Monday, September 24, 2012

It's a Monster Bash!

Whew!  What a party!!

My son just celebrated his first birthday.  While kicking around on Pinterest some time ago, I really fell in love with the monster parties I encountered.  So, monsters became the inspiration behind this party.  Let me share!

Goodie Bags-
There aren't many young children in our family so the goodie bags were rather easy to assemble.  Because I despise little junk, I tried to add things which would be fun but would not be trampled under foot once taken home.

I purchased the Cookie Monster bags from the dollar bins at Target, along with the Cookie Monster notepad and monster water bottle.  The little "paint a car" and "make a monster mask" crafts were purchased from a clearance end cap at Target.  The bubbles came from Wal-Mart.

I also made a coloring book from monster clip art I found on Google Images.  I added simple sentences to each page since many of our young guests are just beginning to read... or will soon be learning how. I purchased Crayola crayons during the back to school sales.

(Monster image from:

Because I had to prepare everything at home then travel 3 1/2 hours for the actual party, I made sure everything could go up and be taken down easily and in a short period of time.  I knew I wanted to feature bright colors and keep the decorations simple.  I decided to make monster faces and have each feature a different photo of my son throughout his first year of life.

It turned out to be a GREAT idea!

I traced a form onto colored cardstock then proceeded to cut out each face.  I embellished each monster with googly eyes, teeth cut from white cardstock and a photo of my son printed out from a color printer and cut into an open mouth shape.  What a job!!  I was careful to feature a photo of each guest so everyone would have fun remembering special moments with my son.  Monsters were displayed from clothespins attached to jute cord.  The cord was draped along the walls at the party.  Everyone loved the visual experience of seeing my son grow from one picture to the next.  When the party was over, I carefully took the monsters down, placed them into gallon-sized Ziploc bags and will save them for his 16th or 18th birthday.  :-)

For my children's first birthday parties, I am sure to include an option which doesn't stain.  I am not a fan of having to clean greasy red frosting out of a light colored shirt or digging dark chocolate cake out of little ears and hair.  I prepared banana cupcakes with banana frosting (his great grandmother's recipe).  I tinted the frosting a light green to add a little color but ensure my little guy wouldn't need a bath half-way through the event.  To make the cupcakes more thematic, I fashioned cupcake picks from cardstock, googly eyes, a wooden sandwich pick and a little hot glue.  I added the mouths with a fine Sharpie. 

I really loved all of their expressions.  It was also difficult to decide if I liked one, two or three eyes best!

Here is the recipe for the Banana Cake with Banana Frosting...

1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 pound powdered sugar (about 3 cups)
1 stick softened butter
1 mashed ripe banana
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Grease and flour cakepans.  Mix ingredients and beat with an electric mixer on high.  Bake at 350 degrees 35 - 40 minutes.  Let cool 10 minutes in pan then cool completely on a rack.  Prepare frosting by blending the first three ingredients, then stir in half of the nuts.  Spread onto cooled cake and garnish with remaining nuts.

I made the conscious choice not to produce any elaborate party games.  Why? Because my son is just one and I did not want to pack anything else into the car for the long trip.  I did, however, produce a Monster Quiz from questions I gathered from various websites (Site 1, Site 2, Site3).  Each guest got one double-sided quiz, a pencil and 10 minutes.  At the end of that time, everyone corrected their own papers.  I was impressed with their monster knowledge!  My parents did well but my grandma whipped them both.  We had three tied for second place!!  Winners received a $5 gift card to that famous coffee house with the mermaid logo.

(monster image from:

In a previous post, I shared how I fashioned the party favors - Monster Oreo Pops.  They took a little time to prepare but were not difficult.  They were a BIG hit with the guests.  I also added little tags which thanked the guests for sharing in the celebration.  I took the extras to work where they were promptly consumed so I would not be tempted. 

(Monster image from

Happy birthday, little man!  We love you!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Monster Oreo Pops

My son will be celebrating his first birthday this weekend.  When he turned 6 months old, I began researching party themes.  I had a very difficult time deciding since there are people who create some very elaborate and captivating parties for children.  I am unable to spend the time and expense many do so I opted for a theme which would be bright, fun and very BOY... MONSTERS!!!!

For the favors, I chose to make monster pops (aka: Oreo pops).  I think they turned out so well.  Check out the process!

1.  Gather your ingredients

      You need...
  • Double Stuf Oreos
  • Wilton's Candy Eyes
  • Wilton's Candy Melts (in a fun color) - one bag yielded about 13 pops
  • popsicle sticks, lollipop sticks or wooden coffee stirrer sticks (depending on length desired)
  • sprinkles

2.  Prepare the Oreos.

Gently slide the popsicle sticks into the Double Stuf Oreos without pushing through the other side.  Double Stuf Oreos must be used because it allows enough room for the stick.  Some of the cream filling may come out of the other side.  If it does, just use another popsicle stick to press it back into place.  If one side of the cookie comes loose, gently press it in place.

Here are all of my Oreo pops standing at the ready.

3. Melt the candy.

I used the Wilton Candy Melts for this project but you could certainly use another brand or a good quality chocolate.  Place your candy into a heat safe bowl, with plenty of room at the top.  Place the bowl into the microwave set for 50% power for 1 minute.  After that time, remove the bowl and stir the candy.  If it is not yet melted (which mine was not), continue to melt at 30 second intervals.  Be certain to stir each time to evenly heat the candy and prevent overheating. Continue stirring until the candy is smooth and lump-free.

4.  Dip the pops.

Grab the pops by the sticks and enrobe the cookie with the melted candy. Rather than merely plunging the cookie into the bowl, I did a combination of dipping and drizzling.  I used a spoon to make sure every part of the cookie was covered to prevent air from entering and making the cookie soggy.  Pay close attention to the rims of the cookies and the base by the stick.

The melted candy was also rather thick.  This was not a problem for me as my goal for the project was to create monsters.  I wanted the pops to have visible texture.  Also, the cookies were dark and the candy was a light color so I preferred a thick coating to ensure the cookie did not show through.  If you are looking for a thin shell with a smooth finish, you can add a little vegetable shortening as you melt the candy.

You will also need to decide how you wish to let your pops set up.  I chose to lay mine down on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet.  However, if you do not want the back to be flattened, you can certainly tap off all excess candy and stick the sticks upright into a piece of styrofoam until set.

5. Embellish the pops.

While the candy is still soft, begin to add any decoration you see fit.  I chose to use the candy eyes sold by Wilton.  I also looked in the pantry for something I could use for a mouth and found chocolate sprinkles to be rather effective for the purpose.  Allow the pops to set up completely before moving them for storage or wrapping for gift-giving.  I placed mine into the refrigerator for 15 to 20 minutes to set before I packaged into cellophane bags.

6.  Store and wrap for giving.

You can purchase lollipop bags if you would like.  I found the pops fit perfectly.  I secured the base with a piece of bakers twine.  I also chose to display the pops upright in a piece of styrofoam.  The  foam will be placed into a shallow dish and covered colorful candies like Skittles or M&Ms to add more color.  The pops can be stored in an air-tight container, at moderate temperatures (low 70s) and out of direct heat/light for a couple of weeks.