Chick – ‘Chick’pea Hummus with carrots and hummus
“Oink” said the Piggy – Pigs in a Blanket (purchased)
“Croak” said the Toad – Big Green Toad Guacamole
Little Blue Truck Rice Krispy Treats
Pomegranate Pineapple Ginger Punch (with some gin and vodka to make adult beverages!)
The party turned out great! The kids had fun with the coloring pages and dragging the helium balloons all over the house and the birthday boy had a fun day.
The only hiccup for me was the cupcakes. I baked the first batch the day before the party, but overfilled them slightly and they ended up with all variety of puffed, overflowing and sunken tops. I panicked and decided to make a whole new double batch from Thomas Keller’s “Ad Hoc” book. Apparently, I’m just not that good at judging cupcake levels as those batches, while better, were still not uniform. Anyway, I ended up with over 50 cupcakes when I only wanted about two dozen. I picked the best ones from both batches and frosted those the day of the party. Turns out, frosting cures all sorts of boo-boos from baking! Next time, I’d use a bigger piping tip to get more frosting on the cupcakes, but they turned out ok and I got positive feedback on the taste, so all was well. And my neighbors were the lucky recipients of my cupcake overflow, so everybody was happy!
Finally, one of my favorite highlights of the party was the assortment of food pantry items we collected from guests in lieu of birthday gifts for Oliver. We collected over 20 pounds of food to benefit the Arlington Food Assistance Center and we are so grateful to our guests for contributing to those less fortunate.