Gv + Cake Bday Party (Plus quick, delicious birthday cake recipe!)

Birthday parties around here aren't necessarily flashy, Pinterest-worthy productions, but they are extremely budget-friendly and full of plenty of old-fashioned fun!

Gv requested a Peg+Cat party this year (way back in October!) 

Check out what I did to make that happen...



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I've shared before how much Gv loves Peg+Cat. Luckily, I really dig the show myself, so it was easy to say yes when she asked if she could have a Peg+Cat-themed birthday party this year.

Never mind that it was October and I was pretty sure that theme choice would change approximately 286 times before her beginning-of-summer birthday rolled around.

But I was wrong. She never deviated from that idea one bit -- so you can bet she was pretty excited when the big day finally arrived!

We may have only had three years of birthday parties before this one, but they've each been pretty fun events -- and all thrown within a minuscule budget.

When she turned 1, I made everything rainbow (might as well pick my favorite theme, right?) and we spent time at a park with close family and friends.


My super-healthy-cuz-she's-still-a-baby-and-hasn't-had-sweets rainbow cake


Turning two took us camping on Water Management District Land (a great way to find a free camping spot, if your area has them!) Grammy & Papa joined us for the campout and then the final day of the weekend included a fun party at the picnic shelter, with a -- guess what? -- rainbow camping theme.


Pin the cloud on the rainbow!


We gave our party shoes a bit of a rest last year, since we'd had a really rough spring, but still managed to have some special, nursery-rhyme themed fun with friends at our weekly playgroup.


Jack Be Nimble candle-jumping relay


But this year, Gv was old enough to not only request a theme, but also engaged enough to really enjoy all the games and activities with her friends.


The Invitations

I created a Facebook event for the invites, but that didn't mean I couldn't make the header cute:

"It's Gv's birthday and we're totally freaking out! Come help us celebrate four years of fun with our little girl."

The Arrival

We held this party at the same spot as when she turned one: the screened-in porch of the auditorium at one of our favorite local wildlife preserves.

Once guests parked, they were greeted by this display before beginning their journey down the boardwalk nature trail that led to the building:


Top sign reads:


Bag directions:



Guests then hunted for yellow "chickens" along the boardwalk trail leading to the party:

Yellow pom poms were our chickens 


At then end of the journey, everyone dumped their bag of chickens into the "coop" (a large paper bag) so that we could later count and see if we'd retrieved all 100 chickens.


While waiting for everyone else to arrive, guests could play with the pattern blocks and ABC Shape Animal Cards I'd had in my classroom.

Everyone got their own Cat card (it's up there with the pattern blocks on it) to assemble and then bring over to the table to color and take home.


We also had chalk set up on the sidewalk, to keep the kids occupied during transitions:


The Food

Nothing too fancy for the food this year. I was inspired by episodes for "The Pizza Problem," "The Lemonade Problem," and "The Racecar Problem" in coming up with the menu selection.

We had pizza rolls (kept warm in an electric skillet), lemonade, hot-buttered popcorn (Hot-Buttered Lightning is the name of Peg + Cat's racecar) and an assortment of other snacky things like chips, veggies and fruit.

I made little food signs for all the "problems," just to jazz things up a bit.


I read a Peg + Cat book to the kids while they ate, then it was time for games.

The Games


I sort of combined two episodes for this idea. I sawed hula-hoops in half to make arches, then set them up so that teams could go "over," "under" and "in-between" them for a relay, which was inspired by The Penguin Problem.

I'd originally planned to use dowels in each end to give the hoops more stability in the ground, but never got around to that stage in the process. If you try this yourself, don't skip the dowels -- unless you want to spend the whole game running around fixing toppled-over arches!
 
See those legs up in the top corner? That's me, jamming an arch back into the ground for the 538th time.

Next, we played a few rounds of Musical Statues. I'd created a Peg + Cat playlist and let everyone dance their sillies out, freezing when I stopped the music.

In the end, we just tossed the game rules out the window gazebo, because everyone just wanted to jump around to the music, instead of playing the game.


Our final activity was to count up all those missing chickens that we'd collected back into the coop and then play a game with them.

Everyone took one chicken and a straw and had a race to see whose chicken could be blown across the finish line first.

I forgot to get a photo of that one...

The Cake(s)

I knew way back in October that I'd be making a Peg cake. 

Gv had seen the idea on the pbskids website and that's what made her realize she wanted a Peg + Cat birthday party in the first place.

However, I knew I'd need more than just that one cake to feed all of our guests, so I decided to make a Cat cake, as well.

Peg has marshmallow eyes. I used frosting for Cat's eyes, but used chocolate chips for the pupils on both.

Quick cake & frosting recipes:

Cake


Cream 1/2 cup honey and 1/2 cup butter together, then beat in 2 eggs. Add 2 teaspoons vanilla and then 1 1/2 cups flour and 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder, which you've mixed together previously. Now add in 1/2 cup milk, pour everything into a greased & floured 9x9 cake pan and bake 30-40 minutes at 350 degrees until the top springs back when pressed.

Frosting


Cream 2 sticks of butter with the paddle attachment on this for about 3 minutes, then add in 3-4 cups of powdered sugar, 1/2 a cup at a time. Add in 2 teaspoons of vanilla and a pinch of salt, then 2-3 Tablespoons of milk (a little at a time) until it's the consistency you want.


The Birthday Girl

Gv had the best time at her party and everyone else seemed to enjoy themselves, as well.

Grammy surprised Gv with a hand-sewn Peg + Cat shirt (she even made the shirt!) and that helped make the day even more special!




What types of birthday themes do your kids enjoy?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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12 comments:

  1. Oh my word, over-the-top adorableness with a capital "A"!!!! I am so sharing all this clever but not crazy-expensive or hard creativity on my blog page. What a blessed birthday girl GV is. Of course, all this stands in stark contrast to the year I gave my L a hula themed party. Her birthday cake was a hula girl, theoretically. But on account of some miscalculations on proportion on my part, her top half looked like a sumo wrestler and her bottom half looked like an alien. It was "memorable." Congratulations on another successful party, birthday mom!

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  2. You know I love Peg + Cat too. What a great birthday party theme. You nailed it, Mom!

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  3. My daughter and I love Peg+Cat. I never heard of a Peg+Cat birthday party before this. How creative and you totally pulled it off! Xx

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  4. It looks like they had so much fun. Absolutely love the idea of finding the chickens along the path and blowing them across the finish line at the end. I would have love to see that :D

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  5. This is so great! The favorite themes at our house were firefighters and pirates. Such great memories!

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  6. You are so amazing and creative. Your children will grow up with well developed imaginations, a great asset. Your pics are gorgeous.
    Kathleen
    Blogger's Pit Stop

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  7. Love the cakes and fun birthday party ideas. Thanks for sharing on the #LMMLinkup this week.

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  8. Thanks so much for linking up your post with us at What to Read Wednesday. It’s always fun to get new ideas! I hope we will see more from you next time. :)

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  9. Wow Lisa, you know how to give one awesome kid's party! It sounds like so much fun for a bunch of kiddos! I see you got your comment problem fixed! I've never heard of "Peg & Cat," but it sounds like a fun series for kids.

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  10. Great interactive fun children's party. You can tell the munchkins are having a blast. I made me happy just to read it. Well done.

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  11. Wow this party looks fabulous Lisa I love the chicken hunt :)

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  12. What a fun and creative birthday party. I'm sure all of the children had a blast! Thank you for sharing at Party in Your PJs. Teresa

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