Category Archives: birthday party

Lightning McQueen was a very fast race car…

Sitting in Cardboard McQueen
Happy Birthday Boy

We watched Cars a few months ago, and since then my little one has been obsessed! So, when I asked the almost 4 year old what he wanted for his birthday party I was not at all surprised when he said he wanted a Lightning McQueen party.

I decided to try and keep purchases to a minimum and work with recycled materials to make a sustainable party. I started with an idea board on pinterest and got down to planning.

I like to begin with an open play activity so that our guests will have something to do while waiting for their friends to arrive. An old diaper box, a box from Costco, and a few Amazon boxes were turned into McQueen, Mater, and a gas station.

Refueling Time

Once all the guests arrived we moved onto crafts. They decorated toilet paper roll race cars with markers and stickers, and then the older brothers supervised race track construction back in the other room for the cars to race on.

Race Car Craft


On to story time. Grandma read them a Cars board book and an old family favorite, Mitchell’s License by Hallie Durand.

Then it was time for lunch and cake.

Food Table

Everyone went home happy and McQueen and Mater have been staying on as our guests. The birthday boy has been racing to school every morning because he IS Lightning McQueen, who is a very fast race car. I would call that a successful party.

For more photos check out the rest of the album on flickr:

Lightning McQueen Party

A Wild Forest Grew in the Kitchen

Birthday Tree

This Sunday was my son’s 6th birthday. He said he wanted a tree party, and upon further prompting it turned out he meant a forest theme craft party and was going to invite his friends’ stuffed animals. He said his bear, Teki was going to take them on a hay ride. I thought, “Great! I will make him a super cute little cart to put the animals in.” I was already thinking about how to make hay that isn’t too messy, but N had other plans. He made a ride out of cardboard boxes with 2 levels and ladders so everyone could get in and out. He even made a seatbelt for Teki, the bear driver! It was a bit of an exercise in letting go, but well worth it. It is amazing and I had plenty of other things to do.

My goal was to create a perfect forest using recycled materials. I made a tree out of cardboard and cut out leaves with N’s help for the tree and counter. As soon as the acorns started falling from the trees N and I started collecting them. I am pretty sure we will still be finding acorns in the house this time next year. I never knew how many different colors and shapes acorns came in! The cleaned acorns went into glass jars and vases that I had collected in my studio with some branches. They were joined by little friends from our toy box.


The guests made adorable pom pom bears, birds, bugs, trees, and caves.

Bear CaveI read them two books, Happy Birthday, Moon, by Frank Asch and Bear Snores On, by Karma Wilson. They sat quietly, and when I asked them to roar like a bear who was just woken up, they were so cute I wanted to eat them up. After that it was time for snacks and cake.

buffetBear Birthday Cake

I know the birthday boy had a great time and I am pretty sure his friends and the woodland creatures did as well. I learned a few things: Let N do his own decorating. It will be perfect, just like he is, even if it is not the way I would do it; table coverings are key and need to be planned in advance; and if you need to know which tree has the best acorns in the neighborhood, just ask me!