30 August 2011

easy as one, two, three. / a birthday party.

mr. benjamin has been talking about his birthday party for months now. or let me rephrase that, he has been talking about a lightning mcqueen birthday cake for months now. i think it's awesome when kids come up with their own ideas; i hope to encourage his planning skills from the get-go. (let me warn you; licensed characters don't come cheap however. don't get me started on the price of a disney themed pinata. which is why the cake and the puny paper plates were really the only thing i went all lightning mcqueeny theme-y on. not sure he would've wanted to bash his race car hero to oblivion for the tootsie rolls inside anyway.) but i was delighted we could make his one birthday wish a reality (may they always remain so simple and sweet)!

so plans for the party were bubbling. i toyed with the idea of hosting friends, cousins and the like but stopped myself and decided instead to keep the event down to the basics. our summer has been hectic enough with so much house-hopping hassle. i wanted to give him a birthday devoted to what he currently loves: cars, his grandparents, chocolate birthday cake, surprises, and--most important to a three year old--our undivided attention. here are a few glimpses of our day together.



THE MORNING OF // benji noticed the birthday banner and knew it was a very special day. we opened a few simple presents; including a doctor kit and a patient, johnnie (isn't he cute?! we adopted him from ikea). we ate german pancakes. together we unbubble-wrapped the singing cake plate. we watched it turn and spin a few times for rehearsal. he loved all the birthday prep. i even took him with me to granite bakery to pick up his cake. but no peeking til the party. now you know i'm all about from-scratch-cakes, but i must admit, there is something very charming about picking up a giant white box from the bakery and attempting to tote it home with care.




AN HOUR BEFORE // i decided to think about 'decorations'. since grandparents were the only guests, i wasn't as hyper about having everything just so. it was much more relaxed and fun. i surveyed my mother-in-law's collection of linens and discovered the vintage car sheets from dan's youth! perfect! i took them in my arms, along with a roll of masking tape, down to the patio. a fitted twin sheet fit like magic on the large table and i used two pillow cases as 'table toppers' for the smaller tables. i taped the edges underneath to disguise their bedding appearance. i gathered a few of benji's favorite vintage fisher price cars to display as centerpieces. as luck would have it, a flower arrangement was delivered to us on the very day of the party. i love a happy coincidence. we set out cars and a small welcome sign. we also laid out a car mat inside for benji to play on while the adults mingled.




LETS GET THIS PARTY STARTED // we pulled out the bubble machine to welcome guests in style. (best nineteen dollars ever spent at Target; on clearance last year at the end of august!) benji was happy to man the machine. after cutting the cake, serving it up, and singing to the smiling guest of honor, the big surprise was unveiled.



THE MAIN ATTRACTION // luckily our 'grand' guests didn't mind that the main party game was watching how many men it takes to put together a wagon; three generations! the birthday boy was happy to observe, feel it out and read the instructions about his new set of wheels. i don't know who was more excited; benji or his dad. (it's pretty cute to see a papa and his boy work on a project together.)



FAVORS FOR PENPALS // while we did away with many of the typical birthday party elements (finger foods, balloons, etc.), i still thought it would be fun to do a party favor. these were so darling, i couldn't resist! however these racers didn't go home with the guests.. they were mailed in padded envelopes to benji's buddies (now penpals) back in idaho. (wooden race cars w/ paint set available at Target, in the party aisle.)

this happy birthday party was a piece of cake.

15 comments:

Shannon @ A Mom's Year said...

What a sweet party. Your little man is so wrapped in love; it's wonderful to read about that. And it makes you want that for every child out there.

{natalie} said...

Sometimes the best parties are so simple. I love that you used what you had around and it turned out so cute. I made the mistake of sinking a talking mater into chocolate frosting (i made your sour cream chocolate cake and doubled the frosting) and now he won't talk. whoops!

benji is adorable and i love how much delight you find in being a mother. he is a lucky boy.

J, K & L said...

you are a great mama - you can tell by how happy benji is & all the awesome stuff you do for him (& your family). thanks for sharing your inspiration. :)

Riley said...

First of all, that is the most precious little birthday party.

Secondly, I got so excited reading that post...I have never met anyone else that knows about German Pancakes! Arn't they amazing!!?

And thirdly, I used to live in Idaho too! I'm from Sun Valley. I just love your blog, and I hope you have a marvalous day.

Hil said...

Those low key, easy parties are always my favorite. What a fun wagon! Little Guy has already painted the cars and was ecstatic finding a package for him in the mail. Such a fun way to be a part of the party even though we are miles away!

Happy Birthday Benji boy!

Lady Day said...

Hats off to you Marta for having a small, thoughtful party. We had one for Layla as she turned one, sharing the day with just our parents and we were met with much resistance, as if we didn't care enough. Your photos show that Benji is definitely thought of and loved. Thanks for sharing! And doesn't time just fly...

Eeny said...

What a sweet little party and it sure looks like as the birthday boy enjoyed it a whole lot.

I love the building the wagon part - reminds me of birthdays and chrismases in my family. Everytime any of the kids gets something that has to be put together my dad and my uncles where sitting there and doing it together. If it was a little stroller for my doll or a lego pirate ship for my cousin. Way cute.

Eeny said...

PS: I wish my comment box had a grammar checker...
Sorry for this weird sentence in my last comment =)

{ SHE } said...

So charming, so sweet and a perfect way to celebrate a little boy. The looks on his face are just precious.

Amy said...

such a sweet and ideal 3 year old day.

p.s. my son loves those target painting cars too! what a perfect penpal party favor. :)

Amanda Greer said...

Marta, even though the party was low-key, you made it so charming! Using the bedding is a fantastic idea! And I absolutely love the party favours. So sweet of you to mail them to Benji''s buddies! Also, in the picture right under the cake, Benji looks SO grown up!

Ihilani said...

I love how you focused on what Benji loves. Sometime birthday parties become more about the adults than the kids, but it's obvious that by the look on Benji's face that it was all about him.

Travelin'Oma said...

You guys know how to throw a "wheel" good party! Thanks for inviting us!

Nicole said...

OMG what a big boy he is! I love the photo of the three generations of men putting together the wagon. And the favor idea is brilliant. I bet all of his little buddies back in Idaho were there in spirit. :) Happy belated bday Benji!

Kathryne said...

Marta, I took a break from blog reading for a while when I had "2 under 2" in my house. Just rediscovered your blog and whammo! I am inspired once again. So glad you've kept it up all these years & benji is so big & cute. Congrats! Kadie

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