Dig this: Perfect party for a little digger lover
Food blogger Kate Wright moved heaven and plenty of earth for her son Henry’s second birthday.
On first enquiry Henry, otherwise known as Harry, thought he wanted a train party. Then he wanted a Batman party, like his big brother George. But when push came to shove and his mother quizzed him again, DIGGER was his emphatic answer. This made perfect sense. Like many little boys, this future-front row rugby star is obsessed with anything that goes: trucks, diggers, trains, planes, fire engines, police cars…
So began the trips to the hardware store. He and his mother Kate picked out tape, hard hats and construction signs to decorate the house, and over the next few weeks, Kate found herself identifying not only diggers, but backhoes, excavators, wheel loaders, dump trucks, forklifts and dozers. She’d been hoping for a small party (in keeping with their small house), but as the invitations went out, she realised that, even with just close friends and family present, they’d total 29. Thankfully on the day, this didn’t actually matter. “We were blessed with a sunny day, kids and adults had a wonderful time, and it really didn’t feel overcrowded at all” says Kate. “Harry had a blast, then absolutely crashed like a cute little puppy at the end!”
Getting into the swing of things
Along with the building site tape, hard hats and signs, Kate reinforced the theme with construction invitations and napkins from Sweet Pea Parties. She also decorated with black and yellow balloons and a giant light-up number 2 from Kmart.
The party activities needed to be suitable for both younger and older children so they played Pass the Parcel and hosted a dance competition. The children also got to decorate their own digger-shaped cookie. Kate had purchased a digger-shaped cookie cutter from Sweet Pea Parties, made plain gingerbread cookies and then let the children get creative with store-bought icing tubes and sprinkles. When it came to party favours, guests took home a little bag containing a construction vehicle, chocolate-covered raisins and Maltesers.
The kids’ food was mainly Kiwi classics – sausage rolls, cheerios, lolly cake, popcorn, fresh fruit, mini cheese muffins and juice boxes. (If you wanted to throw themed food in the mix, you could add a ‘build your own’ element to the buffet - eg. build your own burgers or sundaes.)
Adult guests at Henry’s party were more than happy to join in with some fork lifting – Kate is a part-time food blogger and self-confessed professional food-lover, so there were mouth-watering treats on offer. Brunch consisted of toasted mini bagels topped with cream cheese, smoked salmon pastrami, capers and dill, as well as cream cheese, strawberry jam and freeze-dried strawberries. Guests could also hoe in to petit pain au chocolat and fresh fruit, and refuel with coffee, tea, sparkling water or mimosas.
A ground-breaking cake
Henry’s construction-site cake was made from Kate’s very own chocolate cake recipe (adapted from The Confetti Cakes cookbook and Martha Stewart), which appeals to both kids and adults alike. “My husband has even declared it’s his all-time favourite chocolate cake and I have to make it every year for his birthday without fail!” says Kate. “It’s not sickly sweet, instead it’s a delicious balance of dense chocolate cake, chocolatey ganache filling, and light and creamy Swiss meringue buttercream frosting.”
Once the cake was made, Kate cut it out like a quarry and placed construction vehicles on top. She sprinkled cake crumbs around to look like dirt, as well as chocolate-coated raisins, chocolate-coated honeycomb and Maltesers to look like boulders. Chocolate fingers made perfect little logs. For the full recipe and instructions, check out Kate’s blog, mylittlelarder.com.
Construction balloons, $5.95 for five, sweetpeaparties.co.nz; Chocolate boulders, $10.75 for 250g, crazycandies.co.nz; Builder’s tools candles, $5, poprocparties.co.nz; Construction hard hat, $2.50, buildabirthday.co.nz; Le Toy Van My Handy Tool Belt, $46.99, toyco.co.nz; Meri Meri big rig napkins, $12.50 for 20, pixiepartysupplies.co.nz;Tractor cookie cutter, $4.50, cakewarehouse.co.nz. .
AS FEATURED IN ISSUE 41 OF OHbaby! MAGAZINE. CHECK OUT OTHER ARTICLES IN THIS ISSUE BELOW