reprise! toy story birthday

My three year old is obsessed with Toy Story. Obsessed. Everything from his room, to his clothes, down to his little preschool backpack is Toy Story. After a blow-out second birthday party, I promised my husband I’d tone this one down a bit  (a bit). . . but I still wanted to create a special Toy Story moment for my little man.

Cake Table

Almost every party I do starts with the cake (we always use Layer Cake). This year, I wanted a themed cake, but I wanted to use action figures that could double as toys. We flanked the cake table with Buzz Lightyear lunch boxes and spaceship party favors that you can buy here (warning: they’re super cute, but they don’t hold much).























Mac-N-Cheese Bar

I love doing fun food bars, especially for kids’ parties. If this wasn’t being held at a park (and had I not sworn to keep this one more low key), I’d be posting a fabulous over-the-top mac-n-cheese bar. However, this one totally worked, and it was easy to execute. In fact, we bought the mac from El Pollo Loco since it’s my son’s favorite, so it was super easy. We offered an assortment of toppings from bacon bits to parmesan to turkey dogs, to crispy french onions and more. We made little place cards with Toy Story characters.















I always love to showcase photos of my little man from the past year to add a personal touch, and to show friends and family how much he’s grown. We found a very budget-friendly way to display photos on-theme. These great little picture frames were only a dollart at Target in the dollar section (now known as the “some of it is a dollar, some is $3, so pay attention while you pile everything into your cart” section). They were on theme with the color, and we just stuck on some Toy Story character stickers we got in bulk. He now has these frames in his room.









More . . . 

The birthday boy got to dress in his Buzz shirt, his little brother was his sidekick Sheriff Woody.










Mr. Potato Head glasses photo op with the some of the kids . . .

operation birthday cake

It’s that time of year again. The one where my inner event planner meets my son’s birthday . . . meets my obsession with birthday cakes.  So far, each birthday has been inspired by the cake. I always start there– it ‘s a great visual and it ties the theme together.


His first birthday was a tiny smash cake (made with no dairy, since he was allergic at the time). Options were limited sans dairy…but we had this adorable little elephant made.











Then momma had to up the ante.  Birthday number two was so much fun to plan since he was able to communicate what he wanted by then. He was all about Yo Gabba Gabba . . . and momma was all about a big, bold over-the-top cake four-layer cake!











This year, we’re leaning toward Toy Story (his latest obsession). But in my search for cakes I’m seeing a never-ending supply of ideas….from Legos to cars, to Sesame Street. I’m learning toward this bad boy:











Here are some other boy birthday cakes I thought were adorable.









If you’re also obsessed with kids’ birthdays, follow me on Pinterest.

I’ve done the legwork on some inspiration boards for themes, invites, cakes . . . and odds are I won’t be stopping any time soon because my other little man turns 6 mos in a few days. Let the 1st birthday party planning games begin!!









what birthdays are made of

This week I celebrated the big 3-6, and I have to say it was one of my favorites. For once, I woke up with no plans.  The only thing on my agenda– spending the day with my husband and kids, seeing where the day took us. When my husband asked me what I wanted? Nothing. Seriously, nothing. Have I grown up, or what!? I have my boys, I have my health, I have my family, I have an awesome husband who wanted to spend the day making me happy… nothing you could put in a box could ever top that.

Everything about that day felt like an opportunity to think about the ways my life has changed over the past few years, and revel in it.

I woke up at 8:30 (what a mom with two kids considers sleeping in late).

I was greeted by my 2 yo with a giant balloon,

(and a Spiderman mask ... go figure)











a birthday card and the cutest “Happy birthday to you, momma!” ever.  My husband came in with a giant gift bag and propped my newborn next to me.

If my day ended there, it couldn’t have been more perfect.

what birthdays are made of

The gift? A totally thoughtful nod to where I am in life right now.

A box of Clif Bars (so I have an excuse to eat chocolate and pretend like it’s healthy)
Yoga clothes (enter me chanting: I will lose the baby weight)
Workout socks (Because I’m a perpetual sock hijacker. My husband’s are always more comfortable!)
Wine (you read the part where I said I had two kids, right?)

… and some “fun money” so I can get whatever I wanted ($10 says I buy clothes for the kids. It’s like an addiction).

We ate at my favorite breakfast place, Plum (banana brulee oatmeal and a mimosa), had an awesome lunch at True Foods (so I could feel less guilty about the breakfast), and finished it with dinner at Opah.

Every stop had a happy birthday song and a dessert, and the last stop found us sitting next to a sweet man who bought us a round while my 2 yo worked the room hugging everyone.

I’m pretty sure I gained three pounds. Scratch that. I actually gained three pounds. But I wouldn’t swap the look on my son’s face every time a new birthday dessert came to the table for anything in this world.

In the end, at 36, presents in bed, Spiderman masks, happy birthday to you’s and my boys by my side are what birthdays are made of.

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