Milk & Cookies Birthday Party

Hi there! I’m Kelsey Nixon. I host a cooking show on Cooking Channel called Kelsey’s Essentials and I recently wrote my first cookbook, Kitchen ConfidenceMost importantly, I’m a mom to 2 year old Ollie! I recently threw a birthday bash for him celebrating with two of his favorite things – milk & cookies! He’s also a big fan of Elmo and Cookie Monster, so this was an attempt to do something that he really loved, but that didn’t have an overly pronounced character theme. After throwing a big party for his 1st birthday where I made all of the food (and ran myself ragged during the process), I decided to just focus on a fun cake this year and not worry about feeding all of our guests an entire meal. By scheduling the casual party later in the afternoon at the park, this worked really well. No one showed up super hungry, yet they were all happy to have a little something fun to eat.

Milk and Cookies Birthday Party

Once I decided to focus on the cake, I knew immediately that I wanted to do a chocolate chip cookie layer cake. I’d never made a “cookie cake” before, but felt like it seemed simple enough to tackle. I altered my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe slightly to make it more of a bar cookie – meaning that it was a bit thicker and more soft on the inside with crispy edges.

I used a springform pan to make the layers the exact same shape, but you could do the same thing with a standard cake pan as well. For the layers of frosting I used a cream cheese based recipe that wasn’t too sweet. I was worried that the weight of the cookies would be too much for the frosting, but it ended up working out just fine and the tart flavor of the cream cheese layers was a great compliment to the sweet cookies. I assembled the cake the day before since I had to work the morning of the party and ended up storing the cake loosely covered in the refrigerator. I didn’t want the frosting to become too soft causing the layers to shift, but I also didn’t want the refrigerator to dry out the cookie. It ended up working out perfectly, and if I were to make the cake again, I’d follow the same method of completing it the day before and storing it in the refrigerator until party time. I sliced the cake with a serrated knife to make sure that I could easily get through the layers.

The cake looked as good as it tasted and ended up being a great conversation piece for the adults throughout the party – I think everyone went home with a verbal tutorial! You can find the full recipe and detailed directions here.

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When it came to the decorating details, I used many of the same decorations that we had used at his 1st birthday party. We kept the same color scheme and reused a darling garland (similar here) that felt fun and festive with blues and greens. I’m a big fan of Shop Sweet Lulu and think that they do a great job of curating party decorations. I was able to find some additional details like this number 2 balloon  these mini milk jugs  and these paper goods that helped bring our simple theme to life and made the get together feel celebratory. I used Cookie Crisp cereal to fill the mini milk jugs for favors and also used the crispy cereal pieces to decorate the straws that everyone enjoyed with their milk. I also had some fresh fruit as an option to balance out all the sweets. We used this small picnic table to set up a few details and it was awesome. One of my favorite family purchases for summer!

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Milk and Cookies Birthday Party: Cookie Birthday Cake

Milk and Cookies Birthday Party: Stacked Cookie Birthday Cake

Milk and Cookies Birthday Party: Cookie Cake

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We held the party at a playground in Central Park that had a small grassy area where we could all congregate. It was perfect for toddlers because the playground kept them contained, yet the adults were still able to mingle a bit on the grass without having to chase their toddlers everywhere. This parachute was fun for both the parents and kids to play with on and off throughout the afternoon.

Overall, I put in a little bit of effort and felt like we all had a great experience – most importantly Ollie had a blast! Since I wasn’t so concerned about preparing an entire menu, I was able to focus on Ollie and our guests more. It was a much more enjoyable experience this year! Just like any mom out there, I love the idea of throwing birthday parties for my kids that look like they fell from the pages of Pinterest, but I also know that it’s important to be realistic and not overwhelm yourself. This little party felt like a good balance where I focused on a few details (cake, small favors, cookie straws) and let everything else just fall into place.

Milk and Cookies Birthday Party - 2nd Birthday

Happy Birthday Ollie! 2 years old has never looked so good!

Kelsey Nixon (www.kelseynixon.com) is the host of Kelsey’s Essentials on Cooking Channel and author of Kitchen Confidence. Kelsey’s Essentials is also currently airing Mon-Thurs at 3pm on Food Network. Kelsey, her husband Robby, and son Oliver (“Ollie”) live in New York City. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Kids Science Club

Post by Rebecca and Suzanne of A Feteful Life

Summer Activity: Kids Science Club

Hello friends! We had so, so much fun with our recent book club that when The Land of Nod asked us what else we had in store for our kiddos this summer, we knew instantly that we had to expand our group to include science. All of our kids have an interest in the subject and we knew once we put together a little party for the club, they’d be all over it. And they were — despite the sweltering afternoon summer heat (btw, how cute is our motley crew!?!).

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Fortunately for us, The Land of Nod carries the most stylish party goods perfectly suited for our club: The Meri Meri Fundamental Party Collection. The bright colors and graphic prints are right up our alley and the incorporation of real scientific principles, concepts and theory make them much more than just pretty partyware. Good looking and smart — a combo we can get behind.

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In addition to the party collection, we decorated the entrance to our gathering with a fabulous customizable Pennant Garland spelling out the name of our club. We hung Land of Nod’s gorgeous periodic table of elements Science Banner front and center over our lab for the day. Suzanne’s son Brady is a bit chemistry-obsessed and was over the moon to see the periodic table! We were equally impressed with the quality of canvas and beautiful colors of the artwork. We also draped a graph paper bunting, which we made using our free pennant bunting template, along the top of the elements banner. And even though a table full of sweets was sitting nearby, our kids wasted no time in getting right to the experiments.

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We set up three relatively straightforward experiments: making slime; mixing colors; and creating “snow” (you can download free printable blank experiment labels over at A Feteful Life).

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I was surprised that the color mixing seemed to be everyone’s favorite. The kids used their custom periodic element initialed lab notebooks (we had to make them after the book club notebooks were such a big hit!) to hypothesize which two colors they needed to mix to achieve their desired result. They took it very seriously and even experimented mixing different ratios of two primary colors to get what they wanted. The “snow” was another messy hit and Suzanne and I were grateful we held the meeting outdoors!

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While we waited for the slime to finish congealing, we turned to snack time. I set up a drink as an experiment itself by prepping one of my favorite party drinks: cotton candy + lemonade (a little trick I learned from Sweet Paul awhile ago). When you add lemonade to colored cotton candy … it changes color! Well, the party decided to take it a step further for us. It was so HOT outside that the cotton candy had lost all its moisture and completely solidified. The kids thought it was a hysterical “experiment.” No worries, the lemonade still changed color when we poured it over the petrified candy and earned oohs and aahs from our crowd.

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I added periodic element flags to the awesome graph paper straws, which we slipped into the beaker cups. The kids all loved finding their own initialed straw. We served puffed corn snacks and berries in clear cups, which we decorated with leftover stickers from the party collection. For some more sweet, we served up a plate of “whoopie pi,” which sat on a cake stand decorated with a handmade graph paper mini bunting.

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We obviously can’t resist DIY accessorizing, so we put together cute labels to wrap around chocolate milk boxes and custom confetti, too. You can find all of the items, including the periodic element flags, in our printable party pack.

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To keep the science going after the club adjourned, each kiddo took home an edible experiment: DIY Rock Candy (you can download the free printable favor tag at A Feteful Life). The favor kit included all non-grocery items needed to grow your own rock candy. And I used the bright cupcake wrappers from the Meri Meri kit to top a mason jar containing it all.My kids can’t wait to try it!

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It must be obvious from the photos, but we so loved our Science Club. And we think you should have one too! To get you started, we designed an invitation to go with the party pack. Hope your own little scientists are staying busy this summer. Fete on!

Rebecca and Suzanne are bloggers, graphic designers, and event stylists living in Washington, DC.  Rebecca is a mom to two young kiddos and, in her spare time (ha!), likes to pretend she’s a back-up dancer, craft cocktails, and run long distances. Suzanne is a big fan of good design, good wine, and her two rambunctious little boys. They share DIY lifestyle and event styling projects at A Feteful Life. Rebecca also blogs kid-friendly projects at Not-So-SAHM.

Dinosaur Party

Post by Aimee and Bettijo from PagingSupermom.com

Hello there! We’re here to share a fun Dinosaur Party using the adorable, new Roarrrrr! party collection at Land of Nod.

Dinosaur Birthday Party Theme Ideas

The dinosaur garland pack includes TWO banners — both the ROARRR and the individual dinosaur cards. We added festive felt garlands and spelled out the birthday boy’s age with the Achievement Banners.

Dinosaur Birthday Party Theme Invitations

You can’t have a dinosaur party without a bunch of dino friends so we created this cute dinosaur party invite that can be personalized with your party details. Since several of the dinosaur party supplies included real googly eyes, we decided to add one to the dino on our invitation for an extra special touch.

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We know all the kids will go crazy over these folded dinosaur party hats and cupcake toppers. It is quick and easy to print and frame one of our free printable birthday numbers, and the birthday cake is complete!

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We aimed to please both herbivore and carnivore party goers with cups of veggies with dip and teriyaki chicken. Download our free pack of Dinosaur Party Printables for the food signs.

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We were totally impressed by the detail and quality of these dinosaur party supplies. Just one example, we expected each of the party plates to have the same dinosaur printed on them, but when we opened the pack we were pleasantly surprised to see it included four different dino plates.

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When you have a group of rambunctious dinosaurs you will definitely need a few activities to keep them busy — good thing that’s our specialty! While the dinos are gathering set out a stack of our free printable Dinosaur Footprint Worksheets with some coloring supplies corralled in the Could’ve Bin Art Caddy.

Dinosaur Birthday Party Theme Ideas - Dinosaur Passing Game

Play a Dinosaur Pass game the same way you would play hot potato only use this fun Stegosaurus Throw Pillow.

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Extinction Dodge Ball Dinosaur Party Game

This Extinction game is a variation on dodge ball. Have all the party guests do their best roaring dinosaur impersonations while somebody throws the world playground ball trying to get all the dinosaurs out.

Printable Dinosaur Craft Puppet

For a quieter activity have the kids make their own Dinosaur Puppets using brown lunch bags and our free dinosaur puppet printable.

Dinosaur Treasure Hunt Party Game

Send the party goers on a Dinosaur Hunt to collect their goody bags. Download and print our dinosaur tracks then write clues and hide them for the treasure hunt.

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SHORTCUT TO ALL THE PRINTABLES :: ROARRR Dinosaur Party Invitations :: Dinosaur Party Printables :: Dinosaur Footprint Worksheets :: Dinosaur Puppets :: Dinosaur Treasure Hunt Tracks

Hazel Turns 4!

 photo hazelturnsfour.jpg We just love parties!

And when our baby girl (I swear she was just born!) turns four years old, it definitely merits a party!  photo fourisawesome.jpg And when I say party, I mean mommy-made crowns, cupcakes with waaay too much frosting, lots of friends and games and hopscotch mats leading out the back door.  photo hopscotch.jpg Parties mean polka dots on the walls, and birthday banners hanging from the windows. And sprinkles. Lots and lots of sprinkles.  photo prettybirdies.jpg It means the big people get to pick iced mochas or grapefruit Perrier out of pretty-colored ice buckets and drink them from blue striped straws! And it means the little people get plenty of cold milk to wash down all that strawberry frosting.  photo IMG_6771.jpg  photo straws1.jpg Fourth birthday parties mean she makes "that face" with every present she opens, and that she really does feel that way. She feels birthday-magical.  photo happypresent.jpg And at the end of the day, it means we don't mind a bit leaving those birds she loves on the plate rack for a few extra weeks, because this sweet face has us feeling pretty grateful for four spectacular years with one remarkable little person.  photo cupcakes.jpg Happy fourth birthday, Hazel Wren! You make every day a cupcake day!

 photo sources-1.pngcupcake toppers / bird garland /  hopscotch rug /  pinwheels 

 "happy birthday" banner / favor bags /  pink and blue doily buckets  / birdies canvas

white chairs / yellow and grey suitcases / stuffed cat and dog / blue striped straws

metal "happy birthday" topper

xoxo, Raechel

Raechel Myers blogs at Finding My Feet. When she's not elbow deep in her next DIY project, you'll likely find her helping her 6-year-old with his Kindergarten homework or playing babies with her 4-year-old daughter. She lives with her husband in Franklin, TN where they can only hope to train their kiddos to love the Lord and take their dishes to the kitchen sink.