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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Jacob's Happy Day

Last Saturday, we threw a construction party for our little boy who turned two yesterday. Yes, two! (Although ask him and he will enthusiastically say, ‘Three!’) 

The days leading up to it were pretty stressful, even with a guest list of only 8 adults and 1 baby, and everybody family who’ve already seen our house at best and at worst, and have attended an event we’ve hosted before. Some of the stress came from the scarcity of construction theme party supplies in town. I knew we should have gone with the Thomas theme. I must’ve scoured a half-dozen dollar stores! I did find a pack of construction cut-out signs and twirly whirly banner things from a party discount store but that was it.

Enter homemade. The procrastinator that I am, suddenly I’m running out of time to make handmade birthday banner and poster. Plus I had vowed to make the cake myself. Either I switch my superpowers on, or I give up at least 3 hours of sleep each night to accomplish everything I’d planned.


  • Yellow plastic tablecloth outlined with construction tape from the party store
  • Plastic orange safety cones from the party store
  • Yellow and black plastic plates
  • Twirly whirlies
  • Cut-out construction signs
  • Yellow poster board stenciled with “Jacob is 2, Caution Party in Progress” and framed by leftover construction tape
  • Handmade banner from yellow paper, black poster board, and brown ribbon (there are tons of ideas on Pinterest; I ended up using Word to draw diamonds and inserted letters inside them spelling out Happy Birthday Jacob, and a couple of diggy pictures as spacers; printed, cut and glued to poster board for stiffness, hole-punched the sides and threaded together with the brown ribbon)
  • Digger balloon from dollar store
  • Kid's tool belt from Home Depot, stuffed with stickers and plastic tools. Sadly the babies were not too impressed with it, although Big J used hers to carry her phone and the video cam as she was the official photog.

Party food:
  • Bits and bites as nuts and bolts
  • Pretzel sticks as screws
  • Reese pieces as building pieces
  • Chips as spare parts
  • Two-bite brownies as spare tires (there were no chocolate donuts in town on Saturday)
  • Cocoa puffs as boulders
  • Appys, veggies, cheese and crackers and dip


I’m so happy the cake turned out well. It was a bit of a stress, as I didn’t know how the inside would end up looking, and I didn’t have the budget, the time, or the inclination to make a tester cake. I just thought that if it was bad, Dairy Queen was pretty close by and we would all be just as happy with ice cream cake. I used this recipe for the cake, which I made on Wednesday and Thursday night. I used buttercup yellow gel icing on the vanilla cake, and black on the chocolate. The cake was not that bad, although very dense—I think it was from mixing too much as I was very worried about adding colour. I put a knife tip at a time on the vanilla cake, and I ended up having to use half the bottle anyway to get the yellow I wanted. (Big sis came when I was doing the chocolate cake, and she just told me right off the bat to use more than a knife tip. “More, Mom.”) The procrastinator that I am (uhm, sound familiar?), I did not have time to make my own frosting, so Duncan Hines stepped in. 

Now, procrastinator that I am (again... see a pattern here?), I waited until December 3rd to order these uber-cute construction vehicle candles off Ebay. It’s Christmas season, dumbo. On Friday afternoon when it was evident it wasn’t coming, I called all over town to see if anybody had it (which in hindsight I should have done first before ordering online, yada-yada.) Nope. This lady even said, “Oh, the construction theme has been phased out a long time ago.” Huh? You mean, nobody expects kids these days to like diggies and dumpies anymore, and for their parents to give what baby wants? It was a SMH moment. A funny side note: I was close to tears with disappointment so hubby got on the phone and called all over town to see if anybody had these candles. Imagine the harried dollar store clerk getting two phone calls in a heartbeat about freaking construction candles!

So baby got regular candles. I don’t think he cared, but I can just imagine his face if….. (As I’m writing this, the offending candles have yet to make an appearance. Maybe I’ll use them for hubby’s cake in the summer.) 

I decorated the cake with matchbox diggy and cement mixer, oreo crumble for dirt, and chocolate rock candies for, well, rocks. The inside was a whole other matter.  Look at this!

Here’s the tutorial for making striped cake. It looks daunting but actually is pretty easy. No need for tester cake.

I think the party was a success, and the birthday boy was blown away by his presents and that people came to his ‘happy day.’ I gave him the matchbox diggy and ‘ment mixer from the cake, and now he shows it to people and tells them it was from the cake. 

Mama A has the best jokes ever!

Can I open presents now?

Check out my sweet fire department set!

Playing with the safety cones.

Opening presents.
Everyone is singing "Happy Birthday"!

Waited a long time to blow the candles on the cake.

Checking out the fire department set, with Big Sis and Cousin L.

Birthday present from Aunty K.

Watch out for dumpy with heavy loady, Daddy!

What a fun day! I feel so blessed watching this little one grow big and strong and happy, surrounded by people who love him. I will happily throw him many, many more birthday parties.

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