Yesterday marked Vincent’s four years on this earth, outside of the womb. Of course, we had a party to celebrate our little man’s big day. Vincent decided he wanted a colored balloon party, so I made invitations to fit the theme and searched Pinterest for inspiration.
First, we jazzed up the front porch with a balloon wreath, a number four, and a planter of red mums.
I thought I’d tie balloons to the number, like the inspiration, but it couldn’t stand upright. So, I improvised by hanging the painted paper mache letter from the light. The only problem? The four turned in the wind, sometimes making a backwards four. Oh well, you can’t win them all.
Five bags of balloons from the Dollar Tree plus a foam wreath form I already had plus a box of straight pins equals an adorably cheap, festive wreath, perfect for a birthday party.
Just a tip, I found the Dollar Tree’s balloons to be the best deal. Twenty five large balloons for only a buck. Target and Wal-Mart charged one dollar for only 15 balloons. I cheaped out because I wanted to save some balloons for other party decorations. The back is completely bare and some areas of the wreath form are visible from the side, but only if you’re completely smooshed up against the door.
We used the saved balloons to make a chandelier to hang in the living room, over a folding table for additional seating.
I didn’t want a cheapo plastic table-cloth, but I didn’t want to shell out the dough for a cloth cover. Luckily, our boys don’t use flat sheets on their beds, so an extra twin-sized flat sheet covered us. Pun intended.
We focused our decorating energy on the dining room, covering the ceiling with a rainbow of paper zig zag streamers. A mix of construction paper and card stock from Vincent’s craft bin.
Construction paper weight worked better to make the streamers. The thinner the paper, the better it hangs. A small piece of Scotch tape held the streamers nicely.
On the plate wall, we hung a banner my sisters made for Vincent’s first birthday. We’ve used it every birthday since.
I’ve learned to keep food as simple as possible when entertaining a larger group. Brie cheese on roasted garlic bread (from Costco) and Caprese salad skewers as appetizers. Spaghetti and meatballs is a crowd pleasing meal, and it’s easy to make in one large batch. My mom made meatballs two days before and froze until the day of the party. I made a large batch of home-made spaghetti sauce and put it in a crock pot to simmer all day. Yesterday morning, we thawed out the meat balls. A few hours before the party started, we added the meatballs to the sauce to warm up. We rounded out the meal with a simple spinach and romaine salad and rainbow fruit skewers.
The fruit skewers consisted of one strawberry, two peach slices, two pineapple chunks, one large piece of kiwi, and two grapes. We forgot to get blueberries. Oops.
For dessert, I made Oreo pops and a chocolate cake. For the Oreo pops, we used Oreo Triple Double cookies. I had small wooden spoons left over from another craft project, so I used those for the sticks. A quick dip in almond bark and a shake of sprinkles later, we had a cute dessert.
I don’t bake, so I decided to buy a box of cake mix (Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge, to be exact). I poured the batter in 9 inch spring for pan, and it barely covered the bottom. So, I mixed up another box to make two layers. To assemble the cake, I cut the tops off for a flat surface. Then, I melted Nutella to spread as a layer between the two cakes. My sister frosted the cake with cream cheese frosting. To decorate, we added stripes of M & M’s. First, we made lines using the back of a knife, just to keep everything straight and even.
Then, we placed 6 M & M’s on each stripe, until we’d covered the entire cake.
For a non-baker, this was an easy solution to avoid frosting.
We sprinkled a few glasses, just for chocolate milk drinkers.
Overall, the party was a huge success, even if every guest did bring him a gift, despite the no gift request.
What is your favorite part? Have you ever made spaghetti for a party? Do you make cakes from scratch, or a box? Have you ever had Brie on roasted garlic bread? If you haven’t, you should. It’s fantastic, and easy.