I said one last goodnight to my sweet-faced little three year old and was greeted the next morning by a smiling, bright-eyed and very excited four year old. I can't even begin to express the sheer joy this small boy brings to my life. After charting his new growth on the doorway (which we just did the night before, but somehow he shot up a bit overnight) we headed off to school with cupcakes. Chocolate with chocolate frosting and flags, per his request.
I has asked him a month before what kind of cake he wanted for his party. I had already practiced not looking disappointed when he said something like "Spiderman" or the "Hulk".
When he said "tractor" I nearly fell over. Have I mentioned how cool this kid is?
A few googles later, I found some great cake and pinata ideas. I am not a huge fan of treat bags full of Oriental Trading trinkets. I wanted something that the kids would like and the moms wouldn't constantly be picking up off the floor, stepping on, or finding under the couch two months from now. Here's what I came up with.
Freezer paper stencils have been on every craft blog coming and going and now I know why. Peeling that paper off is so very satisfying, not to mention the sharp image it leaves behind. I see Halloween and Thanksgiving tees coming soon. The tractor image came from a preschool clipart book. Thanks to Big T, party guests also received a CD of Little T's favorite tunes.
The pinata went together much easier than anticipated. I cut the bottom and two sides out of a food processor box, then cut a flap in the top for filling. After taping a smaller box to the top, I covered the whole thing in paper mache. Next I cut two-inch strips of tissue paper, stacked them and cut fringe. Finally I glued each strip of fringe on starting at the bottom and overlapping as I moved up. The tires are construction paper.
The cake gave me a fit, but I am very happy with the way it came out. This is the first birthday cake I have done without some help from the folks over at Martha Stewart Omnimedia. Come to think of it, I didn't consult Martha one time for any of this. What a revelation. I have been hanging on to Martha's apron strings for years and now it seems I can let go.
The cake is Magnolia's Vanilla Cake baked in two loaf pans. One loaf was cut in half with one half being used as a base and the other half used as the cab of the tractor. The back tires were baked using a six inch metal bowl and the front tires were baked in a 1/3 metal measuring cup. The tires are chocolate cake with dark chocolate frosting. I used a few wooden skewers to keep the whole thing together.
The party was a success. There's nothing like watching a bunch of small, blindfolded boys attack a pinata with a big stick. It's even more entertaining when they miss. Seeing their expressions when they first realized what was inside was priceless. When the first hole was struck, a tiny leg came popping out. When the thing finally came flying apart, soldiers, action figures, punch balloons and Superman candy went flying. Happy Birthday, little guy!