Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Cowabunga! A Frugal & Homemade Ninja Turtle Birthday

We are not big into birthday parties because 1) they are expensive and 2) I don't feel it is worth my time and money to spend on an event that my child likely won't remember in a few years. Sam has just gotten old enough to start remembering conversations and events for a much longer term, so maybe we will go a bit bigger next year. But for his 4 year old "party", we did a very basic Ninja Turtle theme and only celebrated with family on the weekend and with friends at school on the actual day of his birthday.

At Sam's "school" (a.k.a. daycare), we're not allowed to bring sweets for any occasion, so I hopped on Pinterest to see what I could find since I am in no way creative when it comes to these types of things. I first started with a superhero theme since Sam likes to run around the house announcing his super hero status, but couldn't find anything I could get too excited about it, or make frugally at home. So I switched gears and went into another favorite topic of his--Ninja Turtles!

There was so much to be found, I wasn't sure how I would narrow it down. But, a teensy weensy budget and a small party helped to narrow down the choices. I found all sorts of ideas for fruit and veggie platters....but I also know how picky kids are and didn't want to spend alot of money on food that would just be thrown in the trash (although--my son's teacher lives on a farm so she took the non-eaten leftovers home to her pigs!). Green grapes would have been ideal, but at $3.99/lb that week, I said heck no. The solution? Celery! And oddly enough, it was much more popular than I thought it would be.
Frugal & Homemade Ninja Turtle Birthday
For the eyes and mouth we went a much simpler route than most displays I'd seen, but my 4 year old and his friends did not care one iota. They could still tell that this was supposed to be Donatello--score one for the parents! We also did Raphael and Leonardo, but poor Michaelangelo didn't make the cut. I didn't didn't think we needed that much fruit! And also...(as you can tell by the difference in "platters"), there was no consistency, and we ran out of anything else that might work in a similar fashion.


Sam also requested green cupcakes for his birthday, so I thought we'd do him one better--Ninja Turtle cupcakes! I almost gave in an ordered them from Publix, but my husband convinced me we could make them with ingredients we had on hand....so we tried! They are not perfect by any means, but my mother in law thought we bought them from some place else, so I'll take that as a compliment!

Check out Sam's reactions to the cupcakes....you'd hardly believe me if I told you that later in the day he told me in all seriousness, "Mom, I asked for green cupcakes, not Ninja Turtle ones!" Umm, ok. Well excuse me for trying!
Frugal & Homemade Ninja Turtle Birthday
Notice how the candles match the silicone cupcake/muffin cups and how those match the colors of the turtles? That was definitely my husband's OCD coming through. The liners were a Christmas gift from my sister--the boys like to play pretend with them, so we got some more so we could actually use some in the kitchen in case the ones getting played with get lost.
Frugal & Homemade Ninja Turtle Birthday
I had planned to make homemade icing, but while at Target, came across a make-your-own buttercream icing, so I decided for ease, I'd try it this time. It was definitely easier than trying to find the correct ratios of powdered sugar and liquid, but it was so sweet, even I could barely eat it, and I have a huge sweet tooth! I added some green dye, and ta-do...the beginnings of a ninja turtle! We got some fruit roll ups and cut them into strips, used some white chocolate chips we had on hand to make eyes, and chocolate sprinkles to make the mouth. Would they win a baking contest? Heck no, but they worked for our purposes. We also bought matching green balloons from Target, to dress up the house a bit. Other than that, we didn't spend additional money on birthday decorations. In all, we spent probably $5 or less on the icing, balloons and fruit/veggies.

Oh, and what did we have to eat? What do turtles eat? Of course.....PIZZA!

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