Saturday, September 28, 2013

Toddler Construction Party (on a budget!)

I in no way consider myself a "Pinterest Mom", and I am sure I could have done more with the same budget to make the decor, foods, etc more adorable and detailed. However, I require practice in all of those areas, so here is what I got with my skillset ;-)

This year I really wanted to stick to a theme for my son's second birthday. As you may know, parties alone can be pricey and throw in a theme and you might double the cost! However, there are some ways to avoid breaking the bank on a party.

Decoration was the easiest part for me - construction colors are basically yellow, orange and black. Streamers, balloons, whatever; easy to find in those colors. We also ordered 12 cheapo plastic "hard hats" as part of our party favors, they were on sale for ~$5!  A little bit of caution tape and we were good to go.

Since Nathan is still quite young, activities were simple fun things he enjoys doing - coloring and building with blocks. We printed out some construction vehicles coloring pages (loads of free designs you can find online), and for our blocks we designated a couple of "Construction Zone" areas for building.

The food was the most fun part. I was inspired by many Internet queries of "construction party foods". Here is what we ended up with:

Traffic cones - orange rice crispy treats shaped like cones
Spare tires - chocolate mini donuts
Boulders - whoppers
Mud and Dirt - Chocolate pudding with crushed oreos.
Construction signs - square sugar cookies frosted orange (we tried writing on them with drawing icing for cakes - I'd advice against this though as they never dried completely and looked silly like that)
Lunch break - "real" food; sandwiches, veggies, fruit, chips
Cupcakes - frosted orange with tiny little toothpick road signs on them

Originally, I had all these grand, expensive, unnecessary ideas for his party. I saw all of the cute ideas many people had posted to various blogs, and I wanted to do MORE. I think by nature, people tend to be competitive. That is the case for myself, at least. Anyway, I knew I couldn't possibly do all of the little things I first wanted to, and so I trimmed my list down. I prioritized everything, and cut down quite a few extras. We didn't need individual sandboxes to dig around in (what a mess, anyhow). We didn't need each child to have a little construction vest ($5 each? Yeesh). And I rather liked how my homemade cake ended up looking, and it was much less costly than a professional cake. I guess the important thing to consider when keeping to a budget - figure out what you MUST do, and figure out what you don't mind skipping. Things like decorations especially seem like unnecessary costs. And here I go getting long-winded again. Thanks for reading!

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