Two weeks ago, our sweet Henry turned 5 years old. I can’t even believe it. And as we tend to do almost every year, we threw a party full of foods, fun, friends, and lots of good DIY crafts all focused around Henry’s current obsession. This time around: Ninja Turtles! I started writing this blog 6 months after Henry was born, and as such, have documented every party here on the site (One, Two, Three, and Four). While the focus of my content has shifted a bit over the last year, it wouldn’t feel right to skip over showing you this year’s shebang. And so I present to you: Henry’s Ninja Turtle Birthday Party!
Before I dive in and show you everything, I have to preface it with a bit of a disclaimer. Life is busy right now; and as a result, a majority of the party prep was done (with the help of my sister!) the day before the party. I didn’t document projects the way I normally do, so I don’t have any tutorials to follow up this post. And is always the case, setting up took longer than expected, and I wasn’t able to fully photography everything the way I normally would. In fact, I wasn’t sure I got decent photos at all since I took them 5 minutes before people started arriving. Thankfully, I did get some great shots…and I am so glad I did…because although this one was somewhat pulled together at the last minute, I think it was our best (and my favorite!) party yet!
About a month before the party, we sent out these invitations to all of Henry’s friends. Henry has school friends, neighborhood friends, and cousins nearby, so we were in for a lot of kids this time around!
A few weeks before the party, I pinned a bunch of Ninja Turtle ideas, ordered a bunch of green things, and came up with a relatively short list of DIY projects I wanted to do. Then the day before the party, my sister and I had a marathon craft session to pull everything together. Despite my best efforts to keep it simple, a few unplanned projects popped up along the way (I tend to get carried away when I finally start!)…and we ended up here!
Originally, the plan was to have everything setup outside. As we tend to here in Kansas, we had a beautiful but crazy windy day, and everything kept blowing around. I was getting crabby that I couldn’t setup everything the way I wanted it, so we made a VERY last-minute decision to bring everything inside. I am so glad we did, because I ultimately got the party display I wanted…and people still came inside regularly to get snacks and see all the decor!
The party was from 3-5, so we focused on serving cake and a bunch of kid-friendly snacks. My plan was cupcakes because they are easier to serve kids, but Henry said he wanted a BIG Ninja Turtle cake. Well, who am I to turn down the birthday boy? So we did both! I’m glad we did, because this (single layer) Raphael cake was my favorite detail of the entire party! (No, I’m not that creative…I found an inspiration image on Pinterest, lol!)
Although…the cupcakes turned out pretty awesome too! (Note: if you’re going to make Ninja Turtle cupcakes like these, get the bigger candy eyes! They look better!)
We also served some easy veggie platters made to look like Michelangelo and Donatello, as well as some chips, dips, and popcorn! All were easy to pull together without a ton of time or prep!
I really, really wanted to encourage people to eat so we wouldn’t be left with a lot of extra food. I ordered a bunch of these green mini popcorn pails and added Ninja Turtle symbols (cut from vinyl) to them. These were such a hit! Kids were constantly coming in and loading up and running off with their pails! Not only did the cute pails get used, but we had NO leftovers!
Because I tend to get carried away at the last minute, I cut out a bunch of name bubble signs using my Cricut and wrote common Ninja Turtle phrases on them with a chalk marker. They were stuck onto bowls and platters using leftover straws (and clear packing tape)!
One of my favorite details of the party was also a last-minute decision: #5 centerpieces! I wanted something we could place on a variety of tables, so I dug out some tall green tins and Easter grass we had in our stash. I then cut out a bunch of 5s/Fives in different sizes and colors. My sister glued kabob skewers to them and we stuck them into leftover pieces of pool noodles (that we made the foam nunchucks out of). The vases were weighted down on the inside with small hand-held weights. These were all around the party and were just so whimsical and fun. I love that they could be customized for pretty much any party occasion and color scheme!
At every party, I like to have a “focal point” or party display…and when we were setting up everything outside, the wind was making it impossible for me to get the look I wanted. In the hour before the party when we brought everything inside, we all just trusted our guts and put things were they made the most sense. The final result couldn’t have turned out better even if I had the time to obsess over every little detail!
The Ninja Turtle goodie bags mimicked the invitations. We just cut masks and eyes from vinyl and adhered them right to the green bags. I wish I had gotten a picture of what was included because it was so simple and cute: Ninja Turtle cookies, Ninja Turtle gummies, and Ninja Turtle ring pops!
While I wasn’t up for the extensive candy bar we did last year, I knew having some green candies and cookies would be well received by the kids! Sure enough, kids filled their buckets all afternoon long, and we had barely any gummy bears and worms left! #you’rewelcomeparents
Everything you see, from the Ninja Turtle heads and goodie bags, to the banner and word bubbles signs were all cut with my Cricut from either paper or vinyl that I had on hand! This is when having a well-stocked craft room comes in handy!
Another one of my favorite details was our Ninja Turtle balloons. Admittedly, these weren’t quick OR easy, but they sure looked awesome and made everyone smile! We cut more masks and faces from vinyl, and once blown up…Greg and my sister painstakingly added each piece to the balloon fronts.
All together, it was a great combination of easy foods and a few simple DIY projects that came together to create one fantastic party display!
We had a bouncy out back for all the kids (#bestthingever), but I knew bouncing would get old for some kids so we provided a few other fun things for them to play with! Foam nunchucks (that my sister made!!!!), bubble wands, and Ninja masks allowed kids to dress up and play Ninja Turtles!
The only project I didn’t get to was a sign that was supposed to say “Shell Station” across the turtle backdrop. Obviously no one noticed or cared, but looking at the photos now, I wish I had gotten to it! #ohwell The masks were bought from THIS shop on Etsy and were such amazing quality. It was so fun to see kids running around all afternoon with masks on!
While the projects and displays and cake were so fun and just made this craft-loving gal so happy…there’s a different reason I think this was our best party yet. As many of you know, I wasn’t thrilled about moving here to Kansas. I didn’t want to come, and I didn’t want to make any friends since it was going to be such a short tour. But as I looked around this party, watching Henry play with SO many good new friends…and even being surrounded myself with so many great friends who stayed to hang out, we just felt so loved, supported, and happy. The kids played their hearts out, friends stayed and chatted and drank wine. We made pizza for those who hung around…and we just enjoyed our company. For the first time (ever?), I was able to sit back and relax and enjoy everything we’ve made here: our home, this party, and our friendships. It was such a great day.
We certainly did do a lot for this party, but it was nice to feel like I didn’t spend weeks and weeks preparing (like I’ve done in the past). The day before and day of were VERY busy, but the result was so worth it. If you’re looking to pull off a party like this one, here are our sources:
- Really yummy green cake mix
- Large candy eyes
- Green popcorn pails
- Green gummy bears
- Green gummy worms
- Green goodie bags
- Green balloons
- Ninja Turtle masks
- Ninja Turtle cookies (found at our local grocery store)
- Ninja Turtle ring pops
- Ninja Turtle gummies (found at our local grocery store)
- Bubble wands
I hope you all enjoyed reading about Henry’s special day, and I hope you all have a great weekend! Next week, I’m sharing an awesome label DIY, Henry’s final bedroom tour, and a few reflections on our upcoming move! See you then!