4 Cakes for 4th Birthday

miles on prodigy scooterTwo days after Christmas we held a birthday party for my son at Pump it Up.  Two days after THAT was his actual birthday.  We always have family over on the actual day for cake and ice cream.  But this year, you know, on account of because I am crazy (we’ve already established this right?  I don’t need to keep saying it.) I decided that since it was his 4th birthday, he needed to have 4 cakes.  So this happy little guy got to ride around the house on his new Envy Prodigy scooter.  I had cakes in the oven.  I had no time for discipline.

minted banner at homeI used the rest of the Minted party decor I had ordered for his party at the house.  This is our banner wall.  True story, this banner is still up.  As I type this, in February, the banner is on the wall behind me.  It just looks so cute!  And it was super easy.  The Minted items come printed and ready to string.  They are printed on really nice quality paper and make decorating super simple.  Here are 3/4 of the cakes.  One was still in the oven at this point.  We had a yummy cherry chip cake, a chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, an angel cake with meyer lemon glaze, and a dump cake.   Yes, a dump cake.  If you have never had one, you need to.  I’m going to share the recipe with you next week.  It is super simple and everyone always goes crazy for it.  And kids (and my husband) laugh when they hear the word “dump.”

minted cakeasaurus party itemsAnd oh yeah.  I had made the cake toppers from the Minted party stuff before Christmas.  And then found them a few weeks after the party, unused.  How cute would these have been on the cakes?  Total fail.  I am not a baker so trying to get all four cakes done really through me off my game.  But I will just have to save these for another time.

birthday boy on tableDo you want to know how to make the birthday boy extra happy?  Let him walk around on the dinner table.  It was hilarious.  Pure joy.

blowing out the candlesSo there you have it.  4 cakes for a 4th birthday.  For 8 adults and 4 kids.  We had a lot of leftover cake.  And since my other son is turning 7 this year I figured that if I wanted to do a party with one cake for each year I better do it now.  Even my crazy has limits.

*This is not a sponsored post for Minted.  I had a credit with them and decided to try out their party decor.  I am so glad that I did.  It saved me a ton of time and everything was still super cute.


Best Birthday at Pump It Up Irvine

m turns 4This kid turned 4 at the end of December.  He requested a party at Pump It Up.  Since I love planning parties, this was not something I was excited to do.  I mean, how the heck was I going to decorate the party with all those primary colors all over the place?  Yes, many people choose to do parties at places like Pump It Up so they don’t have to decorate.  But I’m crazy.  And since the party was right after Christmas (2 days after…) I thought doing only a little bit of decorating away from the house was the best idea ever.  And just look at that face.  He gets everything he wants.  And we had the best birthday at Pump It Up in Irvine.

climbing at pump it up irvineTo sum it up, I love Pump It Up.  I booked the party for a Thursday to save a bit of money and since it was Christmas break, everyone was available.  Do you know who else loves Pump It Up?  The kids!  We have been to parties there as guests before and the kids always had a good time.  But the staff at Pump It Up Irvine, where our party was, is amazing.  From the moment we got there, they helped out with bringing stuff in from the car, helping us with items that needed to be refrigerated and are absolutely amazing with the kids.

o in pump it upWhile the kids were playing in the first bounce room (if you have never been, they split the party time up between 2 rooms which is awesome because it keeps the kids from getting bored) I asked (ok, just about begged) for the staff to let me in to the party room to start decorating.  I think they made concessions for me to let me go in earlier than normal because I’m sure they could sense the crazy by the look in my eyes.

pump it up irvine is the bestThe staff is super attentive and so good with the kids.  They get in there and play with them and help to keep everyone safe.  I’ve always noticed this on previous visits, but was extra aware of just how well they were making sure everyone had a great time, safely.  I am in awe of how the staff is able to keep the party moving smoothly and while remaining super fun.

pump it up is fun for adults tooAnd even adults have fun in the bounce houses too.  I propose a mom’s night out.  Who is with me?

birthday party at pump it up irvineAnd at the end of every party, the staff gathers all the kids for a group photo.  The kids are usually pissed because they want to keep jumping but you throw the words pizza and cake out there and they smile and cooperate.

m in blow up chair at pump it up irvineI think this chair is the main reason that M wanted his party there.  And the crown.  He sat in that chair the entire time in we were in the party room and never got up once.  He ate his pizza there.  He ate his cupcake there.  His cousins posted up as his security when other kids wanted a turn in the seat.  He asked to bring it home with us.

minted party decor sign at pump it upBecause I had heard that they don’t give you much time to decorate I really needed to keep the decor simple.  Minted’s ready-made party decor saved me big time!  And since Pump It Up has helium on-site, I figured that between balloons (always super festive) and the Minted party stuff the party would be pretty cute.

minted party decor bannerWe chose the Cakeasaurus theme because my son LOVES dinosaurs and used it where we could around the party room.  I covered the tables that clashed with the party decor with inexpensive plastic table cloths.  It helped to tone down the over all brightness of the party room decor (which I’m not saying is bad, just not my aesthetic).

minted birthday party supplies grey strawsMinted has a few accessories to go along with the paper party decor like these grey and white striped straws.  I added some flags to just a few of the straws to bring more of my color scheme in.  And who doesn’t love paper straws?

tables at pump it upFor the tables I needed to do something that would be quick to set up and almost all disposable.  I got a bunch of white plastic table cloths from the .99 cent store and used paper streamers that I twisted and taped to the tables with silver tape.  I added little plastic dinos that I knew the kids would want to take home with them (or were cheap enough that I didn’t have to worry about getting them all back – on a side note, I got enough back that I used them as part of the Valentine’s that M gave his classmates.  Word up).  And for some extra fun, I added succulents I cut from my back yard.  I also brought in the silver paper goods, but they include paper plates, napkins and cups when you book a Pump It Up party.  I have heard people talk about how expensive the parties are but they really include a ton of stuff for the price.  And I’m sure I would have spent just as much, if not more if I had held a party at my house.  Big thank you to my mom and sister-in-law for helping with the super fast decorating. I met back up with the party in the second bounce room and had plenty of time to enjoy watching the kids have sweaty fun.

glittered dinoI added just a touch of silver glitter to various spots on the dinos.  I think a hint of sparkle is perfectly acceptable at a boys birthday party.

dino cupcakesMy sister-in-law is rad and made the cupcakes for me.  I am in love with the little dino picks that she found.  By serving only cupcakes, I didn’t need to worry about silverware, extra plates or the mess of cutting a cake.

dino party hats and crownsAnd it ain’t a party unless there are party hats.  I used store-bought hats and tiaras and added some fun dino accents.

favor sign from minted party decorI used one of Minted’s blank coordinating cards for the favors as well as the stickers to seal the favor bags.  Another thing I loved about Pump it Up is when it was time to pass out the favors, our party gal walked around with my son to make sure that each kid got a favor.

dinosaur favorsNothing about this party was that revolutionary.  I chalk that up to it being the holidays.  I don’t know about you but I tend to slow the blog down around Christmas.  And then I think it is so nice to not feel an obligation to anything that I think about quitting entirely.  I pretty much jumped online one day and just bought a bunch of dino themed items to order for the favors.  Throw in some chemical laden dino shaped gummy snacks and you are good to go.  B T Dubs, I always get bored and start the blog back up again with a refreshed attitude.  But Minted really saved this party for me.  I didn’t have the energy to make everything from scratch but still wanted it to be cute which their stuff is!

blowing out candlesThe staff managed everything.  From passing out the pizza to all the kids and making sure they each got what kind they wanted to making sure each got the right cupcake flavor they made it happen.  They made sure we stayed on track in terms of time and even got everyone to start singing happy birthday.  They took all the pressure off of me and allowed me to just interact with the guests.  As the party was wrapping up I realized that they had everything that we needed to take home with us, from the gifts to leftover food, on a cart waiting to be loaded in to our cars.  They were ON IT.  But we never once felt rushed.  It was a delightful birthday party experience.

mustaches at pump it upAn unexpected bonus to the party was the machine that sold stick on mustaches.  Kids are still WAY in to mustaches.  These are their best “look old” faces.

This is not a sponsored post.  I had such a great experience hosting a party at Pump It Up Irvine that I wanted to share it with you.  Many other adults at the party told me how amazing they thought the staff was with the kids too.  It is obvious they like what they do.  From the minute I made the first call to ask questions and finally book the party, they were helpful and friendly.  My sister-in-law booked a party for my niece at the Anaheim location after our party and had the same experience there.  If you are thinking about holding a party at Pump It Up you should totally do it.  I’m sure we will be booking there again!

All images (except photos 1, 11, 16, and 18 which are mine) by Dez and Tam Photography – the most wonderful people around.  I heart them SO much!


Family vacation to Palm Springs

Palm Springs is one of my fave places on the planet and I love bringing the kid’s here for family vacation.  My grandparents lived here while my sister and I were growing up and visited several times a year.  It is one of those places where there is as much or as little do based on your wants and I think it is a really fun place for families.

We rented a house for a long weekend and knew we would need to have a pool.  Little did we know that in the windy part of town, the pool water can be as cold as ice even though temperatures are in the 100’s.

We spent our first day exploring the house and yard and swimming.  Luckily the jacuzzi was warmer, even though it wasn’t heated, and the boys spent a lot of time in there.

And we wrapped up the night with popsicles.  Sleep schedules were awry and child theatrics were stellar but it still ended up to be a nice evening.

The next day we decided to check out the Marilyn Monroe statue in downtown Palm Springs.  Apparently this statue was originally in Chicago but caused such an uproar that they wanted it moved.  Palm Springs welcomed Marilyn with open arms and it is truly amazing.

Saturday afternoon and evening proved to be very eventful.  My oldest son decided he was going to be sick.  All over the place.  Which was not ideal when we had a personal chef cooking an amazing meal for us based around his food allergies…The food was delicious (see tomorrow for a full recap of our dinner and the chef’s amazing services) and my son never got to eat it.  My youngest son decided that he was going to be a dinosaur wrestler and abandon all manners and listening abilities for the evening.  It was neat.

And before we headed home we decided to have breakfast at The Parker.  I have been dying to check it out so I was really excited.  The decor was amazing, just as I suspected and the food was quite delicious as well.  My oldest was not all better but he managed to make it through breakfast without grossing out the other diners with an “incident.”

And no trip is complete without a stop to the dinosaurs in Cabazon.  Last year we went through the dino adventures they put out back but this year we just made a quick stop for some pictures.  (You can see last year’s trip here).

My poor big guy was still not feeling well at all.  The little one, on the other hand, loved every minute of it.  We left the dinosaurs and headed for home.  We made it all of 15 minutes before the big one decided he needed to be sick.  It was an anxiety filled trip home to say the least.  We aren’t sure why he got sick but I can tell you that I may not have been as vigilant with keeping them hydrated as I should have been.  Lesson learned.  If I have it my way we will head back every year for a family getaway.  And a girl’s trip.  And an anniversary trip…

My kids are Raskullz

This past Friday my boys were in a photo shoot for Raskullz! It was a super fun experience.  We are going to ignore that these pics were taken with an Iphone.  The day of the shoot was POURING (Tony! Toni! Tone! were wrong.  It DOES rain in Southern California) and I just didn’t have room for my real camera.  Especially on account of all the bribes I had packed just in case.

So Raskullz is this awesome company bringing the fun and cool to kid’s outdoor play.  Because this shoot had a bunch of new products that aren’t out yet, if you see something you like and can’t find it, email the company or check back in a few weeks.  SO much good stuff coming out.  I had only known them as a helmet company (bike and snowboard) as my youngest got the shark helmet for Christmas (freaking awesome, by the way).  But they also sell bikes, skateboards, scooters, backpacks in different styles and elbow and knee pads.  How rad is that bike my son is on?  That head on the front is actually a compartment!

By far, this dino scooter was my youngest son’s favorite.  There was no way for the producers of this shoot to know how many dinosaur toys we have at home.  But this was a great introduction in to the shoot.  What I loved about their products is that they really thought about it and gave options for several age groups.  This scooter was perfect for my 3 year old.  But they had others that would be better suited for older kids.  Same with bikes, etc.

I’m pretty sure that each of my kids tried on every one of these helmets.  Multiple times.  And I’m not going to lie, I had my eye on this adorable girl’s helmet with a tiara that I really thought would look cute on me.  My photos don’t show the real stars of the Raskullz show, though.  And that is the characters on the products.  I don’t think you’ll be surprised to find out that some of the design team came from Paul Frank.  These guys are excellent at what they do.  They design cool, cute, age appropriate characters and understand what little boys are in to and what a little girl would be drawn to.  And prices are right.  About $25 for a helmet, about $70 for a bike.  Totally doable.

What!  This bag is rad!  The kids were really drawn to this product too.  With school lockers being a thing of the past and dumb school test scores and yucky amounts of homework, this rolling bag is perfect for your school age kids.  But I would use it for over nighters for the boys.  You hear that, Grandma Marilyn, who is about to retire…Get the beds ready.  They offer regular style backpacks too, which will be perfect for my preschool age son who brings home a single hand print picture every day.

Thank you to the Raskullz team!!  We had such a fun time at the photo shoot and had so much fun checking out the products!

Check out their website for more info!

Follow Raskullz on Twitter and Facebook.

This was not a sponsored post.  Raskullz, in my opinion, are awesome.