This is what birthday parties have typically meant for me, as our kids have grown. I loved custom decorating special birthday cakes for them, each year, in the theme they requested. Now, my oldest daughter has continued the tradition with her own kids and makes gorgeous cakes for their celebrations. It’s a pretty rare occasion when I decorate cakes anymore, but when I do, it takes TIME, lots and lots of time; and the ingredients (lots of butter and powdered sugar in icing) are not cheap. Sometimes, it makes more sense to have someone else do it. That was exactly the case for our grandson’s fourth birthday, this past week.
My very best Hudson, turned four on July 1, but to make it easier for the whole family to be here to celebrate, his party was postponed until the 4th. Now, the Fourth of July is a big deal for our family, mainly because it’s a big deal for our community (Nebraska’s Fourth of July City). Even as the “glitter” has faded for old fogies like David and I, who have experienced it every summer for 20 years, it is the highlight of summer for all our kids and grandkids and a huge part of defining summer in our hometown. The 4th is a bustling day, filled with parades, carnivals, craft fairs and flea markets, air shows and magic acts, face painting and funnel cakes, pie eating contests and pet shows, ice cream socials and watermelon feeds, 10 K races and street vendors, singers and cloggers and on and on and on. Our little college town of about 6,000, becomes a tourist attraction to about 40,000 people on this one day out of every summer. Our town square is transformed with all the vendors and activities and from early morning to late at night, and there are fun things to do, for young and old. At the end of the night, hundreds of families collapse onto blankets and lawn chairs at the city park, overflowing with great memories of another fun, family holiday. They relax under the stars to finalize the festivities, for another year, with a remarkable fireworks show! It truly is small town, middle America, at it’s best. (I’m only SLIGHTLY biased. :) ) And THIS was the day that our four-year-old grandson would be on the go for the entire day, have his first birthday party after lunch, be in a parade and then come to our house for supper and his second birthday party, BEFORE going to see the fireworks show. How was I going to compete with all that?
I knew to pull this off it was going to have to be fun, but simple. A four-year-old that had already had a full day didn’t need to be on overload. Plus, if I was going to take part in any of the Fourth of July festivities, the super-fun party I wanted to have for our grandson was going to have to be simple enough, not to require lots of my time. That’s where one-stop shopping at Walmart, saved my day and helped me create a great family birthday party for Hudson. The Disney-themed birthday party stations in their stores are LOADED with great Hallmark products to make any Disney dream party come to life. And, Walmart bakeries can use the coordinating Disney themed Deco Pacs to create fabulous, party cakes. I could get everything I needed in one place and come home to put it together, without stress, great expense or sacrificing my time on the Fourth of July. What a phenomenal option!
The day before, I had called Walmart’s bakery and ordered a cake in the Cars 2 theme, since it takes 24-36 hours for the cakes to be ready. I was able to pick from several options they had available, using Deco Pac kits and I was so excited to know our grandson would get to have an awesome cake at our house, even if I didn’t do the decorating. I picked up the cake and all the supplies in the same trip and headed home to get everything set up. I had a wonderfully decorated room put together in no time, with the Hallmark Disney-themed decorating and party items I found.
I used some of the party favors to decorate a basket that held all the party favor bags. Again, the party stations at Walmart offered a Cars 2 themed party favor bag for 8, that was so affordable, I couldn’t pass it up. I also added “tire” yo-yos and some candy to the bags we made. I decided to put the favors in clear, ziptop bags to let the bright colors show through and add to the decorations. Affixing a flying disc, yo-yo racing flag and a sticker to the basket took less than 5 minutes and added great excitement to the display, without go outside the bounds of my requirement to “keep it simple”. I love how it turned out!
For fun and games I purchased a Pin-the-Headlight-on-Mater, vinyl poster and a colorful balloon drop, both of which also doubled as decor. The whole room looked amazing and added to the fun of our celebration!
We ate a delicious Fourth of July birthday supper — friend chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccoli and watermelon — on those bright and festive Lightning McQueen plates!
Then, the part of the party that everyone was waiting for — CAKE! I purchased a chocolate half sheet cake (which can feed up to 36, depending on the size of your pieces) and had it decorated in deliciously, rich butter cream — just like if I had made it myself. Have you tried the birthday cakes at Walmart? It was wonderful!
And of course the only appropriate finish to any birthday celebrated on the Fourth of July — fireworks!
How do you make things simpler for your birthday party celebrations? Have you seen the new one-stop birthday shop stations at Walmart? They’re loaded with Disney and Hallmark products that will simplify your party planning and free you up to enjoy the fun!
Be sure to check out all these great resources, as you plan your next party!