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I left the theme for Luke’s first birthday up to my husband. His choice? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. With having two small kids, a full time job, and enough side jobs to create another full time one, I didn’t put as much planning into this as my daughter’s first birthday. I wanted this to be a more mellow event, with emphasis on fun. We brainstormed a few ideas and I was able to pull everything off a bit at a time. Check out the details below!
Upon entering the party, I had a turtle station set up! Eye masks (or headbands for most the younger kids) along with turtle shells lined a table with a sign to pick your favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. And total Google Search fail – They gave me the wrong colors for Leonardo & Donatello!!!
DIY Turtle Shells
Purchase regular pie tins (or turkey roasting pans for older kids) and green spray paint. I laid all of them out on a paint tarp and gave each a few coats. Don’t forget to spray the sides. Then I added 4 hole punches (picture a clock) at 10, 2, 4 & 6. Tie some string between the 10 & 6 punches and the 2 & 4 punches. When putting them on the kids, I squished the sides together to give them more of a shell appearance than a regular circle.
I couldn’t find regular jersey fabric at my local craft store so I purchased 4 XL kids shirts in blue, purple, red, and orange. I cut the bottom seam off the shirt, and cut in about 1.5-2″ sections. I kept cutting until I reached the armpit where the sleeves attached. Hold on to the rest of the shirts, they come in handy for decoration! Once I had all those circular bands, I cut one end so they were long strips. I did cut eye holes, but probably could have left as is since few children actually wore them on their eyes.
I wanted to have some way to spruce up Luke’s high chair, and bring in the colors of the party. I had just seen this post by For the Love of and the lightbulb went off. Remember those tshirts? I still had the arms and again cut the seam off and then cut strips about 1/2″ thick until I had cut up all the sleeves. I took the circular bands, cut one end and then tugged on them. Doing this causes them to stretch and make a tube-like shape. I looped them through some ribbon, and with the suggestion from a friend, added these tiny Command Decorating Clips and worked like a charm! Since Luke was wearing a green shirt, it made for some great photos! (if only he liked this whole cake thing)
Take Home Favor Buckets
To bring color to each table, and also serve as the take home fun – I purchased sand buckets from the Dollar Spot section at Target and added each child’s name in white paint pen and wrote thank you on each of the handles with black paint pen. You only get one shot – so take some practice time writing on cardboard to get used to the paint flow. Inside the buckets I added a water splash ball, individual snack packs (crackers & cookies), and these DIY Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle crayons. I bought this TMNT Ice Cube Tray and these bulk crayons to use with this DIY Tutorial from Fabulous Every Day. I bought 1 set of the crayons and I made an average of 18 crayons per color. I then used some clear treat bags with colored ribbon to tie them off. I also printed some coloring pages I found online to include in the bucket (and hopefully hint to the parents these were crayons and not candy!).
DIY Chocolate Covered Pretzel Rods
One of my girlfriends made chocolate covered pretzel rods for her daughter’s first birthday. They were delicious. So, naturally, I wanted to make them too. My mom found this Wilton Candy Melts box at Michael’s (3 pack, under $5) to help coat the pretzel rods. We melted the chocolate using this Wilton Chocolate Pro Electric Melting Pot machine and then I poured it into the box. I then used a plastic knife to cover all the chocolate and then placed them on a cooling rack. I added colored sprinkles (blue, purple, orange & red) to them and then popped them in the fridge to set. I then removed it, and added some green candy melts to the same Melting Pot and used the back of a spoon to flick more chocolate on top. Once I had the hang of the process, I was able to finish the first step during Luke’s nap and the green drizzle after the kids were in bed. I purchased Pretzel Party Bags and used ribbon to tie them off. Store them in the fridge! I made them Thursday in prep for the party on Saturday.
Some Tips For A Successful Birthday Party
- Hire a photographer. If you’ve ever hosted a party, you know how you’re pulled in 100 different directions. Have someone you know and trust (Becca Rillo Photography took all our photos. Most of the ones in this post are hers!) We also were able to grab some great family photos before the party started.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I have a problem with this. Not that I don’t know how to accept help – but I had my brain in 100 different places and had a hard time figuring out what to delegate. Take an hour the night before the party and write out what you need done so you can keep your head straight. I didn’t do too well with that, but luckily my friends & mom were able to help get it done.
- The kids will always have fun. No matter what. As long as you feed them, let them run around, and give them cake, you’re good!
- Stay hydrated. Without fail, I come down with a wicked headache just as the party is winding down. I never remember to drink water during parties
- HAVE FUN! Remember what you’re there for – celebrating the life of someone you love!
Happy Party Planning!