The fondest memories I have of my childhood are those of my birthdays. Every year, with the little money we had, my parents managed to make my birthday parties magical. As a mother myself, now, knowing how magical birthdays are for little kids I hold myself to the bar my parents set with my own parties. My husband thinks I’m crazy but the truth is that I am crazy in love with our son and I want his birthdays to be perfect. After all, there will come a time when I will not have control over his birthdays and what goes on around his day.
This year, little Nicholas chose Toy Story as his birthday theme. As you already know, I love DIY’s and tend to go a little Pinterest crazy. This year was not the exception. You can check out last year’s Daniel Tiger Birthday themed party here and check out my Pinterest board for this year here.
My first task is always the invitations. I like creating my own and being able to add personal touches to them. Last year I decided to make poster cut outs of Daniel Tiger’s face, which proved to be a lot more challenging that I would have liked. This year I decided to go digital. I used a picture of Nicholas and edited it on FotoJet. The outfit he is wearing is the costume I made for him for Halloween. (Check out the DIY here). The props are toys from his room. To resemble the Toy Story background I picked up a light blue table cover from the Dollar Tree, printed out clouds and painted them in with acrylic paint. I was able to get this done in about two nights. I opted for a table cover instead of paper or board because I knew I would have to store it for a few weeks and I did not want it to get damaged with my little one around. I also used this as a backdrop for the candy table.
Unfortunately, (or well fortunately) I switched jobs about a month before the Birthday party. The change of schedule really put a strain on the amount of things I was able to prepare (from scratch) for the party. Last year I had prepared various decorations that I was unable to put up due to the wind. This year, I opted for a less cluttered look and I loved it.
I made bubblegum machine centerpieces out of terra cotta pots and round floral bowls from the dollar tree. I decorated the pots with acrylic paint, foam, and some cow print fabric I had left over from the Halloween costume. I also made the little hats out of foam paper. This was probably the project that took the longest. The day before the party I remembered I forgot to make the wings for the Buzz machines, but I opted to forego the idea as they already looked nice how they were.
Soldier Balloon Weights
We held the party in the backyard and I had envisioned a row of full body balloons on the side of the house directing traffic towards the back. Unfortunately, the wind struck again and continued to knock the balloons down. At least, I was able to display the balloons in other parts of the yard with these cute Toy Story inspired balloon weights I made. Both the weights and the toy soldiers were purchased at the Dollar Tree.
I decided to recreate the Toy Story letter blocks with tissue boxes. The months before Nick’s birthday I started collecting used tissue boxes from my co-workers. At one point I was about to go with just spelling out “Nick” or “Nico” … that is until one of my co-workers caught a cold and was able to give me more boxes than I had planned. To make these “blocks,” I opened up the boxes carefully, leaving me with the inside as a clean canvas to paint over. Once the letters were painted I folded them back up, inside out.
This sign was in our front yard with green and purple balloons attached. To make this I picked up a plant hanger and a summer decor sign from … you guessed it, Dollar Tree. The sign already came in the shape of arrows so as soon as I saw it I thought it was perfect. I printed out the Pizza Planet and Andy’s Room signs along with clouds that I glued over foam paper. For Woody’s Roundup I handwrote out the letters and glued yarn over them to look like rope.
This was the last DIY I was able to make. I actually just used the same frame from last year and changed the images from Daniel Tiger to Toy Story. I also changed the number one to a two. Unfortunately I did not remember to bring it out during the party so it was a waste of time haha.
Everything else that was used to decorate the dessert table was from Nicholas’ room. I was unable to bring out Woody and Buzz (which by the way are the ones I had when I was little) because Nicholas would have wanted to take them back inside haha. My friend also found some cute figurines at the local swap-meet that she was gracious enough to get for me. Decorating with what we already had was definitely helpful and kept the cost low.
We found these adorable little lunchboxes in Downtown LA. For party favors I was able to stay within the Toy Story theme by purchasing items from the Dollar Tree, Ali Express, and Downtown LA.
Food & Desert
This year we decided to go casual with the food. We had hamburgers and hot dogs and everyone enjoyed it. Initially we had planned to go with pizzas to make it Pizza Planet themed but at the end of the day this just seemed a lot more practical.
I wanted something “simple” for the cake, however when I started looking into prices I realized it really was not much of a difference. I decided to call up last year’s cake artist and she helped me make this beautiful design come to life. If you are in the Orange County/Los Angeles area, I would definitely recommend Cakes by Marian. She always gets my ideas, makes delicious cakes, and delivers right as the party is about to start. This is definitely a plus in my book, I am always running around the day of, having the cake be delivered to my house is perfect.
I made these adorable little alien cupcakes to go on the dessert table. I had originally seen a tutorial on how to make toy story themed rice crispies, but these were definitely easier to make. I also made the rocketship cupcake stand from scratch.
The last shout out for this post is going to go to my dear friend over at Inspirations by Johan who was able to make this adorable birthday shirt for Nicholas. I had initially planned for him to wear part of his Woody costume but a) it was hot and b) he’s not into Woody at this time, because as he has so eloquently told me “its not Buzz” lol. She also made our stats chalkboard last year. If you need a shirt designed or invitations or anything really, head on over and contact her. (Facebook/Instagram)
My husband jokes that now I can take a month off before I start planning the big 3. The good thing is we already know what theme we are going with (haha) but as for now I am definitely happy we were able to pull off another successful birthday party. At the end of the day, it warms my heart to see my little one running around with his little friends. As an only child, and with a small extended family, he doesn’t get much peer interaction. I am definitely happy with the outcome of the party and thankful for the family and friends that made it out. This one is for you guys, thank you. To those we don’t see much throughout the year, those who started off as friends and have become family over the years, those we see every chance we get, thank you. Thank you for blessing my little one with so much pure love.
xoxo – Elle.
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